In Those Early Days


Jim van Heiningen



1) All believers realized they belonged to one universal (catholic) church, yet there were no “Catholics”.

) There was every effort to keep heresy at bay and, on the whole, the church was truly orthodox, yet there was no “Orthodox Church”.

) Their lives, marvelously transformed, were truly reformed, but there was no “Reformed Church”.

) The congregations had their presbyters (elders), but there were no “Presbyterians”.

) Their elders were also called “episkopois” (bishops or overseers – Acts 20:28; Phil. 1:1), but there were no “Episcopalians”.

) They might ‘quake’ at the living Word of God, but there were no “Quakers”.

) Believers were baptized (not their babies), yet there were no “Baptists”.

) All believers were taught to continually congregate (Hb. 10:25), but there were no “Congregationalists”.

) Their meetings were conducted with the methods found in the New Testament, but there were no “Methodists”.

) They were taught how to live holy lives, resting in Christ, yet there was no “Holiness Church”.

) They were followers of the Nazarene, but there was no “Church of the Nazarene”.

) The “captain of their salvation” (Hb. 2:10) commanded a vast ‘army’, yet there was no “Salvation Army”.

) They all shared in the blessings of Pentecost, but there were no “Pentecostals”.

) They were built on the apostolic foundation (Eph. 2:20), and taught the apostolic doctrine (Acts 2:42), yet there was no “Apostolic Church”.

) Their faith rested squarely on Christ and his Gospel, yet no need was found for a “Church of the Foursquare Gospel”.

) The Holy Spirit was present with all his ‘charisma’, yet He never created a “Charismatic Movement”.

) Thousands of congregations (assemblies) came into being, yet not one “Assemblies of God Church” could be traced.

) All these congregations consisted of brethren in Christ, yet there were no “Brethren Assemblies”.

) The brethren were united to Christ and to each other, but there was no “Church of the United Brethren”.

) Being true brethren in Christ, they certainly knew the amazing grace of God by experience, yet no need arose for “Grace Brethren Churches”.

) Their Lord was their Teacher – they were the disciples – yet there was no “Disciples of Christ” church.

) All were truly one “ekklesia” (church) of Christ (Mt. 16:18), yet there was no denomination called “Church of Christ”.

) God had taken over their lives, they worshiped God, they obeyed God’s word, but they didn’t start a “Church of God”.

) When the Evangel (the Gospel) had set them free, what could their faith and worship be but evangelical? Yet there was no “Evangelical Free Church”.

) Their alliance with God and with each other was real, but there was no “Christian & Missionary Alliance”.

) What Christ had done for them on Calvary’s cross was the turning point of their lives, yet not a “Calvary Chapel” in sight (nor any other ‘chapel’).

) Christians were totally committed to the Bible as God’s Word, at a time when hardly anyone owned a part of the Bible, leave alone a complete Bible, yet there existed no “Bible Church” anywhere.

) Many took to heart the Lord’s word, “Go, work in my vineyard!” (Mt. 21:28), yet “Vineyard Churches” were unknown.

) The Christians formed living, vibrant communities, open to the general community around them, but there were no “Community Churches”.

) All believers, having their thirst quenched by the Lord’s living waters, congregated in local churches in more and more towns and villages, yet no “Living Stream Ministry” with a “local church” movement had appeared on the scene.


31) They were followers of the Christ, the Head of his church, and had no need of another “(visible) head”, a “Vicar of Christ” – a “Holy Father” in a “Holy See” in Rome.

) Those who wanted to tag on to a specific man of God were rebuked for their carnality (1 Co. 3:3-5). This could concern a Paul, an Apollos, a Luther, a Calvin, a Menno Simons, a Wesley, a Darby, a Campbell, a Simpson, a Chuck Smith, a Wimber, a Witness Lee or some other great.

) They were saints in Christ and they knew it, but there were no “Latter Day Saints” – or even “Former Day Saints”.

