Church History in One Paragraph

“In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next, it moved to Europe, where it became a culture. And, finally, it moved to America, where it became an enterprise.”

— Richard Halverson, former Chaplain of the United States Senate

Or limiting the summary of Church history to a single sentence, oversimplified of course:

"Christianity, originally a brotherhood of co-equals, became a hierarchy and has yet to fully recover."

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    • This is a great summary and easy to remember. I couldn't agree with this more.

      One of the things that I love about meeting with God's assembled people is the sense that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for [we] are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28). Whether I'm sitting in a church pew or posting online, when I'm among the body of believers then I'm just plain old Todd. I'm not a manager for my company, or the breadwinner of my family, or an investor in the stock market, or a responsible citizen of my community. All of those things are set aside in deference to worshiping our Lord and Savior. And then these words from Matt 6:31-33 take root...

      31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

      Although I am still relatively new to the Christian life outside of the institutional church, I find a new freedom in my new environment. But the freedom isn't freedom *FROM* the church, but rather freedom *TO* believe as God reveals Himself in the Bible. I find it interesting that when you reject denominationalism on the grounds that it divides the church, its defenders will most certainly cry out, "how then do we control against heresy from entering the church?" My belief is that the heresy has already entered the church in the form of church control. Scripture can't be more clear about the importance of unity between ALL believers, not just those who belong to a particular church or denomination. There is a great lack of trust that these Christians have in God's ability to preserve His church. I'm not suggesting that teaching and discipleship are not important. They are. What I'm saying is that as soon as you start believing that YOUR ACTIONS are what keeps the church pure then you've missed a key point of the Christian faith. It is God who reveals. It is God who preserves. It is God who guides our hearts. He is active in our faith.

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