Wednesday, March 15, 2006

the good old days: yeah right

I am working on some notes for my Leadership class tomorrow.

Much Protestant thinking about church leadership is based on the assumption of the “good old days.” All we need to do is re-find the vitality of the “good old days” and we will be right.

However, closer examination suggests that the early church might not be as “ideal” as reformers and revolutionaries tend to make out. The “early church” of Acts involved fraud (Acts 5:1-10), misuse of church finances (6:1-7) and racial segregation (Acts 10).

As John Drane helpfully notes;

[We assume] that the [early church] were always ‘successful’ in the sense of large numbers of people responding to their message. This was not the case, and by including stories of small response [Acts 17:34], as well as of persecution and hardship [Acts 13:50], Luke emphasized that occasions such as the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41) were few and far between, and his readers could expect that evangelism would generally be hard work with average results. Do Christians Know How to be Spiritual?, London, DLT: 2005. Note 32, p. 179.

We need to be wise in how we apply the so-called “good old days” idealism to our understandings of church and leadership today.

Posted by steve at 03:04 PM

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