Are you a cessationist or a continualist? Dave Black wants to know.
- I believe we ought to continue the pattern of simple, radical, life-style evangelism begun in the book of Acts. After all, it worked for the early church.
- I believe we ought to continue bearing a humble, faithful, and consistent testimony to Christ, as the early believers did. Let moderns appeal to the sensational and spectacular; even the early church knew of signs and wonders. But the greatest work of the church has not been the spectacular but rather the faithful day-in and day-out living of normal everyday Christians.
- I believe we ought to continue the pattern of church discipline as practiced by the early church and call out “play Christians” that only go through the motions thinking they are Christians but unaware they are only pretending. When the secular press begins to mock our inflated membership statistics, isn’t it time we did something about it?
- I believe we ought to get out of our cozy churches and put Christ on display in the world’s darkness where we are needed. For the early Christians, the field was the world, and the corn of wheat had to die if it was to please God and bear fruit. Why, then, do we sit around debating theological puzzles when we ought to plant our lives in the ugly soil of the world?
- I believe we ought to continue the emphasis of the New Testament upon every-member ministry, since we are all priests – every one of us – of the Most High God. No church in the New Testament had a single pastor who did all the work. If you have such a leader in your church, fire him – and then hire him back immediately as your CEO, “Chief Equipping Officer” (Eph. 4:12).
- I believe we ought to continue the early church’s rejection of blind patriotism. The only Christian nation the Bible knows is the blood-bought, born-again purchased people of God.
- I believe we ought to follow the example of the apostle Paul and eschew the excellence of human oratory and any appeal to human wisdom. Nothing about the Gospel pleases this world – nothing! – and we are never so foolish as when we try to dress it up in the garish garments of this age.
- I believe we ought to continue the example of the early church and reject position and power as the measuring sticks of success. Why should we seek prominent seats in the kingdom when our Lord promised us not seats but suffering? Obedience cost John the Baptist his head and Jonathan Edwards his pulpit. What has it cost us?
Dave has a pretty good list going here. I would add one more to the list, and that is we need to continue being a church who believes in and practices radical expectant prayer.
I was talking to (I’m always talking to someone) a young bloke at our community BBQ yesterday morning about the place of the church in the community and he said something profound.
“The church scratches our back, so we will scratch its back!”
He and his family are not church goers in the normal sense of the term churchgoer. Like many others in the area, he has had his share of heart ache and pain. Apart from the normal face of bravado which is a needed survival tool in the area, there are few pretence’s. If they don’t like you, they will tell you. If they do like you; they probably wont tell you to your face, but will step in and tell others to back off and leave you be. These guys are survivors. Society see’s them as school dropouts. I see them as young men struggling with identity and extremely painful experiences of life. Abuse. Broken families. Addictions. Violence. Anger. Put downs.
But after four years of connection, they consider the church their own. They can’t tell you the nuances of how many angels can fit on a pin head. They don’t know the history of the reformation. They don’t know what a Calvinist, Methodist, or Anglican is. Many of them can’t read at all, yet alone know the Scriptures. But, they do know the power of love. They are responding to the power of love. Practical love. Care and concern.
And yesterday I was so proud of the young men / youths who eagerly helped set up and pack up the equipment. Without being asked they packed the tables and BBQ away. And while society may look down on them with disdain: I know our heavenly father is watching them with a twinkle in his eyes, laughing and saying.. There goes my boys.. for I am for them and not against them.