Category Archives: Church History

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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252 – September 09 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Posted: 08 Sep 2015 05:39 PM PDT

first Baptist_Bostonmeetinghouse First Boston Meeting House

The Importance of Church Membership

          Church membership at one time was much more important among fundamental Baptists than it seems to be in our day. As a case in point, we shall look at the record of the First Baptist Church of Boston. The church had been born in conflict, and many of the early members had been imprisoned for daring to establish such a witness in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. But the years passed, and we read of the second law of thermodynamics as it entered the spiritual realm. “the 9th mo 1684 Mr.  Dingley & his daughter Recevd as members to comunion by letter of Recomendation. .. . . At A Church meeting September ye 13th 1685. It was agreed upon the Brother Drinker upon consideration of his neglecting to officiate in his place for A long time & still prsisting in soe doeing should be discharged from ye work & office of A Decon and be Admonished to his duty as a member. . . His admonition availed, for he was restored to his place as a member upon acknowledgment of his desertion and promise of Reforming. Hid did not long walk in fellowship with the church, but after two other admonitions, He was rejected for refusing to heare the Church according to the 18 Chap: Mathew: this was sollemly don 5th January 1695.” Church correction, for the most part, is tragically a thing of the past. Church membership in our day is but a badge of approval, and everyone is expected to join a church somewhere.  Now the church is filled with unregenerate membership, and the church is no longer pure.

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Teenager in Prison


108 –April 18 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST

Posted: 17 Apr 2015 05:23 PM PDT

Yudintsev, Andrei

Teenager in Prison

  “But he’s just a kid!”  Surely those words could have been said of Joseph in Egypt, or of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Babylon. But that might also have been said of Andrei Yudintsev, who was eighteen when he and his friend, Vladimir Timchuk, were arrested during the Thanksgiving service at their Baptist church.  The lads thought they might spend a short time in the local jail or be fined, but soon they discovered they were going to be “tried” and the mandatory “guilty” finding would confine them for years in prison. They were given prison terms of three and a half years.  Following a brief incarceration in the local prison, the two were transported to different prison camps.  On April 18, 1982, Andrei arrived in his camp where he worked as a welder.  For two years, he had no Christian fellowship, but one day he was told that a fellow believer had been brought in.  He rejoiced to meet Pavel Zinchenko and to discover that they had many mutual friends.  The men continually encouraged each other which made the burdens of prison almost tolerable.  In the course of time, a third believer, Vladimir Blasenko from Nikolaev, was also transferred into their camp. Vladimir had suffered severely for his faith, but his captors could not break his spirit. Valdimir was thrilled to discover that Andrei and Pavel had a New Testament, and he read late into the nights.  Andrei reported:  “At first it might seem that this was a waste of my youth, but when it was over, nothing remained except gratitude to the Lord and gladness.  David says in Psalm 33, ‘For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy Name.’”  “He’s just a kid?”  Of Andrei we can say, he became a man, and a special kind of man, a man of God!

Dr. Dale R. Hart adapted from: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins. pp. 225 – 226

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47 – Feb. 16 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

Posted: 15 Feb 2015 04:03 PM PST

 

Dr. Richard Furman

When church membership meant something

On Feb 16, 1750, Oliver Hart began his ministry in Charleston, S.C. at the Baptist church that was established when William Screven led his congregation to flee when they were persecuted in Kittery, Maine.  Richard Furman who later became pastor, began his term of service in 1787.  Following are some of the terms of church membership for the Charleston church at that time.  Possibly the pendulum had swung too far to the right by then, but who can deny that in these days of “anything goes religion”, the pendulum has swung too far to the left, and in many instances, church membership has almost become meaningless.  They had three main rules for church membership.  First they were to notify the pastor of their desire for membership in time before the next communion seasons so that he could appoint the deacons or any other of the brethren that he may think proper, to visit the candidate to obtain needful information concerning their faith, character and life.  The second phase involved a period where appointed people would spend a time of fellowship with the prospective members to become better acquainted with them.  The third step would be a face to face meeting with the congregation where they would have the opportunity to ask the candidate any questions concerning their faith and repentance, etc.  If all was well, they would then be baptized and admitted to all of the privileges of the church.  Or they would accept them on receiving a letter of recommendation from the church from where they had come – The date was 1828.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History III (David L. Cummins), pp. 95-97.

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303 – Oct. 30 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Was met with violent opposition and persecution

October 30, 1753 – David Barrow was born into a plain farm family in Brunswick County, Virginia. After he received Christ at the age of 16, he was baptized by Zachariah Thompson and immediately began to exhort others to seek the Savior.

Though he had received very little education earlier, after he married he studied grammar under Elder Jeremiah Walker and became an excellent grammarian. Barrow was ordained in 1771 and traveled and preached extensively in Virginia and N. C.  He became the pastor of Isle of Wight Church in 1774. His ministry was interrupted when he shouldered a musket in 1776 and entered the army to defend his newly established country.

