“Suppose a newly planted first century congregation in Alexandria, Egypt wrote a letter to the apostles in Jerusalem.” So begins the first chapter of editor Steve Atkerson’s 2005 book, ekklesia: To the Root of Biblical House Church Life. He continues …
Imagine that this church consisted of Jewish believers who had heard the gospel on a visit to Jerusalem. Now that they were back home in Egypt, they didn’t quite know what to do next. So, in their letter to the apostles was a series of questions about church life:
Dear Apostles …
Why is it that we meet together as God’s people?
What should we do in our meetings?
How often should we meet?
Does it matter where we meet?
Should we build a temple like in Jerusalem or at least a synagogue building?
What type of church government should we have?
What should we look for in church leaders?
What is the purpose of the Lord’s Supper?
How often should we eat it? Annually, like Passover?
Should we eat the Lord’s Supper as a true meal or a token ritual?”
How do you suppose the twelve apostles would have answered their letter?
(ekklesia, page 11)
It is an intriguing question and an intriguing book, but it raised another question for me.
Does the fact that these questions are not asked in the New Testament and not completely answered in the New Testament tell us something of the latitude of forms that the Spirit of God intended to be possible over the course of nearly 2000 years and counting?
Should this make those in the attractional camp and those in the organic camp less critical of one another’s forms?