Prove that the Church is a not place: All Catholic Apologetics welcome to part take


#1

I like to point out that a Non-Catholic Protestant Christian insist that the Church is not a place.

I have told him that the Church is a place and it also a community of believers. I pointed 1 Timothy 3:15 and other Scriptural text to prove my case. So far, he has relied heavily on his interpretation that the Church isn’t a place. He is partly correct but Church has a deeper meaning.

So I invite him and anyone who agrees with his decrees that the Church is not a place to part take in this discussion.

I encourage those who favors my position to assist me as well.


#2

Perhaps one must distinguish between ‘Church’ & ‘church’.

My understanding of it is that when ‘Church’ (with the Capital ‘C’) is used it means the body of believers - i.e. The Catholic Church would not ordinarily be regarded as a particular place, but rather the group of people who are united in the Faith. On the other hand, if one speaks for example of there being a Catholic church in the area, one would normally take this to mean the presence of a physical building for worship.

Perhaps I have misunderstood your statement, but I would be inclined to agree with the Protestant who says that the Church is not a place; however the ‘church’ is a place. The use of upper and lower case letters for the same word is how this distinction is made.


#3

Your protestant friend is looking at texts which teach something like church universal see, I Cor 12 for example. You need to define church in its different modes to him. Then expand the meaning of local church as being subject to the apostles — fact that Peter and Paul wrote churches letters proves this.

We believe that the Church Universal is the Body and Bride of Christ, a divine organism of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head, and that it is composed of all born again believers (Matt. 16:16—18; Acts 2:47; 5:14; II Cor. 11:1,2; Eph. 1:22,23). A local church is composed of a group of believers who associate themselves to gether for the preaching of the Word, celebration of the ordinances, prayers, Christian service, under duly elected officers (Matt. 28:19; Luke 22:19,20; Acts 2:42; 4:32—37; 6:56; 14:23; 20:17). We believe in the complete independence of the local church and in the fellowship of churches of like precious faith and practice (Acts 15:1-4; I Cor. 12:12-28; Eph. 2:19—22; 4:4—7; Heb. 10:25). We believe in the absolute separation of Church and State (Matt. 22:21).

gracebibleonline.org/sof.html


#4

The original Greek word for church, “ekklesia”, referred to a popular gathering, usually used to refer to “town meetings” and the like. It later became a reference to groups of religious followers (both Christian and non-Christian), and later still became almost synonymous with the places in which they worshiped.

In the scripture passage you mentioned, Paul distinguished between the two, identifying the “household of God” separately from “the church”.


#5

You can expand this to include the church triumph which are those in heaven.

newadvent.org/cathen/03744a.htm

google.com/search?hl=en&q=systematic+theology+church+


#6

He does distinguished the two. I have objection to this. The Protestant Atemi insist the Church is not a place. I believe it is a community of believers, and a place. Like you said, the Greek word for Church is ekklesia… I have no objection to that.


#7

From the NASB:

Act 14:23 When they had appointed5500 elders4245 for them in every2596 church1577, having prayed4336 with fasting3521, they commended3908 them to the Lord2962 in whom3739 they had believed4100.

From Strong’s Concordance:

G1577
ἐκκλησία
ekklēsia
ek-klay-see’-ah
From a compound of G1537 and a derivative of G2564; a calling out, that is, (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.

Where are these elders doing their ministry? Answer: in a religious congregation, which is “ekklesia” or church?


#8

If the church is not a place, then why does this verse appear in Hebrews?

Heb 10:25 not forsaking1459 our own1438 assembling1997 together1997, as is the habit1485 of some5100, but encouraging3870 one another; and all5118 the more3123 as you see991 the day2250 drawing1448 near1448. from the NASB

From Strong’s:

G1997
ἐπισυναγωγή
episunagōgē
ep-ee-soon-ag-o-gay’
From G1996; a complete collection; specifically a Christian meeting (for worship): - assembling (gathering) together.


#9

According to the Scriptures, and the Greek, a “church” is never a place or a building all throughout the NT.

I am sorry if this is so difficult for you to accept.

A church, Scripturally speaking, is a particular assembly of people. That’s all and that’s it.

Common usage today erroneously calls buildings “churches,” but that mistake has nothing to do with the Word of God.


#10

Where does this assembly meet?


#11

Scripturally?

