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The Early Church and Church Government – Part 1

Did All of the First-Century Churches Meet in Homes?

Although it seems like there should be a simple answer to a simple question, there really isn’t a well-documented, agreed to consensus on this.  I have done a little research to try to answer this question, which follows…

 Some Churches Definitely Met in Homes

First of all, it is quite clear from Paul’s letters that there were some churches meeting in homes during the writing of the New Testament…

Romans 16:3-5:  “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus…Likewise greet the church that is in their house…”

Colossians 4:15: “Greet…Nymphas and the church that is in his house.”

Philemon 1-2:  “…To Philemon…Apphia, Archippus…and to the church in your house.”

Without a doubt, there were some home churches recorded in the New Testament.  But, did every church meet in homes?  Based on all of the Scriptures, and other very early Christian writings, I believe that the answer must be no.

The Very Very First Church

It would have been impossible for the very earliest church, which numbered 3,120 people (see Acts 1:15 & 2:41) to meet in someone’s home. It seems (Acts 2:42-47) that they had a large group meeting every day in the Temple, and then ‘fellowshipped’ by eating together in smaller groups in their various homes. The Temple had a large outer court where all the people could meet (even Gentiles), and this must have been where their large daily gatherings took place.

Because the Jewish leaders soon found issue with this situation, it didn’t last for very long. When most of the Christians were forced to leave Jerusalem (Acts 8:1), probably about 34 AD or so, the large Temple meetings obviously came to a halt. Now, wherever the Christians went throughout the Roman Empire, they began to share their faith, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and people in these regions began to be saved. As always, what Satan intended for evil, God used for good (Genesis 50:20).

A church formed in Antioch (which was the capital of Syria at that time). Paul was sent out from there, and began to work across Asia and Europe, spreading the Gospel. Paul usually began by going to the local Synagogue to preach the truth about Jesus. Some examples of this are found in Acts 13:5 & 14; and 17:1-2, 10 & 17. Actually, Jesus also preached in the synagogues during His earthly ministry.

Matthew 4:23:  “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.”Luke 4:14-16:  Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.  And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.  So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up.  And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.”

It’s too bad that most of the people in the synagogues didn’t receive Jesus’ or Paul’s message, because if they had, the existing facilities could have been a great place for the New Testament churches to meet.

Synagogues were quite a bit bigger than the common homes of that day.  A synagogue has been uncovered by archeologists dating back to the time of Jesus…

“During excavations at the town of Migdal on the Sea of Galilee, Dina Avshalom-Gorni and Arfan Najar of the IAA uncovered one of the world’s oldest synagogues, a 1,300-square-foot building with mosaic floors and stone benches, dating to between 50 B.C. and A.D. 100. Only six other synagogues in Israel have been found dating to this time.”
http://www.archaeology.org/1003/trenches/first_century_focus.html

While small relative to our time, these synagogues were actually ten times bigger than the common houses of that day.

In Ephesus, Paul began by teaching at the synagogue.  But when they rejected him after three months, he started meeting at a school, and continued doing so for two years.  (See Acts 19:8-10.)

It seems that Paul (and Jesus) always tried teaching at the synagogues first if there was one in town.  When the people or leaders rejected Paul’s message, he would then go out and plant a new work.  Thus, I think that in a perfect world, God would have used the existing synagogue buildings and congregations, gotten them saved, and then used them and their resources to minister to new believers, and as a ‘spring-board’ for new church plants.  That certainly would have made the most sense financially.  But, because for the most part the ‘religious’ people took themselves out by rejecting God’s will, He simply bypassed them and planted new works.  Men can be great hindrances to the Gospel, but no man is ever going to stop God’s plan from moving forward.

A ‘Normal’ House During the Time of Christ…

Most Jewish first century homes were quite small.

“The basic house for the poorest members of the community living in the country was a single room, about ten feet (three metres) square.”

… most people lived in simple, one roomed houses. Usually, the family animals slept at one end while the humans lived on a raised portion at the other…Stairs up an outside wall led to the flat roofs where a busy roof top culture existed and still does. The command to build a parapet around the roof makes good sense…Roofs were only made of brushwood spread across beams and covered with mortar. They were easily broken and soon repaired.”

