Early Church

The False Promises of the Early Church

The False Promises of the Early Church

Make no mistake: the early church was glorious! She was glorious like a child is glorious. She was but a babe. She breathed, moved, and had her being in God. She was a nursing infant. She had to trust in God from the beginning. But it has become almost a common practice to look to the early church as some paragon of perfection. “If only we could go back!’ The nostalgic sentiments echo through the corridors of sentimentalists. The truth is the early church was a relatively unstable body. Paul strives to offer detailed instructions. Sometimes these instructions are simple: love one another. Sometimes Paul bombards them with rebuke, as in I Corinthians. But if the early church was such a model, why then did Paul chastise and treat them as little children again and again? The answer couldn’t be simpler: because the early church was never meant to be an example to be followed in all ages. She was meant to be a foundational model. She was meant to give us the essential ingredients of life together (Acts 2:42), but not a detailed account for how the 21st century church ought to function.

James Montgomery Boice summarized well this sentiment:

Whole denominations are founded upon the idea that the prime duty of contemporary Christians is to be as much like those who lived in the age of the apostles as possible. But this is a false idealization; it is an attempt to make the early church into something it never was. It is an attempt to escape the problems of our day by looking back to something that exists only in the Christian imagination. a

This prevailing idea opposes strongly the maturational intention of biblical revelation. We were not meant to remain infants, but to grow into mature men, as Paul says. To be sure, Acts provides helpful themes of charity, mercy, communion, and more, but she was a seed, not the tree itself. The tree itself is what God is accomplishing through all ages: to form one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. The Spirit of God, who has hovered over the church throughout the ages, continues to hover even today bringing the Church to greater glory and might; strengthening and building her to be that indestructible rock that will shatter the heads of the enemies.

We are not called to put faith in the Church of the past, but in the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, who reigns over his Church now, world without end, Amen.

  1. An Expositional Commentary, Boice, 56  (back)

Exhortation to Worship: The Trinity and Meaning

We have come a long way from those early centuries of the Church. Our society no doubt has fallen for the pluralistic trap. Those things which the Church fought so hard to maintain are things that the churches fear to talk about today. This is Trinity Sunday, so we are discussing a subject that is rarely talked about in churches across this country, unless it is in the context of arguing against a cultist at your front door. Even then, most people, to quote Flannery O’Connor find the Trinity so incomprehensible that it is not worth their time. But in a few moments when I call you to rise and worship God in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Spirit, you will realize that the Trinity extends to you an invitation that is not incomprehensible to you. It is actually the only thing that makes sense.

The right question is not only what is the Trinity, but who is the Trinity. The Trinity is not just something to be explained, but someone to be adored. And when this Tri-unity calls us into worship, we are not being called by an abstract Being, but by a Personal God who reveals Himself in Father, Son, and Spirit.

On this Trinity Sunday, we are considering what it means to move, live, and have our Being in God himself. We are Trinitarians, and everything about being a Trinitarian matters to us this morning.

No matter what direction our society might take us, no matter how many gods they may offer us, we know that there is no other God, but the God revealed in the Scriptures: Father, Son, and Spirit. Apart from this God, our existence and our worship are meaningless. The Trinity is the only way the world contains any meaning, because the Trinity created the world with meaning, and to deny the Godhead is to deny meaning.

This is the God we worship; the God who gave our lives meaning, and the One who calls us into His presence on this Lord’s Day.

Punished by the Tongue

The Devil, because he had deceived Eve with his tongue, is punished by the tongue, that he might not speak.” –Bede