Early Church Lesson #1: Fundamentals Without Fundamentalism


June 13, 2019

Acts 2:14-21 (NIV)

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

“‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.’


From Day 1 of the Church, two unified realities have guided us. Immediately, upon being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter began to preach the Word of God.

Two fundamental resources enable us to be the fruitful followers of Jesus in the World:

1. The Word of God. 2. The Spirit of God.

One without the other leaves persons, communities, and even entire religious movements in the state of arrested development known as  “fundamentalism.”   On the one hand, the Word without the Spirit invariably moves toward a fundamentalism characterized by rigid legalism. On the other hand, the Spirit without the Word moves toward a fundamentalism characterized by unbridled chaos. The former counterfeits order. The latter counterfeits  freedom. The truth: Neither are either.

Word and Spirit are the fundamental fundamentals that together keep us out of the ditches of religious fundamentalism.

1. To be discipled in the way of Jesus means to live life anchored, rooted, and immersed in the wisdom, world and story of the Scriptures. It is to be a person of One Book. 2. To be discipled in the way of Jesus means to live life animated, intoxicated, and infused with the love, gifts and power of the Holy Spirit.

Keep in mind, we are not aiming at a 50-50 mix of the two. This isn’t about living in the so-called “tension” or trying to find a “middle way” between them. It is 100%-100%, Word and Spirit bonded in an inseparable, indivisible nuptial union.

All we need for the life God created us for is right here: Word and Spirit.

How are you working with these resources? How would you like to be?




Do you tend to be stronger in your understanding and experience of the Word of God or the Spirit of God? What might growing in this weakness look like?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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