[This is a blog post from 2009. Tomorrow I’ll write a response to some of the points in this. In particular referencing “unChristian” and Christian’s bad reputation in the United States.]
Acts 2 describes what the earliest Christian community looked like.
Acts 244 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
The first Christians enjoyed the favor of all people. Few churches in this country could make that same claim. In fact, the church has such a bad reputation that entire book, unChristian, was written about the churches bad rap in the United States. Most Christians who are attempting to connect with the lost feel a need to either justify or distance themselves from the actions of other believers. We’ve drifted so far from the early church that most churches are lucky if they have a neutral reputation in their community.
As a good American raised on capitalism, I can come up with a 1,000 reasons why my church doesn’t or can’t follow the description in this passage. I can explain how the passage is descriptive not prescriptive. I can explain how the most extreme elements of the passage aren’t commanded elsewhere in scripture to the church.
What I can’t explain is why if we’re serious about reaching people with the gospel, why aren’t we taking the description of a church, who enjoyed the favor of all people and which God was adding to their numbers daily, seriously?