CYBERJOURNAL FOR PENTECOSTAL-CHARISMATIC RESEARCH #28
The Impact of Interpersonal Relationship in the Church
By Kolawole Oladotun Paul
The first Christians were revolutionaries. The group they formed was, in many ways, very different from what we know as the Church today. According to the Book of Acts, they met in their homes and devoted themselves to God’s Word. As a result, these early Christians brought about the most amazing and powerful transformation the world has ever known. In view of this, the research explores the relational nature of the Church as explored in the early phase of the Church obviously recorded in the book of Acts of Apostles. Christians emerged in the midst a tremendously diverse Roman melting pot of social and religious ideas and through purely peaceful means completely changed the Empire and united it under the banner of Christianity. And they did it without a single mega-church, television program or website. They simply opened their homes, spoke the truth fearlessly and trusted God for the results. Long before Christianity became a dominant , it was a divine movement of God. Long before Christianity found a comfortable home in church buildings, it was an active body of passionate believers.
Keywords: Christianity, Christ, Church, God, Interpersonal Relationship.
GOD: A RELATIONAL BEING
God is relational; this is due to the fact we were made in His image we are also “relational beings.”[i] Our calling in life is to share His life and have fellowship with one another — outside of our relationship with God, our relationship with our fellow man is our supreme reason for existence.[ii] The most important things in all creation by far are the “people” who inhabit this planet; as such, they are to be the chief occupation of our lives.[iii] We are to love and care for them as we do our own lives; this is God’s will for the entire human family; believers and non-believers alike (Gen 4:9; Mt 22:37-39; 25:35-45).[iv]
Essentially is the way God wired us. The problem with man is that his interior makeup was completely marred and corrupted when he stumbled in the Garden; hence he now lives life in a way that runs contrary to God’s intended purpose and design. Relationships are our reason for existence relationships with God and with our fellow man. Throughout life we constantly interact with people some of our associations are a great help to us spiritually, while others may be a great hindrance to us. All of our relationships affect our “well-being” in some way be it physically, emotionally, or spiritually. It is through relationships with others that we grow and evolve into the people we become.
Therefore, it is important that we cultivate relationships that improve our lives spiritually and imbue us with godly values and meaning. Proverbs 13:20 tells us that we will be significantly affected by the people we choose to relate to either we will become wise by associating with those who are wise, or we will suffer destructive consequences by associating with those who are imprudent. us our associations affect both the growth and the development of our lives. If living a healthy, productive life is really important to us, we will give serious attention to the relationships we foster.
THE CHURCH AS RELATIONSHIP
The Holy Trinity is a communion of Persons in mutual self-giving and love. In the Triune God, there exists relationship between and among the Three Persons. If God were not a Trinity, there is something He could not communicate to us – relationship. As the “family of God,”[v] the Church mirrors the Trinity in the sense that there is relationship in the Church. In truth, the Church is relationship. This reality is empirically verified in each and every believer who exists always in relation and never in isolation in the Church.[vi]
Being a part of the Body of Christ as a member of His Church, I am fully aware that I am in relationship with the members of Christ’s Body individually and collectively. Hence, the person who sits beside me on the pew during Mass is a member of the Lord’s Body just as I am. Even those who are not in the church are my brothers and sisters as well and I must reach out to them in brotherly love. I belong to so great a family united by the bonds of faith, hope and love gathered into one Body by the Holy Spirit.[vii]
This relationship in the Church is called koinonia – fellowship, or even more aptly, communion. The Church is communion. It exists “so that you may have fellowship (communion) with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn. 1:4). St. Paul, in closing his second letter to the Corinthians, imparts to us this blessing: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor 13:14).[viii]
This “communion” of all the members of Christ’s Body is called the Communion of Saints. Of course, we who are wayfarers on this earth who have to constantly face the challenges of the world, the flesh and the devil who constitute the Church Militant are in communion with each other. But this communion of all Christ’s faithful is not bound by space and time. Our relationship with one another, marked as it is by love, transcends these limitations. As love is stronger than death, then our relationship is not broken by death. Like St. Paul, we too are “sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39).
