The Church BEFORE Pentecost

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by rlvaughn, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    This topic is a spin off of PreachtheWord's What is your belief about when the church started? Below are some of the reasons that I believe that the church was started before Pentecost. These may be fairly simplistic, but it doesn't take too much to satisfy a simple mind like mine.

    1. The church is referred to before Pentecost, both by the word "church" (Matt. 16:18; 18:17) and by its figurative names - flock, bride, house, etc. (Luke 12:32, cf. I Pet. 5:2; John 3:29, cf. Eph. 5:22-31; Mark 13:33-36, cf. I Tim. 3:15).
    2. The English word "church" is a translation of the Greek word "ekklesia", which means a called-out assembly. Jesus disciples were both called-out and assembling with Him before the day of Pentecost (e.g. Matt. 4:19; John 1:35ff).
    3. The apostles were set in the church (I Cor. 11:28) and this occurred before Pentecost (Matt.10:1,2; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:13).
    4. The ordinances were instituted and observed before Pentecost (John 4:1,2; Matthew 26:26-30).
    5. John the Baptist prepared a people ready for the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 1:17), not for the day of Pentecost.
    6. The church was commissioned before Pentecost: first the limited commission of Matt. 10:1-4 and then the extended commission of Matt. 28:18-20.
    7. Jesus sang in the church before Pentecost (Heb. 2:12; Matt. 26:30).
    8. The last days refer to the church age, and the last days were in existence during Jesus' ministry (Heb. 1:2).
    9. There was church discipline before the day of Pentecost (Matt. 18:17).
    10. The church had a business meeting before Pentecost (Acts 1:15-26).
    11. The Lord added to the church on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41-27), so there had to exist a church for people to have been added to it.
    12. There is no reason to suppose that the church could not exist with her visible Head present.
    13. Nothing in scripture indicates the church was or had to be started on Pentecost.

    [ September 10, 2002, 09:55 PM: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  2. Optional

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    Complete agreement.
    Man nothing for me to debate. Where's the fun in that?
     
  3. VoiceInTheWilderness

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    Amen! [​IMG]

    Keep up the good work! [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Out like an invisible church member. [​IMG]
     
  4. RomOne16

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    I totally agree too! Great post. [​IMG]
     
  5. Daniel David

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    I will post my response to each of your statements and also answer whether they affect the position of the invisible church. None of the thirteen points had any affect on the teaching that the Christ's church began at Pentecost. Did believers assemble? Yes. Were they what Christ and Paul called the church? No.

    1. The "church" in Matthew 16 is a prophecy of a future reality. The "church" in Matthew 18 is an assembly of people. There exists no evidence to assume it was what we use in reference to a N.T. church.
    2. That is a correct definition of the word. Believers are called out from the world. They also assemble together.
    3. None of these passages have any bearing on either position. We all affirm that Christ called the disciples.
    4. They had to be instituted before Pentecost because they had to know what they would be doing.
    5. The people that were ready for the Lord are those who welcomed Him (as all Jews should have).
    6. The first commission was to Israel only (as you correctly pointed out). The second was given prior to His ascension. If you compare Scripture with Scripture, you will find the charge given in Acts 1. Right before the charge, He told them to wait for the baptism of the Spirit.
    7. The Hebrews 2:12 reference is to an assembly of believers. That by itself does not constitute a church though. If you walked into a seminary and sat in a room full of saved people, you would have walked into an assembly of believers. It would not be considered a church though.
    8. The last days refer to the time between the first and second coming of Christ.
    9. Jesus was giving the principles of church discipline. Just who would the disciples have been disciplining? They followed Christ everywhere and He never stayed in one town/city. Who were these members of this church?
    10. This was not a business meeting. It was a brash attempt by Peter to settle the issue of the twelfth disciple. God's pick was Paul awhile later.
    11. The Lord added 3,000 to the 120 members who were baptized when the Spirit first came. Remember, they were indwelt and then after Peter's preaching did the people get saved.
    12. Actually, according to 1 Cor. 1 and Eph. 4, Christ had to die, rise, and ascend before He was head of the church. So the Christ's church did not begin until after His resurrection.
    13. Nothing in Scripture indicates the church was started before Pentecost. As you can see, I answered each point and it had no bearing on the teaching of the invisible church.

