The study of genealogy is examining
the lineage of a given family. Through records of days past families are able to
discover their roots and their pedigree. Ultimately all men are traced back to
Adam and Eve who were the first man and woman created by Jehovah. Countries also
share in a genealogy as our nation was found over 200 years ago. Some nations
that exist today did not exist ten years ago. China is one of the oldest
continual nations surviving for thousands of years. But even China had a
beginning or a time when it did not exist. The study of origins is simply the
story of where something came from. In the world of those who profess
Christianity, how many know the genealogy of the church they belong to?
Christianity began nearly 2,000 years ago
when Jesus Christ commanded the disciples to Go therefore and make
disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have
commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age
(Matthew 28:19-20). He gave them further instructions (Luke 24:44-52) to go to
Jerusalem and tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with
power from on high (Luke 24:49). Luke records this fulfillment in Acts 2.
It is here we read about the beginning of the assembly of the saved under the
law of Christ. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being
saved (Acts 2:47).
The church of the Lord is mentioned
throughout the writings of Acts and the epistles concluding with the great
Revelation given to John. There were churches in many, many cities in the empire
of Rome. The church that you can read about in the New Testament has been around
since the First Century almost 2,000 years. The Holy Spirit warned of an
apostasy in 1 Timothy 4; 2 Thessalonians 2; 2 Timothy 4 and 2 Peter 2. The
fulfillment of this prophecy came to fruition in the apostasy of the Catholic
Church. There was a change in church organization, government, worship and
practice. Whether Orthodox or Roman the apostasy has remained in full force
since the sixth century.
From the fruits of apostasy came the
Reformation Movement. Churches were established by those who rejected the
teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and through efforts of reform organized
new churches. Martin Luther was instrumental in creating the first protestant
church in 1522 which became the Lutheran Church (1530). Other churches would
follow: Presbyterian (1536); Episcopal (1609); Baptist (1611); Methodist (1739);
Mormon (1830); Seventh-Day Adventist (1846); Salvation Army (1865); Jehovah
Witness (1874); Nazarene (1895); Holiness Church (1907). Every church that
describes itself as Protestant is less than 500 years old. Their origins span
geography from Germany, England, Switzerland and the United States. It might be
noted that before 1500 one could not be a member of any of these churches they
did not exist.
The study of church genealogy should help us
to examine our faith in light of the New Testament pattern, organization,
worship and even the name we bear. Peter wrote, If anyone speaks, let him speak
as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11). What that suggests is we need to find
what we believe in the Bible and now where else. Our faith must rest upon the
two-thousand year old pattern not 500 years old or less.