Recently I downloaded a paper written by Pastor Abrams on ekklesia. It is a great paper with a great deal of useful information but I do have one question. Towards the bottom of the fourth page there is a reference to Acts 9:31 that states, ďIn Acts 9:31, ďekklesiaĒ is plural . . .Ē I know that such a plural noun would enhance the basic argument for the lack of a ďuniversalĒ church but every reference I have available to me indicates that the ďekklesiaĒ in question is in the singular number. As a matter of fact, I can find NO reference that shows that particular passage in the singular. Can you be of any help?
I am a Missionary Baptist and I would like to let you know that I enjoyed reading your article titled " A Brief Survey of Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches: What are their Belief and History". I would like to make a few comments on some of your statements and would like your thoughts back. Over the topic of "secessionism", I do agree that hierarchy of secession is not biblical. However, it is my understand from study that there is an unbroken line of doctrinal authority passed down through history from church to church. It is through the Great Commission that the church has been given the authority to preach, teach, and establish a missionary work to spread the Gospel to the world. It is the N.T. church, not a single man or board, that is to carry on the work. One can not just go out and hang up a shingle and have the authority of God as his church. It is through the passing down from one church to the next new church that the Gospel and the work of the church has been preserved through the generations. Your example of a bible falling out of a airplane to a people that has never came in contact with the Word of God is correct for salvation. They may form a church but that does not empower them with authority. Look at Mark 9:38-50. John told Jesus that they forbade a man for casting out devils in Jesus' name. Jesus told John that if he is not against us then he is on their part. This man may love the Lord and preach, teach, and cast out devils in the Lord's name; but he did not follow Christ in his ministry or was counted as one of the twelve apostles that is name as the Church. This man was not named as one of the foundations of the Holy City in the book of Revelations either. Please comment. Thank you.
Why do we have to use the term "New Testament church." When there is no other church, why do we have to mention as, New Testament Church? Why isn't simply the word "Church" is sufficient? I observed some Baptist Churches call themselves as N.T. churches.
Zech. 11:17, "Woe to the worthless shepherd who leaves the flock! A sword will be on his arm and on his right eye! His arm will be totally withered, and his right eye will be blind." I know its talking about the last days, but what does leaves the flock mean?
1. Is there anything in Scripture that prohibits looking for a pastor outside the local church body? 2. Can a potential candidate be considered proven in reference to 1 Timothy 3:10 if he is outside the local body? We have some in our body that feel because of 1 Timothy 3:10 we should not be looking for a candidate for our Missions/Local Evangelism position outside of our body.
I have been a member of a In dependant Fundamental Baptist church for the past 30 years. I was saved at the age of 15 and baptized through emersion. I recently moved and my wife and I started attending another IFB church and like the people and like the pastor and the way he adheres to the bible. We decided we would like to join and the pastor was happy but he said I would have to be rebaptized. My wife has been a IFB Baptist all her life and her grandfather was a Baptist minister. They said it is not scripturally right and if he (the pastor) is questioning my baptism then he must also be questioning my salvation. In any case I know I am saved and I know I will not be baptized again, but if you could shed some light on this, it would greatly be appreciated. God Bless and Thank you.
Our church changed its name form Berean Baptist Christian Fellowship to Berean Baptist Church. One family left the church because of the change. A previous deacon in the church said that we were a mission work and not a church and we should keep the name "fellowship" to denote our mission status. Can a church cannot become a church if there is no sending church and should it be a requirement that we should be a mission before going to be named as church? The deacon also said the Church Age was also over...? I am confused, can you help?
I am a --(NATIONALITY)----- working outside ---(THE COUNTRY)----- and with another believers abroad created a group to continue worshipping and serving God. We initially suffixed our name with Fellowship because we are not yet organized yet by that time. Recently, we decided to change the name and instead replace the fellowship with the church. As a result of this, we lost one family in our group stating that their main reason is the move of changing the name-claiming that the church age is already over (similar thought). Personally, I am not bothered by the name because what is the name by Jesus' work on the cross. However, I am a little bit curious on this. Can a church cannot become a church if there is no sending church? ( We don't have such because we are groups of believers coming from various parts of the country and met only here abroad). Should it be a requirement that we should be a mission before going to be named as church? Or simply, can we not name our fellowship as church with the fact that we organized the fellowship outside our respective home churches? Fellowship is not mentioned in the Bible. Similarly, our departing member is claiming that this is implied in Acts 28:30-31. Can you please also explain these verses? Please give light on this.
Why do Baptists say their first distinctive is "We accept only New Testament as our authority for our faith and practice? What about the Old Testament? Should alcoholic wine be used in the Lord's Supper. Should open communion for all believers or just the members of that specific independent fundamental church. When did the church begin? I read that it was not started on the Day of Pentecost.
