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Featured The Distinction Between the Lord's New Testament Church and the Kingdom of GOD.

Discussion in 'Fundamental Baptist Forum' started by Alan Gross, Jan 31, 2023.

  1. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    The Distinction Between the Church and the Kingdom.

    Those who believe the theory of the existence of a universal, invisible church, for all practical purposes confuse the church and the Kingdom.

    But the Bible never confuses the terms or uses them interchangeably.

    "It will be readily inferred ... that the word ekklesia would call up, in the mind of an ordinary Greek, or Greek-speaking person, a conception not only not identical with, but in every particular the antithesis of, that suggested by basilcia" (Thomas, The Church and the Kingdom, p, 213).

    That this distinction is maintained in the New Testament is manifest from the following contrasts between the church and the kingdom:

    (1) The church is an assembly; the kingdom is the domain of the King.

    (2) The church as an assembly is necessarily local; the kingdom is universal.

    (3) The church is spoken of as that which was to be built (Matt. 16:18); the kingdom is never thus spoken of.

    (4) Christ said: "Tell it to the church" (Matt. 18: 17); no such command is ever given concerning the kingdom.

    (5) The church is called a body (Eph. 1:22,23; Col. 1: 18; 1 Cor. 12:27); the kingdom is never thus spoken of.

    (6) The church is a democracy under the headship of Christ, as we shall presently note; the kingdom is a monarchy.

    (7) Therefore the church has organic character, being visible and having officers (1 Cor. 12:28); the kingdom is neither organic or visible (Luke 17:20).

    (8) Church membership is subject to the democratic action of the body (Rom. 14:1; Acts 9:26; 1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 2:6); while God, purely independent of church action, puts men in His kingdom by the new birth (John 3:5; Col. 1:13).

    (9) The kingdom was preached and, at one time, was announced as at hand (Acts 20:25; 28:31; Mark 1:15); but such language is never used with reference to the church.

    (10) We read of the gospel of the kingdom (Mark 1: 14; Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:14); but never of the gospel of the church.
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  2. unprofitable

    unprofitable Active Member

    Aug 14, 2017
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    Good topic-

    Here are some reasons we believe that they are one and the same.

    1- The command given us in Matt 28:19-20 as the Great Commission is a command to the body of Christ to bring all nations under the subjection to Christ by the New Covenant and if all nations then a universal world dominion of Christ.

    2- Israel means he who shall rule as a prince with God or rule in the stead of God by his authority. Matt 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given me in heaven and earth. Luke 9:1 Then he called his twelve disciples (them) and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. vs 2 And sent them to preach the kingdom of God. and to heal the sick. That which was being preached and performed was by the local, literal, visible body of Christ, given power to rule and reign (have authority over) with and by his authority.

    3-Old Testament Israel was a covenant people nationally. Israel as the continued scriptural spiritual nation of God was in the form of the local, literal, visible covenant /people nation of God. 1 Peter 2:9 says Ye ARE a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and holy NATION (therefore a kingdom), a peculiar PEOPLE that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness, into his marvelous light. This is not something that a universal invisible body can do.

    4-The kingdom existed with national covenant Israel. Christ told them in Matt 21:43,... the kingdom of God shall be taken from you (proof it belonged to and existed as Israel) and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Univeral invisible cannot do this.
    Who then was that nation to whom the kingdom and the Holy Spirit was given that it might rule and reign with him and therefore fit the definition of the Israel of God? (Luke 9:1-2)
    To what nation or people was the New Covenant given that it might know what commandments, statutes and ordinances to use that it might rule and reign? Matt 18:15-20

    5- the kingdom is the domain of the king. Ephesians 5:23...and he is the head/king of the church and the saviour of the body.

    6-Church is local, kingdom is universal. When Solomon was king, he spread his children among many cities so that if there was a war or rebellion, his seedline would not be cut off. The sons of God are spread throughout his scriptural churches across the world.

    7-tell it to the church the Israel of God- Isa 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Does this not sound what needs to be preached to many churches today. We certainly see it in the second and third chapter of Revelation.

    8-The church may be a democracy, but is a people making decision based on their prayer and desire to be guided by the Holy Spirit and not of their own will.

    to be continued---
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  3. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    The Family, Kingdom and Church of God Differentiated

    When one sets forth the Baptist claim to perpetuity and attempts to demonstrate that Baptist churches alone can claim Jesus for Founder and Head, there are always those who immediately jump to the conclusion that Baptists claim that none are saved but Baptists.

    They get the idea that Baptists deny them a place in the kingdom and family of God. Such is by no means true.

    Far be it from any true Baptist to claim that one must be a Baptist in order to be saved. Indeed, they believe just the reverse, for according to their view one must be saved before he can be a Baptist.

    And as for the kingdom and family of God, true Baptists are members of both before they ever become members of a Baptist church.

    If not, they are not fit to belong to the church, for they are yet unsaved. The things that I have said in former chapters concerning the church have nothing to do with anyone's membership in God's family or kingdom, for the church, family, and kingdom are three separate and distinct things. Because of the confusion that reigns in so many minds on this point, I have thought it worthwhile to devote an entire chapter to a discussion of the differences between these three.

