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Friday, August 31, 2007

Roci has a blog with musings and questions. I should like to discuss the issues raised over there, over here. I shall interpolate my comments in blue. These are in no way exhaustive. They are merely to pint a direction of thought.

Answers to Rocinante's "12 Problems with 'Churchianity' "

The modern Christian Church is a neon lit shadow of its former glory. As I examine the modern church and my own needs for it, I am confronted by its total inadequacy for the role assigned to it by Jesus, its founder.

Nice imagery, there. Reminds me of the enormous neon crosses along the interstate advertising the presence of enormous independent Baptist churches. We share concern for the Whole State of Christ's Church.

1. I can find no Biblical support for obligatory weekly attendance at a particular church.

There are two essential ways that the Scriptures establish authority for a practice. First is by Command: thou Shalt, thou Shalt Not.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (Matthew 28:18-20)
We have Jesus telling his followers what to do to upon His departure. More detailed instructions are recorded by Luke. The second is by Example.
7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. (Acts 20:7 NKJV) Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:19 NKJV) Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also. On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. (1 Cor.16:1-2)
The saints from the very beginning met on the first day of the week (Sunday) As the Apostles were given the authority to bind and loose, their example is potent.They met to break bread (sharing in the Lord's Supper, detailed in 1 Cor.11) and at least in special instances, to take collections for needy saints.

The need for fellowship with brothers and sisters, sharing Communion, and meeting needs is expressed by apostolic example. The early church did so on the first day of the week. It is in no way the Sabbath, as that was fulfilled in Christ's Sacrifice. This is a New Day for the New Covenant.

2. I can find no Biblical standard for what constitutes a church attendance. Why there is singing of certain types in certain places, a collection, Sunday school, a sermon and an altar call. Since there is no common standard, then anything can rightfully qualify as church attendance.

I assume here that you refer to "order of worship". More on this later.

3. The concept of driving over 5 miles to attend any worship service appears on its face to be contradictory to the commandment to rest on one day in seven. Or perhaps Saturday is intended to be the Christian day of rest while Sunday is devoted to the maintenance of the church and its programs. In the modern world, it no longer appears to even be possible to keep the Sabbath. I blame the Christian Church for killing it.

The modern church love affair with the Ten Commandments is borne of Biblical doctrinal illiteracy, with a healthy dose of political posturing. Acts15 makes VERY clear the apostolic take of binding Mosaic Law on (Gentile) believers. There are four "requirements" outside of the Acts 2 Keys of the Kingdom.

24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law”—to whom we gave no such commandment— 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.


Sabbath-keeping is nowhere to be found in this Holy Spirit inspired apostolic command to the Gentile church.

4. I cannot find any Biblical context or historic tradition of the church to support the concept of driving by 35 churches to get to church number 36.

There isn't any. The multiplicity of congregations is NOT a positive comment upon American spirituality.Rather, it is symptomatic of what Paul rebuked the Corinthians for:

10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you...
To my understanding, there was ONE church per city (To the angel of the church of Sardis write...).

5. The building, wherein the modern church meets, is not a biblically required element of a church.

No argument. The architecture-centric nature of the church today is troubling, and stems from the need to support extra-biblical practices and programs. The (apparent) NT model is an existing central meeting place -whether riverside, meeting hall, synagogue, temple porch- with additional meeting occurring house-to-house througjhout the week. The Jerusalem church of Acts 2 behaved thusly:

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Their meeting from house-to-house was apparently not a program established by Peter and Co., rather their excitement and joy caused them to want to be together regularly to share the good things of God.

NEXT: points 6-12

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