The Beginning of the Church (Matthew 16:18)

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Tom, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. Tom

    Tom
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    A Pastor told me that Jesus must have started the Church while He was still walking on the earth. However, I noted that Jesus' statement iin Matthew 16:18, "WILL BUILD" was in the future tense. After this statement we see the Church is clearly established in Acts 2 which leads me to believe that the Church officialy began on Pentecost as the Spirit then came. If the future tense was used in Matthew 16:18 then how could it have been possible for Jesus to have started the Church at that time?
     
  2. Zenas

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    Like you, I believe the church began at Pentecost. Even then they regarded themselves as Jewish followers of Christ, but Jews just the same.

    Welcome to the Baptist Board.
     
  3. Tom Butler

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    Let's see, what happened during Jesus' earthly ministr?.

    One, he called the twelve. They constituted the material of the first church.

    He ordained them (Mark 3:14)

    He gave the instructions for ministry, when he sent out the Seventy (Luke 10) We might call those instructions the first Commission.

    They had a head, Jesus.

    They had a treasurer, Judas.

    They had the Lord's Supper and baptism, the two ordinances.

    They had a business meeting and an election in Jerusalem.

    Jesus instructed them about church discipline (Matthew 18)

    Jesus did not say "I will establish my church;" he said he would "build" it. It was already established when he said he would build it. He started with twelve, built it to seventy, then who knows how many--at least 120 before Pentecost.

    What was lacking before Pentecost? Nothing. Those very characteristics that mark today's New Testament churches already existed before Pentecost. If you say it lacked power until the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost, remember that as long as Jesus was on the earth, it had power.

    At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to empower (actually re-empower) the church, the only one that existed at the time.
     
  4. Zenas

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    This is a distinction without a difference.
     
  5. Tom Butler

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    Obviously, I see a big difference, or I wouldn't have gone to some effort to make my point. Would you like to speak to my other points?
     
  6. ReformedBaptist

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    Jesus announced that the Kingdom of God had come. This was fulfilled according to Daniel 7. I would regard the followers of Christ during his earthly ministry as the church (called out) but I believe that when Christ was brought before the Ancient of Days according to Daniel, was after He was raised from the dead.
     
  7. Zenas

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    The Lord's Supper was not instituted until the night before our Lord was crucified. We did not have trinitarian baptism until after He had ascended to Heaven. As for the first business meeting, I assume you are speaking of the selection of Matthias. All three of these things happened at or after the end of Jesus' ministry of earth. I just see no evidence of a functioning church until Pentecost. I see plenty of evidence of the church being established but no evidence of it being up and running. However, I do agree that there was no need for the Holy Spirit while Christ was with His followers. But what about the time after the ascension and before Pentecost?
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    The point is, the Lord's Supper was in existence before Pentecost.

    The question is, how do we know that we did not have trinitarian baptism until after the ascension? Do you mean trine baptism (in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost)?

    I see the church as functioning quite well. The Seventy in Luke 10 seem to be pretty active. Preaching, baptizing converts. Jesus taught a lot, preached a lot, healed a lot. Sounds like a pretty lively church to me.

    The little band of believers were left without the Son for a few days. They were fearful, hiding behind closed doors, not doing much. Seemingly powerless. But they were being obedient to Jesus command to wait. When the HS came at Pentecost, he re-empowered the disciples.
     
  9. pinoybaptist

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    The Ford Motor Company was founded by Henry Ford after he died. Hershey's was founded after Mr. Hershey died. Many corporations and established businesses today were founded by their founders after their founders died and went to glory or to hell.

    The point is you can't have a founding without the founder.
    Jesus founded the church on the shores of Caesaria Philippi, and empowered it totally at Pentecost. He did not found the church on Pentecost.
     
  10. Tom Butler

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    The question remains: What did the church have on the day of Pentecost that it did not already have before Pentecost?

    The favorite term of dispensationalists is that the Holy Spirit "formed" the church on Pentecost. Which means that Jesus had nothing to do with the founding of the assembly of which all Christians agree he is the Head, for which he shed his blood.
     
    #10 Tom Butler, Apr 15, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2009
  11. Jim1999

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    Tom, I think you are bang on that the churches did exist before Pentecost. Pentecost was more like the "official" opening of church and the people were empowered in a special way by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Hence the special use of languages (tongues) to express this "official" opening.

