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CHRSITAN LIVING QUESTION 8
If communal living was practiced in the Bible (Acts 4:32) why isn't it for us today?
There are many things practiced in the Bible that are not taught. A good rule to follow is the four Gospels, Acts and the Epistles. For an example: What is mentioned in the Gospels, practiced in the Acts and taught throughout the Epistles, we rightly conclude it is for us today. Foot washing, as in John 13, is mentioned in the Gospels, but never practiced in the Acts and is not taught, as mentioned, in the Epistles, so we rightly conclude it is not for us today.
Communal living was never mentioned or taught by our Lord in the Gospels, however it was practiced in the Acts, but is was not taught in the Epistles; so we must conclude it is not binding on Christians today. It was practice at Jerusalem in the early chapters of Acts and was likely for a two-fold reason. It was because they were poor and each one pooled their resources in order to live. So in Acts 2:44 and Acts 4:32-37 we have it practiced.
The other saints later send help to these poor saints at Jerusalem. See Acts 11:28 and Romans 15:25-27. In the second place, there was severe persecution of those earlier Jewish believers. "At that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem" Acts 8:1. Many were imprisoned, beaten and some put to death. It seemed best under these circumstances to live together. Although this might not be taught for all believers, in the scriptures it is not necessarily wrong to do so. There are likely some lands where it is necessary. It is likely accompanied with more disadvantages than otherwise, so at face value would not seem to be wise.
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated February 1st, 2014 by Sandra Felix