When & Where did the true Church begin?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by michael-acts17:11, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. michael-acts17:11

    michael-acts17:11
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    One of the keys to understanding when the New Testament church began is in discerning the very basics of what the church is. The church, in its purest form, is an assembly of two or more born-again, Holy Spirit indwelt believers who are in a covenant relationship with God through the mediation of Christ as our High Priest under His headship. That’s it. There are no other Scriptural prerequisites placed upon the church. Therefore, we must search the Scriptures to discover where these elements converged; nothing added and nothing removed. An honest study of the Word will reveal that the only place and time this could have occurred was when the Holy Spirit began His indwelling of believers on the day of Pentecost. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about when the church began? Is it passages of Scripture or church doctrine? What you’ve read in the Word, or what you’ve heard a pastor preach? The answer to these questions will reveal what your beliefs are based upon; the Word of God or the words of man.
    The beginning and essence of the church is founded in five primary doctrines upon which all other church-related doctrines rest. First, the Age of Grace, Church Age, or Dispensation of Grace, as it is called, is founded upon a blood covenant; the covenant of the blood and body of Jesus Christ. According to Hebrews 10:1-22 and 11:32-40, we have salvation, sanctification, remission of sins, and access to the true holiest of holies by the shed blood of Christ. This is accomplished by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which is synonymous with our having received the very righteousness of Christ. Also, according to Hebrews 7-10, Christ did not become the mediator of the New Covenant until the Covenant was sealed by His death. The termination of the Law Covenant was signified by the splitting of the temple veil. For the Testament in Christ to begin, the old Testament must first end. Christ died under the law Covenant of the Law. This is not man’s wisdom or religious dogma; it is clear Bible doctrine that is explained in great detail. I am amazed at pastors and long-time believers who completely overlook unambiguous Bible doctrine in lieu of denominational teachings.
    Second, the resurrection of Christ as our ever living High Priest demonstrated God’s acceptance of His sacrifice. Under the law, any high priest who entered the holy of holies unworthily or with an unworthy sacrifice was struck dead. This is the reason why Paul said, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” Paul knew the law and understood the resurrection’s role in the fulfillment of the law. Jesus did not become our High Priest until after He fulfilled the role of the ever-living High Priest. This included remaining alive after offering the sacrifice of His own blood to God. How could Jesus’ followers be priests before God with access to the very throne of God before Christ became their High Priest? The answer is simple. They couldn’t. Therefore, eternal salvation and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness by the accepted sacrifice came at a time after He rose from the dead. The church would have been an unregenerate assembly up to that point.
    Third, Christ’s ascension into the Holiest of Holies to present the blood sacrifice to God was the final fulfillment of the law under the old Covenant. The sin offerings under the old Covenant were pictures and types of Christ. The sins of the people were temporarily covered for one year after the offering was accepted by God in the earthly holy of holies; the physical representation of the true Holy of Holies at God’s throne. Therefore, the sins of all the followers of Yahweh and Jesus Christ in all ages were not eternally covered until the true sacrifice of Christ’s blood was offered directly to God in heaven. God could not have been any clearer when he inspired these words, “Without shedding of blood is no remission (of sins).” “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” “When he had by himself purged our sins, (He) sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Our sins were covered by the shed blood of Christ when it was offered to God at His throne. This truth is not implied, inferred, nor hidden in the original languages of Scripture. God has stated it clearly.
    Fourth, Jesus is the Head of the church. Scripture states that God the Father set Him as the Head of the church after His ascension. There is no life in the body without the head. To place the beginning of the New Testament Church at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry requires that Jesus be the elder of the first local church. Scripture never identifies Him as anything less than the Head and Saviour of the Body. This doctrine is rooted in assumption; not in clearly stated Biblical doctrine. Elders are elected to position by a vote of men. This is the consistent Scriptural example. No man voted Christ into any position within the church. Putting Him in the position of a pastor or earthly elder places Him under the authority of the congregation. There is not a single verse of Scripture which supports this doctrine. Passages which are used to prove this belief are followed with explanations of how the passage implies or infers something that is not directly stated within the text. This is the same hermeneutic that Catholic and Protestant churches use to support infant baptism, Mary worship, baptismal regeneration, theistic evolution, and other false doctrines. How can we say that their use of this interpretational method is invalid, and then turn around and use the very same methods to prove our own church doctrines? The text says what God meant it to say; without implication or inference. Passages should only be clarified by Scriptural comparison; not by human reasoning. It could even be argued that any doctrine which defines Christ as an elder in a local church is heresy.
    Fifth, there could be no church without the baptism or indwelling of the Holy Spirit as the promise and seal of an individual’s salvation. The indwelling indicates a new relationship with God that is distinctly different from what was known under the Covenant of the law. God had symbolically dwelt in the tabernacle and in the Temple, but He now dwells literally in the soul of every believer by the indwelling of His Spirit. The only references to church membership clearly show it to be an act of God by baptism in the Holy Spirit. He is the seal of the New Covenant; the promise of the Father. During Jesus’ ministry, the baptism of believers by Christ into the Holy Spirit was always referred to in the future tense. Just before His ascension, Christ himself told the apostles to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Sprirt. He stated “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.” The promise of the Spirit could not be fulfilled until the sacrifice was made to God. Why is it so difficult to accept this doctrine? It is not due to a lack of clarity on God’s part. Where is the ambiguity that lends to a different interpretation? It is not there. Believers were not eternally indwelt by the Spirit until after Christ’s ascension. How could believers be indwelt by the Spirit before the sacrifice was made? In writing to the Hebrews, Paul was referring to old Testament believers when he wrote, “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive the promise, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” There was no indwelling of, nor baptism in, the Holy Spirit under the law, and the Holy Spirit was sent as the Administrator of the New Covenant after Christ fulfilled every single requirement of the law in relation to the sin offering. I have heard objections to this teaching, but not with contradictory passages. Besides, Scripture does not contradict itself unless we are reading the meaning into the text.
    These fundamental truths should be Theology Basics 101 in our churches and seminaries, but they are not. In fact, they are watered down or skimmed over in order to retain the fidelity of traditional church and denominational doctrine. The belief that the New Testament church began at any point before Christ’s ascension is based solely upon church tradition and denominational teachings. Human reasoning and presupposition are used more often than Scriptural comparison when describing the beginning of the New Testament church. An honest study of God’s Word will quickly reveal that Christ’s assembly consists of born-again, Holy Spirit indwelt believers who are in a covenant relationship with God through the mediation of Christ as our High Priest under His headship, and that these qualifications could not have been fulfilled by any person until after Christ’s ascension. Once you remove all of the presupposition, implication, church tradition, and human reasoning, the truth will be all that remains.
     
