The History of the Church

by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness:

and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast. full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. Revelation 17:1-6

The church was started some time during the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. It was not started on Pentecost. They added to the church on Pentecost, but the church already existed. The church was probably started in Matthew chapter ten when Jesus called his disciples to a mountainside and named them as His disciples. For the first time there was a called-out assembly. It is very plain in the New Testament that the church started by Jesus had several characteristics.

1. It was independent. Each church was independent of every other church.

2. There were only two offices in that church - pastor and deacons. Those are the only two offices mentioned in the entire Bible concerning the church. There are three titles given for pastors - (1) Pastor, (2) Elder, and (3) Bishop - but the only two offices mentioned in the Bible for the church are for the offices of pastor and deacons.

3. There were two ordinances in this church - baptism and the Lord's Supper.

4. These churches believed in the doctrine of the local church. For the first 300 years, maybe even the first 700 years of the church, there was no such doctrine as the invisible or universal church. It was a doctrine that came from Catholicism (the word Catholic meaning universal). The doctrine of the universal, or invisible church mentioned in the Scofield Bible, had not been thought of for the first several centuries of the church. The independence of the local church body and the doctrine of the local church were maintained until about the third century.

5. Around the third century big city churches came on the scene and became prevalent. These churches hired men to start churches. The churches united and hired men to be like missionaries and go about starting churches. For example, there are many churches in or near Ephesus, Colossi and Galatia which were started by men who were hired by the churches for that very reason.

6. As these men began to get some authority, they became the bosses of the churches. When I was a Southern Baptist many years ago, they had what were called district missionaries. These district missionaries did exactly what these men did in the third century. They went out and started churches in little towns, rural areas, and city neighborhoods which had no churches. They held their positions for so long that if a church wanted a pastor, they would contact these men to recommend a pastor. These district missionaries soon began practically assigning pastors to churches.

When the churches had problems, they would call these district missionaries to help them solve the problems. Gradually these men became in charge of groups of churches. In the Southern Baptist Convention, the men who were called district missionaries years ago are now called district superintendents. There is a big difference between a superintendent and a missionary.

The same thing happened in the third century. Churches got together and hired people to work for them. Eventually these men gained more authority and more influence until finally the churches worked for the people. This is what is called an Episcopalian form of government. It increased until some areas had bishops over them. These bishops had somebody over them called the archbishop, and by the seventh century it had evolved into the Papacy.

7. The Papacy came on the scene as a result of the churches hiring people to start churches. There has never been an office higher than that of the pastor. It is nobody's business outside of the First Baptist Church of Hammond what goes on in the church. The Southern Baptists should be ashamed of themselves. There should not be such a title as a district superintendent, A church can supervise itself. It does not need a denominational "big-shot" to tell it what to do from the outside.

8. The true churches retained their independence.

These churches were persecuted unbelievably by the Papacy. They were persecuted from the first century, but even in the seventh century, incredible persecution came to the churches that would not submit to the control of these bosses. The churches that refused to be a part of the Bishopry continued to operate with a pastor and deacons, with the two ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper, and with the doctrine of the independence of the local church, not the invisible or universal church.

9. There were now two groups or categories calling themselves churches.

1. The Papacy with the Pope and his Archbishops and Bishops strangling the churches.

2. Independent churches who would not do what the Bishop said. The line of the New Testament churches kept going through them. There always has been and there always will be churches in this world which believe in the autonomy of the local church; with a pastor and deacons, baptism and the Lord's Supper, and the doctrine of the local church rather than the invisible universal church.

10. The true churches fled to valleys.

11. These churches were called the Valenses by the pope and the Catholic church because they dwelt mainly in the valleys because of intense persecution against them. The name was changed to Waldenses because a man named Peter Waldo was given credit by the Catholic church for starting these independent churches. The Catholic church would like to claim that Baptist churches started after the Catholic church started. That is not true. The Baptist church goes all the way back to Jesus when he said upon this rock I will build my church. The Catholic church doctrine goes back to Nimrod in Genesis 10, but it was not put into practice for hundreds of years.

12. The Catholics changed four basic things.

(1) They changed the doctrines of the church.

