Ecclesiastical Authority

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Bob Krajcik, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. Bob Krajcik

    Bob Krajcik
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    Any comments or evidence would be appreciated.

    Montanists; Novationists (Novatian); Donatists; Paulicians; Albigenses; Waldenses; Ana-Baptists; etc.

    Chain link. . . Where is it shown these various groups were granted authority one from another to be churches? Is there definitive evidence to show these groups validated one another and granted one another authority to be true churches and Christian?
     
  2. rsr

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    No, there is not.
     
  3. Bob Krajcik

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    Thank you for the answer.

    Another wrote me direct and said to answer my question about ecclesiastical authority they would have to write a book. Could it be there is no such evidence and that is why they would have to write a book? ;) I'm seeking clarification from them about that.

    It is easy enough to find those groups that are ready to un-church any that don’t seek and hope for authority from their group, but evidence to validate claims of those saying they are alone the true church and Christian seems to be hidden.

    It seems there must be something to the claims as persistent as some are. Are such ones like the rooster that crows each morning and thinks their crowing results in the sun rising? Why are the claims made so persistently?

    If a true church only comes from another true church specifically granting authority, and if any group is not a lawful and true Christian church without specific authority being granted from a validated true church, where is the evidence the Montanists; Novationists (Novatian); Donatists; Paulicians; Albigenses; Waldenses; Ana-Baptists; etc. granted one another authority to be true churches and Christian? Where is the proof these groups had a true church grant them the right to be a true church? What group granted authority to start each of these groups?

    Is the word of God bound, that it is only valid if certain men allow it to be loosed? or is it men of a rightly constituted true church in conjunction with the word that validates and constitutes a new true and Christian church?
     
  4. rsr

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    The evidence is not definitive that any of these groups are forerunners of the Baptists; the Anabaptists have the strongest claim, but it certainly cannot be proven.

    (Unless, of course, you are willing to throw out all the influence of English Separatism, which some are.)
     
  5. Bob Krajcik

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    Ref: Ecclesiastical Authority

    About the questions that no one seems able to answer. . . I’m still reviewing history books. Have you ever noticed, not only have revisionists handled them, but those books are not inspired. Going back to the 16th Century, it is shown Baptists, by the name Baptist, started showing up. Let me affirm, the church that Jesus founded in the first century is the same church that is present today, and that church is visible.

    There were those that broke away from what they perceived as false churches, and one such person was named Smyth. He baptized himself, thus the term se-baptism (self baptism). Others also broke away from false churches, and if they were greeted by those of what is called the one and only true church, with the one and only authorized ordained man, and if they were thus granted authority to be a church and true Christian, isn't very clear.

    Some of the Baptists were from the Ana Baptist it seems, and the Ana Baptists were from the Roman Catholic church. Other Baptists came from the line of the Puritans, and they came from the Church of England (The Anglicans that had that nasty King James Bible that causes many fits today - actually it caused some fits back then also &lt;grin&gt;) The Church of England, well, it doesn’t have such a great pedigree either, by the model that many insist upon today for the one and only authorized true church and true Christian. It very well may be that some of the pure one and only are descended from Ana Baptists, and thus from the Roman Catholic; or perhaps they are descended from the Church of England, and the trail of Puritans and Reformed. &lt;ShUdDeR&gt;

    The usual order is for a new work (new church) to be started up by an existing church in our time, and there is example to show churches started that way in the New Testament as well. What is not very clear, is if there was a special group that held the authority and the laity must keep in there place away from the real church. There is some indication that the distinction between clergy and laity as it is today, is really not the way things should be. There is a division today, between clergy and laity, and it seems there is a priesthood that has replaced the sainthood of every believer. The priesthood has all the authority, however they roll words around about how the authority is really with the church.

    From the very beginning, it is shown in Scripture, there were major problems with churches. The epistles addressed problems that were present, problems before there was even a Book. Now, there are many that have no problems to hear them, and the problem is all those that do not submit to them and all those that do not validate their authority is said to be the ones with problems. The church is alive now, and is visible, but I think because of the model many have created, the church is not really seen by many. Some say, it must be a Baptist church, and not just any Baptist church, but the Baptist church with ones that speak with the most authority and are the most persistent in proclaiming they are the one and only true church and true Christian. Now, these words I am saying have cost me dearly, for I am not going along with the flow.

