Answer 19: 27 proofs of “The First Church”

19. They had the Lord̓s Supper (Matt. 26:26-28).

While it is true that the Lord’s Supper is a unique ordinance of the New Testament church, the Lord’s Supper cited here is still prior to the Lord’s death on the cross, and thus the eleven are not yet a New Testament church, although in approximately 24 hours they will be as Christ will have died on the cross and the church will be purchased into existence (so to speak — it is an extremely expensive and unique purchase).

What needs to be understood at this point is that this Lord’s Supper is the implementation of the ordinance, which is why the two previous Passovers came and went without specific mention of any interaction between Christ and His apostles pertaining to the Passover.

Now, at this point it is essential to point out a particular teaching put forth by S. E. Anderson as it illustrates a fatal flaw in his pursuit of proof for the points he contends for.  In the following case, he sought to prove that John the Baptist was a Baptist in the sense that we know Baptists today, instead of allowing the Scripture to describe John the Baptist and his particular place as an instrument in the Lord’s work.

“On what date was Jesus baptized? It may not matter; yet the day of His crucifixion coincided with the Old Testament Day of Atonement. Perhaps the date of Abraham’s offering Isaac is the same; if so, it would be fitting. Isaac asked his father, “Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” This question had no real answer for about two thousand years. The real answer, after many substitutes, came with John the Baptist as he pointed to Christ: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).” (S. E. Anderson, The First Baptist, chapter 5)

So we see here that S. E. Anderson holds that Christ died on the Day of Atonement, instead of the Passover.  Now, the Scripture is express, and there can be no mistake as the Day of Atonement and the Passover are approximately six months apart.  What then does the Scripture state?

And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. (Matthew 26:1-2)

Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?  And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.  And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.  Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.  And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.  And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.  The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.  Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said. (Matthew 26:17-25)

There are other clear references to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed and crucified immediately prior to the Passover.  In John, chapter 18, verses 28 through 40 is it very plain that Passover was the one time of the year when Pilate would release one Jewish prisoner, and that the Jews rejected the Lord Jesus and chose Barabbas.  In addition, both Mark and Luke testify that the Lord’s Supper was initially taken at that last supper, which was the last Passover the Lord Jesus Christ held with the apostles.

The reason this is pointed out is that it is such an obvious error that is easily disprovable by the Scripture.  If such a plain error was made simply because the individual strains to prove a point, without concern for the express statements of Scripture, then we are right to question all other points that he would raise in support of his contention.  In fact, we would be accessories to the error if we do not raise the question and investigate the claim.

Answer 18: 27 proofs of “The First Church”

18. They had qualified pastors (John 15:16; 21:15-17).

So did Israel.

And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.  The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. (Jeremiah 2:7-8)

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.  Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:1-2)

All a pastor is, is an under-shepherd that is supposed to feed and care for the flock that belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thus, whether in Israel, or the New Testament church, even though the qualifications varied, if you meet (or met, as the case may be) the appropriate qualifications, you were/are a qualified pastor.

Answer 17: 27 proofs of “The First Church”

17. They had true church democracy (Matt. 23:8-12).

Isn’t Christ the Head, and the Holy Ghost the Administrator of the New Testament church?  Isn’t the church supposed to acknowledge the will of the Lord and act upon it?  Doesn’t that make the church a Theocracy instead of a democracy?  After all, our vote is not equal to Christ’s is it?  Doesn’t the new Testament church act in the executive instead of the legislative and simply carry out the will of God?

By the way, the cited passage isn’t addressing anything about the church.  Rather, it addresses an attitude and terrible tendency of man, even the saved.  Why?  Because of the context:

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, . . . (Matthew 23:1-2a)

. . . But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.  And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:8-12)

Now, some will take issue and say that Christ said that “ye are all brethren” and that means they were all in the church.  However, that is to draw no distinction between Christ’s disciples and the multitude, which the Holy Ghost specifically saw fit to draw a distinction.  To persist in such an argument is to implicitly declare that one knows more of what the Scripture ought to say than the LORD God Himself.

There is considerable Scriptural support for the generally applied statement “ye are all brethren” because we are all of one blood (Acts 17:24-28, esp. v. 26) and thus are all brethren.  Moreover, since God is our creator, and the Father is the Father of all, lost or saved, we all belong to God the Father.  Finally, It is Christ who is appointed the Master of all men everywhere at all times.  If this raises a question, please remember that Christ is the Judge of all men, both lost and saved.

So then, properly interpreted, the citation of this verse actually supports the idea of the Universal church, which is contra to what S. E. Anderson says that he supports.

