Church in Albany

Gathering all around the Albany New York area in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ



Early Church Practice
from Baker's Evangelical dictionary

The early church practiced the Lord's Supper (1 Cor 11:23; etc.), probably weekly, in conjunction with the agape [ajgavph] feast (see 1 Cor 11:18-22; cf. Jude 12). A twofold meaning is attached to the Lord's Supper by the New Testament authors. First, it involves participation in Christ's salvation-believers are to "do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24-25). A couple aspects of this celebration call for comment.
(1) Historically, the Lord's Supper was a rite commemorating Christ's redemptive death, even as the Passover was a remembrance of God's deliverance of Israel from Egyptian slavery (Exod 12:14; 13:3, 9; Deut 16:3). In remembering Christ's death, believers actualize its effects in the present.
(2) Eschatologically, the Lord's Supper anticipates Christ's return (Matt 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:16, 18; 1 Cor 11:26) and, with it, the heavenly messianic banquet of the kingdom of God (Matt 22:2-14; Luke 14:24; Rev 19:9

Second, the Lord's Supper involves identification with the body of Christ, the community of faith. Two aspects of this reality are touched upon in the New Testament, one positive, the other negative. Positively, the Lord's Supper symbolizes the unity and fellowship of Christians in the one body of Christ (1 Cor 10:16-17). Negatively, to fail to recognize the church as the body of Christ by dividing it is to participate in the Lord's Supper unworthily and thereby to incur divine judgment (1 Cor 11:27-33).

At the same time, believers met in homes for worship (Acts 1:13; 2:46; 5:42). When Christianity and Judaism became more and more incompatible, the house-church became the established place of worship (Rom 16:15; Col 4:15; Phil 2; 2 John 10; 3 John 1,6; etc.). The use of a specific church building did not occur until the late second century.

although there was organized leadership in the New Testament church (elders, 1 Tim 3:1-7; [also called pastors and shepherds, see Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-4; etc.] and deacons, 1 Tim 3:8-13), there does not seem to have been a gap between the "clergy" and "laity."