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 How do you see the Church, and your relationship with it?

The thread " Does everyone have a local chuch?" was locked before I even got to read it, let alone make any comments! It could I think have been a good thread if not spoiled by infighting.

This is a different aspect and a slightly different question, and hopefully won't end in fruitless argument this time.

First: [u][b]What is the Church?[/b][/u]
I think we would all agree we are part of a Body that is independent of space and time - even including those who are no longer alive on earth. One creed calls this the "communion of saints". Although of course we are NOT to use this as an excuse for trying to contact or pray to those who have gone before us.

I also believe (although some have taught otherwise) that we are one with Old Testament saints, because Jesus is spoken of as the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:7). So His atoning death is effective both for us and for them and for those who will be born before He returns.

Ephesians 3:14
[i][color=000099] 14 For this reason I bow my knees to the rFather 6of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom [i][u]the whole family in heaven and earth[/u][/i] is named,[/color][/i]

Hebrews 12:22-24
[i][color=000099]22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to [i][u]the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven[/u][/i], to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel[/color]

1Corinthians 12:12-14
[i][color=000099]12 For as [u]the body is one[/u][/i] and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 [i][u]For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and whave all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many[/u][/i].[/color]

Second: [u][b]What is my relationship with the Church?[/u][/b]
Apart from the obvious, spoken of above, that we are one Body (whether we like it or not!), this is the practical, local, everyday aspect.

I believe we DO need regular fellowship, if it is in any way possible, with other members of the Body.

What that means, in practice, will be different depending on circumstances, where the Lord leads us and where we feel "at home". Especially, where the Lord leads us.

For some individuals I think this could mean worshipping at home with our family for a season, or even alone; although we would have to be very very sure of the Lord's leading in that case. Unless of course, circumstances make it impossible to meet physically with others, (Forrest is one example here on SI).

But we have no permission from the Lord to isolate ourselves [u][i]in spirit[/i][/u]. Even if we have no-one else that we are able to fellowship with, we are still part of the Body, still joined to others through Christ. To deny this truth leads to a superior attitude, that too often ends up in despising our brethren. It is also dangerous in the same way that a sheep separated from its local flock has a hard job to survive.

And yet, there are times when we do have to walk alone with God without "human" fellowship. The loneliness of the prophetic walk was spoken of on another thread. This will be increasingly true in these perilous times.

Therefore, we must not be so dependent on the local fellowship that we are unable to stand alone. Neither should we take on the particular "colouring" of the local church to the extent that this identity dominates our lives at the expense of whole Body unity.

[u][b]My personal experience[/b][/u]:
In the early 1980's I became involved in a small prayer group of those from different denominational backgrounds. The Lord brought each of us out of the denomination we were in. Among other things, the Lord gave us such a vision of what the Church that we were spiritually "moved", and this led to a physical move.

Then one prayed "Lord, what do we do now? Where do we go?" and the answer came, "[b]Go wherever God's people gather[/b]".

So the vision didn't cause isolation, but freedom to fellowship wherever He sent us.

That doesn't mean "church-hopping" but remaining in that [i]spiritual[/i] place with the Lord where He has put me, and to the physical place where He sends.

I have since met others in the same place spiritually, and fellowship with them is richer than with any in the local church where the Lord has me.

In Him

Jeannette

 2007/7/29 17:23









 Re: How do you see the Church, and your relationship with it?

If a person learns to walk in the Spirit of Christ and know His Voice and leadings, than he is always where HE wants him.

If we hang out with unsaved folks, it is only to win them to Jesus, otherwise - we should always want to be with His Body, always because we will be Forever.

Is O.K. Sis ?

Love.
Annie

 2007/7/29 17:55









 Re: How do you see the Church, and your relationship with it?

Quote:
Jeannette said: ........remaining in that spiritual place with the Lord where He has put me, and to the physical place where He sends.

I like that Sis. I was wondering what I should do next. After being out of the mainline church for 4 years, I have been asking that same question, "Where do I go now?". I like that answer, "Go wherever God's people gather".

I think I'll try that, whether it be Church or a home group setting. I was getting battle weary just being at home and waiting for the LORD to send me someplace else. I think that might be the answer. Thanks Jeanette for sharing that. ;-)

 2007/7/29 20:28
tinluke
Member



Joined: 2005/4/8
Posts: 220
New England USA

 Re: How do you see the Church, and your relationship with it?

