The Case for the New Testament Church
June 27, 2004
Introduction: Acts holds a special place in the New Testament. It is that bridge between Christ and the church. Acts begins with a handful of fearful disciples. By the time the New Testament ends, the faith had spread hundreds of miles in every direction and touched thousands and thousands of lives. How it got from point A to point B is the story of Acts. Acts is a vital book for understanding the progress and development of the Christian enterprise.
Acts holds a special place for those of us in this church as well. This church is not part of a formal denominational structure. We use to be part of a structure that was fast becoming a denomination, but we left the Disciples of Christ beginning in the late forties and then formally in the mid-sixties. We identify with a loose knit network of independent congregations numbering about 5,000 churches across the country, about 350 or so in Missouri, and many, many more in other parts of the world.
Before and after this church decided to part company with the Disciples of Christ, we considered ourselves part of what historians have long called "the Restoration Movement." Contemporary religious scholars often use the phrase "the Stone-Campbell Movement" after Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell who were two early proponents of the principles we still profess. Acts has always held a special place among these churches-for a number of reasons.
Four root principles provide the foundation of the movement:
1) The purpose of the church is to evangelize those who do not have a saving faith in Jesus (make disciples). That includes teaching them to obey and follow Jesus.
2) Sectarianism, denomination pride, and petty fighting between followers of Jesus prevent the church from effectively reaching the lost.
3) Much religious division results from either a failure to teach and practice what the Bible teaches or sayin ...
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