The Early Church
by Bobby Bruno 3/19/2014 / Church Life
I just finished reading the textbook called "Rediscovering Paul" by D. Capes, R. Reeves, E. Richards (2007). In this book, the authors say that the center of Paul's message was always the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that Paul never went off that center. They authors say that whenever we read Paul's writings, we should always proceed from that center when unpacking what Paul is saying in his letters. For Paul, the only name for salvation was Jesus Christ and that no other god can save any of us from Hell. Paul's impeccable following of the Holy Spirit gave him the opportunity to stay with that center. Paul even had to convince the church Elders (Peter, etc) that Jesus was all a person needed to be saved, especially when it came to the topic of Gentiles having to be circumcised or not to be a Christian. After Jesus commanded the disciples to continue His work, we see in Acts the power of the Holy Spirit in guiding Paul and the others to the places where the message would break through first. We also see that humans could not stop the message from being proclaimed; the church would grow and grow no matter what anyone in leadership tried to do to stop it. Jesus may not have been there physically, but through His Spirit it felt like He was. The Book of Acts is about the beginning of the church and it is a movement that is still growing, again, no matter what humans try to do to destroy it and its people. And like the first century Christians, today the church is growing by leaps and bounds. And like the first century church, it seems the more Christians are made to suffer, the stronger the church of Christ continues to grow. The first century church was bold in their proclaiming Jesus as Lord. If the church of today adopts that same boldness of spirit it would see more and more coming to Christ to find freedom from their sins and the curse that it still upon this world.
Capes, D., Reeves, R., Richards, E. (2007) Rediscovering paul. Downers Grove, IL: IVP
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.