Question: Will you please explain, from the Bible, some differences that exist between churches?

Answer: This study of the Bible and religious differences that exist will require several lessons: we will use as our workbook The Miller and Sommer Debate which took place in March of 1889 between Robert H. Miller, Elder and preacher for the German Baptist Church (Dunkard) and Daniel Sommer, Elder and gospel preacher for the Church of Christ.  They will discuss 1. When the Church was Established;  2. Baptism;  3. Foot Washing;  4. The Holy Kiss; & 5. The Lords Supper.  We will in each lesson then, examine the Bible for the truth connecting to each denial and or affirmation.

Part Two: Proposition: The scriptures teach that the Kingdom/Church was set up on the Day of Pentecost.  Sommer affirms & Miller denies.

Miller: “The Kingdom/Church was not setup on Pentecost, as God has always had a kingdom/church.”

Bible truth: Jesus kind of settled this matter when He stated in Matthew 16: 18 that He would build His Church.  This statement of Jesus was made in A.D. 32 or four thousand thirty two years after creation.  Why was Jesus going to build if it already existed?

Yes, the Old Testament part of the Bible teaches of a kingdom and a church (Hebrews 7:2 & Acts 7:38), but the real question is, just how are these to be understood?  When the Bible speaks of Melchizedek, in Hebrews 7:2, as being God’s king in the days of Abraham, it is speaking of the characteristics of the priesthood of Christ, not to say God had a kingdom in the days of the Patriarchs.  In like manner, when the Bible speaks of Moses being in the church in the wilderness, (Acts 7:38), it is referring to the assembly of the Israelites which Moses was leading at the time.  Again, there is no reference to God always having a kingdom or church.

Relating to the Kingdom/Church, in 800 B.C. God spoke to Joel about the outpouring of His Spirit and what would happen at that time: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.  30And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.  31The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.  32And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call” (Joel 2:28-32).   Notice that this would take place in Jerusalem and when it does then the opportunity to be delivered from the bondage of sin would happen then.  Now, see Acts 2:14-40 and hear Peter, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, say this is that which was spoken by Joel. 

Folks, this is Pentecost, A.D. 33, and the Bible says this took place on that day in time.  Note: up until this day only the term Kingdom had been used in the Bible; from this day forward the term Kingdom and Church are used interchangeably.  (See Acts 2:47 for the first mention of the Church.)

Later on in 740 B.C. God spoke to Isaiah about the establishment of the Kingdom/Church taking place in Jerusalem and said: “The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  2And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.  3And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  4And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.  5O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD” (Isaiah 2:1-5).  This prophecy speaks of the Church being God’s family, a family greater that any ever known to man, open to one and all to become a part of, a family taught and judged by God, and a family that seeks after peace.  Now, go back to Hebrews 7:1… and note the characteristics of the priesthood of Christ, seeing the similarities.

With reference to the Kingdom/Church, in 605 B.C. God through Daniel, set the time for the Kingdom/Church to be established when He said: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.  45Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure” (Daniel 2:44-45).  Note: among all the kingdoms of the world God set the time to be in the days of these kings (Babylon; Medo-Persian; Macedonian; and Roman) that His Kingdom/Church would be established.  It happened, just like God said it would, on Pentecost A.D. 33 in the city of Jerusalem, with the arrival of the Holy Spirit and the opportunity of deliverance from sin, while Rome ruled the world!  (See Acts 2:1-47.)

What a testimony God has given us, one that we can believe in and trust to the saving of our souls.

Watch for part 3

Do you have a Bible question or comment you would like to have answered? Call Marshall at (423) 272-2404.