When Did the Church Begin? Pentecost? Earlier?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tom Butler, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    In another thread there was some discussion of the time of the founding of the church.

    Brother Righteousdude assumes that it started at Pentecost.
    Brother Jacob Elliot says the Pentecost beginning is debatable, but doesn't say when. I also said no to Pentecost, but didn't say when, either.

    So, when?

    I suggest that what existed at the end of the day on the Day of Pentecost existed before Pentecost. It had the gospel. It preached the gospel. It had baptism and the Lord's Supper. It held services and went out on mission trips, and evangelized.

    Jesus' comment in \Matthew 16:18 ("...I will build my church...") is also a clear indication that the Church existed before Pentecost. Jesus did not say I will "found" my church. He said he would build it, and the Greek word refers to superstructure. This means Jesus himself was building it and would continue to build it.

    So, when?

    I think Luke 6 gives us a clue:
    Thus, we have a body. They had a Head (Christ). They had a treasurer (Judas). They were baptized believers (by John the Baptist). They joined together to carry out Jesus' will.

    They also had power. Remember when they came back from a mission trip and said "Even the demons were subject to us."

    Further, in John 20:22 Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit. ("He breathed on them and said 'receive ye the Holy Spirit.'" Before Pentecost.

    What they had on the day of Pentecost, they had before Pentecost.
     
  2. Archie the Preacher

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    This is another of those issues which do not excite me overmuch. It is here, now; Christ established it and it will not be foiled until the Lord blows His whistle and stops it all.

    As far as I know, the two main theories are: It started on the day of Pentecost, vs. The church has always existed, just not visibly.

    Your thought seems to be reasonable and I cannot think of a reason to deny it. But as I said, I don't think it makes much difference. But! Someone will be here shortly with an explanation why you are mistaken and why it makes all the difference in the world.
     
  3. righteousdude2

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    To deny the start of the church

    borders on heresy! They were told to go and gather in the upper room and wait for the coming or infilling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit visited them on Pentecost, and to deny that the church was not launched on that day, or at the event, is borderline heresy, IMHO!

    There was no church until the Holy Ghost came and released those who were they praying to go share what they knew with those there for the feast. There is no mention of a church or gathering until Pentecost. That is the actual day that the church moved out under the newly anointed power of the Holy Ghost and started mass conversions to Jesus! From that point, we read of group thoughout the remainder of the NT, meeting, praying and teaching.

    That surely is evidence that the coming of the Holy Spirit upon those gather in the Upper Room became the church as we know it today!

    Again, this is merely my opinion, but, I'd be careful to judge the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost as being anything other than the beginning of the brick and morter church of today! Before that time in history, what some may call a church were nothing more than scattered, unsure believers, waiting for direction and leadership.

    And Jesus told them He had to go so the Holy Spirit could come and TEACH them! That has to be taken into account when we look for a starting point for the Christian church!
     
  4. Revmitchell

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    The church had to wait for its power and comforter. During that waiting period there was no active church. There was no evangelism, no preaching, no Lords Supper etc. There was only waiting and praying until He came.
     
  5. JamesL

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    I would tend to agree with Tom Butler. It was after Jesus' resurrection that He breathed on the disciples and said "Receive the Holy Spirit"

    Ephesians 5:23 says that Christ is the Savior of the Body.
    Colossians 1:18 & 24 say that the Church is the Body

    1Corinthians 10:16 says that the cup is the sharing of the blood, and the bread is the sharing of the body of Christ

    Jesus said at the Last Supper "this do in remembrance of Me"

    Ephesians 2:13-22 says that Gentiles were brought near by the blood of Christ. That the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile would be torn down, and that we would be brought together into one body.

    Some believe that the "mystery" Paul spoke of was referring to the Church, or Body of Christ, totally separate and distinct from Israel. But Paul says very clearly:

    Ephesians 3:3-6
    that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel

    The mystery is that through Jesus Christ, Gentiles have become included in the eternal inheritance which was meant for Israel. Not that Gentiles could now go to heaven, which has always been available to Gentiles. But that we could be called sons, and included in the inheritance (Colossians 1:12), which is a REWARD not previously available to Gentiles

    Colossians 3:23-25
    Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.

    There was never any promise of an inheritance for Gentiles before Christ died. But His death established a New Covenant in His blood with both Jew and Gentile, one body

    Hebrews 9:15-18
    For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood.

    Side note: this passage tells us exactly what Predestination really as - that those who are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance. Not that some are chosen to go to heaven, but that some are chosen to receive the inheritance

    So the church is one body of Christ, which was inaugurated upon His death, by which Gentiles have been brought into the eternal promise of the reward of inheritance.

    Not only for the believing remnant of Israel, but now for any believer who will pick up his cross and follow Christ (1Pet 2:20-21, Rom 8:17)
     
  6. Bro. James

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    When? See Mt. 4:17 and context. After John Baptizer was imprisoned, Jesus called out His disciples on the shores of Galilee. Jesus began preaching. All of this is an assembly called out for a purpose: ecclesia, ecclesia, ecclesia; aka: church. They may not have been right reverend doctors at this point; but they knew who Jesus was: "the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Mt. 16. (no DD's required).