In a home, building, or other location.


#12

The Jews clearly viewed the Temple as the place where God dwelt. Mt Sinai of course had previous prominence.

Christ, who did not employ the artificial distinction between Old and New Testament some sola scripturists do, went to the Temple to cleanse it. Moreover, he did so after driving people out of it. What need was there to cleanse a place, if all that mattered were the congregants?

Indeed, when Christ judged the Sanhedrin, he destroyed the Temple. He most manifestly did not destroy the Jews.

When Christ proclaimed Peter the Rock upon which he would build his Church, the apostles happened to be looking at an enormous rock, not upon a multitude of believers.

Thus, if God didn’t see the importance of church as place, why would He descend to Sinai? Why would He dwell in the Temple?


#13

So it is a building.


#14

The church (ekklesia) meets within a building. If you replace the use of “church” in New Testament translations with “congregation” (I believe this is a closer word in our culture today), or perhaps “religious gathering”, the verses make sense. The meaning of church as a building simply didn’t exist in the day those words were written.

You’d be hard-pressed to find somewhere that doesn’t fit the example I used above.


#15

Really. Then how come John wrote letters to seven churches in Revelations?

Revelation Chapter 1 verse 11

Saying: What thou seest, write in a book, and send to the seven churches which are in Asia, to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamus, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.

Where are these churches located, Atemi? They are in Asia, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamus, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. If these aren’t places what other definitions would they be then.

I don’t disagree with your claim that a Church is a community of believers, a congregation, or assembly of people. The word church has multiple meanings not just one.

It means several things:

  1. A community of believers gathered in public worship.

  2. The Mystical Body of Christ, which is invisible.

  3. It is a place that be in a home, or a building where people gather to worship. A building by itself would not be a Church but once a building is reserve specifically for worship, that house becomes the house of worship. A house of God. A household of God so to speak. Paul calls it a Church.

I don’t think you can convince me any different, Atemi. I do agree with you, but you need to understand the word Church or church has multiple meanings.


#16

I think the real issue here is whether the church is a visible organization or an amorphous community of believers. Does it really matter what we call the building we meet and celebrate Mass in? Personally, I don’t care whether you call it a “church”, a “temple”, or a “chapel.” In fact, in Spanish a church building is often referred to as a “templo” which is literally translated “temple.” Let’s not get lost in semantics here.

God Bless,
Michael


#17

Correct—the whole point is it’s VISIBLE.

Jesus’ urging us to take concerns of reprobate members to the Church mean nothing if the Church is invisible, although I certainly do relish the notion of a Southern Baptist complaining about a Baptist reprobate to a United Methodist for possible excommunication.


#18

Scripturally speaking, the church met in a building or at a location. The church did not meet in a church. This is utterly basic NT.


#19

Tell me – do you believe that the seven churches were seven literal buildings? I would be willing to bet (were I the betting sort) that each of these congregations (assemblies of believers, overall groupings) met in multiple buildings all over the regions in question.

Additionally, the churches were the subject of John’s writings. He wasn’t writing to the building, but to the congregation that met within one or [probably] more buildings in that region.


#20

Did John write letters to seven buildings, Manny?

I don’t disagree with your claim that a Church is a community of believers, a congregation, or assembly of people. The word church has multiple meanings not just one.

It means several things:

  1. A community of believers gathered in public worship.
  1. The Mystical Body of Christ, which is invisible.

Yes.

  1. It is a place that be in a home, or a building where people gather to worship. A building by itself would not be a Church but once a building is reserve specifically for worship, that house becomes the house of worship. A house of God. A household of God so to speak. Paul calls it a Church.

Incorrect.

You compound the error by also insisting that “household of God” means a location or building when it most assuredly does not. Actually, not even close.

God’s household, by definition, is His family, not a building or structure.

I don’t think you can convince me any different, Atemi.

Though unfortunate, I do not doubt that.

What concerns me the most here is that you have not yet been corrected by your brethren who are familiar with your mistake. That nobody here has corrected you is highly disconcerting.

I do agree with you, but you need to understand the word Church or church has multiple meanings.

You are right, and not one of them, Scripturally speaking, is a place or building. Not one.

Please understand that this is not personal, Manny, but you are mistaken. This has nothing to do with my opinion or my “interpretation.” This is just the way it is.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.