Answer 16: 27 proofs of “The First Church”

16. They had essentials of church life (Matt. 4:19)

Matthew chapter 4, verse 19 states the following:

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19)

Now, correct me if I am wrong, but weren’t the Israelites also supposed to preach of the gospel as well? Certainly Romans, chapter 10 tells us they did:

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (Romans 10:15-18)

The “their” in the above passage is none other than Israel. Hence, by this logic and proof, S. E. Anderson has actually supported the idea that Israel and the New Testament church, are one.

However, isn’t there more to the “essentials of church life” than only presenting the gospel to the lost? Doesn’t the Scripture show us that much must be done to teach members? I think the following passages are instructive:

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)

There are clearly four things given to the church to accomplish in the Great Commission:

  1. Go
  2. Teach
  3. Baptize
  4. Teach

The value and preeminence of teaching is confirmed in other passages of Scripture:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)

Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. (Hebrews 5:10-6:3)

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (II Peter 1:5-11)

These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (I Timothy 3:14-15)

All the above involve teaching individuals who are already saved and members of a New Testament church. To claim the essence of being a member of a New Testament church consists only of presenting the gospel, is to deny one the ability to grow in the knowledge and understanding of the LORD. This is plainly reflected in the following passages:

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; . . . (Colossians 1:9-10)

Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. (II Timothy 2:14-18)

Plainly, there is much more to the essentials of church life than either presenting the gospel, and/or teaching members how to present the gospel. Rather, there is teaching about:

  • The LORD God, His character and His nature.
  • There is the teaching of the basics of doctrine as laid out in Hebrews, chapter 6 (which are almost never taught).
  • There is much to be taught about how and why Israel failed in the covenant.
  • The nature of man.
  • The nature of righteousness
  • The nature of iniquity
  • The judgment of the LORD: His methods and purpose.
  • How and why churches fail.

And many other things which are virtually never touched on in the vast majority of churches. To only focus on the gospel and the presentation of the gospel is to set a church up for failure, and to deny it the ability to function as the pillar and ground of the truth.

Answer 15: 27 proofs of “The First Church”

15. They had divine authority (Matt. 18:18; 28:18-20).

Of a surety, so did Israel:

Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? (Deuteronomy 4:5-8)

Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion. For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee. He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat. He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly. He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow. He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalm 147:12-20)

What then does this “proof,” prove?

Answer 14: 27 proofs of “The First Church”

14. They had church discipline (Matt 18:15.17).

There are two things about this proof that stand out.

1. This takes place prior to Christ’s death on the cross, which by Acts 20:28 and Hebrews 9:15-21 tell us expressly that the church came into existence at the cross, and was not in existence prior to that point.  Moreover, this is simply an explanation of what to do in the church in the event a brother will not listen, and thus not reconcile.  Nowhere in the Gospels prior to Christ’s death on the cross do we see anyone removed from the disciples that followed Christ by either Christ, or the apostles.  Even Judas Iscariot wasn’t removed by the Lord or the other disciples, but rather removed himself.  Thus, we do not see church discipline practiced at all, but only explained once.

2. Now, just what is church discipline?  Is it not the removal of an offending member so that the Lord may deal with that member and the leaven is taken out of the body?  Did not Israel do this as well, that is, remove those who offended the covenant?  Does not every successful organization remove unruly members?  So then, this is also proof of nothing in particular.

However, if one is in the process of creating an entirely new institution, then instruction like that presented in Matthew 18 is essential prior to the institution becoming a reality.  In short, without instruction prior to the fact, the people involved are certainly not going to know what to do when the simplest of issues arises after the church is in existence and functioning.

Answer 13: 27 proofs of “The First Church”

13. They were promised a permanent church (Matt. 16:18).

I have to ask the question, as I am forced to by the implicit supposition of the statement:

What is a ‘temporary’ church, and where is it found in Scripture?

I have read the entire Scripture several times, and I cannot find a “temporary church.”  Moreover, when we examine the verse cited, it has the statement “I will build . . .”

However, S. E. Anderson has a rather interesting explanation for why it was a temporary church that existed during Christ’s ministry prior to His death on the cross.

