Amazon Link for When the Church Was a Family
When the Church Was a Family
Recapturing Jesus’ Vision for Authentic Christian CommunityBy Joseph H Hellerman
Spiritual formation occurs primarily in the context of community. But as the modern cultural norm of what social scientists call “radical American individualism” extends itself, many Christians grow lax in their relational accountability to the church. Faith threatens to become an “I” not “us,” a “my God” not “our God” concern.
When the Church Was a Family calls believers back to the wisdom of the first century, examining the early Christian church from a sociohistorical perspective and applying the findings to the evangelical church in America today. With confidence, author Joseph Hellerman writes intentionally to traditional church leaders and emerging church visionaries alike, believing what is detailed here about Jesus’ original vision for authentic Christian community will deeply satisfy the relational longings of both audiences.
When the Church Was a Family depicts the author’s vision of what a church family should be based on life in the first century church. The author documents through Bible stories and scripture verses the hierarchy of family relationships and loyalty. Through this family relationship, the church family is adopted in.
The book is interesting, thoughtful, and well written. The author believes that the Bible shows that Christians should be accountable to the church family not only for his/her behavior, but also for vocation, spouse, and residence. The author believes that a Christian’s loyalty is to the church family over the spouse and children, based on the blood-based orientation to kinship. This Mediterranean-style family would require the male to be loyal to his brothers over his spouse and children (the church family being the adopted brothers and sisters).
Pastors, church leaders, and those wanting to learn more about the first-century church will enjoy this book.
My opinion is that this system in today’s society would be fraught with abuse and people who crave control. Jim Jones and David Koresh had congregations based on this system.