What you are experiencing is the modern trend toward pragmatism. The basic flaw in it is that it is getting away from biblical preaching, which is becoming less and less popular. The trend is designed to replace biblical preaching with other more entertaining services. I do not know what the practice will be at your church, but a part of the trend is to move toward programs that take a "Christian" psychological approach meeting the needs of people. It de-emphasizes fighting sin and disobedience in one's life, which is the source of our problems, to one of promoting self-esteem, and group support (like Promise Keepers)and music programs, plays, etc.
This modern approach seems to most people to be a good thing. I do not question the motives of those who institute such policies, but of their wisdom and spiritual discernment. They have a misunderstanding of God's way of winning the lost and edifying the believer. In truth this trend belittles and weakens God's Word. People are moved away from studying the Bible, to studying books and programs of various "authorities" dealing with human emotion and problems. The appeal is to having emotional experiences, rather than obedience to God's Word. They do "use" the Bible, but only selected portions that seem to support what they are doing.
What you are seeing is the result of something that has been in the making for some time. Fundamentalism is being watered down and is coming in some churches under the influence of the false practices of the Charismatic movement. It is not popular today to just "preach the word." Paul warned of such in 2 Tim. 3:1-4:5. I think it is note worthy that verses 3:-17 and 4:2 are a part of this instruction from God.
The problem with people in our churches today is not psychological, but spiritual. True spirituality comes from living pure lives apart from sin and from studying and obeying God's word. Paul says the people are "Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth " (verse 7). Only biblical preaching which teaches God's truth and condemns sin matures people and makes them spiritual.
Church members today as 2 Tim. 4:3, says ". . .not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
In 2 Tim. 3:5, Paul says they "have a from of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
I think that a preacher or a church that has gone so far as yours seems to have gone in their voting to change their services....has gone too far astray to repent and return to sound doctrine and practice. I think that is why Paul says from such "turn away."
The Baptist church I was raised was a strong Bible believing church when I was a boy. My elderly parents still attend there, but the church is now merely a shell. Instead of sound biblical preaching, they hear moral platitudes. They have "praise" services, which is mostly a modern Christian music presentation, which has its roots in the false doctrines of the Charismatic movement. The ignore clear biblical teachings such as women leading the church as deacons and teaching men. There pastor is "not sure" of many doctrines in the Bible. They services are dominated by music.
How can they not understand that God is praised when His children live godly, holy lives in love and obedience to Him. God is not impressed with songs sung be people who substitute godly living for a entertaining "praise" services and who are "turned off" by strong doctrinal preaching.
Brother, my heart goes out to you and for your misguided preacher and those that are following him. I know that this is strong language, but I know where all this will eventually lead. I am seeing it happening all over the country and seeing it kill the work of God. God works only through His word. Truly were are in the Laodicean age and the steps your church has taken, will in time, turn it into a Laodicean church.
May I also say that part of the problem is with the people. Pastors today are faced with a lack of spirituality or commitment to truth in their membership. So, when the Word of God is not received by people, and it drives people away, some misguided preachers abandon the "old paths" and turn to programs to try and hold the church together. The appeal of modern programs, music, and "outreaches" is to the flesh and if done in an entertaining way appeals to people and the church begins to grow or holds together. Thus, because this new approach works....it continues. However, in time, it will fail. The church now is on a course of basing its existence on it ability to appeal to people. Programs soon grow old and new methods and programs must be invented to replace the old ones the people grow tired of. It becomes a road away from God and His word and will in time destroy the church. It will absolutely assures that God's presence and blessing will not be on the church....because God blesses His word and obedience to it...and nothing else. That's how once sound church become Laodicean churches.
Sadly, your probably well meaning preacher, doesn't even know where he is leading you. There is a great lack of discernment today in many preachers.
The answer is to return to sound preaching of the Word of God...but that is not the answer people want. I have prayed for you, your family and this sadly mislead church.
I wish I could be more positive about the situation in your church.
Their love of the cross comes from the teachings of the New Testament. They see it as the Bible teaches as the place where Jesus Christ suffered and died, and then on the third day arose from the grave victorious over sin and death. In fact, the teaching of the Gospel, as given to us by God' Word, the Bible, is the teaching of the cross. In I Cor. 15:1-4, Paul stated clearly what the Gospel he preached was:
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (I Cor. 15:1-4)
This was the Gospel of the early church. This was that which saved the early Christians, the preaching of the cross of Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:18 says "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved is the power of God."
Colossians 2:14 says, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross".
It should also be noted that the cross we display is empty! We worship a risen Savior, who is alive and in heaven seated at the right hand of God. We worship and living God, who indwells us in the person of the Holy Spirit, and intercedes for us to our Father. (Hebrews 1:3, 10:19-22, 1 Cor. 6:19)
1 Peter 1:18-19, states that those who are saved were redeemed by the precious blood of the lamb, which was Christ.
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation (foolish way of life) received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Reference books used in this study:
Hebrews 9:14 says this, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God". Verse 22, states emphatically "....without the shedding of is no remission."