    I have been taught, by some, that one must submit and attend the college and then they are able to make one a proper preacher and church leader, and of coarse they are the ones, there is no other. Some others say college is not needed, but they must be submitted to and then one could be a preacher and church worker. And many other examples could be given. I have had Christian friends, pastors, previous, that wondered at what I had to say and could not refute what I was saying but did not like what I had to say. The thing is, I don't have it all figured out. I'm just not able to agree that all the different ones that do not agree with and do submit to one another that nevertheless claim to be the one channel of authority are actually the one channel of authority. There sure is a lot of different and contradictory one channel of authority. For myself, I can't get past the verse that says there is one mediator between God and men.

    I sincerely believe there are many true churches, that are very messed up. The ones that might be the most messed up are the ones that claim they are the ones that are the best and the one and only one and only. If all those that broke away from what they perceived to be false churches actually found some men that had the reigns on the Bible, and were allowed to open that book and by that grant authority to the ones with eyes opening, and I have to say it, I have not discovered that there is a group of men that have the authority to close that grand old Book so others are not allowed to gather gold from it. Some say that if they or others of their camp do not authorize baptism, it is an alien baptism, a new baptism. If certain ones do not authorize it, what is heard from the Bible is not valid.

    What I see, is if one follows the Scriptures and baptizes according to the pattern shown there, it is not a new baptism. Many of the one and only would agree with that, as long as they authorized the baptism. But that sort of authorization is not what I am talking about. There have been men, contemporary, in our time, that have been taken out of churches, and did not get greeted by the one and only crowd that says they alone have authority. Some bark and bark at them, but they do not seemed concerned that some insist they are not authorized to love their Lord and serve him as they see from the Scriptures, and their being apart from some men that insist they are the ones and only ones allowed to work for the Lord. All this being said, there should be order, and if a church is working, they ought to go about seeing new churches started and not have them left on their own. Where the problem is, what is really essential and how much authority do certain men have? Are some men a priesthood that are supposed to put others down in order to bolster their own selves, increase their own identity? Do they claim their actions honor our Lord, honor our Lord by these men being a mediator between men and their God that men are not allowed to serve Him apart from certain men authorizing it?

    What, do some men have an identity crisis, and they are not able to study the Scriptures to show themselves approved, so they must go to certain history books and other like minded men with an identity crisis that also desire to be the one and only, the best of the best of the best? Is our precious Lord given a place in all this, or does he stand outside?

    Christ Is In The Midst Of The Church

    Matthew 18:20 (KJV) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

    Today, April 1, 2005, I received a letter, by regular carrier, from India. That letter had to go through some hoops to get to me. It was addressed to a post office box in Apple Creek, Ohio. That post office book has changed hands various times since I used it some years ago. I printed tracts, and those tracts went around and around. In one instance, a man was given for his 80th birthday, as a present from his family, a trip to Israel. That man had some of my tracts (authored by me and printed by me) in his pocket and passed them out in Israel. It seems an unlikely route but that is how it was. That man was from the south, Georgia, Louisiana, I’m not sure now, I never met him, and how ever it happened he ended up with my tracts. This letter from India, beats me, I don’t know how. But I sure hope there was authority from the right one and only authorized one and only, because I would not like to have to go to Israel or India and say, forget it, you are not allowed to have that word so it doesn’t count, toss away any benefit and erase the slate. You know, the funny thing, some years ago, a man sent printed gospel messages to me, and to many others through his church. I made two copies, and sent them to two men in two different prisons, for two different crimes. Those copies had the pastor/preachers name on it, the church name and address. They were not marked as copyright and there was no note about do not copy. I wrote to thank the preacher for that church news letter and told him what I did with his gospel message. He went south on a north bound lane. He wrote to tell me I had no authority to share that gospel message because he didn’t authorize it. You see, he was a one and only, best of the best. I sure hope those poor souls in the prison knew enough to check to make sure there was proper authorization from some one and only fleshly man, before they allowed for any spiritual benefit from the message. Actually that newsletter came from a church and Bible college, and be sure, I have some real stories to tell about them. That wasn’t my only experience with them. I have been a member of two churches that had pastors that taught in that Bible college, and for a very short time, I attended that Bible college. Be sure, I learned some real lessons, but perhaps not like you might expect. It is safe to say, I am not on their list of favorites, but be sure, they are not getting any blue ribbons from me. One day perhaps I’ll give a testimony of my pilgrimage, before I cross over the river (Job 14:1).

    Should I laugh or cry, or just express nothing? These things really make me bounce around.
     
