Pastor George Theroux's Desk

What I look for in a New Testament True Church – Part 1

Well, first of all – Its beginning. Where did it originate and who was its founder? Does its teachings line up with God’s Holy Word (KJV Bible)?

I understand there are various ideas regarding the origin of the church, but the Baptist position is that which we believe to be the Scriptural position, that it occurred on the mountain top. (Luke 6:12-16; Is. 2:2; Matt. 16:18) And it was founded by Jesus Christ Himself and that the twelve apostles were the first members. The apostle Paul pinpoints the statement that God had set some in the church, first the apostles. So when you call the list of twelve apostles, you have the list of your first churchmen. Now there are some different ideas about the origin of the church. Like the Pentecostal concept, that is the church originated on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. That theory is not only held up by most Protestants and liberal Baptists, but also held up by the Roman Catholics. The only difficulty is that if there were a church set up on the day of Pentecost, there is no reference to it. And if there were a church set up on the day of Pentecost, Jesus Christ didn’t establish it. For Jesus was at the right hand of the Father. He had already gone back to Heaven. Then either Simon Peter of the Holy Spirit would have been the founder of that church that was set up on the day of Pentecost. Nowhere did the Scriptures give Peter or the Holy Spirit the authority to set up a church. But the church, the one that Jesus had established here on Earth, was empowered by the Spirit of God! Acts 2:1-21; John 16:7. Here in the very nature of the thing, is where the trouble first started. The very fact that Christ made Himself the head of His church was an insult to the unregenerate peoples of this earth. (Eph. 5:23) People always wanted a religion directed by human power and human will. They wanted humanism in their religion. The pagans had it and so did the Jews. Think about it, they tried to make gods out of Paul and Barnabas, over in the 14th chapter of Acts (Acts 14:8-16). You remember when they healed the impotent man over at Lystra. They fell down before Paul and Barnabas and said, “Oh the gods have come down to earth in the likeness of men.” They called one Mercurius and the other Jupiter. Paul says, “You stand on your feet, we’re not gods, we’re men just like you are.” That’s that thing in the bloodstream of depraved humanity that wants a human god in a human church in a human religion. The same thing came out in the tenth chapter of Acts when Peter was preaching in the household of Cornelius. Cornelius came out and met him and fell down at his feet and worshipped Peter. Peter rebuked him, and said, “I’m just a man like you.” (Acts 10:25-26) Why did Cornelius fall down before Peter and tried to make a god out of him? It seems that if Peter ever did have a desire to become a pope, right here was his chance. Cornelius did his dead-level best to make a god out of him in the tenth chapter of Acts. Peter wouldn’t let him do it. And so, my friends that’s the background of true Christianity today. And so Christ insulted the religious leaders of the world when He made Himself the true and only head of His church. (Eph. 5:23; I Cor. 3:11) He insulted the religions of the world when He laid down the qualifications of membership in His church. You must be born again. In other words, He said to the entire world, there isn’t anything you can do to men or for men that will fit them for Heaven. They will have to be born again. Men objected to that then. Men object to that now. The world has always wanted a religion where there wouldn’t be anything said about being born again. Oh, they want to go to Heaven providing they don’t have to say or do anything. So a true New Testament church is Jesus Christ is its head (Eph. 5:23; I Cor. 3:11) and with an authoritative message. You must be born again. Also, He made His church the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and gave His spirit to the church (Eph. 2:19-22). Now Jesus says “My church” (Matt. 16:18). The word church comes from two Greek words – one word is ek which means “out” and the other word is kalesia which means “to call.” Thus the word ecclesia means an assembly. A called out assembly of saved people who have been scripturally baptized to carry out the Lord’s work. But when Christ used the word, He placed the pronoun – My ecclesia, (Matt. 16:18). The root meaning of the word does away with the idea of an invisible church. You couldn’t have an invisible assembly of people to save your life. If you can’t assemble it, you can’t have a church. That’s why the church and the kingdom of God must never be confused. There is a false teaching that identifies the church and the kingdom of God as one and the same body – the Roman Catholic Church calls for that. But the church is a visible group of the redeemed of the Lord at any given time who assemble themselves for the carrying out of God’s will on earth. The second thing that is true about God’s true church, no unsaved man can spiritually be added to the body of Christ. You might vote him in and put his name on your church roll, but he isn’t added to the church. He has to be added to the church by Christ. Remember, Judas Iscariot was a member and still split Hell wide open – Acts 2:41. So, Jesus Christ established His church. And it was always a local visible church. He didn’t establish a denomination, man did that. But we do know that Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, that’s a fact. Jesus Christ was a Baptist! And you can trace a true church by its doctrines and its strict conformity for membership, if its doctrines be true, it is a true church of Christ.

So a true New Testament church is an assembly of saved people called out from the world, called to worship, practicing the doctrine of Christ, carrying out Christ’s will in this world. And recognizing Christ alone as its true and only head and the KJV alone – God’s Word – as the only and final authority.

Part Two – Salvation by Grace


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