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A clear verse teaching a universal understanding of the word "church".


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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I would be interested if someone could quote a verse that clearly teaches a universal understanding of the word "Church".

For it to be legitimate, the verse MUST NOT MAKE SENSE in the local setting.

The reason I say this, is that if a verse can be understood to be teaching local understanding of church, then it is not NECESSARY for it to be understood in a universal sense.

I have not found a single verse that clearly teaches a universal understanding of the word "Church".

As a result, I see no biblical justification for accepting any sort of universal understanding of the word "church"

 

 

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Indeed. Absolutely, the Roman Catholic sense of "universal church" is utterly unbiblical; for that concept attempts to MANufacture on the earth, what the Lord our God has already ordained and d

Above is the opening post of this thread. 1. Brother Dave said, "I would be interested if someone could quote a verse that clearly teaches a universal understanding of the word 'church'." An

There is such a thing as the church in concept. The common illustration used is: The car has changed the way we live." Which individual car are we talking about? No individual car, of course

  • Independent Fundamental Baptist
10 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Hebrews 12:23

Agreed. Also Matthew 16:18.. If Matthew 16:18 only refers to a local church, then Matthew 16:18 is a failed prophecy because there are many local assemblies that the gates of hell have prevailed against.

 

Ephesians 3:21 is also one to consider, considering the local assembly at Ephesus hasn't continued "throughout all ages, world without end".

 

https://www.wayoflife.org/database/are_you_a_baptist_brider.html

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17 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Hebrews 12:23

vs 22 tells us that this is a local church...

Hebrews 12:22-23
(22)  But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
(23)  To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

This church is assembled together in the city of the living God. This is why it is referred to as a church - the localised aspect allows it.

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10 hours ago, DaveW said:

vs 22 tells us that this is a local church...

Hebrews 12:22-23
(22)  But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
(23)  To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

This church is assembled together in the city of the living God. This is why it is referred to as a church - the localised aspect allows it.

Brother Dave,

1.  According to Hebrews 12:23, who all are included in "the general assembly and church of the firstborn"?
     Answer: Those of the church age whose names "are written in heaven." (Thus ALL church age believers.)

2.  According to Hebrews 12:22, is the singular sentence of Hebrews 12:22-24 to be viewed as a future tense event or as a present tense event?
     Answer: The governing verb for the entire sentence is the present tense verb "are come." (Thus it is to be viewed as a present tense event.)

3.  According to Hebrews 12:22-23, are church age believers who are yet alive on the earth to be viewed as being included in "the general assembly and church of the firstborn"?
     Answer: Yes, for the following two reasons: (1) because the sentence begins with the phrase, "YE are come unto . . .," and (2) because their names "ARE written in heaven."

4.  According to Hebrews 12:22-23, where is "the general assembly and church of the firstborn" gathered?
     Answer: It is gathered at "the city of the living God, the HEAVENLY Jerusalem." (Thus it is in the present tense gathered in heaven.)

5.  Thought question: Are church age believers who are yet alive on the earth PHYSICALLY gathered in the HEAVENLY Jerusalem?
     Answer: No.

6.  Thought question: If church age believers who are yet alive on the earth are NOT physically gathered in the heavenly Jerusalem, in what manner ARE they gathered there?
     Answer: In a SPIRITUAL manner.

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Key point: the term "Church" is talking about them gathered together. Physically or not, the term church is not used universally here but locally.

It denotes the GATHERED saints, as you point out in point 4.

 

But thanks for your explanations - comprehensive as usual.

 

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1 hour ago, DaveW said:

Key point: the term "Church" is talking about them gathered together. Physically or not, the term church is not used universally here but locally.

It denotes the GATHERED saints, as you point out in point 4.

