Imagine a time when the church is so corrupt that they decide to meet from house to house instead of in a church building. The Bible is not really accessible, so everything you know about God you learn from stories about the Prophets of old. There’s actually this new way of following God that’s revolutionary, on the cutting edge of spirituality, but you have no real first-hand knowledge of it. You only hear stories about it from people you know and you see the way their lives have been changed in recent years. As you explore this new way of life; in fact, as you struggle to follow its teachings, your leaders are only able to read from letters sent to them from friends, mentors and legends of the faith. These great men and women are in fact struggling themselves. They’re struggling to survive and they’re struggling to establish this new thing called “The Way”. They’re encouraging every follower to stand strong in this new way and remember the founder, as he is no longer with us.
The leaders of this new faith reference the patriarchs, the prophets and the old religion. They use what little access they have to the ancient scriptures. Unfortunately, most of these men aren’t educated. But that is the beauty of this new faith, everyone has access to it. You don’t have to be educated! This is a new way of life, a new faith, a revolutionary faith! It’s turning the old faith on its head, upside down and inside out. It’s radical; so radical that people think they’re crazy. Some of them are being severely persecuted because of it, and some of them have even given their lives for it!
In fact, it’s rumored that an attempt has been made on the life of the great leader of this new faith, but miraculously he survived. Some say that he was killed and then resuscitated by skilled physicians. Others say that he simply passed out and woke up a day or so later. Still others believe that his body has been stolen or that maybe he has a twin brother. It’s hard to say what really happened, but this band of new believers is moving forward with such passion and conviction that it is impossible to ignore.
Welcome to the first three centuries of Christianity! Were it that we all could have such conviction and radical faith.