    While considering how best to present my ideas for this chapter, in reading what others had written along this line, I came across an old tract published some years ago by H. B. Taylor, editor of News and Truths. The tract is such a clear, concise statement concerning the differences between them. the kingdom of God, the family of God, and the church of God, that I can do no better than to quote it. I make only a few changes such as to adapt it to the present use. I invite the reader to ponder very carefully the distinctions made and to verify them from the Scriptures.

    1. THE FAMILY OF GOD. "The Family of God includes all of the children of God in heaven and on earth. In Ephesians 3:15, Paul speaks of the 'whole family in heaven and on earth.' This family includes all believers. 'Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.' Gal. 3:26. All believers are God's children. Since Old Testament saints were saved by faith in Christ (Acts 10:43, Rom. 4:16, etc.), they are all members of God's family." "God's family is bigger than the kingdom of God or the church of God, for it now contains all of the saved from Abel to the last man who believed, whether in heaven or on earth. God has only one family. All believers are children and heirs of God."

    2. THE KINGDOM OF GOD. "The Kingdom of God includes all of the saved on earth at any given time. In Matthew 13 the kingdom is used to include all professors. But, the kingdom as used in John 3:3-5, Matthew 16:19;11:11,
    Luke 16:16, Romans 14:17, Coloss. 1:13, John 18:36, etc., is composed of all the born again on earth. This is not the kingdom of Daniel 2:44, Luke 19:11- 27, Acts 1:6, etc. Those passages refer to the millennium. That kingdom is yet future. What is sometimes called the spiritual kingdom is composed only of those who have been born again, who have been 'translated out of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son.'

    In John 3:3-5 the Master said, 'Except a man be born anew be can neither see nor enter the Kingdom of God.' In Matt. 18:16 and Mark 10:13-15 the Master shows very clearly that the kingdom is composed of only such as have received Him, whether children or adults." "The family of God includes all of the saved of all the ages, whether in heaven or on earth; the kingdom of God includes that part of the family of God who are on earth now."

    3. THE CHURCH OF GOD. "The church of God is never used of any institution, except of an assembly or congregation of baptized believers in some given locality. E. g., the church of God at Corinth. " -1 Cor. 1:2.

    The local individual church is the only kind of church God has on this earth today. There is only one family of God, composed of all the redeemed of all the ages in heaven, and on earth. There is only one kingdom of God, composed of all the born again on the earth now. There are thousands of churches of God on earth. Every individual Baptist church is a church of God. No others are.

    When a man is born again he is born into God's family. He is in the family of God forever. The relationship does not change. Whether in heaven or on earth he is in God's family.

    When he is born again he also enters God's kingdom. This relationship is for life. When he dies he passes out of the kingdom of God on earth and enters 'His heavenly kingdom' (II Tim. 4: 18).

    After he has been born again be is not yet in a church of God but is now a scriptural subject for admission into a church of God. 'The Lord added to the church daily the saved' (Acts 2:47).

    Church membership was not something a man got with salvation, but a subsequent blessing he got after salvation by being added to the church.

    Baptism is not essential to admission into either the family of God or the kingdom of God; but baptism is essential to admission into a church of God.

    Men are born anew into the family of God and into the kingdom of God;
    but they are baptized into a church of God (I Cor. 12:13).

    The 'one body' referred to by Paul in I Cor. 12:13 was the church of God at Corinth.

    Note in I Cor. 12:27 he says, "We are a body of Christ and member's in particular.' That local church at Corinth was the body of Christ at Corinth. The members of the church at Corinth belonged to only 'one body' of Christ.

    That body of Christ probably did not contain all the saved at Corinth (I Cor. 1:2) and none of the saved anywhere else except at Corinth. Since they belonged to only 'one body' and that was the local church at Corinth, Christ has no other kind of a church or body except a local church.

    If they had belonged to a local church at Corinth, which Paul said was a body of Christ, and then to the kind of church that some believe in, composed of all the saved everywhere, they would have belonged to two churches or bodies of Christ---one local and visible, the other universal and invisible.

    The New Testament shows nothing of any such confusion as that. God is not the author of any such confusion. Jesus Christ has only one kind of church or body on this earth, and that is the local assembly--the organized body of baptized believers in any given community.

    The church which Paul called 'the house of God' was a local church.

    The church which Paul said was the 'pillar and ground of the truth' was a local church.

    The church to which the Lord Jesus promised perpetuity (Matt.16:8) was a local church, for He never spoke of any other kind.

    The meaning of the word ecclesia permits of no other kind.
  4. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2018
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    I'm sorry, but I find that I must disagree.
    The way I understand it, there's the local church ( group of believers in Christ... Matthew 18, James 5:14-15, Acts of the Apostles 2:46-47, Hebrews 10:24-25 ) and there is the Church ( all of the saints... Romans 12:4-5, Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 2:19-20, Ephesians 3:20-21, Ephesians 5:22-26, 1 Corinthians 1:9, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, ).

    Just as Paul and others of God's preachers went about preaching the word, and the Lord added to the Church ( body of Christ ) being gathered into local assemblies ( churches ) by His Spirit then, so does it happen today.
    In the Bible, the Lord Jesus speaks of His body, the Church ( the kingdom ), as well as those gathered together into local bodies ( churches ).