  6. ktn4eg

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    The fact that there may not necessarily be sufficient documented evidence available to 21st century researchers doing work to either defend or debunk a certain view on "ecclesiastical authority" [now there's a real Baptistic term, isn't it?] to perpetuate the institution that Jesus Christ called "His church" cannot prove either the validity or invalidity of such a (if you will) "chain-link succession" of "true churches" from the 1st century to the present.

    A considerable amount of semantical speculation will probably forever remain in "The Search for the 'True Church' Throughout History."

    EX: Would a "mission" that was authorized by the church at Corinth prior to their receiving Paul's letters be a "true" mission?

    Then too, one must consider the fact that to put some course of action down in writing and have such documentation signed under certain circumstances might also result in the utter death and destruction of both parties given the "non-baptistic-friendly" cultural environment that characterized the greater portion of Western civilization down through the centuries.

    The adage that written history (and, by extention, its primary sources) is that which is written by "the party in control" is also a factor one must take into consideration when researching the bulk of western ecclesiastical history.

    Would one expect to find a wealth of "fair and balanced," accurate and objective primary sources still available in the archives of the groups (both Catholic and Protestant) that were persecuting these "infidels"?

    Probably not.

    To put it in a more contemporary analogy, let's suppose that both Iran and North Korea and a few other rogue states tossed in for good measure were somehow successful in nuking the US into oblivion tomorrow.

    Then centuries from now along comes a reseacher seeking to find out what he can about this once mighty nation called the United States. Unfortunately, all that he finds was in the state libraries at Tehran and Pongyang. Happy to find anything about this one-time global super power, he gladly publishes his findings on the "true America."

    Yeah, right!

    And so it is when we approach the study of the people we now call Baptists (e.g., our last two Democrat Presidents, Jesse Jackson, M.L. King, and Jerry Falwell). Anyone care to take on a synthesis of their Baptistic views to include the authority by which they justified their actions?

    Didn't think so.
     
  7. Bob Krajcik

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    Thank for the comments.

    Here is some things to think about, regarding companies of believers.

    From A History Of The Baptists, by John T. Christian:

    The author believes that in every age since Jesus and the apostles, there have been companies of believers, churches, who have substantially held to the principles of the New Testament as now proclaimed by the Baptists.

    Note from Bob Krajcik:

    Those were not called Baptists, but they were a company of believers. The Baptists that are saved are no more than a company of believers.

    From A History Of The Baptists, by John T. Christian:

    Baptist churches may disappear and reappear in the most unaccountable manner.. Persecuted everywhere by sword and by fire, their principles would appear to be almost extinct, when in a most wondrous way God would raise up some man, or some company of martyrs, to proclaim the truth. The footsteps of the Baptists of the ages can more easily be traced by blood than by baptism. It is a lineage of suffering rather than a succession of bishops; a martyrdom of principle, rather than a dogmatic decree of councils; a golden chord of love, rather than an iron chain of succession, which, while attempting to rattle its links back to the apostles, has been of more service in chaining some protesting Baptist to the stake than in proclaiming the truth of the New Testament.

    Note from Bob Krajcik:

    Calling a portion of the company of believers by the name Baptist is a relatively new thing, starting about the 16th century. The company of believers prior to the 16th century certainly had much blood spilt and that segment of believers called Baptists have been spared much of that but have a remembrance of the past as they take on the principles of the New Testament. Emphasis directed toward the accommodating the principles of the New Testament should be what the Baptists strive to be known for and not simply assigning the name Baptist to the company of believers from past ages while claiming their suffering. Look to the past.

    "We live," says Everwin, of Steinfeld, "a hard and wandering life. We flee from city to city like sheep in the midst of wolves. We suffer persecution like the apostles and martyrs because our life is holy and austere. It is passed amidst prayer, abstinences, and labors, but every-thing is easy for us because we are not of this world" (Schmidt. Hist. et. Doct. de la secte des Cathares, II. 94).
     
  8. robycop3

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    Scripture simply says that Paul, etc. established CHURCHES. They aren't named except for their locations. JESUS said, "church at Smyrna", etc.

    I believe the various names came about when certain groups of Christians began to emphasize a certain portion of the Scriptures, or made certain rules for selecting leaders, etc. For example, Baptists emphasized baptism, Presbyterians called(and still call) their leaders "presbyters", while the Church of Rome, seeking to become the one and only church, began calling itself "catholic", which means,"universal". While I suppose we'll continue to ID the various denoms by their traditional names, I don't see any writ from God granting any of them a charter. I myself am Baptist, not because I believe the Baptists are the only true denom, but because the baptist beliefs most closely match my own...belief that Scripture is literal, that JESUS commanded believers to be baptized if possible, that baptism is by immersion, etc.
     
