WHAT IS THE “CHURCH” BUILT BY CHRIST ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE?
IT IS A biblical fact that the Lord Jesus Christ established a Church. No one denies this truth because it is explicitly written in the Bible. In Matthew 16:18 the Lord Jesus Christ said:
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18 NKJV, emphasis mine)
Etymologically speaking, the word “church” is the English translation of the Greek word “ekklesia” which literally means an “assembly.” However, although this word was already in used before the Lord Jesus Christ used it, but we must understand this word as used by the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles, or as used in the New Testament.
Thus we must understand the word “Church” through what the Bible teaches about it. What is the “Church” built by Christ according to the Bible?
The Lord Jesus Christ called His Church as “flock” to which the Father gave His kingdom:
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32 NKJV)
Even Apostle Paul explicitly called the Church of Christ as the “flock” the Lord Jesus Christ purchased with His blood:
“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.” (Acts 20:28 Lamsa)
The word “flock” means “a group” (Encarta Dictionary, Microsoft 2004-2009). It is the “body” where those called belong:
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15 NKJV)
One of the definitions of the word “organization” the dictionaries gave is “a group of people identified with shared interest or purpose” (Encarta Dictionary, Microsoft 2004-2009). Thus, when the Lord Jesus Christ established a Church, He established an organization.
ONE BODY OF CHRIST
Apostle Paul explicitly said that the one body of Christ where those called belong is the Church:
“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” (Ephesians 5:23 NIV)
As the body of Christ, the Church is composed of many members:
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5 NIV)
Thus, the belief that the Church the Lord Jesus Christ built is “a conglomeration of churches” contradicts the teachings of the Bible. The Bible explicitly teaches that the Church is composed of “many members” and not “many churches.” The Bible said, “just as each of us has one body with many members...so in Christ we who are many form one body...”
This verse refutes not only the belief that the Church Christ built is “a conglomeration of churches,” but also the belief that “the Church of Christ is composed of believers in Christ from different religious groups.” The Bible said, “so in Christ we who are many FORM ONE BODY, and EACH MEMBER BELONGS TO ALL THE OTHERS.”
Members of the Church of Christ are “all joined to each other as different parts of one body.” Today’s English Version rendered Romans 12:4-5 as follows:
“We have many parts in the one body, and all these parts have different functions. In the same way, though we are many, we are one body in union with Christ, and we are all joined to each other as different parts of one body.” (Romans 12:4-5 TEV)
Thus, the Church established by Christ is not a “conglomeration of churches,” and not a “conglomeration of believers belonging to different religious groups.” The Church that Christ built is “one body” and He Himself is the head, and the Church is composed of many members but all joined together to each other as different parts of the one body.
ONE ORGANIZED CHURCH
The Church established by Christ is not only composed of many members, but members have different functions:
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” (I Corinthians 12:27-28 KJV)
The Lord God had set a “government” inside the Church. Thus, He appointed different Church officials like apostles, prophets and teachers. God also appointed evangelists and pastors:
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:11-12 NKJV)
The Church that Christ built also has one spirit, one hope, one faith and one baptism:
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Ephesians 4:4-5 NKJV)
Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ established one organized Church.
When the Lord Jesus Christ built the Church, He also established a religion because the Church He established is a religion, the religion where the apostles and true Christians belong:
“But if I delay, this letter will let you know how we should conduct ourselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. 16No one can deny how great is the secret of our religion...” (I Timothy 3:15-16 TEV)
Thus, when the Lord Jesus Christ established His Church, He established the true Christian religion.
Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ built one organized Church. The Church He established is an organization, a religious organization, a Christian organization. The Church that the Lord Jesus Christ built is a religion, the true Christian religion.
Because the Lord Jesus Christ established only one Church, He established only one Christian organization, one Christian religion.