The "CHURCH"

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Earth Wind and Fire, Jul 18, 2011.

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  1. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    got into discussion a few days ago about church & I innocently asked "What church do you mean?" this got misinterpreted that I was being ....I don't know, coy, deceitful, maybe arrogant (Byproduct of being a Calvinist sympathizer perhaps...:D)

    Anyway, here is an excerpt from a Primitive Baptist Q&A. Maybe this will help sort it out.

    Question: What is meant by the expression, "the gospel or militant church"?

    Answer: There are two phases of the church. The universal church or the church of the first born is made up of all the children of God. This is the church which Christ purchased and which He shall finally present without spot or wrinkle and therefore must involve more than one assembly or body of people (Eph. 5: 25-27; Heb. 12: 23). Then the visible, gospel or militant church was set up by Christ as a home for His people during the days of their pilgrimage. To enter the gospel church one must be taught by the gospel and follow the Lord in obedience through the waters of baptism. The gospel church is but a little flock in each place where it is found (Matt. 18: 17; Luke 12: 32; Rom. 16: 16; II Cor. 1: 1) but the church which shall be housed in heaven includes multitudes (Heb. 11:12,13; Rev. 5:9 and 7:9).
     
  2. Alive in Christ

    Alive in Christ
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    I agree completly with the description given.

    There is ONE Church on planet earth. Its members consist of every believer, world wide. The world wide church on earth is sometimed referred to by names such as the earthly Kingdom of God, and I have no problem with that.


    Because it is an impossibility for all the believers world wide..the Church..to physically gather together, we assemble together in multitudes of local gathering places...smaller local churches.

    Praise the Lord!
     
  3. Tom Butler

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    Ahh, you guys knew this subject is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

    What you call the Church and the earthly kingdom is actually just the kingdom, made up of subjects of the King.

    And because it is physically impossible for all believers to assemble, that reality is a fatal blow to your idea of the Church being all believers.

    Believers are commanded to assemble, and warned not to forsake such assembling.

    Now we know what local congregations are commanded to do. One is to assemble. The "CHURCH" actually does none of these.

    The New Testament knows only the local congregation. It may speak of the church generically, as we do "the family." Or prospectively, as the general assembly in heaven.

    But even generically, the church takes concrete expression in the local congregation.
     
  4. glfredrick

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    I agree with the first definition...

    The "church" is not just a local body, and this as the sole interpretation has caused a lot of harm to the kingdom and Christ's prayers and commands to be one as He and the Father are one.

    Like the word "day" can mean both a 24-hour period and a span of time, "church" can be used for both a local congregation and for the universal set of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
     
  5. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Thats correct & because there is debate about it I thought it prudent to just send this attachment & see what dialog it produces.

    BTW....great minds think alike! (Is that being an arrogant Calvinist?) LOL
     
  6. Martin Marprelate

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    I suggest that a church is nothing else but an assembly or gathering of Christians.

    The Greek word translated ‘church’ is Ekklesia. It has a secular meaning, that of ’assembly’, which is found three times in Acts 19 to describe the Town Council in Ephesus (vs 32 & 41) and the Court of Law in that city (v 39).

    When used in its Christian connotation, it has two meanings. Firstly, it designates a single congregation. Paul writes to ‘The church of God which is in Corinth’ but also to ‘The churches of Galatia’. Nowhere are the congregations of one area put together and called a ‘church’. Paul writes, ‘I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea…’ (Gal 1:22 ). The church in Corinth may well have been split into ‘House Groups’ for much of the time since it did not have its own building, but it was able to meet together as a body on regular occasions (cf. 1 Cor 14:23 ), and so Paul refers to it as a single ekklesia.

    Secondly, ekklesia is also used to describe the whole people of God, the entire body of Christ. Paul writes that, ‘I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it’ (Gal 1:13 ), but when he met the Lord on the Damascus road, he was asked, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ This usage may be said to represent that great assembly of all Christians which is described in Rev 7:9ff.

    So we can see immediately that when we speak of, ‘The Medieval Church’, ‘the Church in Europe’, ‘the Church in Iraq’, ‘the Afro-Caribbean Church’ or, God forbid, ‘the Gay and Lesbian Church’, we are using ekklesia in a way that is unknown in the Bible. We should use the plural, or speak of ‘Christianity in the Middle Ages’ etc. Nor should we speak of buildings as ‘churches’. The church is the people. There is the story of the evangelical minister of a church that met in a beautiful old building. As he was opening it up in preparation for the morning service, he was approached by two tourists. “May we see your church please,” they asked. “Certainly,” he replied. “It will be along in about an hour!”

    We make a serious error if we describe denominations as churches- ‘The Methodist Church’ or ‘the Church of England.’ Far too often when people speak of ‘my church’, they are thinking of their denomination. Most denominations are utterly different from what they were when they were founded; rot and decay set in, and they rarely come in through the pew- a denomination is like a dead fish; it decays from the head down.

    A church is the people described in Acts 2:41-47. They have gladly received the word of God, been baptized, and now they meet together, learning more of the faith, joining together in the Lord’s supper and in prayer, looking to each other’s needs, having joy in their hearts and praising God together.

