Universal church

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by garpier, May 26, 2006.

  1. garpier

    garpier
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    Having read numerous posts in a previous thread in which many people voiced clear support for a universal church, I am wondering what Scripture can be used to cleary show that teaching in the New Testament.

    Thanks
     
  2. Grasshopper

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    Mat 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

    It doesn't read:

    Mat 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My churches, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
     
  3. James_Newman

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    Heb 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

    What bed is he referring to? Is it the universal bed?
     
  4. 4His_glory

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    That has nothing to do with the church so what is your point?
     
  5. StefanM

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    Eph 5:25 (ESV) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
    ---
    If not the church universal, for which local assembly did Jesus give himself up?
     
  6. James_Newman

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    I guess it depends on what you mean when you say church.

    He gave Himself for the local assembly of the Ephesians. He gave Himself for the institution of the Church. He gave Himself for every local church. The use of a generic singular 'church' does not automatically imply that there is one universal church that all believers belong to. I do believe there is a brotherhood of all believers, but it is not the universal church. It may be when He comes to gather His saints together. But then we will be assembled together.

    So, in short, there is the 'collective' church, which is the institution of the church, not the universal church (which would necessitate a universal church government). The individual churches are under the direct headship of Jesus Christ, not a universal polity, such as the Catholic Church employs. Probably 75% of the verses containing the word church can be easily shown to be speaking of a particular local assembly.
     
  7. Askjo

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    BBFI rejects the universal church. GARBC supports the universal church. Both are Baptist, but they are different associations.
     
  8. Brandon C. Jones

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    BBFI rejects universal church? That's news to me. I'm sure some pastors from that fellowship feel that way but it's not part of the articles of faith or anything like that, kind of like the KJVO position in the BBF.
     
  9. shannonL

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    One way you will find out that the BBFI doesn't believe in the universal church is to go onto the websites of all their entities. Once there what you will NOT find is any doctrinal statement endorsing the universal church. Their stance on that issue is the "local church" go check it out.
    What do you think as been the chief buga boo that has kind of been a point of contention between BBF men and other IFB? It has been the debate of local church vs universal church.
    Where do you think baptist brideism comes from. It comes from Landmark baptists which there are alot of men who lean that way in BBF churches.
    It is not a big issue with me personally yet I do believe in the universal church or shall I say the body of Christ.
     
  10. Tom Butler

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    When James Newman quoted Hebrews 4 re; "the marriage bed undefiled," he was illustrating a principle. When something is referred to in the generic sense, such as the family, the marriage bed, the jury system, the concrete expression of the generic term is with regard to a particular marrage bed, a particular family, a particular jury system. So it is with the term church, which takes expression in a particular church. Substitute the word "assembly" for church, and it makes much more sense.

    The universal church is nebulous, meaningless and essentially useless. What point is it in belonging to a universal church which never does anything? The universal church never sent a missionary, never gave a dime to missions, never preached to a single lost soul and never led one of them to faith in Christ.

    There was once a single assembly--the one Jesus established during His earthly ministry. That's the one He built and He is still building assemblies just like it even today. There will eventually again be one single assembly--the great general assembly in heaven. Discussions like this one will no longer be necessary.

    Oh man, it just occurred to me that we won't have the Baptist Board in Heaven.
     
  11. Askjo

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    BBFI said that the universal church is a man's philopshy (not sure spell word).
     
  12. Mexdeaf

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    The term 'universal church' is a misnomer. I wish I had a copy of Noel Smith's treatise 'The New Testament church- local, organized, visible, independent, and complete.' It is the most concise and clear explanation of what most BBF'ers believe. I will see if I can get a copy from someone and post it. It really has nothing to do with Landmarkism.
     
  13. thjplgvp

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    Mr Butler and Mr Newman,

    Well stated. Amen!:thumbs:

    When I graduated from BBC Springfield in 1983 the accepted stand of the school was that there was not a universal church, only a universal spiritual body baptized spiritually into Christ.

    Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. This passage is not dealing with water baptism but spiritual baptism ie. being placed into the spiritual body of Christ.
     
  14. Brandon C. Jones

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    Well I'll stand corrected, that's okay I no longer fit in among the BBF anyways. Never understood what all the fuss was about over this issue. It seems like a tailor-made fundamentalist quibble. I've never met anyone who believes in the universal church at any local church's expense. However, some people believe in the "collective church," or the "universal spiritual body baptized spritually into Christ," but not the "universal church;" this all seems like word games to me.

    BJ
     
    #14 Brandon C. Jones, Jun 4, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2006
  15. Mexdeaf

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    Well, Brother, the fuss is this. When one purports to believe in a universal 'church' that opens the door to a lot of this stuff like you see with the so-called TV evangelists. Lots of folks nowadays will tell you they 'do church' via TV. Some of those guys on the telly will say things like 'Let's have/do church' and stuff like that. They will gladly take your money but don't expect them to fly over to visit when you are laid up in the hospital.

