What is a true New Testament Church?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tom Butler, Jun 22, 2006.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    How would you define a true New Testament Church? What are the basic doctrines it must hold in order to qualify?

    What doctrines which you consider false would disqualify a congregation as a NT church?

    Which beliefs are not essential and would not disqualify?

    For instance, can Arminian churches qualify as NT churches?

    Can sprinkling and pouring churches qualify?

    If a church does not teach a substitutionary atonement or imputed righteousness, is it disqualified?

    What about a congregation which admits gay and lesbians to membership, and/or ordains gay or lesbian clergy?

    Further, if you determine what a NT church should believe, would you admit to membership someone who comes from a church that does not believe those things?
     
  2. pinoybaptist

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    Touchy, man, touchy.
     
  3. drfuss

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    I suspect everyone will say - The New Testament Church believed what I believe.
     
  4. Marcia

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    Why are you calling it a New Testament Church? Why not just the church (as established by Jesus Christ)?

    I would think that these 2 would be unbiblical. I am assuming you mean by a congregation of gay and lesbians those who see no problem with practicing homosexuality.
     
  5. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    I suspect you're right. So, what do you believe?
     
  6. gb93433

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    NT churches are found in Rev. 2 and 3.
     
  7. genesis12

    genesis12
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    Salvation is ours because of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He lived a sinless life for us, paid the price for our sin / sins, burst forth from the grave, ascended to Heaven, and is even now interceding for us before the Throne of God, blocking any effort of satan to accuse us. Our salvation is by His grace thru the faith that he supplies (an unearned gift). It is the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that brings us to the place where we surrender, where faith is a reality.

    There are two ordnances: baptism and the Lord's Table. Neither has anything to do with granting or sustaining the security of the Believer. Out of the joy that is ours because of the knowledge that we are saved for eternity, we follow Him. To follow Him involves assembling ourselves together, studying, and telling others about Him. There are no rituals or formulas for anyone to learn or go through. I knew a young lady who can name every book in the Bible in chronological order in one breath. Nice, but no cigar.

    Everything that we do to honor God must come only after prayer and guidance by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is sufficient. There are no valid additions. That means that anything like Mormonism, Jehovah's Witness, Sun Yung Moon, Christian Science, is bogus.

    While I believe in the Priesthood of the Believer, I would not sit still for one second with anyone holding a bogus viewpoint, "worshipping" alongside me in common assembly, or teaching or proclaiming any other Gospel, in Sunday School, Bible Study, Christian Training, or during the pastor-teacher worship service. I will NEVER endorse homosexuality or homosexual members in our church. They can picket, throw rocks, whatever, but they won't be members of our congregation. If they want to meet with me in private Bible study, we can do that. I rely on the Word of God, especially 1 Corinthian 2:9-14, the leadership of the Holy Spirit, to keep me in tune and in fellowship with God. I need that no man approve me. :thumbs:
     
  8. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Marsha,

    I mean not just a congregation of practicing gays and lesbians, but also a straight congregation which welcomes and affirms them. Some liberal Baptist congregations describe themselves as "welcoming and affirming." Would this disqualify them as NT churches?

    Pinoybaptist,

    The purpose of the OP is get a feel among BB posters for that they consider essential distinctives of a NT church, without which they wouldn't qualify. Also to get a feel for what they consider non-essentials. And, to get a cross-section of opinion on whether they would vote to admit to membership people from congregations which lack one or more of those essentials.

    I recognized that opinions may differ on what constitutes the essentials.

    I may be. My concern is that too many people may not be touchy enough about these matters.
     
    #8 Tom Butler, Jun 22, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2006
  9. Tom Butler

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    Genesis12, a very good post. Thanks for identifying some groups which offer a false gospel. I agree. But those are the easy ones.

    Re: baptism and the Lord's Table: As a Southern Baptist, would you admit to membership someone who had been sprinkled? Or someone from a congregation which holds that the Lord's Supper has sacramental value? This question is for everybody who wants to give their opinion.

    At the root of the OP is a concern that we have become so tolerant and PC that there is a general reluctance to label false doctrine as false, and the congregations which teach it as false churches. We just "see it differently."

    I guess Pinoybaptist is right after all. I am touchy about all this.
     
