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Local Church is Our Hub?

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On occasions I watch ‘Christian’ TV channels, just to be aware of what people are teaching. Today I watched a man teach about the local church. Typically for charismaticised meetings he walked back and forth across a large stage, complete with a prop and a very big screen behind him. It reminded me more of a feel-good seminar than a meeting of believers.

Anyway, his major point was that every believer must join a local church. He correctly said that the word we use, ‘church’, is based on the Bible word translated from the Greek, ‘ekklesia’. (For further outline information on the etymology of the word 'ekklesia', see 'What Is the Meaning of Ekklesia?', Christian Courier)

This is why what he said did not make sense.

The ekklesia is the body of Christ. It does not include unbelievers. And the ekklesia is made up of saved men and women who all believe and live the same things of God. We are certainly called to meet with fellow belie vers, but this does not necessarily equate with meeting them in a special building that many also call ‘the church’.

And this is why the speaker’s point was confused and misleading. He said that if we do not meet together in a ‘local church’ we are like severed arms doing our own thing. This, he said, is wrong, for God only works through the ‘local churches’. Because of this every believer must join a local church, which is but a microcosm of the universal church. Many who heard his words will no doubt be convinced, but as one who was called out of local churches, I was suspicious.

He spoke of the corporate nature of the local church... ‘all for one and one for all’, so to speak, to quote a line from the Three Musketeers. But, it is not that simple. He also repeated the oft-heard phrase – there is no such thing as a perfect church, so we must muddle together as saved people. Hm. Not so good!

Scripture says those who are saved are counted to be perfect already, even before entering Heaven. We make mistakes, and even sin, but God looks not at us but at Christ Who redeemed us. Thus, He only sees One Who is Perfect. Also, on this earth we must strive to be perfect. Sadly, Christians who say we will not find the perfect church, repeat the phrase because it allows them to make mistakes and to actually sin. After all, they are not perfect, they say!

This is not how it works my friends! Another unfortunate term often used in churches is ‘spiritual gypsy’. It is used against those who move from church to church, and is quite derogatory. But, no-one ever tries to discover WHY people move from church to church! They prefer to utter the words rather than to find out why.

I, and my fellows, were part of this whole idea. We obeyed our pastors, did whatever our peers demanded, and generally became as one with those we met with. The problem was, we were ‘as one’, but in an earthly sense. We were definitely not ‘as one’ in the biblical sense! It was all a sham. In the end we had to leave the whole church system, because our spirits were shaken too badly to stay.

We came to see that the ekklesia are NOT local churches. Most churches are comprised of a mix of believers and unbelievers. That is, ekklesia and those who are without God. Usually the non-believers rule. I have known famed preachers who dared not preach the full truth, because they feared a loss of members, which could either lead to closure or a reduction in their all-important salaries/stipends. This, my friends is NOT the ekklesia! It is the formal earthly idea of ‘church’ and it is a fake.

To say we must join a local church is simplistic and full of pit-falls. It was implied that we must do so for the sake of our spiritual welfare. In my case, and the case of so many I have lost count, this blanket claim does not work in practice. If you are willing to stay silent no matter what is said and done, you will get on really well in the local churches. This is because there is no honesty. Once you start to question things and refuse what is wrong, you will not meet with fellow believers, but with a brick wall, hastily erected to keep you away from the ‘faithful’, who fear any disruption, even if it is biblical and right. Where the local church ONLY consists of the ekklesia, there should be no real problem one cannot sort out. But, local churches are just social clubs where Christ is referred to by mouth, but rejected by behaviour and thoughts.

The ekklesia are ONLY those who are saved. If they are truly saved they will be willing to learn and, when necessary, cast aside errors. This means the ekklesia are characterised as those saved people who constantly adjust their minds and behaviour to be consistent with God’s word and will. No matter how much they might protest, local churches do not match this requirement of God.

What this comes down to causes anxiety in ‘churchy’ people... our relationship with God is singular, one-to-one. We are elected in eternity alone, we are saved alone, and we will die alone – in Christ. When other saved people, even one or two, meet with us, we ARE ‘the ekklesia’. It does not matter if we are in a building where we study scripture, in a supermarket, or on holiday. Thus, ‘the church’ (an English term that should really be ‘ekklesia’) is reference to all those saved men and women in all history, who are elect and saved. No-one else. And it is not a building.

Many cannot meet with fellow believers, because they either do not exist, or they are so traditionally skewed, they are not genuine in their relationships with others. That is, they form a corrupt form of ekklesia. This mix can be so bad as to force genuine believers from the ‘church system’. This is what happened to me, to my fellows, and to countless others throughout history. It is why so many contact our ministry, and think of us as their true brethren who will enable them to grow in Christ. They gather with us across the airways, because local churches are corrupt, badly traditional, or sinful. It is a matter of concern that such people do not bother to find out WHY we say this and WHY many leave their numbers. If the local ‘church’ is mixed, and those who are saved are corrupt, there is no reason to stay amongst them. This is why so many meet in their homes... they are truly of ‘one mind’ and want truth. Think hard about this, for I speak without apology and with great conviction!

© March 2018

Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
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