Summary: The spread of Christianity hinges on behavior, not beliefs. The current American lifestyle and the institutions that serve it don’t provide Christians with the opportunity to truly behave like Christians. In order to change this, Christians have to be trained to live like healthy families.
In the last post, we learned the apostle Paul pointed out 4 major characteristics of healthy families in his writings in the New Testament – affection, unity, sharing and loyalty. In a healthy Kingdom community, these characteristics will be consistently and frequently present.
Beliefs don’t cause growth
In fact, it was these characteristics that caused the Church to grow and expand in the first place. The society that it was born into was passionately pagan. By default, people believed in many gods and called Christians “athiests” because they didn’t also believe in those gods. As you know, they were even killed for their beliefs. So obviously their beliefs were not what caused the movement to grow. Instead, take a look at how Joseph Hellerman describes it in When the Church Was a Family…
To arrive at a truly comprehensive explanation for the expansion of Christianity, we must move beyond ideology (beliefs) and enter into the social world (behavior) of the early Christians. We must understand how Christians related with one another and with their pagan neighbors.