From time to time, it is refreshing just to sit back and “waller” in the promise that Jesus made concerning His New Testament church. He anchored deep into our hearts and minds that His New Testament Assembly, as He defined it, and directed it, would never cease to exist.
This is one of the reasons that many Baptists deny any connection to the Reformation. We never were Catholic. The Church didn’t begin on Pentecost, get perverted by the Popes and councils, only later for Luther and few others to read their Bible and realize that they need to protest.
We rest comfortably in the fact that Christ began His assembly on the seashores of Galilee, and that it was already functioning as a New Testament Church when it was empowered by the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. That fact of the past, is very often our comfort for the future in this ecumenical age of confusion, liberalism, tolerance, diversity, and humanism. He promised in Ephesians 3:21 that “unto Him be glory in the assembly throughout all ages, world without end.” In every age since the ascension, Christ’s Biblically constituted assembly has been in existence separate and apart from the Catholic confusion. Sometimes above ground, sometimes under ground, sometimes public, and sometimes secret, but they have been there nonetheless.
It is that reality that provides a great amount of comfort today. I often think that today brings new enemies against the church, but it really doesn’t. People have been coming against the New Testament church since the disciples had their first business meeting, and today really is no different.
The lastest “fad” or ministry craze that seems to be getting more press today is the rise of the “home church.” Or as some who are way cooler than I am call it, “organic church.” Which really means that it’s full of fertilizer. Reading different blogs, and articles, this idea that saved people can meet at home, study the Bible, love their neighbors, and do good to others, and call it church, is getting pretty popular. They have new, and chique hippie type catch phrases like “authentic,” “organic” (full of fertilizer), “emerging”, “emergent” and some I’m just not cool enough to know.
One commenter on a particular blog site exclaimed that the divide was between “organic” churches, and “institutional” or “professional” type churches. I will agree there is a divide and distinction that is to be made between church assemblies; but it is not along the lines of “organic” or “institutional”; it is whether it is “biblical” or “unbiblical.”
The Lord’s New Testament Church is what it is. It has not changed in doctrinal form, or doctrinal function, since it began. Now that being said, a New Testament church may meet at someone’s home; it may meet in a barn, a basement, or a bathroom. It may have property with a nice building, it may rent a storefront shop. Where it meets, and under what environmental circumstances that it meets, has nothing whatsoever to do with it’s validity.
However, the concept that saved people meeting in someone’s living room studying the Bible and being good neighbors, and meeting needs does not rise to the level of a New Testament Church. Sounds like a great Bible Study, or Sunday School class, but it does not constitute a called out assembly of Baptized believers in covenant together to carry out the great commission.
For whatever reason, the waves of rebellion against the normal, Sunday meeting, Bible preaching, lost reaching, song singing, gospel teaching church seems to be getting more hostile, and more intense. There are those out there who just flat deny 1.) a duly constituted assembly (public or private) 2.) the God ordained, defined and directed, position in the assembly of pastor; 3.) the authority of the assembly over it’s members, 4.) The doctrinal unity and integrity that God requires of His assembly; 5.) the Lord’s direction to pay those pastors who labor in the Word. (The War on Pastors seems to be coming to a fever pitch for some, we’ll write about that later.)
Some people now they will accept ANYTHING except, a man pastoring an assembly that meets in their own building on Sunday, preaches the gospel, holds to the scriptures as plainly and simply presented. If it were not so sad, it would be silly. As I’ve said before about other things, when I think of what some people are saying today, it makes my heart hurt, and my blood boil. Why people who claim to love the Son of God, hate the doctrine of God is far, far beyond me. Honestly it is more than enough to almost nearly come close to frustrating a man.
. . . Until he sits back and remembers the Lord’s promise. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. The New Testament church as I know it, and the Bible presents; will not be defeated from outside forces, will not be deflated by inside forces, and will not be eliminated by any man’s forces. Regardless of how loud the critics get, and how chique the worldlings look; what is the New Testament assembly, will always be, and will always be as it is. Doing anything different is certainly not a change worth making.