Jeanette,

The Lord said something similar to me while searching for a church. He said "go where MY heart is." I wasn't sure exactly what that ment, and I continued my quest for the "perfect" church, just to become increasingly frustrated. A short time later, I asked the Lord specificaly where to go, He said, "take my hand and follow ME." I have to admit that I didn't like that response. I wanted Jesus to give me an address within 30 miles of my house with a great Sunday school for my kids and tons of happy, Christian couples for my husband and I to have fellowship with. I could picture the whole thing in my mind...me, my husaband, the kids and all our new church friends. I was angry that I couldn't have it! The Lord began to show me how that image was just that...an image that man has created. I'm not saying I have it all figured out, but I think I have a better understanding about what church is.

For me, to "go where HIS heart is" is to be close to the broken-hearted, to offer a drink in HIS name, clothe the naked and feed the hungry. To be partakers in Christ's suffering, to share HIS burden, to be co-laborers with Christ!

Having fellowship with other believers is part of the Church, but not Church in itself. Yes, I need my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am so encouraged to visit a church like Times Square Church. It's like a small piece of heaven to be in the sanctuary and hear annointed preaching and heavenly worship! I'd like to "hide" there forever but I am not Jesus's hands and feet by visiting any Church. I am part of HIS body when I am in HIM.

I think we need to put down our image of what we think church should look like. Once I did that, God lead and opened the doors to put a small fellowship together. We got a church in our neighborhood on Sunday nights for free. Our "worship team" consists of one guitar player and me singing. We have no goal or agenda other than to seek HIS face. We're not trying to start a new church, just be the Church.

In HIS love,

Tina


_________________
tina

 2007/7/30 0:17Profile









 Re: How do you see the Church, and your relationship with it?

Some great replies already. Thank you all!

Jeannette

 2007/7/30 17:25









 Re:

I think that a lot of the problems when someone leaves a church is that we may do it for the wrong reasons, when the Lord is [i]not[/i] telling us to leave. Maybe we don't like the new minister, or disagree on some non-vital point of doctrine or practice, or want to do our own thing, (using one of the above as an excuse perhaps). Or maybe we have a "vision" that we think is superior to that of the local church (that can be a very subtle temptation, as I have found).

Problems when we stay in a church when [i]the Lord[/i] is calling us out, may be fear of the unknown - especially if we have been brought up in a particular denomination all our lives. Or maybe we are simply settled and set in our ways and don't want to change.

It takes courage to "get out of the boat and walk on the water", even when the Lord Himself is saying "Come"

I believe that the real move is [i][u]going on with the Lord[/u][/i], not moving geographically. But if the Lord takes us on spiritually we may find that the church we are connected with can no longer support that growth. It may have been right for a season but now we can no longer remain. That was my experience with the Presbyterian Church.

in Him

Jeannette

 2007/7/30 17:42
LiveforGod
Member



Joined: 2007/4/17
Posts: 299


 Re: How do you see the Church, and your relationship with it?

This is very, very long, but it sure does have a lot of questions answered. This is writen by Daniel Sidney Warner.

THE CHURCH OF GOD
What it is and What it is Not
By. D.S. Warner

CHAPTER 1
What is the Church?
The words church and churches occur in the New Testament 109 times, always translated from ekklesia, which
would have been more correctly rendered congregation, which, with the Bible qualifications, would have read, “the
congregation of God,” “the congregation of the first-born,” etc., denoting its divine Founder and Owner. And, “the
congregation that was at Antioch,” “The congregation of God which was at Corinth,” “The congregation of Asia,” “The
congregation of Galatia,” etc., denoting the different geographical locations of the congregations of God. But whether
we use the word church, as in common use, or congregation, the more correct appellation, we should only attach such
meaning to it as agrees with the Word of God. To use a Bible word out of its biblical meaning is perverting the Bible.
What then is the Bible definition of the church? Answer: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him
to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” Eph. 1:22, 23.
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he
might have the preeminence.” Col. 1:18. “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 sake, which is the church.” Col. 1:24.
The church is the body of Christ. And its being the body of Christ, necessarily includes all His members.
Therefore to call an earthly building the church is ridiculous, and to call an organized division the church is subverting
the truth. No sect contains all the body of Christ, therefore, no sect is the church of God. Then as honest men, who
expect to be judged by the Word of God, let us never call anything the church but the body of Christ; i. e., all the saved,
either universally, or in any given locality.


CHAPTER 2
Who is the Founder of the Church?
We are told that Abraham “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Heb.
11:10. And the apostle Paul says to the converted Hebrews in the next chapter (verses 22-24), “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, to
the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the
spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that
speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
That city whose builder and maker is God we have come unto in the gospel dispensation, and it is the church of
the first-born. Christ, who was “God manifest in the flesh,” is the founder, builder, and maker of the church. “For this
man [Christ Jesus] was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more
honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.” Heb 3:3, 4. “. .
. feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:28. “Husbands, love your wives, even
as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water
by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church . . . holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:25-27. “. . .
upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18.