  9. Paul33

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    Stop looking for the true church and start looking for true believers. There have been true believers sprinkled in among the churches throughout the generations.
     
  10. Bob Krajcik

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    Thanks Brother Roby and Brother Paul33,

    Thanks to both for your comments. You have helped me examine this closer. First, I agree, Jesus did not give a specific name for the churches. Jesus did not specify a name for the churches, but there is nevertheless orders for how the churches are to be administered (1Tim 3:15). Second, not looking for the true church, but instead look for believers in all the different churches is a popular thought, but there is a problem with that in my opinion, that is sometimes overlooked.

    What is one to do that finds they are in a church that has clearly taken false practice? For an example, in the midst of those that practice effusion or sprinkling there might be those of faith, but are not practicing according to the order given in the New Testament. If one is convinced such practices are false, they should come out from among them, but let each one be fully persuaded in his own mind. Regarding such things, without being harsh, men ought to maintain their own ways before the Lord (Rom 12:18; Job 13:15). No matter what that church calls itself, come out from among them. Faith and practice should be conformed to the written word. There is much that could be considered.

    Believers ought to be engaged in more than simply higher learning. Adherence to the precepts of the word is the banner that identifies the believers and there is the church. A precept is a rule of action, an order issued by a lawful authority, therefore we have the words of faith giving Scriptural doctrine to guide us. The word possesses authority because it speaks whatever God commands (Deut 30:11-13). For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little. When we act on the light given, our steps lead us closer, but when we fall back or stop, it is the world that encroaches on us. For our growth in the things of God, it is a little here, and there a little. The meat is not higher learning, IMHO, but is instead the doing of the word (Isa 28:9-10; James 2:21-25; 4:17; 2Cor 6;14-18; 1Pet 3:10-17; Ps 60:4).

    Quoting the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament: “Furthermore, man in his depravity is tempted on the one hand to reject God's commandments and on the other hand to add to them by interpreting them very minutely. The latter leads to the sense of secure arrogance that one is even doing God a favor. Therefore God declares that one is not to add to or to diminish from the commandments given (Deut 12:32; cf. Deut 5:32).”

    Regarding lawful authority for establishing a new church, I’m still wondering about evidence regarding authority granted horizontal from an existing church being essential, or instead, vertical apart from the direct approval of an existing church. I recognize horizontal by the missionary efforts of an existing church is the usual, and it is certainly safe to follow that example. I wonder what is essential, however.

    I have heard of one church that started by boot leather. Those that started the new church were booted out of their original church. I have no further details but it seems an interesting concept.

    By grace,
    Bob Krajcik
     
  11. Paul33

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    You don't need another church to sponsor a new church start. Find one other person who believes like you and go for it!

    Your precept upon precept thought is exactly opposite to the contextual situation. They were sick of the Word. So God came to them with "do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there - so that they will go and fall backward, be injured and snared and captured."

    You don't want to be taught precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. That is a sign of God's displeasure with you!
     
  12. Bob Krajcik

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    Paul33,

    Thanks for your reply. We differ somewhat on the meaning of the passages from Isaiah 28:9-13, but I appreciate you sharing. I agree, God was displeased as shown in Isaiah 28:11, 13.

    Myself, I think it is intended that precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little for the good of those to be taught knowledge and made to understand doctrine. Spiritual is to be compared with spiritual (Jos 1:8; Ps 1:2; Acts 17:11). My understanding is that Isaiah 28:10 shows a way that is intended for the good of God’s people.

    To show I am not alone in this understanding, Matthew Henry comments on this by saying: “...For our instruction in the things of God it is requisite that we have precept upon precept and line upon line, that one precept and line should be followed, and so enforced by another; the precept of justice must be upon the precept of piety, and the precept of charity upon that of justice. Nay, it is necessary that the same precept and the same line should be often repeated and inculcated upon us, that we may the better understand them and the more easily recollect them when we have occasion for them. Teachers should accommodate themselves to the capacity of the learners, give them what they most need and can best bear, and a little at a time, De 6:6-7.”

    Also, notice that Isaiah 28:12 says, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. If they would hear, they would be blessed. The word ought to be our delight (Ps 1:2; 40:8; 119:70, 77, 174; Rom 7:2). Further, God writes the law on the heart, and teaches His people to fear Him, that they would persevere in the things of God (Pr 16:6; Jer 32:40).

