Your Church, Who Is It's Founder?


By Brother Don Berry

Pastor Grace Baptist Church

Science Hill, KY.

Baptist Churches have continued from the time of Christ until the present. They have been known by many different names throughout history. Montanist, Tertullianists, Novations, Donatists, Paterines, Albigenes, Waldenses, Lollards, Anabaptist (meaning rebaptizers); and finally the "Ana" being dropped they became known simply as Baptist. These were names assigned to them by their enemies and was intended as a reproach. It must be pointed out that Baptist are not "Protestants". Protestants are those churches that came out of Catholicism. Baptist were never Catholic.

As one looks over the dates of these different denominations, he will notice that when Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of this continent there was only two organizations in the world called churches. The Baptist Church and the Catholic Church.

Baptist: Out of the material prepared by John the Baptist Jesus organized and founded His church during the days of His personal ministry here on earth. We find Jesus proclaimed as the founder in Matt. 16:18 "And I say also unto thee, That thou are Peter (petros- a stone), and upon this rock (petra- a large boulder) I will build my church;..."

Contrary to what many believe, the church was founded prior to Pentecost. The Apostles were the first church. They had all the qualifications of a church:

1. They had the Gospel.

2. They were baptized believers.

3. They met as an organized body and even had a treasurer.

4. They had the same Head that today's church has, Jesus Crist.

5. They had the ordinance of baptism and were the ones with
whom the Lord instituted the Lord's Supper.

6. They met together as a church for prayer preceding Pentecost.

7. They held a business meeting to replace the one who had
fallen from his office.

CATHOLIC: (Latin word meaning universal) In 313 AD. Constantine (Emperor of Rome) made a decision to become a Christian. Constantine issued a call to the existing churches to attend a counsel at the end of that year. This was the definite beginning of what finally developed into the Catholic or "universal" church. Although the Catholic church claims the Apostle Simon Peter as their first "Pope"; Gregory the Great was the one who accomplished the first papacy. He became the first pope in 590 AD.

LUTHERAN: 1520 AD. Founded by Martin Luther. This was the first Protestant withdrawal from the Catholic church.

EPISCOPAL: 1534 AD. Founded by Henry 8th. Also called the Church of England. Came out of the Catholic church.

PRESBYTERIAN: 1536 AD. Founded by John Calvin who was a Catholic.

METHODIST: 1739 AD. Founded by John & Charles Wesley who were members of the Episcopal church. They had intended to form this as a society rather than a church. Both: were members of the Episcopal Church when they died.

CHRISTIAN CHURCH: 1827 AD. Founded by Alexander Campbell who was a Presbyterian.

CHURCH OF GOD: 1886 AD. Founded by R.G. Spurlin (Baptist) and W.F. Bryant (Methodist). Later that year the Christian Union developed from this and in 1902 the Holiness Church. The name Church of God probably wasn't used extensively until 1907.

CHURCH OF CHRIST: 1894 AD. Founded by C. P. Jones who was a Baptist preacher in Alabama and Mississippi. In 1906 another group broke from the Christian Church and took upon themselves the name Church of Christ. The split was caused mostly by a disagreement in missionary work and musical instruments in worship service.

CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE: 1895 AD. Founded by Phineas Bressee in Los Angeles Ca. Bressee had been a pastor and a presiding elder in the Methodist Church


MORMON: 1830 AD. Founded by Joseph Smith.

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST: 1863 AD. Although the movement begin in 1844 with William Miller it didn't become an official denomination until 1863; and that was under the leadership of Joseph Bates James White, and his wife Ellen Harmon White.

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES: They were not known as Jehovah's Witnesses until 1931. Before that time they had been called Millennial Dawnists, International Bible Students. Earlier they were called Russellites for their founder, Charles Taze Russell. The first formal group was formed by Russell in 1872.

The information contained in this article was taken from the following sources:

Encyclopedia Britannica
The Trail of Blood by J.M Carroll
The Church that Jesus Built by Roy Mason
Baptist History And Succession by Chas. B. Stovall
The Handbook of Denominations by Frank S. Mead