3159 21st Street N.
Bible Proofs Of
By: Rosco Brong
GOD'S WORD IS TRUE, THE CHURCH
"The church of the living God, the pillar and
ground of the truth." (I Tim. 3:15.)
Recorded history often reveals more of historians'
prejudices than of actual events, and the history of Christianity has been
written mostly by the enemies of Baptists. Even so, there is historical
evidence for the continued existence of what would now be called Baptist
churches from the days when Jesus was on earth in the flesh down to the
present time. This evidence is not beyond dispute but it is more than
sufficient if we are willing to believe the promises of God's word.
My purpose here is to show from the Bible, APART FROM ALL HISTORICAL EVIDENCE, that we must believe in Baptist church perpetuity if we believe that God's Word is true.
The Gates Of Hades His Promise of Perpetuity
this Rock," said Jesus, referring to Himself, "I will build my
church; and the gates of hell [Hades] shall not prevail against it." (Matt.
We may find various interpretations of this statement
of Jesus, but despite a great variety of ideas in detailed interpretation
it is fairly clear to all that we have here a PROMISE of our Lord
that His church would not be overcome by the powers of evil. Whatever this
church was, it could not fail if Jesus spoke the truth. We believe that this church was what would now be called a Baptist
Church, and anyone who will honestly examine the organization and
doctrines of this New Testament institution in comparison with the
organization and doctrines of Baptist churches today will reach the same
If the church that Jesus built was not a Baptist church,
then we need to find out what kind of church it was, and join that church,
if we want our service to be pleasing to Him. One thing we can be
sure of: if Jesus spoke the truth--and what real Christian would deny
this?--the church that Jesus built has been in the world ever since and
will be here till He comes again.
The popular Protestant dogma in this connection
speaks of an "invisible" church to which all Christians belong.
More on this as we go along, but for the present note a few simple facts:
a. Neither the expression "invisible
church" nor the idea of such an expression can be found in the New
b. The whole purpose of the "invisible
church" dogma is to justify the Protestant splits from Roman
Catholicism. But since Baptists are
not Protestants and were never a part of the heretical Catholic
system, we have no need of any such dogma to justify our existence.
c. Most Protestants and many ignorant Baptists
suppose that Christ built two churches: the "invisible church"
of their own vain imagining and the organized assemblies that they cannot
help recognizing in the New Testament. Then, to add insult to injury, they
call their imaginary monstrosity the "true" church! But the
Bible says that there is only one
body (church), that is, one kind of body, just as there is only one
baptism, that is, one kind of baptism.
(Eph. 4:4, 5.)
d. Since there is no just reason to do otherwise, we
must understand that Jesus used the word "church" (Greek"ekklesia")
in Matt. 16:18 in the same general sense that it has everywhere else in
the New Testament: that is, an assembly, almost always an organized
assembly. The word here is used abstractly; that is, it expresses an
idea whose realization is to be found in a particular organized assembly.
2. Church Discipline
he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect
to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall have been
bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall have been
loosed in heaven." (Matt.
18:17, 18, AV, with corrected tenses of verbs in verse 18.)
This text suggests three simple questions that
believers in an "invisible" church might try to answer:
a. How can a wronged brother tell his grievance to an
b. How can an "invisible" church decide an
issue, make known its judgment to a trespassing brother, or execute that
judgment "if he neglect to hear"?
c. Is not the authority to "bind and
loose," whatever this means, in verse 18 given to the same church
that is in view in verse 17?
Obviously the reference here is to an organized assembly; and obviously such organized assemblies must always have existed from that time to this in order that faithful followers of Jesus might obey His instructions here given.
Baptized Into One Body
"For also in one Spirit we
all were baptized into one body... And ye are a body of Christ, and
members in particular." (I Cot. 12:13, 27, corrected translation.)
Verse 27 of this quotation tells what kind of body is meant in verse 13: the kind of which the church at Corinth was an example. I Cor. 1:13-17 shows what kind of baptism is meant: namely, baptism in water. In fact, there is only one kind of baptism recognized in the New Testament as an ordinance of Christ: all other so-called baptisms are figurative or symbolic, deriving their significance from this baptizing in water to declare the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and all that this means to us.
Almost all Christians recognize baptism, or some
substitute for it that they call baptism, as sprinkling or pouring, as a
church ordinance. But if it is a church ordinance, then there must
always have been churches to administer the ordinance. If the church
to which Jesus entrusted the ordinance passed out of existence as an
institution, then the ordinance lapsed with the church, and nowhere in the
Bible is anyone authorized to start it up again.
4. "Till He Come"
"As often as ye eat this
bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come."
Again, practically all Christians recognize the
Lord's Supper as a church ordinance. But how could the ordinance be
continued if at any time there were no true churches to observe it? Note
that the Scriptures give no hint of any possible lapse or failure of our
Lord's churches to declare or show forth His death by eating this bread
and drinking this cup "till He come."
