those crazy early Christians….

August 23, 2005 § 5 Comments

I love David Bercot. I haven’t yet met him, but he’s good friends with my pastor, so it is likely that I eventually will.

He has made a quite in-depth study of the early Christians; most specifically the Christians of the first and second centuries, but going up to the Council of Nicea. I love learning about their writings and how they lived their lives, and understood scripture.

Men like Polycarp– who was discipled by the Apostle John himself, and Irenaeus who was discipled by Polycarp.

These are the men who knew what they were talking about. They didn’t have to go to seminary– they lived it. And they could go to the horse’s mouth for clarification (or they were within a generation or two of those who could.)

Overwhelmingly, they show a much more literal interpretation of scripture than we see today. And they also had a vastly different attitude about everything. So much more grace and love, even when denouncing that which was evil. They had a much lower tolerance for heresy (and the heresies they fought so ardently in their day have become accepted doctrine from many pulpits today) and the faith stayed true and pure from the Apostles’ teaching through the first couple of centuries.

And they were so refreshingly silent where Scripture is silent. They didn’t have reams of doctrine and theology about the Rapture and the Millenium and so forth. On whatever topic they had an opinion, it was always exactly whatever was written, and nothing more. They didn’t feel it was necessary to add a lot of superflous trimmings. That came later.

I wish everyone could get back to such a simple, deep faith. One in which we truly live and work out our salvation, side-by-side as the brothers and sisters that He has commanded us to be. All these denominational walls and traditions of men, and the false doctrine that has seeped in and twisted our faith… It’s wrong wrong wrong. And it’s no wonder the world thinks we are a joke.

We’re supposed to be known by our love for one another, but we’re too busy being hypocrites and back-biting amongst ourselves, and not even knowing what it is we are called to.

We’re supposed to be a holy nation, a separate people who take care of one another. Where everyone knows the love of God because we love one another so supernaturally. Where we are led by His Spirit in all we do, where there are no poor in our midst, because we have all things in common. Where those who are single among us never feel lonely, because they are taught (and shown) that their singleness is a treasure, and that consecrated celibacy is just as viable and valid an option as getting married.

If only we could come together and embrace all the scripture, and all of God’s promises– remembering that for each promise, there is a command. To obey His commands with reckless abandon, loving and striving and living faithfully, bearing one another’s burdens, exhorting and encouraging one another, not being afraid to be in one anothers’ faces about sin in our lives. If only we could have that commitment to one another and to our Saviour, that He is our Head, and we are His Body, then maybe we could begin to live at that level of power and anointing that is described not only in Scripture, but also in the writings of the Christians who followed after. I long to see a true release of the captives, breaking down the spritual stronholds in people’s lives, to see people who not only hear the Lord, but do what He says.

I want to see His Body restored. I want to see us as One, as He and the Father and Spirit are One.

Is that really too much to ask?


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§ 5 Responses to those crazy early Christians….

  • koinegeek says:

    Well put Dawn!!
    As you could imagine, I’m also one to try to restore the faith of the first and second century Christians (or at least the pre-Constantine ones). Strangely, I feel that the widespread/imperial acceptance of Christianity was a two-edged sword. It caused Christianity to spread far and wide, but I think the dark forces also used the opportunity for the message to be diluted.
    I too would like to see all Christians united, throwing off the chains of man-made divisions. Though, as the first and second centuries, this unity will come at the price of persecution. I, for one, don’t think that will be a bad thing. A hard thing, yes. But it will be force the sifting of those who hold onto a half-faith and refine those who are completely convinced of Christ.

  • welshwolf says:

    This is the attitude that has drawn me to Celtic Christianity, which emphasised the Scriptures and eschewed the things of Man. I, too would like to see Christianity restored to those more “innocent” times.

  • DT says:

    Amen, brother! Couldn’t have put it better myself. Constantine did the church a real diservice by marrying us to the state– though it’s not 100% Constantine’s fault– the church leaders and bishops of the day let him. bleh. We’ve also got Augustine to thank/blame for the current state of things. Re-writing the faith was quite a feat.
    Persecution will invariably come when we are living our lives as Chirst has called us. The world will just not be able to accept that. And you are right– it will only strengthen true faith, and weed out the posers. And God’s kingdom will spread.
    The blood of the martyrs is seed… Tertullian

  • DT says:

    Well, my brother, unless the Lord builds the house… But I feel that this is what believers are being called to around the world. It is up to us to come together, in submission to Christ and love for one another. We can see it done in our time! Maranatha, Lord Jesus!

  • welshwolf says:

    As you said, let’s build that house and put right on the front door, Cead mile Failte (100,000 Welcomes).
    Christ in the Stranger’s Guise
    A Scottish Hospitality Prayer
    “I met a stranger yest’re’een;
    I put food in the eating place,
    Drink in the drinking place,
    Music in the listening place;
    And, in the sacred name of the Triune,
    He blessed myself and my house.
    My cattle and my dear ones,
    And the lark said in her song,
    Often, often, often,
    Goes the Christ in the stanger’s guise;
    Often, often, often,
    Goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise”.
    Let’s be that welcoming, grace-filled, loving church. Be separated but not so righteous that the world isn’t welcome. After all, according to my ancestors, one should always be hospitable. You never know if that stranger you invited into your home from out of the cold Irish night for a hearty meal and some friendly conversation was Jesus in disguise.

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