CHAPTER 3
When Was the Church Built?
The last text cited above speaks of her building as then in the future. Now read I Cor. 3:9, “. . . ye are God’s
husbandry, ye are God’s building.”
“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded
together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Eph. 2:20-22.
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” I Pet. 2:5.
In A. D. 32 Christ said, “I will build my church.” In [A. D.] 59, and after that, the apostles said, “Ye are God’s
building,” “are built up a spiritual house.” So the church was built between those dates. It is true that the church was
begun under the labours of John the Baptist, Jesus, and His apostles, before the day of Pentecost. Many believed and
entered the kingdom then, and constituted material for the church. But the coming of the Holy Spirit was the point of
time when the church was really built, and set in order, as seen in I Cor. 12:6, 11-13, 18, 24. The church is defined as
“his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Eph. 1:23. The church proper then did not exist until the fulness of
Christ came, which was on the day of Pentecost. Then it was fully set up, and “fitly joined together and compacted.”
That being the time of the founding of the church of God, it follows that every religious body that has since come into
existence is not the church of God, but a daughter of confusion, born out of due season. This includes Romanism and
all the Protestant sects.


CHAPTER 4
Who is its Foundation?
“Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner
stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Isa. 28:16.
“For who is God save the Lord? or who is a rock save our God?” Psalm 18:31.
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” I Cor. 3:11.
“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone;
in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.” Eph. 2:20, 21.
In the last text we see that the apostles were foundation-stones. If we were held to apply the “rock” in Matt. 16:18
to Peter, there is nothing in such an application of the text that conflicts with the scriptures. The apostles all being
foundations, of course Peter was one of them. He does not single Peter out here because he had any preeminence over
the rest, but because he was conversing with him, and his name, Cephas–a stone–called out the assertion. For evidence
that all twelve were all foundations, see Rev. 21:14.
Yet, Christ is the all-underlying foundation. The apostles being first chosen and inspired to give us the new
Testament, were foundation stones occupying a connecting position between Christ, the Rock, and the rest of the
building. Christ is then the only Rock. “Other foundation can no man lay.” Only one structure can stand on one
foundation. Christ built His church on Himself. All later organizations are without Christ as their foundation, and must
perish.


CHAPTER 5
Who is the Head of the Church?
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him [Christ] to be the head over all things to the church.” Eph.
1:22.
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the
whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working
in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Eph. 4:15, 16.
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Eph. 5:23, 24.
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he
might have the preeminence.” Col. 1:18.
“Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those
things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body
by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” Col. 2:18,
19.
The head of an institution is its lawmaker. “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our
king; he will save us.” Isa. 33:22.
“There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy . . .” James 4:12.
All organisms that make their own laws, creeds, disciplines, and systems of co-operation, do not hold the
Head–Christ. Their law-making synods and general conferences ignore the divine lawgiver, usurp the place of Christ
and sit in the stead of God, and are not Christ’s church, which is subject to Him.
Again, there is one head; hence there can be but one body.


CHAPTER 6
What is the Door of the Church?
Thus saith the Lord: “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep
. . . I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” John 10:7,
9.
“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little
strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” Rev. 3:8.
“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Eph. 2:18.
In these scriptures we see clearly that Christ is the door of the church, and salvation the mode of induction, and that
it is a door that stands open continually, and no man can shut. Christ is not the door of any sect, therefore no sect is the
church of God. The experience of salvation does not constitute a person a member of any sect on earth; therefore they
are not the church of God. All sects have doors, a manner of admitting members, that are open and shut by men, hence
are unlike the church of God, which no man can open and shut. They are therefore not His church.


CHAPTER 7
Who Takes Members into the Church?
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their
meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added
to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:46, 47.
“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” I Cor. 12:18.
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free;
and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” I Cor. 12:13.
Here the setting of the members into the body, or adding to the church, is ascribed to God, to Christ, and to the
Spirit. Of course they are one, the triune God.
But God never takes men into a sect. Therefore no sect is His church.


CHAPTER 8
Who are Members of the Church?
If, as we have seen, salvation is the process of entering the church, it follows that no one is in the church who has
not salvation. The church is one “family in heaven and earth,” named from the Father. Eph. 3:15. This family is “the
household of God.” Eph. 2:19. Then it follows that only the sons of God, such as are born of the Spirit, are in the
church. And we are told that “he that committeth sin is of the devil,” and “whosoever is born of God doth not commit
sin,” “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil” (I John 3:8-10), namely, in the fact that
children of the devil commit sin, and the children of God do not. The holy apostle repeats the fact with emphasis “We
know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one
toucheth him not.” I John 5:18. There are no sinners in the church. But all sects are more or less filled with sinners.
Hence, no sect is the church of God.