    Out like objections to the invisible church.
     
  6. rlvaughn

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    As I see, you did answer each point. What remains to be seen is whether these answers are correct. These were not posted as to their directly bearing on the invisible church, but as to their bearing on the church existing before Pentecost. Do you feel that proving the existence of the church before Pentecost would disprove the invisible universal church?

    Gotta go back to work; I will hope to individually respond to your objections later this evening.
     
  7. Daniel David

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    I do not deny that an assembly of believers were before the day of Pentecost. I am saying that on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit came and did something that had never been done before and united all believers into one body, namely Christ's. I am part of the body of Christ. So are you and so is everyone saved in this age. That is on an individual basis.

    On a corporate basis, several guidlines must be adhered to for the sake of order and honoring the commands of Christ. The local church is a manifestation of the universal, invisible church.

    I do not believe that "mystical" is an accurate description for the invisible church. It by no means is something out there that no one can grasp. There is nothing mystical about it (except why people deny it, I guess).

    Out like that fly that stepped in the spider's parlor.
     
  8. donnA

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    I agree, Pentecost was the empowering of the church to boldly go and preach the gospel.
     
  9. DocCas

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    Your only problem is that the bible disagrees with you. The bibles says that Christ baptized the church into the Holy Spirit, not the other way around. Sorry. [​IMG]
     
  10. Daniel David

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    Your only problem is that the bible disagrees with you. The bibles says that Christ baptized the church into the Holy Spirit, not the other way around. Sorry. [​IMG] </font>[/QUOTE]That has not bearing on the doctrine of the invisible church or on what I said. However, does not 1 Corinthians 12:13 say the following:

    For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body?

    How about Galatians 3:27:

    For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

    Those verses say that the Spirit baptized us into Christ. Sorry. :rolleyes: [​IMG]

    Out like local church only doctrine.
     
  11. Daniel David

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    John 14:20:

    At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

    Two things will happen. Christ will be in believers and believers will be in Christ.

    Question: If this was a present reality, why did Christ speak of it as future?

    Out like mercy toward Osama.
     
  12. DocCas

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    Your only problem is that neither verse says any such thing! 1 Cor 12:13 says that by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. It was by the leading of the Holy Spirit that all the members of the Corinthian church were baptized into the membership of that church. Remember context! 1 Corinthians is about the lack of unity in the church at Corinth! Paul is telling them their unity is opposed to the leading of the Holy Spirit! One Spirit led them to be baptized (in water by immersion) into one body, the local body of believers at Corinth. Paul is emphasizing the one of unity as opposed to the "many" of the divisions. Context. Context. Context.

    And Galatians 3:27 is saying about the same thing. Those of us who have made a public profession of faith in Christ by following Him in public believers baptism have put on Christ. We now wear Him publicly as a robe for all to see. We openly proclaim, by our water baptism, that we are no longer our own, but we now belong to Him. Again, context, context, context.

    Sorry, but still no "baptized by the Holy Spirit into" anything!
     
  13. Pastor Larry

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    What about Mark 1:8, Matt 3:11, Luke 3:16, and John 1:33?

    How do you get gar evn eni pneumati hemeis pantes eis en swma evbaptisthemen to read something like "lead by the Spirit" that you seem to indicate? That passage, at face value, indicates that the Baptism was by the Spirit, not "led into by the Spirit and performed by someone else." I think you are absolutely right about the context being unity but the Spirit baptism seems to make more sense in the immediate context. The Spirit gave gifts to each one as he wished. That same Spirit baptized them into one body. Therefore, their gifts are not reasons for divisions in the body; they are reasons for unity in the Body because they come from the same Spirit that baptized them.
     
  14. Bible-belted

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    "How do you get gar evn eni pneumati hemeis pantes eis en swma evbaptisthemen to read something like "lead by the Spirit" that you seem to indicate? That passage, at face value, indicates that the Baptism was by the Spirit, not "led into by the Spirit and performed by someone else." I think you are absolutely right about the context being unity but the Spirit baptism seems to make more sense in the immediate context. The Spirit gave gifts to each one as he wished. That same Spirit baptized them into one body. Therefore, their gifts are not reasons for divisions in the body; they are reasons for unity in the Body because they come from the same Spirit that baptized them."