“The difference between the homes of the wealthy and of the poor lay in the provision of a courtyard. At the lowest level this was simply an enclosure added onto the house. But the courtyard made immediate differences. Animals could be kept outside the house, cooking could be done in a corner, there would be no problems of security over access to the roof because the stairway from the roof would come into the courtyard, windows could open onto the courtyard to let in more light, and the door of the enclosure could always be kept shut. A cistern now became a possibility. People with greater wealth would build two or three rooms round the courtyard, and rooms would sometimes be built to provide an upper story.”

“The Mishnah calls a small house one that is 9 feet long by 12 broad, and a large house one that is 12 feet long by 15 broad…”

According to Edershiem’s numbers, the total square footage for a small house (multiplying the length times the width or ‘breadth’) would be 108 square feet; and for a large house, 180 square feet.

How many square feet is the house or apartment that you live in? (This is just another reminder of how blessed we are to be Americans in this day and age.)

How many people could you fit into your house for a Sunday morning worship service?

Acts 19:10 says that “…all who dwelt in Asia heard the Word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” In Colossians 1:23 Paul wrote (around 62 AD) “…the gospel…was preached to every creature under heaven…” Thus according to Scripture, by about 62 AD the Gospel had travelled around the entire world. Could all of these Christians have been meeting in about 120 square foot houses? That just doesn’t seem very likely to me. Most of these churches may have started that way, but I would have to believe that they would soon outgrow the home and need a larger gathering place. As you’ll see below, I think that 1 Corinthians shows that in Corinth they had a big meeting place for their church.

The bottom line (I think), is that the size of most homes would severely limit their potential to be used for church meetings, unless the congregation was very small. Recall that we previously stated that a synagogue uncovered from the time of Jesus measured about 1300 square feet – this would make it about 10 times larger than most homes of that day. So, in times of peace, it would make sense for a growing church to find a larger facility to meet in. On the other hand, during times of persecution, secret meetings in homes would probably be the only viable alternative (like the underground church in China). In these cases, the groups meeting would need to be pretty small.

Times of Government Persecution

During the period recorded in our New Testament Bible, there were two periods of severe persecution by Roman Emperors:

~ 64-68 AD            Nero (burned Rome, blamed the Christians, and killed Paul and Peter)
~ 93-96 AD            Domitian (tried to kill John in boiling oil, but when John was miraculously preserved, he had him exiled to a penal colony in Patmos)

From that time until Constantine’s ‘Edict of Milan in 313, which ended state-sanctioned persecution of Christians, there were varying levels of persecution, depending on the Caesar in power.  During times of intense persecution, it would be obviously difficult for large churches to meet openly.

History does not teach that all early New Testament churches were small and meeting in homes.  It appears that there were some large churches, with well-defined leadership roles.

I Don’t Think that the Church in Corinth Met in a House,
and This is Why

Corinth was a major city in Greece.  Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthian church about 57 AD.  In Chapter 11, verses 17 through 34 he discusses some of the problems they were having with the ‘Lord’s Supper’.  The ‘Lord’s Supper’ was definitely a time for Communion to be shared as Jesus’ crucifixion was remembered; and also apparently a time for them to have a group meal for the members of the church.  They probably celebrated the Lord’s Supper every week, and thus this was probably a regular part of their Sunday worship meetings.  Some of the verses in this passage show that the church must have been gathering in a large building rather than a home.

1 Corinthians 11:17-22
“…when you come together as a church…when you come together in one place…eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.  What!  Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?

1 Corinthians 11:33-34
“Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment…”

1 Corinthians 14 also contains passages which imply a large meeting place rather than small home churches.

1 Corinthians 14:23
“Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?”

(In other words, if you invite an unbeliever to church, and everybody in the room is speaking in tongues, it’s very unlikely that the visitor will want to come back with you next week.)

1 Corinthians 14:34-35
“Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.  And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.”

As well as providing strong evidence for a large church gathering taking place outside of a home, this passage is also interesting doctrinally.  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:5 that a woman should cover her head when she prayed or prophesied.  However, in 1 Corinthians 11:16 he says “But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.”  So, it appears that wearing head coverings was not the norm for all of the churches, but just for the church in Corinth.  They believe the reason for this is that there was a large pagan temple in Corinth, where temple prostitutes had shaved heads.  So, Paul’s message to the Christian ladies was: ‘Please don’t dress like those idolaters do – we don’t want to cause others to be confused or stumbled.  It’s better to err on the side of conservatism’.

