Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How Christians Conquered Rome

Illustration by Judith Clingan
"The Christianity that conquered the Roman Empire was essentially a home-centered movement."[1]

"When the Greeks got the gospel, they turned it into a philosophy; when the Romans got it, they turned it into a government; when the Europeans got it, they turned it into a culture; and when the Americans got it, they turned it into a business."[2]

One glaring difference between the original church that we claim to have restored and ourselves is that the first, second, third and even fourth century Christians did not meet in public buildings as we do. They met in homes for the first 275 years. That's longer than the United States has existed as a nation.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Great Apostasy and The Institutional Church

Ilustration by Judith Clingan
It is difficult to get someone to see behavioral error when s/he makes a living from it--beer truck drivers, exploitative financiers, preachers, or one whose name shares a spot on the dotted line of a multi-million dollar note at the bank. I am not condemning anyone or coming from a right/wrong mentality. My approach is from an if-then/ consequences viewpoint (John 8:31-32). As long as we accept the institutional church premise and refuse to recognize that the church went from a functioning, living body of Jesus on earth which met in private homes for 275 years, to a position-minded, institutional organization which functions like the state (Mark 10:42-45), then we will spend most of our time debating matters on a premise that is too narrow to notice the big picture. We will also be unable to recognize our own errors.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It Shall Not Be So Among You

About five years ago, a controversy in the church caused me to question how some Christians were treating other Christians.[1] Unable to reconcile what I was seeing with the way I thought the church was to function, I studied the difference between "the flesh and the spirit" in Galatians 5:19-22. I also began to study church history noticing the hierarchy Paul warned would develop in Acts 20:30.