    It is not a new dispensation. It is the continuance of the Kingdom of God, of Israel (the church) on earth.

    Jesus said to Peter, "I will build my church", and build it He did.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  12. swaimj

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    My son was born on May 6, 2006. However, he began to exist about 40 weeks prior to that. When he began to exist, we did not know that he existed. However, we began to detect signs that he MIGHT exist, followed by certain confirmation that he DID exist. He was definitely in existence before he was born.

    I think this is a suitable analogy for the church. The church was born on Pentecost. Some will say, "but, it existed before then". Yes, just as my son existed before he was born, his birth was a significant and defining event that made his experience in this life different from what it was and what it ever would have been had his birth not occured.

    In the same way, the church's birth at Pentecost is a significant and definable event in the life of the church which made it wholly other from what it had been prior to Pentecost. Though Jesus told his followers to "go into all the world and preach the gospel", he told them to wait until after they were "endued with power from on high" to begin their work. There they were in the Upper Room, in the womb, so to speak, with all of the pieces for a functioning body in place, waiting for the day of birth that came on Pentecost.
     
  13. Jim1999

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    I see the churches as a continuation of Israel rather than a new creation. It is the promise of the Messiah, the establishment of the visible kingdom of God. Pentecost is the grand opening rather than the beginning.

    The wait is the formation period, rather than a delay. It is not a perenthetical stage. It was always the plan of God through Old Testament scriptures and leading up to the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, who now sits at the right hand of the Father and reigns over His kingdom, which includes the churches He established on earth. They were ready to roll, rather than waiting to be born.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  14. OldRegular

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    The Church exists in and through the Lord Jesus Christ and so is a distinctive New Testament reality [New Geneva Bible, page 1864]. However, as a people of the promised New Covenant [Jeremiah 31:31-33] which was instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ [Matthew 26:28, 1 Corinthians 11:25, Hebrews 8:6-13], who, as the incarnate God, is the promised seed of Abraham [Galatians 3:16] and the promised Messiah [John 4:25,26], there is a continuity with spiritual Israel, God’s covenant people of the Old Testament. The predominant teaching of the Church since Pentecost is that God has only one people and that the New Testament Church is the Israel of God, the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. The Baptist Faith and Message adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta, Georgia on June 14, 2000 writes of the Church in Section VI as follows:

    The New Testament speaks also of the Church as the Body of Christ which includes all the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
     
  15. swaimj

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    Jim1999 said:
    Ephesians 2:15 says
    Sorry, Jim, gotta go with Paul on this one! :laugh:
     
  16. OldRegular

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    I guess you and I are essentially on the same page as far as the Church is concerned. However, I see the Church as a continuation of Spiritual Israel, the believing remnant, the 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal, rather than the nation Israel.
     
  17. Tom Butler

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    The BF&M is mistaken. Redeemed of all ages, from every tribe, and tongue and people and nation are the "kingdom."
     
  18. Tom Butler

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    There are some analogous elements in your example, but it falls apart early.

    The child in the womb existed, but was not unknown to you and your wife. The church Jesus established not only existed, it also functioned, assembled, preached, baptized, healed, cast out devils and fellowshipped.

    At Pentecost, the band of 120 were assembled, just as churches do today. When the Holy Spirit empowered them, they did just as churches do today. The poured out the door and began witnessing. This event falls short of a birth analogy.
     
  19. swaimj

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    Tom Butler, earlier you asked this question (I think twice) which is certainly germaine to the thread.
    The answer is The Holy Spirit. Prior to the sending of the Spirit, all of the elements of the church were assembled, as you note. However, Jesus specifically told them NOT to go into the world until the Spirit came. Going into the world is the mode of operation for the church. Since they were commanded NOT to go out until the Spirit came, I take the coming of the Spirit as the birth of the church. I really don't think there is any disagreement as to the facts here, there is only disagreement as to what one calls it.
     
  20. JOAN OF ARC

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    Ephesians 5:25 -

    Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it:

    This Scripture points to the fact that the Church was in existence prior to the Cross!
     
    #20 JOAN OF ARC, Apr 15, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2009

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