By Cougan Collins


Christianity began in Jerusalem. Its birthday was the Pentecost Sunday following the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2). Luke gives us a thrilling picture of those early days in the Book of Acts of the Apostles. If we could take one of those imaginary time tunnels and visit the church in Jerusalem in the first century, we would see pure unadulterated Christianity as it came from the hand of Christ. It bears little resemblance to much of what is seen today. Note the following things you would observe if you could go back to the first century:


  • You would only find one kind of church, Christ's church (Mt. 16:18; I Cor. 12:12-13). No denominations existed. No one wore the names of great preachers, particular doctrines, notable cities, or nations. The disciples were called Christians (Acts 11:26).
  • You would not find a pope, patriarch, president, or some other individual presiding over the church because Christ is the head over all things to His church (Eph. 1:22).
  • You would not find any infant members because only those who believed received baptism (Mk. 16:16).
  • You would not see any baptismal founts for sprinkling because in those days baptism was administered by immersion. Converts went down into the water, were buried with Christ, and were raised up in the likeness of His resurrection (Acts 8:38-39; Rom. 6:4ff).
  • You would not see any women preachers or bishops in that church. The apostles did not permit a woman to teach or have authority over the men (I Tim. 2:12).
  • There would not be any images, incense, prayer beads, or holy water in the church. Such things added by man many years later after the apostles of Christ were dead.
  • There would not be any bands, professional musicians to entertain, or musical instruments in their worship. It wasn’t until the 17th and 18th century that instrumental music became widely accepted in the churches. In the first century they sang and made melody in their hearts (Eph. 5:19).
  • There would not be any reverends or holy fathers. Jesus forbade His people from wearing such religious titles (Matt. 23:8-9).
  • Each congregation would have elders/bishops, deacons, and saints (Phil. 1:1).


You can experience that same kind of original Christianity today by worshiping with a church of Christ near you. We invite you to worship and study with us to learn more about first century Christianity – lgchurchofchrist.com.


Adapted from John Waddy