Yet that is the VERY POINT of the debate between the local church only viewpoint and the universal spiritual church viewpoint.  The universal spiritual church viewpoint does NOT teach that the universal spiritual church is not gathered.  In fact, it teaches that the universal spiritual church IS gathered, such that ALL church age believers existing both in heaven and throughout all of the earth are gathered as a single (UNIVERSAL) church in Christ SPIRITUALLY.  On the other hand, the local church only viewpoint teaches that no such universal SPIRITUAL church can exist because the word "church" by definition REQUIRES a locally gathered group PHYSICALLY.  A recognition of a UNIVERSALLY and SPIRITUALLY gathered group of ALL church age believers, including all who are in heaven and throughout the earth, is completely unpermitted by the local church only viewpoint.  Yet as my posting above reveals and as your own phrase, "physically or not," indicates, that is JUST what Hebrews 12:22-23 teaches. Indeed, Hebrews 12:22-23 teaches a UNIVERSAL, SPIRITUAL gathering of ALL church age believers, including ALL in heaven and ALL throughout the earth, in a single "organization" called "the general assembly and church of the firstborn."  

So then, the term "church" IS used UNIVERSALLY in Hebrews 12:23 since it encompasses and includes ALL church age believers whether in heaven or anywhere throughout the whole earth.  Such is what the term "universally" means -- encompassing and including ALL of a particular group.

(By the way, I was raised on the local church only viewpoint; therefore, I am quite familiar with its explanations and arguments.  It is only in the last few years that my studies, employing my desire for precision of grammar and context, have turned me away from the local church only viewpoint.)

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Brother, your position on the "universal aspect of the church" is not the normal one, as you are well aware.

As you well know, most people who use the term "universal church" use it in the Catholic sense, which usage is unbiblical.

Would I be right in assuming that you would not introduce yourself as one who holds to a "universal spiritual church definition" without then explaining further so that you are not lumped in with the false universal church people?

As far as the actual word itself goes, it does have an inherent meaning that necessarily includes the gathering together. Which is also inherent in Hebrews 12:22,23, and therfore entirely legitimate in its use of the term. But the term church is not used universally, in this passage - it relates to the gathering, if you follow my distinction.

What we have here is a universal reference to all saints gathered together as a church in one 'place'. The 'place' is even designated and named. 

Would you apply that universal understanding to any other passage? For instance Acts 2:47?

Or is it only applicable in Hebrews 12:22,23.

If you only applies it to Hebrews 12:23, then we have no issue - it includes all saints GATHERED in one place. It fits the technical understanding of a local church.....

(Actually, we have no issue anyway - I knew prior to this that you differed from me in this way, and when all is said and done I know it makes no real difference between us.)

The actual point of my original post was to get people studying the matter and not just accepting what they have been told. Whether they come to my position or not is not important to me, as long as they study it for themselves and come to their own conviction about it.

I am disappointed that others have not posted anything - aside from jordan pointing us to David Cloud.

I greatly respect David Cloud, and I have previously read his position on this, but I didn't want to discuss it with him - otherwise I would send him an email......

 

I would further point out that I would not stand in precisely a "local church only" place, as it is often described, and indeed as you have described it.

 

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42 minutes ago, Jordan Kurecki said:

You failed to address Jesus prophecy in Matthew 16 that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church. As far as I know, there are many local churches that have closed their doors and disbanded.

No, I mentioned that I was not intetested in debating David Cloud. 

I have read his post before, and if I wanted to address his arguments I would do so with him........

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4 minutes ago, DaveW said:

No, I mentioned that I was not intetested in debating David Cloud. 

I have read his post before, and if I wanted to address his arguments I would do so with him........

So really your not interested in actually discussing the problems with the local church only view.

You are not actually " Interested if someone could quote a verse that clearly teaches a universal understanding of the word "Church", because if you were, you would actually discuss Matthew 16 with me, regardless of if David Cloud also happens to use the same passage in relation to this topic. 

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19 hours ago, DaveW said:

As you well know, most people who use the term "universal church" use it in the Catholic sense, which usage is unbiblical.

Dave is correct.