(2) They changed the positions of the church.

(3) They changed the ordinances. Baptism was no longer a sign of salvation, but it preceded salvation. Then they changed it from immersion to sprinlding. They changed the Lord's Supper from being a memorial supper to being a sacrament necessary to salvation.

(4) They changed the doctrine of church independence. They taught that there was one big church and that one man should control it. Consequently, the doctrine of the universal church became very prevalent. The doctrine of the universal church, which Mr. Scofield teaches, was started by the Catholics. I will explain later how he got it from the Catholics.

There was a group of people preaching salvation by grace through faith. They were baptizing converts, observing the Lord's Supper properly, they had pastors and deacons, and they believed in the doctrine of the local, independent church, not the universal church. Then there was the Roman Catholic church, or the universal church, with the ordinances, the church officers, and the doctrine changed.

13. Then came the Reformation with Martin Luther and others. During the Reformation many people pulled out of the Catholic church. Some of these people did not intend to pull out, they just intended to rebel within the church, like people today who are trying to clean up the Southern Baptist and the American Baptist conventions from within. From the Reformation a group of churches came out of the Catholic church. Revelation 17 and 18 refers to the Catholic church as a harlot. The Roman Catholic church is also called the mother of harlots. Now, if you are a mother of harlots, you must have some children who are harlots.

Who are these harlots? A child comes out of the body of its mother. Out of the body of Roman Catholicism came the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Lutherans, etc.. All of the reformed theologians and churches that came out of the Reformation came from Roman Catholicism. When you come from the body of a woman, she is your mother. Reformation brought forth little harlots.

14. When these reform ationists pulled out, they did not pull out in every way, therefore the protestants inherited some of the characteristics of their mother, the Catholic church. They pulled out concerning justification by faith, but they did not pull out concerning formal services. Go to a Presbyterian church on a Sunday morning and you will get about the same thing you would get from a Roman Catholic service. It is not exactly the same, but it is nearly as formal. The children rebelled concerning some doctrines, but not in the area of formal worship services.

They did not rebel concerning the unscriptural organization. The Catholic church assigns a priest to a church. The church does not choose its own priest. The Methodist church does the same thing. They send the preacher they want a church to have. The church does not have total choice in the matter. A Baptist church chooses its own preacher because we still believe in local congregational government. These Reformation Protestants inherited formal services and unscriptural organization from the Catholic church. They also continued to believe in the doctrine of the universal church.

15. Eventually, the Protestants had their own Reformation. From each of these protestant denominations, there came other denominations that rebelled against them.

16. Each of these ew Protestant groups eventually had its own Reformation.

17. From these groups came other denominations until there were many different denominations. Each of the groups that rebelled were good, but none of them had anything to do with the true church. Every group of people on the face of the earth that calls itself Christian came either from Roman Catholicism or from Jesus Christ. The Bible of Roman Catholicism as well as all of the Bibles being interpreted today are coming from the Roman Catholic manuscripts, the Westcott and Hort, whereas the King James Bible is the one that came from the Textus Receptus, which are the non Catholic manuscripts.

I am not implying that these groups were all bad. I am merely pointing out the fact that they came out of the mother. When a group comes out of Roman Catholicism they are her children and she is the mother of harlots.

18. The harlots had children which are the interdenominational, fundamental people. I am not against these groups. I am simply showing you that these groups do not have New Testament church origins, because they came from the mother of harlots. They may be good kids. They may be good grandkids, but they still came from the mother of harlots. Notice what they did not change when they came out.

They kept their formalism, just like their mother or grandmother.

They kept their high church worship.

They kept their high church organization. They did not have just pastors and deacons like the church at Philippi. They openly organized the church and often took the power away from the pulpit making the pastor a puppet.

19. All during this time the New Testament churches continued. The New Testament church was just moving right along. Should it be unusual then for Baptists to have a loyalty to their name? Should we not have a church spirit and pride? I thank God that I am an American. I thank God that I live in Indiana. I thank God that I live in Hammond, and I thank God that I am a Baptist. That does not mean I hate those who are not Baptists. I simply do not believe that they belong to true New Testament churches.

