(b) The national church theory or the theory of provincial or national churches. This holds that all members of the church in any province or nation are bound together in provincial or national organization and that this organization has jurisdiction over the local churches. We reply:
First, the theory has no support in the Scriptures. There is no evidence that the word ejkklhsi>a in the New Testament ever means a national church organization. <461228>1 Corinthians 12:28, <500306>Phil 3:6 and <540315>1 Timothy 3:15, may be more naturally interpreted as referring to the generic church. In <440931> Acts 9:31, ejkklhsi>a is a mere generalization for the local churches then and there existing and implies no sort of organization among them.
<461228> 1 Corinthians 12:28 ? ?And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, Thirdly teachers, then miracles then gifts of healing, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues?; <500306>Philippians 3:6 ? ?as touching zeal, persecuting the church?; <540315>1 Timothy 3:15 ? ?that thou mayest know how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth?; <440931>Acts 9:31 ? ?So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace, being edified.? For advocacy of the Presbyterian system, see Cunningham, Historical Theology, 2:514-556; McPherson, Presbyterianism. Per contra, see Jacob, Ecclesiastical Polity of N. T., 9 ? ?There is no example of a national church in the New Testament.?
Secondly, it is contradicted by the intercourse which the New Testament churches held with each other as independent bodies, for example, at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts. 15:1-35)
<441502> Acts 15:2, 6, 13, 19, 22 ? ?the brethren appointed that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question...And the apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider of this matter...James answered...my judgement is that we trouble not them that from among the Gentiles turn to God...it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men out of their company, and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.?
McGiffert, Apostolic Church, 645 ? ?The steps of developing organization were recognition of the teaching of the apostles as exclusive standard and norm of Christian truth, confinement to a specific office, the Catholic office of bishop and of the power to determine what is the teaching of the apostles and designation of a specific institution, the Catholic church, as the sole channel of divine grace. The Twelve, in the
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