(c) from the Scripture, as for example, Christ?s command in <401817>Matthew 18:17, and the designation ?church of God,? applied to individual churches ( <460102>1 Corinthians 1:2).
President Wayland: ?The universal church comes before the particular church. The society which Christ has established is the foundation of every particular association calling itself a church of Christ.? Andrews in Bibliotheca Sacra, Jan. 1853:35-58, on the conception ejkklhsi>a in the N. T., says that ?the ?church? is the prius of all local ?churches.? ejkklhsi>a in <440931>Acts 9:31 = the church, so far as represented in those provinces. It is ecumenical local, as in <461033>1 Corinthians 10:33. The local church is a microcosm, a specialized localization of the universal body. lh;q; , in the O. T. and in the Targums, means the whole congregation of Israel, and then secondarily those local bodies which were parts and representations of the whole. Christ, using Aramaic, probably used lh;q; in <401817>Matthew 18:17. He took his idea of the church from it, not from the heathen use of the word ejkklhsi>a , which expresses the notion of locality and state much more than the lh;q; . The larger sense of ejkklhsi>a is the primary. Local churches are points of consciousness and activity for the great all inclusive unit and they are not themselves the units for an ecclesiastical aggregate. They are faces, not parts of the one church.?
Christ, in <401817>Matthew 18:17, delegates authority to the whole congregation of believers and, at the same time, limits authority to the local church. The local church is not an end in itself but exists for the sake of the kingdom. Unity is not to be that of merely local churches but that of the kingdom, and that kingdom is internal, ?cometh not with observation?
( <421720>Luke 17:20), but consists in ?righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit? ( <451417>Romans 14:17). In the universal sense, the word ?church? is not employed by any other N. T. writer before Paul?s writings. Paul was interested, not simply in individual conversions but he was more interested in the growth of the church of God as the body of Christ. He held to the unity of all local churches with the mother church at Jerusalem. The church in a city or in a house is merely a local manifestation of the one universal church and derived its dignity therefrom. Teaching of the Twelve Apostles: ?As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains, and being gathered became one, so may thy church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into thy kingdom.?
Sabatier, Philos. Religion, 92 ? ?The social action of religion springs from its very essence. Men of the same religion have no more imperious need than that of praying and worshiping together. State police have
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