    Pastor Larry,

    Exactly. The context clearly has, as one focus, the activity of the Spirit. Spiritual baptism is indicated as one of these in 1Co. 12:13.
     
  15. DocCas

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    In order to understand what I wrote, you have to actually read what I wrote!
     
  16. Bible-belted

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    Yup. Read it. Understood it.... Yup, still wrong.

    The context does not lead one to think that this is about the Holy Spirit leading a person to undergo water baptism.
     
  17. DocCas

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    Then you obviously did not understand it! The entire context of 1 Corinthians deals with the lack of unity in the church at Corinth. Paul uses the fact that all were baptized because of the working of one spirit into the one local body to teach them about spiritual unity. I am sorry you have having such a hard time laying aside the false doctrine you have been taught and just taking the word of God at face value. I had a similar problem about 35 years ago. Raised a Protestant, I too believed all the Protestant dogma about "spirit baptism" and the "universal, invisible church" and the "body of Christ made up of all believers." It took years to learn Greek, then more years of careful study to see what the bible was really saying. But once it finally became clear to me, it was like an epiphany! It cleared up a lot of problems with the idea of all in the body being commanded to unity with one another, yet the bible also teaching that we are to separate from a brother who walks in a disorderly fashion. You can't do both and believe in Protestant ecclesiology! But if you believe Baptist ecclesiology, you recognize the command is for unity within the local church, and separation from the disorderly brethren! Now, it's no problem at all! Properly understanding the bible clears up a lot of confusion! [​IMG]
     
  18. rlvaughn

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    My friend, I have finally gotten time to make my reply. Thanks for your patience. I hope these statements will be understandable. I have found from my e-mail that in some other posts I have evidently not been clear enough. Here goes!
    Why were they not what Christ and Paul called the church? Do you consider "an assembly of baptized believers" to even be one aspect of the definition of "church"? Did Christ and Paul never use that meaning of the word "church"?
    Even if I were to admit your interpretation, it still would not prove the church was born on the day of Pentecost. There are a number of future days between Matthew 16 and Acts 2. Neither does this have to be taken in the sense that he is saying, "I will on one day in the future give birth to my church." In fact those words are just as applicable today for a church that is already in existence - "I will build my church."
    But below you say that "Jesus was giving the principles of church discipline." Where did you get the evidence to assume that it is a principle of church discipline? You can't have it both ways. If it's just for some old assembly of people, how is it a principle of church discipline?