Hebrews 12:22 and 23 is used by all, or most all, of the denominations, primarily the Roman Catholic and the Charismatics,  to force the interpretation that the church is a universal church. These false brethren will not recognize the local church. I am also of the persuasion that  even referring the "... general assembly and the church of the firstborn..." Hebrews 12:23 as being "a Universal Church," is not a biblical designation. To use "Universal Church" as a designation to Hebrews 12:23 is not what the writer of Hebrews is trying to convey and is a forced interpretation.

As far as I am concerned, Hebrews 12:22 and 23 is clearly talking about all of the saints gathered in heaven as a "general assembly" in heaven and not as a local congregation on the earth. The churches in the New Testament are clearly independent and local. Therefore, it depends on the context of the word "church' that determines its meaning. All of the churches in the New Testament were local congregations and independent (no denominational headquarters), of each other.

 

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1 hour ago, Jordan Kurecki said:

So really your not interested in actually discussing the problems with the local church only view.

You are not actually " Interested if someone could quote a verse that clearly teaches a universal understanding of the word "Church", because if you were, you would actually discuss Matthew 16 with me, regardless of if David Cloud also happens to use the same passage in relation to this topic. 

Actually, I am not interested in you regurgitating someone else's teaching.

That actual intent was to get people to STUDY the issue for themselves.

I don't care if you come to the same conclusion as me or not, just so long as YOU study it.

Your first two posts pointed to David Cloud - if you are not going to study it for yourself then I am not interested, no....

 

Further to that, NO I AM NOT INTERESTED in "discussing the problems with the local church only view". As I have already stated, I do not hold to the local church only view in the same way that Brother Markle doesn't hold to the universal church view.

Each of us differ from the classical view of these things.

I am interested in discussing verses with people who wish to do the study for themselves.

Even the point of doing the basic study will tear people swiftly away from the "classical" universal church view, which has been promoted on this site from time to time.

 

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I am very much a local church person. I believe that God works through the local church throughout the New Testament. I also am not a fan of Para-Church organizations. I would prefer them to work under a local church.

With that said, Jesus said, "Upon this Rock, I will build my church". The word Church is singular, yet Peter went on to plant more than one church.

So here is my position:
1. God works through the local church during the New Testament time. The authority of the local church is clearly seen in scripture.
2. All Christians belong to the "Church", which will be raptured out at some point in the future. (Rev 4:1)

I reject the "Universal Church" idea that there is one church in the World as that goes contrary to the Local Church, however, if you only hold to a local church, then you risk getting pulled into the Baptist Bride group. If you get saved, but never join a "Local Church", then you would not be raptured as you are not part of the "Church".

Anyway, Fun topic!

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There is such a thing as the church in concept.

The common illustration used is: The car has changed the way we live."

Which individual car are we talking about? No individual car, of course.

But is it talking about a universal car then? Well, that is plainly ridiculous.

It is talking about the car as a concept.

So also is the case with your reference - no individual church, nor a universal church, but the church in concept.

And I am absolutely not a brider.

Should we avoid biblical concepts for fear of being pulled into some group or other? In fact, my purpose here is to get people to study rather than accept what they are told.

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On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 10:06 PM, DaveW said:

Brother, your position on the "universal aspect of the church" is not the normal one, as you are well aware.

Indeed.

On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 10:06 PM, DaveW said:

As you well know, most people who use the term "universal church" use it in the Catholic sense, which usage is unbiblical.

Absolutely, the Roman Catholic sense of "universal church" is utterly unbiblical; for that concept attempts to MANufacture on the earth, what the Lord our God has already ordained and designed in the heavenly Jerusalem.  As I understand the teaching of the New Testament, the Biblical concept of the "universal" church is such that we all as New Testament believers are gathered together SPIRITUALLY IN CHRIST, as we are seated together SPIRITUALLY in heavenly places IN CHRIST.  As such, while some of its members may exist throughout this earth, this "church's" existence (gathering) is STRICTLY and SPIRITUALLY in heaven, not on the earth.  It has NO organization structure on the earth at all whatsoever.  That which the Lord our God has ordained as His "organization" on the earth itself is the local New Testament church.

