Due to all the above, and the extensive analysis I have done regarding the reasons set forth by S. E. Anderson concerning the founding of the New Testament church (of which Davis Huckabee is in agreement) I cannot accept either individual as authoritative. As such, I discount the justifications they give for the claims they make regarding the New Testament church and its founding.
Now, do the two valid points prove that the New Testament church existed and functioned prior to Pentecost? Yes they do! They just don’t prove what S. E. Anderson was really after — proving that the New Testament church existed from the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry.
Three points as to why this is no proof at all of the existence of a New Testament church:
The Holy Ghost has indwelt every believer since Adam.
The Holy Ghost will indwell all believers till the end of this earth.
Those in Israel who were called to perform an express ministry were gifted by the Holy Ghost to perform that ministry. (e.g. Bezaleel)
After all, a signs ministry is a signs ministry, regardless of the signs performed. Now, it is noted that this power is expressly stated as being the power to cast out devils and cure diseases. But, both those things were not unknown to the Jews in the time of the Old Testament:
This is indeed a unique proof of the New Testament church, but the usage of Matthew 16:18 is out of sequence for reasons previously stated. In Matthew 21:42-43 the Lord Jesus Christ specifically states: Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: . . .
It must be understood that the New Testament church is a unique entity that has unique proofs of its formation and existence. Many organizations are united and added unto, but that does not make them churches as they have none of the unique characteristics of the New Testament church.
If it is true, as S.E. Anderson contends, that the New Testament church is in existence at the point in time recorded in Matthew 10:2-4, then it raises serious questions and has serious implications for the polity (order and functioning) of the New Testament church for the following reasons:
Now, it is impossible to determine precisely how the eleven took that instruction, but it appears they only took it to mean “don’t go anywhere” instead of “don’t do anything.” Hence, they conducted a “business meeting” without the direction of the Holy Ghost that we see so prominently in the rest of Acts.
It is imperative to remember that what S.E. Anderson put forth here is (by his own words) supposed to be PROOF. Hence, the above claim is supposed to PROVE something. Sadly, the claim falls far short of proof of anything other than they prayed together.
To claim this is proof of the existence of the New Testament church, is to wrest Scripture and yank a passage out of context, and does nothing substantive towards proving the existence of the church.