How New Testament Churches Relate to One Another
James W. Garrett
In this 9 chapter work, Garrett (Church of Christ) explains the NT evidence of churches relating to one another, specifically focusing on the lack of anything like a papacy or hierarchy or central controling agency.
SECTION ONE: Organizational Relationships Between NT Churches
Part One: An Examination of Acts
Study #1 The Birth of the Samaritan Church
Study #2 The Birth of the Gentile Church in Caesarea
Study #3 The Birth of the Church in Antioch
Study #4 Church Planting on the First Missionary Tour
Study #5 The Jerusalem Council
Study #6 Paul’s Second Missionary Journey
Study #7 Paul’s Third Missionary Journey
Part Two: An Examination of the Epistles
Part Three: An Examination of the Post-biblical Era
SECTION II: Relationship Indicators in NT Churches
Indicator #1: Apostolic Travel
Indicator #2: Paul’s Companions
Indicator #3: Churches Commended Traveling Ministries
Indicator #4: Cooperation in Ministry
Indicator #5: Visitors to a City Sought Out Believers
Indicator #6: Written Greetings to One Another
Indicator #7: Sharing Apostolic Letters
Indicator #8: Apostolic Reports
Indicator #9: Uniform Practice
Indicator #10: Vessels of the Same Holy Spirit
SECTION III: Financial Relationships between Churches
The Antioch Collection
The Pauline Churches
Conclusions drawn from the overall study
RELATE TO ONE ANOTHER
James W. Garrett The biblical record of the First Century church presents a picture of a fraternity of local churches, spread throughout the central Roman Empire. This fraternity crossed geographical, linguistic, cultural, national, and ethnic boundaries. Not only was their relationship displayed in attitude, but their actions demonstrated the reality of that fraternity.
This fraternity possessed a common doctrine, exhibited a consistent pattern of local church government, recognized the same trans-local ministries, assisted one another financially, conformed to a consistent procedural pattern for bringing converts into the Kingdom, and above all, they were in submission to the same Lord.
Questions of faith and practice were settled by the revelatory apostles (Paul and the Twelve). Denominations were unknown. Even though Jewish and Gentile churches may have had slightly different perceptions of what the future Kingdom of God would look like, all of them were motivated by the expectation of the soon return of Christ and the hope of the resurrection. In those primitive days, everyone knew what was meant by the statement, “He is a Christian.”
Unfortunately, such halcyon days are long past. The contemporary Church is a divided Church. Denominational hierarchies and independent kingdoms flourish. Beautiful simplicity has been replaced by complexity. Those who love God and His Church long for a restoration of the simplicity and commonality of the Church’s earliest decades.
In this brief study, we will explore the subject of inter-congregational relationships as displayed in the New Testament. Our goal is to discover principles and patterns in the New Testament Church that can be applied to our current situation. Of necessity, our conclusions will involve both inductive and deductive logic, some opinion, and, we pray, insights from the Holy Spirit.
|Date:||January 23, 2017|