Vol.I No.I Pg.4
January 1964

What Did God "Establish"?

Robert F. Turner

World scholars seem to agree that the church was established in Jerusalem, the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ. Acts 2: gives the record, and only a few with some creed to defend offer objection. But WHAT was established when the church was established? Foolish question?? Well, read Acts 2: carefully.

Any "dedication" services? "Chairman" appointed? Any of the "institutional" procedure one would expect if today's common conception of "church" were correct? It just isn't there.

Today the emphasis is upon the party-- the church is something like a lodge, or "Royal Order of Saints"-- a society, somehow related to certain buildings. This conception is missing in God's record of establishment.

Prophecies concerning the establishment of the church invariably refer to the relationship, or the basis for the relationship, between God and individuals. Isaiah says, "the mountain of Jehovah's house shall be established on the top of the mountains---" referring to the establishment of God's law for all nations. (Isa. 2:1-f.) The promised kingdom was a promise of peace according to divine government. (Isa.9:1-f) The ransomed of Jehovah would walk in "The Way of Holiness." (Isa. 35:8-f)

Little Red Wagon

It seems many think of the church as something like a little red wagon. "Established on Pentecost" -- it stood ready to roll, and people could jump in and ride to heaven. But somewhere along the line a side-rail broke, an axle was bent, the tongue came loose, and finally a wheel fell away. Luther tried to put the wheel back on, but further bent the axle in his effort. Others replaced the tongue with a new but different instrument -- unsuited to the purpose and function of the original tongue. Alas, the church was broken down and out of service.

Then A. Campbell and Barton Stone determined to restore the church. They straightened the axle, replaced the tongue with an original model, repaired the side-rail and put the wheel back in place. Now people could again ride home to heaven.

Have I stretched the picture? Perhaps -- but only to emphasize what I believe to be an entirely erroneous conception of the church established on Pentecost. This is a denominational concept. It glorifies the "party" and does not properly distinguish between faithful and unfaithful people.

WHO are The Church??

The word "church" is a collective noun, and it "collects" people. But not just any people. Christ's church consists of "Saints and faithful brethren," "a people for God's own possession." (Col. 1:2 1 Pet. 2:9) Of all the multitude gathered in Jerusalem, only those who "gladly received his word" and "were baptized" became members of the church. (Acts 2:41)

Members of the church do sin, but they are expected to repent and pray God for forgiveness. Failing to do

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