There is a heresy or a false gospel among saved Christian churches that is the worst. It is called hyper – dispensationalism.
What is hyper dispensationalism?
They are also called Mid-Acts or Grace Church/Grace Movement. Mid-Acts believes that the body of Christ, the earliest community of the church started in the middle of Acts. But that’s not true.
Not only that, but they can’t even agree on that! They all have different ideas of when the church actually started, some going all the way to the book of Ephesians!
But there wasn’t this clear-cut moment when the Jews were cut off and the Christian church began. They are very simple-minded and think that the Bible can be cleanly divided.
That’s why you see a lot of Jewish doctrines bleed into the New Testament. There was a transitional period when God transitioned from Jewish believers to the Gentiles. Let’s look to the book of Ephesians for evidence of this.
When did the Christian church begin?
The answer: Church age began at the cross. Let’s take a look at a few verses below that will help us understand that the church began at the cross, but officially begun in Acts 2.
Ephesians 2:13-16: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross.”
The word “church” means “called out assembly” when the Holy Spirit filled the believers (1 Corinthians 12). If you want to use that term, that begins at:
Acts 2:1-4: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.”
The above verses show they were gathered in one place, Jerusalem and the Holy Spirit filled the church. The final verse of Acts 2 specifically mentions the church as well!
Acts 2:47: “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Therefore, dispensationalists conclusively believe that the church began at the cross, but OFFICIALLY begun in Acts chapter 2.
A critique of hyper – dispensationalists’ infatuation with Paul
Hyper – dispensationalists are infatuated with Paul and will mention “our Paul.” believe that the church started with Paul and therefore Acts 28. But the Bible makes it clear that that was not the case. Not only that, but that revelation comes to us through a Pauline Epistle!
Galatians 1:11-13: “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it.”
Here’s the simple question we must ask: How could Paul have persecuted the church if the church did not even exist yet? Therefore, the church must have existed at the beginning of the book of Acts.
1 Corinthians 15:3-9: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
Here again, Paul clearly mentions the church! It was already in existence before him. Paul did not start the church as hyper-dispensationalists will tell you.
It is important for the Christian community to be able to distinguish between dispensationalism and hyper – dispensationalism to avoid wrong doctrines when studying the Bible.