This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
Site Navigation:This left-column outline contains links to website pages and sources pertaining to helping the Body of Christ gain the potential for which God designed it. The menu below pages down to the individual sections of this outline from which you can navigate to other web pages. There is a fourth level to some of the third level or decimal elements of this outline that is hidden, to view this level click on the symbol in the outline; to hide the fourth level, double-click upon it (I found out, the last time I checked, that Mozilla's Firefox browser doesn't support this fourth level expansion feature, sorry).
Matthew 16:18 . . . And I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros--a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra--a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].
The New Testament gives no indication that the Lord Jesus Christ ever intended for His Church on earth to be anything more or other than independent local groups of believers. And Jesus clearly stated that the Church would not be like the world: "And Jesus called them to Him and said, You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men hold them in subjection [tyrannizing over them]. Not so shall it be among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever desires to be first among you must be your slave--Just as the Son of Man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [the price paid to set them free]" (Matt. 20:25-28). "But you are not to be called rabbi (teacher), for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone [in the church] on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven. And you must not be called masters (leaders), for you have one Master (Leader), the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself [with haughtiness and empty pride] shall be humbled (brought low), and whoever humbles himself [whoever has a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly] shall be raised to honor" (Matt. 23:8-12).
Although Paul urged the Corinthians to "be perfectly united in your common understanding" it is almost impossible for men to do so. "But I urge and entreat you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in perfect harmony and full agreement in what you say, and that there be no dissensions or factions or divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in your common understanding and in your opinions and judgments" (1 Cor. 1:10). The failure to remain united in their common understanding is the reason that I refer to any who fail to remain faithful to Biblical Christianity as offshoots, or man-made distinctions, factions, and parties. So today, we have hundreds of Christian groups with various opinions attempting to come together in a church that looks more like the world than a New Testament church. Below is a very small list of supposedly distinctive groups.
We’re listing this small group of offshoots in order to better see some of the differences that exist between them so that we can get a better understanding as to where we would prefer to attend and serve. We usually apply these names to individual churches. But we can also apply these names or descriptions to individual ministries, associations, organizations and institutions.
The early independent churches of our Lord Jesus Christ resisted, right from the very beginning, any attempt to organize and bring them under control of human leaders. But by 250 A.D. there were already those who referred to all true churches as the Catholic Church and considered there to be no salvation outside of it, and excluded all that did not conform to it (see The Pilgrim Church by E.H. Broadbent, 1931, 1999 edition page 34). This Catholic Church system gradually became dominate and more and more worldly and corrupt. By 325 A.D. Roman emperor Constantine presided over the first general council of the Catholic Churches which later became the apostate false religion known as the Roman Catholic Church, claiming dominion over not only all Christian churches but also over all the rulers of the world, supposedly in the name of Christ.
For some good additional information concerning this very important issue, read the forward written by Dave Hunt in the above book,The Pilgrim Church; and pages 69-74 of Bruce L. Shelley’s book entitled Church History In Plain Language.
I’m going to paraphrase some of Shelley’s book on pages 69-74 because it’s very pertinent information, but it’s too long to quote all of it legally.
On page 69 he makes a very striking opening statement: "The wind blows wherever it pleases, Jesus had said to Nicodemus, you may hear its sound, but you can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. And so it seemed during the age of the apostles. The Spirit swept freely through the churches empowering believers, inspiring prophets, exorising devils."
Jesus had made sure that the apostles had understood that His Church was not going to be like worldly organizations (Matt. 23:8-12). Although there would be leaders, they would not be masters, for Christ is our one-and-only master. The apostle Paul had established elders as leaders and deacons as their helpers in each of the independent churches that he founded. This was the structure and functioning of the churches during the first century.
But early in the second century men began to develop a hierarchy of control in the church structure that swepted aside the order God had placed in the first century Church. Shelley states that these changes "raised crucial and controversial questions," and that most Christians recognize and admit that they took place, but don’t know why nor if they should have been made.
"Three quite different answers to this question are possible: (1) Some Christians argue that the men who guided the destiny of the early church willfully and sinfully departed from a divinely authorized pattern, so that the changes they made should be repudiated and reversed."
"This is the asumption of most attempts to "restore primitive Christianity." We sometimes call them "back-to-the Bible" movements. It is the common characteristic of most reforming movements in the history of the church. Such movements always face the troublesome task of deciding how much of what the apostolic church did was intended to be part of the permanent pattern that churches of all ages should follow. If, for example, we accept the office of elder as a norm for our times, shall we also insist that women remain silent in the church?"
