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Redefining “Good” for Christians – The early church—made up of ordinary people like you and me—followed Jesus’ instruction to make disciples. Peter, Paul and others reasoned with spiritually oriented seekers, both Jew and Greek, in a wildly pagan world rampant with spiritual distortions, false gods and numerous occult practices of the mystery sects. Their world was much like our neo-modern age.
The outreach pattern of those 1st Century Christians was to find people of similar background—and befriend them, not scold them. Since the message was so new, those who shared the gospel offered it as rescue and hope, news that was almost too good to be true. Their tone and behavior communicated compassion, not condemnation. Conversions were radical and sincere, but new believers still struggled to disengage from bad habits and practices. No one was graded pass/fail on a once-for-all spiritual exam.
In that cultural context, “good” stretched far beyond today’s moralistic, finger-pointing boundaries and became a guide for believers’ interaction with their unsaved neighbors. What can we learn from the early church that will improve our witness in the 21st Century?