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Finding the perfect church (part 2)

The Bible doesn’t give us anything that looks remotely like a “Purpose Driven Church” model. Instead, we can look at Hebrews 10 and see that we shouldn’t give up meeting together (now there’s a great verse around which to build a philosophy of church, “hey, church may seem hopelessly boring, but …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

The Bible doesn’t give us anything that looks remotely like a “Purpose Driven Church” model. Instead, we can look at Hebrews 10 and see that we shouldn’t give up meeting together (now there’s a great verse around which to build a philosophy of church, “hey, church may seem hopelessly boring, but don’t give up meeting together”), and we can look at the model of church we see in the book of Acts, particularly the example in chapter 2. Yes, there are other passages, but I’ve already pulled 7 corporate activities (corporate, not as in “IBM,” but as in “things we do together”) out of the text, so I’m going to keep digging to see what other truths we can mine. And I find these 6 individual responses in the same Acts 2:42-47 passage.

6 Individual Attitudes & Responses

They were
devoted to the apostle’s teaching

1. They were
filled with awe

2. They
sold and gave their possessions

3. They
met together every day

4. They had
glad and sincere hearts

5. They
broke bread together in their homes

The fruit: “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

If by the term “the perfect church” we mean a church without flaws or problems, then it is true, we will never see such a church this side of heaven. On the other hand, perhaps one reason that we feel such a yearning for kind of church we see in Acts is because God placed this design in our hearts.

We believe that while we may never attain perfection, we should at least shoot for a biblical model. If we are submitted to God and to one another, God can do the same thing in our midst that He did for the first century Jerusalem church.

Comments (2)

  • So, I’m curious (and trying to say this in a way that conveys curiousity vs. cynicism – there is none) – how are you playing these things out in your life? From the way you write, I’ve gotta believe that you have a home church. Since there is no perfect church, what does your home church look like? Are they following some, all, or none of these? Are you in dialogue with your pastor about them? What does it/might it look like to meet every day and sell our possessions to share equitably? This is great. I’m glad I discovered your blog. You’re really making me think about these things. Thank you.

  • Seth,

    Good thoughts here, but I still have one critique. A church could meet all the above requirements and still be a homogenous group of xenophobes who adamantly oppose everything that is different from them. As we continue to pursue a Christ-centered model of a church, we must draw on the life of Christ himself, who actively sought the companionship of individuals that society had ostracized. Having said that, any church that fails to invite the “lepers of the 21st century” into their community and more importantly remains apathetic towards her or his needs can be no church at all. That is why the mega-church “New-Life model” is so detrimental to the healthy development of Christians, because if you are not a Republican-voting, moral conservative who is homophobic, that remains both apathetic and ignorant to your over-consuming tendencies, then you are not welcome to participate in their act of worship. Having said that, I am confident that Jesus Christ himself looks down upon us all and desires to see a community where James Dobson, Margaret Farley (Feminist Theologian and a Catholic Nun), a homosexual infected with AIDS, and (You fill in the blank) can sit together at the table of brotherhood, break bread, and authentically ask one another to share with the group her/his sad tale of life and everyone will empathetically mourn with the other person’s sorrow. And the only person not welcome at the table is he or she that comes with a heart of judgment and condemnation.

    “If the evangelical mega-church phenomenon were to end tomorrow, so too would Starbucks. One can only hope for such a divine intervention.”

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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