The word “church” is used once of Israel [Israel was like a church only in the sense that they were called out of Egypt, and they assembled for their pilgrimage to Canaan.] in the wilderness, in Acts 7:38. The nation of Israel had been brought out from Egypt; they had assembled for passage through the Red Sea and then later to Mount Sinai. After they had scattered into their separate divisions of Palestine they were never called a church. Confusion is sure to follow if Old Testament Israel is identified with the church Jesus built in the New Testament. The latter is new, unique, distinct, and Christ-centered.
“I will build my church.” Was it all to be in the future? Not necessarily; He would simply continue to keep on building what He had already started. Every good pastor wants to “build up” his church after it already has a good start; in fact, it may have started a hundred years before. Christ had already made a good beginning with the Twelve. A medical doctor may tell his patient, “I am going to build up your health” when the person already has most of the factors of physical well being.
The word for “will build” in Matthew 16:18 is oikodomeso, the same word as used in Ephesians 4:12, “for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Here a body, or church, which had been long established, was still being built. Acts 9:31 says, “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified” (Gk., o:kodomoumene, were being built up). May every church now still allow Christ to continue building it. Then “the gates of hell” or the powers of the Devil will never prevail against it. Only Christ can prevail against Satan; a church that is not Christocentric will fail. (S. E. Anderson, The First Church, chapter 3, page 28)

There are a couple of things that are to be addressed in the above explanation.  I have underlined the particular statements that draw considerable question.  First, all of the covenant Israel was given was Christ-centered.  Everything Israel was to do was to show Christ to come.  If there are any doubts, Hebrews, chapter 10 explains this very well.  Everything about Israel was to center around the tabernacle, and the message both it and all the ordinances preached.  Secondly, he goes to the Greek to prove his point that the word used is present tense.  However, the underlying word is not always translated in the way he demonstrates, as I will show later.  In any case, I find him in agreement with Davis W. Huckabee, who stated the following about Matthew 16:18.

Many have stumbled at the belief that the church was organized during the personal ministry of the Lord because He says “I will build my church.” It is held by many that since He used the future tense of the verb, He must be referring to something that would commence to be built at some future time, and hence, could not then be in existence. However, this is based upon the false assumption that it means “I will commence to build.” The future tense is perfectly in order if the church had already been organized, as we believe that it had, for the simple reason that it had not been long in existence, but that it was to continue to be built over a vast period of time which has now stretched to almost twenty centuries. Hence, by far the majority of the building was yet future. At what time in the past twenty centuries, has it not been correct to say that Christ will build His church? I may correctly say “He will build the First Baptist Church of Kirk, Colorado,” even though this church has already existed for fifty-five years, because any true and lasting building that is done is from the Lord.
Paul uses this same manner of speaking concerning the continual building up of the Christian in the Lord. He says, “Having been rooted (perfect passive participle) and being now built up (present passive participle) in Him, and being established (present passive participle) in the faith…” (Col. 2:7), literal rendering. Dr. A. T. Robertson, one of the foremost Greek scholars of the past generation, says of this passage: “The metaphor is changed again to a building as continually going up (present tense).” (Word Pictures in the New Testament, IV, 490).. He also states concerning the future tense that:
The future likewise presents incompleted action which in any case may be either momentary, simultaneous, prolonged, descriptive, repeated, customary, interrupted, attempted, or begun, according to the nature of the case or the meaning of the verb.—Short Grammar of the Greek New Testament, p. 141 (Emphasis mine—DWH). (Studies on Church Truth, Davis W. Huckabee, ch. 1)

There are three things that demand attention in Davis W. Huckabee’s explanation given above:

  1. The utterly convoluted description of building a church, or the church.
  2. The use of some other bible than the Authorized King James Version to prove his point.
  3. The setting aside of two plain passages of Scripture to justify his logic.

I will address them in order.

1. The utterly convoluted description of building a church, or the church.
Now, for those who have been, or are now missionaries, the point I am about to make ought to be clear.  When mission work starts with the aim of planting New Testament churches, does the work of the missionary continue at that particular location once the church has been organized and the new church has a pastor?  Of course, unless the missionary is the new pastor, we see the missionary move on to another location the Lord has called him to.  Please note that we see this all through Acts.  You see, once the church is organized, it is built, it is established, and can now begin the work of supporting and sending missionaries to build other New Testament churches.

If we now look backwards in time, in like manner the Lord Jesus Christ built the New Testament church.  At the time of Matthew 16:18, nothing had been given the apostles concerning the purpose and work of Christ during this phase of His earthly ministry.  We know this, or ought to know this, by the following passages of Scripture:

From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (Matthew 16:21)

Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.  For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.  And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them,  neither knew they the things which were spoken. (Luke 18:31-34)

Of course, the reason for the apostles not understanding that Christ would go to Jerusalem and be killed, is that they were bent on having the Lord establish His kingdom then and there and were not even considering that they were the cadre of individuals that would become a new House of God instead of being of high position in the Lord’s kingdom on earth.  We see this even after they were a church, and before they were empowered to do the work, by the question they asked the Lord before He ascended:

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord,  wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:6-8)

In short, until they were empowered, they lacked understanding of the function they were to perform for the Lord as His New Testament church.  If then we take the very first mention of a church in Matthew and state that the church is already in existence, we have the Lord violating His very own word, in that the church at Corinth was expressly told that all things are to be done decently and in order.