  10. genesis12

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    I do not see water baptism as a prerequisite for church membership. Most SBCers do. And most SBCers don't know why. I'm convinced that if we dropped it as a prerequisite tomorrow, most SBCers would simply follow along. Sprinkling or some other form is a non-issue for me. We can do it as an acknowledgement before the church concerning what Christ has already done for us, but I would never say that it is mandatory for a person who confesses that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord, and I would not accept any person who failed to make that acknowledgement.

    I would have significant problems with anyone who openly stated in church that salvation was sustained by participating in The Lord's Table, with anyone who said that it was the actual blood and body of Christ. That is a horrific misinterpretation of applicable scripture. I would call that person aside, pray :praying: with him or her, invite them to attend Bible Study with me and others, and instruct them not to be present during the observance of TLT. I would consider that person to be a disruptive influence in the church. Once their confusion was cleared up, we would welcome him or her into fellowship. If it wasn't, please attend elsewhere.
     
  11. PrimePower7

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    A true church with Sodomites?

    It is true that God does not look nicely upon Sodomites and Whoremongers. However, if these in a church make it no longer a church, one would say that the "Church of God" at Corinth was not a true church. I don't recall this church having Sodomites, however, we see in 1 Corinthians 5 that this church did have someone who was fornicating with his step mother. That's pretty gross! Now, do we say, that, up until Paul's rebuke, these people were really not a church?
     
  12. Tom Butler

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    PrimePower, the church at Corinth was certainly flawed. It endured the affair you mentioned in your post, the members got drunk at the Lord's Supper, they flaunted their tongues gifts, and their worship services were not too orderly.

    Yet Paul admonished them as a church. They must have been doing something right.

    BTW, I think I probably asked for too much information in my OP. Basically, what I should have asked is, 1. A New Testament is marked by its devotion to the truth about certain distinctives. What are those distinctives? 2. What is the truth about those distinctives? (Both doctrine and practice.) 3. What doctrinal errors and practice would disqualify one as an NT church?

    After hearing other opinions, I'll give mine.
     
  13. Pipedude

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    Apparently the expression "New Testament" is meant to be synonymous with "scriptural," that is, "correct." So the question seems to be "What doctrines and practices are correct?" And, since this is a Baptist forum, the question really is "What are Baptist doctrines and practices?" Or, if in a rebellious mode, "Is the Baptist system scriptural?"

    Wouldn't that be a plainer and more direct route to the requested answers?
     
  14. Rooselk

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    My primary understanding of a New Testament church is that it is one that subscribes to the basic doctrines found in the Apostles Creed. That said, I also believe that there are church bodies that claim to hold those doctrines yet dilute, hide, or even change the Gospel message. Still others are apostate. It seems to me that a church that not only excuses, but approves sin that God condemns, is a church that has lost it's light.
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    Thanks for the answer. Just curious--would you accept those churches' baptism as valid? Would you admit members of those congregations to your church without rebaptism?
     
  16. dallas

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    What is a local church?

    The NT clearly teaches that a local church is comprised of individuals who have been regenerated, and have been scripturally immersed (Acts 2:41). For this assembly to constitute a Biblical, NT church several truths are necessary. First, this assembly must teach the truth concerning the gospel as they make disciples (Matt. 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; I Tim. 3:15; Gal. 1:8,9). The clear teaching of the NT calls for each assembly to practice the two ordinances given to the local church which symbolize the gospel 1) believer’s baptism by immersion as symbolic of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:3-5), and 2) the Lord’s supper as a memorial meal symbolizing Christ’s atonement through His shed blood and broken body (I Cor. 11:23-26). Secondly, this assembly should be actively guarding, teaching, and obeying biblical doctrine as it pertains to Bibliology, Theology Proper, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, Eschatology and the doctrines that are clearly set forth in them (Matt. 28:20; Acts 20:27; I Tim. 3:15; II Tim. 2:2; Titus 2:1). Thirdly, this assembly should be planting other local, NT assemblies who will likewise be doing and teaching the same (Matt. 28:19,20).
     
  17. Brother Jeremy Slone

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    We know God is long suffering and forbearing But if you study about the seven churches in asia in the book of Revelation that God gave them a space to repent of the errors in the local church. Then if they did not He would remove the candle stick and if no candle stick then no light and all would be blinded and would no longer be a NT church. They may still go through the motions but they would no longer be worshiping as the the bible says God is a Spirit and they who worship him must worship him in Spirit and in Truth.
     

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