  2. michael-acts17:11

    michael-acts17:11
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    The New Covenant
    Hebrews 7:15-10:20
    Hebrews 9:8-14 Eternal redemption came after Christ offered His own blood in the true holy of holies (holy place)
    Hebrews 9:15-17 Jesus’ testament became binding only after His death.
    Hebrews 10:9-12 The Old Covenant ended at His death before He established the New Covenant.
    Hebrews 10:13 Salvation was not perfected/complete until after his sacrifice
    Hebrews 10:20 His flesh became the veil to the true holiest of holies.
    Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45 The covenant of the law ended when the veil was rent. The tabernacle was no longer the physical representation of the person & presence of God.
    Acts 20:28 When did Christ purchase the church with His own blood?
    Luke 22:19-20 The “Lord’s Supper” is a demonstration of the new Covenant in His Blood; the old covenant was in the blood of animals
    John 20:17 Jesus did not present His blood sacrifice to the Father until after His ascension.
    Hebrews 8:1-7 Jesus could not be our High Priest & Mediator until after His ascension.
    Romans 8:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21 When did Jesus condemn sin in the flesh and fulfill the righteousness of the law? When did God condemn our sin in Christ’s flesh?
    Hebrews 1:3 Our sins were not purged until after Christ’s death

    Future References to the Church
    Matthew 16:18 …I will build my church: future tense — The verb tense where the writer portrays an action or state of being that will occur in the future(1st occurrence, occurs only in Matthew's Gospel)
    Mark 9:1 they shall see the kingdom (church) come in power
    John 7:38-39 Spirit not given until after Jesus was glorified.
    Acts 1:1-12 Spirit baptism is a prerequisite to the “Great Commission”.

    First Reference to the Present Existence of the Church
    Acts 2:47 The Lord added to the assembly.

    The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
    Mark 1:8, Acts 2:1-4, John 15:26 & 6:7 The church began at the first baptism (indwelling) in the Holy Spirit. This is the first time that all necessary aspects of the New Covenant were in effect.
    Matthew 3:11 Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit: future tense
    John 14:16-20 Jesus describing “the day” of the first Spirit baptism
    John 16:7 The Holy Spirit could not come until Jesus left (to offer the sacrifice to God)
    Luke 24:44-49 Evangelism to start in Jerusalem, wait there for the baptism of the Spirit
    Acts 11:15 The Spirit fell at the beginning of what?
    Ephesians 2:8-22 All believers are the household, habitation, and temple of God through the Holy Spirit.
    Ephesians 4:4-6; Acts 11:16, 18:24-26, 19:1-5 The “one baptism” is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, not the baptism of John. His baptism was a type of the inward baptism.
    Ephesians 4:8-12 the spiritual gifts given after His ascension
    1 Corinthians 12:12-28 All believers baptized into one body

    Christ is the Head of the Church
    Ephesians 1:19-23 God set Christ as the Head of the body/church after His ascension.
    Colossians 1:18 Jesus is the Head of the Body, the church.
    Ephesians 2:20 The New Testament apostles and prophets are the foundation of the church.


