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7••THE CHURCH••

The Church

7 May 2019, by

There is a cloud of confusion over the doctrine of the church. This is as true for those who profess to be Baptists, as all other denominations. It is widely believed the church is the universal body of all believers worldwide and throughout the ages, which finds expression in local congregations. This view is derived from the Roman Catholic (Universal) Church, adopted by Protestants and embraced by many Baptists. We, however, reject this view. We do not believe there now exists a universal church made up of all believers worldwide, throughout the ages.

The word “church” is the rendering of the Greek term ECCLESIA. It occurs 118 times in the New Testament. It refers to an organized assembly gathered to attend public affairs, and may be translated “assembly” or “congregation”. The Lord Jesus Christ refers the Christian church as that which belongs to Him – “Upon this rock I will build my ecclesia”. (Matt 16:18) Of the 118 times the term occurs in the New Testament, all but five (Acts 7:38; 19:32,39,42; Hebrews 2:12) refer to Christ’s ecclesia. These 113 references refer either to a particular assembly of Jesus Christ on earth, or to His general assembly in heaven.

1. A Particular Assembly On Earth.

Nearly all of the references belong under this

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