Your belief about the universal church is...

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Daniel David, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    I wanted to start this thread to see where people are. Please do not use this thread as a debate. If you want to participate, please simply put something like:

    I believe in the universal church because of...

    or

    I do not believe in the universal church because of...

    Please include Scripture of course. This is not a debate. This is only to see where people are.
     
  2. Abiyah

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    I hope this is all right to request, but please fully
    define "universal church." I do not understand
    the term and never saw it before.

    Oops! Except on RCatholic sites.

    [ September 10, 2002, 12:51 PM: Message edited by: Abiyah ]
     
  3. Pastor Larry

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    My belief about the universal church is that it is an unfortunate misnomer that leads some to believe that all are included. A better term is the invisible church. It is made up of all spirit baptized believers of this age in all places (whether in heaven or on earth). Christ only has one body; he does not have a different body in every city or two or three in every city as the case may be. The local church (in which membership is an indispensable obligation for every believer) is a local manifestation of the body of Christ. The RCs are not a body of the body as a corporate body although there may be some individual Catholics who are.
     
  4. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    Okay, for those who do not know...

    Universal church - body of Christ is made up of all believers. This could also be called the invisible church.
     
  5. SBG

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    Like Abiyah, I don't know what exactly is meant by universal or invisible church...But, if it means that there are people from all other countries and denominations that are saved, and are members of the body. I'd say yes there are.

    Rev. 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
     
  6. Abiyah

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    Thank you, Pastor Larry and PreachtheWord.

    I believe in the Universal or Invisible Church - the
    body of Christ made up of all believers in our Lord
    as The Risen Lord, Lord of lords, King of kings,
    Lamb of our God, who is coming again to receive
    those who love Him.

    (Sorry! I got an important phone call while in the
    middle of answering.)

    [ September 10, 2002, 02:45 PM: Message edited by: Abiyah ]
     
  7. GrannyGumbo

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    My opinion is that I don't believe there is a universal, invisible assembly, or church. I believe Jesus gave the 'Great Commission' to each church individually.

    I think all of the churches have the privilege of working together with other churches in accomplishing the goal, but the responsibility is on each one.

    A scriptural church, or New Testament church, is an assembly of called out, baptized believers. An understanding of the meaning of the word church eliminates the possibility of it being universal (or invisible).

    A universal church idea opens the door to the ecumenical movement that will eventually pull all the false Christian religions into a one-world 'church'!

    I've read that the term 'family of God' may be used to refer to all the saved of every age, but it never refers to the church of Jesus Christ.
     
  8. RomOne16

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    I believe in the universal church as defined as the Body of Christ (consisting of all believers). Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [​IMG]
     
  9. Pete Richert

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    I think the word Church is used in the Bible both to refer to all believers in this age as well as local assemblies of believers.
     
  10. DocCas

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    I believe the church is local and visible and not universal and invisible. Most of the confusion is caused by people who are sloppy about their terminology. What most people call the "universal" or "invisible" church is what the bible calls either the Kingdom of God or the Family of God. Every reference to a church or churches in the bible is either a reference to the local assembly (99 out of 114 times) or to all churches generically, but no church in particular (14 out of 114) with the exception of one reference in Acts to the Nation of Israel assembled together in the wilderness.

    This same error occurs in the "body of Christ" confusion. Each local assembly is a local body of believers belonging to Christ (IE, the body of Christ). This is the metaphorical useage of the term "body of Christ" in the bible. All believes are not part of a local church assembly, so all believes are not members of any body of baptized believers belonging to Christ (IE the body of Christ), but all believers are "in Him" and seated with Him in the Heavenlies, and part of His literal Body in Heaven. The problem is too many Christians fail to distinguish between literal and metaphorical language. They confuse the earthly body of Christ, metaphorical language refering to the local church, with the Heavenly Body of Christ, literal language refering to His physical body we are all in and one with.

    The next error is the "baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ" error, and this one, I beleive, rises to the level of heresy. The term "baptism of the holy spirit" or "baptized with the Holy Ghost" only occurs in the Gospel accounts, and each account is talking about the same incident, and that incident was yet future at the time of the Gospel account. We see in Acts 1:5 where that prophecy is again discussed, and we see the Holy Spirit of God explaining to us, by inspiration, that this prophecied event would occur "not many days hence." It was a prophecy of the day of Pentecost when all the believers were baptized into the Holy Spririt by the Lord Jesus Christ. We are now many, many, many days hense from that time. It does not apply to us. It was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. Nowhere in the bible is the Holy Spirit ever the (active voice) baptizer. The Holy Spirit does not baptize us into Christ, Christ baptized the entire local church, assembled, into the Holy Spirit. The "Spirit Baptizers" have it just exactly backward from what the bible teaches. They have us in the Holy Spirit while the bible has the Holy Spirit in us! When you were baptized in water were you in the water or was the water in you? So, it was the church assembled which was baptized into the Holy Spirit. And it is the church assembled today which has that same Holy Spirit as "guide into all truth." (The whole of the church assembled is greater than the sum of its parts, for the Holy Spirit is present as guide and teacher, the Lord Jesus Christ is present as Head of the church, and God the Father is present as His children worship Him.) When we are saved, the Holy Spirit enters us, not the other way around. We are all indwelt with the Holy Spirit, but only the church assembled is baptized with the Holy Spirit.
     
