I have been reading SimChurch by Doug Estes and I read this paragraph that I just had to share with everyone, especially since I have grown so weary over the years of all this talk that we need to “get back to the church of the Book of Acts” (as if that church had any fewer problems that our own). Estes writes,
Everyone wants to claim that their church, their movement, or their ecclesiology is “closest” or a “return” to the early church. Frankly, I get sick and tried of that arguement. I don’t care how many books are published each year that claim such-and-such a movement is the real Acts 2 way; they’re all disingenuous. Why can’t we accept the fact that we will never again be just like the early church? That no one will ever again be swallowed by a fish for three days and regurgitated to call Nineveh to repentance? That we don’t need to be a carbon copt of what we guess the earliest church was really like to be faithful to God’s call. That we should do the best we can today to reach today’s generation in the way that God has prepared for today. (p 108)
Doug is right. We were not placed on this earth to participate in the mission of God in the first century to Palestinian and Dispora Jews, ancient Greeks, and Romans (to name a few). We have some problems that Peter and Paul never faced. We are doing some things better than the early church ever could have done it. All this being said, God has placed us in the here and now. We are not the “apostolic” era church; we are the modern church, and its OK.