Barrow’s exceptional deportment rendered him popular with all classes of men except the baser sort of “church men” who opposed the gospel of God’s grace (Anglican). His successful ministry was met with violent opposition and persecution. On one occasion in 1778, Barrow and Edward Mintz were preaching at the home of a man who lived near the mouth of the James River. A gang of well dressed “church men” came up on the stage that had been erected under some trees. As soon as the hymn had been given out the “church men” began singing obscene songs. Then they grabbed Barrow and plunged him under some nearby water, twice burying his head in the mud to the point that he couldn’t breathe. Barrow barely escaped with his life. Within a few weeks, three or four of their persecutors died in a very strange manner. Barrow and the other men disregarded the threats and continued to preach without further problems. Many were saved, baptized, and a church was organized.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 450-51.

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301 – Oct. 28 – This Day in Baptist History Past


This is a day of apostacy that is as great as  what Spurgeon faced. Those that will stand will face anger, arrogance, and ridicule for standing faithfully for the express truths of the Word of God.

 

 

Controversy isolated Spurgeon

October 28, 1887 – Charles Haddon Spurgeon withdrew from the Baptist Union. During the height of the dispute before he withdrew he wrote the following that gives insight as to the condition of the Union at the time. “No lover of the Gospel can conceal from himself the fact that the days are evil. A new religion has been initiated, which is no more Christianity than chalk is cheese, and this religion, being destitute of moral honesty, palms itself off as the old faith with slight improvements, and on this plea usurps pulpits which were erected for Gospel preaching. The Atonement is scouted, the inspiration of the Scripture is derided, the Holy Spirit is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is turned into fiction, and the Resurrection into a myth, and yet these enemies of our faith expect us to call them brethren, and maintain a confederacy with them!” At the back of doctrinal falsehood comes a natural decline of spiritual life, evidenced by a taste for questionable amusements, and a weariness of devotional meetings. Spurgeon’s early complaints centered upon three problems; the decline of prayer meetings among the Baptist churches, the worldliness of ministers relating to entertainment, and doctrinal problems which stemmed from the inroads of the “higher criticism” of that day. This controversy isolated Spurgeon from many who refused to stand with him for the defense of biblical truth. Many believe that the grief and conflict of this battle hastened his death after a period of illness at Mentone in Southern France. He died on Jan. 31, 1892 at 57 years of age. In our day when apostasy abounds, God grant us men of God like him.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 447-48.             

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299 – Oct 26 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

October 26, 1793 – Lewis Lunsford, at the approximate age of 40 fell asleep in the arms of Jesus. Lunsford’s life was terminated in the prime of his life, leaving a family and a fruitful ministry.

Lewis was born in Stafford County, Virginia around 1753. Early in his life, while attending William Fristoe’s meetings, he was deeply convicted and gloriously saved through the gospel of God’s grace. After being baptized by Fristoe, he began to stand up as an advocate for the gospel. Lunsford’s talents commanded the attention of many and procured for him the appellation of “The Wonderful Boy.”

Wherever he went, there was blessing, but his message also attracted opposition. Once there assembled a congregation at a stage built on the property of a Mr. Stephen Hall near Mundy’s Point. After he had read his text, some who were well armed with staves and pistols drew near to attack him. Some of his followers, not listening to Lunsford’s pleas to the contrary began pulling up fence stakes to defend him. Several with pistols mounted the stage when it collapsed. Lunsford made it to Hall’s house and took refuge in an upper room. One of the armed ruffians asked for the privilege of debating with Lewis which the request was granted. When the man returned his countenance was totally changed, and his response to his friends was, “You had better converse with him yourselves, “Never a man spake like this.”  They answered him, “Are ye also deceived?” This transformed ruffian never saw Lunsford again because of his ill timed death. Apparently pneumonia had set in. He preached his last sermon from Rom. 5:1: “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp.  444-45.

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297 – Oct 24 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Amen-even so, come Lord Jesus’

October 24, 1826 – Ann Hasseltine Judson died in Burma, having been struck down by a violent fever, in the absence of her beloved missionary husband Adoniram. He had left for an extended journey that would consume several months. Writing to Ann’s mother he related, “Our parting was much less painful than many others had been. We had been preserved through so many trials and vicissitudes, that a separation of three or four months, attended no hazards, to either party, seemed a light thing. We parted therefore, with cheerful hearts, confident of a speedy reunion, and indulging fond anticipations of future years of domestic happiness.”

He concluded a later letter with these words: “Where glories shine and pleasures roll, That charm, delight, transport the soul; And every panting wish shall be, Possessed of boundless bliss in thee.” And there my dear mother, we also soon shall be, uniting and participating in the felicities of heaven with her, for whom we now mourn. “Amen-even so, come Lord Jesus.”

We can be thankful that the life and work of Ann Hasseltine Judson was preserved in letters written by her Husband, Adoniram, by Ann herself, and others. She wrote from Rangoon, Sept. 26, 1815: “You doubtless are expecting to hear by this time of the Burmese inquiring what shall they do to be saved, and rejoicing that we have come to tell them how they shall escape eternal misery. Alas, you know not the difficulty of communicating the least truth to the dark mind of a heathen, particularly those heathen who have a concerted notion of their own wisdom and knowledge, and the superior excellence of their religious system.”

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 441-42.

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