"For by Grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast".
When a person believes the Gospel he is saved. That means the "good news" or the Gospel is that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and that he came into the world, being God, became incarnate in Man, and died on the cross, shedding His blood, and suffering, paying the sin debt of the world, and then on the third day arising from the grave, conquering sin and death. (I Corinthians 15:1-4)
Romans 10:9-10, says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
A person who believes on Jesus Christ by simple faith is saved. Baptist absolutely reject as heresy the idea that a man can be saved by his works or good deeds. No act or ritual a man does can in any way saved him. They reject a "works" salvation based on what God has reveal in the New Testament. Being a Baptist does not save anyone, in fact by the life styles of many professing Baptists, it is questionable whether they are saved and know Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Nowhere does the Bible say that a person is saved by being a member of a church, or by baptism, taking the Lord's Supper, or doing any good work. Jesus states the reality of this in Matthew 7:13-24. He stated that at the final judgment there would be many who had believed the doctrines of false prophets, who had claimed to be speaking for God. These people had accepted a "works" salvation, and had in fact done many "wonderful works." However, in verse 23, Jesus says to them, "....I never knew you: depart from me, ye workers of iniquity." These people who are condemned by Christ even used his name and called Him, Lord, yet Jesus says their "works", were works of iniquity. In John 6:28-29, Jesus makes it clear when responding to the Jews who ask, "....what shall we do, that we might work the works of God, Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God they ye believe on him whom he hath sent."
We believe that works are an important part of the life of the Christian. In fact James stated that the true Christian would "work". He says that faith without works was dead. (James 2:17) He is not saying a person is saved by works, but is saying that a person who has truly exercised saving faith will work. In fact, the evidence of his inward faith in Christ is his outward works in doing the will of the God that saved him. He says that a faith that does not produce works, is not saving faith it is dead. (James 2:20)
A true Christian will work because to be saved means that Jesus Christ is the Lord of his life. God directs them in all they do. They strive to do the will of God, the same as Christ did. (Hebrew 10:7) However, it should be clearly understood, no true child of God, believes he can by his good works and life, merit a place in heaven. Isaiah 64:6, states that our righteousness is but filthy rags in the sight of God. He understands that when he stands before God, his only grounds for entrance into heaven is to simply plea, "I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior, He paid my sin debt and there by saved me and gave me eternal life. Christ, gave me the free gift of salvation, and I accepted it by faith. Therefore, I have a place in heaven because Christ, the Son of God, gave it to me."
It has always been the trick of Satan, to deceive men, by appealing to their pride, and leading them through false teachers and prophets to believe that they can by church membership, baptism, receiving the Lord's Supper, and by living a good life of good works obtain entrance into heaven. Many falsely hope that when they die and stand before God that they will have done enough good works to off set the bad things and thus be let in heaven. However, God has already made his judgment! A man who stands before the throne of God, without being washed in the blood of the Lamb (Revelations 1:5), not having accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, will without any recourse be cast into the eternal lake of fire. (Revelations 20:11-15)
The Lord's Supper is the second ordnance the Lord gave to the local church. Its observance is a symbolic public memorial remembering Christ's body that was broken for man and His blood that was shed for man's redemption. (1 Corinthian 11:26) It was practiced in the early church when they assembled together.
Because these two ordinances were given to the church as symbolic memorials as exampled by the New Testament they should be administered by the local church when it comes together and never privately. (I Cor. 11:23-34)
There is no set time interval to administering the Lord's Supper. 1 Cor. 11:26, only says, "as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." There is no teaching here as to how often the ordinance is practiced and each local church decides the matter for themselves.
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To understand verse 18, first then back to verse 17. Jesus said to Peter literally in English, "I say also to you, that you are ROCK (petros)[this is a masculine noun, and means a large fragment of a larger rock] and upon this rock (petra) [this is a feminine demonstrative pronoun], I will build my assembly (ekklesia or ecclesia) [means an assembly called out for some special purpose, in counter distinction of a randomly called assembly without a purpose for meeting].
It is grammatical incorrect to say that upon Peter Jesus was going to build his church (assembly). That is not what Jesus said. In normal English it "could" mean this, but not in Greek. Petros is a masculine noun and Petra is a feminine pronoun. A feminine pronoun does not modify or refer back to a masculine noun because their gender is different. That is a grammatical law of Greek. So grammatically the words used by Christ in Greek, did not mean He was going to build His church on Peter. To His hearers that was not what he was saying.
What he was saying and his Greek speaking hearers understood was the Petra (feminine pronoun) referred to something said earlier. Jesus clearly was referring back to what Peter has said his confession in verse 16, that Jesus "was the Christ, the son of the living God." The Jesus made two statements in reference to what Peter said.
