A few weeks ago I posted Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words about the ideal church. It doesn’t exist, it’s idolatrous to pursue it, and it’s an ultimately oppressive quest.
We were discussing the first generation church in class today and noting how Luke tells the story in Acts. He writes of the sharp dispute between the church leaders in Antioch and the visitors from Jerusalem in Acts 15, giving rise to the Jerusalem council.
We go on to read of the split between Paul and Barnabas over the inclusion of John Mark on the journey later in that same chapter.
And surely there were many Christian Jews (being misinformed about the nature of Paul’s ministry to the nations) among the group that tried to kill Paul in Acts 21-22. After all, he speaks of Jesus in his defense in v. 8 with no objection arising from his hostile audience. They only object and go after him when he speaks of Jesus sending him to the nations (v. 21).
These are just a few of the things to keep in mind if you ever hear someone complain that the church today isn’t like the early church in Acts.
Well, if you’ve got arguments in your church, splits and factions, and perhaps even some folks who have tried to kill one of your leaders, then your church is an awful lot like the early church in Acts!