It is thus clear that our loved ones those who have gone ahead of us to the next life are in reality not far away from us. We are bound to them by the same sentiments of love and devotion we had for them in this world. In fact, they are even closer to us now than we can ever imagine because they are no longer limited by space and time. The saints in the glory of heaven are interested in our affairs and assist us by their prayers. We are truly “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1) praying for us, cheering for us and egging us on to finish the race.[ix]
We also not forget the souls under purification in Purgatory, the Church Suffering. As our dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to share in their burden by praying for them offering to them the benefit of our suffrages and good works. While they cannot pray for themselves, they nevertheless pray for us. Thus, we fulfill the law of Christ to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2).[x] Our membership in Christ’s one Body allows us to broaden our relationship unto cosmological proportions. As members of Christ’s Church, we are empowered us to enter into relationship with the holy angels, our “fellow servants” (Rev. 19:20, 22:9) who concerned with our salvation (Heb 1:14).[xi] We can have friendship with them, especially to our own guardian angels. Our Lord Jesus clearly revealed the truth that we do have guardian angels when He said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 18:10).
While the Church is relationship, it certainly does not mean that I am limiting my relationship with those who are within the visible confines of the Church. Certainly, I have to relate with the men and women of goodwill who are not yet in communion with the Church. This includes our separated brothers and sisters. I must pray for them and foster the unity of the Church prayed for by the Lord: “That they may all be one” (Jn 20:21).[xii]
The Lord Jesus Christ instituted His Church as relationship, specifically family relationship. Our Lord’s task was to build a family for God – God’s family – and that is the Church. In that family, we have relationship with God as our Father and with Our Lord Jesus Christ as our Brother, the “first-born among many brethren” (Rom 8:29). We are now brothers and sisters in Christ, “sons in the Son” of the Father. But just before Jesus Christ ended His earthly life on the Cross, the Savior established a relationship between His beloved disciple and His mother: “Woman, behold your son! … Behold your mother!” (Jn 19:26-27). God’s family, the Church, is now complete.[xiii]
As the Lord’s beloved disciple, I too must take Mary, the mother of Jesus, into my own home and begin the relationship of a “mother and son” as willed by Jesus my Brother. Having accepted Mary as my mother, I must now let her teach me the essence of relationship with God, her Son Our Jesus Christ and with my brothers and sisters. Mary’s “maternal presence” in my life is a continual reminder that I am fully a person and that we are truly Church only in relation with the other and others and never in isolation from them. “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself” (Rom. 14:7).[xiv]
RELATIONSHIP IN THE EARLY CHURCH
The concept of biblical fellowship spiritual significance of people in our lives revolves around the concept of “fellowship” in the New Testament. e primary meaning conveyed by the Greek term koinonia is that of “participation” this word is used nineteen times in the New Testament, and in addition to being translated “fellowship,” it is also translated “contribution,” “sharing,” and “participation;” and can also be translated “partnership” and “communion.” Do you see the commonality in each of these words? ere is no sense of abstraction in the use of the word, but rather of actual participation in that to which the term refers. e sense of sharing and self-sacrifice that is inherent in the word is clearly evident in those references dealing with financial support in the early church (Rom 12:13; 15:26; 2 Cor 8:4; 9:13; Gal 6:6; Phil 4:15; Heb 13:16).[xv]
It is clear in these passages that Paul viewed the contribution for the needy Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, taken up from the poverty-stricken Gentile Christians in the Hellenistic world, as the ultimate expression of fellowship among Christian people. Furthermore, that the early church-maintained fellowship daily (Acts 2:42), is evidenced in the communal lifestyle Luke describes in Acts 4-5. It should also be noted, just as one may participate in God-honoring activities with fellow human beings, so one may also engage in sinful acts of wickedness (1st Tim 5:22; 2 Jn 11); so the word fellowship is not just reserved for the godly interactions of believers.[xvi]
The Bible says the first-century Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship” note the connection between the apostles teaching and fellowship. When a believer is in fellowship with God, he becomes consumed with His Word, and the desire to share the dynamics of it with other Christians.[xvii] Just as sports is the topic of interest to the athlete, and music is to the musician, and science is to the scientist, so biblical truth is to the believer. When people are out of fellowship with God, however, they have little appetite for the Word and are almost always out of fellowship with other believers. Fellowship with God and fellowship with other believers go together they are inextricably linked.
