Does 'the church' always mean the catholic church?


I have been watching quite a bit of the Hillsong church channel, I feel drawn to it for some reason, but I have noticed they talk alot about the bible verses about ‘the church’, according to them, it just means any church, their church, the church next door, etc but what I was taught as a catholic is, when the bible mentions ‘the church’, it is referring exclusively to the catholic church and NONE other…right?

The Hillsong founder uses the bible verse about Jesus instructing the apostles to create and build his church, he sort of works that to imply Hillsong is the church the bible is referring to, or better yet, ‘church’ is more of a generic term, the particular denomination does not really matter.

Im still not sure on everything Hillsong promotes, but it does seem like they have managed to reach ALOT of young people in the modern world and get them at least coming to some kind of church, they can fill professional sports arenas for their sunday service, so I think that says something about them.


Catholics would use the term Churches to mean those Churches with bishops in valid apostolic succession and, thus, all seven valid sacraments. Catholics sometimes refer to protestant groups as “ecclesial communities”.

Protestant groups, on the other hand, will often refer to all Christians as “the Church.”


When Catholics speak of the Church they generally mean the Catholic Church.
Catholics do use the word church of Protestant bodies as they they speak of the Methodist church, but just as a term of identification. But to them generally “the Church” is the Catholic Church.
According to Catholic teaching Christ established the Catholic Church. And so for example he establishes the eucharist as his body when he says “this is my body” at the last supper and speaks of the eucharist in John 6. Of course this is the Catholic view, that Christ started the Catholic church, but Protestants could never think this, or if they did, they would be compelled to become Catholics instead.
If Christ started the Catholic Church, when Saint Paul spoke of the Church, he spoke of the Catholic Church, since he didn’t invent a theology at odds with that of Jesus.
If it seems needed, however, I will cite official Catholic documents that says Christ established the Catholic Church.


I subscribed to the Hillsong channel in my earlier years. I don’t subscribe now. I have heard the same message over and over, but now I want something that extends deeper into the soul, something that doesn’t work on my fickle emotions, something that goes deeper into the essence of my soul. Who I am, who I am in relation to God, who I am in relation to my fellow believers, who I am to require God’s graces, who I am to yearn for His salvation. There is only one thing that met my need. The Catholic Church. Promises are easy, deliverance is hard. I thank God for my chance to return my family to the Catholic Church when they strayed so far from Home, away from the true Church. You will search unceasingly but you will never find the Church, until you return home, to the Catholic Church.


No. The Church is only part of the church.


When I say the Church to other Catholics, they know I mean The Catholic Church.

The church, however is the universal church, which is the body of Christ…all believers.



No, The Church always and only means the Catholic Church


In scripture, there are times (at least in English, which is my only fluent language) when the word “church” is used to refer to specific communities, such as “to the angel of the church of Philadelphia…” (Rev. 3:17).

Other times in scripture, the word church is used to refer to complete community of believers, as in “upon this rock I will build my Church” (Mt 16:18). In this case, one could assume the reference is to the Catholic Church as the true home of all believers, even if some believers have sought shelter in other out buildings at the present time.


That is the verse the Hillsong founder (Brian Houston) mentions as his inspiration for creating and striving to grow Hillsong.


THAT’S what I said


Correct. The “Church” is the Church of Christ, which is found within ( or subsists in, for the theological minded) the Catholic Church. Without valid sacraments and apostolic succession, there is no Church.


Mike, when are you going to figure out that being emotionally drawn to something and that when a large number are joining a religious community like Hillsong that it is exactly what it seems to be…too good to be true?

If lots of people think something is great it generally because it appeals to their worldly thinking and damaged human nature. I’ve seem Hillsong many times and the kids mostly show up for the contemporary music and the advertised “Bible church” teaching which, if you take the time to check closely, turns out to be verses and passages pulled out of context and interpreted by whoever is in the pulpit that day.

It’s not just the Bible because the Bible nowhere says that it should be the final and ultimate standard for all Christians believe and practice. You can look for yourself my friend and you’ll find It’s NOT in the Bible, okay? (and It’s NOT in the Bible, okay? (Part II) and since the Bible is the Word of God it is all we need… and “If anyone teaches/preaches something that is not in scripture”)so then what you have is a group of people who every single day of the lives have to reinvent the Christian wheel again and again with seriously inconsistent results.:shrug:

Look carefully at what St. Ignatius of Antioch (a close friend and disciple of St John the apostle) Bishop of Antioch in the 1st and 2nd century and martyr, wrote about the church about 110 AD.


See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out [through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper(18) Eucharist, which is[administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude[of the people] also be; by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.(2) even as where Christ is, there does all the heavenly host stand by, waiting upon Him as the Chief Captain of the Lord’s might, and the Governor of every intelligent nature. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize, or to offer, or to present sacrifice, or to celebrate a love-feast.(1) But that which seems good to him, is also well-pleasing to God, that everything ye do may be secure and valid.

Note that even at that early point the church meant the Catholic Church and that was what it was called. They recognized the name even then or else Ignatius would never have used it to another “diocese”. If the early church was Catholic then why in the world would we want to be anything else?

Switch channels and watch EWTN buddy.:slight_smile:


The word usually translated to “church” in our English Bibles is a form of the word: ecclesia or ἐκκλησία (ekklésia)

Here are a list of the Bible references where forms of that word are used:

Strong’s Concordance:
1577. ekklésia
assembly, church.
From a compound of ek and a derivative of kaleo; a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both) – assembly, church.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon:
4. in the Christian sense,
a. an assembly of Christians gathered for worship: ἐν ἐκκλησία, in the religious meeting, 1 Corinthians 14:19, 35; ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις, 1 Corinthians 14:34; συνέρχεσθαι ἐν ἐκκλησία, 1 Corinthians 11:18; cf. Winers Grammar, § 50, 4a.
b. a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal Salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake; aa. those who anywhere, in city or village, constitute such a company and are united into one body
There is more on this page for the definition that I didn’t copy:

Ecclesia is also an English word:

  1. an assembly, especially the popular assembly of ancient Athens.
  2. a congregation; church.

I have always been taught and believed that the church are those that follow Christ. Whoever believes in Jesus and follows Him is part of Christ’s body on earth and belong to His church.


Do you really think that we Catholic don’t already know these language tidbits. I mean gee…parts of our Mass are in Greek and Latin is the language used by the church documents to this day. Case in point. Ecclesia de Eucharistia (17 April 2003) | John Paul II

Certainly that may be what you believe because it’s what you were taught, but the fact remains that 2,000 years of Christian history indicates that you were taught and believe wrong.

Non-Catholics wouldn’t have a Bible )abridged as it actually is…) had the Catholic Church not canonized, defended, and preserved it and those are historical facts.

The fact that so many modern non-Catholics today deny and/or oppose Catholic teachings just serves to prove my point.

The early church was Catholic and called itself that as verifiable historical documents indicate…the errors of modern men in non-Catholic religion is not relevant to what the New Testament and the early church really believed and taught, having received their teachings from the apostles.


Make a turn at “non-catholic religions” my friend and realise its not that simple. We actually discuss your presumed ideas about who is wrong and not in a bit more “not so attacking like you are wrong case and point” way.

We are open for a discussion, otherwise what are we doing here? It is not so easy and you will come to understand we do know, study and think about those things. Keep the bashing semantics to yourself and come talk to us :slight_smile:


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