The Plumb Line
Some churches try to accredit themselves to be the true church based on an argument of apostolic succession.
Yeshua and His apostles warned that false teachers will arise, and it is apparent from some of the New Testament epistles that these apostles had to fight against false teachers from early on. How can we then identify the true church, as all confess to use the Bible. The “true church” is determined by comparing their teaching and practices to that of the New Testament church, as recorded in the Bible. This plumb line for determining truth is emphasised by Paul in Galatians 1:8-9, in which Paul states, “But even if we- or, for that matter, an angel from heaven!- were to announce to you some so- called “Good News” contrary to the Good News we did announce to you, let him be under a curse forever! We said it before, and I say it again:if anyone announces “Good News” contrary to what you received, let him be under a curse forever. Confirming that, the basis for determining truth from error is not based upon WHO is teaching it, “we or an angel from heaven,” but whether it is the same gospel that have been taught by the apostles of Yeshua the Messiah within the 1st century church.
The “first church” is the church that is recorded in the New Testament, especially in the Book of Acts and the Epistles. The New Testament church is the “original church” and the “one true church.” We can know this because it is described, in great detail, in Scripture. The church, as recorded in the New Testament, is God’s pattern and foundation for His church. The New Testament records the history of the church from approximately A.D. 30 to approximately A.D. 90.
When considering that the new testament Church or the Church of Acts, only had the Old Testament, as the writings of the apostles only developed over time. In Acts 15, we find that the apostles (Church) had a meeting to discuss the same predicament, as there was peoples teaching a Gospel that contradicted the Good News they received from Yeshua the Messiah. The result of the mentioned meeting was a letter to help the new believers in Yeshua to be able to follow in accordance to the truth the apostles received from Yeshua the Messiah. They wrote this letter as a guide to the new believers in Yeshua the Messiah, the mentioned letter is also known as the “the teaching of the twelve apostles to the nations” also called the Dictache (from dictate – instructions). The apostles where commissioned by Yeshua, to make disciples and teach them to obey His every command, and thus start the new testament “church”. The teaching of the twelve, is consistent with the teaching of our Lord, Yeshua within the Gospels.
Based upon the findings of most scholars the teaching of the twelve is an early 1st century document, which is consistent with the belief that it is the letter referred to in Acts 15. The Bible refer only to a few sentences concerning the letter, in the same way the Bible also refer to a number of other books without reciting the whole book (the book of Jude refer to the book of Enoch, although the book of Enoch is not in the Bible). For within Acts 15:13-21 the leader of the first church, known to be James said this Then the whole assembly kept still as they listened to Bar- Nabba and Sha’ul tell what signs and miracles God had done through them among the Gentiles. Ya’akov (James in English) broke the silence to reply. “Brothers,” he said, “hear what I have to say. Shim’on has told in detail what God did when he first began to show his concern for taking from among the Goyim (nations) a people to bear his name. And the words of the Prophets are in complete harmony with this for it is written,” After this, I will return; and I will rebuild the fallen tent of David. I will rebuild its ruins, I will restore it, so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, that is, all the Goyim who have been called by my name, “ says ADONAI, who is doing these things.’ All this has been known for ages. “Therefore, my opinion is that we should not put obstacles in the way of the Goyim who are turning to God. Instead, we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from fornication, from what is strangled and from blood. For from the earliest times, Moshe has had in every city those who proclaim him, with his words being read in the synagogues every Shabbat
We found the teaching of the twelve a true Apostolic document, summarising the teaching of Yeshua and amplifying the critical aspects of a practical lifestyle. It is a practical guide to believers of Yeshua within their fellowship, especially in these days where the enemy is sowing corrupt seed amongst the good seed sown by Yeshua. For this reason the Upper Room Fellowship will use the Apostolic teaching of the twelve apostles as they were commissioned by Yeshua as a plumb line for the truth.