Church of Christ — What Is It?
The word ‘church’ in the Greek is ekklesia (ee-KLEE-see-ah), meaning “called out of ” or “the called-out ones.” It refers to people who have been called out of the darkness of this world and consecrated to the LORD via responding in faith & repentance to the good news of the message of Christ (Acts 20:21) and the ensuing spiritual rebirth (1 Peter 1:3,23 & James 1:18). The worldwide Church is synonymous with “the body of Christ” (Colossians 1:18) and includes every genuine believer who’s experienced spiritual regeneration regardless of what sectarian tag they favor (John 3:3,6 & Titus 3:5).*
* Always remember this about sectarian tags: Putting a label of ‘corn’ on a can of beans doesn’t make the can of beans a can of corn.
In its singular form ekklesia is always used to describe all people across the globe who know Christ and not to a specific sect—like, say, the Baptists, Nazarenes or Assemblies of God. When pluralized, the word ekklesia is used in reference to specific assemblies of believers who meet together. In the 1st century this was often at a person’s house (Acts 20:20 & Romans 16:3,5). It should be noted that the word ‘church’ is never used in the Scriptures to describe either a physical facility or a human-organized group—i.e. a sect or denomination—although the people of such an organization may, of course, be the Church (“called-out ones”); and usually are if it’s a legitimate (i.e. biblical) ministry organization.
No specific assembly or denomination is necessarily the “one true church” because the body of Christ is not a human-organized institution, but rather a spiritual entity comprised of those who have been reconciled to the LORD by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9 & 2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Such people—no matter what structure they meet at, no matter which sect they’re a part of, and no matter what nation they happen to live in—are the true Church.
Any time you hear a minister or believer talk about his or her sect/assembly as the “one true church” it’s an indication of the infection of staunch sectarianism, which is a spiritually immature mindset, as witnessed in Jesus’s disciples in Luke 9:49-50. And, worse, it’s actually a work of the flesh, as shown in Galatians 5:19-21 where “factions” is listed as one of the works of the flesh, also translated as “sects” (and sometimes dubiously translated as “heresies”). “Factions” or “sects” is a translation of the Greek word hairesis (HAH-ee-res-is), which means “a religious or philosophical sect” and the resulting division, discord or contention in the body of Christ.
With the understanding of the above, I am the Church and you are the Church; that is, if you’re a genuinely born-anew believer.
For important related info see this article.
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