New movie shows Christianity before church

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By Steve Simms

Before there was church hierarchy and official offices, Christianity was more family than institution! Before there was established liturgy and religious programming, faith in Christ flowed spontaneously from the heart.

The movie, "Paul Apostle Of Christ," captures these distinctions well. It shows Christianity before it was formally organized into a religious structure. (It stars Jim Caviezel and James Faulkner.)

The film doesn't even use the word "church." Instead, it calls groups of Christ-followers "the community." And it portrays the community as being an informal group gathered around their love for Jesus Christ, rather than around human leadership.

Watching "Paul Apostle Of Christ" stirred up my desire to get back to what I call "prechurch Christianity." But is that even possible? Are the days of Christianity being an informal gathering of believers gone for ever? No, by no means.

Through out history, Christians have gathered in informal, unorganized groups to encourage and minister to one another. However, that style of Christianity seems to especially occur when there is strong and direct persecution. Under threat of death, titles and formality no longer matter to Christians.

However, what if God wants Christians to be in informal, family-like groups, even when there is not persecution. Is that possible? Yes! There is a recent handbook about practical ways Christ-followers can meet as families. It's by Henry Hon and is called: ONE: Unfolding God's Eternal Purpose From House To House.

Don't miss the movie, "Paul Apostle Of Christ" in theaters now. And be sure to read the handbook, ONE, that can introduce you to and help you experience "the community" in the present!