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Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by adisciplinedlearner, Jul 20, 2010.
Is there only one body of Christ, or are there many bodies of Christ? What saith the Scripture?
The phrase "body of Christ" can only be understood one of two possible ways (1) literally; (2) metaphorically.
The proper use of metaphors are governed by rules of grammar. First, what is a metaphor? It means to "cross over" and it is a direct expression where LITERAL characteristics found in the base noun (literal body) are transferred directly over to the receiving noun (church)! Metaphors cannot be interpreted to transfer characteristics that are not literally found in the base noun. For example, there is no plurality in a literal body as it is by character Singular in nature. There is no universality in a literal body as it is localized by nature. There is no invisible literal body as it is visible by nature. There is no unassembled literal body as it is an assembly of members by nature. Therefore, none of these characteristics can be legitimately transferred to "the church." To do so is to violate the laws of for the use of Metaphors and these laws are set forth quite clearly by all standard authorities that deal with figures of speech (E.W. Bullinger, Benjamin Keach, etc.).
However, it is legitimate to use "the body" as a generic term to apply to each and every church of Christ as Paul does in I Corinthians 12:27 - "YE [not "we"] are the body of Christ and members individually thereof"
Every individual church claims Christ as their METAPHORICAL head or final authority demonstrating they are a METAPHORICAL body with METAPHORICAL members as individuals of that body. Each church is described a complete METAPHORICAL body including its own METAPHORICAL head WHICH IS NOT CHRIST thus proving it is used for EVERY CHURCH and I quote:
I Cor. 12:21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
The fact there is a metaphorical "head" distinct and separate from Christ proves that each church is indeed a complete metaphorical body with head UNDER the authority of Christ.
There is only one "type" of Body which is said to be "My Church"(Ekklesia) which means "My called out Assembly," according to the meaning of Ekklesia (local Assemply) it is obvious that every NT Church(modeled and governed after the NT) is a Body of Christ.
Thank you brother! That was exactly what I was trying to say by the generic use of "the body"! Well said!
I agree with you; but, could Christ the head of Church tell the Body the Church, 'I have no need of you'? The Church is 'Christ's Body on earth'; Christ therefore needs the Church. There would be no Body of Christ were it not for its Head Who is Jesus Christ; but could it truly be said Christ is Truth had He not his Body which is his Church?
You are confusing salvation with the church. You are confusing salvation with sanctification. You are confusing Christ as the metaphorical "head" with spiritual union when it expresses only final authority.
The fact that "the head" in I Cor. 12:22 could indeed say "I have no need of you" proves it is not Christ but that it is those in the POSITION OF AUTHORITY in the local church body. It also proves that the local church is a COMPLETE metaphorical body with a metaphorical "head" other than Christ and therefore Christ as "the head" does not refer to spiritual union with the Church but only as FINAL AUTHORITY over the church.
What does Ephesians 1:22-23 mean then?
And what about all the 'bodies' or 'called' that once assembled together but who do not exist anymore but are dead? Are they not the Body of Christ's Own" also?
I find Colossians 2:17 the PERFECT definition of the Church, namely, "The Body Of Christ's Own" --- CHOSEN members, and i cannot see that it conflicts with any other 'definition' or description or explanation of just WHAT the Church of Christ is. In my view the Church is not only separate and presently congregating Assemblies. The Church presently consists of such 'bodies' or 'Congregations' or 'churches', but such 'bodies' are not 'members' like individuals --- OF ALL TIMES AND PLACES --- AS ONE, constitute God's Church.
I still say even Christ cannot say "I have no need of you" even though He is the Head of the Body His Church.
Eph. 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
There are two basic contrasting interpretations of the body of Christ in this passage. There is the Protestant view that the head and body relationship between Christ and his church represents spiritual union between Christ as "the head" and the church as "the body."
In contrast, there is Baptist view that nothing more is in view here than Christ being the metaphorical "authority" over the institutional church as "the body of Christ" whether it is the church at Ephesus or at Corinth.
I will set forth the context first and then proceed to show why the Protestant view is impossible.
The context in verses 20-22 begins by placing Christ as the metaphorical "head" or final authority over all other levels of authority in heaven and in earth (v. 21) including the church. Hence, he is the "head" over all creation including the church as the body of Christ.
Now, here is the problem with Protestant theory of "head" equally "spiritual union" in relationship to the church, if "head" conveys that idea to the church it equally conveys that idea to ALL OF CREATION as he is equally "the head" over all creation as he is to the Church. If this means spiritual union then what we have Paul teaching is PANTHESISM as that is what PANTHEISM is - God in spiritual union with creation.