Also, it is believed that larger meeting places for the early churches were modeled after synagogues (since most of the first Christians were Jewish).  In the synagogues, men sat on one side of the room, and women on the other side.  So, in effect Paul was saying – ‘Wives, please don’t call out to your husbands during church service – wait until you get home to discuss the sermon and any other items of concern’.

All of these passages imply to me that the Corinthian church was gathering in a larger meeting place, probably being rented.  As we mentioned above, in Ephesus, Paul used the “school of Tyrannus” for two years as a meeting place to teach about Jesus.  (See Acts 19:8-10.)  This could have served as a model for other growing churches.

Some (quite extensive) Early Writings Which Imply Large Gathering Places Rather Than Homes

Neither Scripture nor history teaches that all early New Testament churches were small and meeting in homes. It appears that there were some larger churches, with well-defined leadership roles, that gathered in public places for their meetings.

Ignatius

Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch, is one of the earliest Christians with writings that have been preserved. Ignatius was a disciple of John the Apostle. During the time of Caesar Trajan, he was arrested and sentenced to death. On his way to Rome to be eaten by lions at the Coliseum, he wrote letters to six churches, and to Polycarp, the bishop in Smyrna. Looking at these letters gives us insight into his experience and perception of the Church of his time– about 108 AD.

It should be noted that John wrote his Gospel, Epistles, and the Book of Revelation in the 90’s AD. So, Ignatius’ letters were written roughly 15-20 years after John’s writings.

From his introduction to the letters of Ignatius, the editor makes the following comments…

“It appears that three concerns were uppermost in Ignatius’s mind at this time: (1) the struggle against false teachers within the churches; (2) the unity and structure of the churches; and (3) his own impending death…In opposing the false teachers Ignatius, in addition to affirming both the divinity of Jesus and the reality of his incarnation, suffering, and resurrection, stresses the importance of the bishop in preserving the unity of the church. He does this on two levels. First, while Ignatius’s ideal church may have a threefold ministry that includes deacons and presbyters, it is the bishop who is constitutive of the church: where he is, the church is. Any activity or service that takes place without either his presence or permission has no validity. Thus those schismatics who gather separately cut themselves off from the true church. Second, the central role of the bishop organizationally has a theological rationale: the bishop is nothing less than God’s representative to the congregation. Just as Christians are united with God spiritually in heaven, so it is their duty to be in communion or harmony with their bishop on earth. Conversely, one’s attitude toward the bishop reflects one’s attitude toward God, and thus one’s behavior relative to the bishop becomes critically important. It is interesting that Ignatius provides a theological rationale for the authority and place of the bishop and does not base it, as his near contemporary Clement of Rome does, upon the concept of apostolic succession.” [5]

Here are a few excerpts quoted directly from Ignatius’ letters…

We should note, by the way, that these letters are not inspired ‘Scripture’. The letters of the ‘apostolic fathers’ such as Ignatius are well respected because of the status these men held in the early church, as confirmed by history. They differ from ‘Apocryphal’ writings which are indisputably old, but not highly regarded for their accuracy or authorship. Just because something is old doesn’t make it right. Every old guy is not wise, even though his gray hair may lead others to think so. Thank God for senior discounts at area restaurants – but they are given probably out of hope for profit (old guys have money and time to spend), or maybe sympathy – intelligence has nothing to do with it. (Also, thank God that some restaurant owners think that 55 year olds are ‘seniors’ – they’re wrong, but if they want to give us cheap food, we’ll take it.)