First, verse 17, (literal translation) "You are spiritually blessed Simon Barjonia, because flesh and blood [No man] did not reveal this too you, but my Father in Heaven." So the "petra" that the Christ's church (assembly) will be built upon is what God revealed to Peter "or" was it the process of imparting this truth?
What did Peter say under the inspiration of God? He said that "Jesus is the Christ the Son of God." It was an emphatic statement of Christ's deity. He was the Son of God, and only He could be the foundation of the church. It is simply untrue and foolish to say that Jesus would build something as important as His church is on a fallible man! From that time on did Jesus only speak through Peter? In truth if you want to seek a man to build the church on why not Paul? He wrote most of the New Testament and established churches instructing the churches not Peter. The is no record Peter ever establish any church. Let me say it again....Jesus Christ did not build His church on any man, but upon Himself as the Head and Founder of the Church. Further we do not need some man to instruct us of God because God instructs us through His Word the Bible.
The problem is that many people do not have a view or understanding of how God has communicated His truth to man throughout history. Without going into a detailed explanation of the subject let me direct our thoughts to the New Testament period after Christ returned to Heaven, when the church was established and much of the New Testament was written. Hebrews 1:1-2 says, "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. . ." Do you see in that passage any mention of a pope or prophet? The answer is no, God is speaking through Jesus Christ alone.
John 1:1 says, "" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:14, identifies clearly that the Word is Jesus Christ. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." Also Rev. 19:13, says, "And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God." The Word or "logos" [masculine noun] clearly is the Lord Jesus and the Lord Jesus is God.
Thus Peter's confession that Jesus was that Christ, the Son of God was the truth Jesus would build his church upon, thus building it upon Himself. The whole foundation of God's plan of redemption is Christ Jesus and His redemptive work on the Cross. From Gen. 3:15, the first prophecy of the coming Messiah, to Rev. 22:21..the message is Christ. That is the central point of all God has said to man.
Today, God is not giving new revelation, because He has said all to man in the Bible man needs to know. God today however, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit is "illuminating" the existing Word in the hearts of men. Peter had learned from Jesus who Christ was. He has seen the miracle and heard the message of Jesus. God thus enabled Peter to understand this truth. But the accepting of that truth was the work of God the Father in allowing Peter to understand and accept this truth. Peter did not receive a new revelation, but the truth Jesus had revealed to him. I Corinthians 2:6-16, explains the work of the Holy Spirit in illuminating the Word of God so that a man can understand it. Verse 14, says the "natural man" or the man who has not been indwelled by Spirit of God because He has never accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, cannot understand spiritual things (the Word of God), and cannot know them because they are spiritually discerned. This not revealing new truth, but illuminating the truth God has written and preserved in the Bible. No matter what situation that a child of God may find himself in he has the principles and instruction in the written word of God to guide him. Yes, God did give revelation to the writers of the Old and New Testaments. In New Testament times that process was still going on, but it stopped when the Book of Revelation was finished. Since that time God have not given us any new truth. The canon of God's truth is complete and needs no new truth. Every "Christian" religion since the middle ages is based on some supposed new revelation from God. That claim alone invalidates them as real.
The Roman Catholics's pope, the cult leaders of today, the Mormon prophet and many others all claim to speak for God to the people. They say they get revelation the ordinary man in the pew does not get. They say listen and follow me. They are liars and the servants of Satan. The Bible says, listen, test everything by and follow God's word. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
If the person who asked you the question is trying to say the title pastor is not biblical....clearly they are in error as this passage plainly says that God gave (meaning He provided). . . pastors. The word is poimen poimen and means "shepherd." Christ is the Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20) and the Good Shepherd ( John 10:11) and this implies the overseer of the Lord's congregation is His "under shepherd."
1 Peter 5:2 says "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind." The words "feed the flock" is the Greek word poimainw poimaino which means "to shepherd" and in the verse says the one who is shepherding the flock of God is to take the oversight. The verse can be literally translated "Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock."
Further support for this is found in 1 Peter 2:25, said, "For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." Here Jesus is referred to as the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. Christ is the Pastor....the overseer of the local church is God's pastor... Use of the terms Bishop and Elder denote the position or duties of the pastor.
Nowhere in the New Testament is anyone called by the title "bishop" or "elder" either..... so who ever challenged you is asking you a mute question. In fact....no one in the New Testament called by a title. Paul was called "an" or "a" apostle" but not...the "Apostle Paul."
By the way...if the person who asked you the question is a preacher...then ask him if he uses the title "reverend?" That is not a biblical title for a pastor, and only applied to God who is to be revered.
I use the title "pastor" only to refer to myself....siting Eph. 4:11.
