In the Holiday 2009 issue of MaximumPC, they ran an article entitled "Rip Archival-Quality MP3s from Audio CDs." In this article, they explain how to use two different programs (LAME + Exact Audio Copy) work together to create top-quality MP3s from audio CDs. These programs will even create copies of CDs that are highly scratched. This makes it possible to take a CD that would normally be useless and enjoy it once again.
As I was contemplating this article, I realized that as Christians we need to be doing in our religious lives the exact same thing these programs do. When you look at the New Testament, it is quite apparent that the Bible sets forth the pattern for how Christians are to live and specifically how they are to worship. If we follow the pattern of the New Testament today, then we will create an exact copy of the first century Church. If the first century Church, as established by the Apostles, was pleasing to God in the form we find it in the New Testament, then by creating an exact copy of that form today we create a church that is pleasing to God.
Some people say that the New Testament is not a pattern for what the Church should be today. If that is true, then we must ask, "What should the church look like?" And “How will we know if what we have created is pleasing to God?”
It is true that the New Testament contains a pattern. It is also true that the New Testament teaches that the pattern contained within it is as applicable to Christians today as it was to the Church in the first century. But even if it didn't, there would be no better way to ensure that we are pleasing to God than to create a copy of what was pleasing to God in the New Testament.
What then was pleasing to God?
- It was a church with only one head, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5).
- A church that was led by qualified shepherds (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1; 1 Peter 5; Acts 20).
- A church that contained qualified servants (1 Timothy 3).
- A church made up of baptized believers (Mark 16; Matthew 28; Acts 2; 1 Peter 3).
- A church that worshiped in spirit and in truth (John 4; 1 Corinthians 11; Acts 20; 1 Corinthians 16; Ephesians 5; Hebrews 13).
- A church that loved one another as themselves (1 John 4).
- A church that accomplished its mission (Acts 2-5).
- A church made up of sanctified people who are seeking to purify their lives (Jude 1; 1 Peter 1; Revelation 22).
The question each of us has to ask is, “does the church that I attend meet this description?”
Access the programs mentioned in this article here: LAME (http://www.rarewares.org | http://lame.sourceforge.net) Exact Audio Copy (http://www.exactaudiocopy.de).