Instead, the word "head" here only means "AUTHORITY" and he is the FINAL AUTHORITY over all things including the Church.
Finally, verse 23 and the phrase "which is His body" is simply a further description in verse 22 of "the church." The latter phrase "the fullness of him that filleth all and all" has reference to his absolute authority over all things - there is nowhere in the universe he is not the final authority - thus the Sovereign over all.
In regard to I Corinthians 12:21, I have answered your objection fully on the other thread.
There is only ONE body of Christ. The New Testament repeatedly teaches this truth. If we deny this truth, we do not properly discern the Lord's body.
You sir, are like a parrot who simply repeats error expecting others simply to believe you when you have NOTHING contextually accurate to support your error.
The following verses make it clear that there is only one body of Christ. Jesus Himself foretold that there would soon be "one fold and one shepherd" (Jn. 10:16). He did not mean there would be more than one fold any more than He meant there would be more than one shepherd.
 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
(If there is more than one body, is there also more than one Spirit?)
 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
The church of Christ or body of Christ is ONE in kind as it is the SAME kind found geographically located as a public and divine institution of public worship. The Church of Christ or the body of Christ is ONE in number when addressed to a certain church as it is the ONE in number where the addressees attend.
The following scriptures provided by our friend can easily be categorized according to the above classifications.
John 10:16 referred to the JEWISH church at Jerusalem containing all JEWISH baptized believers but soon there would be NON-JEWISH baptized believers added to that fold - Acts 8-11. This soon became the case with all churches of Christ throughout the world collectively as even a causal reading of the Pauline epistles can easily demonstrate.
If the "one fold" is only one in kind, is the "one shepherd" only one in kind? No, both are one in number. In Scripture, the number one should be taken literally in nearly all cases.
If there is but one Christ, is he "head" of every man (1 Cor. 11:3) or would that create a monstrosity in your opinion of countless men forming one male body with Christ's implanted head upon it??
Metaphors have their limitations and my intepretation of the "one fold" under "one shepherd" does not violate the metaphors at all but your view certainly will demand the violation of metaphors. I applied it to the singular church at Jerusalem as the model for all succeeding churches of Christ.
Well let's hold to my interpretation then, and follow your rules.
There is but one Christ. Since I know he dwells in me, I know he doesn't dwell in you! That is your logic and your method of interpretation, isn't it?
No, this is not my logic. It is true that there is only one true Christ, but the one true Christ is an omnipresent being. There is only one true church and body of Christ, but it is not an omnipresent entity. Yet, it is not an entirely localized entity, either, in the same sense that Christ is not an entirely localized being.
There is more than one fold only if there is more than one Shepherd. There is more than one body of Christ only if there is more than one Head of this body.
There is only one Bible. It is the final authority of every Bible-believing church. I can't possibly see how my Bible could be in the pulpit of Dr. Walter's pulpit at the same time that I am using it. Can you? Yet there is only one Bible. Is it mine or yours? But there is only one Bible. I hope you are getting this point.
There is only one Christ. But he is the head of every Bible-believing Church. Every pastor gets direction and is accountable to Him.
There is no such thing as a universal church. There is no universal assembly that meets nowhere, preaches nothing, takes up no offering, has no deacons, never has the Lord's Supper, never baptizes anyone, and totally ignores the Great Commission. It is the opposite of what the Lord commanded His Churches to do.
The Holy Bible is one in kind, but many in number. Christ is one in both kind and number. Christ's body is one in both kind and number. There is only one Shepherd and one fold.
He is talking about the only church that existed at the time he spoke - the church in Jerusalem. It was all JEWISH in membership but before Acts 11 it would bring into its membership GENTILES. What is true of that one church became true of all churches. Christ is "the head" of the church at Jerusalem but he is equally "the head" of the church at Antioch just as he is "the head" of every man in 1 Cor. 11:3. Every man in 1 Corinthians 11:3 do not form into ONE NUMERICAL MAN simply because there is ONE NUMERICAL "head" Jesus Christ. He could have equally said that Christ is "the head" of "the man" without contradicting what he said in I Cor. 11:3 that Christ is "the head" of "every man."
He is the Chief shepherd over "the flock" at Ephesus (Acts 20:17,28-29) just as He is the Cheif Shepherd over "the church" as an institution.