    A church is the people described in 1 Cor 1:2-8. They have been set apart in Christ, called in holiness, have received undeserved favour and peace from God; their knowledge of God and their witness to Him comes from the Holy Spirit, who has given them corporately all the gifts they need to function as a church, as they eagerly await the return of their Lord who will preserve them in Him until that day.

    Read more at http://marprelate.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/what-is-a-church/

    Steve
     
  7. JesusFan

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    My baptist pastor says there are the Invisible Church on earth, comprised of ALL born again believers in jesus, Visible Church, which is all those who attend/member/visit which includes both saved/unsaved, and the Universal Church being the Invisible Church in heaven and on earth!
     
  8. Alive in Christ

    Alive in Christ
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    I'd say your Baptist pastor has a good handle on things.:thumbs:
     
  9. Tom Butler

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    Would you elaborate on how the local body view has caused a lot of harm to the kingdom? And how has it caused harm to Christ's prayers that his followers be one?

    I really don't think you intend to convey the idea that the Universal Church is one, since, as it's described, it is one of the most fractured and divided entities, filled with people who believe and teach error, and in some cases heresy.
     
  10. Tom Butler

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    And it's so invisible, we can't find it, and have no idea where it assembles.
     
  11. Alive in Christ

    Alive in Christ
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    Tom...

    I think I have answered these questions for you before, but I dont mind doing it again....

    The universal church here down here is all over this earth. A 24 hour a day presence. Something no local church could ever do.

    It assembles in local felloships, usually called churchs, at various times during the week.
     
  12. Alive in Christ

    Alive in Christ
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    A non issue

    God knows those who are His, and those who arent, just like with local churches.
     
    #12 Alive in Christ, Jul 18, 2011
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  13. Tom Butler

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    I am willing to say that there are saved people even in churches which teach error and heresy. I believe there are saved Catholics, Methodists, Pentecostals.

    Because of this, the Universal Church is not, and never can be one. The only way for it to be even close to united is for all of them to be.....wait for it......here it comes......Baptist. But even then it cannot be completely unified, because.... because Baptists aren't.

    I do remember that you answered my propositions before. I still stand by my views, and of course, you stand by yours. We'll probably restate these views in another similar thread down the road.
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    You confuse me Tom ..... A southern Baptist & a Calvinist....there is conflict right there & I know you feel it. Your church has to be Baptist but baptists arent together. you Believe there is no Universal Church yet you want one umbrella under Baptist. Well on 2nd thought , maybe your not so far removed from the rest of humanity.:tongue3:
     
  15. JesusFan

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    Important thing here is that God 'sees" and knows it!

    It is the actual Body of Christ, TRUE "Church" that happensto aeemble in local branches each service day!

    Its all those Baptised by HS into Body of Christ...
     
  16. JesusFan

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    Think big problem is 'sematics' here used to describe the Church!
    Universal Church is to God all those who are either dead/alive saved in jesus since pentacost, Invisible is all those saved here upon earth right now, while visible is mixture of both saved and lost in local Churches!
     
  17. Dr. Bob

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    There was the Church in Jerusalem, but met in literally scores of homes/congregations.

    There was the Church in Rome and again, met in many places throughout the city (Paul greets/recognizes many of these)

    But one Church in Rome. One in Jerusalem.

    There is one Church in Casper, Wyoming, and in our congregation is just a small number who opt to believe in faith and polity in agreement. Others will meet with various congregations; some will not meet at all with any of these groups.

    But still part of the Church in Casper. And all part of the Church of the firstborn
     
  18. Tom Butler

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    No JF, my church is not a branch of the U-Church. It is THE body of Christ, just as Paul described FBC Corinth. "YE are THE body of Christ (12:27)

    Not a branch, the body.
     
  19. Tom Butler

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    Yep, I guess I oughta feel confused, too. I don't understand how we can have Cals and Non-Cals in our church; Pre-tribs and Post-Tribs; Landmarkers and U-Churchers; Grape juicers and Wine Communionists; and be as unified as we are. My congregation has remarkable unity and mutual love for each other.

    Given the diversity of views in those areas, we ought to be fighting all the time. But we don't. Yep, confusing.

    On top of that, two of us are members of the Baptist Board, so we are highly proficient at stirring things up, and experts at arguing. We let little go unchallenged on the BB, but at our church, we are the nicest guys you'll ever want to meet. Yep, confused.
     
    #19 Tom Butler, Jul 19, 2011
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  20. JesusFan

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    The FULL Body of Christ on this earth is ALL of the saved peoples that populate individual Churches, regardless baptist, methodist etc its ALL those who are saved by Grace of God...

    Add to THAT number ALL those currently in heaven with Lord...

    that amount is the "Church of Christ!"

    You might be seeing me stating that "Universal Church" like "Catholic" NOT that..

    NOT a denomination or Church per say

    IS all those who are in 'Church" Body of Christ in heaven and on earth!
     
    #20 JesusFan, Jul 20, 2011
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