Do You Believe in the Church

Five hundred years ago Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin led Europe in rejecting the Roman Catholic Church and its pope as the mouth of God.

Note that Luther and Calvin did not choose to leave the Catholic Church (although Zwingli, if I remember correctly, did). Luther was horrified at the sale of indulgences, in which the pope’s salesmen threatened dead Catholics with torture from God if they didn’t give money to build St. Peter’s Basilica. All 95 of Luther’s 95 Theses were directed against the sale of indulgences, and the rejection of the doctrine of indulgences was what led to Luther being ejected from the Roman church at the Diet of Worms in 1521.

The problem is, the result has been that Protestants reject any church as being the mouth of God.

The Church and the Promises of God

There are some amazing promises to the church in the Bible.

  • The church is called "the pillar and support of the truth" in 1 Tim. 3:15
  • The church is called "the fullness of him that fills all in all" in Eph. 1:23
  • In 1 Jn. 2:26-27, the church is promised to be protected from deception and led into truth if they will follow the anointing.
  • In Eph. 4:11-16, we are told that the church will be protected from deception and that its members will grow into the fullness of Christ together if they will speak the truth to one another in love.

Don’t those things seem important?

Isn’t "important" an understatement?

Believing

Maybe you could look at those promises again.

Do you believe them? If you do, shouldn’t you do something about them?

Which Church?

I want to suggest that the church that receives and experiences those promises is the only church the Scripture and the apostles know anything about: the local church.

Christians called out of the world and gathered together into a new family in Christ.

Most Christians today don’t want to participate in that church. They just want to attend meetings at their local Christian club.

Jesus promised to be in the midst of any two or three who are gathered in his name. Doesn’t it make sense that those two or three would then have access to all the above promises?

(Keep in mind that Eph. 4:11-16 talks about apostles, shepherds, and other ministers teaching the saints how to take advantage of those promises and build one another up. It can start with 2 or 3, but there is growth needed to walk in the fullness of those promises.)

Practical Application

If you can be attached to believers that are not trapped in tradition, but can be led by the Holy Spirit and by the Scriptures away from deception and into truth, then there’s an important application to consider.

That application is that you would not trust yourself, because you alone are prone to being deceived (Heb. 3:13), and that you would walk together with your brothers and sisters, who are the pillar and support of the truth.

Scary, huh?

But do you believe what the Bible says about the church? Do you believe that it’s Christ’s body? Do you believe that the head can control the body? Or do you believe instead that Jesus is quadriplegic?

Then in the church, you’re going to have to learn to think, "They’re right; I’m wrong."

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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1 Response to Do You Believe in the Church

  1. John Bob says:

    Thanks for this.

    And it’s true.

    The concept is so hard for some to wrap their heads around, not just due to intellect, but also due to the blatant tricks of Satan.

    People are used to controlling and domineering men and churches, and have been hurt. Some hear that last line, the ‘you’re going to have to learn to think, “They’re right; I’m wrong.”‘ people run for the hills from that stuff, like- “oh no, I ain’t fallin for that one again.”

    But the fact is, it’s real. But it’s not exactly like it sounds.

    When you’re in the REAL CHURCH, the church that is all the things Shammah said above from the New Testament… the Church that is Christ in the earth, walking around. When you say, ‘they’re right, I’m wrong’ you’re actually saying, ‘God is right, and I am wrong.’

    The logistics of this can really freak people out. Because it’s not that those individual people are God… it’s that God is dwelling in those people as a body, His Spirit resting on them and moving among them despite and through their flaws and failures… there is Christ. In all of His glory and humanity.

    It’s pretty amazing.

    I hope that I helped and didn’t hinder here.

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