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July 15, 2016


I see a big difference between the nature and design of the first century church and the church today. In the early church there were no institutional business like denominations. In fact Paul said it is a mark of carnal mindedness when we say we are of any particular persuasion other than Christ. The church was where two or more met in Jesus' name.

It was also rare for unbelievers to be in attendance. Paul said "if" and unbeliever happens to be in a meeting ..... and so on. Apologetics was no doubt a huge part of each assembly. During those days the church was for teaching and the street for preaching.

Today a person can spend their entire life in evangelistic services and still not be able to recite the Ten Commandments or name the Apostles.


We really don't know that much about the "early church".

Mix of believers and unbelievers? Unknown.

Order of worship? Unknown.

"Teaching" and "Preaching" mix in their assembly? Unknown.

We do know that theological disputes had already begun in the first century church. Paul and Peter had disputes.

I do agree with what I think you are saying about 'evangelistic services". Heavy on the pressure to "make a decision". Very little on growing as a Christian after that decision is made.

I agree that apologetics should be a larger part of what the Church teaches. The danger is that much of what passes for apologetics in current Church culture is nonsense.

Young earth crazy talk.
Anti evolution straw men.
End times paranoia.
Biblioidolitry. (I know. Made that word up. You know what it means.)
James White, TGC, and their ilk.

GH5; "We really don't know that much about the "early church"

Actually there is quite a bit on the early church I've read.

Also Paul cautioned about speaking in tongues in the assembly in case an unbeliever or unlearned might happen by. Believers were the norm, unbelievers the exception.

The entire Body ministered as a royal priesthood according to their gifts. And there was no distinction between clergy a laity as there is today.

Also, Paul said Denominations are a sign of immaturity and carnal mindedness.There were no visible institutional churches with hierarchical forms of government as there are today.

It's all there concealed in books.

For some time now, and with growing suspicion and sureness, I have been thinking that - particularly with children's and youth ministries emphases - in almost every aspect, there seems to be too much emphasis on having delightful and fun experiences to treasure later on and nowhere near enough study and mental work. It gets especially evident with "VBS" (which seems to have very little "Bible SCHOOL" and is almost never called "Vacation Bible School" anymore) and things like children's pageants, where the kids have got the singing and choreography down very well, but do they know much more than they did before about the supernatural event and, particularly, the reasons to believe that event - to KNOW IT IS TRUE?

Also, our youth and collegians' pastor told us he recently met over coffee with a fellow who had been with him in Young Life, who allowed that the Young Life years were really delightful but since then he has become an avowed atheist and "evangelizes" that way, no less! Lacking in the mental aspect of growing in the Christian walk - is that, too often, what youth ministry is about?

For many years the ultimate test for the senior high kids is a week really roughing it in Canada, which is excellent in itself, but how much study takes place during that? Don't know; I'm much older than they.

I have begun to give STR "things" before the faces of our children's pastor and her subordinant, also the youth and collegians' pastor.

>> We do know that theological disputes had already begun in the first century church. Paul and Peter had disputes.

Usual flawed GH5 hermeneutics. In the instance in Gal. 2: 11, the Greek reads: κατα προσωπον αυτω αντεστην I stood against him to his face. The episode deals not with theological disputes but the incident of Peter's flip-flopping on eating with Gentiles. Peter ate freely, but became intimidated by a delegation from James from Jerusalem. This was more a case of poor decision than poor theology.

Poor case studies. Loaded terminology (crazy talk, and paranoia ... such respect you have for the contrary opinion). Neologisms (come on now, everyone knows the word is spelled B-I-B-L-I-0-I-D-O-L-A-T-R-Y!) ;-)

>> "Teaching" and "Preaching" mix in their assembly? Unknown

And yet, in Eph. 4:11, in the offices of the early Church we have pastors and teachers ... thus preaching and teaching.

Be sure of your facts before giving the non-facts.

Amy, the Bible asserts that everyone does in fact believe in God but they suppress this innate knowledge in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18 ff). They are not in a position of ignorance or neutrality in respect of the existence of God. Any approach that assumes such neutrality is flawed and unbiblical. Nowhere does the Bible argue for the existence of God. It is a foundational fact. The role of the evangelist is to declare the truth of the gospel; it is the Holy Spirit who regenerates. Arguing from evidences for God to prove God, at best only makes a case for theism and at worse reduces God's existence to mere probability.

Martin, the post wasn't written by me, but if you're interested in reading some of my thoughts on the subject of your comment, see here.

Both Dave and DGF make good points on the current state of affairs.

Perhaps helpful in this context when it comes to children/teens:

Three items for children/teens and teaching them logic, by William Lane Craig:

[1] Learning Logic – October 23, 2014, at

[2] The Defense Never Rests: A Workbook for Budding Apologists – October 12, 2011, at

[3] The Defense Never Rests: Teacher's Handbook – October 12, 2011, at

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