The word 'radical' means a return to the roots, to what is fundamental, original, inherent, primitive. In every age there have been Christians who have wanted to return to their roots: to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, to the original Christian community, to the church as it was in the New Testament. Radical movements of this kind have often been attracted by that early Christian community and, in an attempt to recapture it, have formed their own communities.

Our age too has its radical Christian communities - possibly larger in extent and variety than at any other time in the history of the Christian church. Who do we find in them?

Usually these community people are more aware than others that they are searching for an identity, for personal and corporate significance. They sense a need to belong, to build relationships, to become whole. They want to commit themselves to a cause that offers hope - to them personally and to the world in which they live. Most of these communities gain their inspiration from the life and teachings of Jesus and the example of the New Testament Christians.

The early Christians

After the Day of Pentecost, these first believers 'were together and had everything in common'. They met daily in the temple, ate together in each others' homes and sold their possessions and goods to provide for the many practical and economic needs some of them had. For the disciples who had been closest to Jesus in his life and ministry, this was a natural continuation of the lifestyle they chose when they responded to Jesus' call and followed him. They had left their homes and given up jobs to travel with him, and their needs were met from the common purse. The large numbers who joined them at Pentecost found ...

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