    Questions to Consider:
    When did the Old Covenant end?
    When did the New Covenant begin?
    When did Christ become our High Priest?
    When did Christ become the Head of the church?
    When did Christ become the Saviour of the Body?
    Where does Scripture first directly refer to the church as being in existence?
    When did Christ give gifts to believers for the edification of the assembly?
    Is the New Covenant made with the individual believer or with churches?
    Where does Scripture clearly outline the requirements for a church to be a New Testament church?
    Does Scripture ever refer to any assembly of believers as being a New Testament church or not being a New Testament church?
    If we stripped away all of the man-made traditions, rules, and doctrines from the church, what would remain?
    A formal name?
    Water baptism? (for membership)
    “Ordained” pastor?
    Vote of men? (for membership)
    Formal organized meetings?
    Written covenant? (for membership)
    Church genealogy to first church?
    Deacon board?
    (If these traditions are not found in Scripture, then from where did they originate?)

    When is the Scriptural beginning of the New Testament church?
    At the calling of the first disciple?
    When John the baptizer began his ministry of baptism?
    At Jesus’ baptism?
    At the first baptism of the Holy Spirit on the first day of Pentecost after Christ’s ascension?
     
  3. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Jesus established his church with the calling of the Twelve.

    He was Head of the church from the very beginning.

    By the time Pentecost arrived three years later, this traveling church had two sets of marching orders. The first was given to the Seventy when he sent them out, but it confined their activities to the Jews. The second, at his ascension, expanded those orders beyond the borders of Israel.

    It had the ordinances, baptism and the Lord's Supper.

    It had its gospel.

    It had instructions on how to behave in the assembly, and how to disciple its members.

    And, it had the Holy Spirit. John 20:22, Jesus said to his gathered disciples "Receive ye the Holy Spirit."

    One may argue that the Holy Spirit was given only to the Eleven at that time, and broadened to empower all believers at Pentecost. But one cannot ignore John 20:22.

    To the question of when the Old Covenant ended and the New Covenant began, consider this. When Jesus presided over the first Lord's Supper he described the cup as "the New Covenant in my blood." He did not say "this will be the new covenant," he said, "this is it." One may conclude that this is the place where the New Covenant began.

    So, by the day of Pentecost, the new church, which settled in Jerusalem, had everything it needed to carry out Jesus commission.

    An unrelated observation: Most of the 3,000 saved on that day were Jews, with a sprinkling of proselytes and Gentiles. Even though the majority were Jews, the gospel was already reaching beyond them.
     
  4. JesusFan

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    the "Church" as in the official Body of Christ had its originating birth day on day of Pentecost In the Book of Acts!

    AS that was date that Holy Spirit came to bring about new Body on earth, the Church of Christ, which would be all those whom were to become saved by messiah Jesus!
     
  5. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Michael, the questions you ask are legitimate questions, and grist for a good discussion.

    But I want to zero in on a couple of sentences which do not advance the discussion.
    In my previous post, I pointed out that the scriptures form the basis for my view, and I pointed to them to back up my opinion. I did not arrive at my view from either church tradition or denominational teaching.

    Some will say that my view is designed to counter-act the Roman Catholic claim of apostolic origin. I assure you that it did not come out of thin air. And I have never heard anyone who shares this view say that this was its purpose.

    I want to comment on your criticism of human reasoning. What's wrong with it? It is an ability we are born with, and the scriptures encourage us to "renew our minds" and "study to show yourself approved unto God."

    Paul, in Romans 12:2, outlined the purpose of renewing our minds: To transform us, and so that we may prove and discern God's will.

    And in his second letter to Timothy (2:25) Paul told Timothy why he should study: So that he may "rightly divide the word of truth."

    And God himself, through Isaiah, appealed to human reasoning. In Isaiah 1, God indicts the children of Israel for a whole myriad of sins. In 1:18 God gives us that famous appeal;
    This is followed by a call to repentance and a promise that repentance will bring blessing from God. And failure to repent brings disaster.

    In today's vernacular, I can image God would say "C'mon folks, use your brains. Obedience brings blessing. Disobedience brings disaster.'

    This is definitely God's appeal to human reasoning.
     
  6. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Ooooh, exclamation points.

    So, Jesus was Head of what, for three and a half years?
    His disciples baptized converts.
    They observed the Lord's Supper.
    They evangelized.
    Jesus taught and preached.
    His disciples assembled and fellowshipped.
    And he gave the Eleven the Holy Spirit (John 20:22)

    All prior to Pentecost.
     
