"I Want To Go To a New Testament Church" (Part 2)
After reading the writings of the Early Church Fathers, I learned that the primitive New Testament Church was heirarchical, led by bishops and presbyters (priests), liturgical and sacramental (externally visible signs that confer God's invisible grace). The Church had people in authority, there was a liturgy in the worship service, and the Christians believed in the baptism for the forgiveness of sins and Jesus Christ being truly present in the sacrifice of the Mass.
This put a damper on my view of what I thought the early church was. I had imagined the early christians gathered in homes singing "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" and searching the scriptures on their own to find the truth God had for them. I imagined that they had raucously loud "praise and worship" meetings and altar calls etc. The hardest thing for me was to die to my pride and my view of what I wanted Church to look like. I finally said "Ok God, I will accept the Truth, regardless of whether it fits my personal view." Strangely enough, it was during my viewing of "The Passion of the Christ" in 2004 that I said to Jesus, "if you Lord could endure such suffering for me, I will accept your Church and become .....gulp...... Catholic!" I gave up my pride and self-sufficiency and self-proclaimed authority and decided to submit to the authority of a Church that I became convinced was true, regardless of how I "felt" about it. When Jesus calls us to follow Him, it must be on His terms , not ours.
For many of us, we decide on where we should attend church based on "how it feels."
Were we greeted kindly? Was the singing spirit-filled and genuine? Did the pastor's message focus soundly on the Word of God (read as: did it agree with my personal interpretation of Scripture?) Perhaps, if we truly want to worship as a New Testament church we should return to "our roots" and study what the early church believed, taught and lived. The result may be that we find something that we don't personally like the feel of, but let's face it, sometimes the Truth hurts.