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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Universal church or Local church only?

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joliboy11
Member



Joined: 2011/9/16
Posts: 208
Philippines

 Universal church or Local church only?

I always thought that all local churches believes that they belong to the universal church. But I recently i encounter a view of the church that is new to me. It is like this:

the word "church" always referred to local church/es in the Epistles because this writings are addressed to a local church in Ephesians, Collosians, Laodiceans etc..

Every local church is a body of Christ, I am somewhat skeptic of this, because the word "bodies of Christ" never occurred in Scripture and Christ has only one bride, it will be "polygamy" to think otherwise.

I think the implication of this view is to view unity and commands to the church as being relevant to the local church only.

What do you think?

Are there other strong points that this view is false?

I read through sentences where the word "church" appeared. And most, I think, it may just really refers to that local church although there are few exceptions. With all the divisions in church history, do you think this view may be probably right?

But I don't think so personally, because of the negative effect of this to "seekers" that have just bee offended by divisions of groups in Christianity who don't go along with each other.

The objection I think stems from the pyramid model that the RCC have started and other groups who think they are the true only the "True Church".
But I believe the Biblical view is very far from that model.



here are some links to this view: http://www.baptistpillar.com/article_256.html

http://www.bbcn.org/filerequest/2135

 2017/2/26 23:28Profile
StirItUp
Member



Joined: 2016/6/4
Posts: 949
Johannesburg, South Africa

 Re: Universal church or Local church only?

Hey Joliboy,

It seems to me that the moment a certain expression of the church begins to name itself according to some man's imagination, they are already setting themselves apart from others as having something others don't and by the very nature of things are acting divisively, intentionally or not. (As if any local body of believers could have any more of Christ than is already given)

The body of Christ are all true spiritual members of Christ, whether in a local church or not. (Of course, being part of a local gathering of believers is encouraged)
The universal church, as I understand it, includes all Christian churches everywhere, so that local churches all form part of the universal church. You cannot have one without the other?

Blessings,


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William

 2017/2/27 1:25Profile
twayneb
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Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2048
Joplin, Missouri

 Re: Universal church or Local church only?

Joliboy: The word "church" in the New Testament simply means the assembly. Jesus spoke of the church as His body. In this sense it is the universal assembly of born again believers. Paul greets Priscilla and Aquilla in Acts and says to greet the church that is in their house. This is a local assembly of believers.

The church is the universal body of Christ, but it meets in local bodies all over the world. Both are the church. One a subset of the other. I don't think it is any more complicated than that.


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Travis

 2017/2/27 8:31Profile
Sree
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Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1936


 Re: Universal church or Local church only?

There is no concept of Universal CHurch at all in Bible. It is a term coined by those who do not want to submit to a local church leadership and coined a term universal church so that they will not miss on all the verses applicable only to body of believers.

Every believer is imbalance. No one man can do the work of Jesus. We can either be an evangelist or a preacher or a prophet or any gifted member. All these gifts are for edification of a local church. If a person is not part of local Church but claims to be part of an imaginary universal church then he is deceived. Truth is not in him. All these individual gifts will make sense only when they work together as a local body. No one can serve God independent of other believers.

Let us not debate with human logic on whether Universal Church exists or not, which Bible clearly does not mentions. But Bible clearly speaks of Local Body of believers. All the Epistles are written to local Church. In Revelation, Jesus writes letters addressing only Local Church. He is not even concerned about any Christian who lives in say Smyrna but not part of the Church of Smyrna. Such man is not even considered by Jesus in Revelation. So think about it these days, people who exist in different cities as Christians but not part of any local body in their city. These so called Christians who are unwilling to submit to any local Body Of Christ. Let us weep for them. Instead of discussing on any imaginary Universal Body.


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Sreeram

 2017/2/27 11:53Profile
joliboy11
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Joined: 2011/9/16
Posts: 208
Philippines

 Re:

I know, the phrase "universal church" does not appear on Scripture, how about the body of Christ? the bride of Christ?

take for example:
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:6

Is Paul, specifically just speaking here on the Ephesian church? or all churches? he uses singular form, meaning universal-as one.

Is every local church, body of Christ?

I think like the Trinity, local churches are distinct and yet part of one body.

How about Jesus prayer on unity is it only in the context of a local church?

should we not have fellowship with other Christians in other local churches?

Are prophets, teachers and apostles must only operate for the maturity of a local church?

 2017/2/28 23:41Profile









 Re:

Sree writes...........

" If a person is not part of local Church but claims to be part of an imaginary universal church then he is deceived. Truth is not in him."

Brother, you need to revisit that statement. You have now reduced the new creature in Christ, the Born again man who is born of the Spirit and who walks in the Kingdom of God and belongs to the Body of Christ to a mere member of a local religious gathering. We all are brothers and sisters, not because we belong to a local church but because we belong to Jesus. Whatever you may think of attendance of churches as opposed to any other kind of gatherings, that has no bearing on the whether a man is saved or not...........bro Frank

 2017/2/28 23:55
proudpapa
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Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936


 Re:

Sree wrote :
/// There is no concept of Universal CHurch at all in Bible. It is a term coined by those who do not want to submit to a local church leadership and coined a term universal church so that they will not miss on all the verses applicable only to body of believers.///

Could you please provide your research for making that accusation ?

