It is easy to talk about New Testament church life. It is much harder to practice it

by Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church blog

This morning, I was minding my own business when I ran across a new post by Dave Black. Once again, in a few sentences, he directly expresses something that I’ve been trying to express for months – maybe years.

In my previous post, I wrote that life in Christ together as the church is not about being perfect. Instead, it’s about continually changing and maturing as we seek Christ together. Dave’s post is a great example of this:

Aren’t you amazed by the book of Acts? I am. Its principles for Christian ministry and church structure are so radically different from what is taught and practiced in so many of our churches today. (Can you really see Peter and his wife on a rooftop promoting their new book on sex?) Here’s the problem. It is easy to talk about New Testament church life. It is much harder to practice it. I am very grateful for pastors at Bethel Hill who have taught us the major themes of Acts, including biblical eldership. It gives me renewed hope that things can actually change. So what if we fail? It’s better to try and fail than to sit around and do nothing. Acts has so much to say about church planting, missions, evangelism, church polity, and so much more. No book is more relevant for our times. But with knowledge comes responsibility. Obedience to Christ must be wholehearted. Jesus cannot work through disobedient disciples. If we want to see a genuine Great Commission resurgence in our day, we must get serious about obeying our risen Lord. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we sin either by commission or omission and are not quick to repent. The first Christians sought not only to understand as much as they could the “apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42) but to obey it, whatever the cost. If they were here today, I imagine they would be watching Bethel Hill Baptist Church very closely. They would tell us not to be afraid of the Holy Spirit, of His sensitive touch, of His guidance and power, of His desire to empower the church so that we might believe and obey. Their example stands like a lighthouse to us in our drifting. They would remind us that obedience is not a luxury. It is a top priority if a church is to grow and prosper.

Will you agree with everything they are doing? Probably not. But, hopefully, you can be excited, like me, that they are seeking to follow their Lord, even when it means changing their practices. (I’d prefer they seek to follow Jesus than to follow anything that you or I might say, right?)

In fact, the point here is not about agreeing with the changes they are making even. I don’t even know what those changes are. But, it’s exciting whenever any group of believers recognizes that they are not perfect and that there is room to grow closer to patterns and practices that we see described in the New Testament.

Like I wrote at the end of my previous post: “There are no perfect churches. But, there should be no static churches either.”

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