The New Testament is replete with references to the social component of religion. Together, “the twelve” were instructed and trained by the Master. These chosen men reacted to one another in such a way that, while originality of each person was not lost, it was undoubtedly delightfully transformed. As a result, everyone gained knowledge from everyone else and each became a mirror in which his fellow followers might see virtues to emulate and vices to avoid. So it was with “the seventy” and the Church when it emerged from the apostles’ molding hands, warm and pliable with God’s vitality and breathing the breath of heaven.
The New Testament makes no mention of life as a lone Christian. It was never even remotely possible to entertain it before the Church had lost the spirit of its Head, who had come to unite men as brothers. The Church was viewed by Paul, Peter, James, and John as a family, and they used all suitable figures of speech to express this relationship in their teachings. The Love -feast and the Class -meeting, in their essential characteristics, were means of grace employed by the apostles and their fellow Christians. They held the identical activities that make up a Methodist class meeting in their assemblies. The gifts of the Christians were called up in these gatherings through prayer, song, exhortation, and instruction for the benefit of all. (Read Romans 12:12 in the Epistle to the Romans. Check out 1 Corinthians 1:6.) Take note of the early Church’s entire philosophy and way of life.
A later and more corrupt era was brought about by the mistaken and restricting belief that only preachers can bear witness for Christ. Christians were commanded by the apostles to encourage and uplift one another, and they carried out this )instruction. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:11. This verse provides clear guidance on the topic at hand. This kind of reciprocal service was expected of Church members. As they spread the gospel to others, started new churches, and established new hubs of gospel light and power, their spiritual father and minister was not present. The Church’s members helped one another grow. They did not utilize claimed pastoral oversight or neglect as justification for disregarding all of their responsibilities as Christians.
Throughout my time as a minister, I have seen large church communities nearly fall apart when a pastor leaves temporarily. These people identify as Jesus Christ’s warriors. They are a part of the Lord’s army! Such would take a million of them a million years to take a village for Christ. Where did they obtain this idea of what it means to be a Christian disciple? Which kind of conversion did they experience? The Bibles should be there. Who are their spiritual leaders? The writer briefly assisted a Baptist church in San Francisco whose members, in the absence of a pastor, continued to attend all of the church’s social events for several months without losing enthusiasm or interest. They adhered to the New Testament and gained knowledge of the rights and obligations of the living members of Christ’s living Church from it.
Under the guidance of John Wesley and his associates and successors, Methodists were able to reclaim the proper perspective and the proper behavior. Both the Church’s lost freedom and power were reclaimed. In its assemblies, the cloak of stillness was shattered. The desert saw the resurgence of spiritual life, and the wilderness experienced a rose-like bloom. A resurrection took place. It was the resurrection of a buried gift; the living, glistening, expanding, joyful, and bearing testimony Church arose; and “New Testament Christianity” once more walked the earth in its original splendor and performed its miracles as at the beginning.
The Classmeeting was not created by Methodists. Only was revived. It started out alongside the Christian Church. It emerged from the yearning for heavenly truth and virtuous human community that is inherent in human nature’s instincts, needs, and ambitions. Although it was given the name “Methodist” by the Methodists, it was actually the inevitable rebirth of an apostolic institution after a powerful work of God had restored the fundamental beliefs, practices, and polity of the uncorrupted Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was a natural result of a functioning Christianity, not an invention. Its components were present in the conditions brought about by the great revival, and the law dictating that New Testament Christianity must and will express itself in New Testament forms caused them to solidify into the shape it eventually acquired. The Church of Christ’s ancient practices returned together with the return of the primordial spirit.