The churches about which we read in the New Testament were “eschatological communities.” (I can’t remember where I read that phrase, but it resonates.)
How can there be any eschatological communities today? Every group that postures itself as such sooner or later is derided as a cult. And rightly so.
We do not live in eschatological times. Therefore, we cannot have eschatological communities. That was only possible in the first century. We live in the new age to which those people looked forward.
However, if we cannot have eschatological communities then no church today can say that it is biblical or sanctioned by God – no matter how “respectable” it might be when compared to “cults.”
The church of the New Testament was a once-in-an-eternity phenomenon.
Here is the biblical case for what happened in the first century that caused the end of the world as those people knew it: Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?