Acts and The Body of Christ - Local to National

Kaitiaki's picture

Basically this is just a "what do we learn about the Church from Acts?" thread. As we watch Paul and Barnabas and then Paul and Silas building the Church in Acts, what can we learn about their concept of the Church as a whole? Robert suggested my original plan was too cumbersome so asked me to create new threads.

Thread Moderator - Kaitiaki

This thread looks at the relationship between the local Church and the Church overall as seen in the Council at Jerusalem particularly (Acts 15). It discusses the role played by the council and how it dealt with the problem of the Gentiles Churches and the Jewish customs based on the Law.

Here is the starter question: "From the way this problem was both discussed and resolved (and with reference to other parts of the NT) there have been derived at least three forms of Church government. How would you see the procedures of your Church's system of government dealing with the issue (of Acts 15) if it had arisen in today's world? "

CLARK E. WADE's picture

Kaitiaki, I know this is


I know this is addressed to TowJel, but I wanted to throw in my two-cents worth.

We talked about this very topic in our brothers' meeting tonight. What makes us brothers and sisters is not our belief system or our creeds. This is so important to understand. Scripture says "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, (whether Baptists or Presbyterians, whether Charistmatics or the Church of Christ), we were all made to drink of one Spirit."

The life of Christ in you is the basis of our unity, plus nothing.

If you are drinking from His Spirit, if you are pursuing an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and not merely conforming to a belief system, then that is the basis of our fellowship with each other. That basis alone brings everything down to ground level. "The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are sons of God."

So, when we get together, we talk about the exellencies of Jesus Christ. But Theology? Creeds? Doctrines? All of these things haven't served to unite the body of Christ at all, but rather serve in setting up distinctions between us instead.

As Karl Barth said:

"In the beginning was the Word and the Word became flesh and through theologians, it became just words again."

So the family of Christ is much bigger than the beliefs we hold about God or our bible interpretations. It's the inward life of Christ in the heart. As someone said, "The church is not the people. The church is Christ in the people."

I think there is a responsibility to encourage and mutualy admonish the brethren wherever we find them, where people recognize our unity is based on Christ and his life in us alone.

And yet, I think the picture we have in the New Testament is of smaller groups of people getting together on a regular basis that tend to become such a family. We just can't be many places at the same time, so I think it is important to build a home base, as it were. And this home-based fellowship can visit other fellowships as well. We actually, and recently, did this very thing. Some members of our fellowship visited another denominational church which has open meetings. We had a blast! This is also a lot easier if you don't have a physical building that you are tied to. The whole church can pretty much move on a dime.

And a little word on "leadership." I like what my brother Roy said at our meeting yesterday. He was talking about leadership and said it wasn't hierarhical but flat. This brother attends a regular denomination, but has been hosting our brothers meeting at his house. When he said the word "hierarchical" he made a pitched roof sign with his arms. He said this was more like the Babylonian idea of leadership, all from the top-down, i.e. the pyramid. But leadership in the New Testament appears to be "flat." There is no one 'higher' than another. And the 'ministers' or 'servants' are underneath the whole thing, serving the others, equipping the others, raising the others 'up.' There is leadership over the brethren, but it is the leadership of Jesus Christ Himself Who is not only the Head of His church, but is the Head over every man.

Thanx brother,