As Greg Laurie puts it, “Fellowship is praying together, serving together, and growing together spiritually.”[xviii] Thus, Christian fellowship essentially is a mutually beneficial relationship with fellow-believers those who believe the gospel are members of God’s family (as such, they are brothers and sisters in Christ), and their oneness in Christ is the basis of their fellowship. Though we all have friendships and relationships with unbelievers, true spiritual fellowship can only occur within the body of Christ, because of the mutual ministry of the Spirit in our lives, and our common beliefs, purposes and goals. Just as “iron sharpens iron,” in true Christian fellowship Christians sharpen one another’s faith and stir one another to exercise that faith in love and good works (Prv 27:17; Heb 10:24-25).[xix]
Isolation is one of the most dangerous things that can occur in the believer’s life. Scripture tells us “we need each other” (1 Cor 12:7-21; Eph 4:16) and that there is “strength in numbers” (Ecc 4:9-12; Mt18:20).[xx] It is good to know that when we need someone to pray for us, that we have a network of friends to draw upon or when we need a word of encouragement, that there is someone of like faith there to share it with us (2 Pet1:1).[xxi]
We practice fellowship when we serve the body with our spiritual gits and our natural abilities, and the more we serve and care for the body the more conscious we become of the needs of the body… the Holy Spirit then moves us to help meet those needs. Church is more than a service it is a living organism; it is a body whose head is Christ, and as long as all the parts of the body are connected to the head, they will work in perfect unison with each other (Eph 4:16). The first century church used to meet every day and partake of the Lord’s Supper, signifying their fellowship and union with Christ and with one another. e term “one another” is mentioned 54 times in the New Testament such injunctions teach believers how to have healthy relationships with each other.[xxii]
FLAIR OF INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP IN THE EARLY CHURCH
1. The early [xxiv]Early observers of the movement recognized the first believers were committed to an important objective truth claim: Jesus Christ is God Himself and the only way to enter into a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe. This common truth and relationship to Christ became the unifying force behind the movement of God. Look at what Tertullian (a church scholar who lived in North Africa c. 160-225AD) had to say as he described the young Christian believers:
In the midst of terrible persecution and hardship, these early believers were able to stay focused on God instead of their own situation. As a result, regardless of their personal circumstances, they were able to live with . Read these words from unknown author of the Epistle to Diognetes (written c. 130AD):
Aristides presented a letter to the Emperor Hadrian (c. 117-138AD) and described the uncommon joy of early believers:
Early Christians did not to church, they the church; they did not attend church services, they impacted their culture as the people of God. They assembled not as the end goal, but as a way to equip them to be the people God intended them to be and do the work God intended them to do. Listen again to Tertullian:
Because they had surrendered so completely to God’s call on their lives, they began to live as the children of God. The world took notice. Again from Tertullian: The research observes that the early believers
These early believers understood why God had given them the limited wealth they had. They did not have the burden of having to support programs or pay for a church building. Meeting in homes, and led by regular men of character, these first believers were able to pour all of their financial gifts into the care of the needy.
