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Most people would associate this term with Sunday, stained glass and sermons. By and large this expression is as meaningless to the unbeliever as a ‘left-handed monkey wrench’ is to most of our wives.
Even within the Christian community there is great variance as to what this term connotes.
In the denominational and Bible church circles, it probably conveys the idea of Bible-believing, or New Testament-teaching.
But if being a New Testament church is a goal to which we strive, we must surely have a more concise definition in mind.
Paul could instruct his readers to imitate his ways because they conformed with what he taught.
His ways were not culturally oriented, but rather universally practiced ‘everywhere and in every church.’ How, then can we distinguish what Paul did, or apostolic practice, from what he taught, apostolic principle?
Should we wash feet and greet one another with a holy kiss? Should we do away with full-time ministers and all make tents?
There must, however, be agreement in what are the so-called ‘fundamentals of the faith.’ By this I refer to the doctrines of the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures, the virgin birth, the literal, bodily resurrection of our Lord; the substitutionary atonement, the second coming of Christ, and the doctrine of the trinity.Surely we are going to have some differences of opinion in some rather disputed areas of theology.We may not all agree as to the precise timing of the rapture with respect to other events, for example.One of the difficulties of human communication is that the same word conveys different meanings to different people.For example, the word ‘peace’ means one thing to an American and another to the communist.