The Normative Early Church

Via Jollyblogger, an interesting post from Deeper Thoughts. The thrust of Deeper Thoughts’ post is that it’s very difficult to look to the early church as proof that the church ought to be this way or that, since it’s clear from the New Testament that many of the earliest churches had fallen into serious error even within the lifetimes of the Apostles.

From Deeper Thoughts:

There is very little in the primitive Church in Corinth that we might want in our modern congregations. Similarly the “foolish Galatians” don’t provide much in the way of example. There was the perennial problem of “Judaizers” seeking to impose a Jewish identification on the church and there certainly must have been entire congregations which reflected those ideas in their central character. Of the churches listed in Rev. 2-3 several were seriously in error.

Without getting into all of the rest of Deeper Thoughts’ analyses, which are interesting, it’s clear that we ought to be very careful about throwing around any period of history as normative for the church, and this includes the very earliest periods available to us. Tradition has value, but there is no shortcut to doing the work of finding out what the Bible really says, and sticking with it.

Warning- the linked posts contain statements by NT Wright which I agree with. If you find this disturbing, close your browser now, call your ISP and cancel your internet connection.

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