Saturday, September 15, 2007

Session XII: Membership Matters 2 Part 1 Church History

[Michael Lawrence 9:00am Saturday morning 9/15/07]

Michael started with 4 Reasons That Christians should study Church History.
(1) God commands it! We are supposed to remember the works of God in the history of Israel. Further, in the New Testament...we are to remember the apostle's teaching, and God’s work in our lives and the history of the church.

(2) It is instructive…there is nothing new under the sun.

(3) It should humble us. We are not the lords of our own destiny!

(4) It should encourage us. This tells us of God’s majestic pageantry and sovereignty in the past.
Their desire is to teach attendees more about Baptists, and in order to know more about Baptists we need to understand where they come from, namely English Protestantism. Further, to understand that we need to look back to the beginning of the church.

The foundation of the Christian church is described in Acts chapter 2. Many have called this class “John the Baptist to Capitol Hill Baptist.” They will cover every forty years of history about every minute to two.

The concept of a church, assembly called out, started when God called out Abraham, Moses, Ezekiel (in how God gave life to dry bones), also as we see Jesus Christ, the Word in the New Testament. God never saves people outside of the body of Christ. The church is not man’s idea.
(1) The Christian church begins in Matthew 16.
(2) The Christian church is commissioned in Matthew 28.
(3) Further, in Acts 2 the Christian church devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching.
Some movements rooted in bad theology in the history of the Church were Gnostics (comparable with Scientology), Montanists, Marcionites (similar to Theological Liberals), Arius (from which Unitarian and Jehovah’s Whitnesses find similar teaching) and Pelagians.

Many theological errors are a repackaging of old mistakes. Creeds developed as summaries of what Christians understood the Scripture to say in response to false teaching. They not only stood the test with teaching, but also with their lives. Starting with Stephen in Acts 7.

Constantine was proclaimed as emperor of Rome in 311AD. It is unclear as to whether or not he actually ever converted to Christianity. Therefore, it moved from a persecuted religion to the publicly endorsed religion. Civic hierarchy moved into the structure of the church and that was the beginning of the Roman Catholic tradition.

In 1054 AD the church in the East broke with the church in the West. They broke over authority of the pope and over the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The pope and the Roman Catholic Church held too much authority and claimed the right to have the ability to impart salvation by baptism. They also taught cooperative grace, “God helps those who help themselves (Benjamin Franklin).” This is an unbiblical doctrine!

Martin Luther discovers, by God’s grace, salvation is by faith alone through Christ alone. Christians need an alien righteousness imputed them in order to able to stand before God, this is what Luther came to believe the Bible taught. Martin Luther proposed a debate, as anyone would do in that time by nailing the 95 Theses to the church doors. This set off the Reformation. Rome condemned Luther’s teaching particularly the gospel.

At the same time as Luther Zwingli, Butzer, Calvin, Cranmer, etc. all worked for reform. A trust in Christ for salvation rather than man’s own works was the root of reform.

Baptists…out of the Reformation came various strands of Protestants: Lutheranism, Anabaptists, Reformed Churches (Presbyterians, Congregational, and Anglican churches)…and out of this came the Baptists. By 1608 a rejection of infant baptism was taking place in England by Baptists. An understanding of religious liberty mainly came from the Baptists, particularly in 1639 a charter for Rhode Island included the Baptist distinctive of religious tolerance.

Later on in the 1800’s an academic movement of German higher criticism denied the ability to believe in things miraculous (therefore they were against what the Bible teaches to be true). By 1930 almost every protestant denomination in America was taken over by this kind of thinking. This resulted in splintering of denominations.

After WWII Neo-evangelicalism was a uniting around fundamentals in response to theological liberalism.

In the 1860’s CHBC started as a bible study to reach many kids in the area. In 1878 they organized to start Metropolitan Baptist Church. Then Michael taught through the history of this local church.

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