I've decided to begin a new church which I'm calling a Completely Biblical Church - since it is originating completely from Scripture. Trust me... this is completely legitimate... not a joke at all... I wouldn't lie to you... not today, or all days.
To determine the practices of this church, I've scoured Scripture and determined practices that most churches ignore, using the same hermeneutical principles used to determine church practices by other churches today. Here are a few of the new practices along with the texts which demonstrate that these are scriptural practices:
1. No church meetings will be held in rooms that are at ground level or below. All meetings will be held above ground level.
- He will show you a large upper room furnished and ready... (Mark 14:15)
- And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying... (Acts 1:13)
- There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. (Acts 20:8)
- [W]hen we were gathered together..., Paul talked with them..., and he prolonged his speech until midnight. (Acts 20:7)
- [S]peaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord in your heart... (Ephesians 5:19)
- [S]inging psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God... (Colossians 3:16)
- And day by day..., they were sharing their food with glad and generous hearts... (Acts 2:46)
- Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
- No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. (1 Timothy 5:23)
- Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side... (Philippians 4:3)
- For this reason I bow my knees before the Father... (Ephesians 3:14)
- I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands... (1 Timothy 2:8)
- But if... an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God... (1 Corinthians 14:24-25
- And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken... (Acts 4:31)
While we may smile at a church holding to such teachings, the truth is this is how many of us come to our theological and church practices. After all, the Bible says it right there in clear English... doesn't it!?!?
Frank Viola and George Barna talk about this misuse of Scripture in Pagan Christianity. The way many of us approach the Bible is by isolating and pasting together a series of texts to come up with just about any kind of theology one can imagine. Our approach is akin to putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Frank describes it, "You could call our method of studying the New Testament the "clipboard approach..." where one cuts and pastes pieces of text via the computer clipboard. In this way you can copy a sentence from one document and paste it into another. Little regard is given to the text's original intent. By this practice we can pretty much say whatever we like, and then justify it by saying, "the Scripture clearly teaches..." Isn't this what many of us do in order to justify our theological stances and church practices?
Time and space do not allow me to get into this topic further, but suffice it to say, Alan's spoof illustrates the danger of isolating Biblical texts and then pasting them into our own outline to justify some crazy stances on things. What's worse, we try to impose our "biblical" position on everyone else. Those who disagree are not in disagreement with us, but with the Word of God!
What do you think?