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Jesus never envisioned His Church to be run by a religious elite. On the contrary, His design was intentionally nonreligious. Let us review the record:
1) None of the 12 apostles belonged to the religious establishment. In fact, they were Galileans, a group largely despised by the religious clique in Jerusalem.
2) None of the leaders in the Early Church were priests or leaders in the Temple. Paul had been a prominent rabbi, but was dismissed by the establishment the moment he became a believer in Jesus. In fact, the Early Church looked to marketplace leaders, as opposed to religious leaders. Where would we find these people today?
Peter, John and James—food industry (fishing)
Matthew—IRS/savings and loan manager (tax collector)
Paul—RV manufacturing (tent-making)
The Seven (see Acts 6) —businessmen
The Ethiopian first convert—banker
Dorcas—manufacturer of inner garments
Lydia—upscale clothing material distributor
Cornelius—senior military officer
Simon the tanner—leather goods
3) The Gospels were written by religious outsiders: a medical doctor, a retired tax officer, a fisherman and Mark, who may have been the scion of a wealthy family, the modern equivalent of being the CEO of a private foundation.
4) The Church wasn’t conceived in a religious setting, such as the Temple or synagogue, but in a private home—most likely owned by a businessman. The Church was then born in a secular setting, the marketplace.
5) When the moment came to introduce a revolutionary principle—that Gentiles could and should be accepted into the Church—God used three marketplace leaders: Peter, Simon and Cornelius (see Acts 10).
6) Finally, the Church’s international headquarters was established in Antioch, most likely to protect it from the religiosity coming out of Jerusalem.
All of these points lead us to conclude that Jesus never intended for the Church to be a subculture but, rather, the counterculture. The Church was not meant to assimilate itself into society, but to change society by transforming its cities.
Written by Ed Silvoso. Excerpted from Prayer Evangelism Copyright Gospel Light/Regal Books. Used by permission. Content distributed by WorkLife.org > Used for non-profit teaching purposes only.