    I assume for the other references you are saying that flock is not the same flock, that bride is not the same bride, that house is not the same house, etc.?
    Yes, it is a correct definition of the word. Thank you for that admission. And these believers were called out of the world and assembled together before the day of Pentecost.
    He not only called them, but also ordained twelve, authorized them and sent them out. Paul said that God set the office of apostle first in the church. When did He set the office in the church, before or after Pentecost? This has no bearing??
    Notice, not only instituted, but also observed. Second, your statement proves nothing that would keep the church from existing before Pentecost.
    Yes, some welcomed Him. They not only welcomed Him, but they were the baptized disciples of John the Baptist, who, when John pointed Christ out to them, left John and began to follow Christ.
    The charge is also given in Luke and Mark. Yes, He did tell them to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, not to wait for the birth of the church. That baptism would usher in a time of fulfilling the worldwide commission. The waiting did not mean they sat idle or completely inactive. They met together for prayer, worship, and study. But they did not start the commission; they waited on this just as He told them. It is often overlooked that they had the presence of the Spirit during that time before Pentecost - not the baptism, but some kind of receiving of the Spirit (see John 20:22)
    Nor would I consider a group of believers who forsook their livelihoods and walked with Jesus daily for around three years to be the same kind of assembly as a group who by assignment of classes happened to be in the same room to study. Matthew 26 is the only scriptural reference of Jesus singing with His assembly. Either Heb. 2:12 refers to this, or it refers to some incident not recorded or explained in the Bible.
    Yes, and that certainly helps my position more than it does yours. This agrees with the Mark 1:1ff, where he places the beginning with a messenger coming to declare Christ. Certainly the last days start no later than the baptism of Christ. Your position starts the last days at the first coming of Christ and the church age with the day of Pentecost. So to you the two are not equivalent.
    Here you say this is the principle of church discipline, but above you say, "There exists no evidence to assume it was what we use in reference to a N.T. church." Which is it?
    Call it what you like, but Peter, in a body that was in one accord and one place both before and after his "brash attempt," led the church in an act what would fulfill O. T. prophecy. There is no condemnation here of Peter's act, and shortly after God pours out his Spirit on him (and the others, of course) and he preaches the great Pentecost sermon. Paul never claimed to have taken Judas' (nor Matthias') apostleship. He had his own calling as the apostle to the Gentiles. Also, the inspired Scriptures make several references to the twelve which obviously do not include Paul. Are they wrong?
    I'm not sure how the fact that the Lord added 3000 to the 120 (who existed before Pentecost) contradicts my position??? I should also explain that I do not understand the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit of the day of Pentecost as being the same thing. Peter equates the events at Cornelius' house as corresponding to what happened on the day of Pentecost, implying that such was not the case every time someone professed Christ.
    What you have is not a necessary extension of logic when one is dealing with an eternal God. His headship of the church could be based on His death, burial, and resurrection and still exist in time before it. He is eternal King, Prince, Son, Head, Husband, etc.. Even in one of the references you give, Eph. 4, where Paul is talking of Christ's resurrection and giving of gifts, he mentions at least one gift that was definitely given before His resurrection (and before Pentecost) - the apostles (4:11). I would liken your position to believing (which you may) that Old Testament saints were not "saved" until Christ died, even though He stood a Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth.
    Verses that speak of its existence before that time are hardly nothing!
    But what Christ said was that the Spirit would come and endue them with power from on high for the fulfilling of the task to which He had called them (cf. Acts 1:5-8; Luke 24:46-49).
     
  19. Bible-belted

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    "Then you obviously did not understand it!"

    Of course! if I don't agree then I must not have understood! Gotcha! ;)

    "The entire context of 1 Corinthians deals with the lack of unity in the church at Corinth."

    Yes. I agree. But this does not require that we see water baptism here. Indeed the immediate context does not suggest it at all.

    "Paul uses the fact that all were baptized because of the working of one spirit into the one local body to teach them about spiritual unity."

    Yes, baptised. But in water? There is no contextual reason to think this. You are going to have to do better than that.

    "I am sorry you have having such a hard time laying aside the false doctrine you have been taught and just taking the word of God at face value."

    No apologies necessary Doc, as I have no such problem. I do take the text at face value. It is you who are reading in water baptism where there is no contextual indicator of such.

    "I had a similar problem about 35 years ago. Raised a Protestant, I too believed all the Protestant dogma about "spirit baptism" and the "universal, invisible church" and the "body of Christ made up of all believers." It took years to learn Greek, then more years of careful study to see what the bible was really saying."

    Of course they must not have your learning or credentials to have conme to a differing conclusion... Come on Doc! Get real! There are people who know the Greek (better than you and I put together I expect) that come to a different conclusion!

    Face it! this isn't about prejudice but exegesis. Your view is possible, but in light of the fact that the context does not prepare us for it, unlikely relative to the more obvious meanign of being baptised by th Spirit intot he Body of Christ.

    "But once it finally became clear to me, it was like an epiphany! It cleared up a lot of problems with the idea of all in the body being commanded to unity with one another, yet the bible also teaching that we are to separate from a brother who walks in a disorderly fashion. You can't do both and believe in Protestant ecclesiology! But if you believe Baptist ecclesiology, you recognize the command is for unity within the local church, and separation from the disorderly brethren! Now, it's no problem at all! Properly understanding the bible clears up a lot of confusion"

    There is no conflict between baptist ecclesiology and spirit baptism.
     
  20. DocCas

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    And that is, or course, the crux of the whole matter. The bible says there is "one baptism." You say there are two baptisms. Who should I believe? Well, the bible, of course!
    "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." I can't do any better than that. I don't wish to sound unkind, but you either take it or leave it when the bible speaks. I choose to take it. You may leave it if you wish.
    Of course there is! I have already pointed it out. [​IMG]
     

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