Most of us protestants will agree with this statement,
- THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH
We believe the Church is the Body of Christ ( 1 Cor 12:12 -14; Eph 1:22 -23) , His Bride (Eph 5:25 ) and Temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 3:16 ), the expression of the present rule and reign of Christ’s Kingdom of God on earth. Christians are members of the universal, mystical, body by faith-they are a holy priesthood of believers. Believers need to live out their commitment to Christ in love, unity and community with other body members in the local church-this is the practical expression of Christian faith in action.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[a]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14
12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by[a] one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
1 Corinthians 3:16
16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
In short, we believe in the “spiritual body of Christ” and the local visible body of christ, church.
Now, there are some Baptists who deny that there is an Universal, spiritual body of Christ. They claim that there is only a local church.
pbministries.org/books/pink/Miscellaneous/universal-or-local.htm hccentral.com/gkeys/body.html baptistpillar.com/bd0131.htm