When Did the Church Begin?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tom Butler, Nov 2, 2013.

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  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    In another thread, I commented that Jesus had endorsed the tithe after he established His church. webdog commented that he'd never heard of the idea that the church was established before Pentecost.

    So this thread is explain the rationale for my view.

    I recognize that the prevalent view is that the Holy Spirit formed the church at Pentecost in Acts 2. But we find nothing in those passages (or any other passage, for that matter) which says that.

    One way to approach this is to ask, what did the church have AFTER the day of Pentecost that it did not have BEFORE Pentecost.

    It certainly had a Head.
    It had a gospel
    It preached the gospel.
    It had teams of evangelists with marching orders (the seventy in Luke 10)
    It had power (Luke 10 "even the demons are subject to us")
    It had baptism and the Lord's supper.
    It had a Commission.
    It had a treasurer (Judas)
    It assembled.


    Then there's Matthew 16:18, where Jesus said "On this rock I will build my church...."

    Jesus said I will build my church. Now. While I'm here. And I'll do it.
    He said I will build my church. Not establish, not found, but build.

    Whatever was true of the church after the day of Pentecost was also true when Jesus spoke those words in Matthew 16:18--and it had to be true before he spoke those words.

    So, can we pinpoint when the church came into existence? We find it in Luke 6:12-13
    Here, I believe, is the point at which they became a body.

    And truly, Jesus did build his church. By Pentecost, this little traveling band had grown to at least 120. We also know that it had a business meeting to select Matthias as the replacement for Judas. Before Pentecost.

    Let's remember that on the Day of Pentecost, they were already assembled. That's what churches do more than anything--assemble.
     
    #1 Tom Butler, Nov 2, 2013
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  2. Revmitchell

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    The indwelling of the Holy Ghost.

    Joh_16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

    Eph_1:13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,

    Eph_4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

    1Co 3:16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?

    1 Corinthians 6:19 - Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in us because we are bought with a price. Everyone who has been purchased (redeemed) by the blood of Christ also has the Spirit of God dwelling in him.

    Romans 8:9 - We should be led by the Spirit of God. If the Spirit of God (Christ) does not dwell in us, we do not belong to God.
     
    #2 Revmitchell, Nov 2, 2013
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  3. Revmitchell

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    At no time in scripture does it discuss people being added to the church like this.

    Act 2:41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.


    We are also no "in Christ"

    Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
     
  4. Tom Butler

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    Revmitchell, there is no question that the Jerusalem church was empowered at Pentecost.

    So, what happened in John 20, when Jesus appeared in the midst of the disciples, breathed on them, and said "receive ye the Holy Spirit."? What's the difference between what happened there, and in Acts 1:8 when Jesus said "you shall receive power when the Holy Ghost is come upon you...."?

    And we have to remember that Jesus said he must go away so the Comforter will come.

    I note that even though Jesus said "receive ye the Holy Spirit," the disciples stayed holed up together, with no change in their behavior, until Pentecost.

    Which raises the question, what's the difference? Was "receiving" the Holy Spirit different from the "empowering" that we saw from Pentecost onward?

    As long as Jesus was with them, they had His power. After he ascended, they were basically powerless until the Holy Spirit came in His place. In fact, they were fearful, not the least bit bold.

    So, it seems to me that it's no problem for the church Jesus established during his earthly ministry to function in power from its Head--the second person of the Trinity. And then, after He left, to function in the power of the Holy Spirit.
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    Actually you are hurting your own argument. Jesus breathing on them may not be what you think it is. I contend that it was nothing more than Jesus' promise and intention of what it was the He was doing.

    Evidence of this is shown by the fact that in this incident there was no response. The response did not come until the day of Pentecost.

    1. The HG did nothing to make Himself known as He did at Pentecost.
    2. There was no change in the believers as there was at Pentecost.
    3. Jesus being there meant, by His own words, that the HG was not there yet.
     
  6. The Biblicist

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    This is the usual response to prove a Pentecost time for building the church but it is a very flawed response and I will give you what I believe to be very good reasons it is flawed.

    For example, take the last text you quoted. That text is establishd on the universal premise that only two kind of humans exist, those (1) "in the flesh"; and (2) those "in the Spirit" and all who are not "in the Spirit" are "none of His" and cannot "please God" (Rom. 8:8). Furthermore, Paul defines and confines those "in the Spirit" to be those in whom the Holy Spirit INDWELLS.

    Your interpretation of Pentecost demands a third type of universal man who is neither "in the flesh" or "in the Spirit" but still are His (Heb. 11;7-41).

    Second, your third kind of human can "walk by faith" (Heb. 11:7-41) and thus "please God" unlike those "in the flesh" (Rom. 8:8) and yet have no spiritual union with God and thus must be spiritually dead. The opposite of spiritual death is spiriutal union as spiritual death is "separation" or being "alienated from the life of God" (Eph. 4:18). Hence, your third type of humanity must be spiritually dead just as those "in the flesh" and unlike those "in the Spirit." It is impossible not to be indwelt by the Spirit if you are in SPRITIUAL UNION with God.

    Third, this position fails to acknowledge and distinguish between two different kinds of temples, which are both "bodies" that are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. (1) The singular temple of the Holy Spirit consisting of plural members - 1 Cor. 3:16 or the local congregation; (2) the singular temple of the believer which is his physical body - 1 Cor. 6:19. My position is that it is the congregational body built by Christ during His earthly ministry (Mt. 18:17-18) which had both ordinances, officers, commission all before Pentecost but then was baptized in the Spirit and indwelt by the Spirit on Pentecost and the continuing evidence of the Baptism in the Spirit is not sign, wonders and miracles (which were temporary evidences) but as Jesus who was without measure of the Spirit could say "I am the truth" and the Holy Spirit could be called "The Spirit of truth" so the congregation of Christ is called "the pillar and ground of truth" which is the type that has a public qualified ministry (1 Tim. 3:1-13) and a organic commission (Mt. 28:19-20).

