What Does Real Christianity Look Like ?
Does the church today look anything like it did when it was founded? If you are blatantly honest, the answer is no. Two thousand yeas of history has a way of changing things. If you use today's church as a model for Christianity, you really can't explain some of the things that are written in scripture. If you try to implement the Biblical teachings about the church into your existing church, you create a tremendous schism in the body. So, my question is "should we start over". Even new churches use the old model and it doesn't work - with scripture that is. If you take scripture literally, as I do; you will have to struggle hard to explain what is written in the Bible and reconsile it with the modern system. I think starting over is a great idea. It may just be an impossibilty for some people to get their mind around what that means. If the changes are too drastic, no organization would survive it. Maybe that is because the church was never intended to be an organization. Remember this, the church started as a movement called "the way"; a simple house to house fellowship gone wild. It took 2000 years to morph it into the confusion we have today. If we all started living our ministries in our homes according to scripture, and then shared that with others around us, would we really need all the paraphenalia that makes up an orginizational church? Obviously not. But many are not willing to take that risk or follow such a drastic change. Yet, that kind of willingness to be like Christ is really the heart and soul of early christianity. Well, I guess it goes without saying. If you can't get with the real macoy, you deserve to have a stuffy religious organization as a substitute. I am not trying to destroy the church; I am trying desperately to reform it so that people understand the freedom they have in Christ. I just see no way to reform from the inside because tradition is so engrained in the minds of people the they cannot function without their organization. It seems that people believe that their traditions are necessary to please God. Is this not the very thing which caused the conflicts that sent Jesus to the cross. I only wish Christians could get a real awakening of what God really expects of them. In my mind the truest analogy of what has happened to the church is identical to the analogy of politics. Our nation which started as a simple republic, has morphed in to a huge government system of control. Politicians are not trusted and are inneffective, just like the church. The church is now a political organization. So as I said to start, maybe we just need to start over.
For further reading, go to my newly revised "Purpose" page on the main menu.
Some pastors have informed me that it is impossible to live our lives as the early believers did? Is that true? I would say yes and no. It depends on what you mean. I would say if your goal is to imitate the lifestyle of the early believers, it would be impossible in our post-modern culture. Walking everywhere might work in a small town, but never in Busy-America. But if your goal is to have the attitude of the early believers, well that is altogether a different matter.
You see, our physical imitation of their lifestyle is not nearly as important as our heart attitude. Jesus was big on matters of the heart. We could make some changes to our lifestyle which would lead us to a greater understanding of scripture - say giving up TV, as I have done, which by the way gives me a lot more time for spiritual matters. But, a change in attitude, where we seek humility rather than pride or self indulgence or worry, would make a tremendous change in our spiritual lives.
Lets try appreciating what we have, instead of wanting more. Or giving away instead of buying more. If our mindsets are focused in on the attitudes carried by Jesus and the disciples as described in the Bible, we could see the post-modern culture in a whole new light. I can't dress like Jesus, but I could certainly focus on spiritual things and teach others to do the same. By re-examining everything I do in light of His peaceful and loving character, I could transform my whole world and the lives of those around me.
So I challenge pastors not to give up on relating to the early believers just because our crazy world makes it hard. Striving to have the attitude of Jesus is the real heart of the matter, and attitude is the real thing that we must focus in on if we want to be like Him.