Category Archives: Church

THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT 5


5. The Fundamentals of the Church

We do not hesitate to say that the doctrines taught by the churches of the New Testament days are identical with the doctrines taught today by true Baptist churches. These constitute their distinguishing marks by which Baptist identity has been known across the centuries back to our Lord’s day on earth.

Across the centuries Baptists have believed and taught all the fundamentals of the Scriptures, thus making the Bible the man of their counsel. In sum, these teachings include:

  1. Salvation by grace without any admixture of meritorious works (Eph. 2:8-10; Rom. 11:6; Titus 3:5).

  2. Congregational form of church government, as already discussed in this message.

  3. Immersion in water as the Scriptural mode of baptism (Acts 8:38, 39; Rom. 6:4).

  4. Christ as the sole head over His church (Mark 12:10; Eph. 1:21-23).

  5. The Bible as the sole written guide and standard of authority in religious affairs (2 Tim. 3:16,17; John 5:39).

  6. The right of private judgment in the interpretation of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15: John 5:39).

  7. Freedom of worship, of conscience and of speech. The early Christians avowed and taught religious liberty. Tertullian, a Christian writer of the second and third centuries said:

Every man should worship according to his own convictions: one man’s religion neither harms nor helps another man. It is accuredly no part of religion to compel religion.”

Justin martyr, a Christian writer of the second century, said:

Religion cannot be imposed by force; the matter must be carried on by words rather than by blows.”

It is an honor to Baptists that, while they have endured persecution for truth’s sake, they have never persecuted others for their faith. Indeed religious freedom is a trophy of Baptists.

  1. Separation of church and state (Luke 20:21-25).

Baptists in every century have championed the cause of religious freedom. They have contended for separation of church and state, but not the separation of God and the state: that the one should not control the other, but both church and state should work harmoniously for the betterment of each. There can be no absolute freedom of religion where there exists a union of church and state. God is over all.

  1. Individual priesthood of all believers (Heb. 4:14-16; Rev. 5:10; John 14:13).

Every believer has a right to approach God for himself. He is his own believer-priest, going to God through Christ alone for himself (I Tim.2:5). It is a sin to pray to any saint living or dead.

In addition to these nine points of fundamental tenets, Baptists believe and teach the doctrines of inherent depravity (Eph. 2:3); the convicting and converting power of the Holy Spirit in connection with the word of God (Acts 16:14); the security of the believer (John 5:24); a restricted Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42; I Cor. 11:17-20); the blood atonement of Christ (II Cor. 5:21; Heb. 2:9) as essentially related to His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matt. 1:23); our Lord’s resurrection from the grave (Matt. 28:1-6); His ascension back to heaven (Luke 24:51); His personal and visible and premillennial second coming (Acts 1:11; Matt. 24:37-39); a bodily resurrection of the dead (I Cor. 15:51-53); and eternal hell for the incorrigible wicked (Luke 16:19-26); and an eternal bliss in heaven for the children of God (Rev. 21:1-14

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THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT 4


4. The Form of Church Government

Baptists are backed by the Scriptures in their claim of a congregational or democratic form of church government, all the members having an equal voice in the administrations of the church’s affairs. This form of church government is proved by the following facts:

  1. A whole church voted in the election of an apostle to succeed Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:26).
  2. 2. A whole church acted together in the election and ordination of the first deacons (Acts 6:2-6).
  3. A whole church acted together in sending forth missionaries (Acts 13:1, 2; 14:26, 27).
  4. A church as such is authorized to receive members (Romans 14:1).
  5. 5. A church as such is authorized to dismiss members for bad conduct (I Cor. 5:13; II Cor. 2:6; II Thess. 3:6).

The Corinthian church expelled from her membership an incestuous man by majority vote. “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment which was inflicted of many” (II Cor. 2:6). The word “many” comes from an original word meaning “majority.” This shows beyond any reasonable doubt the church maintained a democratic form of government.

  1. The congregational form of government is supported by the fact a church is complete within itself and is independent. Other congregations are not necessary for the being of a church, but they may contribute to its well-being. In Acts 16:5 we note that members of a church went abroad and established like churches: “And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.”
  2. The fact Christ recognizes a church as being the highest ecclesiastical tribunal on earth supports the congregational form of government, Matt. 18:17a, 18: “And if he shall neglect to hear them (the one or two witnesses) tell it unto the church…Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This authority was committed to a local congregation as a whole, thus showing that all the members should have a voice in any transaction

That is the Baptist system of church government – all members of a church being equals in a perfect democracy. They may not be equals in material possessions, or talents, or resourcefulness, but in authority under the Lord.