    In other words,
    To me there is indeed a "universal church" ( all the saved on earth at any given time ) that are gathered together into churches ( local bodies of believers ), plus those who have gone on to be with the Lord.
    Where they are is definitely known to Him.

    May God bless you in your studies.
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  5. unprofitable

    unprofitable Active Member

    Aug 14, 2017
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    continued- Sorry for the late reply. Just getting over Covid and attending to my father in law who is in hospice. I will post as frequently as possible.

    Matthew 16:18 is a beginning of the fulfilling of the prophesy of the gathering in of those that God had scattered unto the utter ends of the earth because of their rebelliousness and can thus be said upon this Rock I will GATHER my people. It then becomes that which is spoken of in Nehemiah 1:9, Isaiah 34:16, Jeremiah 23:3, 32:37, just to name a few. This is the gathering into the kingdom of God under its constitution of the New Covenant.

    In Christ doing so, he begins the fulfillment of the prophesy of Jeremiah 33:10-11.
    vs 10 Thus saith the Lord, Again, there shall be heard in this place (where I will choose to place my name) which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast
    Vs 11 The voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, and the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts; for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth forever and them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise (1 Peter 2:5-9) into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land (Romans 6:17-18), as AT THE FIRST (kingdom being set in order as to the original teachings of the work of Christ), saith the Lord. Surely this is spoken concerning the literal, local, visible assembly where Matthew 16:18 and Galatians 3:28 are in the same context.

    Again, what nation was the kingdom given to? Or are we still waiting for that kingdom to appear two thousand years later?
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  6. JonC

    JonC Moderator

    Aug 28, 2001
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    I agree.

    People tend to forget (or not know) that the word ekklesia was not a word invented by Greek Christians but a common Greek word used to indicate a group of people in contrast to the entire population. The word simply means a gathering of people summoned for a common purpose.

    We see this in the Greek Assembly. The Athens ekklesia (the political assembly) met at the pnyx in Athens.

    I have seen an undue emphasis on "called out" by well meaning Christians who never experienced Greek except through biblical commentaries or language tools (who disect the word beyond actual meaning) and others who seem to think the word unique to the Christian church.

    I suppose at one day the citizens of God's kingdom (the Bride) will also be an ekklesia.
  7. unprofitable

    unprofitable Active Member

    Aug 14, 2017
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    You say the kingdom is neither organic nor visible.

    What meaning then shall we give to the 13 odd verses that speak to what the kingdom is liken to?

    Matthew 13:33 Another parable spake he unto them, the kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, til the whole was leaven. This verse has two equally important understandings. It is a picture of OT Israel which would not hear the words of the covenant and do them (Jeremiah 11:6), until they became as defiled as the nations. This is the kingdom/nation from which both the kingdom and the Holy Spirit would be taken from and given to the church beginning at Jerusalem. This parable has a very organic understanding and was a literal congregation that was seen to those placed within its covenant boundary lines.

    No man has ever been placed in the kingdom of God by the new birth without first being placed in a literal, local, assembly. If that is possible, what purpose serves the church?
  8. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club

    Apr 8, 2003
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  9. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    That piece of paper will set there and let you write anything on it.
  10. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    "+ Show Outline of Bible Usage"

    iv. the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth

    v. the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven

    Strong's does not show what verses, above, they fell for, to invent these new modern, newfangled, "meanings" they have written in.

    It is ashame they played into the hands of Satan.

    The pillar and ground of the truth was not called, by God, to perpetuate lies, like these.

    Every use of the word in the New Testament is listed and handled by a man of God, here:

    In Search of the Universal Invisible Church

    From: http://m.gracebaptistberea.org/?url=http://www.gracebaptistberea.org/churchthatjesusbuilt.html#2713

    "There are few things about which as many false notions and heretical opinions are held, as the church.

    "Many are wedded to a church theory that is totally at variance with the plain teachings of the Scriptures.

    "Some hold these false theories honestly, having never carefully studied the church question for themselves.

    (Alan's note: you may do that quickly, at the above link.)

    "Others, it is to be feared, hold them because they fit into their ecclesiastical scheme, and because to surrender them for the truth would mean a revolution in their life involving a change in the matter of their church affiliation...

    "Because of the neglect of church truth, loose thinking and erroneous views as to what properly constitutes a New Testament church, many hold the church to light esteem.

    "It is not to them the high and holy thing it ought to be..."

    "The clear meaning of “ecclesia” which Christ used to designate His new institution, does not fit unto the church theory of some, so they have coined a new meaning for the word.

    "In this way, by using ecclesia in an unwarranted sense, they have invented another “Church” than the one that Jesus established.

    "After careful study of all the passages in which the word ecclesia occurs in the New Testament, and the Septuagint, and after examining to ascertain the use of the word in classical Greek, I submit the proposition that the church that Jesus founded was the local assembly, and that to use the word ecclesia to designate a “universal,” or “invisible” Church is to pervert its meaning, and to fall into serious error.

    "I realize full well that for me merely to make the bare statement recorded above is not enough.

    "Proof is, of course, required.

    "But I believe that ample proof can be produced to satisfy any mind that is open to the truth.

    "Since the validity of the Baptist belief in the perpetuity of their churches hinges upon the kind of church that Jesus established, it seems advisable to deal with the question somewhat at length."