  11. swaimj

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    I believe in the universal, invisible church which is made up of all believers in Christ.
     
  12. Daniel David

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    Just for the record, I believe that all believers from the time of Pentecost until the rapture make up the invisible church, the Body of Christ.

    We are baptized (1 Cor. 12:13 & Gal. 3:27).

    We are called-out (we are called out from the world to live Holy as pleasing the Lord).
     
  13. rlvaughn

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    First, there are at least two variations of the universal church idea: the universal invisible church and the universal visible church. The universal invisible theory most often advocates the church as an "invisible" body of all believers from Pentecost to the "rapture". The universal visible theory is the view of the Roman Catholic Church (and perhaps others), which views their particular church as the one true church spread over all the earth.

    I do not believe the universal church idea (either one) because of the consistent usage of the word church (ekklesia) throughout the New Testament to refer to a local body of believers. Rather than give references, these may be looked up in a concordance. The few generic usages found therein can be consistently interpreted in light of these facts and therefore need not be given the character of an invisible universal body. The "body" references in the N. T. are, I believe, meant as symbolic lessons - just as house, husbandry, bride - to teach a relationship of Christ and the church. They need not be forced into "over-literalness".

    Yet, I do conceive of a body - group, kingdom, family - that is made up of all of the elect children of God from Adam to the last believer in this time world. I do not think the New Testament word "church" (ekklesia) applies to that group as such.
     
  14. Mrs KJV

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    I'm with Granny and Docca's on this subject. The Church is made up of all saved baptized beleivers. What reason would we have to have water baptism if we were baptized into the universal church by spirit baptism. The Bible says one Lord, one faith, one baptism. If your idea of the unversial church is this then what you are saying is there is 2 baptisms, not one.
     
  15. HankD

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    I believe the Scripture teaches both the "invisible" or better the "unseen" (known only to God) Church.

    Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church (Sing.); and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Sing.).

    The local church(es)
    Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

    HankD

    [ September 11, 2002, 01:24 AM: Message edited by: HankD ]
     
  16. pinoybaptist

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    I believe the church is always a local body of baptized members, both saved and unsaved (you know what I mean). That it is autonomous with no earthly headquarters, with two officers and only two, two ordinances and only two, whose sole head is Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as its Administrator.
    Its polity is congregational, its primary purpose for existence to give glory and praise to its founder, Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:20-21), its sole rule of faith and practice the inspired Word, the Bible, with every true believer in it a priest of God, and every true child of God in the local body eternally secure in his Savior.
     
  17. VoiceInTheWilderness

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    No such thing as the universal, invisible, mystical church.

    1 Corinthians 12:13 is clearly in the local church context.
     
  18. BrianT

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    I've read this thread with some interest. I assume most here are pretrib, premill folk. In pretrib discussion, the phrase "the church age" and "the rapture of the church" comes up all the time. Yet from some of the explanations on this thread, what you describe as a "church" existed before the crucifixion (ie. thus Matt 24, spoken to the disciples, was to "the church"), and the same definition used could apply to a group of visible believers in the tribulation.

    Thus, doesn't this definition of "the church" trip the pretrib view up a little bit? Can someone explain?
     
  19. Daniel David

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    BrianT, the answer is no. Let me explain.

    In the pretrib thought, the "church", the "body of Christ" is only from Pentecost until the rapture.

    In the midtrib thought, the same is true. They just have the rapture in the middle of the tribulation.

    The same would go for posttrib.

    The church is from Pentecost until the rapture. Just because you put the rapture at the end of the tribulation doesn't mean that the definition I used cannot be used by you.

    Perhaps I just succeeded in making mirky waters into clay.

    Out like the church is during the tribulation.
     
  20. BrianT

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    I understand that view, but I guess I was asking the question more to pretribbers who see the "church" starting before Pentecost (ie. in the Gospels), and see the "church" not as the "body of Christ" but as a visible, local group of believers (which even pretribbers agree are present in the trib).

    You might be surprised. ;) I'm not interested in debating pre/post in this thread (maybe another thread though, it would make an interesting discussion in the context of "fundamental"), I'm just asking how pretrib jives with some of the definitions of "church" in this thread.
     

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