Other forms of church government, as taught by certain denominations, include the episcopal and presbyterial forms. By the episcopal is meant a church governed by bishops; and by presbyterial is meant a church is governed by presbyters or elders. These teachings arose after the close of the apostolic period, hence not taught in the Scriptures. They take away from the churches adopting such such systems their autonomous rights, whereas the congregational form of government necessarily implies three things: first, equality of the members touching their voice in the governing affairs of the congregation; second, independence of each church, as already mentioned; and third, each church is amenable only to the Lord in the conduct of its affairs.

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The Church That Jesus Built 3


3 The Foundation of the Church

Christ is the foundation and cornerstone of the church.

  1. He declares Himself as the Rock on which the church is founded. “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). The church was not founded on Peter, nor Peter’s confession, nor upon truth as such, but upon the immovable Rock of Ages. “Thou art Peter,” from the Greek petros, meaning a stone that can be moved, used in a metaphorical sense of Peter whom Satan threw around yet was he never crushed. The Greek word for rock on which the church was founded is petra, meaning a large and immovable rock.

The apostle Paul declares that Christ is the foundation, I Cor. 3:11 – “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” This should settle all cavil forever.

  1. Prophecy designates Christ as the foundation of the church, Isaiah 28:16: “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” The apostle Peter alludes to this prophecy in his message to the Jewish Christians scattered abroad, and also applies it to Christ (I Peter 2:6). Furthermore, Christ is not only the foundation of the church; He is also its cornerstone, thus tying all the building and its foundation together.

  2. The apostle Paul testifies that Christ is the foundation, Eph. 2:20: “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.” Christ was the foundation of the apostles and prophets, on which foundation the church was founded. He was their foundation, and He is the church’s foundation.

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THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT 2


2. The Founder Of The Church

Christ as founder of His church is proved by the following facts:

  1. As the Shepherd Christ gathered unto himself a flock, which is said to be the church. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock…to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

  2. Christ declared He had a church, Matthew 16:18 “…upon this rock I will build my church.” While on earth He called His company of followers “MY CHURCH.” However, the clause “will build” does not point to His founding the church, but to strengthening it, or building it up in numbers, power and usefulness. In this sense He is still building His church, and will continue doing so until He shall come again.

  3. Christ testified that He had a kingdom while on earth, hence He was the founder of it, John 18:36: “My kingdom is not of this world,” that is, not of this world’s system to wage carnal warfare, levy taxes for support of a political government, etc. The point is: Christ established a kingdom in person while on earth. The churches are the executives of His kingdom. When the first church was founded, Christ’s kingdom came into existence on earth.

  4. In founding the church, Christ became its headstone, Matthew 21:42: “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, “The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

  5. The material prepared by John the Baptist (Luke 1:16, 17, 77) was used by Christ in founding His church, as David prepared the material for the construction of the temple which was built by Solomon (I Chron. 22:5).

    Incidentally, since Christ used the ones whom John baptized in founding His church, this identifies His church with the baptism and teaching of John. If you were to go to a Mormon, for instance, and be baptized of him, would you not be known as a Mormon? Then, since the first disciples of Christ identified themselves with John the Baptist and were baptized by him, why were they not Baptists also? And being organized into a church by Christ, why was it not a Baptist church? The name “Baptist” came from God (Matt. 3:1). If John could wear it with honor, why cannot we? And as John was a missionary sent by God (John 1:6) and was divinely called Baptist, why was he not a missionary Baptist? That’s what we are?

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THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT


This sermon by D. N. Jackson will surprise some, challenge others and there will be those that will reject it out of hand without thought or study. An honest comparison of scripture will challenge those desiring the truth of God’s Word.

THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT

By D. N. Jackson

Presenting

The Founding

The Founder

The Foundation

The Form

The Fundamentals

The Future of the Church

The Six “F’s” of the Church

By D. N. Jackson

(Summary of a sermon preached Sunday evening, December 31, 1961, at Calvary Baptist Church, LaVerne, Calif.)