CHAPTER 9
Who Organizes the Church?
The word “organize” is not in the scriptures. It is defined in the dictionary as follows: “To furnish with organs;
to arrange in parts; to form in due order.”
God’s church is furnished with organs, arranged in parts, in due order; hence, is an organic structure. But who is
the organizer of the same? Who furnishes it with organs? Answer: “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of
wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts
of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits;
to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the
selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” I Cor. 12:8-11.
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 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.” Verses 27, 28.
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and unto all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you
overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:28.
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also
hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit
giveth life.” II Cor. 3:5, 6.
“He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. And he
gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of
the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith,
and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
Eph. 4:10-13.
These are sufficient to prove that God furnishes His church with all its organs, namely with all necessary gifts of
the Spirit, and officers. The foregoing scriptures cover the first two definitions of the word organize. But who forms
in due parts? “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him . . . For our
comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part
which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for
another.” I Cor. 12:18, 24, 25.
Other scriptures also show the harmonizing of the body of Christ, by the hand of God and through the Spirit. But
those given above are sufficient. One thing, however, we mention, and that is, the laying on of hands by the elders in
ordaining elders, etc. That this pertains to the organization of the church, we freely allow. But it is never called
organizing the church. God ordains by way of qualifying and choosing, and His ministers ordain in the sense of
recognizing the divine call, and dedicating thereunto. This order is clearly seen in Acts 13:1-4.
Succession of authority down through a course of ecclesiastical lords is all a superstitious delusion; a dragon power.
Those whom God saves, baptizes with power, and commissions by the Holy Spirit have the only ecclesiastical authority
instituted of God, and this comes direct from heaven, and not through any imaginary line of predecessors.
Voting for officers only belongs to Babylon formality, where God is not present to work “all in all,” by the selfsame
Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He wills.
The church, then, is organized by the Lord, who sets all the members in the body as it pleases Him, and distributes
the gifts and callings by His own wisdom to all the members of the body. Men may organize a human compact, but never
the divine body of Christ, which is the church. Thus said the Lord: “And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and
set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew
unto them.” Isa. 44:7.
This is to the point. God Himself “appointed the ancient people” to their several places in the body, and who will
now presume to take upon himself the prerogative of the Almighty? “Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every
founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are
vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he
is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the Lord of hosts is his name.” Jer. 51:17-19.
The sect-founders are confounded because their structures “have no breath”–no life. They call them churches, but
it “is falsehood,” the work of error. But God’s true church is the former of all things, the primitive church that Jesus
bought with His own blood, and built before the rise of the first sect of the apostasy.
He that builds a house organizes the same. But if other men were to come and saw the same house into four parts,
and throw each off its foundation, such work would be disorganizing the building, and destroying the same. Just so
should God, by the pure Word and Spirit, fully save, say four hundred souls in one city, He would organize and temper
all together in one body. But should four preachers, representing as many sects, each form his schismatic organism there
of equal members, each would have the impudence to report to his conference that he had organized a church there of
one hundred members while the facts would be, they, like the parties cleaving the house asunder, would really
disorganize and disintegrate the church. Thus, we see that the organizing sects, the work of men, is the disorganizing
of the church, which is built of God. Since, then, the church is organized by the Lord, it follows that so-called churches
organized by men, lack the authentic seal of God, and are not His church, but unscriptural schisms.


CHAPTER 10
How Many Churches Does God Have?
Every description of the divine church shows its oneness “Other sheep [Gentiles] I have, which are not of this fold
[not Jews]: them also I must bring . . . and there shall be one fold [church], and one shepherd.” John 10:16.
We have seen that Christ is “the head of the body, the church.” Therefore, as there is but one head, there can be
but one body.
“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are
one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Rom. 12:4, 5.
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body:
so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be
bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. But now are they many members, yet but one body.” I
Cor. 12:12, 13, 20.
“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself
of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain
the enmity thereby.” Eph. 2:14-16.
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one
baptism, one God and Father of all who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Eph. 4:4-6.
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Col.
3:15.
These scriptures prove positively that there is but one true church, just as there is but one God, one true God. Since
we are called of Christ into one body, the call to join various bodies must be of the antichrist.
Again, the church sustains the same relation to Christ that a wife does to her husband.
“And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and
in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord.” Hosea
2:19, 20.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to
another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” Rom. 7:4. “For I am
jealous over you with godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin
to Christ.” II Cor. 11:2. “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom. . .” Jn. 3:29.
“For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God
of the whole earth shall he be called.” Isa. 54:5.
The idea of Christ having more than one wife (church) is repugnant to the Bible, and a slander on the Son of God.
“Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Eph. 3:15.
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household
of God.” Eph. 2:19.
From these and other scriptures, we see the church is God’s family, or household. And, since a man can have only
one family, it follows that God has but one church. It would be an awful reflection on the holiness of God to have many
wives and separate rival families, and they of the “nude and lude” character Bishop Foster ascribes to the modern sects.
Therefore the multiplicity of sects, falsely called churches, are not God’s church.


