Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Restore the New Testament Church?

I belong to a church that started in the early 1800’s as a movement to unite all Christians by restoring the “New Testament” church. That was a lofty goal. If only we could restore the forms and governance of the first century Christian Church then everyone would join us. In 1832 it looked like it might be working as two like minded groups united at a meeting in Lexington Kentucky. The “Christians” and the Disciples of Christ formed the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ).

It was a good beginning but there were developing differences of opinion concerning exactly what the New Testament forms were. How did the first century church do things? Some people saw no organization beyond the local congregation. Some believed that musical instruments were used in worship and some did not. Some believed in mutually supporting missionaries and some thought each congregation should support a missionary. A church group that formed to unite the whole church split twice over differences of opinions.

Today we know that in the first century of the church there was more than one way of doing things. While the Christian faith was illegal in the Roman Empire it was unable to organize but in 325 AD Emperor Constantine made it legal and forced an organization on the church. Those who disagreed – and there were many – left the empire to remain true to what they believed was the “true church.”

Is it any wonder that we can not agree on restoring the New Testament Church?

No comments:

Post a Comment