Tonight we are here by invitation to preach a sermon on the CHURCH. I am sure you appreciate the fact that in the short time customarily allotted to a sermon it will not be possible for me to elaborate on this subject. So we must be brief and pointed.

As a basis for our message, let us note the Master’s own words: “… upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

We shall deal with the six “F’s” of the church after this order: 1. The founding; 2. The Founder; 3. The Foundation; 4. The Form; 5. The Fundamentals; and 6. The Future.

1. The founding of the Church

Broadly speaking, the church was founded during the personal ministry of our Lord on earth.

TESTIMONY OF CHRIST: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4). Jesus testifies while on earth He finished the work which the Father sent Him to do. The establishment of the church being part of the work which He came to do, it stands to reason He established His church before His death.

TESTIMONY OF APOSTLE PAUL: “And God set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (I Cor. 12:28). These were gifts the Lord put in the New Testament churches. Mark explains when the gift of apostles was made: “And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach” (Mark 3:13,14).

That was done during the personal ministy of Christ on earth. As the apostles were ordained by Christ in person and placed in the church, it stands to reason there must have been a church in existence, for you cannot put something into nothing. Incidentally, the gifts of healings, miracles, tongues and apostles were done away at the close of the New Testament canon, and this took place when John wrote the book of Revelation.

But the point is; the church must have existed while Christ was on earth, else He could not have placed apostles in it.

Specifically speaking the church came into existence during our Lord’s first year’s of ministry and before John the Baptist was imprisoned. The first disciples to follow Christ were John, Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathanael (John 1:29-51). These were with Him at the marriage in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1). His disciples were soon increased in number (John 2:23; 3:1-7). This company was authorized by their Lord to administer baptism (John 3:22; 4:1-2), and it was called the bride of Christ (John 3:29). This company , while tarrying at Jerusalem after Christ’s ascension and before the dawn of the day of Pentecost, selected as Judas’ successor one who had companied with them “all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John” (Acts 1:21, 22).

To this company were added about three thousand converts on the first day of the Pentecostal feast (Acts 2:41). And the same company is called a church, Acts 2:47: “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved,” that is “such as were being saved.” This proves the church was founded even before John the Baptist was imprisoned and that it had been perpetuated from that day until the day of Pentecost. This church to which the three thousand were added was the company that began in John’s day, saw the ascension of Christ, and waited at Jerusalem for the coming of the events at Pentecost (Luke 24:49-53; Acts 1:14, 15).

Next Post – The Founder of the Church.

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CULTURAL CHRISTIANS


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard


CULTURAL CHRISTIANS
The current President of the United States of America boldly states in International media that the United States is not a “Christian country!” To a generation largely ignorant of history, he lauds the (unfounded) contributions to our advancement by Muslim nations. There is outcry, but not loud, and not long. As national foundations are made to crumble, one may still hear fainted laments, “But we are a Christian nation!” I submit to readers that while this great nation was founded on the Judeo-Christian teaching of Holy Writ, the definition of “Christian” by that holy book does not agree with the common, modern understanding of the word; that reality overwhelmingly reveals that “Christian” nowadays more pointedly means “Cultural Christian.” Think about it!
Churches of all types, brands, and contradictory doctrinal standing are accepted as “Christian” because they purport to hold to the historical fact that a man named Jesus came as the Son of God into the world, and was crucified on a Roman Cross. That certainly is a true, historical and biblical fact, but accepting that alone does not qualify a person or an institution to be a Christian, except in the cultural sense.
Cultural Christians believe without question that any church is Christian simply because it purports to be. Folks do whatever is necessary to be added to the membership rolls of the “church of their choice,” but care little about learning what it teaches or where it came from let alone what Holy Writ declares. Attendance is largely limited to AME (Armistice Day, Mother’s Day, and Easter) attendees which qualifies them to boldly make their spurious claim.
Cultural Christians find that such membership may allow them to inflate claims of contributions for tax advantages, it insulates them from the outreach of more evangelical disciples, and gives them a false sense of security that they could not be in error due to the large numbers of educated people who have made, similar decisions; it affords them social, business, and recreational interaction at minimal costs.
Nowadays, humor may be extracted from the inability of young and old alike on the street being unable to answer important questions in civics, but let’s hope the questions do not turn to the Bible. It would be disastrous , which, of course, it will be when cultural Christianity is offered to the Master as being the real thing!