6. The New Testament repeatedly describes small groups of believers lead by laypeople called elders. These elders were not paid staff, but simply men of character who rose to leadership based on their passion and gifting. Look at what Tertullian observed:
The world also quickly recognized there was something very different about these Christians. They represented something noble and pure and were influential in their communities. Read these words from the Epistle to Diognetes (c. 130AD) as this ancient letter describes how powerfully Christians reflected God’s nature in the world. Early Christians stood apart from the world because they had been transformed by the power of God and had surrendered themselves to their Lord in both word and deed.[xxx] Clearly the early believers were their faith, and not merely to church. In fact, there was institutional church to go to, even if they wanted to. Yet the movement was impossible to stop, and it eventually encompassed the known world.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE EARLY CHURCH RELATIONSHIP ON THE CONTEMPORARY CHURCH
One of the reasons why many believers “stop meeting together” is that they think in terms of what they Get from a meeting rather than what they can give to it - did not Jesus say, “Give and it shall be given to you”? (Lk 6:38).[xxxi] Sadly, many spouses have “getting” as their rst priority; is it any wonder then that they have become disillusioned? Some really poignant verses that help us understand the importance of approaching fellowship with the right attitude are found in Eph 4:11-13 - “He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”[xxxii]
The research notes that this passage shows us that God’s people need to be prepared for works of service, because it is through these works that the body is built up… as we serve one another in love we grow deeper into unity and become mature in faith and look more like Christ. When we approach fellowship with an attitude of “what we can give,” we bind ourselves to our brothers and sisters in Christ through our service to them. But, this will never occur if we are takers or Spectators it will only occur if we are givers or servants.
God wants us to be active members of the body of Christ, fully playing our part, and this cannot happen if we do not come together and serve one another. Christians are to encourage one another and stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24-25). When they do that their times of meeting together are uplifting and edifying, and everybody leaves having been built-up and encouraged; incident-ally, that kind of atmosphere causes people to want to come back for more, as opposed to a self-centered atmosphere of criticism and complaining. If you will encourage others through your service, you can be sure that God will see to it that you are encouraged as well (Matt 6:33).[xxxiii]
Thus fellowship places us in the position to build up our brothers and sisters in Christ and to experience an infusion of God’s grace into our own lives. In short, fellowship involves a conscious effort of getting to know others and establish strong ties with them so that we can encourage them and also be encouraged, thus resulting in our growing together in Christ and experiencing greater measures of grace… and ultimately developing a strong healthy community of believers.[xxxiv]
The application of relationship in the church following the ascension of the Lord Jesus, some three thousand souls were added to the church as they listened to Peter proclaim God’s prophetic Word; by the way, these converts were all Jewish; essentially the early church was completely Jewish.[xxxv] The physician Luke goes on to describe the life of the church following these conversions. He states in Acts 2 – they continually devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.[xxxvi] And everyone keep feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.
And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them all, as anyone might have need. And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47). Every rest evidence Luke mentions of the Spirit’s presence in the church is that “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.”[xxxvii]
The early disciples sat at the apostles’ feet, hungry to receive instruction, and they persevered in it (also see Acts 17:11) the life-giving content for the church is revealed truth. As John Stott says in his commentary on the book of Acts, “Anti-intellectualism and the fullness of the Spirit are incompatible, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth” (Stott, p. 82). A commitment to the apostles’ teaching is foundational to the growth and spiritual health of every believer. Peter wrote, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet 2:2). And to the Romans Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2).[xxxviii]
On this note, Harry quotes John MacArthur says in his commentary on Acts, “Scripture is food for the believer’s growth and power… there is no other” (MacArthur, p. 83). Such words should remind us what the Lord said to the prophet Hosea;[xxxix] “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos 4:6). e church cannot operate on truth it is not taught… furthermore, believers cannot function on principles they have not learned. Despite the hate, ridicule and persecution the early disciples suffered, they remained faithful to the apostles’ teaching. It should be noted, contemporary devotion to the apostles’ teaching means submission to the authority of the New Testament.
Luke goes on to say that these early disciples also devoted themselves to fellowship (knononia); Koinonia comes from the word koinos meaning “common.” As believers we share in common the “life of Christ” — and as Christ was in this world, so we are also to be His eyes, ears, mouth, hands and feet in the world. Luke immediately goes on to describe the way in which these rst Christians “shared their possessions” with one another as anyone had need (vv. 44-45). Many of the early Jewish Christians lost their livelihoods due to their profession of faith in Christ, and the rest of the fellowship stepped in to meet their needs.
