stoneshms.jpg - 54764 Bytes
Our Priority,
Our Philosophy,
Our Position,
Our Programs,
Our Physical LocationOutside Links-
Baptist Bastion,
Books and Bibles Online,
HomeSchool Sailor,
Fundamentally Basic,
Religions & Cults,
More Christian ResourcesSupported Missions,
Other Missions,
World Church DirectoryRecent Additions to Our Site
Home PageSermons in Type,
Sermons on Tape,
Doctrinal WritingsOur Pastor,
Our PeopleAsk the Pastor,
Pastors Pen Online,
Daily Devotions
  clear.gif - 808 Bytes
helm2a.gif - 1580 Bytes
in Type
on Tape
Doctrinal Writings
clear.gif - 808 BytesBy Author
clear.gif - 808 BytesBy Subject

clear.gif - 808 Bytes
Quick Links
clear.gif - 808 Bytes
clear.gif - 808 BytesOur Priorities
clear.gif - 808 BytesOur Constitution
clear.gif - 808 BytesOur Pastor
clear.gif - 808 BytesOur Programs
clear.gif - 808 BytesOur Location
clear.gif - 808 BytesOur Missionaries
clear.gif - 808 Bytes
clear.gif - 808 BytesGoogle Search
clear.gif - 808 BytesAsk the Pastor
clear.gif - 808 BytesDoctrinal Writings


Thank you for visiting. Please send spiritual comments to Pastor's Pen


Please e-mail all other comments to WindJammer

A Little Ocean Ambiance
clear.gif - 808 Bytes clear.gif - 808 Bytes
Doctrinal Writings
clear.gif - 808 Bytes

clear.gif - 808 Bytes

Propositions Concerning
The Local Church

clear.gif - 808 Bytes
Dr. Richard C. Weeks

"Local not Universal" Church Series #1



  • 1. Christ establishes only one kind of a Church.

  • 2. Matthew 18:15-17 shows Christ had local churches in view.

  • 3. The Book of Acts shows implementation of Christ's directive with only local churches -- no intimation of an "invisible" church.

  • 4. The Greek word "ecclesia" is grossly mistranslated allowing for inconceivably immense error in use of English word "church" and cognates in other languages.

  • 5. Each local church is a body of Christ. I Corinthians 12:27-28

  • 6. Salvation does not equal being in the body of Christ and vice-versa.

  • 7. The New Testament does not teach that a local N.T. church is simply a type of an anti-type invisible church.

  • 8. There will be one ecclesia in heaven and it will be both visible and assembled.

  • 9. Both the concepts of a "universal" church and an "invisible" church were historical developments in the centuries of Christendom.

  • 10. There is a glorious oneness of all regenerate believers which we heartily affirm the Bible teaches.

  • 11. The Ecumenical movement utilizes this false concept of the universal, invisible church to pressure for a one church movement.

  • 12. "Universal, invisible church" is a contradiction in terms.

  • 13. The prophetic and last book of the Bible, Revelation, admittedly speaks only of local churches.

  • 14. Indisputably the New Testament usage of ecclesia is overwhelmingly with reference to local assemblies.

  • 15. There is a likely historical development which resulted in the mistranslation of ecclesia.


(Brief Expansion)

  • 1. Christ did not establish two entirely different types of churches (a. local, autonomous, visible churches, and b. a universal, invisible church) rather only one church consisting institutionally' collectively or generically speaking of local autonomous churc he s .

  • 2. The Greek word "ecclesia" translated "church" in English is a very serious mistranslation responsible for many wrong and un Biblical concepts of the word church that have devastatingly plagued Christianity through the centuries and do so today.

    • a. Worse than the translation of "baptidzo" into "baptize."

    • b. Without question, erroneous concepts of ecclesia:

      • (1) The building identified as the "church",

      • (2) A denominational organization (such as the Methodist Church) identified as a church,

      • (3) A national church organization (such as the Church of England) identified as a church,

      • (4) A hierarchical church organization (such as the Roman Catholic Church) identified as a church,

      • (5) All of professing Christianity collectively identified as "The Church, " and

      • (6) All Christian organizations in one country collectively identified as "The Church in the United States"

    Etymologically derived, ecclesia is a "called out assembly. " It should be translated "assembly" or "congregation" which it meant in the Greek language. It was a word much used by the Greeks in the functioning of their organized democratic assemblies. It was not a word originated or coined by Jesus, Paul or any Christians, nor given by them a different meaning than it had previously. The Greeks had their democratic, autonomously functioning, visible, local assemblies and Jesus said He would build His. This He began to do with the aid of the Apostles, evangelists and other preachers through the power of the Holy Spirit which implementation is recorded in the book of Acts.