20. Now the grandchildren are beginning to go back to the harlot. There is the Catholic church, there are Protestant churches, and now we have the inter-denominational movement. Institutions that are inter-denominational used to fight Roman Catholicism, but now many of them are beginning to snuggle up to their mother and grandmother.

The harlots have been going back to the mother all along. Lutherans are uniting with Catholics. Presbyterians are going back to Catholics. Methodists are going back to the ways of Catholicism. The harlots are going back to the mother, but now the grandchildren are also going back to the harlots.

Any organization started outside of a New Testament church weakens with every generation. Some of our fundamental colleges are allowing things now that they would not have allowed years ago. I picked up my newspaper one morning and looked at the basketball scores. I saw the score given for one of our former fundamental school's girls' basketball team. A Christian college should not have their girls in shorts running around a gymnasium while a bunch of people watch them play basketball. Under that was the score of another fundamental college that was founded just one year before Hyles-Anderson. Young ladies are supposed to dress modestly and cover their thighs in public. Why are these institutions deteriorating? Because they are going back to the harlots and the harlots are going back to the mother.

I picked up a newspaper in Minnesota and read an article about the Lutherans and Catholics making an alliance. That is the harlots going back to mother. Most "Christian" television and radio stations are operated mostly by money from the harlots. They are the children of Catholicism. That is why they have Catholic priests on a so-called Christian television station. They are going back because they are operating outside the canopy of God's promise of divine perpetuity.

The best way to avoid the ecumenical trap is to stay with the local independent Baptist church. Stay with the First Baptist Church of Hammond, and I guarantee you that you will never get involved in ecumenicalism in this generation. I have talked to preachers all across this country who have their hands tied. The AWANA'S have gone to other Bibles besides the King James. Their churches are splitting because the people are more loyal to the AWANA'S than they are to the local church. AWANA'S is carrying them back to the harlots, and the harlots are carrying them back to the mother.

Somebody has to tell this. If we do not tell people that these things are gone, they will stay hooked up with them and be swept into the ecumenical movement by some organization they did not know was going back to the mother. There are still some good grandchildren. There are still some good inter-denominational people. Because they do not belong to New Testament churches, and they do not have the promise of divine perpetuity, they are going to die. What is the safest thing to do about these good grandchildren? Let me give you several things.

1. Accept them as brothers and sisters in Christ.

2 Thank God for the good they do.

3 Accept them as dear friends.

Accept them as dear friends, but do not join up with them organizationally. If you do, they will eventually pull you into the ecumenical movement. You will probably see the day in your generation when the only non ecumenical people in this world will be independent Baptists. God has promised us divine perpetuity.

Who is preaching on standards today? Nazarenes? No. Church of God? No. Southern Baptists? No. Who is preaching against mixed swimming? Who is preaching on men getting haircuts? Who is preaching that women ought to wear modest clothing? Who is taking a stand against social drinking? Who still takes a stand on standards? A few independent Baptists and that is just about all.

Who is left that believes this Bible? Who is left that believes the King James Bible has been preserved word for word? Who is left? The Church of God? No. Nazarenes? No. Children of God? No. American Baptists? No. Southern Baptists? No. Inter-denominational Bible Institutes? No. Inter-denominational Bible colleges? No. Who is left? A few independent Baptists. That is all.

It is not getting very popular to be an independent Baptist.  It was not very popular in the seventh century either when they fled to the valley.

Who is still for soul winning?  A few independent Baptists.

Who still believes in the doctrine of the local church and not in the doctrine of the universal church? A few independent Baptist people. That is all. We do not have a mother or grandmother to go back to. We have a Saviour Who started our church. We can trace our history very quickly. It is the New Testament church which was started by Jesus in the book of Matthew.

Thank God that my mama and daddy moved two doors away from a Baptist church. My mama was a Methodist until she was forty. That was back in the days of the old-fashioned shouting Methodists. Mama was baptized in a Baptist church after she was forty years old. Thank God that we did not have a car and could not attend anywhere but that Baptist church. Thank God that I became a preacher in the church that descended from Jesus Christ.

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