It is interesting to note that the Essene leaders of the Qumran Community (an ultra conservative, monastic, ascetic Jewish community near the Dead Sea), were committed to the common ownership of property; any candidate who was accepted into its membership was obliged to hand over all of his property to the community.[xl]
The issue of “common property” has been debated at various points throughout the history of the church as to whether or not this “injunction” is one that all believers should heed. It is important to note, however, that even in Jerusalem the sharing of property and possessions in the early church was “voluntary” the fact that “they broke bread in their homes” clearly suggests that many believers had obviously not sold them.[xli] Nowhere are we told that the church sold everything and pooled the proceeds into a common pot.
Furthermore, such a principle for Christian living would have obviated the responsibility of each believer to give in response to the Spirit’s prompting (cf. 1 Cor16:1-2).[xlii] The message conveyed in Acts 2:45 is that people sold property as anyone might have need. Regarding the sin of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 it was not one of greed or materialism, but one of deceit; they simply pretended to give everything they had so that others would revere them and think more highly of them. e “injunction” given to believers in Scripture is that of being generous toward the poor and the needy; essentially Christians are called to “generosity.” us Christian fellowship is Christian caring and Christian sharing.[xliii]
The first community of saints reflected the power and design of God in their lives as a family of believers. This early history of the church simply reflected the teaching of the Bible as it recorded the nature and essence of the very first community of saints in this passage in the Book of Acts. The early Christians didn’t attend church, they the Church; an active, energized body of believers equipped to change the world. Today’s Church can learn something from the Early Church.
For a Christian to fail to actively participate in the life of a local church is to withhold his services to the body and to live outside of the will of God. We were not gifted for no purpose. Those who choose to isolate themselves and refuse to serve in some capacities are disobedient to the direct command of Scripture. The author of Hebrews charges us to “consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together (as is the habit of some), but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near” (Heb 10:24-25). Therefore, the research strongly opines and concludes that the Bible; explored in this research through the lens of Acts does not envision the Christian life as one lived apart from other believers; all members of the universal church, the body of Christ, are to be actively and intimately involved in a local church.
Agnes, Silas. The Triage Phase of the Church in Progress: Early Church in View: An Historical Appraisal. Ghana: Alvins Press, 2014.
Ajith. Fernando, The NIV Application Commentary: Acts. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998.
Andrew, J.P.K. The History of the Church in Acts. New York, Apollo Place: Inter varsity Press, 1989.
Arnett, J. J. . Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2010.
Barrett Kingsley and Charles, A. Viewing the Church Through the Lens of Acts of the Apostles. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1994.
Benton, Ann. Paul, The Gathering of Brothers in Acts (Norton Street: Inter-Varsity Press, 2009.
Dupon, J. The Source of Acts: The Present Position in the Nigerian Church. New Jersey, Prentice Hall. 1964.
Elkind, D. . New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1981.
Gaebelein, Frank E. The Movement and Progression of the Church in the Early Century. Grand Rapids, Mi.: Regency Reference Library, 1981.
Gilligan, C. Exposition of the Book of Acts. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982.
Greg, Michael. I believe in the Holy Spirit: Acts of Apostles. Grand Rapids: Williams Erdmann Publishing Company, 1975.
Guthrie, Donald. Motyer, J. A. Stibbs, A.M. and Wiseman, D. J. The New Bible Commentary: Acts of Apostles. London: The Inter-varsity Press, 1970.
Otis, Green. The Last of the Giants. Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, 3 1991.
Oyeshola, Dokun. Interpersonal Relationship in the Church. Ile Ife, Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo University Press Limited, 2005.
Parsons, Mikeal Carl. The Church and Fellowship of Believers in the Early Days of Time. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2008.
Peter Dark, Interpreting the Book of the Church: Acts. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999.
Robert L. Gallagher and Hertig Paul, Mission of the Church in Acts. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2007.
Roney, K. The Book of Acts with a Spectacle. Greenwich, CT: Information Age, 2005.
