one has an erroneous
appreciation for the worth of the church about which one can read in
especially as it appears in the New Testament, he is ill-prepared to
the Bible successfully. Further, the assertion that it is a mistake to
the first century church is a bold endorsement of anything else besides
church for which Jesus Christ died to establish, over which He is the
for which He will return someday.
addition, it is a dodge
and a case of dishonesty of supposing that Christians interested in
primitive Christianity are faced with the prospect of duplicating the
errors of the Corinthian church or any first century congregation about
the New Testament records spiritual deficiencies or sins. Contrariwise,
Testament clearly teaches what the church should be, by noting the
imperfections of various congregations and Christians and contrasting
should be with what they sometimes did. Jesus
Christ established his church as a perfect, divine institution.
church as established by Christ
was perfect. Christ was its founder and it was purchased by his blood
16:18; Acts 20:28).
(and is) both the foundation and the head of the church (I Cor. 3:11;
1:22,23). The church is composed of people who have obeyed
God’s perfect plan
of salvation (Matt. 2819, 20; Acts 2:38, 47).
It has a
perfect system of worship, a perfect organization, and a perfect
of these features of the church are fully described and clearly set
the New Testament, the perfect pattern for the church of every age (II
1:3). (Fulford 5).
New Testament church is
discernible in salvation, worship, Christian living, Christian service
doctrine; however, man can never discern that to which he blinds
New Testament represents
itself as a pattern for duplication in congregations and the lives of
Christians (Romans 6:17; 1
Corinthians 2:11-13; 4:6;
Colossians 3:16; 2
1 Peter 4:11).
God has given us
everything we need doctrinally (2 Peter 1:3; Jude 3).
No changes to the Gospel or New Testament are permitted (Galatians
1:6-9; Revelation 22:18-19;
cf. Numbers 22:18).
Clearly, the inspired, New Testament teachings were
to be passed along to others (2 Timothy 2:2).
has not left us at sea without a
rudder. The New Testament was not merely “human
correspondence between or among
various human beings.” Paul said, “If any man
thinketh himself to be a prophet,
or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the things which I write unto
they are the commandment of the Lord” (I Cor. 14:37). It has
been suggested that
the New Testament writers never perceived or intended that their
become a guide for men throughout succeeding generations, but the
Paul contradicts that assertion. (Highers 23)
the seed principle
respecting the Word of God is valid today (Luke 8:11; 1 Peter 1:23). Everything
produces after its own kind
(Genesis 1), so that even the Word of God when planted in honest hearts
produces after its own kind—Christians or the
examples illustrate the need for and divine approval of patterns in
and when necessary, the restoration to God’s way of doing
things (Exodus 25:40;
King Josiah is one powerful example
of restoring the way of God (2 Kings 22:13). Following the return from
Babylonian captivity, the Jewish religion was restored (Jeremiah 6:16).
not the human errors, but
yes, the divine plan for the church for which Jesus Christ died, over
is the Head and for which He is coming back to retrieve must be
according to biblical patterns. If not, then there is absolutely no
whatsoever of receiving divine favor in this life or in the eternity to
because man’s ways only lead astray. “But in vain
they do worship me, teaching
for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).
“O LORD, I know that the
way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct
steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Any attempt at biblical
interpretation that either
ignores or denies the importance of the Lord’s church is
doomed to become a hermeneutical train wreck!
Fulford, Hugh. “Principles of the
Restoration.” Spiritual Sword
Highers, Alan E. “The New
Testament Is the Pattern for Men
Sword 6.3 (1975): 22-24.