The word apostolic means having to do with the apostles. The apostolic age was when the apostles lived. To be an apostle, one had to be a witness to Christ.
The twelve apostles that Jesus appointed were the ones who walked with Christ. They witnessed his death on the cross. They witnessed him when he arose from the grave after being dead three days. They walked with him after he arose from the grave on the first day of the week. They watched him ascend up into heaven (Acts 1:9-11). This was called the apostolic age.
This is also what’s called the time of the early church. The church began in Acts Chapter 2.
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said “…I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Then, Acts 2:47 says, “…and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
All of the early Christians were just called Christians, nothing else. (Acts 11:26).
Since the Bible speaks only of Christ establishing one church and adding the saved to it, which church is it?
After all there are thousands of different churches out there today. Peter said in Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Jesus taught the apostles how to worship.
I Corinthians 16:1-2 tells how to give on the first day of the week, no other day. Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 say we are to sing. I Corinthians 11:23-29 teaches that we are to take the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week. We are to follow the examples of the apostle’s teachings.
No where in the Bible will we find where we join any church. Acts 2:47 teaches that we are added by the Lord. Since God gave us the same gospel that the early Christians had, there is no reason why we cannot be exactly what they were, no more and no less. They were simply Christians. They didn’t join a denomination. According to the Bible there were no other churches that were established until hundreds of years after the Apostolic age had ended.
In New Testament times, such undenominational Christianity was not only possible, but was a reality. The Bible teaches that the apostle Paul was a fruitful member of the Lord’s church hundreds of years before a single modern denomination was ever in existence. Had someone asked Paul about some of the different churches today, he would not have known what they were talking about since none of them existed until long after the apostle’s death.
In Genesis 1:12, the scripture points out that all seeds reproduce “after his kind.” When we plant peach seeds, we get peaches not apples or any other fruit.
Galatians 6:7 “…for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall be also reap.”
The same principle applies to the “seed of the kingdom” which Jesus said is the “word of God.” (Luke 8:11).
When the same pure seed is planted in sincere hearts today without the creeds and doctrines of man being added, these scriptures teach that it will produce exactly the same thing it did in the days of the apostles.
Is such a return still possible?
It surely is if everyone would go back to the Bible and the Bible only.
Billy Free, Southside Church of Christ
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