Here then are a few quotes from Ignatius’ letters, which provide glimpses into his experiences with the church and its government. You will see over and over again a central meeting place, and a well-defined leadership structure. This first excerpt is from his letter to the Ephesian church…

Since, therefore, I have received in God’s name your whole congregation in the person of Onesimus, a man of inexpressible love who is also your earthly bishop, I pray that you will love him in accordance with the standard set by Jesus Christ and that all of you will be like him.  For blessed is he who has graciously allowed you, worthy as you are, to have such a bishop.  Now concerning my fellow servant Burrhus, who is by God’s will your deacon, blessed in every respect, I pray the he might remain with both for your honor and the bishop’s.  And Crocus also, who is worthy of God and of you, whom I received as a living example of your love, has refreshed me in every way; may the Father of Jesus Christ likewise refresh him, together with Onesimus, Burrhus, Euplus, and Fronto, in whom I saw all of you with respect to love…  It is proper, therefore, in every way to glorify Jesus Christ, who has glorified you, so that you, joined together in a united obedience and subject to the bishop and the presbytery, may be sanctified in every respect…Thus it is proper for you to act together in harmony with the mind of the bishop, as you are in fact doing.  For your presbytery, which is worthy of its name and worthy of God, is attuned to the bishop as strings to a lyre.  Therefore in your unanimity and harmonious love Jesus Chris is sung.  You must join this chorus, every one of you, so that by being harmonious in unanimity and taking your pitch from God you may sing in unison with one voice through Jesus Christ to the Father, in order that he may both hear you and, on the basis of what you do well, acknowledge that you are members of his Son.  It is, therefore, advantageous for you to be in perfect unity, in order that you may always have a share in God.  For if I in a short time experienced such fellowship with your bishop, which was not merely human but spiritual, how much more do I congratulate you who are united with him, as the church is with Jesus Christ and as Jesus Christ is with the Father, that all things might be harmonious in unity.  Let no one be misled; if anyone is not within the sanctuary, he lacks the bread of God.  For if the prayer of one or two has such power, how much more that of the bishop together with the whole church!  Therefore whoever does not meet with the congregation thereby demonstrates his arrogance and has separated himself, for it is written: ‘God opposes the arrogant.’  Let us, therefore, be careful not to oppose the bishop, in order that we may be obedient to God.” [6]

The above passage mentions the Church’s leaders by name: the Bishop, a Deacon, and the ‘Presbytery’ (the leadership team); it shows the Bishop to be the ‘leader’ supported by the Presbytery; and it also shows that those who would separate themselves from the large meetings with the congregation in the sanctuary were not to be commended.

Here’s a second example, from Ignatius’ letter to the church in a place called Magnesia…

“So, then, I was permitted to see you in the persons of Damas, your godly bishop, your worthy presbyters Bassus and Apollonius, and my fellow servant, the deacon Zotion; may I enjoy his company, because he is subject to the bishop as to the grace of God, and to the presbytery as to the law of Jesus Christ.  Indeed, it is right for you also not to take advantage of the youthfulness of your bishop, but to give him all the respect due him in accordance with the power of God the Father, just as I know that the holy presbyters likewise have not taken advantage of his youthful appearance, but yield to him as one who is ‘wise in God; yet not really to him, but to the Father of Jesus Christ, the Bishop of all.  For the honor, therefore, of him who loved you it is right to be obedient without any hypocrisy, for it is not so much a matter of deceiving this bishop who is seen, but of cheating the One who is unseen.  In such a case he must reckon not with the flesh but with God, who knows our secrets.  It is right, therefore, that we not just be called Christians, but that we actually be Christians, unlike some who call a man ‘bishop’ but do everything without regard for him.  Such men do not appear to me to act in good conscience, inasmuch as they do not validly meet together in accordance with the commandment…Since, therefore, in the persons mentioned above I have by faith seen and loved the whole congregation, I have this advice: Be eager to do everything in godly harmony, the bishop presiding in the place of God and the presbyters in the place of the council of the apostles and the deacons, who are most dear to me, having been entrusted with the service of Jesus Christ…Let there be nothing among you which is capable of dividing you, but be united with the bishop and with those who lead, as an example and a lesson of incorruptibility.  Therefore as the Lord did nothing without the Father, either by himself or through the apostles (for he was united with him), so you must not do anything without the bishop and the presbyters.  Do not attempt to convince yourselves that anything done apart from the others is right, but, gathering together, let there be one prayer, one petition, one mind, one hope, with love and blameless joy, which is Jesus Christ, than whom nothing is better.  Let all of you run together as to one temple of God, as to one altar, to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father and remained with the one and returned to the One.” [7]

This quote again seems to stress a well defined church leadership structure, and adds a little more depth to the roles seen by Ignatius – a presiding Bishop [we would call him a Pastor]; a team of assisting leaders called ‘Presbyters’ [we would call them the Elder’s Board]; and then Deacons [‘hands-on’ type guys who served].  Again, the importance of unity and gathering together are emphasized.