  • 3. Jesus used the word "ecclesia" twenty one times. In Matthew 16:18, He said he would establish His ecclesia. What He implied then in the use of the term might be disputed, but Matthew 18:15-17 speaks indisputably of a local assembly and so do the other 19 times he used it. (Rev. 1-3)

  • 4. The book of Acts, which is the post resurrection implementation of Matthew 16:18, Christ building His church, speaks only of building or establishing local visible churches. There is no intimation let alone teaching whatever in Acts of a so called invisible, universal ecclesia (church).

  • 5. Each local church is "a" body of Christ according to I Corinthians 12:27-28, "now ye (the Corinthian church) 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," and the churches - church collectively is the body of Christ. I Corinthians 12:13, "For by (in) one Spirit are (were) we all baptized into (eis with reference to) one body whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and to have been all made to drink into one Spirit. "

  • 6. Salvation does not equal being in the body of Christ nor does it automatically put one in the body of Christ. Being a member of a local New Testament church equals being in a body of Christ or being in the body of Christ collectively. Because most fundamentalist oriented Christians have been thoroughly conditioned by a dispensational framework of teaching to equate the above two things, when the position is advanced teaching that the institution of the local church is the body of Christ, they feel that the doctrine of salvation is being attacked.

  • 7. There is no place in the New Testament that teaches that a local visible assembly is the type of an anti-type universal invisible church. Such an erroneous belief has led to the erroneous assertion that an invisible universal church was the "true" church which is an absolutely unscriptural designation without any warrant whatsoever from the New Testament. (The word "true" so used is used in distinction from that of local churches, not heretical Christianity. However, it is such a misnomer even for an anti-type that it leaves a so-called type of the anti-type to be logically designated "false." Thus from that viewpoint, local churches would logically be "false" churches. ) This erroneous type and anti-type premise and assumption being removed, the teaching that there is an invisible church would collapse.

  • 8. One day all believers will be brought together visibly in heaven in one church, i.e. one assembly. Ephesians 5:27. This is another way of stating the truth of Ephesians, that of 1:10 and Hebrews 12:23.

  • 9. Historically speaking in the growth of Christendom there was a political development early in its history which eroded the independency of many local churches, gradually replacing it with an episcopacy. At the same time this political episcopacy framework began to argue for their organization as the true original universal Christianity and then turned right around and argued they were the true Christianity because they were universal or Catholic. Thus came about a false test of true Christianity or the "church."

    At the onset of the Reformation, the great reformers Luther and Zwingli desired at first to stay within the established Roman Catholic church organization but found themselves thrust out. In order to establish an adequate apology for starting a new ecclesiastical organization, there was a new and false concept asserted that the true church was a summation of all Christians and thus invisible. Thus there came the beginning of the concept of a so called invisible church dating back to the Reformation about 1520. This means that the Protestant concept of an invisible universal church was a historical innovation at the time of the Reformation when the apostolic institution of the church knew only and simply local autonomous, independent churches.

  • 10. To reject as un-Biblical the concept of an invisible universal church and the idea of equating salvation with being a member of the so-called invisible church, is not to reject the truth of the oneness of ALL believers in Christ. The oneness of all regenerate believers in Christ is a glorious truth.

    This oneness is expressed in the New Testament in several different ways. Perhaps the main one has to do with regeneration. The New Testament doctrine of regeneration is that when one accepts Christ he is born of the Holy Spirit into the family of God. He becomes a son of God or a child of God in truth because he then possessed the life of God, John 1:12 and is in the family of God. Eph. 3:15. This means all redeemed individuals are truly "brethren" (or sisters) in Christ by virtue of sharing the same parental life (eternal life from God). This is a much stronger concept of oneness than that of a universal church.

    The New Testament speaks repeatedly of all Christians as being "saints;" as "believers;" which implies a oneness and as members of the household of faith.

  • 11. Historically speaking, Christianity's disgraceful long dark night of many centuries was only possible because of a unitary political episcopal "church." The present ecumenical movement is seeking to direct organized Christendom right back into a one "church" structure which many believe will be the "church" of the Anit-Christ of Revelation chapter 17. The universal, invisible concept of "church" makes it relatively simple for such propaganda to work among so called Protestants. "Evangelicals" are being taught in New Evangelicalism that all Christian groups are validly Christian and therefore, if all are a part of the so called universal, invisible church, it is a shame not to be united and cooperating organizationally and any division is a most grievous sin.