On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 10:06 PM, DaveW said:

Would I be right in assuming that you would not introduce yourself as one who holds to a "universal spiritual church definition" without then explaining further so that you are not lumped in with the false universal church people?

Indeed.

On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 10:06 PM, DaveW said:

As far as the actual word itself goes, it does have an inherent meaning that necessarily includes the gathering together. Which is also inherent in Hebrews 12:22,23, and therfore entirely legitimate in its use of the term. But the term church is not used universally, in this passage - it relates to the gathering, if you follow my distinction.

What we have here is a universal reference to all saints gathered together as a church in one 'place'. The 'place' is even designated and named. 

Yes, the word "church" itself communicates by definition some form of "gathering, assembling;" and I do not deny such in Hebrews 12:22-23.  I simply would recognize that Hebrews 12:22-23 teaches a "universal" membership in the "gathering" of "the general assembly and church of the first born," and thereby implies a spiritual manner of gathering, rather than a physically local manner of gathering.  Thus I am compelled to recognize that the New Testament does teach some form of "all-encompassing" (of New Testament believers) church, "gathered" through a spiritual manner in Christ in the heavenly Jerusalem.

On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 10:06 PM, DaveW said:

Would you apply that universal understanding to any other passage? For instance Acts 2:47?

Or is it only applicable in Hebrews 12:22,23.

If you only applies it to Hebrews 12:23, then we have no issue - it includes all saints GATHERED in one place. It fits the technical understanding of a local church.....

I would see the doctrine of this "church" as being taught in other New Testament passages (such as in 1 Corinthians 12 & in Ephesians 2, etc.); however, I would be compelled to acknowledge that all of those passages also indicate or imply a "gathering" of all New Testament believers SPIRITUALLY in Christ.

On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 10:06 PM, DaveW said:

(Actually, we have no issue anyway - I knew prior to this that you differed from me in this way, and when all is said and done I know it makes no real difference between us.)

Agreed.

On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 10:06 PM, DaveW said:

The actual point of my original post was to get people studying the matter and not just accepting what they have been told. Whether they come to my position or not is not important to me, as long as they study it for themselves and come to their own conviction about it.

Well, as you are aware, personal study on such matters is NOT foreign to my habits; and rarely am I viewed as one who just follows the traditional line of doctrine and defense.  I thank you for the public challenge; for I believe that Fundamental Baptists desperately NEED to be more Biblically and personally studious, rather than just follow the doctrinal flow of the movement.

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Brother Markle, I very much appreciate your input, and of course I would expect that you have thoroughly examined the subject - in fact I know that to be the case from some of your comments in previous discussions.

And as always, I have learned from your comments.

I thank you. 

Interestingly, although I greatly wish to include the term "body" as exclusively local (as per 1 cor 12), my study has not brought me to the conviction that it is.

And by the way, I absolutely do not deny that the Bible speak universally of all believers, but when the Bible is clearly speaking of all believers it uses terms like "saints", "household", "citizens".

This is partly where I differ from the classic "local church only" position.

I suspect that our "difference" is one of terminology only and not substance. ?

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16 hours ago, DaveW said:

There is such a thing as the church in concept.

The common illustration used is: The car has changed the way we live."

Which individual car are we talking about? No individual car, of course.

But is it talking about a universal car then? Well, that is plainly ridiculous.

It is talking about the car as a concept.

So also is the case with your reference - no individual church, nor a universal church, but the church in concept.

And I am absolutely not a brider.

Should we avoid biblical concepts for fear of being pulled into some group or other? In fact, my purpose here is to get people to study rather than accept what they are told.

DaveW - The Biblical concept is what you have said on the top. The Church is spoken of as a "Concept" or as a Whole in many places in Scripture. However, God does not work through the "Whole", but through the local church as also clearly demonstrated in Scripture. The Baptist Bride group goes to an extreme which is almost always bad. They take the local church to the point that if you are not a member of a "Biblical Church", you are not part of the "Church". Therefore, you may end up in Heaven, but you won't be raptured.

I would disagree with the "Roman Catholic's" position of a "Universal" church. I don't think we are very far off from each other in our positions. Might just be symantics.

