We are making serious progress in our thinking about the theology of the Lord Jesus. Granted, He never left us a systematic theology textbook, but that’s okay. Most of them are boring and tough to read.
Typically, systematic theology (which organizes the data of Scripture on a logical basis) covers ten areas. We are now in our ninth area — the doctrine of the church. What did the Lord Jesus teach about the church?
Much of what we know about the New Testament church is left to the Holy Spirit’s guiding the Apostles into all truth. We learn of offices in the church (Titus 1, I Timothy 3), the ordinances (I Corinthians 11), and spiritual gifts (Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, I Peter 4).
The Lord knew that the first-century church, filled with imperfect disciples, would have the problems we later find in the book of I Corinthians. He knew that the tendency for Jewish converts to go back to Judaism would be real (as we see in the book of Galatians). But He is still building His church!
Christians sometimes say, “I wish we were more like the First-Century Church!” Make a list of some of the characteristics (both positive and negative) of the early church from Acts 2 and I Corinthians. (to be continued)