    From: The Concept of the Church as A Universal, Invisible,
    Mystical, Spiritual Body Composed of all Believers,
    Either of All Time, or the Church Age

    1. The problem of etymology and usage of "ecclesia."

    The terms "universal" and "invisible" are opposed to the original meanings of "ecclesia." There is the problem of the attempt to unfold a supposed greater truth by the usage of a word in a limited and unprecedented sense.

    2. The problem of history.
    Harnack, in History of Dogma declares, "The expression, invisible church, is found for the first time in Hegessipus, Eusebius, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Hiero, Cornelius, and Cyprian, all used the term, holy churches, and never the Catholic or Universal Church." [See note at the end of paper.]

    H. Boyce Taylor points out in his book, Why be A Baptist?, [pages 51-52] "...Hort in his book, The Christian Ekklesia confesses the necessity of finding some other than etymological, grammatical or historical grounds by which to prove the idea of a universal church.

    He admitted that the use of the word ekklesia was 'always limited by Paul himself to a local organization, which has a corresponding unity of its own: each is a body of Christ and a sanctuary of God.'

    Look at this statement.

    That, 'The Christian Ekklesia' ever refers to anything but a local church

    cannot be proved by history:

    it cannot be proved
    from the etymology of the word:

    and it cannot be proved by the grammatical construction of the Scriptures where used.

    The only ground, Mr. Hort says, on which the use of the word as referring to anything but a local church can be defended at all, is on theological grounds.

    That means you cannot prove it from the Greek New Testament at all: but you perhaps might read it into the New Testament from some book of theology."


    Also see: The Myth Of The Universal Invisible Church EXPLODED, by Roy Mason - Sovereign Grace Landmark Baptist Pastor

    The Myth of the Universal Invisible Church Theory; Exploded.

    by Elder Roy Mason
    (Now In Glory)

    #10 Alan Gross, Feb 16, 2023
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2023
  11. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Dec 18, 2010
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    @Alan Gross,
    You have obviously studied this subject very closely. However, others have done so as well, and come to a somewhat different conclusion.
    I'm not sure why you think that. Perhaps you could be more clear.
    Can you prove the opposite?
    I wait to hear your etymology of ekklesia, but I would also like your comments on the following Scriptures:
    Matthew 16:18
    Acts of the Apostles 9:31
    1 Corinthians 12:27
    1 Corinthians 15:9
    Ephesians 1:22-23
    Colossians 1:18

    A word on 1 Cor. 15:9. The usual explanation for this verse and similar ones by folk of your persuasion is that there was only one church that Saul persecuted - the one in Jerusalem. But we know for a fact that there was one in Damascus because Saul was on his way to attack it. Also, Acts 9:31 speaks of 'the Church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria.' The one in Samaria was founded in Acts 8, before Saul's conversion in Acts 9. The ones in Galilee where our Lord did so much of His ministry were surely founded before the one in Damascus..
  12. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    I have had to take pause, and take "others have done so as well, and come to a somewhat different conclusion", under consideration, as to how and why? they have "studied this subject very closely".

    Is it to see if there is scriptural warrant to contend for what had been believed, historically?, such as in the example of: "History of Newhouse Baptist Church
    The Church was founded as a Particular and Calvinistic Baptist Church in 1652, although, it would seem, the Baptists had been worshipping together for some years before this in the vicinity of Luppitt and Upottery."

    Or is their study to justify an Eccumenical shift back to Rome, in a One World Church kind of dead, as in: Newhouse Baptist Church's current view:

    "The Church

    "The universal church is the body of which Christ is the head and to which all who are saved belong. It is made visible in local churches, which are congregations of believers who are committed to each other for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, the administering of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, for pastoral care and discipline, and for evangelism. The unity of the body of Christ is expressed within and between churches by mutual love, care and encouragement.

    Gleened they say from, "the Statement of Faith of the Calvinistic Methodist Church in Wales, 1823":

    35. "Of the Church.

    "God has his church in every age, and under every dispensation. It consists of all the people of God in heaven and earth, and may, therefore, be regarded as militant and triumphant. That portion of the church which is on earth, the church militant, consists of all professing Christians throughout the world, and may be divided into the visible church and mystical church (a).

    The universal visible church on earth are all those who have been called out and set apart for holy ends, to profess the christian religion, to read the word of God, and to observe the ordinances of the gospel; that is, all who profess themselves believers, together with their children, – unless their parents, through neglect, deprive them of the privileges of the kingdom of heaven, or they themselves despise their birthright, as profane Esau did, or grow up to be persecuting scoffers, who shall be cast out, as Ishmael (b).

    A particular visible church is a congregation of faithful men, and their children, assembling with their officers in one place, where the true doctrine is preached, and the ordinances and discipline, which Christ instituted in his church, are observed and enforced (c).