CHAPTER 11
But Does the Bible Speak of More Than One Church?
The word “church” frequently occurs in the plural form, but never in the sense of sects of denominations. When
more than one church is spoken of, it is always the one church of the living God, in different localities.
“. . . they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch . . . and when they had ordained them elders in
every church,” et cetera Acts 14:21, 23.
“And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.” Acts 15:41.
“Who have for my life laid down their own necks; unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of
the Gentiles.” Rom. 16:4.
“. . . as I teach everywhere in every church.” I Cor. 4:17.
“And so ordain I in all churches.” I Cor. 7:17.
“. . . as I have given order to the churches of Galatia.” I Cor. 16:1.
“The churches of Asia salute you.” I Cor. 16:19.
“. . . throughout all the churches.” II Cor. 8:18.
Thus we see that when churches are spoken of, they invariably denote the same church of God in several cities, or
throughout one or more countries. But there is not the slightest intimation of more than one church in the same city.
Speaking of the church in various geographical localities, the apostle says: “So ordain I in all churches.” “As I have
given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye [Corinthians].” It can easily be seen that if these New Testament
“churches” were different sects, as we have today, one bishop could not give orders to them all. Bishop Simpson of the
M. E. sect cannot issue orders over the U. B. Lutheran, Presbyterian, and other sects. He has no jurisdiction over them.
So we see a vast difference between Bible churches and sect divisions. The former are all one in Christ. The latter are
independent and separate schisms. Several sects exist in the same town, but God only has one church in the same place.
Hence we read: “. . . the church that was at Antioch.” Acts 13:1. “. . . the church of God which is at Corinth . . .” I Cor.
1:2. “. . . the church of the Thessalonians . . .” I Thess. 1:1. “. . . unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto
Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto
Laodicea.” Rev. 1:11. Thus we see there was only one church in one city. Seven sects can now be addressed in one
town of no great size. But when messages were sent to seven churches in Asia, seven different cities had to be addressed.
All the saved of God in any place constitute His church in that place. Then it follows that a plurality of separate bodies
in the same place are not God’s church, but babel confusion.


CHAPTER 12
Does the Bible Teach the Unity of All Believers?
Yes. “. . . Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we
are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name . . .” John 17:11, 12.
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may
be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast
sent me . . . and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” John 17:20-23.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there
be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” I Cor.
1:10.
“. . . for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:28.
“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be
absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the
gospel.” Phil. 1:27.
“Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Phil. 2:2.
“Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ
Jesus; that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Rom. 15:5, 6.
“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.” Acts 4:32.
Can anybody look upon this picture and not see an awful contrast between it and the dark picture of the present-day
sect confusion? Do the members of the different sects have the same care one for another? Behold, they are not of one
mind, nor of one judgment; they are not one in name, nor creed, nor body; they are not of one heart, nor of one soul, nor
of one spirit, nor yet of one faith; they have not one mouth, nor do they speak the same things. They are never one,
except it be in opposing Bible salvation. As God confounded the babel-builders, and they all became divided and of
different tongues, so he has sent His thunderbolts of wrath upon Rome, the mother of harlots, and has knocked off several
hundred Protestant fragments, each one of which speaks the peculiar dialect of its creed.
The church, compared with a human body, is required to have but one mouth, which means perfect harmony in all
her teaching. If we were to allow that the multiplicity of sects are the church, then a human monstrosity, having several
hundred mouths, and every mouth speaking contrary to every other mouth, would be necessary to symbolize it. As the
body of Christ has but one mouth and speaks the same things, it is very evident that the jargon confusion of sect tongues
does not represent His body, and is not His church.


