The church I know here in America is NOTHING like the church of ACTS.
Honestly, this has bothered me for quite some time now, yet even as we were reading the book and I was pointing out the differences between the early church and today, no one had an answer for me. Most of us agreed that things were different, but no one seemed inclined to try to change anything.
Let me give you a list of differences
For expediency's sake, I'll use these acronyms.
MWC = Modern Western Church
AC = ACTS Church
- MWC meets in an auditorium style building, AC met in homes
- MWC has a "worship" team, band, or organ on stage, AC Christians didn't. They sang together and worshiped in small groups. True worship is not entertainment or even singing. It's a matter of the heart. (I have nothing against worship music, by the way.)
- MWC has one or two pastors who deliver the message each week. AC alternated between those gifted with teaching or those who had a word from the Lord, or a prophecy, etc.
- MWC celebrates communion with little wafers and sips of juice. AC celebrated communion with a meal
- MWC celebrates pagan holidays of Christmas and Easter. AC had no such holidays or they celebrated Jewish holidays. We gentiles are grafted into the Jewish tree and would benefit greatly if we celebrated the Lord's anointed feast days as they all point to Jesus.
- MWC sends missionaries to other lands. AC were the missionaries
- MWC separates kids from parents during service. AC had families worship together
- MWC typically doesn't create disciples. You can't do so with a general Sunday sermon. AC was all about discipleship, day to day living and struggling and learning to walk with Christ side by side with other believers.
- MWC is very seeker-friendly oriented. AC was more about maturing the Christians it had
- A good part of MWC's collected offerings goes to paying staff, building, and other expenses. All of AC's offering went to help other Christians in need
- MWC's service is highly structured and scheduled. AC's service was led by the Holy Spirit
- In the MWC, many people don't know each other. In the AC, everyone was intimately acquainted, Why? Because they met in homes and everyone had a chance to share.
- MWC has altar calls. AC had no altar and no calls
- MWC experiences very little if any miracles. Signs and wonders were commonplace in the AC.
Before you leave a nasty post, I'm not against church. I'm not against attending church. Lord knows, churches had done a great deal of good in our world. Many churches are run by very Godly men who love the Lord and want to save souls. Many churches have sent missionaries to various places who have brought the Gospel to those who desperately need to hear it.
Yet, the western church is on the decline. People, esp young people, are leaving it in droves. Why? In my opinion it is because we have strayed too far from God's early church. We have created a church that is, for the most part, lukewarm and powerless, a church that produces only lukewarm Christians who put in their time on Sunday and then live for themselves the rest of the week. Our Western Church doesn't create true disciples. Most pastors don't deal with important issues such as demons, battling the enemy, hell, heaven, consequences of sin because they don't want to lose people. We read about miracles performed by Jesus and His early followers, but we see no evidence of it today. Young people see all this as hypocritical and powerless, so they leave to seek something else with meaning.
Whenever the early disciples preached the Gospel, God proved its validity by doing miracles through their hands.
So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. Acts 14:3
For a good description of how church should be, read 1 Corinthians 12-14. God gave EACH of us special gifts to be used to build up other Christians. It is not possible to use these gifts in an auditorium style setting. Only the pastor and the musicians get to use their gifts during the service. But in a home group setting, each of us has an opportunity to use our gifts. Do you even know what your gift is? Most Christians have no idea. That's because we aren't taught about the gifts nor are we put in an environment where we can practice them and use them.