Monday, August 15, 2016

What the book of Acts says about modern church

My home Bible Study group just completed the book of ACTS.  This is not the first timE I've read ACTS and it won't be the last, but if you were to ask me what was the main thing I learned from it, I would have to say

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.



  1. Very interesting to see the differences between MWC & AC. I love my church and am blessed to have a pastor preach unapologetically about the very things you listed, but I also realize we do many things because 'it's just the way it's always been done'. When Jesus walked this earth He upset the religious leader's ideas of what was the correct way to worship. I think if Jesus walked into our churches today, He would do the same. Thank you for always sharing your thoughts and insights. Whether we agree or disagree you always give us something to think about.

    1. You are truly blessed, Amy, to belong to such a good church.:-)

  2. I am an Apotolic Pentecostal. We teach and preach what the Apostles did. We have church just like the book of Acts. Acts 2:38 says- Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. People want to say that receiving the Holy Ghost died out with the apostles. But verse 39 says, For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. If God is still calling, then the Holy Ghost is still being poured out, and it still for us today. It's going to take the power of the Holy Ghost to change our world in which we live. Acts 1:8- But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. The book of Acts is more than just a good read. Put it into action! ��

  3. Great post. I definitely prefer the AC version of church. Man, I wish we lived closer together, so that we could attend Bible Study together. I love the intimate setting, where everybody has a voice. My gifts are teaching and prayer...thankfully, I was able to use those gifts for over 20 years....and I still use my prayer gift daily. Thanks for posting this, it really helps seeing a list of the differences.

    1. Me too, Chappy!! Wouldn't that be wonderful? We could start our own home church. I'd love that. Yes, teaching and prayer,..definitely your gifts. :-)

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  5. Powerful post. This is my heart for churches today, that they would break out of the box they have confined themselves to and return to becoming the church of Acts. We were meant to walk in power, and signs and wonders still follow the Gospel where it's preached in its fullness!

    1. Yes! I completely agree! So many times it says in ACTS that signs and wonders were given along with the preaching of the Word and many people got saved in the process. It's so good to know I'm not alone in my thinking. Thank you, Jasmine.

  6. Fabulous post and you have put into words many of the issues I have with churches today. I still go to the church I grew up in and it is a very old style conservative church. I know many people don't want to go to our church because it is not about "entertainment" and we have no band. We do many of the AC church things you listed. Don't get me wrong, I am in no way saying our church is THE church. I am only saying I love my church and the fact it isn't conforming to today's culture's definition of a church. Can you imagine the sights and wonders we could behold if we worshiped as they did?

  7. Amen, MaryLu - growing up in a conservative Protestant church, my views were drastically changed - for the better - after attending a non-denominational charismatic church for 11 years. It encouraged a longing for a church even more aligned with that of the true AC church of which you speak. I enjoyed reading your list of the differences between the 2 churches, so glad you're involved in a home Bible Study group and wish I could attend it with you!!

    Love, prayers, and hugs!!

  8. The decline of the modern church is due to the fact that it has become a people-pleaser instead of God-honoring. When you compromise with the world's views, you cannot remain in good standing with God. People need to get back to the Head of the Church- our Lord Jesus Christ and His unfaillable Word, the Bible. Until we do that, the church will continue to go deeper into apostasy.
    Great post, Marylu!:) Btw, I wish I could attend a Bible study with you! *hugs*

  9. Thank you for listing the differences. As many times as I have read Acts, it is great to have the comparisons front and center. I so desire to be like the Acts Church.