    The mystical church is that which God loved, Christ purchased, and the Holy Ghost sanctifies, and which Christ will present to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing. The true church can be but one; for “She is one”; and Christ is her only Head, Prophet, Priest, and King (d).

    and from: https://www.grbc.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/The-1689-Baptist-Confession-of-Faith.pdf

    Chapter 26: Of the Church

    1._____ The catholic or universal church, which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. ( Hebrews 12:23; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:10, 22, 23; Ephesians 5:23, 27, 32 )

    2._____ All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ according unto it, not destroying their own profession by any errors everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are and may be called visible saints; and of such ought all particular congregations to be constituted. ( 1 Corinthians 1:2; Acts 11:26; Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:20-22 )

    3._____ The purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a kingdom in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his name. ( 1 Corinthians 5; Revelation 2; Revelation 3; Revelation 18:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12; Matthew 16:18; Psalms 72:17; Psalm 102:28; Revelation 12:17 )


    Well I posted In Search of the Universal Invisible Church
    that is a quick 3 webpage booklet covering each instance of ekklesia in The New Testament.

    "For 117 years of its existence the Southern Baptist Convention had no article of faith about the universal, invisible church. In the 1950s and 1960s the liberals ceased power, and in 1962 a revised confession was adopted which said: "The New Testament speaks also of the church as the body of Christ which includes all the redeemed of all ages" (Article VI). This is essentially the strict covenant view of the church.

    "The dispensationalists make the church to be the whole number of regenerate persons from Pentecost to the first resurrection. They would exclude the Old Testament saints from being in the church and all New Testament saints before the day of Pentecost. The covenant theologian has a much larger church consisting of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one. Nevertheless, both schools have a universal, invisible church. This view is so generally believed that any person who dares to reject it is branded as a "misguided fanatic."

    "In this booklet I shall not inquire any more as to what theologians and creeds say about the church. There is no such thing as an inerrant creed or an infallible theologian. The final court of appeal is the Bible.

    "What men may say about the Bible is unimportant.

    "The great question is: What is the New Testament idea of a church?

    "Does the New Testament authorize only the local idea of the word church, or does it authorize the universal, invisible idea, or both?

    "It will be my purpose to prove that when we are shut up to the New Testament alone, only one definite idea of the church rules the field. In the New Testament the true and actual church is a local, visible body of baptized believers.

    "A limited reading of the New Testament will prove that
    a church made disciples (Matt. 28:19),
    baptized these disciples in water (Matt. 28:19),
    and taught them what Christ commanded (Matt. 28:20).

    "A true New Testament church
    received members (Rom. 14:1),
    elected officers (Acts 1:23; 6:5),
    sent out missionaries (Acts 13:1-4),
    observed the Lord's Supper (I Cor. 11),
    had regular and stated meetings (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2), settled disputes (Acts 15:1-41),
    excluded the disorderly (I Cor. 5:9-13; II Thess. 3:14), restored the penitent (II Cor. 2:1-10),
    and condemned false doctrine (Rom. 16:17-18).

    "None of these things could have been done by a universal, invisible church.

    "Since the term "the universal, invisible church" is nowhere found in the New Testament, I must say that we do not have much to go on in our search. But in order to make sure the word church never has any meaning other than a local church, we must examine every passage in the New Testament on this important subject. Let us look into the Book and see what God has been pleased to reveal. If the universal, invisible church is of the great importance which some attach to it, surely the Bible will set this doctrine forth in plain language for all to see. Otherwise, there is no need nor place for the universal, invisible church.

    "The word "church" found in our KJV is a translation of the Greek word ekklesia. In the Greek New Testament it occurs 115 times. In our KJV church is found 114 times.

    "However, two of these times should be excluded from our study. In Acts 19:37 the Greek word is hierosulosnot ekklesia.

    "This is the Greek word for temple. Then in I Peter 5:13 ekklesia does not occur in the Greek text.

    "The word church is supplied by the translators. 'Ekklesia is translated three times as "assembly" in Acts 19.

    "Hence we need to subtract two passages in the KJV (Acts 19:37 and I Peter 5:13) which makes 112.

    "Then we need to add 3 (Acts 19:32, 39, 41). Thus giving us 115 times ekklesia occurs in the Greek New Testament.

  13. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    The Church that Jesus Built, also gives many
    etymologies of ekklesia, which I can't do better than my Greek teachers.

    III. What's Wrong With This Theory?
    by Elder Roy Mason

    (Answer: Everything)

    See my Greek teacher, Edward Hugh Overbey, B.A., B.D., D.D.: The Meaning of Ecclesia In The New Testament

    Again from: In Search of the Universal Invisible Church

    "The word Ekklesia in the plural form occurs 36 times in the Greek New Testament (Acts 9:31; 15:41; 16:5; Rom. 16:4, 16; I Cor. 7:17; 11:16; 14:33-34; 16:1,19; II Cor. 8:1, 18, 19, 23-24; 11:8, 28; 12:13; Gal. 1:2, 22; I Thess. 2:14; II Thess. 1:4; Rev. 1:4, 11, 20; 2:7, 11, 17, 23, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 22:16).

    "So far as "I know no one has yet invented the doctrine of the universal, invisible churches. Therefore, the plural tolerates nothing but the local idea.

    "It leaves no place for either the universal, invisible church of the Protestants, or the universal visible church of the Catholics. These 36 plural usage's confirm the literal and primary sense of the word is correct. This leaves 75 other passages.

    "Some make a big to do over Acts 9:31. They contend the Greek text has the word church in the singular here. It is true that Greek copies vary between "churches" and "church." The Alexandrian copy, the Latin Vulgate, the Syriac, the Ethiopic Version, and some others read in the singular number.

