One blogger criticizes following a program to be the church:
Everyone loves to idealize the early church. Those were “the good old days.” Entire movements of the church, known as Restoration Movements, have attempted to cast aside all of church history and tradition beyond what we have recorded in Scripture, in the interest of getting back to the “early church,” when it was all working. If we can just do what they did, the rationale goes, we will see what they saw.
What’s his solution?
As we move forward in reading the story of The Movement, let’s take care not to read too prescriptively, in search of principles and such. Let us instead seek to attune ourselves to the person of the Holy Spirit and his nature, character, and ways of engaging with the human community. To be clear, the acts of the Apostles mattered. That’s just not what this story is about.
Oh, too prescriptively. Can we read it a little prescriptively? But wait, isn’t he searching for principles and offering us merely another set of them when he starts ought, “Let us instead …”? Indeed, he is! His problem is not with prescriptions, norms, or principles, but he wants us all to adopt his.
There’s the catch, isn’t it? How to be attuned to the Spirit and to his “ways of engaging with the human community”? Is it not through Scripture? Or are we to wait for some whisper in our ear from above? Or do we go pawing through church history (yours, ours, or theirs?) for those principles?
The Bible is exactly that, prescriptive. Otherwise, chunk it. Go with your hunches. Stick with your unholy-spirit induced beliefs. Find the Holy Spirit’s ways in animal entrails or emotional outbursts. Whatever tickles your fancy.
The writer throws out the baby with the bath water. The book of Acts is normative. It show us how it’s done and how it ought to be done. And why it’s done. And who makes it happen. We need the power and the prescription.