  7. Jkdbuck76

    Jkdbuck76
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    I can't remember who told me this on BB, so I don't know whom to give credit.
    But it goes like this:

    The Church existed prior to Pentecost. How?
    Example: I existed before my birthday; that is to say I was alive and an existing soul 9 months before my birthday.

    Maybe this is the answer.
     
  8. JesusFan

    JesusFan
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    STILL were under though the Old Covenant...

    transisition period...

    Apostles were to represent 12 tribes of Isreal so to speak before the Lord...

    Jesus death/resurrection/ascension/coming of HS at penetcost

    NOW was under Church Age of Grace "officially"
     
  9. humblethinker

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    Seems to me that the church was started when Jesus 'called out' his twelve and they 'gathered' but that opening day or the Grand Opening (so to speak) was on Pentecost.
     
  10. JesusFan

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    Problem with that is that the HS had not yet be given unto the Apsotles, as jesus had not yet died, than been raised and glorified!
     
  11. humblethinker

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    ok... can you tell me why each of those must necessarily be chronologicaly prior to the existence of the church?
     
  12. Amy.G

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    At that point they were still under the Law. Is the church under the Law? The Law was not fulfilled until after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ when He poured His blood on the real mercy seat in heaven.

    The church began with Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples. Then Peter preached the gospel and 3000 were saved. But none of them were under the Law anymore.
     
  13. preacher4truth

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    The first church was in Jerusalem at Pentecost.

    First Baptist Church, Jerusalem.

    - Peace
     
  14. JesusFan

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    When the HS came at pentacost, He ushered in the "Age of Grace" as Old Covenant officially was superceded/replaced by the new Covenant, and at that time God started process of sealing believers in Holy Spirit into Body of Christ at that time

    had to wait until Jesus death and resurrection in order to officially started the Church era!
     
    #14 JesusFan, Jul 19, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2011
  15. humblethinker

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    This might comport with one's theology but what scripture buttresses the necessity of this before the called-out-gathering-of-believers could be considered a church?

    If the word "ecclesia" means "a called out gathering" then we see the "called out" in that Jesus called them to follow Him, and the "gathering" was when they followed him and were gathered together.
     
  16. JesusFan

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    Apostles were not filled/indwelt by HS, as He had not yet been given to them as Jesus had not yet been glorified!

    So until He came to seal them, no one was in Church, as it was not instituted as of yet!
     
    #16 JesusFan, Jul 19, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2011
  17. michael-acts17:11

    michael-acts17:11
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    I have given you Biblically exegeted position based upon dozens of passages which I have listed for you. You have given a couple of solitary verses & the statement that "the scriptures form the basis for my view". This is the difference between a thorough, exhaustive study of the topic & a shallow attempt to infuse denominational doctrines into the text.
    I am not rejecting all of human reasoning, only that which excludes Biblical truth in an effort to mold Scripture into the image of your church.
    I have given the five foundations without which the New Testament Church could not exist. If you cannot refute these facts, then they are true & are the foundation of the essence of the Church; defining its beginning & existence. Please try to give an intelligent, Scripture-rich defense instead of the "one verse & a lot of explaining what the text 'really' means" approach.


    The Five Doctrinal Foundations of the New Testament church:
    1. the New Covenant by the death and shed blood of Christ as the sacrifice for our sins
    2. the resurrection of Christ as our ever living High Priest
    3. the ascension of Christ into the Holiest of Holies to present the blood sacrifice to God
    4. God set Christ as the Head of the church, “which is His body”
    5. the sending of the Holy Spirit as the seal of the New Covenant and as the Promise of the Father
     
  18. humblethinker

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    ok, my answer is to repeat the question:
    This might comport with one's theology but what scripture buttresses the necessity of this before the called-out-gathering-of-believers could be considered a church?

    (I'm not argueing that there isn't any, I'd just like to know if there is actual scripture that is informing this view or mainly a philosophy derived from an interpretation of scripture.)
     
  19. michael-acts17:11

    michael-acts17:11
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    There is a great misunderstanding of the essence of the church & of the New Covenant because of a lack of deep teaching in our churches. God's people are not being taught how to systematically study His Word without man-defined denominational blinders. They are shown a couple of verses which "prove" the denomination's doctrine & never question what they have been told. There is more evidence for baptismal regeneration in Scripture than for a pre-Pentecost Church. And no, I don't believe in baptismal regeneration.
     
  20. mandym

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    So if someone does not agree with you then they have lacked a "deep teaching"? I do not agree with a pre-pentecost church but it is very likely they have done as well a study on this issue as folks like yourself if not more. This is the inflammatory attitude that drives so much contention on this board.
     

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