the weblog of Alan Knox

Too idealistic?

Posted by on Feb 4, 2008 in blog links, definition, fellowship | 6 comments

Did you catch this wonderful snippet on Dave Black’s blog last week (Friday, February 1, 2008, 10:49 am):

Have I been blinded by idealism when it comes to my views about the bride? Some seem to think so, and I do not doubt the accuracy of the charge. Paper perfect churches can be just as disastrous as churches wearing the grey of compromise. But I cannot escape the portrait of the church that I find on the pages of the New Testament. Can you? The glowing description in Acts 2:41-47, for example, is not meant to be a picture of the “ideal” church — lovely to contemplate but impossible to realize. The believers in Jerusalem were not being super-saints; they were enjoying normal spiritual health. Why should we consider every-member ministry and a non-professionalized and non-clericalized ministry as something unusual, occasional, and irregular?

There is one line in particular that needs to be repeated (re-repeated, I guess): “The believers in Jerusalem were not being super-saints; they were enjoying normal spiritual health.” Normal spiritual health… If we are not experience fellowship (not fellow-attendance) with brothers and sisters in Christ then we may not be in “normal spiritual health”.

What do you think? Are the glimpses of the church that we get from Scripture (especially Acts) meant to be idealistic, or do they picture believers in “normal spiritual health” living and serving together?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 2-4-2008

    I struggle with this passage. I am not sure if it is an “ideal” but it is something that I want to be part of.

    I think it is more “history” than anything else. This is how the early “Christians” got together to do life.

    At the time, there were so many melting pots that came togeter to create the inital church; that is what is exciting to me.

    Of course with the book that i am slowing blogging about, this “model” is kind of what it is striving for.

  2. 2-4-2008

    I think true churches like this actually exists within history. But they are not perfect, as Acts make perfectly clear. A spirit-filled church is not perfect, but it is light and salt in the world, an alternative society.
    Jonas Lundström

  3. 2-4-2008


    Whilst I agree with everything that Dave Black said regarding Paper Perfect Churches, I do not believe that the passage is simply an “ideal”. It is what actually happened when men and women were indued with the Holy Spirit at the time of their conversion. In that sense it is “historical”, as Jeff said, but ONLY in that sense.

    It is NOT simply an historical record of what happened at that time, in that particular mix of people.

    It IS an actual demonstration of the life changing work of God when He exchanges a heart of stone for one of flesh, and is REALISTICALLY, what we ought to expect from ourselves in this day and age, as genuine Christians, if that is what we are.

    Jonas is right, there are no “perfect” congregations,but we rationalize this passage to our peril. I think the ones who do so realize the great personal sacrifice of personal sovereignty, pride,possessions,position and attitude that is required for Acts 2:41-47 to be a part of our personal lives, much less that of a congregation.

    It does epitomize what Jesus said in John 13:35-35, and like Peter, His words seem to bounce over our heads. It was in this context that Jesus challenged Peter,“Would you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly I tell you, a rooster will certainly not crow until you have denied me three times.”(ISV).

    I think the rooster has crowed three times and the “church” has’nt heard, and isn’t ashamed.

    Isn’t that what Acts 2:41-47 is all about.

  4. 2-4-2008


    I’ve read some of the posts about the book that you’re talking about. I’m looking forward to more.


    You said: “A spirit-filled church is not perfect, but it is light and salt in the world, an alternative society.” Amen! I think that as we are spirit-filled, we will also begin to see some of the characteristics of the church as described in Acts.

    Aussie John,

    You said: “I think the rooster has crowed three times and the ‘church’ has’nt heard, and isn’t ashamed.” This is awesome imagery! Some are ashamed, and some are hearing.


  5. 2-5-2008

    Alan. My evaluation of modern christianity is very dark. Spirit-filled churches are rare indeed. Actually, I think most of us bearing the naming of the Messiah has to wake up and become his disciples first, then later we can begin praying for the Spirit. First we need to hear the calling of Jesus and let go of our possessions, loyalties etc. Peter said that he didn´t have silver and gold, but he gave the lame man what he had, the power of God´s spirit. For us the opposite is true. To have one, let the other go, as Bruderhof founder Eberhard Arnold said.
    /Jonas Lundström

  6. 2-5-2008


    I think there was a medieval (?) scholar who said something similar. In response to the passages in Acts where Peter and John say, “We do not have silver and gold, but what we have we give to you…” the scholar said, “The church can now claim neither the former (we do not have silver or gold) nor the latter (we can give you Jesus Christ).” (That’s a paraphrase.) Perhaps the church today is not much different.