CHAPTER 13
What is the Basis of Union?
1. “. . . all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:28.
“So we, being many, are one body in Christ . . .” Rom. 12:5.
As it is here stated, there is but one body in Christ, it necessarily follows that the many separate sect bodies are not
in Christ. As we are all one in Christ Jesus, to join anything else but Christ incurs the sin of sectism.
2. “. . . Holy Father, keep through [Greek, in] thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be
one, as we are . . . I kept them in thy name.” John 17:11, 12. Here the church was named by “the mouth of the Lord”
as had been predicted in Isa. 62:2. Eph. 3:15, as correctly rendered from the Greek by the Emphatic Diaglott and other
versions, reads thus: “From whom the whole family in the heavens, and on earth is named.”
The name of the church was given by the mouth of the Lord, and was derived from God, His Father. The apostles
respected the prayer of Christ, and kept the church in God’s name.
“. . . feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:28.
“. . . the church of God which is at Corinth . . .” I Cor. 1:2; II Cor. 1:1.
“Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.” I Cor. 10:32.
“. . . despise ye the church of God?” I Cor. 11:22.
“. . . I persecuted the church of God.” I Cor. 15:9.
“. . . beyond measure, I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it.” Gal. 1:13.
“For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus . . .” I Thess. 2:14.
“. . . we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God . . .” II Thess. 1:4.
“If a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” I Tim. 3:5.
“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.” I Tim. 3:14, 15.
Here are twelve instances of the title, “church of God.” This corresponds with the Saviour’s prayer, and is the only
proper appellation. But as there was but the one church, the qualifying part of the name was not needed in every instance.
Hence, for convenience, they usually said, “the church,” or the church at some certain place.
We hear a babel cry, “There is nothing in the name.” It is a false assertion. In the Bible, as shown above, God is
honoured as the maker and owner of the church. Would an appellation that does not indicate whether God, man, or the
devil founded and owns the church do equal honour to God? Let it also be known there is enough in false names to
divide and confuse the family of God. Therefore Christ prayed the Father to keep them in His name, “that they may all
be one as we are.” Therefore all persons that join themselves to any other name, are guilty of the sin of division.
3. “I have given them thy Word.” This said Christ in His prayer for our perfect oneness. To impose any other
creed, or subscribe to any other, is to make and join divisions, and is a sin against Christ and His body, the church.
It is claimed that the organized divisions are necessary to convert the world. But Jesus prayed that all His disciples
should be one as He and the Father are, that the world might believe.
O ye sectarians, thus saith God: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” Isa. 55:8.


CHAPTER 14
What is the Bond of Union?
Answer: Love. “Above all these things put on charity [love], which is the bond of perfectness.” Col. 3:14.
“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of
understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.” Col. 2:2.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or
nakedness, or peril, or sword?
“As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor
things to come,
“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ
Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39.


CHAPTER 15
What Experience Perfects Us in Oneness?
Answer: Entire sanctification, or perfection.
In connection with His prayer for oneness, the Saviour prayed the Father to sanctify the disciples and all that would
believe on Him through their word, which included us. “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they
may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.” John 17:22, 23.
Sanctification, perfection, and the glory of Christ all relate to the same experience, and this makes God’s children one.
“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them
brethren.” Heb. 2:11.
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the
perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity
of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness
of Christ.” Eph. 4:11-13.
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain
conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish
and without spot.” I Pet. 1:18, 19.
The salvation of the Lord, which qualifies us for heaven, makes us one on earth. A religion of divisions will
deceive the soul. The chief object of God’s ministers is to “perfect the saints.” The blood of Christ not only purifies
from “all sin” and “all unrighteousness,” but also sweeps away all erroneous doctrines. The Comforter guides into all
truth, which involves the removal of all error. It is true that cleansing from error is not as instantaneous as from sin. But
the pure in heart have perfect fellowship, even though all previously educated errors have not yet disappeared. There
is therefore no real cause of division but sin. Therefore to cry against sects and divisions without first being wholly
sanctified, and then leading people into this precious paradise of holy love, is nothing but confusion mocking confusion,
or satan buffeting satan, as the devil flogged the sons of Sceva. All efforts of union but that of God’s holiness is like
pounding cold, crooked pieces of iron against each other to make them fit together. The more blows, the more crooks
and differences. Put them into a furnace of white heat, and they will lose their cold, stiff, crooked individuality, and flow
into one mass. That is God’s way of uniting His people, in the fire of the Holy Spirit. All tinkering up platforms of union
is wasted time. Each effort has only molded another sect calf for the people to worship and wrangle over. Freedom from
sin knits together in love. But all merely strapped-up unions are bundles bound together to be burned. Bible salvation
is all that is needed. This obtained, both union of heart and soul, and harmony in outward worship and life, will follow
as a result or fruit of the Spirit. When “baptized by one Spirit into the one body,” and made to drink in the one divine
Spirit in His fulness, there will be no trouble to “worship God in Spirit and in truth.” For all such “know the truth, and
the truth makes them free.”
On the plane of Bible holiness, no outward observances are made a test, in fact nothing is made a test of fellowship.
For holy men “judge not from appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” I John 1:7.
Fellowship is of the Spirit (Phil. 2:1), and exists where heart-purity exists. It is the conscious blending of hearts filled
with the same Holy Spirit.
One may have been led into all truth, the other not. This does not interrupt fellowship. Nevertheless it is the duty
of such as “know the truth,” in meekness to instruct others who do not. Ignorance of some truth does not destroy
fellowship, but resisting the truth does, because it forfeits salvation. We must not sanction people’s errors, but if saved,
show our love and fellowship to them, so long as they do not get the evidence that their wrong doctrines have become
wilful, or they have in some way lost salvation. The fellowship ends, but love and kindness still continue in faithful
efforts for their salvation. To ignore fellowship simply because of some doctrinal error is bigotry. To agree to disagree,
or to put on an equality truth and error, is babel confusion. To know the truth is our privilege; to teach the truth our duty;
but to have fellowship with the pure and upright of heart is an involuntary and spontaneous fact. Sects are the result of
carnality. Nothing but perfect holiness destroys carnality, and thus removes both sectism and its cause. The fire of God’s
love saves the soul, harmonizes all hearts that receive it, leads them into perfect and uniform obedience to all truth, and
drives afar all who refuse to pass through its purging fire, and gain the plane of holy fellowship.


