Culture and the Gospel

Pastor Jim’s Blog
March 9, 2011

I just finished the book ‘Radical – Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream’ (David Platt, Multnomah) and am in the midst of reading ‘Thirty Years that Changed the World – The Book of Acts for Today’ (Michael Green, Eerdmans). Both books challenge our Western culture version of the gospel. What can we learn from the early church on how they shared the gospel? How did the gospel affect the society of its day – especially the first two centuries?

Over the next few blogs we will look at just a few of those discoveries. The first is that the early church did not have a distinction between clergy and laity. All other religions have holy men – set apart from the rest – but not the early Christian church. As late as the end of the second century they were boasting of having – no temple, no priesthood, no altars.

They believed that their altar was at the foot of the cross, their temple was the body of believers and their priests were the entire body of Christ. The gifts of God separated them into different duties – leadership, administration, evangelism, teachers, prophets, etc. Some were paid for their leadership and administrative skills but all had the same duty to proclaim the gospel.

And all were called to serve.

God has equipped Living Hope Community Church with all the necessary gifts to make it effective in our mission. Those gifts reside in the members – no one is excluded. When those gifts are allowed to operate (allowed by the leadership and allowed by the individual), they build the church.

The early church had no buildings, no phones, no internet, – none of the things we think are necessary to evangelism. Christians could not even own a building until about 300 AD. So they were mobile – like the tabernacle (See Stephen’s sermon in Acts 7).

But they grew from 120 on the Day of Pentecost to the largest religion of today. They were able to turn the World Upside Down in a matter of 30 years. The Gospel is just as powerful today.

We have buildings today – let’s make sure they are used for outreach – not insulation or isolation. May we use the tools we are given wisely.

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