01 January 2015

On a practical level, what's different about your meeting? What would a visitor expect to find?

Following the pattern of the Early Church when it largely met in homes our meetings our informal and yet not casual. We seek simplicity and reverence. Everything we do is centered on the Scripture and we are careful to neither add to nor take away from it.

While the Early Church was certainly plagued with problems as the New Testament makes abundantly clear there was a simplicity present that was lost after the 4th century and the 'conversion' of Constantine. It was at this point that a host of changes began to enter the Church and many congregations of our own time who seek to follow Scripture have not yet purged themselves of these unfortunate and unbiblical traditions.

Like other churches we sing hymns, pray, read and exposit Scripture but you won't find either the trappings of the High Church or the gimmicks of the contemporary.

We have no desire to acquire a building. During the first centuries of the Church, Christians did not have buildings and in the subsequent medieval period there were Christians opposing the Roman Catholic Church who were happy to meet in homes, barns, cellars, forests and caves. Rather than acquire a building and take on the trappings of an institution we would rather see new congregations form along the same pattern.

Our meetings are for encouragement, exhortation and the offering of praise and thanksgiving. We firmly believe that doctrine is of the essence of the Christian life. Many have tried to downplay doctrine and instead turn to an emphasis on life and practice. While we understand their concern to make the Christian walk vital and not merely intellectual, even how we live our lives and practice our faith are rooted in doctrine. There's no 'How To' without first establishing the 'What'.

Ideas or Theology without practice are blind and dead but practice and lifestyle with no foundational doctrines is blind and quickly can become terribly misguided.

We believe we can focus on doctrine without sacrificing vitality and in fact if we're grasping what the Scriptures teach our knowledge should produce love and vitality, it should enhance our zeal to live for Christ and be fruitful.

The Antithesis, our separate identity that we are to have with regard to the culture is established by what we believe and who we are in Christ and cannot rest upon a foundation of culture taboos about hairstyles and clothing. The Scripture speaks to gender and modesty but some have erred in making these things the heart of the gospel.

Our lives are to be quite different according to the patterns of Scripture, not the traditions of men masquerading as Biblical truth.