Let all things be done decently and in order. (I Corinthians 14:40)

It is obviously not very orderly to have a church already in existence for some time, and the members only now getting the very first mention of the fact that they were already in covenant with the Lord for service in a new institution.  It is also not very orderly to have the replacement institution in existence and functioning long before the old covenant is done away with.  This creates a serious conflict in authorities.  In the following passage from Zechariah, we find a prophecy of the breaking of the covenant the Lord had with Israel, and the subsequent betrayal by Judas Iscariot.

And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people.  And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.  And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.  And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. (Zechariah 11:10-13)

Now, it is manifest that this breaking of the covenant and subsequent betrayal took place long after the statement recorded in Matthew 16:18.  The breaking of the covenant with Israel is recorded in Matthew, beginning in chapter 21

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.  And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.  And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read,  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?  And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there. (Matthew 21:12-17)

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: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?  Therefore say I unto you,  The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.  (Matthew 21:42-43)

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.  For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 23:37-39)

In Matthew, chapters 21 through 23 we find the Lord Jesus Christ’s entry into Jerusalem as their King.  As King, He cleanses the Temple and begins to teach doctrine.  At this point, the Temple is still “My house . . .” indicating plainly that it belongs to the Lord.  However, he is rejected by the leadership of Israel, and He tells them that the Kingdom of God is going to be taken away from them and given to another who will render proper fruit.  He then breaks the covenant as per the prophecy given in Zechariah, and calls the temple “your house . . .” plainly indicating that He is done with Israel for the time being.

Now, the Scriptures being plain, it is manifestly not orderly to force into existence a new covenanted institution while the old institution is still in covenant with the Lord for service.  Thus, what Davis Huckabee has done by twisting the meaning of “I will build . . .” is contradict the rest of the gospel account concerning the formation of the church, and the breaking of the covenant with Israel.

Moreover, to also declare that the New Testament church is still being built, is to say that the Lord Jesus Christ never finished one of the works He came to do.  Instead, Davis Huckabee would have us believe that the New Testament church will never be built on this earth, and leave us with the impression that the institution that is the New Testament church will never be settled as to its form and function.  Obviously, Mr. Huckabee doesn’t understand plainly that once something is settled as to its design and then formed, it is built.  With regard to its formation and existence, it is irrelevant whether other members are added to that first church, or other churches come after it.  It is a fully formed (built) church.

2. The use of some other bible than the Authorized King James Version to prove his point.
In the above quotation, the following is stated “He says, “Having been rooted (perfect passive participle) and being now built up (present passive participle) in Him, and being established (present passive participle) in the faith…” (Col. 2:7), literal rendering.”  The King James Version reads thus:

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:7)

If the meaning is the same, why is it necessary to tear down the absolutely best Bible translation out there by rejecting it in favor of a “literal rendering?”  This is particularly egregious when it comes to proving a point that fundamental Baptists hold, such as the local, visible church.  Of course, Davis W. Huckabee is no adherent of the King James Bible as he is express about it.

The statement is often made that the church was formed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (See Scofield Bible, p. 1150, note; and p. 1252, note.) yet never is any scriptural proof cited beyond the reference to Acts 2:l cf., and 1 Corinthians 12:13, the latter of which, in the King James translation is a manifest mistranslation. (Studies on Church Truth, Davis W. Huckabee, ch. 1)

To me, this is a manifest indicator (a “red flag”) that I should not listen to anything the man states as it is highly subject to error. Of course, Davis Huckabee is entirely qualified to pass judgement on the translation abilities of the likes of Lancelot Andrews and John Bois, in that he knows at least 16 different languages and studies the Greek language 16 hours a day.

There is a point where we ought to respect those who came before us, and respect the fact that the LORD God chose them to do the work of translating His word instead of choosing us.

3. The setting aside of two plain passages of Scripture to justify his logic.
This particular point I address elsewhere at length, so I will be brief.  There are two passages of Scripture that make it plain when the New Testament church began:

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)

And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.  For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.  For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.  Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.  For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.  Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. (Hebrews 9:15-21)

Plainly, no testament is of force while the testator is alive.  The New Testament church came into existence the moment Christ died on the cross, because the Lord Jesus Christ is the Testator.  Everything prior to this is building the church for the simple fact that the Testator of the New Testament has not yet given His life.  After the resurrection of Christ, the church exists, but needs a commission and empowerment to accomplish the work set out for it.

