Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Christian Alternative

The Christian Alternative is a different way of looking at church. At present we have no buildings, and a tiny congregation. The main point of our services is to worship the Lord. Our main Sunday services are broken into two parts, the liturgy of the word, and the liturgy of the Holy Communion. While we have nothing against expository preaching, you will only hear it occasionally in our church. Like the Jews in the time of Jesus, we read the lesson, and discuss. The Holy Spirit has been given to all of us, and as a portion of the body of Christ, we are to build each other up. The Bishop or presbyter moderates, and keeps us from wondering off the Christian path.

We use a four year lectionary for the New Testament, and Old Testament readings are read in course (mostly) over a somewhat longer period of time. The only thing we skip are genealogies, so if you attend regularly, over a period of time you will hear the entire Bible read and commented on, minus most of the genealogies.

At present we have no church buildings. Our goal is for the typical church to have about eighty to one hundred people, small enough to know each other. While the goal is to have at least a presbyter and deacon at each church, our understanding is that the main ministry is undertaken by the members of the church, not paid clergy. Our presbyters are primarily spiritual leaders. The office of the deacon is to help those in need, both spiritual and physical. The Bishop is the leader of a group of congregations. Eventually we may build a large church building to be shared by all the churches for special services such as Easter, or funerals or weddings.

Our main focus is evangelism. If we truly know and love Jesus as Lord and Saviour, then we should be sharing the good news. If we truly love our neighbours as ourselves, then we should proclaim the good news to them so they do not go to hell. Our second focus is to grow in faith, as a group. We encourage small group Bible study, and we encourage parents to guide their children in the faith. Children will participate with their parents in worship services. Our goal for individuals is theosis, that is becoming more like God. This is done by studying God’s word, and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and on our lives, and by building each other up in the Lord. We believe the family to be important, as marriage is an icon of the relationship between Christ and his church. Families should get together regularly to study God’s word and worship as a family. We are saddened that in the realm of morals today that Christians do not set the example, and we seek to be salt for society instead of letting society salt the church.

Our primary liturgy for the communion service is the liturgy of St. James, from the third century with repetitions removed. We also use the Apostolic Constitutions as a base for the Eucharist, and for Easter, a liturgy based on the Jewish Sabbath and Passover liturgies. Our goal, is that everyone should go heal the sick, raise the dead and proclaim the kingdom, that is all members are ministers in Christ.

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