In A Biblical Church, I note the commune nature of the Church of Acts, and my position that this is the Biblical example that modern churches should follow if they consider themselves Bible-based. I’ve discussed this with several people, but Polycarp’s comments are the most considered rebuttal I’ve received.
I find his arguments weak, based on what people wish the book of Acts to say rather than what it actually says. In particular, using 1 Cor 11:22 (“Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in?”) as evidence of significant private property in other churches strikes me as grasping at straws, and out of context straws at that. I concede that Paul’s letter to Philemon suggests that Christians may own other Christians as slaves without condemnation (though Paul does plea that Philemon treat his Onesimus as a brother rather than a slave). Acts 4-5 suggests, however, that if Philemon were to sell Onesimus, he should likely give the proceeds to the church, not holding back anything. I discuss Old Testament slavery more on astudent’s blog. There is limited guidence in the New Testament as to how Christians should treat their slaves.
But while I disagree here with Polycarp (not to be confused with Polycarp of Smyrna, who is unlikely blogging anymore), I think his rebuttal is worth reading and I’d be remiss in not pointing it out here.
- A Biblical Church
- Centrality of the Church to the Christian – Pt 4, Support (Polycarp)
- Does the Bible condeone slavery? (astudent)
- On Heresy (Ben Simpson)