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Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Alan Gross, May 20, 2024.

  1. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
    Likes Received:

    "The unscriptural theory of the universal invisible church has many flaws and glaring errors.

    "Perhaps the greatest error of all is that the universal invisible church
    has never once gathered for worship as it has no definite location.

    "What is the stated address of the universal invisible church?

    "Does it congregate on the Lord’s Day?

    "Who are the elders/pastors who preach and teach at the universal invisible church?

    "None of these questions can be answered intelligently
    because the universal invisible church has never congregated and has no real location.

    "Elder Milburn Cockrell wrote: “The word ekklesia does not mean “the called out.”
    It means ‘assembly’, ‘congregation’, ‘gathering’, or ‘meeting.’

    "The literal and primary meaning precludes the so-called universal, invisible church.

    "There is no such thing as an assembly which cannot assemble,
    or a congregation which never congregates.

    "The meaning for the word prohibits such a meaning.

    "The universal, invisible church has never assembled
    and never will on this earth in this Gospel age.

    "Hence such a thing is a mere concept of the mind,
    having no real existence in time or place.”

    "How stark is the difference between the mythical, spooky, universal,
    and invisible church from the churches that are recorded
    in various locations in the New Testament Scriptures!

    "Ekklesia is translated 37 times in the plural form “churches” in the New Testament.

    "This of course means that in the New Testament there were a plurality of churches,
    each one located in a definite place, each one recognized as the body of Christ
    in that specific place. It is interesting to note that when Paul wrote to the church at Corinth
    he said that “The CHURCHES (emphasis mine, TWR) of Asia salute you.
    Aquilla and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord,
    with the church that is in their house…”
    (I Cor. 16:19).

    "If Paul believed in a universal, invisible church or even in a provincial church
    he would have said “the church of Christ” or ‘the Church of Asia’ salutes you.

    "Yet Paul recognized each congregation of baptized believers
    existing in a specific place as a body of Christ.

    "Even the ones that assembled in a house as in the case of Aquilla and Priscilla!

    "When Jesus wanted to communicate to the seven churches of Asia
    the Holy Spirit did not inspire John to write to the universal invisible church of Asia.

    "Rather, the Scripture reads:
    “John to the SEVEN CHURCHES which are in Asia” (Rev. 1:4).

    "In Revelation chapters two and three the location of each church is clearly identified
    by where it was located (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira,
    Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea).

    "Consider the following Scriptures where the definite location of a specific church is given:
    “…the church which was at Jerusalem…” (Acts 8:1).
    “…the church that was at Antioch…” (Acts 13:1).
    “…Unto the church of God which is at Corinth…” (I Cor. 1:2).
    “…unto the church of the Thessalonians…” (I Thess. 1:1).
    “…The church that is at Babylon…” (I Pet. 5:13).

    "I find it instructive that three times the writers of Scripture refer to a local church
    as “the whole church” in that specific location.

    "Each local church in the New Testament may be regarded as a genuine,
    whole body of Christ, not just part of something bigger.

    "Consider the following: “Then pleased it the apostles and elders,
    with the whole church
    (at Jerusalem, TWR) to send chosen men of their own company
    to Antioch with Paul and Barnabus”
    (Acts 15:22).

    “Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you” (Rom. 16:23).

    “If therefore the whole church (at Corinth) be come together into one place” (I Cor. 14:23).

    "All the redeemed are not referenced in these passages.

    "Each passage refers to a specific church that congregated in a definite location.

    "Each congregation was identified as the whole church in that location.

    "An entire series of studies could be written illustrating
    that all the metaphors of what a church is like in Scripture suggest a local,
    visible entity as opposed to a universal visible or universal invisible one.

    "Who ever heard of embracing an invisible bride?

    "When was the last time you walked into an invisible building?

    "How would you get light from an invisible candlestick?

    "How would you shear sheep from an invisible flock?

    "Every metaphor of the church suggests a visible entity occupying space and time.

    "The teaching of a local, visible assembly of baptized believers
    can be applied in each metaphor.

    "Yet, the teaching of a universal invisible church can never be logically or intelligently applied.

    "From the usage and etymology of the word church
    as well as the metaphors of Scripture used to describe a church,
    it is decidedly clear that the church is local in nature,
    to the exclusion of the teaching of a mythical, universal, invisible church,
    which is a falsehood.

    "Many other examples illustrating the fact that the churches of the New Testament
    were congregations of baptized believers that gathered in a definite location could be cited.

    "Suffice it to say that the New Testament makes it crystal clear
    that a church is a local, visible body of baptized believers
    that congregates for worship under the Headship of Jesus Christ,
    for the express purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission.

    The churches identified throughout inspired Scripture

    were in no way universal or invisible.
  2. David Lamb

    David Lamb Active Member

    Sep 14, 2006
    Likes Received:
    The New Testament seems to use the word "church" in two senses: the local church, as in "The church at Ephesus", and the church consisting of all Christians, as when said:

    “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Mt 16:18 NKJV)

    Jesus certainly wasn't promising just one local church.
    • Agree Agree x 2