¬† Some say the church began before Pentecost, but that is erroneous. ¬†¬†¬†Jesus promised He would build His church in Matthew 16:18, and throughout His ministry trained the disciples for the day when He would eventually begin the local church. ¬†¬†At the end of His ministry He had 120 saved and faithful disciples. ¬†(Acts 1:15)¬†¬†¬†But they were not organized nor empowered by God. ¬†¬†In John 14 and 16 Jesus told of the coming of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (see John 14:20, 23).. ¬†Jesus ¬†spoke of this as coming in the future. ¬†¬†In John 20:22, Jesus breathed on them and gave the disciples the Holy Spirit. ¬†¬†Yet, this was not the baptism of the Holy Spirit because He promised that at Jerusalem they would receive this. ¬†So receiving the Holy Spirit in John 20:22 was only temporary, and was Jesus empowered them personally, each of them, to be faithful till the full and permanent indwelling would come as happened in Acts 2.
¬† So...the institution of the local church which Jesus promised would come was born on the day of Pentecost, ten days after He told them to wait for the Holy Spirit's empowerment. ¬†¬†¬†Before that day....there was no organized institution only its future members, nor had God empowered them until that day. ¬†¬†¬†¬†From that day forward the institution of the local church has been functioning and doing God's purpose for bringing it into existence.
For more on the institution of the local church go to http://bible-truth.org/church.htm "THE BIBLICAL BASIS OF A NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH."
A church should of course not offer the Lord's Supper to the unsaved, give it to infants, or to those who are in doctrinal error and not of "like faith."
Closed communion is mostly practiced by "Landmark" Baptists or "Baptist Briders" who believe the only truth church is one that came from John the Baptist...and the Apostles These Baptist churches call themselves the true Bribe of Christ and exclude everyone else, even other doctrinally sound Baptist churches who are not part of their historic line of churches.
These churches believe in what is called "Secessionism.." which means that they can trace their history back to John the Baptist and the Apostles in a direct line of "Baptist" churches. As a student of church history I can assure you that they cannot trace a direct line of Baptist churches back to the early church. I did some extensive investigation into the matter some years ago and could find no verifiable reference for their claims. I also wrote a number of Landmark Baptists asking for the sources for their claims and documentation. Not one of them replied. They have a list of churches which they offer, but after many attempts at verifying the list I found no one could document it. By the way, the authenticity of a New Testament church rests on it belief and practice of the New Testament...not on whether it can trace it history back to the first century.
Closed communion originally mean that those in doctrinal error, the unsaved, unruly, and infant and those who could not examine themselves were to be excluded. It began because of the different denominations who believed and practiced different practices and teaching after the Reformation. It was not used to limit participation among those of a particular church or of like faith, but to separate different churches such as the Protestants from the Catholics. It is a practiced by all Catholic and Protestants. Closed communion was a Catholic notion because they taught that the bread and wine were the actual blood and body of Jesus and thus should not be given to non-Catholics who were outside of the Roman church who they teach is the only valid church on earth. The Lord Supper is a sacrament to them having "saving" properties so those outside their groups were to be excluded.
There is no biblical basis for the practice or for the teaching of sucessionism by the Landmark and Baptist Bride people.
Thus only the New Testament tells us by instruction, principle and example what the Lord established and called the "ekklesia" or congregation or assembly. Therefore we pattern our faith and practice as the New Testament instructions us. A New Testament church is one that follows what the NT teaches.
The New Testament churches and believers are not under the Law which was given to Israel as their spiritual and civic constitution. The problem many churches have had is they mixed the Law with the NT church not recognizing the distinction that God has made between us and Israel. Paul clearly taught that believers in this the Church Age are not under the Law.
The statement therefore recognizes that the institution of the local church is not in the OT but was instituted by the Lord in Acts 2f and following in the New Testament epistles.
We wholly believe the OT and NT, but patter the polity of a NT church after what the NT teaches.
In the New Testament all the churches mentioned are identified by their locality. Example: The Jerusalem church, the church at Antioch, the church which is at Cenchrea.
However, in our day many apostate and unbelieving false churches have arisen and we must then identify ourselves with a name that tells what we believe or the group we associate with. I have an article at http://bible-truth.org/Fundbapt.htm#000 which explains why many Bible believing churches call themselves by the name Independent Fundamental Baptists.
However, the name of the church is not so important as to what it believes and practices. Many churches call themselves by names such as Grace, Hope, Faith, New Testament, etc. The name of the church should not send a false message as to the beliefs of the church.
Using the name fellowship is accepted by many groups who wish to stress they are a church which love the Lord and each other and use the name to stress fellowship as important in a local congregation. There is nothing biblical wrong with using the name "fellowship" in the name of a church.