Here’s one more excerpt, from Ignatius’ letter to the church in a place in Asia called Tralles…

“For when you are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ, it is evident to me that you are living not in accordance with human standards but in accordance with Jesus Christ, who died for us in order that by believing in his death you might escape death.  It is essential, therefore, that you continue your current practice and do nothing without the bishop, but be subject also to the presbytery as to the apostles of Jesus Christ, our hope, in whom we shall be found, if we so live.  Furthermore, it is necessary that those who are deacons of the ‘mysteries’ of Jesus Christ please everyone in every respect.  For they are not merely ‘deacons’ of food and drink, but ministers of God’s church.  Therefore they must avoid criticism as thought it were fire.  Similarly, let everyone respect the deacons as Jesus Christ, just as they should respect the bishop, who is a model of the Father, and the presbyters as God’s council and as the band of the apostles.  Without these no group can be called a church.” [8]

In summary, it seems that the church that Ignatius was familiar with (1) had a pretty well-defined leadership structure; and (2) met in larger gatherings than the small homes of those days could allow.  Thus, I would have to conclude that the churches receiving these letters met in larger rooms or buildings, and had a well defined leadership structure.

Justin Martyr

Another early writer was an ‘apologist’ (a writer who defended Christianity) named Justin Martyr, who was in fact martyred somewhere between 162 and 167 AD.  His ‘First Apology’, written somewhere between 151 and 155 AD (thus about 60 years after John the Apostle’s writings), includes a brief description of a church service at that time…

“And afterward we constantly remind each other of these things.  And the wealthy come to the aid of the poor, and we are always together.  Over all that we receive we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.  And on the day called Sunday all who live in cities or in the country gather together in one place, and the memoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits.  Then when the reader has finished, the Ruler in a discourse instructs and exhorts to the imitation of these good things.  Then we all stand up together and offer prayers; and, as we said before, when we have finished the prayer, bread is brought and wine and water, and the Ruler likewise offers up prayers and thanksgivings to the best of his ability, and the people assent, saying the Amen; and the distribution and the partaking of the eucharistized elements is to each, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.  And those who prosper, and so wish, contribute what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the Ruler, who takes care of the orphans and widows, and those who, on account of sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds, and the strangers who are sojourners among us, and in a word [He] is the guardian of all those in need.  But we all hold this common gathering on Sunday, since it is the first day, on which God transforming darkness and matter made the Universe, and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead.  For they crucified Him on the day before Saturday, and on the day after Saturday, He appeared to His Apostles and disciples and taught them these things which we have passed on to you also for your consideration.” [9]

It is interesting to note that while Justin Martyr’s writings are not ‘Scripture’ (which would be authoritative in specifying how the Holy Spirit wants a church service to be run), it gives a good description of the church service that he was familiar with in 153 AD, about 60 years after John’s inspired writings.  It (1) shows the church gathering in one place on Sundays; (2) alludes to church government (‘the ruler’ and ‘deacons’); and (3) describes the order of service beginning with prayer, then a reading of God’s Word followed by an exhortation or teaching, then more prayer and the celebration of Communion.  An account of a free-will offering is also included.

The term ‘ruler’ may sound strange to us, but in the Jewish Synagogue the leader was referred to as ‘ruler’.  (See Mark 5:35, Luke 8:41 & 13:14, and
Acts 18:8&17.)  So, this title for the Synagogue leader may have found its way into some of the early churches.  (I’ve had some older saints call me ‘Father’ at various times, because that’s the title they’re used to using.)  Because communications in those days were nothing like they are today, different churches in different parts of the Roman world could develop their own unique styles.

Is All of This Clear?

I don’t know.  I don’t think that enough information exists today for anybody to be 100% certain on every detail of how the early churches met and were run.  It will certainly make for some interesting discussions in Heaven some day, when we can ask Jesus directly, and also interact with the first saints, listening to their first hand experiences about their churches.

