Church lineage in the New Testament
All scripture references are to the Authorized King James Bible
“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.”
I. Jesus began His New Testament Church on the seashores of Galilee with souls who were already saved and had been baptized by John the Baptist. Matthew 4:16-22; Luke 23:1-7; Acts 10:34-38; Acts 1:15-22
- Jesus’ New Testament Church was fully in place and settled in Jerusalem before the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
- Jesus had appointed officers in the Church before then. Luke 6:13-16; I Corinthians 12:28
- Jesus Himself called them a Church even before His passion. Matthew 18:15-17; 26:26-30; Hebrews 2:12
- His New Testament Church was baptizing before Pentecost. John 3:22; 4:1-2
- His New Testament held a business meeting before Pentecost. Acts 1:12-26
- Jesus offered Himself a sacrifice to save individuals; He also gave Himself for His New Testament Church. Luke 19:10; John 3:16-18; Acts 20:28; John 15:13; Ephesians 5:25-27
- Jesus settled His New Testament Church at Jerusalem before He ascended to heaven. Acts 2:1-9
II. The New Testament Church that Jesus built is a local, visible body. The Great Commission is given to her. Matthew 28:16-20; Matthew 26:26-30; Hebrews 2:12
- The Greek word for church, ek-kle-si-a, means “assembly.”
- New Testament epistles are addressed to local church assemblies, or bodies. I Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:2; I Thessalonians 1:1; I Corinthians 16:19; Romans 16:3-5; Revelation 1:11,20.
- His New Testament Church bodies are commanded to assemble. I Corinthians 11:33; Psalm 133:1; James 2:2 How could she assemble if she were scattered all over the world?
- His local visible New Testament Church must assemble in order to carry out the Church discipline He commands. Matthew 18:15-17; I Corinthians 5:12-13
- To worship God, man must go to where God is. Psalm 77:13; Matthew 2:2; to one of His New Testament Churches. Matthew 18:20; I Timothy 3:15; John 4:23-24
- God compares His local New Testament Church to a body (which is local). I Corinthians 12:11-27; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23
- God is consistent in His imagery: Jesus died, was buried, and rose again for the justification of any individual (body) who would set aside his pride and allow Jesus to be the Head. Ephesians 1:22-23; Psalm 51:17
III. Jesus’ New Testament Church has stood since the time He founded her almost 2000 years ago, and He promised she will continue to exist until He returns for her. Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 3:21; Matthew 28:20; John 14:3
- Jesus Christ is the founder of His Church, not man. Isaiah 28:16; Psalm 127:1; I Corinthians 3:10-12; Ephesians 2:19-21
- Like begets like, a simple concept throughout God’s creation. The farmer plants corn- he doesn’t expect peas. Cows give birth to cows; humans give birth to humans. Genesis 1:11, 21, 25; John 3:6
- That which is born of the flesh is flesh (man’s body) Genesis 2:7a; Psalm 103:14; Genesis 3:19; James 4:14
- That which is born of the spirit is spirit (man’s soul) John 3:3-8
- That which is born of the Lord’s New Testament Church is the Lord’s New Testament Church Matthew 7:16-16
- Jesus’ local New Testament Church has stood through time. Since Bible prophecy is 100% true, how has Matthew 16:18 taken place?
IV. Jesus’ New Testament Church has stood through time by lineage.
- She began in Galilee, then was settled in Jerusalem. Acts 1:4
- Jerusalem > Samaria Acts 8:14-17
- Jerusalem > Caesarea Acts 10:1, 44-48
- Jerusalem >Antioch Acts 11:19-26
- Antioch > Puteoli, Lystra, Corinth, Iconium, Phillippi, Thessalonica, Ephesus, etc Acts 13:1-4, Paul’s missionary journeys throughout the book of Acts.
- A scriptural example of a “church” without lineage: Acts 18:24-28. The Apostle Paul, through the authority of the New Testament Church at Antioch, then organized this group of believers at Ephesus into a New Testament Church. Acts 19:1-7; Ephesians 1:1; Revelation 1:11
AND SO…Any organization called “church,” to be one of the Lord’s, must be able to “rattle the chain” all the way back to the New Testament Church Jesus built. If there is no direct lineage, the organization has been established by some man or group of men between then and now. See these examples:
1. The Pope of Rome, head of the Catholic Church, cannot be the head of the Lord’s New Testament Church because she has no head but Jesus. Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18. Furthermore, the doctrines of the Catholic Church are not consistent with those of Jesus. The Catholic religion developed over hundreds of years beginning about 200 A.D. The spirit of division was present beginning at the time of the Apostles. I John 4:1; III John
2. Martin Luther founded the Lutheran Church in 1530.
3. John Calvin started the Presbyterian Church in 1535.
4. The Episcopal (English) Church was founded in 1540 by King Henry III.
5. George Fox headed the organization known as the Quakers (Friends) in 1648.
6. The Methodist Church had its beginning in 1729 by John Wesley and his brother Charles.
7. Alexander Campbell began what is known as the Christian Church and the Church of Christ in 1827.
8. The Mormon religion was started in 1830 by Joseph Smith.
9. Daniel Parker was the founder of the Primitive (Hardshell) Baptist Church in 1832.
10. The Seventh Day Adventist movement had its beginning in 1832 by William Miller, and E. G. White.
11. The Jehoveh’s Witness religion was started in 1884 by one called “Pastor Russell.”
12. Mary Baker Glover Patterson Eddy (wow) began the Christian Science movement in 1879.
13. The holiness groups (Pentecostal, Nazarene, Church of God, Assembly of God, etc) all had their origin in America (one of their founders was S. F. Breeze) in 1885.
Look in your phone book’s Yellow Pages and notice how many churches claim the name of Christian, as prophesied in Isaiah 4:1.
All names and dates are taken from:
"The Trail of Blood; Following the Christians down Through the Centuries" by J. M. Carroll and The Faithful Baptist Witness by Dr. Phil Stringer