In attempting to prove his point, Davis Huckabee rendered the above two passages of Scripture meaningless and without purpose as they directly address the New Testament church.

The underlying Greek
The following is the word that underlies the term “will build” in Matthew 16:18.  Much was made by both S. E. Anderson and Davis Huckabee about its meaning in proving their point that the New Testament church is still being built.  Please take careful note of the different definitions that exist for this word.  Please note further that definition (2a) would fit exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ stated and would be fully consistent with Acts 20:28 and Hebrews 9:15-21.  It would also be fully consistent with a wise Master Builder and the way things are rightly done.  However, to answer these gentlemen and others, I will present some other verses that show the different ways that this word is translated.

3618 oikodomeo { oy-kod-om-eh’-o} also oikodomos { oy-kod-om’-os} Ac 4:11 from the same as 3619; TDNT – 5:136,674; v AV – build 24, edify 7, builder 5, build up 1, be in building 1, embolden 1; 39 GK – 3868 {οἰκοδdομέω} & 3871 {οἰκοδdόμος}
1) to build a house, erect a building
1a) to build (up from the foundation)
1b) to restore by building, to rebuild, repair
2) metaph.
2a) to found, establish
2b) to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness
2c) to grow in wisdom and piety
(Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Test of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurence of Each Word in Regular Order. Ontario: Woodside Bible.)

And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, We heard him say,  I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. (Mark 14:57-58)

And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. (Luke 4:28-29)

Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.  Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. (Luke 11:47-48)

And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. (Luke 12:18)

Now, in the four passages given above, we have several tenses available to us, past, present perfect, and two references that are future tense.  So then, what does going to the Greek prove?  Absolutely nothing that cannot be proved in the English by comparing Scripture with Scripture.  In fact, if the individuals that are being taught have no knowledge or resources to determine otherwise, they can be suitably impressed by the Greek and successfully taught false doctrine, never being the wiser.

Moreover, to claim that a preacher of the gospel must know the Koine Greek dialect to have a better understanding of the Scripture is to deny one of the clear messages of Pentecost. And, it is to walk right alongside the Catholics that say that one must know and read the Scriptures in Latin to truly understand them.  It is the Holy Ghost that gives the understanding of the Scripture, not knowledge of the Greek.

So then, this point proves nothing, except how to twist the Scripture.

Answer 12: 27 proofs of “The First Church”

12. They had a healing program (Matt. 10:1; Luke 9:1; 10:9).

By this proof, I have never been in, nor been a member of a New Testament church.  Moreover, I do not know of a single fundamental, unaffiliated, local, visible, Baptist church that is a New Testament church.  Of course, the problem is that we don’t have healing programs in our churches.  Surely he meant to say that he was really a Pentecostal or Charismatic and only carried the label of Baptist.

I’m sorry, this one is very hard to take.  I leave it with the above statement.

Answer 11: 27 proofs of “The First Church”

11. They had a teaching program (Matt. 4:23; 10:1-42).

Not to be flippant, but what does this prove?  Israel had a clearly defined teaching program as well:

Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6:1-9)

One of the major problems with Israel’s teaching program was that they departed from both the methods and information they were given.  The difference we find between what Christ taught, and what the scribes and Pharisees taught was something called “the truth.”  The Lord Jesus Christ taught the truth, and the scribes and Pharisees taught their version of the truth:

Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:1-9)

It is obvious which one people were interested in.

Answer 10: 27 proofs of “The First Church”

10. They had a missionary program (Matt. 10:1 —

And so did Israel.  As a matter of fact, since the gospel has always been the same, and the Lord has always used men to preach the gospel to men, missions have always been a fact of life for those in service to the Lord.  Howsoever:

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (Romans 10:15-18)

Or course, the cited passage comes from Isaiah, which states it thus:

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! (Isaiah 52:7)

Now, consider what is stated above:

  1. “their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”
  2. What are “good tidings of good”?
  3. What is meant by the phrase “publisheth salvation”?

I really think the Lord gave Israel a missions program, and they were missionaries to the entire world.  After all, that is what the Scripture states in both the New and Old Testaments.  However, simply having a missionary program doesn’t make anyone in the Old Testament a member of a New Testament church, and it is not proof that at the time referenced in Matthew 10 they were a church either.  Moreover, lots of organizations today have missionary programs, and they bear no resemblance to the church described in the New Testament.