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I would say that the word church is a local assembly of Christians, and is a temporary, flexible small organization of some individuals within THE Church who, largely for geographical reasons, meet together for mutual encouragement and growth through the ministry of the Word of God -- at least that is the Bible's position:  Local assemblies are only as valuable as their dedication to carrying out their purpose; it also means that there is no justification for enshrining them with special buildings, special esoteric theologies (many of them which are false) -- all of which things contribute to a studied disinterest in the truth which is a hallmark of MOST denominations. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! :6_smile:

God Bless,

Daniel

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12 minutes ago, (Omega) said:

I would say that the word church is a local assembly of Christians, and is a temporary, flexible small organization of some individuals within THE Church who, largely for geographical reasons, meet together for mutual encouragement and growth through the ministry of the Word of God -- at least that is the Bible's position:  Local assemblies are only as valuable as their dedication to carrying out their purpose; it also means that there is no justification for enshrining them with special buildings, special esoteric theologies (many of them which are false) -- all of which things contribute to a studied disinterest in the truth which is a hallmark of MOST denominations. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! :6_smile:

God Bless,

Daniel

This not just a discussion on what people think about church - it is a bible verse examination.

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5 minutes ago, DaveW said:

This not just a discussion on what people think about church - it is a bible verse examination.

Davew,

The topic of this thread is called "A clear verse teaching a universal understanding of the word "church" I gave my explanation of what the bible says in its understanding of the word "church". I don't see how I was off topic.

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These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:14,15)

The absence of definite articles in other bible translation here (for "house", "church", "pillar" and "ground" -- all of which refer to the local church) is of critical importance and has been missed by almost every major translation.  But notice that "the truth", the purpose behind having a local assembly in the first place, is indeed "definite"

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That verse is in no way teaching a universal understanding of the word "church",

I don't even know where to start with a rebuttal because it is so obvuously not universal......

As far as the previous post..... a clear VERSE....... is how it is off topic.

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48 minutes ago, DaveW said:

That verse is in no way teaching a universal understanding of the word "church",

I don't even know where to start with a rebuttal because it is so obvuously not universal......

As far as the previous post..... a clear VERSE....... is how it is off topic.

Well hello DaveW,

Many posters on this thread have ALREADY posted clear verses with regards to your topic as some of the Pastor's and others here have already done. I am FREE to make a comment on what a local church is as opposed to THE church, and I don't think you have the right to say otherwise. It almost seems as if most of your posts come off as someone who is indignant when someone disagrees with you. But I can't really tell because I can't hear your voice inflections, but your word choices appear as if you are aggravated. Anyway, I will be praying for you.

God Bless,

Daniel

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The whole point of this thread, as is laid out in the first post, is BIBLICAL support for your position - of which you have provided precisely none.

I am sorry if you find it "indignant" or whatever, but I am not interested in what men say about the subject.

I am not interested in people who simply follow what they have been told.

I am not interested in people quoting other men's teachings.

I am not interested any man's opinion without Biblical support.

You are entitled to your opinion, but IN THIS THREAD your oponion will be rejected out of hand if it is not supported by Scripture.

 

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2 minutes ago, DaveW said:

The whole point of this thread, as is laid out in the first post, is BIBLICAL support for your position - of which you have provided precisely none.

I am sorry if you find it "indignant" or whatever, but I am not interested in what men say about the subject.

I am not interested in people who simply follow what they have been told.

I am not interested in people quoting other men's teachings.

I am not interested any man's opinion without Biblical support.

You are entitled to your opinion, but IN THIS THREAD your oponion will be rejected out of hand if it is not supported by Scripture.i DaveW, 

G'day DaveW,

You said:

"I am not interested in people who simply follow what they have been told.

I am not interested in people quoting other men's teachings.

I am not interested any man's opinion without Biblical support.

You are entitled to your opinion, but IN THIS THREAD your opinion will be rejected out of hand if it is not supported by Scripture."

