How to Change Traditional Churches into New Testament Churches

Orginally published on Tuesday, June 02, 2009 at 7:24 AM
by Todd Rhoades

OK... I'll admit, when I saw the title of this article published elsewhere, I thought... wow, there's a lot of hidden meaning in that. Aren't traditional churches 'New Testament' churches? Is it possible that this is an article that chides all 'traditional' churches? Well, it actually is a writing about 'traditional' churches in the sense that all modern-day churches are traditional. This article lists 15 things that churches need to do to be more like the church in the new testament. Take a look and let me know your thoughts...

1. Replace professional clergy with Priesthood of all Believers with authority to baptize, break bread and equip fishers of men. (1 Peter 2:9)

2. Replace Church building with "House of Peace." (Luke 10:5-9; Matt. 10:11-13)

3. Replace programmed Sunday service with daily informal gatherings. The Bride of Christ must have intimacy with her Lord every day and not just for a couple of hours a week lest she become unfaithful. (Acts 2:46-47; Hebrew 3:13)

Here are a few more of the 15…

4. Replace tithing with sharing the enormous financial resources and goodwill available in Christian homes. (Deut. 8:17-18; Acts 5:32-34)

5. Replace the “Crumb and Sip” Holy Communion with simple “Community meals” eaten together with gladness from house to house. (Acts 2:46; 1 Cor 11:20-23)

6. Replace loud music with speaking to each other in psalms and spiritual songs making melody in your heart. (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16)

7. Replace the spectator church to participatory, interactive, prophetic and Missionary sending church. (1 Cor 14:26-31; Acts 13:13)

8. Replace organizational and denominational churches with citywide network of house churches. (Romans 16:3-15)

9. Replace barren church with multiplication. The Bride must not remain barren, but reproduce and fill the earth. (Acts 1: 8; 1 Cor 9: 19-30)

10. Replace submitting to one man - by submitting to each other. We must encourage, comfort, exhort, edify and serve one another. (Galatians 5: 13; Eph. 4: 2, 15)

You can read the other five here.

Hmmm.... what do YOU think?

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  There are 15 Comments:

  • Posted by

    As my seminary professors often say:

    Not everything that is descriptive in the Bible is prescriptive.  We should be careful not to raise to doctrinal issues, cultural practices.  I would rather see churches have the “attitude” of the New Testament church rather than the “structure” of it.

  • Posted by

    I agree especially with number 7. Our congregations need to be more participatory, but I don’t think you need to leave the building to do that. It is the job of the leadership of the church to educate and prepare the body of the church to do the work of the church by developing mission minded people that have a heart to share the good news of Jesus Christ and then disciple them to make them strong in the Lord.

    Number 3 talks about daily informal gatherings, but that should be in addition to, not instead of, Sunday Services. We need to earnestly pray for God to instill in His people a hunger for His Word so they may have the desire to gather and discuss all things biblical and remain intimate with our Lord. Christians should already be doing that on their own, but young Christians need good instruction that comes from gathering with mature believers. I don’t think that God would be pleased if a bunch of immature believers got together with a false understanding of scripture and started teaching what they think they know, therby perpetuating false premises.

    My two cents.

  • Posted by

    My heart says, “yes,” but...someone needs to model this in a continuing, reproductive prototype in America.  Larry Richards attempted this years ago, but it didn’t grow.  G12 hasn’t really worked in America…

    Just sayin’

  • Posted by

    This is the kind of thing I have been thinking about and studying for a long time. I don’t know what the answer is, but I know that I can’t see much in todays church that resembles the church of the new testament. I’m sure changes like this will never come from most pastors and other church leaders because it would cut their purse strings and upset their entire way of life.