Too Small Church / Too Big Church

For us, I know that it’s important for every believer to attend a church.  Whether that’s a home church, or a more traditional, larger gathering is between you and the Lord.  Here are some of my personal thoughts…

A ‘Too Small’ Church
(1)  Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).  Are you being ‘challenged’ in a positive way by the group you’re with?

(2)  Inbreeding is bad.  Not enough fresh blood can lead to some huge growth defects.

(3)  The human body is made up of literally thousands of parts.  1 Corinthians 12 speaks about each Christian having a different spiritual gift to contribute, and how the result of the various members working together is a beautifully functioning body.  Quite frankly, more spiritually mature parts (saints) means a healthier, more effective body (church), which results in a lot of blessed people.

A ‘Too Big’ Church
(1)  Is accountability lacking?  Do you have people that you are close to that encourage you, and do you encourage them to walk in a manner worthy of Jesus?  It’s unfortunately very easy to hide in a big place, and to ‘go to church without really going to church’.

(2)  Corporate America isn’t necessarily the best.  It’s just my opinion – but I don’t like things that are too ‘processed’.  Spontaneity is important to me, because the Holy Spirit is spontaneous like the wind (John 3:8).  Having no plan is disrespectful to God; but so are homogenized, sanitized programs straight from some seminary classroom.  God’s people can understand His full Word, because it’s really the Holy Spirit Who brings them insight.  And so, I don’t think that watered down, entertaining ‘sermon-ettes’ are necessary.  God’s entire, pure Word should be taught, not some programmed series that covers ‘acceptable’ portions of God’s Word, but never mentions other ‘unacceptable’ portions of it.  Every teaching and service should bear Christ’s imprint – not that of some pastor or seminary or processed series.

The bottom line is – I believe that unless you’re forced to live in isolation on Patmos, you should be at church.  Small is not necessarily bad – but if you’re the senior pastor, worship leader, board of elders, and most of the congregation of your church – you should make sure that you’re in God’s will.  Maybe you’re a pioneer, and God is going to use you for His glory.  Or, maybe He is telling you to join a larger group of believers and make them better by freely contributing your gifts to make that Body stronger.  Large also is not necessarily bad – but if in all honesty you’re just there because you don’t want to get too close or too committed to Jesus – you should ask Him to straighten things out.

So, Where Do I Fit In?

The best place to be is where God wants you.  Ask Him.

Hebrews 10:24-25
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

As you pray about where to worship, ponder this question:  In the above Scripture, how much of it is about you receiving, and how much is about you giving to others?

Some good questions to consider about your place and style of worship…

(1)  Does it honor God?

(2)  Is it respectful?

(3)  Is it worthy for a King (Jesus)

(4)  Is it bigger than me?

(5)  Am I furthering God’s agenda?  (Is there fruit being borne?)

(6)  Are other lives being touched?

(7)  Am I growing in holiness?

(8)  Am I reaching out to a lost world?

(9)  Is my pride diminishing?

(10)  Is my love increasing?

If the answers to these questions are all ‘yes’, and the Holy Spirit confirms it – then praise God, because you’re in the right place!!!

If that place is Calvary Chapel of the Niagara Frontier – praise God!!!

If that place is somewhere else – still praise God!!!

Someday we’ll all be in the same congregation, and Pastor Jesus will be the best, most awesome pastor that could ever exist.  We will all learn together, and on Pastor’s Appreciation Day we can all chip in to buy Him some incredible cards and presents.

Until then, we’ll just do our best, for Him.
May Jesus lead and guide us!
And, may you be part of a beautiful, Christ-centered church!

[1]  The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times, Ralph Gower, Copyright 1987, page 31
[2]  The World Jesus Knew, Anne Pulton, Copyright 1996, page 87-88
[3]  The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times, Ralph Gower, Copyright 1987, page 39
[4]  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Alfred Edersheim, Copyright 1993 (first edition was written in 1883), pages 347
[5]  The Apostolic Fathers, translations by J.B. Lightfoot and J.R. Harmer (1891); edited and revised by Michael Holmes, copyright 1989; 4th printing 1991;  pages 80-81
[6]   Ibid, pages 86-88
[7]   Ibid, pages 93-95
[8]   Ibid, pages 97-98
[9]   St. Justin Martyr, The First and Second Apologies, translated with introduction and notes by Lelie William Barnard, copyright 1997, pages 71-72
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