Much of what you said is self-contradictory such as " I am not interested in what men say about the subject" But if that were true, why even respond or even reply to the posters on this thread? Including me? Why not just ignore me as an old man who you deem has learning problems?

And they are not my "opinions", and I have supported what I said using scripture. It's just that you have lack of understanding in the exegesis and hermeneutics of it. And you need to delve deeper in your studies. That, I can't help you. I study scripture every day, using exegesis and let scripture interpret scripture, and for you to say that you are not interested in people quoting other men's teachings (which I have not), or giving personal opinions without scriptural support (which I have not), or "follow" other teachers suggest that you have little to no knowledge about my study habits. IF bible teachers and Pastor's are correct, then they are correct if their teachings can be validated using scriptural support. I will leave you with this. I am 62 years old and not to toot my own horn, but I have been around the block a few times with regards to life's wisdom. I truly care for you and I'm quite sure you love Jesus, but I sincerely believe that you have much spiritual growth ahead of you, as we all do. I will bow out of this thread since it is only leading to a severe misunderstanding of what I've wrote. Take care!

God Bless,

Daniel

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9 hours ago, (Omega) said:

I would say that the word church is a local assembly of Christians, and is a temporary, flexible small organization of some individuals within THE Church who, largely for geographical reasons, meet together for mutual encouragement and growth through the ministry of the Word of God -- at least that is the Bible's position:  Local assemblies are only as valuable as their dedication to carrying out their purpose; it also means that there is no justification for enshrining them with special buildings, special esoteric theologies (many of them which are false) -- all of which things contribute to a studied disinterest in the truth which is a hallmark of MOST denominations. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! :6_smile:

God Bless,

Daniel

Your first post was entirely unsupported opinion. No Scripture quoted, no verse even referenced. 

This is 100% at odds with the opening post of this thread which SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED verses.

 

9 hours ago, (Omega) said:

These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:14,15)

The absence of definite articles in other bible translation here (for "house", "church", "pillar" and "ground" -- all of which refer to the local church) is of critical importance and has been missed by almost every major translation.  But notice that "the truth", the purpose behind having a local assembly in the first place, is indeed "definite"

This post you quoted a verse which so obviously doesn't relate in any way to a universal understanding of church it is almost imposdible to counter it - it simply doesn't relate to a universal church. At all. In any way....

As far as your accusation that if I was not interested etc......

I started the thread. I sa

I stated the purpose of the thread.

I have every right to direct it as I see fit.

Your first post was absolutely, 100% against the point of the thread, in that it was nothing more than unsuported opinion with no reference to the Bible.

 

I cannot believe that you are ragging on me for insisting that people support their opinions with Biblical support.

I will discuss with anyone a legitimate verse, where they have done the study themselves and are able to present a legitimate argument, and not just regurtitate someone else's teaching.

 

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13 hours ago, DaveW said:

Your first post was entirely unsupported opinion. No Scripture quoted, no verse even referenced. 

This is 100% at odds with the opening post of this thread which SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED verses.

 

This post you quoted a verse which so obviously doesn't relate in any way to a universal understanding of church it is almost imposdible to counter it - it simply doesn't relate to a universal church. At all. In any way....

As far as your accusation that if I was not interested etc......

I started the thread. I sa

I stated the purpose of the thread.

I have every right to direct it as I see fit.

Your first post was absolutely, 100% against the point of the thread, in that it was nothing more than unsuported opinion with no reference to the Bible.

 

I cannot believe that you are ragging on me for insisting that people support their opinions with Biblical support.

I will discuss with anyone a legitimate verse, where they have done the study themselves and are able to present a legitimate argument, and not just regurtitate someone else's teaching.

 

Per the Moderator's request, I will post one last time and stop "arguing" and get on topic. 
I am on my way to the airport this afternoon. Just so that you can stop accusing me of having no scriptural support, I will break it down for you.
 
To be honest, I'm not sure what the problem is or what the objection is.
 
