Someone wrote me telling me that they’re reading the early Christian writings, including David Bercot’s Writings. Then he asked me if I have any advice.
For those that want to live the life that the apostles and early Christians lived, I do have advice. It is as follows:
I can’t really tell what advice you’re asking for. Bercot’s Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up is a terrific introduction to the early Christian writers. I can’t think of anything that motivates people to actually read those writings as well as that book does.
I can give this very general advice. You can see in the early writings just how important the church was to them. That was no surprise to me, as I ran across writings by Gene Edwards on the church almost 30 years ago. Ever since I’ve been longing to be a part of something that resembled the churches in Acts–together, sharing all things, intent on one purpose, sold out for God.
That desire has produced quite a journey over the last 25 years. Having wound up with people who are together, sharing all things, intent on one purpose, and sold out for God, I can testify that the church is just as important to God now as it was 1900 years ago. The Scripture says that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. That’s most true in the church! What a spiritual impact we make when we join forces with other believers, becoming a real family in Jesus Christ!
Today, we have to have flexibility because people come from such different backgrounds. No matter how much truth we have (or think we have), we have to give people time to come to that truth. However, we don’t have to give people time to make a true, wholehearted commitment to Jesus Christ. You can’t have a church of people other than that.
Yes, there’s always tares. Those are people that say they’re disciples, and maybe they even look like disciples, but they prove over time not to be. We’ll always have people like that in our midst. In the Scriptures and in the early church writings, we see that the churches had people with problems–sometimes bad problems.
Nonetheless, the Gospel preached by the apostles and the early church was that Jesus Christ is Lord and we have to submit to him. Those people need to be gathered, and they need to learn together what’s important to God, laying aside their personal opinions. Even God can’t fill a cup that’s already full.
You’ll see in the early writings what an emphasis they had on following Christ. 1 Clement is a good example, but all the writings are the same. Christians are marked out by denying themselves, not returning evil for evil, honesty, etc.
I’ve given my life to preaching Christ’s Gospel. Deny yourselves, take up your cross, and follow me was his message. He also prayed for our unity, and the early churches put incredible emphasis in the unity of disciples (not merely those who “believe” but are openly disobedient).
My advice is to follow Christ and to do it with all those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
The page I’d direct you to on my web site is my doctrine page. The church I’m a part of is Rose Creek Village, which is at http://www.rosecreekvillage.com. May God grant you grace to follow him and to have brothers and sisters with you as you do!