"If a man desire the
office of a bishop, he desireth a good work ·.. They that have used theoffice of a deacon well
purchase to themselves a good degree. “ (I Tim. 3:1, 13.)
The context of the two verses shows that bishops
and deacons are church officers,
and to this fact practically all Christians agree, however far they may depart
from Scriptural ideas of the duties of these offices. Even believers in an
imaginary "invisible" church become at least temporarily
realistic and operate in some kind of organized assembly in naming bishops
But if bishops and deacons were officers in the kind
of church that Jesus built, and if this kind of church passed out of
existence, as Protestants allege and as ignorant Baptists admit, then by
whose authority are such officers named today?
A Holy Temple
"Now therefore ye are no
more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of
the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles
and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom
all the building [or, better, every building] fitly framed together
groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded
together for a habitation of God through the Spirit." (Eph. 2:19-22.)
Paul was writing to the church at Ephesus and he
reveals here the glorious fact that a true New Testament
church is a holy temple in the Lord,
and that one purpose for which the Lord built His church at Ephesus, and,
we believe, every other true New Testament church, is that God in the
Spirit might dwell therein·
Can anyone believe that God, having chosen to
manifest His presence in a special way in the churches of the Lord Jesus,
allowed His purpose to be frustrated, so that for centuries He had no such
habitation on earth? But Protestants do so declare, and countless
Baptists, ignorant of or indifferent to their blood-bought heritage, are
deceived by or are silent in the face of this monstrous lie!
7. A Dead Bride?
also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be
married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead." (Rom 7:4.)
"Husbands, love your
wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for
5:25--read on through verse 32.)
These and other Scriptures compare the spiritual
relationship of Christ and His church to the human marriage relationship.
That the "wedding" is still future is shown by Matt. 22:1-13;
25:1-13; and Rev. 21:2.
Was our Lord at any time betrothed to a dead bride?
After He gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her by
the washing of water in the word, that He might present her to Himself in
glory--after all this, was there ever a time when nowhere on earth could
be found a church that could be truly called His bride? Was there ever a
time when the only "Christianity" on earth was the religion of
spiritual harlots? Perish the thought! But if it be so, what are all the
churches today but harlots and offspring of harlots?
"I Am With You Alway"
"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." (Matt.
Practically all Christians recognize that Jesus was speaking here to His church. The only real question is, what kind of church was it?
Of course, an imaginary "invisible" church
cannot go anywhere, it cannot
disciple any nations, it cannot baptize anybody in any way, it cannot
teach anybody anything, and being nonexistent, it would not know the
difference whether the Lord were with it or not.
But an organized assembly of baptized believers, such
as Jesus had constituted His disciples, can do what He commanded and in
doing so can claim the promise of His continuing presence--and it is the only organization on earth that can do so,
Jesus promised this kind of church that He would
always be with it, even to the end of the age. But He could not be with it
unless it existed to be with. Therefore if Jesus spoke the truth He
has had His churches in the world ever since and He has been with them all
the time--and so it
will be to the end of the age.
Glory In The Church
him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world
without end. "(Eph. 3:21.)
More literally translated:
"To him the glory in the
church in Christ Jesus, unto all the generations of the eon of the
We have here a Spirit-inspired declaration or prayer.
If it was a prayer, as the KJ version indicates, it nevertheless declares
an assured fulfillment, for the Holy Spirit does not inspire vain prayers.
"He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of
God." (Rom. 8:27.)
Therefore we understand that God
gets glory in the church in Christ
Jesus. This was true in Paul's day and it was to continue
"unto all the generations of the eon of the eons,"
an expression of eternity beyond our comprehension. But He could not
get glory in the church unless the church continued to exist. And of
course He is far from getting glory in an imaginary "invisible"
church whose advocates reject and deny the plain, simple, straightforward
teachings and promises of His Word.
Pillar And Ground
"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."
Speaking of the church as an organized assembly, as
the context clearly shows, Paul here calls it "the
pillar and ground of the truth."
That is, the church not only, as a pillar or column, upholds the truth,
but it is the foundational support of the truth.
Here we have the
explanation for the wholesale loss of Bible truth by false churches and
unattached Christians. It has
pleased God that His church should be the pillar and ground of
the truth, and so it has been through the centuries.
A Solemn Warning
reject Bible truth about the church, and refuse to recognize its rightful
place as the body and bride of Christ, the house of God, the pillar and
ground of the truth, they quickly lose other truth as well.
of God's Word is still upheld in the world today because of the
faithfulness and the martyrs' blood of the true churches of God through
the dark ages, and this truth will still be upheld to the end of the age
because there will still be some churches, the true churches of our Lord,
to serve as the pillar and ground of the truth.