Monday, June 22, 2009

"The Other Book"

So in addition to the IBLP study I'm doing, I currently switch off with Raising Godly Tomatoes and another book. These are the questions for study this week from "the other book". Which I'm hesitant to list the Title so as not to confuse or set you up with preconceived ideas about the answers. Seek them out for yourself. I would love to hear any thoughts or comments.

1. Suppose it were possible to write to the original apostles, asking them about church life. Do you suppose they would answer back that they expected you to follow their examples regarding church practice or would they have encouraged you to follow a way of your own devising?

2. How can the axiom form follows function be applied to the way that the apostles first set up and organized churches?

3. What passages in the New Testament indicate whether there was a basic uniformity of practice in all New Testament churches or whether each was unique and different?

4. Jesus criticized the Pharisees for holding to their traditions but Paul praised the Corinthians for holding to his traditions. Why the difference?

5. Why is it important to make a distinction between apostolic tradition, as found within the New Testament, and the later tradition of the church fathers, as found in history? Which should be given preference? Why?

6. Mosaic law was paradigmatic in nature. How would the paradigmatic principle apply to commands in the New Testament to follow specific apostolic traditions?

7. How might Philippians 4:9 apply today with respect to the way that Paul organized churches?

8. What gave the apostles authority to establish patterns that all churches are obliged to follow?

9. What is the difference between holding to apostolic traditions and mindlessly copying everything seen in the New Testament (wearing sandals, writing on parchment, studying by oil lamps, dressing togas, etc.)?

10. Jesus washed His disciples' feet and the Jerusalem church practiced communalism. How can we determine what is and is not intended to be an apostolic tradition?

11. What are some of the apostolic traditions for church practice that are often neglected today?

12. What should we make of the fact that there is general scholarly consensus regarding the actual practice of the early church?

13. How, exactly, should today's church view New Testament patterns of church practice? Are the traditions of the apostles just interesting history or should they constitute some kind of normative church practice?

14. Some think it folly to try to recreate the "primitive" first-century church, since it was far from perfect. God expected His church to mature, to grow up, beyond the infancy state, they say. As much as anything, early believers are seen as examples of how not to function as a church. Besides, it is argued, it is impossible to behave exactly like the first-century Church since we no longer have the original apostles with us. How would you respond to this argument?

15. Why is historical church tradition often given preference over New Testament historical tradition?

16. Does the church you fellowship with give careful attention to New Testament patterns, ignore them almost totally, or select cafeteria style which apostolic examples will be followed? How do you feel about this?

There you have them. Just a little light reading and studying for this week. psh. Just so you know, I don't even know the meaning to some of these words, so I have a long haul in front of me.

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