The Holy Spirit established the universal church as in Acts 2, and the apostles were ordained to teach it and propagate it, as we see in the Epistles. After the apostles were removed it continued by the work of the Spirit in believers and elders in the various assemblies (after a time of meeting by faithful saints in secret for nearly 1500 years of religious oppression and tyranny). Casting away the traditions and the "emerging" theology ideas today and holding only to Holy Scripture, we should look there to find a scriptural expression of the true church.
As a guide one might find a sound expression of the scriptural order in the following paper from the site at www.biblecounsel.homestead.com
. I believe it can be helpful.
A FOUNDATION GUIDE FOR THE ASSEMBLY
By R. DeWitt, '07; rev. 9/10
[A few thoughts here from other papers to help Christians, who have never heard of the revival of 1827, and were not reared within a scriptural assembly. Some Christians are associated with so-called High Churches who have a formal hierarchy of priestly men and many rituals, with their doctrines, rules, and form; some believers are at the other extreme with various independent, casual, and open sects who follow varied innovations to make them appealing and popular with men; and many Christian groups are somewhere between these. We need, rather, to endeavor to be pleasing to God and yielded to His Word, and a "born again" believer, and that is what this fellowship from 1827 is about.
THE GATHERING PLACE according to the scriptural order for the church, is probably not like anything one has known from the various Christian gatherings they have seen in the world, who often take a name, have a hierarchy of leaders, follow rituals, ceremonies and rules, may embrace worldly ways, have entertainment and activities, programs, innovations, etc. That is man's ideas to please men, rather than true to the Word of God. One needs to decide if they want to be a part of a scriptural assembly as a worldwide fellowship, and as a local expression of that, or follow traditions and the popular ideas of men. A true believer ought to seek to know church truth, church history, talk with the elders associated with the gathering, be baptized, pray much, and be an observer for a time before asking to be received into that scriptural fellowship from 1827. Reception is not dependent on knowing all the Scripture, but one should come simply in faith as a learner. One should come with the thought of "unity of the faith" and in truth. Certainly, we do not expect perfection with any saints, but God has preserved the testimony and pathway that He ordained.
THE WORD OF GOD should be our only authority for the Christian faith, not rules, creeds, the reasoning of men and personal preferences. One should study the Word, seek counsel from sound teachers, and pray earnestly.
THE ASSEMBLY LIFE concerns Christian love, happy fellowship, and the various meetings and function as in Acts 2:41-42 and the Epistles, a Godly spirit, and the care and fellowship for all the saints. One should stand apart from various sects and appreciate the truth of expressing the "one body of Christ