In Acts 8:26-39, Phillip encounters the Ethiopian eunuch. How would you feel if you went down in history identified as a eunuch? The U.S. eunuch? The British eunuch? The Chinese eunuch?

How could the Scriptures be so…personal? Perhaps because Christianity is a culture of total acceptance. Whenever Jesus met someone it didn’t matter if they were an adulterer, prostitute, despised tax collector or leper. They belonged—they were accepted.

I grew up in a church—a great church, great pastor. The traditional system was: believe become belong. I went through their tradition of confirmation instruction. Then I got a certificate that said I was a “member” of the church—the institution. Then, I could take the Lord’s Supper. Then, I belonged.

Jesus did it differently: belong believe become behave. And Phillip operated in that culture of grace and love. And the Ethiopian eunuch, would have felt the love.

Phillip wasn’t hung up on the institution. After some teaching, the eunuch said, “Here’s some water. Why can’t I be baptized?” How Phillip didn’t respond is instructful. He didn’t schedule a baptism the following Sunday at a church building. Phillip was part of a movement, not an institution. Phillip went down into the water with the Ethiopian man and baptized him on the spot.

This is the spontaneous expansion of the Christian movement. This is the explosive growth of the faith.

Isn’t God a God of order? Yes—definitely. But the order doesn’t preclude the movement. It serves the movement, from a subordinated position. Too many churches have that turned around. Christianity is not centered in an institution. It is a movement.

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