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What type of church?

March 13, 2014 | By |

On Monday this week I was asked this question on 2 separate occasions by people I’d only just met and got into conversation with. It’s a good question. I wonder how you would answer it. I tend to answer it by using words like ‘mainstream’ ‘Christian’ or ‘evangelical’.

Since Monday, however, I’ve been re-thinking how I might answer this question in the future – partly, I guess, because on Tuesday I was reminded of how the Christian philosopher Aristides described the church in Rome to the Emperor Hadrian in c.125 AD. This is what he wrote in chapter 15 of his Apology:

“They walk in all humility and kindness, falsehood is not found among them, and they love one another. They do not despise the widow or grieve the orphan. He that has, distributes liberally to him that has not. If they see a stranger they bring him under their roof, and rejoice over him as if he were their own brother; for they call themselves brothers, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit and in God. When one of their poor passes away from the world and one of them sees him, he provides for his burial according to his ability; and if they hear that any of their number is imprisoned or oppressed for the name of their Messiah, all of them provide for his needs, and if it is possible that he may be delivered, they deliver him. And if there is among them any man who is poor and needy, and they have not an abundance of necessaries, they fast two or three days so that they may supply the needy with the food they need. And they observe scrupulously the commandments of their Messiah.”

Churches like this change the culture around them and transform the towns and cities where they are based into places where it becomes impossible to ignore King Jesus. This is the type of church I long for us to become – one that plays its part in seeing Slough transformed into a place where it becomes impossible to ignore King Jesus. How about you?

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