What Made the Early Church So Effective?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Believers often speak wistfully of the early church, wishing we could recover the spirit of that day. Those early believers were indeed a remarkable group, spreading the gospel of Christ with remarkable effect. So what made the early church so incredible? John Piper makes 6 observations based on Stephen Neil's A History of Christian Missions:

1. First and foremost was the burning conviction which possessed a great number of the early Christians.

2. The solid historical message which Christians brought was indeed good news, and a welcome alternative to the mystery religions of the day.

3. The new Christian communities commended themselves by the purity of their lives.

4. The Christian communities were marked by mutual loyalty and an overcoming of antagonisms between alienated classes.

5. The Christians were known for an elaborate development of charitable service, especially to those within the fellowship.

6. The persecution of Christians and their readiness to suffer made a dramatic impact on unbelievers.

In other words, the early church truly believed the gospel! Consequently, Christ transformed every aspect of their lives and bore much fruit through them.

What makes a church effective? It's no great mystery: the life-transforming gospel of Jesus!


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