How Can Congregations be Organized Like the Early Church?

On Saturday April 2, Ex-JW and former Circuit Overseer Richard Rawe interviewd Russ Marten (an elder with the Chicago Bible Students Congregation) about what the Bible says about the formation and structure of the Bible Student congregation, how the early church is set up and how the Bible Students model themselves after this.  You can listen to the recording by clicking here and finding the April 2, 2011 program.  The program started 7:00 pm EDT.  On the west coast it began 4:00 PDT.   The central time zone is 6:00 CDT.  You can participate in each of these mega conference call discussions by calling (712) 432-8710. When asked for pin number use 9925 followed by # (the pound sign). It’s easy to participate. When you come into the conference, you may have to hit *1 to unmute yourself.

The buzz on this topic began back in October of 2010 when elder Russ Marten spoke to the Chicago Bible Students Congregation about how the early Church was organized and how Bible Students organize themselves in much the same way today, in a manner very different from organized church denominations, including the JW Organization.  Listen to the original talk by clicking here:    Serving The Lord With All Humility_Marten-Russ_2010-11-07_D_24k(2)


The head of a large religious organization once said he thought of his church as a symphony orchestra because both church and orchestra abide by strict rules designed to promote majesty and mystery, both have many parts but one message, and both have many players but one leader they all must follow.

Although an orchestra may have some things in common with a religious organization, a better metaphor for Christ’s spiritual church is the human body. This was the apostle Paul’s point of view because he used the expression “Body of Christ” in three of his letters.

The various parts of a human body are used throughout the Bible to illustrate important truths. In this issue these truths are explored in a series of eight articles. Head and Body begins by emphasizing the headship of Christ over the true church which constitutes his body members. This is followed by One Body, Many Members, a verse-by-verse study of 1 Corinthians 12, one verse of which describes Christians as body members.

Truth in the Inward Parts shows how the unseen internal organs represent emotions and feelings. Blood looks at the function of human blood to show how the blood of Christ performs a similar function in the spiritual body.

The Five Senses analyzes how sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch all combine to keep us attuned to our environment and communicate with others. The same lessons apply to our spiritual environment.

The body parts used to exercise power by both God and man are discussed in Arm, Hand and Fingers. Those used to support a body and move it from place to place is the subject of Legs, Feet, and Toes. This article also looks at the special significance of these body parts in the famous statue seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

The final article, The Body of Christ, is excerpted from an article that appeared in this journal more than twenty-five years ago. As is the case with all truth, it is as relevant today as when it first appeared.

We trust our readers will find this review of our natural body as metaphor for our anticipated spiritual body to be a reaffirmation of our all-wise, all-powerful Creator who formed us in his image.

Read more of this Herald Magazine issue by clicking here:

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