    "However, the Textus Receptus has "churches."

    I believe this is the proper original text, and I will leave the matter there.

    But even if one receives the translation of "church" rather than "churches," he does not have a universal, invisible church.

    Instead, he would have a provincial use of the word church, a thing which would favor the meaning of the word church as held by the Catholics."


    The reason I am concerned is that all of the scriptures you quoted and those of these Confessions allow for a "local, assembly" in the most common usage of everyday English.

    The meaning of Ekklesia Part 2
    "Most theologians maintain the word church takes on a new meaning in these verses. They say that the 18 remaining passages use the word church in the larger sense, meaning a big universal church.

    "This new meaning is contrary to the primary and literal meaning of ekklesia, and this new meaning is contradictory to the local idea that permeates the entire New Testament.

    "The big church idea has been invented from theological necessity, not from etymological requirement.

    "But do these remaining 18 verses authorize a new meaning of the word church?

    "Or, does the word retain its primary meaning of a local, visible body of baptized believers? From what we have already seen the odds are 97 to 18 against such a new meaning.

    "Nevertheless, the Biblical answer can be discovered only by a careful examination of these remaining 18 verses. If the word church has a new meaning the text and context should give sufficient evidence to warrant this new meaning. On the other hand, if such a meaning is not required, then we have every reason to reject the universal, invisible church theory as totally without scriptural warrant.


    "I believe that in a number of the remaining 18 verses the word church is used in the generic sense. In such a case the word may be singular and yet not refer to any particular object of the class but to every object of that class.

    "Let me illustrate what I mean by a word being used abstractly, or generically.

    "The home is a Divine institution."

    The word home is used generically or abstractly in this sentence. The definite article with the word does not mean there is one particular home singled out from the rest. The word home has not taken on a new meaning; it retains its common meaning. There is no such thing as a universal, invisible home.

    The word church is used abstractly in some of these debatable verses, not referring to any particular church at any definite place, but to the church as an institution. When a concrete application of the word is made it must be to a particular local church somewhere. Most Bible scholars chose to ignore the abstract usage of the word church in the Bible, although they will freely concede such is true of other words.

    "Rather than allowing the word to retain its common meaning throughout the New Testament, a most reasonable and logical thing to do, they ascribe a new meaning to the word.

    "They say it must mean a universal, invisible church. ekklesia never had such a meaning in the Greek writings. This new meaning is contrary to the primary and literal meaning of ekklesia.

    If I can give a word a new meaning so as to fit my creed when the common meaning makes good sense, then I can change the entire Bible to suit my fancy and the next person can do the same!

    "MATTHEW 16:18

    "I shall take these verses in the order in which they occur in the books of the New Testament.

    "The first one to be considered is Matthew 16:18. In this verse Jesus said: "And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Jesus is using the word church here in the generic, abstract, or institutional sense. He refers to the church as a Divine institution against which the gates of Hell shall not prevail. Yet it would have been understood by His hearers in a special sense as applicable to them.

    "Jesus spoke here to His disciples (Matt. 16:13), the company of baptized believers which followed Him from the baptism of John (Acts 1:21-22). It was to the same group of baptized disciples He gave the rules of church discipline, the Lord's Supper, and the Great Commission. There can be no doubt that Jesus addressed His words to a local, visible body of baptized believers who constitute the first New Testament church in the world.

    "The ordinary sense makes perfectly good sense in Matthew 16:18. First, the words were addressed to a local, visible body of baptized believers. They were not addressed to the elect of all ages.

    Second, those who heard these words would have understood ekklesia in its primary and ordinary sense. I say this because I cannot believe the Master Teacher would have intended a common word to have a new meaning without some word of explanation.

    Third, by reading the Gospels and the Book of Acts, we see the kind of church which Christ built. He personally built the church which later became known as the Jerusalem Church. Through this mother church He built other churches, all such churches were local, visible bodies like the first church.

    The fourth reason I believe 'ekklesia must be understood in its primary sense is that Jesus used this word 23 times, 3 times in Matthew and 20 times in Revelation. Twenty-one of these times the word is admitted by most as having the common meaning.

    Then why give it a new meaning in Matthew 16:18? Remember, the odds are 22 to 1 that Christ used it in its primary meaning.

    It seems to me to be the height of folly to assume that our Lord announced He would build a universal, invisible church, and then he never mentioned this church again while speaking 22 other times about a church He never promised to build!

    from: In Search of the Universal Invisible Church - Baptist Because

  14. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    repeat from above: "Some make a big to do over Acts 9:31. They contend the Greek text has the word church in the singular here.

    It is true that Greek copies vary between "churches" and "church."

    The Alexandrian copy, the Latin Vulgate, the Syriac, the Ethiopic Version, and some others read in the singular number.

    However, the Textus Receptus has "churches." I believe this is the proper original text, and I will leave the matter there. But even if one receives the translation of "church" rather than "churches," he does not have a universal, invisible church.

    Instead, he would have a provincial use of the word church, a thing which would favor the meaning of the word church as held by the Catholics."

    "I CORINTHIANS 12:28

    Another passage is I Corinthians 12:28 which says: "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."

