Does "The Church" exist?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by fortytworc, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. fortytworc

    fortytworc
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    In another thread a couple of days ago someone mentioned the idea that "The Church" as an entity does not exist. My experience has led me to think of "The Body of Christ" and "The Church" as being interchangeable terms for the same thing. Can anyone fill me in on the other line of thinking?
     
  2. annsni

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    I would say that the following verses do support that the church is not only the local church but the body of Christ.




    1 Corinthians 15:9
    For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

    Ephesians 1:22-23
    22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

    Ephesians 5:23-27
    For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

    Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

    Ephesians 5:29-30
    For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.

    Colossians 1:18
    And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

    Colossians 1:24
    Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,
     
  3. Scarlett O.

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    The definitions imply - to me - that the term church and body of Christ are extremely similar.

    The word "ekklesia" means church and sometimes assembly. It literally means an assembly of believers.

    The word "soma" is the word for body as in "body of Christ". It literally means a group of people united into one society or family.

    In my thinking a group of people can call themselves a church and assemble together, but that doesn't mean that they are the body of Christ. But if a group of people are behaving as the body of Christ - obedient and submissive to Him - then their assemblies qualify as churches whether they are in a brick building, a house, or the park.
     
  4. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    We shouldn't try to separate the local church from the Body of Christ, for they are one and the same.

    I Corinthians 12:27, Paul writes to the congregation at Corinth "Now YOU are THE body of Christ."

    Now it's interesting that Paul called FBC Corinth THE body of Christ.

    That being so, then the church I serve, East Baptist of Paducah, KY, is THE body of Christ.

    Some may want to term the local church A body of Christ. Makes no difference. The local church and the body of Christ are the same.

    If I ask the question, what is your congregation (body of Christ) doing to carry out the Great Commission, you would name a lot of things.

    If I asked you what the "Church" (as in Universal Church) is doing, the answer would be "um, uh, ah, well, ahem, let's see....."

    Ding, ding, ding, time's up. Correct answer? Absolutely nothing.

    It doesn't meet, it doesn't have worship, it doesn't take up offerings, it doesn't send missionaries, it doesn't support evangelists, it doesn't teach Sunday School or have Vacation Bible School. If there is such an entity, it has failed miserably.

    Only the local congregation (or a cooperating group of local churches joining forces) is uniquely fitted to carry out the Great Commission.

    There is an entity made up of all believers. It's called the kingdom.

    There will be a meeting of all believers someday. In heaven. Then we can call it the church.

    Rule of thumb. Unless it assembles, it not the church.
     
  5. Tom Butler

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    We should not separate the local church from the Body of Christ, for they are one and the same.

    I Corinthians 12:27, Paul writes to the congregation at Corinth "Now YOU are THE body of Christ."

    Now it's interesting that Paul called FBC Corinth THE body of Christ. Not a part of the body.

    That being so, then the church I serve, East Baptist of Paducah, KY, is THE body of Christ.

    Some may want to term the local church A body of Christ. Makes no difference. The local church and the body of Christ are the same.

    If I ask the question, what is your congregation (body of Christ) doing to carry out the Great Commission, you would name a lot of things.

    If I asked you what the "Church" (as in Universal Church) is doing, the answer would be "um, uh, ah, well, ahem, let's see....."

    Ding, ding, ding, time's up. Correct answer? Absolutely nothing.

    It doesn't meet, it doesn't have worship, it doesn't take up offerings, it doesn't send missionaries, it doesn't support evangelists, it doesn't teach Sunday School or have Vacation Bible School. If there is such an entity, it has failed miserably.

    Only the local congregation (or a cooperating group of local churches joining forces) is uniquely fitted to carry out the Great Commission.

    There is an entity made up of all believers. It's called the kingdom.

    There will be a meeting of all believers someday. In heaven. Then we can call it the church.

    Rule of thumb. Unless it assembles, it not the church.
     
  6. annsni

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    But it seems that, unless the Greek is not well translated, Colossians 1:18 and 24 both call the body the church.
     
  7. fortytworc

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    Clever Abe Lincoln quote
     
    #7 fortytworc, Apr 8, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2012
  8. fortytworc

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    Right now I can't recall who it was, or what thread it was on, but if anyone has the view of 'only local' churches, but not 'The Church' could you put your two cents in?
    Thanks
     
  9. DHK

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    Read carefully Tom Butler's replies in posts #4 and #5.
     
  10. fortytworc

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    Thanks. That's what I get figuring the end agreed with the beginning and being careless in my reading.
     
  11. fortytworc

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    Since we are at least one body, but many members wouldn't it be more accurate to say that on a local, individual level we have failed miserably? If "The Church" isn't until heaven what is on earth is doing the poor job. Am I missing something? Actually, I suppose I might have to say that the church as His body is failing. So maybe the job that is /isn't getting done is a separate issue. The carrying out of the Great commission is also a separate topic. So your thought is that The Church only exists if all the local assemblies meet together? We know that's not gonna happen. Even then one would have to say all international groups.... Quite impossible. If I subscribe to the tongue in cheek 'The Baptists think they are the only ones up here' joke (only a joke. I'm only joking!) It ain't happening in heaven either.
     