    If the true New Testament concept of church (ecclesia) as being local, independent, autonomous churches was acknowledged then there would be no pressure or object in forming a political, ecumenical church. The great crisis of Christianity in these last days will not be the doctrine of Christ or of Salvation or of the Bible, but the doctrine of ecclesiology of "What is the Church? " The ecumenical church will seek to coerce all forms of Christianity under its control and will seek to exert political pressure on governments to adopt a monolithic form of Christianity.

  • 12. It is apparent that the concept of a universal, invisible church is contradictory to the word "ecclesia" translated "church." Ecclesia means a visible organized local assembly. Something that is universal cannot be assembled and something that is invisible cannot be assembled, especially when millions are already gone beyond the veil of this life. So a "universal," "invisible" assembly is a contradiction of terms. Neither can an invisible assembly have pastors or deacons.

  • 13. The Book of Revelation deals with Christianity in both its contemporary and prophetic view. It presents local visible churches but not even a hint of a so called invisible church.

  • 14. Impartial analysis of the Greek word "ecclesia" in the New Testament is that in at least 90 out of 115 usages, it most certainly and indisputably has reference to local churches. In other words, indisputably God puts His emphasis upon the local church and its functioning as being the key to His work. Should we not also put the emphasis on the local church?

    The dominating pattern in fundamentalism and "evangelicalism" for the last 50 years or so has been upon a hodge-podge assortment of organizations to do God's work with little or no relationship to local churches. While doing much good, this also has created much confusion for the present and the future and has not accomplished nearly what might have been done under a truly New Testament pattern.

    The rise of emphasis upon a truly autonomous local New Testament church pattern by fundamental Baptist churches in the past 15 years has proven from a pragmatic viewpoint this New Testament truth by producing amazing results of growth in evangelization in all aspects both home and abroad.

  • 15. How did such a mistranslation of "ecclesia" develop? Dr. Dana believes evidence shows that the Goths who invaded the Balkans back as early as 400 A.D. mistook the word Christians used to designate their meeting houses, "kurikos" (literally "belonging to the Lord"), as the word for the assembly or congregation itself. Thus corruptions of the word kurikos came back into western Europe such as the German "kirche" and the English "church".

    It is no wonder that King James saw the embarrassment of both the Tyndale translation and the Geneva Bible which has accurately translated ecclesia "congregation" and so he specifically ordered that there be a reversion to the innocuous "church. " This would not then be an embarrassment to the episcopal system of the "church" of England which is, as any ecclesiastical system other than autonomous local churches, contrary to the New Testament teaching.


All of the above argumentation leaves little ground for any serious logical and Scriptural refutation of a singular local church concept. Satan has successfully confused the issue through first the false Roman Catholic ecclesiology and then the false counter ecclesiology of the Reformation churches seeking to justify their fragmentation from Rome which later was foolishly adopted by much of "Protestantism" and especially interdenominationalism of this century. Consequently, most people argue out of a background of traditional beliefs and out of a framework which to them is sacred to begin with. To re-examine the Scriptural New Testament teaching of this doctrine is conceived by many to be an evidence of heresy itself.

We are convinced that if a Catholic or Protestant can exercise real and free courage to begin an independent study of ecclesiology from the New Testament alone, he will see the truthfulness of a singular local church ecclesiology. He then will have to exercise the courage to align himself organizationally with a local church that practices a true New Testament ecclesiology. To take these two courageous steps is most difficult for the old human nature because of deep human ties, and many who hold relentlessly to the plenary verbal inspiration of the Scriptures consequently stop short when it comes to actually making the Bible the only rule of faith and practice. How about you?

But there has been a true line of independent, autonomous, democratic New Testament churches through all the centuries in spite of indescribably severe persecution during much of that time by the powerful, monolithic, counterfeit, religious political organizations masquerading as "churches" (assemblies). This historical research and observation is beyond the scope of the study of what the New Testament teaches concerning ecclesiology and we leave the historical research to a tracing in Baptist History for that courageous exercise and movement of New Testament assemblies.

Go to: Ephesians 5:22 and "The Church"
"Local not Universal" Church Series #2

A Testimony to Dr Weeks by Pastor Montgomery
Return to
Doctrinal Writings

Return to
Doctrinal Writings
by Author
His Majesty's Service
In His Service,
Teaching the Word
To Glorify Our Lord
Please email your
spiritual comments to
Pastor's Pen

Please email all
other comments to