One thing that is common in the New Testament is that all the churches...(ekklesia) were called "churches." Many today are using names such as ". . .Christian center, "worship center, etc." Most who use such names are unsound in doctrine and practice. A "center" is not the same thing as a "church." A church denotes an assembly of believers who follow God's word and are bound together in a common goal to serve the Lord. Using such words as "center" lessens the emphasis God puts on a church being a dedicated group of believers serving the Lord in truth together.
As to being a mission work vs being a regular church. The person who said the Church Age was over is sadly mistaken. It shows there is a real need of biblical training in that person's life. They have been mislead by some false teacher.
The Church Age, which is this present dispensation, will continue until the Rapture. (1 Thess. 4:15-18) A church is an "ekklesia" (Greek word) which means an "assembly" of baptized believers in Jesus Christ who believe and follow God's word. Acts 2:38-47 clearly teaches this.
There are a lot of false ideas about what constitutes a local church. But in its simplicity, as the Book of Acts teaches, it is a group of believers who assemble in a geographical location to worship, fellowship, evangelize, serve one another and grow by the teaching and preaching of God's word.
I am a missionary and a church planter. So far the Lord has used me to start three churches here in Utah. I understand that in the early stages of when a church is begun, some refer to it as a "missions work." Yes, it is missions work, but if the group meets together and is lead by a pastor or missionary pastor and they preach, teach, evangelize, worship the Lord, etc they are a biblical church. Sadly, some mission boards in order to exercise control over a work and missionary have imposed "mission status" on their works. I agree that is may be necessary in the earliest stages of starting a new church as the group will need instruction to establish it biblically. That is the task of the missionary church planter, but as soon as the assembly begins to function....it is a biblical New Testament church and is an autonomous body. However, I cannot find any reference in God's word to "mission status." Some attempt to use Antioch as such as recorded by Acts 11. The Antioch believers, who had fled Jerusalem because of the persecution there, were already meeting together and preaching God's word. Many were being saved. Acts 11:22 says that when the church at Jerusalem heard of this they sent Barnabas to teach them and he then went and brought Paul help teach the church as well. Acts 11:26 called this assembly an "ekklesia" or church. We must understand that at this time the New Testament was not written and the Apostles, under the inspiration of God, were the only source of teaching God's word to the churches that addressed the polity and doctrine of a New Testament church. The Old Testament addressed Israel only and institution of the local church is not found there. So the instruction that the people who were assembling to worship the Lord was coming orally from the Apostles and those the Apostles had taught such as Barnabas.
In truth the Jerusalem church did not start the church at Antioch, but helped them by sending Barnabas. What constitutes a biblical New Testament church is that its belief and practice is founded correctly on the teaching and example of the New Testament, not who started it or it having to have a "mother church." The Christians at Antioch were already meeting and doing the work of a local church before the Jerusalem church became involved.
Paul in Titus 1:5 sent Titus to the churches that were in Crete to "set them in order." They too were already meeting, but need to have pastor ordained to lead in their churches. That teaches us that an assembly to be properly organized should have an elder, (which is a pastor) to lead it. God is a God of order and it is proper for a church to have a God called leader.
So does an assembly of saved believers meeting in the name of the Lord need a mother church. I cannot find that to be a requirement, though it is helpful in grounding a new assembly of Christians as Acts 11 shows.
Brother, I believe from what you have told me that you are fully a New Testament church as much as any church. I would put the matter to rest and get on with the business of worshipping, preaching, teaching, evangelizing, and edifying the your congregation. There are always "dissenters" in an assembly and who are not well grounded in the teaching of the New Testament. They are to be loved, and we should tactfully try to help them mature in Christ. However, we are to "earnestly contend for the faith" as Jude 3 tells us and that means we are not to compromise with those who disagree with God's word. We are to teach God's truth....to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth.(John 4:24)
There are several good web sites that explains their beliefs at:
These churches will also hold a "closed communion" in which they will not allow anyone other than the members of their church to take the Lord's Supper. Even other "Baptist Briders" not of their membership are allowed to take the Lord's Supper with them. Some will insist in using alcoholic wine in the Lord's Supper.
The clearly do not understand or are willing to accept what baptism is as the New Testament and the Lord gave it to us. They teach that other New Testament Baptist churches, not of their group, are merely "Protestant" churches and not true NT churches. This is absolutely not true. One thing that marks them is they are very proud of being Baptists and feel themselves superior to others who love the Lord Jesus Christ as much as they claim they do. To them faithfulness to God's word is not the true standard for determining a true biblical church, but its place in history and succession from another Landmark church. Even it a church is absolute pure and biblical....it is not part of the Bride of Christ if it is not a Landmark church.
Generally, they will be churches that preach and teach salvation correctly. Some of these churches will have different twists on things depending on the pastor and his training.
