Previous posts in this series were based on a pamphlet provided to me in my search for direction regarding local church membership. A brother named Cody sought to help me and I wish him well.
When I replied with the previous responses, I did not hear from him for a period of time. Of course, I feared I may have come off a bit strong, and in the interest of maintaining communication, reached out to him again.
This is a continuation of a previous study on the definition of “Church” as found in the New Testament.
Many Churches, One Membership
We are not to be independent, different or detached from other believers. Consider the famine that occurred in Jerusalem in the book of Acts. This suffering enabled all the churches of Asia to contribute to the needs in Jerusalem. It wasn’t just the Episcopal, Lutheran or Pentecostal churches that Paul received gifts from. Every Church, or should I say the Universal Church came to the assistance of the famine stricken area.
The Bible teaches a Universal Church with “membership granted” by faith in Christ. The Bible also teaches of many local churches, both defined by the local area (eg. a province or a city) or a group of believers (ie in a home).
In none of the following passages describing this phenomenon, is there any evidence that it conflicts with the teaching of the universal singular church. This is important to realize in order to keep a proper perspective on the Body of Christ.
Churches defined by province
2 and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:
Churches defined by locality
1 Corinthians 1:2
2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
Churches defined by meeting place
5 Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia.
1 Corinthians 16:19
19 The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord.
15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
2 and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:
The churches are local expressions of a united membership. Remember, that when Paul heard of the those in the Corinthian church joining to a “man”, that was fighting words for him!
Our next post will begin 9 questions concerning local church membership.
I do hope you will join me and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.
If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post. I look forward to hearing from you.