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Going to Church in the First Century [Paperback]

By Robert Banks (Author)
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A First-Century Meeting
'There I was, nervous but curious. My hosts were fairly level-headed types who wouldn't get mixed up in anything out of the way. Being Greeks, they didn't have the advantage of a good Roman grounding in our religious and civic traditions. They would be more inclinded to fall for one of those secretive, emotionally-charged Eastern cults. But then you wouldn't expect a Jew, however atypical, to get involved in that sort of thing, what with his race's over-refined moral scruples and stubborn addiction to a single god.'
'From a religious point of view the whole meeting left a lot to be desired. What had happened contained scarcely anything religious at all. They didn't even have a priest, let alone all the ritual that you expect. This wasn't quite what I had bargained for. Neither decently ritualistic nor exotically mysterious. All very simply and matter-of-fact. I wondered what their god made of this slipshod and common way of doing things. Not at all in the manner to which I would have thought a god was accustomed.'

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Seedsowers Christian Books Publishing
Pages   48
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.16" Width: 5.02" Height: 0.19"
Weight:   0.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 27, 2008
Publisher   Seedsowers Christian Books Publishing
ISBN  0940232375  
ISBN13  9780940232372  

Availability  0 units.

More About Robert Banks

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Robert Banks (PhD, University of Cambridge), director and dean of Macquarie Christian Studies Institute in Sydney, Australia, is the author of many books, including "Redeeming the Routines." Bernice M. Ledbetter (Ed.D., Pepperdine University), former director of the De Pree Leadership Center at Fuller Theological Seminary, is adjunct faculty at Pepperdine University and principal of Ledbetter Consulting Group.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Church History

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Reviews - What do customers think about Going to Church in the First Century?

Excellent thought provocation  Dec 12, 2007
This short fictional rendering based on historical information available gives a refreshing glimpse into something of what being the "church" must have been like in the early days. I've already passed it on to several folks who, after reading it, felt similar to me... we wanted more.

If you wrestle with what you see as "church" and are wondering how the early Christ Followers might have been the church you definitely should read this one.
Early Christianity the Way It Really Wasn't  Jun 1, 2006
Banks has painted a picture of what he believes Christian life and worship were like in those earliest days after the resurrection. There was no institutional structure or authority. There was no ritual. There was little doctrine. It was, basically, the ancient Mediterranean version of going out with your buds for Sunday brunch.

It's a very pretty picture. Sadly, it isn't true. Trust me, I've spent my entire adult life trying to get a grip on what authentic early Christianity was like, and it was nothing like this. If you want the real story, I'd suggest you read Wayne Meeks' 'The First Urban Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul', especially chapters 5 and 6. It may not be as romantic, but it's a much more satisfying story than the one Banks tells.
Puts 1 Corinthians 14:26 In Context  Apr 23, 2005
Robert Barnes is a scholar. I would argue that he is one of the most gifted scholars in the entire house church movement. This book can show you why I feel that way.

Barnes does his research. He is not merely writing what he thinks the Church looked like in the first century but he dives into Church History itself to show you historically what it looked like. The book takes 1 Corithians 14:26 and applies it to the house churches listed in the New Testament. In the end, Banks does a wonderful job of showing the reader how radically different our church "services" are today compared to the first century. Banks then tells us how to apply the apostolic traditions (1 Corinthians 11:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6) to our current churches whether traditional or house churches.

A must read for those longing for pure worship of God and not the worship of men (Mark 7:1-13).
WARNING!  Feb 11, 2004
WARNING: This book could turn your world upside down! When we look at the Book of Acts, it's clear that church was much, much more than punching the clock on Sunday morning-it was a way of life. The church also wasn't any particular building or institution-it consisted of communities of friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors who gathered together in homes for worship, prayer, reading Scripture (including the Gospels and Epistles as they became available), fellowship, and a communion meal. Unlike other recent books on house church, this book doesn't try to present an argument for house churches, it just depicts a very accurate but simple story of what it would have been like to attend a church meeting in the 1st Century. Read it and you'll realize that church was more like a family barbecue than whatever it is we've turned it into today. Utilizing relational house churches today might be a great way to reach people who don't want to attend an institutionalized meeting in a church building, but value the opportunity to gather with family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors in a manner similar to the church of the 1st Century.
Eye-opening account of First Century church  Dec 31, 2000
When I was growing up, I would read accounts of church in the Bible and see in my mind rows of pews facing a pulpit. My own experience of church distorted my reading of Scripture. But even for those of us who have long since quit visualizing rows of pews when we read accounts of New Testament worship, the tendency to read our own experience back onto the text, and so to miss much of what was really going on, is always at work.

Almost every congregation I work with as a consultant likes to think of itself as a New Testament church, yet every one of them, in very basic ways, ignores many of the core principles that shaped the New Testament church. Not intentionally, to be sure, but out of ignorance of how the New Testament church related or from a largely unexamined assumption that some very radical differences between New Testament practices and ours are superficial, with no consequence for the vitality of church life or the effectiveness of its mission.

This carefully researched fictionalized account of a first century house church meeting gives the reader the flavor of a community worship experience that few of us have personally experienced, and so gives us a glimpse of what we may be missing when we settle for "church as usual." And it can show us just how far we have strayed from the New Testament pattern with some of our modern practices and concerns.

A couple of churches I have worked with have struggled with the question, "Is it okay to have meals in the church building?" In the house church meeting dramatized in this booklet, the fellowship meal is the central event of the worship. In emphasizing the importance of eating together for nurturing Christian community, I have told some churches that for the New Testament church, the question would not be, "Is it okay to have a meal at church?" but rather, "Is it possible to have church without eating together?"

For anyone who wants to catch the flavor of what going to church in the first century was like, this booklet is a delightful read.


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