    Hence, like every previous PUBLIC House of God it was baptized once in the Spirit (Ex. 40:35-37; 2 Chron. 7:1-3; Acts 2:1-3).

    Fourth, every single solitary verse prior to Pentecost which speaks of the baptism in the Spirit speaks of it as a future event (Mt. 3:11; Acts 1:5) that would be administered to a PLURAL but WATER BAPTIZED "you." There were other believers on Pentecost who did not receive the baptism in the Spirit outside this congregation. Only those gathered together in one place (congregation) were baptized in the Spirit.

    Fifth, this idea that the Spirit came "upon" believers in the past but no indwelling them is fallacious as well. The Spirit came "upon" non-believers also and coming "upon" refers to equipping or using for certain tasks. In Acts 8 Peter and John said the Spirit had not come "UPON" the baptized believers in Samaria and the meaning was to empower them with spiritual gifts because when they laid their hands upon them they received spiritual gifts not indwelling by the Spirit, and it was that power that Simon wanted to purchase (Acts 8:15-19).

    Sixth, those who take the indwelling of individual believers as the baptism in the Spirit on Pentecost fail to distinguish between a new covenant PUBLIC administration in contrast to the old covenant PUBLIC administration with a PUBLIC qualified ministry, PUBLIC qualified ordinances and a PUBLIC house of worship (Heb. 9:1) with a PUBLIC qualifed commission and thus discount a PUBLIC baptism in the Spirit of this new covenant PUBLIC administration as a PPUBLIC institution.

    Seventh, there are many individuals prior to Pentecost who are said explicitly to have the indwelling Spirit and filling of the Spirit and some are not prophets (e.g. Caleb).

    I believe this interpretation of PERSONAL indwelling by the Spirit on Pentecost is fallacious and ignores the vast majority of Biblical evidence between the PUBLIC house of God and the individual believer who cannot be owned by God apart from spiritual union (spirit indwelling) with God. There never has been any but two classifications of humans (1) those "in the flesh" and (2) those "in the Spirit" and the NEW PUBLIC HOUSE OF GOD is a metaphorical body consisting of plural water baptized individuals as these are the only kind of persons promised the baptism in the Spirit and the only kind of persons actually baptized in the spirit together in one place. as one congregational body on the day of Pentecost
     
    #6 The Biblicist, Nov 2, 2013
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  7. Tom Butler

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    Actually, I'm not making that argument, I'm asking questions. And your view that "receive ye the Holy Spirit" is a promise makes sense.

    And, if true, it reinforces my view, since the Holy Spirit came on an already assembled assembly. A church.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    I don't see that them being already assembled makes the point. Believers gathered in synagogues for centuries. However, the church cannot function, gathered or not, without the power it needed and was promised.
     
  9. Van

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    I did not read this thread, so pardon me if what I say is redundant:

    The church is comprised of believers. We had believers before Christ died.

    The church is comprised of born anew believers. No one was born anew before Jesus died, because He is the first born from the dead.

    The church is comprised of born anew believers, indwelt with the Holy Spirit. No one was indwelt (on earth) before Pentecost.

    Therefore the church with members living on earth, it started at Pentecost, but born anew believers entered heaven on the day Christ died, the general assembly located in heaven.
     
  10. Tom Butler

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    Oh, I agree with you about the power.

    We see in Acts 1 an 2 that the disciples met at least twice, and probably more often. At the first one, they had a business meeting to elect a successor to Judas. And 1:14 tells us that they joined constantly in prayer. "Constantly" suggests to me that it was ongoing, or at the every least, regular.

    And the next one mention is in 2:1 where it says that when the Day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Another way of stating it is that they were all together in one place when Pentecost came. That is, already assembled.
    We also know that they were instructed by Jesus to wait in Jerusalem for the gift of Holy Spirit baptism.

    So, the disciples waited. And we may infer that they waited together. Because Jesus told them to wait. So they did. Assembled. Worshiping. Praying. But without power until Pentecost.
     
  11. JonC

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    Didn't it begin with the Synod of Dort???...:smilewinkgrin:...:tear: ... (sorry)

    I think Pentecost.
     
  12. preachinjesus

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    The Church began at Pentecost.

    It is not the new Israel, but the true Israel and welcomes the saints of the Old Testament through the resurrection.
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    We still come back to the question, what did the church have on the day of Pentecost that it didn't already have before Pentecost?
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    As I said earlier not only power but the indwelling of the HG in the believer.
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    Which leads to the question, what does that have to do with the founding of the church? Is there a scripture verse that I missed that clearly makes that link?

    Again, Jesus said he would build his church. He wasn't physically present at Pentecost. He could build his church only if he was present to build it.

    In Matthew 18, Jesus also taught about dealing with a problem.
    If the church doesn't exist, I can just hear the disciples: "Uh, Master, what's a church? What are you talking about?"
     
  16. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    It looks like a valid argument, but the Greek ekklesia was also used for gatherings of the Jews in synagogue or other assembly, as well as for village councils in which the whole population of the jurisdiction was called into attendance.
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    Only if He was present? Scripture please? What is it you believe He is doing right now?

    By the way, God was present at Pentecost.
     
  18. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    As was the Holy Spirit.
     
  19. Revmitchell

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    Ok so God and the HG was present.
     
  20. webdog

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    Didn't Jesus say 'will build', indicating a future action? Didn't the temple veil being torn indicate a new, unique relationship between God and His people never seen before?
     
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