CHAPTER 16
What is a Sect?
In a little tract entitled “Sects,” written by the founder of the Free Methodist sect, who signs his name, Rev. B. T.
Roberts, the following definition is given:
“The word ‘sect’ is from the Latin secare, to cut off, to separate. The word section is from the same root. Hence
a section is a portion cut off, or separated from a body of which it forms a part. A sect of Christians is a part of the entire
Christian body, separated from the rest by some peculiar doctrines or tenets which they hold exclusively, or to which they
give especial prominence. This we believe is a fair definition of the word sect, as commonly used by those who know
the meaning of the words which they use.”
This we confess is a true definition and explanation of the word sect. But how any man of ordinary intelligence
can thus correctly define sects as separate, cut-off portions from the body of Christ, by some exclusive party doctrines
and then turn around and say it is right thus to sever the general body of Christ into fragments, is a mystery of iniquity.
It well demonstrates the fact that a heretic (i. e., sectarian) is subverted and sinneth. To justify and sanction such schisms
from the general body is to sin against God, and utterly disregard His Word.


CHAPTER 17
What Does the Bible Say of Sects?
They “devoureth the man that is more righteous than he; and makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping
things that have no ruler over them. They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them
in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag;
because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous. Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare
continually to slay the nations?” Habakuk 1:13-17.
“That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”
I Cor. 12:25. Sects and schisms mean the same thing.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye
have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good
words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Rom. 16:17, 18.
“A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted,
and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” Titus 3:10, 11.
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily
shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through
covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not,
and their damnation slumbereth not.” II Pet. 2:1-3.
The words “damnable heresies,” are rendered “destructive sects,” in the German version.
“For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe
it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” I Cor.
11:18, 19. Here we see that heresies means the same as divisions. And in the margin the translators put it in plain
English, “sects.” Paul declared the Corinthian brethren carnal, because they were inclined to schisms, saying, “I am of
Paul; and another, I am of Apollos.” I Cor. 3:1-4. In Galatians 5:20 the apostle classifies “heresies,” translated “sects,”
in the Emphatic Diaglott, with murders, and the whole catalogue of “works of the flesh,” and declares “that they which
do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
God help man to flee out of heresies–sects–and be complete in Christ. Since God’s word renounces sects, they
cannot be His church.


CHAPTER 18
Can We Observe the Ordinances Outside All Sects?
The New Testament clearly shows that Christ enacted certain ordinances, namely baptism, or in plain English,
immersion, the washing of the saints’ feet, and the Lord’s supper. But we need join no sect to observe them. They do
not belong to any sect on earth, but they are placed in the body of Christ for the exclusive observance of its members.
Sectarians who do not discern the body of Christ are not even qualified for their observance. See I Cor. 11:27-29.


CHAPTER 19
Can We Meet to Worship Without a Sect?
Is it so that God’s children cannot meet to worship Him unless they meet in some sect name, some name other than
the one Christ told us to meet in? Thank God, we find no difficulty in assembling together outside all sect names and
inclosures. But sectarians are actually so blind that they think holy men cannot convene together to worship God and
enjoy any means of grace unless they join some earthly craft; as though all grace were in the sect, and nothing in Christ.


CHAPTER 20
Is the Church Visible Without a Sect Organization?
Another plea for sect idolatry is, that the church is invisible, unless organized in sect order. This is another
superstition of the dark age. The Holy Spirit, who organizes the church, is indeed invisible, but His organization is
visible. As the invisible wind which is a symbol of the Spirit, produces visible effects, so the church of God is a visible
effect of His unseen power. Being composed of actual men and women, a city set upon a hill, the light thereof cannot
be hid; “as terrible as an army with banners,” she always was visible, and needed no sect-founder to make her such. Paul
was not addressing disembodied spirits at Corinth when he said: “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in
particular.” Nor is it only the hidden man of the heart that belongs to the church; but “know ye not that your bodies are
the members of Christ?” I Cor. 6:15. And our physical bodies do not become invisible when God sets us into the body
of Christ, and remain so until a sect builder comes along and organizes us into visibility. Not only are the members of
the true church visible, but so is the organization itself. Every gift and office that makes up the divine institution is
visibly exercised in all the members, by all the members, by the invisible operation of God “who is over all, and through
all, and in you all,” and “who worketh all in all.”