    Universal, invisible church contenders maintain that the apostles were not officers of a local church. They affirm that the ministry of the apostles was for all believers. But in what sense can it be said the apostles were ministers to the elect in the Old Testament time? Remember, the universal, invisible church "consists of the whole number of the elect, that HAVE BEEN, are, or shall be gathered into one."

    This contention ignores the fact that Jesus only personally set apostles in one church, the first church known as the Jerusalem Church (Matt. 10:1-4; Acts 8:1). These men worked with other local churches. They never at any time worked with the elect "that had been." The word church in this passage means the church in an institutional sense, with a particular reference to the Jerusalem church.

    The word church in I Corinthians 12:28 makes good sense in the local sense, and there is no reason to seek some other sense.

    Why would Paul have suddenly given the word church a new meaning in this verse without any notice or explanation?

    If he had done so would the Corinthians have understood him?

    from: In Search of the Universal Invisible Church - Baptist Because

    from: The Myth Of The Universal Invisible Church EXPLODED, by Roy Mason - Sovereign Grace Landmark Baptist Pastor.

    Some Controverted Passages There is not the slightest difficulty in understanding the meaning of the words church and churches as they occur in most of the New Testament.

    Assembly, local and visible is unmistakably meant.

    There would likewise be no difficulty in understanding the meaning of church in the remaining instances were it not that men have a theory to seek to substantiate.

    Such persons usually use a few verses in the writings of Paul to the Ephesians and Colossians.

    Has Paul labored to establish churches - assemblies - and has he often felt "the care of all the churches," as he expresses it, and has he involved his very life with the welfare of the churches, and then has he all at once originated an entirely new church conception?

    Has he decided that there are really two churches, one kind local and visible, and the other Universal and Invisible?

    How utterly foolish to assume this! It is wholly unnecessary to assume an entirely new kind of church.

    The only thing necessary is to construe words according to the established law of language.

    The institutional abstract meaning of church in some instances, the generic meaning of the word in other instances, and the concept of the church win prospect, will take care of the problem without the need of a new church entirely different from the kind of church signified by the word ecclesia, and taught most plainly in nearly all of the instances where the term is used.

    Let us take note of a few of the Scriptures where church is used in a way that enables the Universal Church heretic to seek to bolster his theory.

    I Corinthians 15:9 - "I persecuted the church of God."
    Small help to be derived by the Universalite from this.

    So far as the Scriptures reveal, Paul never persecuted but one church - the church at Jerusalem. It was a large church composed of several thousand people, and Paul "made havoc" of it, scattering it all over the country.

    His persecution affected one local, visible assembly - the church at Jerusalem.

  15. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    Each individual, self-governing, body of believers, properly structured as in Jesus' New Testament kind of church Organization/ Organism has Jesus Christ as her HEAD.

    An example of a thing that doesn't have Christ as its HEAD would be a Universal invisible imagination of some carnal human.

    They are each HIS BODY on earth as a Witness for Him that a BODY that MOVES as DIRECTED by HIM, "THEIR" HEAD.

    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.

    These verses Teach that it is God the Father Who PUT JESUS as the HEAD of His churches.

    And that to SAVE SINNERS (19 "And what is the exceeding greatness of his (God the Father's) power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power")

    God Used the same Mighty Power He did when He Raised Jesus from the dead (20 "Which he (God the Father) wrought in Christ when he (God the Father) raised him from the dead."

    That is serious business. The Business of God.

    "18 "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling (God the Father's), and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance (God the Father's) in the saints,

    19 "And what is the exceeding greatness of his (God the Father's) power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power (God the Father's),

    20 "Which he (God the Father) wrought in Christ, when he (God the Father) raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand (God the Father's) 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 (God the Father) hath put all things under his feet, and (God the Father) gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

    (or drop the article, "the" in this generic use of the word and it becomes, "churches", as with all other instances of the abstract, generic use in our English,i.e., unless someone is trying to invent a new doctrine! like Satan, or those playing into his hands).

    23 "Which is his body (HIS Candlestick of locally assembled believers, each and every time there is a True Candlestick that hasn't had its Candlestick REMOVED and Ichabod written; 1 Samuel 4:22 "The glory has departed from Israel," she said, "for the ark of God has been captured."),

    "the fulness of him that filleth all in all."

    As above, and a local body in which Jesus is the Head, for Him to have the Preeminence, there.

    Jesus is The Lord God over all, but this Teaching is that He may, for sure, have Preeminence in His local assemblies.

    How are we doing along those lines?

    Where is the evidence that Jesus has Preeminence?

    In the various organizational structures, like the Universal Invisible imaginary thing, that usurps Jesus' Headship?

    Like with every Tom, Dick, and Harry scheme of "Salvation"???

    18 "And he is the head of the body (or the bodies), the church (or the churches): who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence".

    also: "24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's (each local body, assembled) sake, which is the church (each local church and "members in particular";



    "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."
    1 Corinthians 12:27

    It wouldn't matter if he were talking about 40 churches, if they had time to be established, scattered from the first one in Jerusalem.

    9 "For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."

    What if he was said to have persecuted "the husband" as the head of the wife?

    Or Paul persecuted "The Public School System" (40 of them)?

