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The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where it is belived that Jesus died and rose again

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where it is belived that Jesus died and rose again

For several years I have preached that we must resurrect the Jerusalem church. This church combined amazing miracles with radical economic equality, they were zealous in evangelism so that people came to faith every day, and they faithfully hold on to the teachings of the apostles (Acts 2:42-47). They were in all ways doing church as Jesus wanted them to do, since it was led by His hand picked apostolic disciples. From the first post I wrote on this blog throughout my writing, I’ve emphasized that we must be like the church of Jerusalem.

Yesterday I found their website.

The greek orthodox patriarchate of Jerusalem seems to be the exactly sam church that was founded on the day of Pentecost 2’000 years ago. Even if Jerusalem has been conquered and even destroyed a couple of times the church claims to have an apostolic succession back to good ol’ James, Jesus’ brother. They celebrate their services in Koine Greek, the language of the New Testament, and their main church is built upon the place where they think that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead. I find this extremely cool.

Of course, things have changed over the years. They do not practice community of goods very much, apart from the monks and nuns. Their theology is a bit different. But their mere existence made me think about a few things:

  1. Catholics are Protestants. We who have a Western mindset often think that the Orthodox split from the Catholic church in 1054 but of course it can be seen as the other way around. The Catholics wanted their pope to rule and to add filioque to the Nicene creed, which made the Orthodox to painfully exclude them.
  2. We should honor, pray for and study the church of Jerusalem. This church will always be our spiritual mother, regardless of which denomination we belong to.
  3. However, we must recognize that the modern church of Jerusalem still needs to go back to its roots as much as we do. They have indeed changed, a lot. For example, a lot of its Arab members complain over that mostly Greeks are priests. Just because you have apostolic succession doesn’t mean you’re apostolic, unfortunately.

And by the way, as Israel now seems to have attacked Syria, let us pray for the peace for Jerusalem, and that the church their will be a nonviolent peacemaker that end the oppression of the Palestinians.

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5 Comments

  1. orthodoxmom3 says:

    Interesting post. Just a brief comment/question at this time: by community of goods, do you mean giving of alms or sharing with others? Because if that’s what you are referring to we certainly do still do that. A lot. I’m sorry, I haven’t had time to read any of your other posts. What church do you actually belong to?

    • Hello sister, thanks for your comment!

      I think that the community of goods that we read about in Acts 2 and 4 exceeds alms giving, it brings total equality so that there are no longer rich or poor. Alms giving is great but if the rich are still rich after they’ve given alms, they haven’t given enough. I’ve written more about this in my blog series God vs Wealth, https://holyspiritactivism.wordpress.com/god-vs-wealth/

      I belong to a non-denominationa charismatic church in central Sweden. I identify myself with the Vineyard movement, Anabaptism and, of course, the early church.

      Blessings!

      • Nicholas says:

        Think you run into trouble projecting the very real possibility for such a society that we have today (thanks to the most recent agricultural revolution, new political theory, automated production, etc.) onto 1st Century Israel.

        I can’t imagine that, from one line in Acts, we can determine that the more wealthy Christians who, say, owned the houses that housed the communion services, gave up all their accounts and animals in such a way that they did not possess more assets than others.

        After all, maintaining those households wasn’t cheap.

        Is such a society possible today? I would risk saying yes. Should it be realized? Yes. Is such an inherently political claim compatible with Christianity? Not merely that, it is a moral imperative; an imperative that ought to be realized not by fleeing into little escapist, xenophobic colonies, but by going out into the world and fighting for such a society, while practicing it to the degree possible in our current society.

        Was the 1st Century church a part-for-part microcosm of such a hoped-for society? I think that’s more pious wishful thinking than history.

        • Hello Nicholas!

          The problem with liberal exegesis, i.e. claiming that the text doesn’t mean what it says, is that it often is very hard to prove – and the burden of proof of course lies on the denyer. Your only argument, as I see it, for a non-literal reading of the account in Acts is that the church met in wealthy people’s homes, and thus those wealthy people were richer than others. Now, there is to my knowledge no mention at all in the whole New Testament that Christians specifically met in rich people’s homes. There is no evidence for that. We may imagine ourselves that more people would have fit in wealthy houses, but what says that they wanted big meetings in the first place?

          Furthermore, Acts 4:34 clearly says that the Christians sold their houses and fields and gave their money for redistribution at the feets of the apostles. Of course, this was not a practice to make 3000 people homeless and unemployed, but when they got money back from the apostles they bought a New home – and if they were rich before they now lived more simple, and if they were poor before they now were better off.

          This equalization of wealth and economic community was in no way foreign to their time as it is in our individualistic capitalist culture. The essenes practiced community of goods as well. And more importantly, early church writings shows that large parts of th church continued to practice community of goods. https://holyspiritactivism.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/god-vs-wealth-part-4-the-church-fathers/ It was definitely not something that only Jerusalem did.

          Likewise, many churches practice community of goods today, not only monasteries, but even evangelical churches like the Jesus Army in the UK. I find it very disturbing of you labelling this biblical practice escapist and really offending that you call it xenophobic. This is of course a ridiculous statement. On the contrary, community of goods is a radical and effective tool to equalize wealth, be a prophetic sign against the wealthy and an outpost and embassy for the Kingdom of God.

          God bless you,
          Micael

  2. Deb Kean says:

    Indeed, Michael, this is extremely cool! Thank you so much – and I was just moved to pray for Jerusalem.

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The author

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Check out my YouTube channel!

A Living Alternative

God vs Inequality

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