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CHURCH HISTORY – INTRODUCTION


CHURCH HISTORY – INTRODUCTION

 

Eph 3:9, 10, 21 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

 

INTRODUCTION

There are great difficulties tracing Baptist Church history.

The true church that Jesus built cannot be traced through its writings. Most of those writings have been burnt by the enemies of the Church that Jesus built. Those enemies were religious entities that opposed and tried to eradicate the teachings of the Church that Jesus built.

 

The history of the true Church that Jesus called out cannot be traced through its name, even thought we accept the title that John the Baptist carried. He was called “John the Baptist” because of the mode of baptism that he practiced. This mode of baptism is what the Baptists practice because of the distinctiveness of the practice. We have also appropriated the name to identify not only who we are, but also how we practice the same mode of baptism that John the Baptist practiced.

 

No specific title was needed since at the time of the institution of the church, there was only ONE Church.

 

Special names were given to various groups in different periods of history. In Ephesus, they were called “that way”. Acts 19:23. We find in Acts 24:22 that Felix had more perfect knowledge of “that way”. Some were given the names of the prominent men that led them. Names such as Henricians, Paulicians, and Novatians. Other names were given because of the clean living evidenced bythe followers of a life lived as an example to others. The name given was Cathari. The name Waldenses came from the area these giants of the Word were located. Also names were given because of doctrinal practices. The ana-baptists were re-baptizers therefore ana-re baptists-baptizers.

 

Most of the recognition that is received by the Churches that Jesus built and sent out is chronicled by our enemies. The Catholics have given evidence of our existence and their attempt to exterminate Jesus Church. The Lutherans have historians that have documented our existence and stories of their persecution of baptists. Methodists have testified of our lengthy history and its source as Jesus of Nazareth. We glory that our enemies have thought so much of us that they have written our history for us.

 

What is a church? – Saved Baptized believers covenanted together to observe the ordinances, maintain the doctrine of Christ and carry out the great commission.

 

Where did it begin? – Matthew 4:18-22;

 

Before the Day of Pentecost – Matt. 18:15- 18

 

Jesus sang in the midst of the Church – Hebrews 2:12

 

Held a prayer meeting and business meeting – Acts 1:14; Acts 2:23-26

 

What was it built upon? – Matthew 16:18; I Cor. 3:11; Eph 2:20

 

Requirements for membership – Acts 2:22, 41

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‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’


American Minute with Bill Federer

There were ten major persecutions of Christians in the first three centuries, and Emperor Diocletian’s was the worst.

When Diocletian had lost battles in Persia, his generals told him it was because they had neglected the Roman gods.

Diocletian ordered all military personnel to worship the Roman gods, thus forcing Christians either into the closet or out of the army.

After purging Christians from the military, Diocletian surrounded himself with public opponents of Christianity.

He revoked the tolerance issued a previous Emperor Gallienus in 260 AD, and then used the military to force all of Rome to worship pagan gods.

In 303 AD, Diocletian consulted the Oracle Temple of Apollo at Didyma, which told him to initiate a great empire-wide persecution of the Christian church.

What followed was an intolerant, hateful and severe persecution of Christians.

Diocletian had his military go systematically province by province arresting church leaders, burning scriptures, destroying churches, cutting out tongues, boiling Christians alive and decapitating them.

From Europe to North Africa, thousands were martyred.

The faithful cried out in fervent prayer.

Then Diocletian was struck with a painful intestinal disease and resigned on MAY 1, 305 AD.

Emperor Gelarius continued the persecution, but he too was struck with the intestinal disease and died.

Commenting on Roman persecutions was Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, who was the Democrat Party’s candidate for President in 1896, 1900, and 1908.

He stated in his speech, “The Prince of Peace,” (New York Times, September 7, 1913):

I can imagine that the early Christians who were carried into the Coliseum to make a spectacle for those more savage than the beasts, were entreated by their doubting companions not to endanger their lives.

But, kneeling in the center of the arena, they prayed and sang until they were devoured…”

William Jennings Bryan continued:

How helpless they seemed, and, measured by every human rule, how hopeless was their cause!