CHAPTER 21
In Coming Out of Sects Do We Have to Form Another Sect?
This is the final question, and we are very thankful to God that we can answer, NO. God forbid that any more of
the harlots should be “conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity.” If that were so, sectism is a sin from which there would
be no escape. But the voice from heaven says, “Come out of her, my people.” So there is a way out of her, and “It shall
be called the way of holiness.”
When a non-professing sinner is converted to God and born of the Spirit, he is thereby made a member of the
church of God, but is in no sect at all. And since there is no command in the Bible to join any sect, he can obey all the
Word and keep salvation, in the church, without ever joining a sect, so can every saint of God on the earth do the same.
But should any number of such disciples of Christ through false teaching be led into a sect corporation and afterwards
discover the deception practised upon them, cannot they renounce the sect organization and come out of it, as the Word
of God commands them, and remain only in the church, which is the body of Christ, as they were before they were
decoyed into the sect? To deny this fact is simply perverse cant. If men were to come out of sects and join themselves
together, and make their own creed, they would be another sect. But the church of the living God is not thus produced.
She is the result of men and women being saved in Jesus, and therefore joined together by the Lord in the “bond of
perfectness.” The question is not, what system is most practical for all Christians to step upon as the basis of union, but
what foundation do all Christians actually and necessarily stand on? By abiding only in Christ, His body the church, we
stand on the foundation which includes all Christians in heaven and earth, and not a member of any sect or cut-off faction.
If the Word of God had said, “We are all one in the Methodist body,” or any other human corporation, then Methodists
would occupy the divinely appointed platform of union, and every other name and order would stand condemned for the
sin of division. But since the Word commands us to abide only in Christ and declares us “all one in Christ Jesus,” “one
body in Christ,” by staying in Him only, in whom all Christians must abide, and in whom there are no sinners, we are
joined to all saints, and separated from all sinners, and stand free before God of the great transgression of sectism.
Therefore, since every intelligent reader of the Bible knows that the Protestant sects and Romanism are not the
church of God; that every sect corporation yokes together saints and sinners, which the Bible forbids; since the most
bigoted confess that “the church [meaning the sect] will not save anybody,” and since Christ alone can save and keep
us, and “we are complete in him,” why not abandon the sect and abide only in Christ, and His body the church? Since
there will be no sects in heaven, why cling to them on earth? Why insult the wisdom of Christ by the imputation that the
church He founded is not practical, and some man has, in these last days gotten up a better one, which you prefer? In
the name of Jesus Christ, whose Word will soon judge us, we beseech all men to escape from all sin and sinners, from
all sect clans, and sectish bands, and take refuge in Jesus Christ, and His own church, which is the “pillar and ground
of the truth.” Amen.


_________________
Samuel

 2007/7/30 17:56Profile
DTSheffler
Member



Joined: 2006/2/16
Posts: 19


 Re: How do you see the Church, and your relationship with it?

I wrote an [url=http://www.exicarus.com/2007/07/23/church-shopping/]article[/url] on my blog that had to do with people hopping around from church. I think our relationship to the a church ought to be a little like a marriage relationship in which intimacy and relationship are established through commitment.

 2007/8/1 9:56Profile









 Re:

Interesting article. A couple of thoughts.

Todays evangelical "church system" is largely antichrist and it is almost impossible to develope a NT style body of believers in the system. For this reason many ON FIRE & PERSONALLY REVIVED believers are being called out of the system as they were during the days of John Wesley to home fellowships that more closely resemble true NT christianity such as we see in Acts.

I believe that shopping for a "church" to call home in the last days is a lot like going to the bar at closing time to find a pure an honest women to court. Better to come out from compromised and unclean alters to find true NT fellowship in a house, park or alley then to take part in the plauges of babylon.

In Christ - Jim

 2007/8/1 10:13
InTheLight
Member



Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2734
Phoenix, Arizona USA

 Re: How do you see the Church, and your relationship with it?

We had an interesting discussion here on SI a few years ago that might be helpful in considering this question. The thread grew quite long but it may be worthwhile to peruse through it...

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=4793&forum=35]What is a Church?[/url]

In Christ,

Ron


_________________
Ron Halverson

 2007/8/1 10:59Profile





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