When the Church Was a Family, part 4

Consider our fixation upon Jesus as personal Savior, so central to the evangelistic strategies of the previous generation. Such privatization of the Christian faith turns out to be little more than a regrettable accommodation to a pagan culture’s unbiblical obsession with individual determinism and personal subjective experience.

Four New Testament family values will serve as our roadmap:

1. We share our stuff with one another.
2. We share our hearts with one another.
3. We stay, embrace the pain, and grow up with one another
4. Family is about more than me, the wife, and the kids.

The common practice of running from church to church is rather silly when viewed in light of New Testament relational priorities. I am not suggesting that there is never a legitimate reason for leaving a local church, but I find it rather striking that neither in the midst of the Galatian heresy nor in the context of divisiveness and immorality at Corinth did Paul instruct his readers to leave the community in order to find a healthier group of brothers and sisters. Instead, he challenged them to stick it out and partner with God to make things better.

The concept of the church as a surrogate family of brothers and sisters in Christ has great potential to ameliorate the emotional angst associated with individual decision making and to assist God’s people in making wise and lasting decisions when we arrive at the key crossroads of life.

The concept of the church as a surrogate family of brothers and sisters in Christ has great potential to ameliorate the emotional angst associated with individual decision making and to assist God’s people in making wise and lasting decisions when we arrive at the key crossroads of life.

Given our cultural environment, it is only to be expected that much of our contemporary worship music continues to be produced by people who are quite unaware of the influence of Western individualism on their work. The result is a multitude of wonderful songs that reflect on our personal relationship with Jesus but tend to ignore the connection between God and His people as a group.

As the pastor-teachers of God’s family, we must lovingly immerse our people in the eternal truth that the Christian faith is preeminently a community endeavor to partner with God to further His kingdom program. And we must teach our people how to live as brothers and sisters in community together.

We are all quite aware that Sunday attenders generally do not become spiritually formed disciples of Jesus.

If we want to return to the world of New Testament Christianity, the relational environments in our churches must take precedence over our larger weekly gatherings.

When the Church Was a Family: Recapturing Jesus’ Vision for Authentic Christian Community – Hellerman

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