  • Posted by

    Many can’t grasp this concept because of their tainted understanding and view of whom and what the church is. The Church is the called out (Always was and always would be)… but in today’s Northern American churches this concept is distinct…

    I had this conversation with my wife… in our effort trying to convert the unconverted, we the church has lost sight of who and what we are… God never intended for us to turn His house into a den of thieves… This is what many of congregations are doing… trying to make God’s house more relevant and palatable for the unconverted… God’s House is to be a house of where we the converted come and worship Him… This is the descriptive or prescriptive encouragement from the NT Church… (Seminaries has messed many of folks up today it’s not even called Universities today because there’s no objective universal truths being taught…)

    The shift has went from community to selfishness…

  • Posted by Peter Hamm

    I am uncomfortable with the word “replace” in many of those.

    I like the word “augment” in its place in several of them.

  • Posted by

    Amen, Peter, amen!

  • Posted by Guy Muse

    Interesting comments from your readers. I wish more would engage in struggling through these kinds of issues like those above are doing. 

    Thanks for linking to my blog. You must have a lot of readers, because the past couple of days about half of those clicking are coming over from here. Gracias!

  • great! thanks!

  • Posted by Don Chapman

    “Replace loud music with speaking to each other in psalms and spiritual songs making melody in your heart. “ - sounds like this post was written by an old person. The elderly conveniently forget Psalm 33:3: “Sing unto him a new song; Play skilfully with a loud noise.”

  • Posted by

    Are you suggesting that the music be so loud that you can’t hear yourself speak?
    This concept is going on in many of congregations… (Rock bands...) huh…

    The Bible reminds/instructs us to let everything be done decently and with order… if you have an old person in your congregation would you play the music so loud that it disturbs that person?

    I’m a young person and could handle it to an extent… I’ve been in some congregations where the music was so loud I left with my ears ringing… is that worship or abuse?

  • Posted by Billy Cox

    The ‘new testament’ church is really a marketing fiction akin to characterizing 20th century Christianity by looking only at the closing service of a 1908 tent revival somewhere in Texas.

    If one takes off the rose-colored glasses and reads the New Testament, one sees a remarkable story of how the Gospel somehow wasn’t stillborn in its first generation.

    When I see preachers attacking other preachers and the saints bickering over trivialities, I say that the so-called New Testament church is alive and well.

  • Posted by

    Correction isn’t attacking… this is one of the problems with today’s Christianity… when one corrects another than it’s considered as attacking… “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,”

    For one to say that an old person must have written the article is in itself insensitive to our older Saints who have paved the way for us today… So I raised the question, which is better: “To have music so loud that our older Saints are uncomfortable… or to worship God in an descent and orderly fashion?”

    Billy, where is the attack in what was said?

  • I’ve studied the house-church movement quite a bit, and my main issue with it is its lack of leadership and teaching. Jerry is dead on with the statement about God not being pleased with immature believers getting together and teaching what they think they know. I agree wholeheartedly that every believer should use his or her spiritual gift, but let’s not forget that one gift is that of pastor-teacher (Ephesians 4:11). Another one is teaching (Romans 12:7). Another one is leading (Romans 12:8). Three New Testament books are letters to pastors. Paul left Titus in Crete to appoint elders (pastors) for the local churches because things were lacking in those churches. Hebrews 13:7,17, and 24 promote the idea of pastoral authority. Certainly 1 Peter 5:1-4 forbids the idea of a dictatorial pastor, but let’s not wreck in the other ditch and think of the pastor as just one more voice in a forum discussion of opinions on church matters. And, just to put it bluntly, if we are going to obsess over making our churches exactly like those of the New Testament, don’t we have to keep the women folk quiet? (1 Timothy 2:11-12, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35).

  • Posted by Billy Cox

    “Correction isn’t attacking… this is one of the problems with today’s Christianity… when one corrects another than it’s considered as attacking… “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” “

    Rev K.,

    Paul is speaking about correction within an accountable community.  There is nothing in the text to indicate that the church in Ephesus had permission to call the church in Corinth on the carpet for any of its many problems.

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