I see people defending the good work of Pastor Troy and I wonder if his church could be a church for me. I’m not gullible though, and I have researched what the early Christian Congregation was like. If this church is just like the early church then I may join. These are a few of the things I have found out: The early Christians were politically neutral and were not in the military (John 17:16). “A careful review of all the information available goes to show that, until the time of Marcus Aurelius [Roman emperor from 161 to 180 C.E.], no Christian became a soldier; and no soldier, after becoming a Christian, remained in military service.”—The Rise of Christianity, E. W. Barnes. “They refused to take any active part in the civil administration or the military defense of the empire. . . . it was impossible that the Christians, without renouncing a more sacred duty, could assume the character of soldiers, of magistrates, or of princes.”- History of Christianity, Edward Gibbon. “Early Christianity was little understood and was regarded with little favor by those who ruled the pagan world. . . . Christians refused to share certain duties of Roman citizens. . . . They would not hold political office.”—On the Road to Civilization, A World History, A. Heckel and J. Sigman.
Also: The early Christians were all active preachers of the Good News of the Kingdom (Matt. 24:14, Acts 5:42). Historian Neander observed that “Celsus, the first writer against Christianity, jeered at the fact, that wool-workers, cobblers, leather-dressers, the most illiterate and vulgar of mankind, were zealous preachers of the gospel.” In his book The Early Centuries of the Church, Jean Bernardi wrote: “Christians were to go out and speak everywhere and to everyone. On the highways and in the cities, on the public squares and in the homes. Welcome or unwelcome. . . . To the ends of the earth.”
And ﬁnally: The early Christians were all unpaid. Members did not tithe and there was no clergy class. Jesus said “You received free, give free (Matt. 10:8) Take the Apostle Paul as an example: Although Paul supervised a ‘collection for the holy ones’ who were in need, we do not read in the Scriptures about Paul or the other apostles organizing collections or receiving tithes to ﬁnance their own ministries. (Acts 3:6) Always grateful to receive the gifts that the congregations sent him, Paul conscientiously avoided imposing “an expensive burden” on his brothers.—1 Thessalonians 2:9; Philippians 4:15-18. “Though we have our treasure-chest, it is not made up of purchase-money, as of a religion that has its price. On the monthly day, if he likes, each puts in a small donation; but only if it be his pleasure, and only if he be able: for there is no compulsion; all is voluntary.”—Apology, Tertullian, c. 197 C.E. “As the Church expanded (and apostatized) and various institutions arose, it became necessary to make laws which would insure the proper and permanent support of the clergy. The payment of tithes was adopted from the Old Law . . . The earliest positive legislation on the subject seems to be contained in the letter of the bishops assembled at Tours in 567 and the [canons] of the Council of Macon in 585.”—The Catholic Encyclopedia.
So what do you think? Is Church on the Move like the early Christians? The reason I have to ask and be sure is because 2 Thessalonians 2:3 does say that the Apostasy would come and that the “man of lawlessness” (the clergy) would arise. So, I worry when I see an organization that is different from the ﬁrst century Christians and any group that has a paid clergy class are automatically eliminated as being genuine. I would hate to be part of a group that is false, encouraged me to send my kids off to war, didn’t teach me anything and took all my money!
Kyle A. Arite