The word "church" in the Bible is the Greek word ekklesia and it means "assembly"; it's the same word used for the assembly of the citizens in ancient Athens and the assembly of the people in the wilderness under Moses' leadership (Hebrew: qahal often translated as ekklesia in the LXX; compare Acts 7:38 KJV).
 
Beyond all argument, there is a Church which is composed of all believers:
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [the little rock] (petr-os), and upon this [mighty] Rock (petr-a, i.e., upon Christ Himself; cf. 1Cor.3:11) I will build My Church (cf. Dan.2:44-45), and the gates (i.e., the fortified defenses) of Hell (i.e., the devil's kingdom) will not [prevail] against it. (Matthew 16:18)
 
Beyond all argument, there are also smaller local assemblies that comprise only part of THE Church:
 
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia: (2nd Corinthians 1:1) 
Not even an unbeliever who finds the Bible pointless could read these verses and disagree with these two points.  So I'm not sure I understand your problem or putative point -- or motive in trying to make it.
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59 minutes ago, (Omega) said:
Beyond all argument, there is a Church which is composed of all believers:
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [the little rock] (petr-os), and upon this [mighty] Rock (petr-a, i.e., upon Christ Himself; cf. 1Cor.3:11) I will build My Church (cf. Dan.2:44-45), and the gates (i.e., the fortified defenses) of Hell (i.e., the devil's kingdom) will not [prevail] against it. (Matthew 16:18)

Beyond all argument?????

This verse does not require some sort of universal understanding of church.

First of all, in studying the meaning of word ekklesia, you find definition requires the assembling together. How can a universal church, which by definition is spread throughout the world AND throughout time be assembled together?

The concept of a universal church is absolutely at odds with the concept of being assembled.

Secondly, if it was "Beyond all argument" then there would be a plethora of verses supporting the concept - there just isn't. 

You will need to explain WHY this verse is necessarily universal in its meaning if you want a proper answer, because when I read this verse I do not see a universal church.

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I want to make sure I understand what you are saying Dave and Omega

Dave
You believe that there are only local churches and that there is not a "Universal Church".

Omega
It appears that you reject the "Universal Church" that is taught by Catholics, but that you hold to the same position as me that there is a singular "Church" that all Christians belong to, but that God does not work through that Church today, he works through the "local Assemblies". That the singular church is simply referring to all truly born-again believers.

I just want to make sure I fully understand both of you. Are these accurate?

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4 minutes ago, Pastorj said:

I want to make sure I understand what you are saying Dave and Omega

Dave
You believe that there are only local churches and that there is not a "Universal Church".

Omega
It appears that you reject the "Universal Church" that is taught by Catholics, but that you hold to the same position as me that there is a singular "Church" that all Christians belong to, but that God does not work through that Church today, he works through the "local Assemblies". That the singular church is simply referring to all truly born-again believers.

I just want to make sure I fully understand both of you. Are these accurate?

Yes sir, Pastorj

You have my position absolutely correct. I wish I could further expound on this but I am running late. Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018.

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Dave,

Good thread IMO and a good argument. I think I understand where you are coming from now and I think you are correct in that a church is always an assembly regardless of how mentioned. I am addressing two very related birds with this post if you don't mind.

Both the local church for us during our 70 years down here and all born again believers making up the body of Christ throughout the age, are Scriptural. Our business is the local church. God's business is the whole church from the beginning which will assemble in Heaven later on. So IMO this makes your argument very logical and it can be stated accurately that the body of Christ is not His complete or assembled Church "yet". But rather the mentions of His Church are in future tense and reference that time when it is complete and assembled in Heaven, including Heb 12 which is also applied in future tense because it is obvious that the audience nor Paul had yet "physically come unto the mount Sion" but that his name is written there and he and all to who that passage applies to will come later throughout the age until all are present. Then and only then is His Church Assembled. The Lord is outside of time so He refers to us all as His church (past, present and future) but we are still inside the limits of time and can only refer to our physical assemblies with any authority.

