sufficient to evince the unscriptural nature of two modern theories of the church:
A. The theory that the church is an exclusively spiritual body, destitute of all formal organization, and bound together only by the mutual relation of each believer to his indwelling Lord.
The church, upon this view, so far as outward bonds are concerned, is only an aggregation of isolated units. Those believers, who chance to gather at a particular place or to live at a particular time, constitute the church of that place or time. This view is held by the Friends and by the Plymouth Brethren. It ignores the tendencies to organization inherent in human nature, confounds the visible with the invisible church and is directly opposed to the Scripture representations of the visible church as comprehending some, of whom, are not true believers.
<440501> Acts 5:1-11 ? Ananias and Sapphira show that the visible church comprehended some who were not true believers; <461423>1 Corinthians 14:23 ? ?If therefore the whole church be assembled together and all speak with tongues, and there come in men unlearned or unbelieving, will they not say that ye are mad?? ? here, if the church had been an unorganized assembly, the unlearned visitors who came in would have formed a part of it; <500318>Philippians 3:18 ? ?For many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.?
Some years ago a book was placed upon the Index, at Rome, entitled: ?The Priesthood a Chronic Disorder of the Human Race.? The Plymouth Brethren dislike church organizations for fear they will become machines. They dislike ordained ministers, for fear they will become bishops. They object to praying for the Holy Spirit, because he was given on Pentecost, ignoring the fact that the church after Pentecost so prayed. See <440431>Acts 4:31 ? ?And when they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they were gathered together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness.? What we call a giving or descent of the Holy Spirit is, since the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, only a manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit, and this certainly may be prayed for. See <421113>Luke 11:13 ? ?If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him??
The Plymouth Brethren would ?unite Christendom by its dismemberment and do away with all sects by the creation of a new sect, more narrow and
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