And yet within a few decades the power which they invoked proved mightier than the legions of the Emperor, and the faith in which they died was triumphant o’er all the land….

They were greater conquerors in their death than they could have been had they purchased life.”

President Ronald Reagan commented on the Roman Coliseum at the National Prayer Breakfast, February 2, 1984:

This power of prayer can be illustrated by the story that goes back to the fourth century – the monk [Telemachus] living in a little remote village, spending most of his time in prayer…

One day he thought he heard the voice of God telling him to go to Rome…

Weeks and weeks later, he arrived…at a time of a festival in Rome…

He followed a crowd into the Coliseum, and then, there in the midst of this great crowd, he saw the gladiators come forth, stand before the Emperor, and say, ‘We who are about to die salute you.’

And he realized they were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the crowds.

He cried out, ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’

And his voice was lost in the tumult there in the great Colosseum…”

Reagan continued:

And as the games began, he made his way down through the crowd and climbed over the wall and dropped to the floor of the arena.

Suddenly the crowds saw this scrawny little figure making his way out to the gladiators and saying, over and over again, ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’

And they thought it was part of the entertainment, and at first they were amused.

But then, when they realized it wasn’t, they grew belligerent and angry…”

Reagan added:

And as he was pleading with the gladiators, ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’ one of them plunged his sword into his body.

And as he fell to the sand of the arena in death, his last words were, ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’

And suddenly, a strange thing happened.

The gladiators stood looking at this tiny form lying in the sand. A silence fell over the Colosseum. And then, someplace up in the upper tiers, an individual made his way to an exit and left, and the others began to follow.

And in the dead silence, everyone left the Colosseum. That was the last battle to the death between gladiators in the Roman Colosseum.

Never again did anyone kill or did men kill each other for the entertainment of the crowd…”

Reagan ended:

One tiny voice that could hardly be heard above the tumult. ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’

It is something we could be saying to each other throughout the world today.”

 

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Elder James S. Coleman


Source: Elder James S. Coleman

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302 – October 29 – This Day in Baptist History Past
A Church on the Move

“Among the first Baptist preachers to permanently settle in the west was William Marshall. .. . Other preachers followed Marshall . . . including Joseph Barnett, John Whitaker, James Skaggs, Benjamin Lynn, all of whom were ordained, and John Gerrard, a licensed preacher. . . [These] were responsible for forming the first Baptist church west of the mountains, the Severns Valley which was constituted June 18, 1781.”

Some of the migration west came through what was known as “Traveling Churches.” One such example is the church that had been known as the Upper Spottsylvania Church in Virginia. It had as its pastor Lewis Craig, one of the most successful of the Virginia Baptist preachers. In 1781 Craig decided to remove to Kentucky, and so great was the attachment of his members to their minister, that a majority of them decided to migrate with him.

In the midst of winter, after great hardship and danger, they arrived at their chosen destination, quickly made a clearing and established Craig’s Station on Gilbert’s Creek. Here on the second Sunday of December, 1781, they gathered for worship around the same old Bible they had used in Spottsylvania. John Taylor’s church too became a Traveling Church and relocated to the land of need.

These saints were not willing to become isolated enclaves of spiritual truth. They intended to become witnesses throughout the expanding West.

As a result, churches were established West of the Allegheny Mountains. Four churches met on October 29, 1785, at Cox’s Creek Church and formed the Salem Association, and Kentucky soon became a hot-bed of Baptist enterprise.

Dr. Dale R. Hart From: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins pp. 631 – 633

Note from Tom: Rev. Lewis Craig was the most influential of the preaching Craig brothers. They were pioneer Baptist ministers in early Virginia, when preaching without the license of the Church of Virginia was illegal, and Craig and his brothers were occassionally jailed. Lewis is most famous as the leader of “The Travelling Church,” when he and much of his Upper Spotsylvania Church congregation made up the largest mass-immigration into frontier Kentucky — a caravan of some 600 people. He settled at Gilbert’s Creek in Garrard County, Kentucky, then moved to South Elkhorn in Fayette County, and finally he settled in Mason County, where he died. His grave remained unmarked for many years but Kentucky Baptists finally succeeded in marking his grave, though there is some reason to believe they may have marked the wrong grave. He appears to be buried in an enclosure with that of the wife of his son, Lewis Craig Jr.http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi…

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