    Then again, there are the ecclesiastical groups- the Catholics, Episcopalians and what not with their hierarchies. They don't believe in the local church.

    So, there is more than just mere semantics involved here.

    I am still trying to get a copy of the article I mentioned. Library is closed on the weekends, but hopefully Monday or Tuesday I can get it.
     
  16. Brandon C. Jones

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    Mexdeaf, those are reasonable points that warrant a proper understanding of the local church and its necessity in a healthy Christian life. However, none of those points warrants such a "pendulum swing" in avoiding those pitfalls so as to not even acknowledge the universal church. Those who try to deny that a universal church exists I believe try to force people into a false "either/or." EITHER fall trap to a televangelist, become a Romist, etc., OR deny the universal church--but you can't have both. That's throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I still haven't seen any good reason why I should deny the existence of the universal church and fall back to labelling it something else (word games). You see most people agree that Christ died for "the church" and that "the church" is the ground and pillar of truth, but are uneasy calling it "the church" like Scripture does. Instead one must say it's the totality of local churches in a collective sense or "the body of Christ" or "the universal spritual body mumbo jumbo" but mean the exact same thing as I mean by saying the universal church. I'll read the article you mention if you find it, but I doubt it will change my views on this.

    Lastly, thanks for the thoughtful response. I will always appreciate such things on this board :).

    blessings,
    BJ
     
    #16 Brandon C. Jones, Jun 4, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2006
  17. garpier

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    Some interesting comments. I'm still looking for a clear teaching of the "universal church" in the New Testament.
    I personally do not believe that "the body of Christ" is the equivalent of a universal church. Paul, writing to the Corinthians said "Ye ( the church at Corinth) are the body of Christ" I Cor 12:27. If Paul taught the same thing in every church (I Cor 4:17), then by extension, he taught every church that they were the body of Christ in their location. Any thoughts?
     
  18. thjplgvp

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    Though this particular debate does not affect major doctrines such as Salvation, the Deity of Christ the Virgin Birth etc. it does have importance to Ecclesiology which deals in part with Church Polity. When one holds to a universal church position one is saying they agree with a hierarchical structure which allows the head of that structure to speak Ex-Cathedra for God from a place of authority.

    One of the main issues at hand today with this doctrine is that it allows for many unregenerated people to be considered part of the universal church. We know that churches promoting salvation by works are not true churches yet by what criteria are they to be removed from the list? With nearly every denomination and offshoot claiming the legitimacy of being a church whose authority is final and in what body / denomination does that authority lie?

    How does one exercise church discipline? We already have folks bouncing from one denomination to another, accepting membership by public profession, statement of faith, transfers from churches of like faith, resignation from membership because sin is about to be exposed and discipline procedures began and then joining another church to fulfill the foolish idea that as long as they are in a church they are safe even though living in open sin. Now add to this dilemma a universal church would bring and the struggle of maintaining the ecclesiastical purity within the 'church universal' that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians chapter 2. It becomes impossible to protect church if it is universal but not if it is local.

    Consider also Mark 16:16 if we make salvation contingent on being baptized in the universal church then we make baptism part of salvation and now we have a works based salvation which clashes with the bible doctrine of Soteriology.

    Once we leave the confines of the local New Testament Church we run into problems “the Church” was never intended to have.

    By sticking within the context of the “spiritual body of Christ” after all we are seated with Christ in the heavens, most of these dilemmas disappear.

    There are other considerations but for brevities sake I stopped here.:sleep: :laugh: :laugh:

    thjplgvp
     
    #18 thjplgvp, Jun 5, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2006
  19. Brandon C. Jones

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    Unconvincing points based on a misunderstanding of what is meant by the universal church. The last post simply takes the false either/or and run with it. I'll let others debate this one since I technically don't belong in the fundamentalist forum anyways.

    sincerely,
    BJ
     
  20. thjplgvp

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    Re:Brandon

    Brother,

    You don't have to agree all we would ask is that you identify your definition of Universal Church.

    Here is mine: It is the generally accepted belief that all 'Christian' Churches have certain doctrines that are interchangeable with all churches thus providing a basis by which to accept all as part of the universal church. In another word look at the likes and not the differences. Further more that all the baptized believers in those churches cooporately make up the universal body called the church.

    It is a doctrine that has its introduction by Augustine during the council of Ephesis 431 A.D. Where he equated the Catholic church with the universal visible kingdom of God. I quote, "Now already the kingdom in the form of the church is a reality. Now already Christ and the saints rule, for the kingdom is ruled by Christ through the heads of the hierarchial Church." (Landmarks in church History, Robert J Sargant, pg 95)

    "He (Augustine) was made bishop of Hippo at the age of 41 and became a great luminary of the African Church, one of the four great founders of religious orders, and a Doctor of the universal Church."

    http://catholicism.about.com/od/malesaints/p/staugustine04.htm

    Your reasoned response is appreciated this is open for debate.

    thjplgvp
     

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