When Was the Church Built?
The last text cited above [Matthew 16:18] speaks of her building as then in the future. Now read 1 Cor. 3:9: “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Eph. 2:20-22
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet. 2:5
In A.D. 32 Christ said, “I will build my church.” Matt. 16:18 In A.D. 59, and later, the apostles said, “Ye are God’s building,” “are built up a spiritual house.” So the church was built between those dates.
It is true that the church was begun under the labors of John the Baptist, Jesus, and His apostles, before the day of Pentecost (Luke 16:16). Many believed and entered the kingdom then, and constituted material for the church. But the coming of the Holy Spirit was the point of time when the church was really built, and set in order, as seen in 1 Cor. 12:6,11-13,18,24. The church is defined as “his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Eph. 1:23 The church proper then did not exist until the fullness of Christ came, which was on the day of Pentecost. Then it was fully set up, and “fitly joined together and compacted.” 4:16
Since that was the time of the founding of the church of God, it follows that every religious body that has since come into existence is not the church of God, but a daughter of confusion, born out of due season. This includes Catholicism and all the Protestant sects.
With much love, The Downings