I have an article at http://bible-truth.org/Fundbapt.htm which explains true Baptist history and deals the matter of "church succession." I am a church history buff and have a large library of books on church and Baptist history. I have researched the matter thoroughly. It is not true that there has been a line of Baptist churches back to John the Baptist. There have always, been churches and congregations that loved and served our Savior, but they were only called Baptist beginning in 1610 AD. Further, it cannot be shown they existed in a succession of churches. Most were isolated and scatter all over the world. John the Baptist was an Old Testament saint and never a member of a church, which the Lord instituted as Acts 2 records years after John was beheaded. His baptism was the baptism of repentance in preparation for the Kingdom of the coming Messiah Jesus Christ. Church baptism is for identification with Jesus Christ as one's salvation and joining a local group of believers. There are similar, but not the same. I have an article at http://bible-truth.org/baptism.htm which explains what true NT baptism is.
I hope this helps you understand these types of churches. They stress godliness and purity, but are sadly mistaken on what a church is and baptism. There is one baptism....that is immersion after a person is saved and joins a biblical Baptist or New Testament church.
The biblical principle of the local congregation's participation is recorded in Acts 6 when the church at Antioch where told to chose seven spiritual men to oversee the menial tasks in the church. In this case the men were to serve in that assembly and therefore were called from the membership. However, this was dealing with servants not pastors, but the principle is that the congregation led by the Holy Spirit was to prayerfully seek God's chooses and then appoint them.
If a church was prohibited from looking for a pastor outside its congregation churches would be filled with unqualified and untrained men as few churches have men qualified to be pastors. God made no such prohibition. Further, as a pastor of over twenty five years I can see some real problems with that procedure. It could cause power struggles in the church, possible lack of respect for the pastor, nepotism and a host of other disruptive problems.
However, if a qualified man with proper qualifications and training was in a local church nothing in Scripture would preclude that he be considered.
In each case where ever the man comes from he must meet the all requirements of 1 Timothy 3:1-7. These the minimal qualifications and other matter should also be considered as well.
Your subject line referred to 1 Timothy 3:10...that verse addresses qualification for elected "servants" (KJV deacons)...not pastors.
2. In referring to 1 Timothy 3:10, yes "servants" (deacons) are to be elected from the local church. As mentioned above Acts 6, which we believe was the first recorded election of servants in a congregation. God told them to look for men of honest report among them. The verse does not specifically state they had to be from the local assembly there in Antioch, but the context of the passage makes it logical that there was no where else to get them. These men were to wait tables and serve food to the widows in the Antioch church. They were not officials in the local church, but rather servants.
If you are looking for a person to head a ministry within the local church, and not a pastor or assistant pastor, you should consider this. If the position is not to be one of being a paid minister of the church there is nothing wrong with electing a person from the congregation who has the qualifications, vision, commitment and time to serve in that ministry. If is a paid position...that adds a new dimension to the matter. Again, nothing in the New Testament says anything about the matter pro or con as to where the person should come from. God makes it clear the person should be qualified and feel the Holy Spirit is directing them where they are from the congregation or not or paid or not.
Personally, in following the New Testament example, I prefer to elect persons from the congregation for ministries or positions of service if it is not the pastor or pastoral duties. Unless the position is full time there should be no payment for one's ministry. 1 Corinthians 12:11 clearly states the Holy Spirit within the context of the body of the local church gives the necessary gifts or abilities as He determines. "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." (1 Corinthians 12:11) 1 Corinthians 12:27-28 further say it is the Holy Spirit who "sets some in the church" meaning giving of talents for service. The word "church" is the word "ekklesia" and refers to a local congregation. The principle is clear that whatever ministry that God wants in a local church He will give people in the congregation the necessary talents. Again, this may not apply to a paid ministry.
Elections and appointments in a local church can be tricky affairs. Sadly sometimes people aspire to leadership or to some high position or public ministry in a church and want to be in the public eye.
Many times there are godly people in the congregation who honestly want to serve the Lord. A church must be wise, though and not appoint an unqualified person simply because the want the job. God's choice will have the leading, zeal, talents and abilities. A congregation must be discerning and prayerfully seek God's will in such situations.
I do pray that the Lord will lead your church to understand what His will is and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. I hope you find my answers helpful.
It has been some time since I studied American church history, but if my memory is correct Wednesday night services began in the early 1800s as an aftermath of the Great Awakening that began in the late 1790s. Most Protestant, Baptist as well as other churches began holding mid week services which were well attended due to a fervent desire for Bible study and prayer.
The movement has all but disappeared in Protestant churches today,which is to be expected due to their liberal beliefs and practices. Even in many Baptist churches Wednesday night prayer and Bible studies are being abandoned because of poor attendance. One indication of the spiritual condition of a church today is whether it has Sunday night and mid week services.
Our church has SS, Sun. morning, night and Wednesday night services.
