In this next installment of our Mixtape series, Seth McCoy explores the richness of the early church as described in Acts 2:42-47. The beauty of the early church is evident as we look at this passage and explore the spirit of this church and how that could affect the spirit of the church today. We also look at the myths of this early church as often perceived or romanticized today and breakdown any misconceptions that might get in the way of living out what God has for His church today.
8 thoughts on “Mixtape: Acts 2:42-47”
I agree that those early Christians did not “set out” to develop a new economic model or set out to be radical; it was indeed more organic than that; good point. Now when i hear you say that “some of them sold their possessions in order to meet needs”, i had to pause. ‘Some’ of them? If you’re reading from the NIV, it plainly says that ‘All’ met together and that ‘they’ sold their possessions. When you said that ‘some’ sold, i got a check in my spirit. If you are gonna go with ‘some sold’, you really need to explain that Biblically, yeah? Some of them is not the same as All of them. It sounds like you’re downplaying the fact that All sold; do the names Ananias and Sapphira ring a bell?
How do we interpret this passage in Acts with the teaching in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”?
It’s clear that economics was not the goal, yet the need for money in order to spread the gospel message was clear. One question I have is can you point me to where, in the New Testament, money was raised and given to the poor OUTSIDE the church? I’m not saying it wasn’t, but there are a lot of verses where Paul says he needs money for the poor in the church, or for the saints who are in need. Where do we see the Acts church feeding the poor outside the church?
Very interesting points Vince!
This brings up some serious issues of accountability and responsibly – to what extent actually am I my “Brother’s Keeper”? When you read about the feeding of the 5000 ect… the initiative seems really obvious on one level (apart from the layered eschatological and soteriological metaphors within the text) – Feed all those in need; this is the Kingdom mandate – whomever, wherever, ask questions later, if even. But it is interesting though that in John 6:26 & 27 Jesus says –
“Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
So here subtly, Jesus is kind of telling him off for having the wrong motivation based on his receptivity of sustenance, rather than a repentant heart, which yearns after eternal life. So….. on the flip side of this, if we give super philanthropically outside of our local “flock”, so to speak, what is at the core of our motivation? – whether Paul strictly mandates it or not.
There’s a really great Wiki page on this topic –
Christian views on poverty and wealth – Wikipedia, the free …
When discussing the early church, Historian Alan Kahan points out that –
“The goal of Christian charity was equality, a notion which was absent in the Greco-Roman attitudes toward the poor.”
There has been some push back on this issue though (almost unbelievably!) by some who criticize the incarnational prerogatives of Believers such as Shane Claiborne and Jarrod McKenna, whom they see as supposedly turning “poverty” into a kind of virtue lifestyle, which then boarders subtly on becoming a form of “idolatry”. I think this criticism is categorically absurd, but you can see where it might be coming from (?)
It was the story of the woman who had the daughter with the unclean spirit that got me wondering about this topic. Jesus ignored her, then after she persisted He made it clear that He wasn’t there to help her, calling her a dog! Then she accepted His description of her, called Him Lord, and made it clear that she was putting her trust in Him. In other words, she became a Jesus follower right at that moment, and THEN Jesus healed her daughter. I know this is crazy, but I thought of what it might look like if the community of believers focused their finances inward on meeting all the needs of the saints and how attractive that would be to those outside the church? Even more so in a third world place if all the billions that are sent to a country was diverted to only the church in the country and how many would be attracted to that group of believers who’s needs were being met and they would be trying to find out how this was happening to all those in the church and wanting to become a part of it? Anyway, I’d like someone to send me verses about giving to the poor that weren’t Jews in the old testament or saints in the new testament so I can get this cleared up?
“Anyway, I’d like someone to send me verses about giving to the poor that weren’t Jews in the old testament or saints in the new testament so I can get this cleared up?”
So what you’re saying here, is that you’d like a verse example of an “OT Non – Jew” (assuming you mean someone outside the Abrahamic covenant) and or someone in the NT (other than the Saints) who gives to the poor and or is instructed to do so? That’s a pretty tough bill, but…. how about Senior Nebuchadnezzar?
In Daniel 4:19 – 37 Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is interpreted by Daniel who advises him in verse 27 –
“‘King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and [be merciful to the poor.] Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.”
Well, it seems from the text, that he ignores Daniels advice and sure enough, twelve month later essentially gets his butt kicked for being haughty, arrogant and selfish and ends up living like a beast on all fours, chomping grass for dinner!
Afterwards, when he’s had enough, [possibly 7 years] God restores his senses and prosperity and he declares in verse 36 –
“When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before.”
So….did he start giving to the poor? Not completely for certain. But one would sure hope that he did; unless the lesson might be repeated! The gist of the story is clear though, that if one arrogantly hoards material wealth and never shares, you’d darn well better look out for the Karma boomerang- Ha!
Seth is rather a McCoy fellow…
It’s a stretch, but I’ll take it. How about NT?
Well, whether one see him as a fictitious character within a parable or an actual historical personage, I’d say the “Good Samaritan” Takes the Cake! – Luke 10:29 – 37
Here’s a guy normally despised by the Jews of the day, supposedly outside “The Covenant” people, who not only comes to the aid of the beaten traveller, but then leaves extra cash to cover future expenses and even promises more towards the bill if necessary when he returns. Holy smokes, it doesn’t get anymore altruistic than that!