Today, there are many churches with many names, different traditions and even different ideas of Christianity. I have often thought to myself, “Is this really what Jesus had in mind when he was preaching to his followers?” I’m sure the all-knowing God knew that one day the church would take on identity that is completely different from its original form, and it begs me to ask the question, “What was the church like back then?”
Pastor Yosefus may be better at answering this question than me, but from my readings, I have come to imagine that the original followers of Christ were not well-organized and were dispersed amongst individual villages and homes. I also believe that they were forced to hide their worship for fear of persecution. These two things seem to deduce that the church was not a designated building, as so many believe it is today, but rather a group of people who had been spiritually changed by Jesus’ teachings.
The Called-Out Ones
From my studies, I have found that the original version of the New Testament (which was
written in Koine Greek) actually used the term “ecclesia” when referring to “the church.” When translated, “ecclesia” literally means “called-out ones.”
Once Jesus was crucified, it was up to the disciples, mainly Peter and Paul, to continue spreading the message of Jesus Christ. When I read all the letters that were written to the churches, I get the idea that “church” was not about a denomination, tradition or ceremony that took place in a building but about a new standard of living that was guided by Jesus’ teachings of love, peace, understanding and equality.
There are some verses, however, that instructs “the called out ones” to be baptized for the washing away of sins, to rejoice in song, pray for thanksgiving and to gather to
remember Jesus and to take in communion. Other than these things, I haven’t read anything else that makes me think we must gather as a titled group in a designated building to worship the Lord.
For me, Christianity is a simple religion that is about living by example. It’s not about being pushy or commanding others to be a certain way. Jesus preached that we should not judge others unless we wish to be judged, and I feel that many church-goers judge those who do not attend traditional churches. I don’t think this is what Jesus had in mind when he called out for us to follow him.
Even with all these findings, I am still quite concerned as to what Jesus really had in mind when he established his church. Perhaps he just wanted in to be a loose gathering where people were instructed and fellowshipped around the ideals of Jesus Christ and where people also testified of the blessings given to us by God. I’m not sure if we really need stained glass windows, musical entertainment and beautiful architecture. In fact, these things may actually distract us from the truth.
– This guest post was written by Whitney Reed
Whitney Reed owns and manages www.ChristianColleges.org. A stay-at-home mom, Whitney is also involved in volunteer and charity work. In her spare time, she enjoys reading books and writing guest blog posts on several different topics of interest.