Acts Church Under Criticism

There are a number reasons people should quit saying, “We’re just going be like the Acts Church.”

  1. It sounds kind of self righteous, like you’ve figured something out that no one else gets.
  2. Acts is written in narrative genre.  That means the events recorded were descriptive more than proscriptive.  That’s not to say there isn’t a ton to learn from them, but it’s misusing the text to try to dig out the God ordained model for doing church.
  3. Most people trying to “like the Acts Church” turn legalistic on the structure and light on the mission.
  4. There’s a dozen or more churches mentioned in Acts, so which one are you talking about?  Just about every church mentioned in Acts has it’s issues that required a disciplinarian epistle written to them.   Unless you’re talking about Ephesus or Antioch, you’re probably talking about a church with documented problems. 
  5. Assuming people are primarily referencing the church of Jerusalem as their model, where do we get off ascribing them greatness? 
    • First off, do you think that Peter all of a sudden started getting it right, or was he just void of a bold critic to highlight his failures after Jesus’ departure?  We find that God called him out on his racism issues.  Still not letting it sink it, Paul takes him to task on the issue, twice.
    • Second, it looks like the church of Jerusalem peaked out after their first year or so.  Acts tells us the growth got out of control, then it stops telling us that they grew at all.  Luke shifts to spotlight to other churches.  Reason: churches outside Jerusalem were growing while she presumably remained stagnant.
    • When the persecution hits, everyone spreads out (which is good) except the apostle (which is bad).  “Apostle” means “sent one.”  Something is seriously wrong when the only ones that stay are the “sent ones.”  It seems they went through a season when setting councils to solidify doctrine was more important than the mission itself.

Let’s take the text the way it was intended, and the church for what it was: faithful at heart, failures in deed, and rescued by the Holy Spirit. Let’s take the text the way it was intended, and the church for what it was: faithful at heart, failures in deed, and rescued by the Holy Spirit.

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