There is no doubt that the catholic perversion of the universal church lead by a pope is unscriptural. Just like every counterfeit aspect of Catholicism. Protestants and Charismatics follow the same errors in relation to I Cor 13. They believe Apostle type characters still exist in some more modern form like popery and archbishops and denominational presidents, etc.  Some of these groups even refer to their leaders as "apostle". So in mind-boggling error they think a central person is to have oversight of many churches as it was in Acts initially. What is not understood by these false groups is that in Acts, once these churches (that they personally planted) were later confirmed by the same Apostles (and their own disciples), they then became independent churches. They of course can't understand that the Spiritual authority and powers given the Apostles died with them after the completion of God's Perfect Revelation to man and the presence of indwelling Spirit. Not just Apostolic authority but also Apostolic gifts breathed on the Apostles by the Lord personally including all gifts of healings, tongues, prophesies, signs, wonders and miracles. Some of these gifts were passed onto the Apostle's direct disciples also but all ended at the end of the first century once the Book of Revelation was finished in written form.

All of these early gifts were considered child's play by God once the Perfect combination of His Spirit guiding believers in His Completed Word was come (that which is Perfect) I Cor 13. God has no need for Apostles to provide oversight anymore we have the "perfect" and more "excellent" way now. His Word is complete so there will be no more Revelation/prophesy from Him to anyone since AD96 and all the way up until the Comforter is taken out of the way with His remaining Church members. Nor is there any need for Spiritual gifts, signs, tongues or any other "sight" type early evidences for the unbelievers. The Spirit is here now to convict of sin, righteousness and judgment to come based solely on God's Completed, Written Word.

Since I Cor 13 and 14 are purposely ignored by these groups, all sorts of nonsense that mocks God and His Word goes on in this age. Man worship like Popery and denominational central offices/presidents (doctrine of the nicolaitans) comes from this purposeful misinterpretation, as does all charismania like dreams and visions and audible voices and near death (see the light) nonsense concocted in the mind that always needs to see a sign or proof of God.

God clearly puts no man anyone else in this age (Matt 23). He will speak to no one audibly in this age. All of His revelation to us is already revealed and Perfect being explained by His Spirit.

Out of ignorance these groups believe that we not only have God's Complete Revelation and God's Holy Spirit poured out over all flesh who convicts, regenerates, seals and indwells.

but they also redundantly retain the temporary:

Apostolic authority along with all the gifts clearly designated by God as temporary, IE..."in part" until the Perfect combination of the Spirit and His Word is come. The entire idea of seeking signs in this age is not only unscriptural but also makes a foolish mockery of God and His true Gospel which can only be received in pure faith without sight of any type. In addition, Spiritual growth can only come from true faith and true faith can only come from "hearing His written Word".

If a person seeks signs long enough, their subconscious minds will give provide them. Aided of course by spicy foods, hormonal imbalances, medications or rem-sleep dreams sometimes brought on by anesthesia . The ignorance is in the seeking of such signs. Except the sign of Jonas the prophet of course (Christ's Sacrifice for us). 

I believe false religions share the same misunderstandings of these passages and this is where some of their distinguishing falsehoods come from, whether man-worship (universal church) or extra revelation, signs/miracles in this age. These confusions are all directly related IMO.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Pastorj said:

I want to make sure I understand what you are saying Dave and Omega

Dave
You believe that there are only local churches and that there is not a "Universal Church".

Omega
It appears that you reject the "Universal Church" that is taught by Catholics, but that you hold to the same position as me that there is a singular "Church" that all Christians belong to, but that God does not work through that Church today, he works through the "local Assemblies". That the singular church is simply referring to all truly born-again believers.

I just want to make sure I fully understand both of you. Are these accurate?

Not exactly.

Where the word "church" is used, it is always used in its proper sense, which means a gathered together group. It is never used incorrectly of a universal ungathered group.

God DOES refer to all believers at times, but when He does He uses terms like "household", "fellowcitizens", etc.

I am not "local church only",  because I do not deny that the Bible refers to all believers. It is easy to produce verses that show this. But God never calls all believers as a single ungathered group "the church".

Edited by DaveW
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