EXISTENCE OF THE CHURCH BEFORE PENTECOST

Elder Joseph Hayes

        Throughout modem history many great sources have been written on the history of the church.  Namely Hassells History, C.B. and Sylvester Hassell, Welsh Succession of Primitive Baptist, Elder Michael Ivey, and Identity of the True Baptist Church, Elder Wiley Sammons.  However, most of these sources are limited in their span of history.  It is my belief that through Biblical history the church can be found much earlier than modern history records.  

        This treatise is written to prove the existence of the church before the day of Pentecost. 

Proof One

        Acts 2: 41, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”  Notice in the language of the text that three thousand were added.  They didn't begin the church or constitute the church, but they were added to the church.  If something is added to, it must be preexisting.  For instance, if a house is added to by building another room, then it must by necessity preexist in order to have the addition placed on it.  The same rule applies to the church.  Since three thousand were added to the church on the day of Pentecost, it must have preexisted the day of Pentecost. 

Proof Two

        Matt. 18: 15-17 “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  But if he will not hear thee, then take with one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church. . .”            

        Several practical lessons from this text can and must be applied in our church life and everyday life.  These lessons are necessary to maintain peace, fellowship, and friendship among our brethren, mends and neighbors.  However, the existence of the church is our chief concern here.  In this practical teaching of the Savior he could not teach us to tell it to the church if the church did not exist at this time.            

Proof Three

        Matt. 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.”            

        This text teaches us expressly that the Lord established and built his church.  He built it upon himself and no other person or force.  Again, other Lessons can be learned here, but the existence of the church is our chief concern.  If we believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ we must ascertain that the church existed during his life on earth.  In John 17:4 we are taught, “I have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Since the Lord established his church while on earth and ascended back to the father with a finished work then the church certainly existed before Pentecost.

        Because of its established Biblical history, let us who are charged with its care, keep it according to the Scriptures.  Let us keep in its simplicity as Jesus Christ created it.