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What is the "Church", really?

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by JuniperSomething, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. JuniperSomething

    JuniperSomething New Member

    United States
    Does the Bible define clearly what the Church is? I understand that it is the "Body of Christ" by which His people are spiritually nurtured, but I have recently been having an internal debate as to whether the Bible clearly states that it is what I've been led to believe it is. Is it a structured organism with a unified code of conduct and statement of beliefs by which we are connected to God, or is it the body of believers that confess Christ and strive to overcome the flesh? Does the Bible say we must be connected to the "Church" to qualify for salvation?
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  2. FaithLife1

    FaithLife1 Active Member

    United States
    The bible says that Christians are the salt of the Earth, salt meaning the Holy Spirit. It's always been my understanding that the salt of the Earth is the church, true Christians that are blessed with the Holy Spirit and obey God's commandments. A church building after all is just a man made building, put simply the church is a group of believers. Church groups that disobey God's commandments and add to and take away from the bible may not have the Holy Spirit.

    Matthew 5:13-16 (MEV)

    "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how shall it be made salty? It is from then on good for nothing but to be thrown out and to be trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a basket, but on a candlestick. And it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
  3. Gordon Wright

    Gordon Wright Newbie

    There was a time I thought I sort of knew, but now I think I got it wrong.
  4. Magillacuddy

    Magillacuddy From the dark, to the light...

    United States
    It is all those born again, born from above.

    You may or may not find any sitting in a building.
  5. SPF

    SPF Well-Known Member

    United States
    Best way to answer that is to look through Scripture and see if we can find what it says.

    Ephesians 1:22,23 - And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

    Romans 16:5 also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.

    You'll notice that both passages here don't say anything about Church being a building. I particularly like the Romans passage as it says to greet the Church, that is in their house. The Church is recognized as people, they just happen to meet in a house.

    It would seem based upon this that the very question we ask people today, "what Church do you go to" seems to not fit with the narrative of Scripture. The very question separates us from the Church and makes the Church something outside of us. It's subtle, but I wonder if it subconsciously impacts us.

    Then you have passages like...

    Galatians 1:2,3 - ...and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches in Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ...

    The word Paul uses for Church, which is found 115 times in the NT is ekklēsia, which is basically a compound word that is used to refer to a Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven, or both. But it refers more to the people, not the building or place where they met.

    Our local churches today can be (and certainly are) filled with both Christians and non-Christians. We know that going to Church doesn't make a person a Christian. The "Church" as Scripture sees it, is not a place, but is constructed of the true people of Christ.

    When it comes to meeting together and fellowshipping and encouraging, and edifying, and holding accountable - these things are good and we should do them.

    Hebrews 10:19-25 -
    Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.