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.
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