  12. Deacon

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    I believe Family Radio's founder, Harold Camping promoted the view that the church no longer exists on the earth.
    You can do a search for it but I wouldn't suggest reading to much of his misguided literature.

    Rob
     
  13. annsni

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    He's actually repented of his past teaching on the end times - not sure if he said anything about the church though.
     
  14. Yeshua1

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    depends on who you ask!

    RCC see the Kingdom of God on earth, the 'Church" as the RCC only...

    many see church as being local assemblies only...

    I see it as being the body/bridge of Christ upon the earth, and those saints now in heaven with christ,and the local groups/bodies of believers here on earth all together make up the "Church" here, and with the dead inchrist, make up Universal Church!
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    Obviously, I was not clear.

    Each congregation is a church. First requirement is that it meets.

    I am not talking about a joint meeting of all local assemblies. Each assembly meets.

    Why is the Great Commission a separate issue. Jesus specifically gave it to his church, standing there listening to him. It was directed at them. And the entire book of Acts demonstrates how each congregation carried it out.
     
  16. saturneptune

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    There are three models of a church.
    The Catholic model is the universal, visible church
    The Protestant model is the universal, invisible church
    The Baptistic model is the local, visible church

    There is a church of all true believers, but in essence, it has no function here on earth. It does not do any functions of a church. No missions, no helping the poor, no collecting offerings, no worship, etc, etc.

    One thing the universal church has over most local Baptist churches is percent of truly saved. The universal church is 100%, and most local Baptist chruches are 60% at best.
     
  17. fortytworc

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    I meant that the work Jesus gave His people can be (and should be) getting done no matter what someone believes about "The Church" vs "His Body" discussion.
     
  18. The Biblicist

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    I think that is the 10,000 dollar question. Just what is that work? I understand the Great Commission to be that work and basically it is to "make disciples" as the verb "teach" in Mt. 28:19 literally means. A disciples is one who follows, submits to the faith and practice of his master. Christ did not commission inovaters!

    Christ did not command or commission anyone to go preach ANOTHER gospel than the one and true gospel which has been preached since Genesis 3:15 as any other gospel is accursed.

    Christ did not command or commission anyone to to administer ANOTHER baptism than the only one Christ submitted to in Matthew 3:15-17 and God approved in Luke 7:29-30 and the only kind one man can administer to another person and commissioned to do so until the end of the world in Matthew 28:19-20.

    Christ did not command or commission anyone to teach and observe another faith and order than that which was delivered by him to his apostles and the apostles delivered to the churches as all who depart "from the faith" are to be withdrawn from (2 Thes. 3:6) and avoided (Rom. 16:17).

    Here is the real problem! What is the true gospel, baptism and faith to be observed as commissioned by Christ. Christ did not commission ANOHTHER gospel, baptism and faith than what he actually practiced and commanded or else we have an UNCHRISTLIKE gospel, baptism and doctrine.
     
  19. fortytworc

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    The "Other Gospel" that Paul went against and warned people about was any gospel that combined Grace and works. We are saved by grace plus nothing. The work Jesus gave His people to do was the works He did. He said Isa. 61:11 The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah [is] on Me; because the LORD has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
    2 to preach the acceptable year of the LORD
    This He read to those in the synagogue Luke4:18 The Spirit of [the] Lord [is] on Me; because of this He has anointed Me to proclaim the Gospel to [the] poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and new sight to [the blind, to set at liberty those having been crushed,
    19 to proclaim the acceptable year of [the] Lord.
    I doubt that I'll get part of that $10,000, but I won't turn it down.
     
  20. fortytworc

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    I can't help but wonder if somehow Hebrews 6:1 "Therefore, having left the discourse of the beginning of Christ, let us go on to full growth, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
    2 of baptisms, of doctrine, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment." might apply to us when we are always dwelling on those doctrines which the writer of Hebrews says we should grow past? Does 1Cor.3 apply when we keep planting ourselves at the doors of men and constantly divide 1Cor 3:1 "And I, brothers, could not speak to you as to spiritual ones, but as to fleshly, as to babes in Christ.
    2 I have fed you with milk and not with solid food, for you were not yet able [to bear it]; nor are you able even now.
    3 For you are yet carnal. For in that [there is] among you envyings and strife and divisions, are you not carnal, and [do you not] walk according to men?
    4 For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I [am] of Apollos; are you not carnal?....and he goes on.... " We are all familiar with the passages. Is this not much of what we, His Body, the Church do? We keep dividing,(sometimes violently), laying again the foundation instead of going on to full growth? Am I wrong? What am I missing?
     

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