First Century Bible Church is a sovereign entity declared into existence by Dr. Scott Lively in the same manner that the Apostles established churches in the first century AD. It is not registered with the government and recognizes only the Holy Bible and the Unction of God as its authorities. Dr. Lively serves the church in the capacity of Bishop and Trustee over all aspects of its existence, just as the Apostles did.
First Century Bible College is a ministry of Redemption Gate Mission Society, a 501(c)(3) church founded by Dr. Lively in 2008. It operates within the recognized boundaries of modern corporate churches in order to interface with the secular world and its nearly inescapable rules regarding such matters as banking and taxation. First Century Bible College serves as Trustee for the legally separate but spiritually-partnered First Century Bible Church regarding any matters where government interaction is necessary — until such time as government acknowledges in its written policies that the Christian church is truly sovereign as was recognized by America’s founding generation.
The First Century Church enjoyed great unity because the believers lived under the intense persecution of the Roman Empire and had no real choice but to work together both to survive and to advance the Kingdom of God. Just as today, there was wide diversity of personal views on doctrine and other matters, but they kept their focus on the essentials of the faith and exhibited grace and tolerance for differences on the non-essentials. Decisions on doctrine and church life were made by consensus of the elders through study of the Word of God, and open discussion.
During this period, when the church was heavily dominated by Christian Jews, and based in Jerusalem, not Rome, the perspectives of the believers were informed by their first-hand knowledge of Hebrew cultural traditions, symbols and idioms.
First Century Bible College seeks to recreate that intellectual and theological environment to enrich modern Christendom, by providing a “post-denominational” online campus where the the Bible is studied for itself, and the diversity of views can be examined and discussed respectfully by students seeking to “work out their own salvation (sanctification)” rather than being trained to adhere to pre-set denominational conclusions.
First Century Bible Church seeks to break free from the modern structure and practices of top-down religious corporations in which people gather in large groups to be entertained and/or lectured in an auditorium setting, and instead to recreate the intimate, family-centered, home-based, interactive model of Christian congregations in the early days of Christianity.
FCBC also believes that the last generation of believers before the second coming of Christ will face conditions in the world similar to those of the first generation, and thus the church will likely be forced to go “underground” at some point.
The goal of FCBC is to begin now to shift the focus of individual Christians back to the grassroots of society and to facilitate the process of low-tech networking among believers that can easily transition “off the grid” if and when that becomes necessary, while at the same time reviving the early Christian mentality of lifestyle evangelism and discipleship that caused the church (meaning the entire body of Bible-believing Christians everywhere) to grow exponentially just from person-to-person relationships.