There are unsaved people who profess to be Christian probably in every church. They outwardly make a semblance of being Christians, but not being indwelled and lead by the Holy Spirit they many times will fall by the wayside or apostatize. They do not truly believe God's word or have faith in Jesus Christ. In Revelation 2-3 the Lord mentions people who are unsound in doctrine and not serving the Lord. The Laodicean church is an example of one that went into apostasy. Religious, but unsaved people can be easily misled and succumb to demonic activity.
For example the Roman Catholic church is totally unscriptural. It polity, beliefs and practices are not what the Lord has given us in His word. They have a universal "church" under a unbiblical pope (vicar of Christ?!) and church hierarchy that is absolute the invent of men...not God as the New Testament teaches. The RCC is just one example of hundreds of false churches, such a Protestant churches, and the cults such as the Mormon church.
So when you see someone use the term New Testament church they are making the distinction between the false churches and the institution that the Lord has given us...which is a local assembly of believers who believe and follow the New Testament. It is unfortunate that we need that designation, but it is necessary.
Sometimes also, one member, or a group of members will try to seek the leadership in a church. God's way is that he leads a church through his called under shepherd. Revelation 2-3 is a perfect example of this because Jesus spoke to each of the seven churches through their "candlestick" or pastor. He was their light(lamp stand).
Further Ephesians 4:11-16 states God's plan for the leadership of a church and why. If a one man or several try to take the leadership the others may resent them and cause disunity. Those in leadership of the church (officers) should get together and this should be explained. This way everyone is aware of the possible problems that might arise. This would discourage someone for trying to take over. When the new pastor arrives, those in leadership when the church was without a pastor, should immediately go back to their normal duties and support the new pastor openly and in their prayers.
Churches are venerable when they have no pastor to guide them. This should be explained by the pulpit committee as soon as possible to the church and hopefully before a problem arises. God can lead a congregation when those in leadership humbly seek the Lord's direction. It could be an good experience also and bring the congregation together and closer to the Lord. God can use times like this to strengthen a church's commitment to the Lord.
In Act 1:4 there they and others were assembled and He told them to wait until they were received the baptism of the Holy Spirit before they spread the Gospel. Acts 1:8 predicted they would receive the power when the Holy Spirit indwell them. and they were to go from Jerusalem into the world.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit came on them individually on Pentecost. So, each person was given the power individually to be a witness and were commissioned to take the Gospel to all nations. There is no mention of this authority being given to the whole of the assembly, but was the responsibility of each believer. Acts 2:47 says the Holy Spirit added to the assembly daily those that should be saved...meaning those who believe. I believe that makes is specific. The individual is saved apart from and before he becomes a part of the ekklesia. He then joins with other believers in collectively carrying out the Great Commission.
You said that using the airplane illustration, the people even if they form a church they had no authority. So are you saying when a believer reads the New Testament and God's commission to go forth and preach and teach the Gospel that they as believers and disciple were not empowered with authority? What does a believer who has God's word the Bible and who is indwelled by the Holy Spirit, need further to obey the Lord? If he has the Word and the Holy Spirit to lead and guide him through life would he not have God's approval? The question is this: Where then would this group of people get their authority if not from the word of God itself. Successionism says that is not enough and a believer and assembly must have the approval or blessings of another assembly. Where does the Bible say that? I can't find it. I can though see where this idea has cause great confusion and even foster false churches such as the RCC and the Protestants. Further this idea is what lead to the belief in a universal church and a hierarchical system of government.
The only exception to this is baptism, which was first a personal testimony of one's belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Second, it was done by the assembly, because in baptism the individual was joining and being received into the local assembly.
Thanks again for writing and I hope you see the point. The believer gets his authority to obey the Lord from God's word and he an others join together to support and assist each other in following God's instructions. The local church is a fellowship, not an authority.
I stress the term Bible believing. Hebrews 10:19-25 clear tell us the believer should be active in a good solid church. So many "would be" teachers are not properly trained, which training they would receive in a good church. They also are not accountable to anyone and there is no supervision. It has been my experience for other thirty years that Bible studies outside a good biblical church are most times teaching some false teaching and misleading people. I have to ask the question....why are they not in a good sound church and why are they not teaching in such a church? I as the pastor of our church do not approve of outside Bible studies. Often the person leading them is not really qualified and they have some improper reason for not being in a church.
For example, there is a group that began meeting in our town a couple of months ago. I know most who attend. They all at one time visited or attended in our church, but would not accept our biblical stand on doctrine. Our beliefs and practices are biblical and we are careful to make sure God's word is taught without error. So, I just let them alone and in time they dissolve. There are lots of people teaching in Christ's name whom Christ does not approve. Jesus addressed this in Mathew 7:21-23. James gives the warning "My brethren, be not many masters(teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation." (James 3:1) Let me further say that Acts 2 plainly says the early Christian met in homes. But they had God called pastors, they had organization, they baptized, and support financially God's work...all God appointed functions of a biblical church. I hope this helps. If you have further questions please write.