    The first church was preaching, baptizing and teaching before Pentecost.

    At Pentecost, they were assembled, not scattered. They received The Spirit, The Holy; Ho Pneuma, Ho Hagion, to abide with them until Jesus returns. That is His promise of never leaving nor forsaking His Bride.

    The Spirit, The Holy continues to indwell every New Testament Church since the first--provided they maintain The Way. He will remove the Candlestick (The Spirit, The Holy) from those churches which apostasize. See Rev. 2, 3, the letters to the Seven Churches of Asia.

    Most of this is irrelevant if the church is universal.

    This is a pivotal point in the world of those called out for a purpose--many are unauthorized--pseudo assemblies. "Depart from me, I never knew you." Mt. 7.

    Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

    Bro. James
     
    #6 Bro. James, Jan 30, 2014
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  7. Revmitchell

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    Oh, and the other difference is that at Pentecost they were under grace unlike when they were with Jesus.
     
  8. go2church

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    I tend to say before Pentecost for many of the reasons already mentioned. Feel like there had to be something that already existed in order for people to be added to the church. Not a hill to climb, much less die on.

    There is the possibility that we are making sharp distinctions when what was actually happening was more of a time of transition in which all points are in some manner, true. Yes, there was preaching, evangelism, etc but also waiting. Yes, the working of the Holy Spirit was not as we understand the presence and work of the Holy Spirit going on now and yes, Peter was experiencing revelation before even Jesus was crucified. The Eastern mind, of which scripture is rooted, had no difficulty holding two seemingly distinct thoughts at the same time.
     
  9. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    This. :thumbsup:
     
  10. Yeshua1

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    good point!

    Also, until Jesus actually was killed off, and resurrected/ascended back to the father, New covenant could not have been officially established by God, so pentacost seems to be the time when the age transistioned from Old to now being under new covenant, as the coming of the Holy spirit fufilled Joel and other OT prophecies, and Jeremiah too!
     
  11. Yeshua1

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    Would also say that this usually is seen as those holding to it being just local assembles, contrasted with those seeing an Invisible Universal Church, and local assemblies!
     
  12. percho

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    A few thoughts and questions.

    Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) Gal 1:1
    God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

    Concerning the church as spoken of in Matt. 16:13-17. Who all are spoken of?
    A. Jesus the Son, B. His disciples, C. Men, D. God, who Jesus calls in V17 my Father in heaven, E. Simon, Peter.

    Is Jesus speaking for himself here as the Son, my the Son's church or is he speaking for God his Father building his Church on the Rock, Jesus his Son?

    This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Acts 4:11

    What is the stone, the Rock, which is become? How/when was it set at nought? When did it become the head of the corner, that is IMHO the head of the church. Compare verse 10 Acts 4> Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. With Col. 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

    What does apostle mean and when did the meaning take place. See also Acts 1:8, 20-22 and of course Acts 2 follows.

    By what manner are lively stones added to the head of the corner?
     
    #12 percho, Jan 30, 2014
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  13. Judith

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    The church bagan when the Spirit was given and that was Pentecost. No Spirit no church
    2Thess 2:3-7
    Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

    Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

    Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

    And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

    For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

    When the Spirit leaves the church will leave with Him. No Spirit no church. The Spirit was given to start the church and the church will end when the spirit is removed.
     
    #13 Judith, Jan 30, 2014
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  14. OldRegular

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    I will give my thoughts at the risk of being labeled a heretic. The SBC in the 2000 session stated the following {Baptist Faith and Message}:

    The Church

    A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

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

    Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.

    If the Church includes the redeemed of all time how could it not exist prior to Pentecost?

    *****************************************

    Following are some thoughts I had about the Church prior to 2000 AD.

    "THE CHURCH

    The Church exists in and through the Lord Jesus Christ and so is a distinctive New Testament reality [New Geneva Bible, page 1864]. However, the Church, 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], is a continuity of 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."​

    *******************************

    If we read about Job and Melchisedec we also see that God had "true believers" outside Spiritual Israel!
     
  15. percho

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    Col. 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
    Acts 4:10,11 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

    Matt 16:16 Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

    God speaking through Son Heb. 1:1,2 That thou art Peter, and upon this rock> (Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.)< I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

    IMHO The Son of the Living God became, the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner, when resurrected from the dead, the rock on which the church of God is being built.

    What did Jesus receive from the Father after being raised from the dead through which the church would be built?

    Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Acts 2:23
    This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. [On Pentecost] Acts 2:32,33 The same Spirit which makes us lively stones.

    For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 1 Peter 3:18

    To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 1 Peter 1:4 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 1 Peter 2:6-8
     
  16. Yeshua1

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    NOT heresy, just a misunderstanding of the truth that God has the Church now in Age of grace, and will have national Isreal becoming spiritual isreal at time of second coming!
     
