Friday, January 20, 2006

What, Or Who, Is The Church?

I will mention the Church more than once in this blog. While speaking with a friend the other day, I realized that I should probably make it very clear to my readers exactly what I mean when I use the word “Church.” Some refer to the Catholic Church as the Church. Some simply think they “go to church” in a building. Some even think a particular denomination is the Church. Below are the definitions I use to determine exactly what the Church is. This should enable us to all be on the same page.

Eph 2:19-22
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

Colossians 1:18
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

1 Peter 2:5
…you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Tim 3:15
…but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.

Hebrews 3:5-6 NIV
Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

If you know Jesus, you ARE a "member" of THE Church.


The Orange Mailman said...

Quite true. It reminds me of the words to a catchy little tune I heard on the radio one day.

You can't go to church
Like some people say
The common terminology
We use every day

You can go to a building
That's something you can do
But you can't go to church
Cuz the church is you

With that, I will say that since once application of "church" is an assembly, I still think it's okay to say, "Let's go to church."

Have fun and stay busy - Luke 19:13

Dave Bussard said...

It's hard for me to say at times, but I "go to church," too.

ts said...

i've always heard there are two applications of the word translated as church: the local gathering of believers and the universal (or "catholic") church.

Dave Bussard said...

I think you are placing more emphasis on the generic term “universal,” when you said “universal ‘catholic,’” and are not speaking of the Roman Catholic church. If so, I agree. If not, considering the context of the above passages I find it very hard to believe that THE Catholic church would be THE Church. The Church is a spiritual entity that is made up of genuine followers of Christ only. Some in Catholicism are a part of the Church, some Baptists, some Lutherans, etc. There are people in my “assembly” that meet in the same building with me, but are not believers yet. They are not, as of yet, THE Church.

Some might think a building is the Church because of certain passages like the following.

Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them (Acts 12:21).

Some may even see sign-on-the-dotted-line church membership in the above passage because it says “belong to the church.” But that would be silly.

As for “assembly,” I think there is merit for that view in CERTAIN passages. But still, I think Paul is applying the word “churches” to specific assemblies of those who are of THE Church. ie. transformed believers, and followers of Christ.

…who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles (Rom. 16:4).


Recovering said...

I never thought I'd see the group Acappella quoted here...

I think it is appropriate to say that we go to church (the building) to meet with the Church (the people). Although I'd prefer to avoid the word church as a reference to a place/building in order to educate people that the emphasis should be on the Church (the people).