    In each case where there was "slaughter" as the Bible says, it would be in an actual local place, where we would find "a husband" or "a Public School".

    Acts 9:1-31 KJV
    "And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way*, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem."

    *Were any that was Saved in The New Testament not baptized unto a church for membership?

    Paul wasn't taking it upon himself to invent something new, with a new definition for a "church", which would be, suddenly, "Universal" (??) or (Invisible" (???)

    The plain sense is that he persecuted local assemblies.

    Consider these warnings: (from; Three Witnesses for the Baptists)

    (Mark 7:13) "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."

    (Deut 4:2) "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."

    (Deut 12:32) "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."

    (Rev 22:18) "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book."

    It is devastatingly serious to tamper with the Word of God either in theological matters or in the matter of observance, practice and celebration.

    That many in the days of the apostles (and ours) have perverted God's truth is the cause of the divisions within "Christendom."

    Because of their strict views, Baptists are often charged with causing divisions among Christians.

    Mature consideration shows that in reality, others are the guilty parties.

    Those who have separated from Baptist churches and founded new ones are in reality guilty of schism and sowing discord among brethren.

    It is those churches that left off being Baptist churches and merged into the Catholic system that are in actuality the schismatics.

    Protestants, unable to stomach Romish corruption, either left or were ejected from Catholicism.

    Their "reformation" was only partial.

    They failed to return to the Lord's churches and went about to establish their own.

    Thus they, and not Baptists, are guilty of divisiveness and schism.

    Multitudes have not followed the plain teachings of the Bible and have left the Lord's churches to follow some human leader.

    Others either lacking knowledge or unconcerned with truth, have started their own "churches" without considering or understanding the New Testament doctrine and pattern of church truth.

    This was the case even in the days of Christ's apostles. Consider these verses:

    (2 Cor. 2:17) "For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ."

    (2 Cor. 4:2) "But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."

    (1 John 2:19) "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."
  16. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    I don't know who "we" is you are referring to there, but I know Rome combines the church and kingdom, as one.

    from: https://harmony-mbc.com/wp-content/...rticles/The-Church-that-Jesus-Built-Mason.pdf pg.15.

    "Rome, in order to justify her theory, overlooks the distinction that the Scriptures make between the church and the Kingdom, and seeks to identify the church that Jesus founded with the hierarchical organization that we today know as the Roman Catholic Church.

    "In Catholic thought, the "Church" is the visible Kingdom of God on earth, and with them there are no churches, separate, local, independent bodies, but one great, all-embracing, world-organization under papal dominion and control.

    "Accordingly we find Cardinal Gibbons saying (Faith of Our Fathers, p. 6), "The Church is called a Kingdom."

    "And following this he goes on to show that the members of the Catholic Church, although many are, to use his own words, "all united to one supreme visible head, whom they are bound to obey."

    "I need not here take the time to discuss the difference between the church and the Kingdom.

    "That difference is very clearly marked in the New Testament, as I will show in the next chapter. The theories held by the various Protestant denominations (let it be kept in mind that Baptists are not Protestants) are somewhat different from that of the Catholics.

    "Some of these denominations with the Catholics, repeat the Apostles Creed and affirm a belief in the "Holy Catholic Church," but at the same time attach to the words a different meaning.

    "Protestants have conceded out of necessity that Jesus founded and established a church.

    "And they have recognized the fact that if this church was a local, visible body they cannot be members of the true church, the one founded by Jesus, since the organizations that they belong to have, without exception, originated hundreds of years since Christ established His church.

    "In this situation only two things remain to do, either frankly admit their organization to be extra-scriptural and rivals of Christ's church or else devise some theory that will justify their separate denominational existence and still permit them a place in the ecclesia of Christ.

    "The latter alternative is the one that has generally been taken, for there have been theories a-plenty. One of these is what is sometimes called "the church branch" theory.

    "It is the theory that all of the various Protestant churches are but "branches" of the true church.

    "It embraces the idea that all are headed for the same place---all are part and parcel of the same thing--- the Church of Christ. However, this church "branch" theory immediately raises the embarrassing question as to the identity of the trunk of the church tree to which the "branch" denominations belong.

    "I use the word "embarrassing," and it is embarrassing in the light of the historical fact that all of the great Protestant denominations (remember again that Baptists are not Protestants) have either directly or indirectly "branched off" from the Catholic Church."
  17. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    Thank you, Dave G.
  18. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    These verses, of all that could be quoted, teach that "these many members in one body", i.e., one local body of baptized believers

    are "we, being many, are one body in Christ", i.e., one local body of baptized believers, with? varying gifts.

    1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

    2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

    4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

    5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

    6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

    7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

    8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
  19. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

    Sep 23, 2018
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    Adding the word ",local" to the word of God. A fundamental denial of there being one body of Christ.
  20. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    I believe I Corinthians 12 teaches the metaphor of the human "body" being compared to the Lord's New Testament churches, or His bodies.

    Vs 27 teaches "what kind of body" the Lord is telling us about:

    27 "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."

    1 Corinthians 12:15-31
    King James Version

    15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

    16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

    17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

    18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

    19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

    20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

    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.

    22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

    23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

    24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.

    25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

    26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

    27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

    28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

    29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

    30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

    31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.