) They were fully persuaded about the Lord’s advent, looking forward to his return and the rapture, but there were no “Seventh Day Adventists” – or, for that matter, “First Day Adventists”.

) The Lord’s command to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth was obeyed (Acts 1:8), but they were anything but “Jehovah’s Witnesses”, nor was a “Watchtower Bible & Tract Society” put together to keep them supplied with literature.


36) The inspired Scriptures were their one source of assurance, guidance, blessing, motivation, authority, training, perseverance and message (2 Ti. 3:14-17), even when there was no “Vulgate”, no “King James Version”, no “Scofield Reference Bible”, no “New World Translation”, no “Recovery Version”, nor any “Study Bible”.

) They had continuous meetings with readings, teachings, testimonies, singing, prayer and other forms of fellowship, but no need was found for temples, basilicas, cathedrals, “churches”, chapels, or other “sanctuaries” or “shrines” – meeting, as they generally did, very simply in their homes.

) Even should a mega meeting have taken place at some point, there certainly weren’t any mega churches.

) As soon as they believed and were baptized, they were made fully aware of their status and responsibilities as members of the body of Christ (Ro. 12:3-8; Phil. 1:3-6; 1 Co. 12:19-27; 1 P. 4:8-11) – the notion of a “laity”, ruled by a “clergy”, would have looked to them like mischievous interference from another planet.

) They had effective Christian fulltime workers, servants of Christ (2 Ti. 2:15; 3:16-17), yet “seminaries”, “ordination”, “reverend” titles, etc. were conspicuously absent.

) They were shepherded by a plurality of elders (Acts 20), who were appointed strictly from their own ranks (Titus 1:5-9), thus precluding the need for any “hiring” of men from the outside – men who’d be pledged a salary in order to do the pastoring for them (Jn. 10:11-13).

) Their appointment of elders had to be in strict compliance with the spiritual qualifications listed (1 Ti. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 P. 5:1-4). Talent, flair, position in the world or human wisdom were not listed – and still haven’t made God’s list today.

) Their ministry was Seeker-sensitive – sensitive to the One who had come to seek and to save that which was lost. As they ministered to the ‘lost’, they were not “seeker-sensitive”, they were “sinner-sensitive”.

) Centered in Christ, they were characterized by “Christ-esteem”, not “self-esteem”. It was the “message of the cross” (i.e. “the power and the wisdom of God” – 1 Co. 1:18-25) which made all the difference. They were taught that to try and skirt the cross of Christ was “foolishness”, even Satanic (Mt. 16:21-26).

) Their singing was to God, not to man. If this was artistically less than perfect, it was genuine, congregational and a joy to the heart of God (Col. 3:16). Choirs, organs and music bands had nothing to do with it.

) They earnestly contended for the faith (Jd. 3), battling Gnostic, Montanist and later Arian heresies, thus effectively consigning a “Book of Mormon”, the writings of a Helen White, or a periodical called “The Watchtower”, to being “outmoded” before they were even “inmoded”.

) Their daily meditation on God’s word gave them the only true “prosperity” – that of “the tree planted by the rivers of water” (Ps. 1:1-3) – material “prosperity teaching” could only have been “preposterous teaching”.

) With their possessions at God’s disposal, they always had the supplies to carry out God’s work in God’s time (Phil. 4:19), therefore “tithing”, collection plates and appeals for money were foreign to them, and would have been an affront.

) As they preached, they would promise spiritual healing to those who would submit to the divine Physician (Ps. 147:3; Lk. 4:18), even so, and though at times physical healings would accompany their preaching, there was no question of “healing campaigns”.

) They “preached the word” and they “preached the Lord Jesus”, even as they were driven from their homes and loved ones (Acts 8 & 11) – “and the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord”. Lots of things were missing: comfort-zone, return-tickets, organization, pulpits, gimmicks, big names, etc. – all they had was the grace of God“.