ek•kle•si•a (part 2)

“I recognize that some will try to work these passages into a local-only view. I don’t agree with their conclusions but appreciate the valiant effort.”

ek•kle•si•a (part 2)

2410 reads

There are 9 Comments

Don Johnson's picture

I think Kent will do something else on it, I've asked him a particular question which I think he will address soon.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Susan R's picture


In my experience, arguments for local only are often tied to accountability and authority, as well as tithing and attendance. Usually framed as "You can't be in church on a golf course or a fishing boat" - which, of course, is true. But these sound too much like straw men.

The existence of a 'universal' or invisible church does not negate the existence of the local church, any more than God forsaking Jesus on the cross, or Jesus being baptized while hearing God's voice and the Holy Spirit descending negates the Trinity. 

There are spiritual things that can exist separately and corporately, simultaneously. 

Huw's picture

The ecclesia is made up of all those people who are added to the ecclesia daily Acts 2:47


These people have their names in the Lambs Book of Life. From the first to the last with none lost or none added. 

pvawter's picture

Don's comment on the linked article highlighted a weakness in the local-only view that I was wondering about myself. It seems that the church must be physically assembled to actually be a church (although maybe skype would be an exception) if you reject any sense of the church universal. So every time the congregation gathers, you have the potential for an entirely unique body. In fact, the idea of church membership is tenuous at best in a local-only setting because it presumes the existence of the unassembled body in which a believer can maintain his membership, even while separated from his local church by many thousands of miles.

And what if said church member assembles with another congregation in another place? Can he still be considered a member of his home church since he has become a part of another by virtue of his assembling? Is this some form of church unfaithfulness?

DavidO's picture

One of the chief local only arguments is that one may not call an assembly when it never assembles.  But Hebrews 12 makes clear that the universal body assembles metaphysically on Sunday during worship.  I've not heard any LOers deal with that problem satisfactorily.  

TylerR's picture


I appreciated the basic question that Don asked Pastor Brandenburg on his blog - what is so dangerous about the concept of a universal, corporate body known as the church?

I really like Hiscox's succinct statement on this point:

There is, then, the visible, local Church, and the invisible, universal Church (Principles and Practices, p. 24).

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?