    There are those that God is displeased with, as I understand, and to them the word of the LORD is unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken (Isa 28:13). Such ones were hearers only and not doers of the word. And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness (Eze 33:31). Such ones made a mock of the things of God and how they were presented to them, thinking it an affront to them, for they knew many words, but did not understand.

    Again, for example to show others hold this understanding, I refer to Matthew Henry: “They would not heed. It was unto them precept upon precept, and line upon line (Isa 28:13); they went on in a road of external performances; they kept up the old custom of attending upon the prophet’s preaching and it was continually sounding in their ears, but that was all; it made no impression upon them; they had the letter of the precept, but no experience of the power and spirit of it; it was continually beating upon them, but it beat nothing into them. Nay, It should seem, they ridiculed the prophet’s preaching, and bantered it.”

    Again, thanks for your reply. This challenges me to examine these things while considering what you have said.
     
  13. Bob Krajcik

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    Something else that might explain my understanding, to one there is a savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. To the one there is blessing with precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; but to another a curse from precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.
     
  14. robycop3

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    Several times, Paul calls a church "the church of God". He says he had persecuted the CHURCH OF GOD before his conversion, and refers to the CHURCH OF GOD at Corinth several times.

    Could be that Paul was referring to the true Christian church at Corinth as opposed to the passel of churches & temples to the pantheon of hellenistic "gods" worshipped at Corinth. However, there's no doubt he was referring to Christianity in general when he said he'd persecuted the church of God.

    I was almost swallowed up in Herbie Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God early in my Christian walk, but the HOLY SPIRIT saw fit to open my eyes to its falsehood by placing his annihilationist doctrine in front of me, something I already knew was false. That led me to look at more of his theories & discover most of'em were crackpot. Ol'Herbie was a master huckster, and it took some real study on my part to shake his stuff off.(That's about the time when I began to discover the falsehood of the KJVO myth.)

    Herbie had taken Paul's words & applied them to his own org. Now, I'm firmly convinced that his WWCOG was a pseudo-Christian imitation of a REAL church. there are many other churches that call themselves "Church Of God", but their doctrines are sometimes dubious as was herbie's.

    Now, I believe COG is just a name with no more ecclesiastical backing than any other.
     
  15. Bob Krajcik

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    Amen! Thanks for the post Robycop.
     
  16. gb93433

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    Do you know about what happened a few years ago with the WWOG in the shake up? If what I read was right, most of them left but those who were left were there to follow God. They had a new leader who started following God.
     
  17. dh1948

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    All this stuff sounds like Landmarkism to me...especially the ABA brand of Landmarkism. As a Landmark Baptist (ABA) for years, I was taught that Landmark churches could trace their history through an unbroken chain all the way back to the sea shore of Galilee. Heard some feeble attempts by a few ABA "theologians" to prove the perpetuity of Landmark churches. I decided, "What difference does it make?", and moved on.
     
  18. Bob Krajcik

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    Here is some interesting words from what I consider a helpful history book. I have no link for this Online, but I have Vol 1 in PDF format for any that would email asking for it. I would be happy to email you a copy. The complete set is two volumes, and I do not have Vol 2.

    A History Of The Baptists Together With Some Account Of Their Principles And Practices; chap 1, pp 11-12; John T. Christian, A.M. D.D. Ll.D.; Professor Of Christian History In The Baptist Bible Institute, New Orleans, Louisiana.

    Excerpt:

    The first church was organized by Jesus and his apostles; and after the form of this one all other churches should be modeled. The churches so organized are to continue in the world until the kingdoms of this earth shall become the kingdom of our Lord, even Christ. Prophecy was full of the enduring character of the kingdom of Christ (Daniel 2:44, 45). Jesus maintained a like view of his church and extended the promise to all the ages. He said: "Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). The word church here is doubtless used in its ordinary, literal sense as a local institution; and in the only other passage where it is found in Matthew (18 :17) it must be taken with the same signification. The great mass of scholarship supports the contention that this passage refers to the local, visible church of Christ (Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Gospel of Matthew).

    The critical meaning of the word does not differ from this (Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 197). The word "church" was used by our Lord and the apostles not so much in contradistinction to the Jewish Theocracy, as to the Jewish synagogue, and the synagogue was always local (Cremer, Biblico-Theological Lexicon of the New Testament Greek, 330, 331). The Roman Catholics have always denied the existence of a universal spiritual church (AIzog, Universal Church History, 1.108, 109). Until the German Reformation there was practically no other conception of a church. When Luther and others split off from the Roman Catholic Church, a new interpretation of this passage was adopted to suit the new views; so they held that Matthew 16:18 merely pointed to the ultimate triumph of Christianity. But manifestly this interpretation was remote from the meaning of the Lord.

