"The further back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see." - Winston Churchill
Churchill was a big believer in how history can inform current decisions. Nowhere do I believe this is more true than the church. The start of the church is the best place to be informed on the future of her direction.
Unfortunately, it is common (and easy) to read our own traditions into the formation of the church in the early days, and assume we are doing what they did back in the day.
This never hit me until I read Wagner's Acts of the Apostles, and I was blown away by his different perspective. Not that I agree with all of Wagner, but how he saw different and beyond my presuppositions. It opened my eyes.
Here are a few things that are intriguing from then to now.
- There are no pastors in the book of Acts and yet this is our primary leadership structure.
- There are no women pastors (no pastors at all), but women play a key role - even as prophets (Acts 21)
- There is no systematic theology, or exegetical teaching.
- Miracles are common - even expected as the gospel moves forward in power.
- God speaks to people directly
- New believers got baptized fast - when they decided to follow.
- THE Apostles where not the only apostles (Acts 14).