S. Hodder, Fellowship and Relationship is all I See. Michigan: Intervarsity Press, 1980.
Samuel Whitefield, Moving Towards a Biblical Understanding of Relationship. Grand Rapids, 2004.
Scales, P. C. Influence of Persecution. Westerville, OH: National Middle School Association, 2010.
Shipler, D.K. The Works of Christians in Regards to the Ongoing Schism in the Church. New York, Times Books, 1986.
Wallace, John. The State of Early Christian Church in My World. Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, 1982.
[i] Kingsley Barrett and A. Charles, Viewing the Church Through the Lens of Acts of the Apostles (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1994), 67.
[ii] Parsons, 26.
[iii] Mikeal Carl Parsons, The Church and Fellowship of Believers in the Early Days of Time (Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2008), 23.
[iv] Barrett and Charles, 66.
[v] Parsons, 25.
[vi] Frank E. Gaebelein, The Movement and Progression of the Church in the Early Century (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Regency Reference Library, 1981), 56.
[vii] Donald J. Guthrie, A Motyer, A.M. Stibbs, and D. J. Wiseman, The New Bible Commentary: Acts of Apostles (London: The Inter-varsity Press, 1970), 67.
[viii] Gaebelein, 59.
[ix] Parsons, 34.
[x] Gaebelein, 60.
[xi] Barrett and Charles, 69.
[xii] Robert L. Gallagher and Hertig Paul, Mission of the Church in Acts (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2007), 34.
[xiii] Gaebelein, 68.
[xiv] Parsons, 41.
[xv] J.P.K. Andrew, The History of the Church in Acts (New York, Apollo Place: Inter varsity Press, 1989), 218.
[xvi] S. Hodder, Fellowship and Relationship is all I See (Michigan: Intervarsity Press, 1980), 89.
[xvii] Peter Dark, Interpreting the Book of the Church: Acts (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), 1912.
[xviii] Michael Greg, I believe in the Holy Spirit: Acts of Apostles (Grand Rapids: Williams Erdmann Publishing Company, 1975), 11.
[xix] Green Otis, The Last of the Giants (Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, 3 1991), 261–264.
[xx] Samuel Whitefield, Moving Towards a Biblical Understanding of Relationship (Grand Raphids, 2004), 23.
[xxi] Greg, 15.
[xxii] Otis, 89.
[xxiii] D. Elkind, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1981), 2.
[xxiv] C. Gilligan, Exposition of the Book of Acts (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), 23.
[xxv] Elkind, 4.
[xxvi] Gilligan, 24.
[xxvii] Gilligan, Exposition of the Book of Acts, 65.
[xxviii] Ibid, 66.
[xxix] K. Roney, The Book of Acts with a Spectacle (Greenwich, CT: Information Age, 2005), 96.
[xxx] Gilligan, 76.
[xxxi] P. C. Scales, Influence of Persecution (Westerville, OH: National Middle School Association, 2010), 69.
[xxxii] Scales, 67.
[xxxiii] Ann Benton, Paul, The Gathering of Brothers in Acts (Norton Street: Inter-Varsity Press, 2009), 76.
[xxxiv] J. J. Arnett, (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2010), 78.
[xxxv] Ajith. Fernando, The NIV Application Commentary: Acts (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998), 23.
[xxxvi] Greg, 19.
[xxxvii] Arnett, 79.
[xxxviii] Dokun Oyeshola, Interpersonal Relationship in the Church (Ile Ife, Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo University Press Limited, 2005), 128.
[xxxix] Harry Clark,
[xl] John Wallace, The State of Early Christian Church in My World (Nashville, Tennessee: Broad man Press, 1982), 89.
[xli] Silas Agnes, The Triage Phase of the Church in Progress: Early Church in View: An Historical Appraisal (Ghana: Alvins Press, 2014), 12.
[xlii] J. Dupon, The Source of Acts: The Present Position in the Nigerian Church (New Jersey, Prentice Hall. 1964), 87.
[xliii] D.K. Shipler, The Works of Christians in Regards to the Ongoing Schism in the Church (New York, Times Books, 1986), 145.