"(2) Other Christians contend that the church and its leaders were exercising the liberty they had in the absence of any divinely authorized pattern. The government they developed may have served a good purpose in their time, but it is open to change to meet the needs of later generations, including our own."
"This position is usually held by those impressed with the church as a social institution immersed in the stream of historical development. It is the position of "modernists" who want the church to adapt to the times. Such Christians suffer the disadvantage of being unable to identify any faith or pattern of church government that has the seal of God’s approval. In its extremes it is Christianity without ultimates and absolutes. Everything is up for grabs."
"(3) Still other Christians argue that the Holy Spirit so dwelt in the church and guided its decisions that the developments of the early centuries in doctrine and church structure were the work not of men but of God. They are, therfore, permaently binding for the church."
"This third answer, advanced by most catholic Christians, make much of what its spokement call the witness of history. But if the changes made in the second, third, and fourth centuries are attributed to the Holy Spirit, why not the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth? Why must we stop with the so-called catholic centuries?"
"Our question – what authority does the rise of the episcopal (or bishop’s) office have for Christians? – suffers not from silence but from conflicting responses. Our disagreements explain, in part, our denominational differences to this day. However, even in the third century many felt that the coming of episcopacy meant the departure of the Spirit." . . . (page 72)
"By the year 220 it was evident that the Christian churches, together with their bishops and clergy, were no longer what they had been." (page 74)
When we examine Shelley’s three possible answers, we discover that only the first answer has the approval of God’s Word. To answer Shelley’s question, in choosing this as the right answer, whether we should insist that women remain silent in the church; let us examine two passages of Scripture dealing with this issue.
1 Corinthians 11:1-3 . . . Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah). I appreciate and commend you because you always remember me in everything and keep firm possession of the traditions (the substance of my instructions), just as I have [verbally] passed them on to you. But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the Head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the Head of Christ is God.
1 Corinthians 14:33b-37 . . . As [is the practice] in all the churches of the saints (God's people), the women should keep quiet in the churches, for they are not authorized to speak, but should take a secondary and subordinate place, just as the Law also says. [Gen. 3:16.] But if there is anything they want to learn, they should ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to talk in church [for her to usurp and exercise authority over men in the church]. What! Did the word of the Lord originate with you [Corinthians], or has it reached only you? If anyone thinks and claims that he is a prophet [filled with and governed by the Holy Spirit of God and inspired to interpret the divine will and purpose in preaching or teaching] or has any other spiritual endowment, let him understand (recognize and acknowledge) that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord.
The above two passages of Scripture give the strongest evidence possible that the women are not to speak in any instance where it would give the impression that they were in danger of usurping or exercising authority over men in the church! There are many situations where they could speak without doing so. The evidence that this should be required is: (1) Paul was imitating Christ’s example; (2) this was the practice in all the churches; and (3) it was a commandment of the Lord.
The churches and individuals that remained independent and Biblical were part of the real universal and invisible Church of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice of John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians.
Believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord; and, that separation from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices and associations is commanded of God (II Timothy 3:1-5; Romans 12:1,2 & 14:13; I John 2:15-17; II John 9-11; II Corinthians 6:14-7:1).
The term Evangelicalism is a wide-reaching definitional "canopy" that covers a diverse number of Protestant groups. The term originates in the Greek word evangelion, meaning "the good news," or, more commonly, the gospel. During the Reformation, Martin Luther adapted the term, dubbing his breakaway movement the evangelische kirke, or "evangelical church" -- a name still generally applied to the Lutheran Church in Germany. In the English-speaking world, however, the modern usage usually connotes the religious movements and denominations which sprung forth from a series of revivals that swept the North Atlantic Anglo-American world in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Not a formally organized movement, modern evangelicals usually represent conservative elements from within numerous mainline protestant denominations as well as independent Baptist churches and Bible churches.
Pentecostalism or Classical Pentecostalism is a renewal movement within Protestant Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this event commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. In 1900, Charles Parham, an American evangelist and faith healer, began teaching that speaking in tongues was the Bible evidence of Spirit baptism. The three-year-long Azusa Street Revival, founded and led by William J. Seymour in Los Angeles, California, resulted in the spread of Pentecostalism throughout the United States and the rest of the world as visitors carried the Pentecostal experience back to their home churches or felt called to the mission field.
This series is continued with; The Basic Cause For Deception In The Churches.