A.W. Tozer used the phrase "Universal Church"

https://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=5087

add :

Spurgeon also used the term :

https://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=58970&forum=35

 2017/3/1 9:55Profile
Sree
Member



Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1936


 Re:

Quote:

Brother, you need to revisit that statement. You have now reduced the new creature in Christ, the Born again man who is born of the Spirit and who walks in the Kingdom of God and belongs to the Body of Christ to a mere member of a local religious gathering. We all are brothers and sisters, not because we belong to a local church but because we belong to Jesus. Whatever you may think of attendance of churches as opposed to any other kind of gatherings, that has no bearing on the whether a man is saved or not...........bro Frank



Now does he really belong to the Body Of Christ? Even though he is not part of a local Church? Absolutely not. Calling him a body of Christ means he is an organ in Christ. How can an organ exist alone? Can an eye or ear or even heart exist alone? Not At ALL. Then how is there a concept of a believer being part of a body remain alone?

I believe people who are not part of local Church are those who do NOT LOVE JESUS at all. How can someone love the Head Jesus but not his Body the Church? Can a man say to a women that he loves her head but not her body? If there is true love for head, there will also be a true love for body and a need to join with the body.

If a local body to you is only a local religious gathering, then it only says how much you have degraded to respect Church to which the apostles wrote epistles. Jesus wrote letters addressing Churches in Revelation.

I did not have even 1% understanding of Church as I have now when I was born again. I have never attended a Church before I was born again because I came from a different faith. But from the time I accepted Jesus as a savior, I also had a great longing in my heart to fellowship with fellow believers in Jesus. To submit to the head and also to the elders appointed by the head. No one told me the need to be in a fellowship, it was automatically birthed inside me by Holy Spirit.

There is no concept of such lonely Christian at all in New Testament time. All the believers were immediately united with a local body of believers. But in modern times, believers think so highly of themselves that they do not find any need to fellowship or even submit to a local body of believers. Such loners started getting approval (or acceptance) in Christendom these days. It is because of the approval, they spread more. Just like how Homosexuality and Divorce get approval in society. Such lonely believers also got approval in Christendom these days.


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Sreeram

 2017/3/1 12:34Profile
Sree
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Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1936


 Re:

Quote:

Could you please provide your research for making that accusation ?



See by universal Church, if a person denotes a global representation of all local churches then it is different. But most of them here use universal Church to denote an invisible Church in which all born again believers are part of, irrespective of whether they are part of a local Church or not. This term and understanding never existed during New Testament time. I totally believe this understanding in unbiblical and totally not part of God's purpose for a believer or his Church.


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Sreeram

 2017/3/1 12:41Profile
Sree
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Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1936


 Re:

Quote:

Is Paul, specifically just speaking here on the Ephesian church? or all churches? he uses singular form, meaning universal-as one.

Is every local church, body of Christ?



Each Church is an individual body of Christ. Whether they agree it or not. There are bodies that are totally week due to loose connection of members. They are giants but with poor joints. This how I see mega Churches. Since they do not encourage fellowship of believers, there is no connection between members here.

If each Church is individually not a body then why is Jesus writing letters to each Church separately? He could have written one letter to the universal Church and asked the apostle to read it for all the individual members. Why take time and effort to write to each of them?

How this individual bodies are presented to Jesus as a single bride, is not something that we have to be concerned. If the Bible is silent on one subject then let us also learn to be silent, rather than using our imaginations here.

Quote:

How about Jesus prayer on unity is it only in the context of a local church?



Jesus prayed that believers should be perfected in unity (John 17:23). Not to be perfected alone. Only those who are proud and think they are already perfect, will seek to be alone without fellowshiping with other saints. A true believer who is seeking perfection, will always seek to be perfected in unity with other believers.

Quote:

should we not have fellowship with other Christians in other local churches?



As long as the two bodies are still connected to same head, Jesus Christ then they can easily fellowship and connect.

Quote:

Are prophets, teachers and apostles must only operate for the maturity of a local church?



Yes they are. There is no Prophet or teacher or apostle outside the concept of Church. They are all gifted accordingly for the edification of Church. Even Evangelists are for Church only. They are all part of a Church and work towards Church.

Ephesians 4:11 - And it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ,...

Every work that we do should end up building the Body of Christ.

Based on Ephesians 4:11 that I quoted, there is no travelling evangelist concept at all. No one can keep travelling here and there spreading the Gospel, without being part of a Church. Biblical way of Evangelism should be done from a Church to build up a Church. Those who accept Christ should also be added to the Church.


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Sreeram

 2017/3/1 12:59Profile





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