Many hard line Churches of Christ claim to practice the real Christianity, saying they follow the Bible only, restoring first century Christianity. That is an oxymoron.
1. First century Christianity did not follow “the Bible”. Their only Bible was the 36 books of the Jewish Bible. They had an oral history of the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus, and they had apostles or teachers coming to teach them.
3. Trying to reproduce the first century worship service is not one of the goals Jesus set before us.
4. Most of Jesus’ commands had to do with how he wanted the Jewish people of his day to view God, the father, and what kind of relationship he wanted them to have with God. Jesus also commanded the Jewish people of his day to practice selfless living towards the people they came into contact with from day to day.
5. The gospel, or Good News, is not the Bible. The Bible contains the story of the good news, but it is not the good news. Just as the Bible is not the Word of God. The Bible contains the story of the Word of God as it was delivered to various people at various times.
6. Trying to reproduce first century Christianity is a human catechism or creed superimposed upon the good news of Jesus. It is a mindset that came upon the early pioneers of the United States after 250 or 300 years of Reformation struggles, and then the freedom of the United States, free from European religious tradition, combined with the ignorance of uneducated pioneers who had only Bibles and hymn books in their
possession. It is the projection of righteousness onto a five point worship service instead of addressing the very personal social ills that plagued people of the early 1800s: the
Trail of Tears, as educated, voting native Americans had their farms confiscated and were made to move to dryer land out west, as slaveowners and land grabbers wanted to feel righteous in the face of their selfishness, they pointed to the five acts of worship and the biblical baptism that they had reproduced when no other Christian group had done so. It was a case of pointing out the mote in our brother’s eye when there was a beam in our own eye. This mindset was and is a catechism and creed that violates the essence and spirit of the good news of Jesus.