Unfortunately the word "church" itself has taken on meanings
which it did not originally have and has suffered untold injury in
the house both of its enemies and of its friends... All that is
meant by that wondrous word cannot be stated in one sentence,
nor in one paragraph, nor scarcely in one book.
The universal Church is the body of Christ, the bride of the Lamb,
the habitation of God through the Spirit, the pillar and ground of
The local church is a community of ransomed men, a minority
group, a colony of heavenly souls dwelling apart on the earth,
a division of soldiers on a foreign soil, a band of reapers,
working under the direction of the Lord of the harvest, a flock
of sheep following the Good Shepherd, a brotherhood of like-
minded men, a visible representative of the Invisible God... The
spiritual essence of a true church cannot be reproduced
anywhere but in a company of renewed and inwardly united believers.
Those religio-social institutions, with which we are all too familiar,
where worship is a form, the sermon an essay and the prayer
an embarrassed address to someone who isn´t there, certainly
do not qualify as churches under any scriptural terms with
which we are acquainted.
The church will produce a spiritual culture all its own, wholly
unlike anything created by the mind of man and superior to any
culture known on earth, ancient or modern. God is getting His
people ready for another world, and He uses the local church
as a workshop in which to carry on His blessed work.
That Christian is a happy one who has found a company of true
believers in whose heavenly fellowship he can live and love and
labor. And nothing else on earth should be as dear to him, nor
command from him such a degree of loyalty and devotion.
The Set of The Sail, A.W. Tozer, chapter 5
SI Moderator - Greg