Friday, June 02, 2006

Christian Community

I reckon the early church had a real Christian community, an environment in which people could live strong Christian lives. The more these Christian communities grow, the greater the effect they have upon society. I learned that the followings are some of the reasons of their success:

(1) Mobility of the church
(2) Use of new words or metaphors
(3) The Contextuality of the Church
(4) Faith in the Holy Spirit
(5) Focus on unity
(6) Fivefold ministry
(7) The importance of discipleship and training in ministry

What do you think?

16 comments:

Kc said...

I would like to know more about item 2 when you have time. That seems relevant. ;-)

Corry said...

I think no. 5 is the "corner-stone". Without that, the others would be meaningless.

Have a great and blessed weekend, dear sis:-)

God's Grace.

Nunzia said...

i think with the blogosphere, the community is very mobile. how awesome that you can fellowship from the privacy of your own home with people miles and miles and sometimes even worlds away!

audrey` said...

True agape love was really practised by the early Christian communities, especially those who were from tiny, dispersed villages. They really needed each other and God's help.

Shalom dear sis :)

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

It is really great that you are dealing with these issues of the Christian community. They can be so neglected.

The early church still maintained the original unity that was essential to its testimony as the body of Christ. Those who were saved were part of the visible Church of God on earth.

This unity was entirely lost after the deaths of the apostles.

We cannot return to that condition, because we cannot recover what was essentially a work of God. We have neither the power nor the authority to rebuild the Church of God.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

Kitty Cheng said...

Kc, the idea of item 2 about the use of new words or metaphors came from Paul. Some of the examples include his correlation of mixed images of the church as the restored house, temple and building of God with metaphors centering on the cultivation of growth and the continuing work of God with his people (Rom 14:19-20). Paul developed new words and metaphors to communicate the gospel. He described himself in a variety of ways: Judean by birth, born of the tribe of Benjamin, seed of Abraham, apostle to the gentiles, in Christ. Yet other aspects of his identity were more important and also less flexible. For example, his "in-Christness" (which he shared with gentiles) and his birth as a Judean (which he did not share with gentiles. These are just some examples.

So why do you think it's relevant?

Kitty Cheng said...

Corry, I agree with you. Have a blessed week :)

Kitty Cheng said...

Nunzia, I praise God for blogosphere too. I am blessed by this mobile community very much :)

Kitty Cheng said...

Audrey, I long for true agape love in our day and age as well. As we still need each other and God's help. Shalom to you too :)

Kitty Cheng said...

Matthew, so what is your idea Christian community?

Are you suggesting that the unity that was lost after the apostolic period will not be recovered again at all?

With God, 'all things are possible' though

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Essentially the Christian community needs to be grounded in the truth of the body of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We need to meet on the basis of those principles, not the principles of a particular denomination.

With God all things are possible. However, God always acts according to His own principles. God never restores what is fallen, but rather introduces something new. The Bible warned of apostasy, but provides no promise of restoration.

The church has failed to maintain its testimony and will be judged. We need to look to Christ's coming, rather than hope for God to revive and restore the Church.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

Kitty Cheng said...

Matthew, Scripture and the Word of God is the ultimate authority, so I agree that grounding in the truth, rather than the principles of a particular denomination is necessary.

Kc said...

Sorry for being so slow to respond but my PC went walk-about (hehe).

It seems that in item 2 you mean that we should be willing to communicate using language that is understood by the hearer and in that we fully agree. When I read "new" words I had the image of another dialect of Christianese and there's already quite a bit of that occuring.

Kitty Cheng said...

Kc, how did your PC go walk-about hehe? Good to have you back though ;)

Yes I believe it is very important for us to communicate the gospel using words / metaphors that are relevant, and can be understood by the hearer.

Paul developed a number of new words and metaphors that have to do with relationship in order to communicate what his experience of conversion was all about. He used different language in different contexts to connect with different people. Some of the words developed include “forgive / forgiveness”, “cleanse/wash”, “redeemed”, “justification, reconciliation, liberation” and “Jesus is Lord” etc.

Hey what do you mean by "another dialect of Christianese" by the way?

Kc said...

Here's Wikipedia's take on Christianese.

Sis about those words you listed that Paul used, weren't those common words that were well understood that he used to relate the Gospel?

Kitty Cheng said...

Kc, thanks for introducing me to the word 'Christianese.'

I think Paul used those words in various contexts according to the different hearers. For example, the word "liberation" was used in a context where people didn't have much freedom, and "Jesus is Lord" was particularly to indicate that Caesar was not the Lord, Jesus was. That is my understanding.