    Paul gives a large promise: "Unto him be glory in the church of Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:21). Ellicott translates the passage: "To all the generations of the ages of ages." The glory of Christ was to exist in all of the ages in the church. The church was, therefore, bound to exist in all of the ages. Even the redeemed in heaven are described in the Scriptures as a church.

    The author believes that in every age since Jesus and the apostles, there have been companies of believers, churches, who have substantially held to the principles of the New Testament as now proclaimed by the Baptists. No attempt is made in these pages to trace a succession of bishops, as the Roman Catholics attempt to do, back to the apostles. Such an attempt is "laboring in the fire for mere vanity," and proceeds upon a mistaken view of the nature of the kingdom of Christ, and of the sovereignty of God, in his operations on the earth. Jesus himself, in a reply to an inquiry put to him by the Pharisees (Luke 17:20-24), compares his kingdom to the lightning, darting its rays in the most sovereign and uncontrollable manner from one extremity of the heavens to the other. And this view corresponds to God's dealings in the spiritual realm. Wherever God has his elect, there in his own proper time, he sends the gospel to save them, and churches after his model are organized (William Jones, The History of the Christian Church, xvii. Philadelphia. 1832).

    The New Testament recognizes a democratic simplicity, and not a hierarchical monarchy. There is no irregularity, but a perpetual proclamation of principles. There is no intimation that there was not a continuity of churches, for doubtless there was, but our insistence is that this was not the dominant note in apostolic life. No emphasis is put on a succession of baptisms, or the historical order of churches. Some of the apostles were disciples of John the Baptist (John 1 :35), but there is no record of the baptism of others, though they were baptized. Paul, the great missionary, was baptized by Ananias (Acts 9:17, 18), but it is not known who baptized Ananias. Nothing definite is known of the origin of the church at Damascus. The church at Antioch became the great foreign missionary center, but the history of its origin is not distinctly given. The church at Rome was already in existence when Paul wrote to them his letter. These silences occur all through the New Testament, but there is a constant recurrence of type, a persistence of fundamental doctrines, and a proclamation of principles. This marked the whole apostolic period, and for that matter, every period since that time. This recurrence of type is recognized even where error was detected. The disciples desired Jesus to rebuke a man who walked not with them (Mark 9 :40), but this Jesus refused to do. The church at Corinth was imperfect in practice and life. The Judaizing teachers constantly perverted the gospel, and John the Evangelist, in his last days, combated insidious error, but the great doctrines of the atoning work of Christ, conversion and repentance, the baptism of believers, the purity of the church, the freedom of the soul, and the collateral truths, were everywhere avowed. At times these principles have been combated and those who held them persecuted, often they have been obscured; sometimes they have been advocated by ignorant men, and at other times by brilliant graduates Of the universities, who frequently mixed the truth with philosophical speculations; yet; always, often under the most varied conditions, these principles have come to the surface.

    Baptist churches have the most slender ties of organization, and a strong government is not according to their polity. They are like the river Rhone, which sometimes flows as a river broad and deep, but at other times is hidden in the sands. It, however, never loses its continuity or existence. It is simply hidden for a period. Baptist churches may disappear and reappear in the most unaccountable manner.. Persecuted everywhere by sword and by fire, their principles would appear to be almost extinct, when in a most wondrous way God would raise up some man, or some company of martyrs, to proclaim the truth. The footsteps of the Baptists of the ages can more easily be traced by blood than by baptism. It is a lineage of suffering rather than a succession of bishops; a martyrdom of principle, rather than a dogmatic decree of councils; a golden chord of love, rather than an iron chain of succession, which, while attempting to rattle its links back to the apostles, has been of more service in chaining some protesting Baptist to the stake than in proclaiming the truth of the New Testament. It is, nevertheless, a right royal succession, that in every age the Baptists have been advocates of liberty for all, and have held that the gospel of the Son of God makes every man a free man in Christ Jesus.

    End quote.

    Informative and helpful book. . .

    By grace,
     
  19. Bro. James

    Bro. James
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    Definitive evidence:

    Mt. 16.18

    Mt. 28:20

    Eph. 3:21

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  20. Bob Krajcik

    Bob Krajcik
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