Monday, September 27, 2010

Primoris Templum

With the Word of God as our foundation, we begin a study of church history with the "first church" Primoris Templum. Contrary to even a prevalent opinion, the church did NOT start at Pentecost. For one reason, if the church began at Pentecost, it then would deny what the Lord said He would do. In Matt. 16:18, the Lord said "I will build my church." If one believes in a Pentecost Birthday of the church, then it was the Holy Spirit that built the church. We know this is not so. The reason the Pentecost birthday theory is so prevalent is because it goes hand in hand with the universal church theory.
Rather, the first church was that church which our Lord Jesus Christ began during His ministry here on earth. The very first mention of church is found in Matthew 16:18
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The Lord Jesus took the materials prepared by John the Baptist (baptized believers) to build His church. He trained them for the missionary work, the commission of the church-the Evangelizing, Baptizing, and Discipling of others (Matt. 28:19-20, Mark 16:15).
That first church was a visible, organized assembly of baptized believers doing the work of God-a true church. That first church had a Head (Matt. 23:8 "...for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren."), it had a Pastor (John 10:11, 14 the word pastor means shepherd), it had discipline (Matt. 18:15-20), it conducted business meetings (Acts 1:15-26), it had a treasurer (John 13:29), it was commissioned (Matt. 28:18-20), it did missionary work (Matt. 10:1-11:1), it baptized believers (John 4:1-2), it had a membership roll (Acts 1:13-15), it observed the Lord's Supper (Matt. 26:26-28), it had singing (Matt. 26:30, Heb. 2:12), it met for prayer (Luke 11:1-9, Acts 1:14), and those saved at Pentecost were "added unto" (you can not add to what does not already exist). We thus see that the church the Lord began, pre-pentecost was the first church.
That church and all churches it would eventually produce, were to continue this work until He comes again. Thus, with Christ as the Head of each church, the work of the church continues. This is why a church is referred to as "the body of Christ." The body refers to service. Many mistakenly believe that 'the body of Christ' is all believers here on earth. This is false teaching. The body of Christ is applied to every local, visible church. Each church is the body of Christ with Christ as its Head. How is this so?
Our Lord illustrated this in the instituting of the Lord's Supper in Matthew 26
"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body."
Now which piece each disciple held was 'the body.' When our churches observe the Lord's supper, does any church use that same bread He used that evening? No, of course not. So today, every true New Testament church is the body of Christ. He is the Head of every true New Testament church.
That first body, the Lord and His disciples from whom He chose 12 as Apostles (Matthew 10:1,2; 1 Cor. 12:28) constituted the first church. That church would go on fulfilling the work the Lord trained it to do, and as a result other like churches were started which with His Authority started other like churches and thus begins our study of church history.


Jordan said...

Mr. Burke,

I have a question for you that has counfounded me in terms of a study like this. I agree with you about the Bible being the foundation and being God's complete and true Word, but I have a question I can never wrap my head around, and maybe you can help me with it.

Well, if we are going to use the Bible as our blueprint and work up with history or science or anything from there, we have to absolutely know that the Bible is true. What is there that makes me be able to unequivocally say; "This is 100% truth and we can derive history from it as well as science." Because if it's just because God says so in the Bible, then it just doesn't seem like enough evidence to believe in. I still do, but I am confounded greatly.

It's a vicious circle it feels like. If God said the Bible is His word in the Bible, and then the Bible says it is God's word and that God is God. If we are looking at church history and using the Bible first as our blueprint and then adding historical events that match up with it. Or, in terms of science, using the Bible as our blueprint and only accepting scientific findings that match up with the Bible, then there needs to be a clear answer as to why the Bible has gained this authority. I believe it does, but I don't really know why I do.

Thank you.

Travis Burke said...

Thank you for the comment and sincere question. A simple answer is "Faith."
Faith is not an intellectual knowledge of events or facts, but a transaction. We exercise faith.
Scripture teaches that without a relationship with God, His Word will be foolishness to the world.(1 Cor. 1:18).
When one sees God for Who He is, one realizes He is Truth (John 14:6), He cannot lie (Titus 1:5), and therefore His Words are Truth.
Concerning history and science, it is not a matter of only accepting what matches God's Word, rather seeing that the only facts that have stood the test of time are those that do agree with God's Word. Nature teaches you there is a God. History reveals to you that there is a God. My Spirit bears witness that there is a God-and my life should testify that there is a God.
It all begins in faith that He is God which when put into action realizes He is Truth and thus His Word is Truth.
Faith comes by the Word of God. I do pray this helps and welcome any friends counsel for Jordan.

Bill Hardecker said...


A couple of thoughts on your conundrum.

First, I know the Bible is true because:
1. The Lord Jesus' testimony about the Scriptures are authenticating.
2. Fulfilled prophecies. Basically, the Bible is the only book that has them - many of which have been fulfilled, and many more which shall be fulfilled (we can even discern our times and see how things are lining up accordingly).

Second, The scientific assertions in Scripture reflect modern scientific thoughts despite being written over the course of a couple of thousands of years by over 40 differing writers is amazing (especially when many ancient literature and theories are evidently contrary to reality - even though the Bible isn't a science or history textbook) - and that without contradictions.

Third, not only is the Bible relevant in modern thought, but it is also vindicated by archeology.

There is so much more to say about reason and faith - I don't claim to know it all, either. Allow me to recommend to you Josh McDowell's book "Evidence that Demands a Verdict."

AND more importantly, you need to find a good Bible believing church (hopefully, it would be, or most likely to be an independent fundamental Baptist church) in your area, set up an appointment to speak with the pastor (or a church appointed teacher) and get some one on one time with him. Study the Bible and pray. The more you get into the Word, the more you will know how wonderful God's Word is and how gracious the Lord is in giving to us His Word. BTW, please feel free to email me, I would be glad to help you find a church in your area, or at least close to your area that hopefully would be helpful for you. I am sure Pastor Burke would do the same.