Baptist Churches In All Ages
BAPTIST CHURCHES IN ALL AGES
The history of the Lord ‘s church goes back to the first century. Jesus established his church during his personal ministry here on earth. In the New Testament there is abundant proof of the truthfulness of this statement. Some people, however, would deny Jesus the honor of establishing his own church and say it began on the day of Pentecost. The writer submits the following statements showing our Lord established his church during his personal ministry and not on the day of Pentecost.
1. The church had a commission to preach before Pentecost (Matthew 28:19, 20).
2. The church baptized people before Pentecost (John 4:1, 2).
3. The church had the Lord’s Supper before Pentecost (Luke 22:15-20).
4. The church held an election before Pentecost (Acts 1:15-26).
5. There was a church roll before Pentecost (Acts 1:15).
6. The words of Jesus, "Tell it unto the church," were spoken before Pentecost (Matthew 18:17). How could one tell anything to a church that did not exist!
7. There were about 3000 additions to the church on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41). A church must be established before it can have additions.
8. Our Lord left his house (Mark 13 :34). By inspiration the Apostle Paul identifies "the house of God" as "The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).
9. The first spiritual gift set in the church was the gift of the apostles (1 Cor. 12:28). The church had to be in existence before the apostles could be set in it.
The Scriptures are clear in their testimony that Jesus established his church personally and left it in the world when He went back to the Father.
Jesus promised his church, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). The church .Jesus built is promised a continuous history down through the ages. This promise is true no matter what men may say.
The New Testament A Church History Book
The New Testament is the first and most dependable church history book in all the world. The origin and early history of the church is found in its sacred pages. A wholehearted acceptance of the Bible is the first step in understanding the beginning and history of the true church. Willful ignorance of God’s written revelation will lead men to refer to the Catholic Church as "the church" and the true followers of the Lamb as "heretics."
In All Ages
Long before this writer had read a church history book written by men, he believed the church Jesus established would stand through the ages. The message of the New Testament convinced him of this truth. The words of Ephesians 3:21 stamped themselves indelibly upon his heart and mind," Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end." how can we believe the Lord’s church will fail when He has told us it will not?
Churches like that first church in Jerusalem have continued to exist from that time to this present day. God’s promise has not failed. There has not been a single day since the beginning of the original church that there has not been churches like it in the world.
THE TESTIMONY OF OTHERS
Baptist History begins with the first church and continues down through the centuries. This is not an empty statement horn of Baptist imagination. Historians of various denominations admit Baptists have existed down through the ages since Christ. The following men bear witness to the antiquity of this non-Protestant, non-Catholic group.
Sir Isaac Newton said it was "his conviction that the Baptists were the only group that had not symbolized with Rome" (Whiston, Memoirs of, written by himself, 201).
Mosheim, the learned Lutheran historian, places people with Baptist sentiments before the Reformation. He wrote: "Before the rise of Luther and Calvin there lay concealed in almost all the countries of Europe persons who adhered tenaciously to the principles of the Dutch Baptists" (Moshem, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, III, 200).
Alexander Campbell in his debate with Macalla, a Presbyterian, declared: "Prom the apostolic age, to the present time, the sentiments of Baptists, and the practice of baptism have had a continued chain of advocates, and public monuments of their existence in every century can be produced" (Macalla and Campbell Debate on Baptism, 378, 379, Buffalo, 1824).
Father Gretcher, Catholic, after recounting the teachings of the Waldenses, said: "This is a true picture of the heretics of our age, particularly of the Anabaptists" (D’Anrvers, Baptism, 253).
Caesar Baronius, Catholic, known as the "Father of Ecclesiastical History," said: "The Waldenses were Ana-baptists" (D’Anvers, Baptism, 253).
John Clark Ridpath was a professor of history in DePauw University and a Methodist. He declared, "I should not readily admit that there was a Baptist church as far back as A. D. 100, though without doubt there were Baptists then, as all Christians were then Baptists" (Jarrel. Baptist Church Perpetuity, 59).
Cardinal Hosius, a member of the Council of Trent, A. D. 1560, testified that the Anabaptists had suffered persecution for 1200 years. In a statement familiar to church historians he says: "If the truth of religion were judged by the readiness and boldness of which a man of any sect shows in suffering, then the opinion and persuasion of no sect can be truer and surer than that of the Anabaptists since there have been none for these twelve hundred years past, that have been more generally punished or that have more cheerfully and steadfastly undergone, and even offered themselves to the most cruel punishment than these people" (Hosius, Letters Apud Opera, 112-113. Baptist Magazine CVIII, 278. May, 1826).
In the year 1819 Dr. Ypeii, Professor of Theology in Gronigen, and the Rev. J. J. Dermout, Chaplain to the King of the Netherlands. both scholarly members of the Reformed Church, investigated the claims of Dutch Baptists to apostolic origin. Their unsolicited testimony is clear and convincing: "We have seen that the Baptists who were formerly called Anabaptists, and in later times Mennonites. were the original Waldenses, and who have lone in the history of the church received the honor of that origin. On this account the Baptists may be considered as the only Christian community which has stood since the days of the apostles, and as a Christian society which has preserved pure the doctrines of the Gospel through the ages" (Ypeij en Dermout, Geschiedenis der Nederlandsrhe Hervormde Kerk. Breda, 1819).
Baptists have a glorious past. They are not different simply because they are obstinate. They have a heritage bought with martyr’s blood to preserve and truth from heaven to proclaim. Inspired by the noble examples of heroes along the church’s crimson trail and confident of the future as we follow our unfailing Captain, let us go forth with the glorious light of the gospel until its shining rays have penetrated the darkest regions of the earth.