The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church


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I had the privilege to attend a seminar with the author.

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It is utterly fabulous when an intellectual compiles an in-depth study and delivers it to the layman! God's word gives us all we need and this Iorg and his wife Ann have three children and live in Mill Valley, California. Jeff Iorg. Very worth reading! Leadership decisions in ministries have eternal consequences. Almost every church or organization needs-or soon will need-to be led through major change.

Leading Major Change in Your Ministry is your guide to successfully getting it done.

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Jeff and his wife, Ann, live in Mill Valley, California. Add to Wishlist. Log In to sync your basket across devices. Home Academic Leadership Church Leadership. The leadership team represents the diverse races, cultures, languages, and ethnic groupings of the society. The church at Antioch represents the cosmopolitan outlook of the third largest city after Rome and Alexandria.


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Barnabas was a Jew from Cyprus; Lucius from Cyrene in North Africa; Simeon was also a Jew but his other name Niger is given and, since this a Roman name, it shows that he must have moved in Roman circles; Manaen was a man with aristocratic connections, and Paul himself a Jew from Tarsus of Cilicia and a trained rabbi. With such a diversity of leadership, one would expect disharmony based on tribal, racial, or ethnic affiliation. However, the church of Antioch demonstrates maturity and unity among its own leaders.

While the Holy Spirit plays a major and significant role in the inception and growth of the early church in general, the church of Antioch seemed to rely on the direction and instruction of the Spirit more often than did others Acts , 28; , 4.

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Otherwise, without the aid of the Holy Spirit, how else does one explain the mission impetus and the unity of this unique church? The church at Antioch in Syria demonstrates the effective and transformational role played by the Holy Spirit in a multicultural context.

Iorg, Jeff [WorldCat Identities]

Such a transformation cannot be achieved by human craftiness, intelligence, force, or wisdom—but only by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit Acts It was this church that sent relief to their fellow Christian brothers and sisters in Judea Acts —30; Gal. Apparently, the Antiochenes were not just inward looking; they considered and cared about the plight of others. Instead of adopting a policy of self-indulgence and an attitude of exclusivism, Antioch embraced others with both open hands and open hearts. This is a powerfully relevant model for a contemporary Laodicean church. As the church in Antioch grew, it encountered new challenges.

While a multicultural church presents opportunities for the church to explore its mission capacity and expand, once such growth is experienced, tension is inevitable. Yet such pressure invites the church to be innovative and operate outside the box.

A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church

The major bone of contention for the early church was participation with the uncircumcised Gentile believers around the Communion or fellowship table. Paul could not countenance the behavior of the senior apostle; he rebuked him together with Barnabas for what he thought was hypocrisy. Was it necessary for the Gentiles to be circumcised before they could fully participate in the fellowship meal?

Interestingly, the church at Antioch did not raise theological arguments with the circum-cision party. Instead, the church sent a delegation led by Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to discuss this matter with the church leadership Acts , 3. While the situation at Antioch and that in the world today are removed from each other by centuries, some lessons can still be gleaned for both contextualization and adaption. First, the church needs much innovation to break through the fog of minority seclusion.

The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church

If the church maintains the same old method of monoculturalism, it may not succeed in this pluralistic society. Second, the church should seek transformation of lives. Rather than focusing on the external differences presented by each racial group, the sole purpose of the body of Christ— the church—is to change the lives of believers so that they become faithful and loving disciples. Once lives are transformed, the Communion table allows for fellowship and mutual sharing without any barriers.

Another strong characteristic of the church of Antioch was the diversity of its leadership and membership.


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It is clear that such a combination of various gifts and abilities was not a liability to the church but a very strong asset. The church can tap into the wisdom of an Antiochian model, multiracial church, and use it in a very positive manner. Above all, the church of Antioch was openhearted and liberal in giving assistance to brothers and sisters of another race.

The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church
The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church
The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church
The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church
The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church
The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church

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