  17. OldRegular

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    When dispensationalists address the issues raised by their doctrine of the "parenthesis" Church then perhaps they will have something worth saying.

    Dispensationalism denies that the church is included in prophecy. Rather, the claim is made that Jesus Christ came to establish the Messianic kingdom for the Jews, that they rejected Him, and that He established the Church instead [Herman Hoyt, a dispensationalist, in The Millennium, Four Viewpoints, by Clouse, pages 84-88]. The Church is often referred to as the ‘mystery parenthesis’ form of the Kingdom; "mystery" in that there is no prophecy in the Old Testament regarding the Church and "parenthesis" in that God found it necessary to interrupt His program for the Jews because their leaders rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah and He was unable to establish the Messianic kingdom. But Scripture tells us:

    John 17:1-7
    1. These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
    2. As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
    3. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
    4. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
    5. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
    6. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
    7. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.


    Now was Jesus Christ correct when he said: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. or was He saying something that was not true? I say He finished His work and the doctrine of the "parenthesis" Church is false doctrine!
     
  18. Yeshua1

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    I actually agree with you in this aspect, as I hold that the Lord never intended for isreal to actually as a nation receive Yeshua as King at Hisfirst coming, had the Church always in His plans and purposes, NOT as a response to their rejection, and MY parenthesis would be that God would ahve the church before first and second coming hidden from the OT prophets, BUT not unknown to God!
     
  19. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Dispensational theology does not deny the church is included in prophecy. Clouse did. Clouse was wrong. Many who argue against dispensational theology believe dispensationalists think -- as you have stated in this post -- that the "mystery" Paul wrote of consistently is the church. No. The mystery is Christ. Others believe we have somehow grasped onto Paul's statements concerning "my gospel," as though it were a "different gospel." We haven't. The gospel has never changed, and the advent of Messiah as prophesied in the Old Testament included the advent of the church.

    Here's the crux, however, where many will argue. Looking for prophecy of the church in the Old Testament will be futile, because Christ created the church, and as Christ is the Mystery -- His birth, life, ministry, death, burial and resurrection -- His ministry to all outside of Israel was also a mystery. The reason why is very simple: God's chosenness of Israel meant He and Israel were concerned only with Israel in their relationship, not the world. Therefore the prophets did not get revelation regarding the church. Certainly the Abrahamic Covenant indicates the world will be blessed through Israel by Abram's Seed -- Christ. But Israel is never told exactly how the world would be blessed, because it was not important to Israel's faithfulness that they know how the world would be blessed. They needed only know they must have faith in Messiah for salvation. The message was the same to the Gentiles -- have faith in Christ. Obviously they are one and the same.
    In certain twists of dispensational theology, that's true. But it isn't how most dispensationalists think today. Your problem here is that you are relying on writings that are decades if not a century old. Dispensationalism has solidified under a more well-reasoned umbrella since these authors wrote, and biblical truth is preached through dispensational churches daily.
     
    #19 thisnumbersdisconnected, Jan 31, 2014
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  20. Tom Butler

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    There's an old adage which says "where you come out on an issue depends on where you start."

    Here's an example. Judith, in post #13, quoted the passage from II Thessalonians which speaks of "him that letteth" who is taken out of the way. Judith assumes that the one that letteth (hinders) is the Holy Spirit, but nowhere in that passage is he identified as the HS. And the passage does not say the HS is taken away. It says him that letteth is taken "out of the way." A different meaning entirely. If this is the Holy Spirit, it does not mean he leaves the church to allow Satan to do his evil.

    It is entirely possible that this is not a reference to the Holy Spirit at all. A former pastor offered the view that "him that letteth" is probably Michael the archangel.

    In Jude 1:9 he writes that Michael disputed with the devil over the body of Moses. This passage could support the view that Michael is the "one who letteth."

    I point these things out to remind us to read the scriptures carefully. If we don't, we can easily come to a faulty conclusion.

    For another example, if we assume that "him who letteth" is the Holy Spirit, then it is easy to conclude that when the Holy Spirit leaves, so does the church--that is, the rapture. Remember, an entire doctrine of eschatology has been built around this assumption. If it's wrong, so is the doctrine.

    So how does this relate to the OP? The Pentecost day founding of the church springs from a number of assumptions. One, of course, is that the coming of the Holy Spirit is necessary for the church to begin. But I have already pointed out that Jesus told his disciples "receive ye the Holy Spirit" prior to Pentecost. He was already resident in the hearts of the disciples.

    If that's the case, then the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was something else entirely. I think it was the empowering of the church, which had been powerless since Jesus had returned to the Father. In fact, just before He left, he told them to wait.

    As long as Jesus was on earth, He was the power which supported the disciples. But he was bound by time and space. Now, the Holy Spirit can be everywhere, with every believer.

    I'm looking forward to the day when I can sit at the feel of the Lord Jesus and ask him a bunch of questions. "Lord, could you 'splain this to me?"

    Until then, I take the position regarding doctrine and eschatology, this is where I am now. I grant to others to draw difference conclusions and we will still enjoy sweet fellowship.
     

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