The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Is it a Church or Is it a Club?


#1

Just today I discovered this that I had written years ago. I had totally forgotten that I had written it. I welcome any input you may have.

IS “ENTITY X” A CHURCH OR IS IT A CLUB?

The Composition of the Church
1 Early Church
There is only one Church—the one that Jesus founded. There are many local expressions of that one Church.

2 Entity X
There is only one Church. But it is divided into many denominations.

3 Club
We are members of one club. But it is divided into many chapters.

Leaders of the Local Church
1 Early Church
Each local church was led by overseers (elders) who were assisted by deacons. The elders saw that the meetings were in order.

2 Entity X
Each local church is led by the pastor (also called “the minister”). Larger churches may have assistant pastors. There is also a secretary and a treasurer of each church.

3 Club
Each chapter is led by a president. Usually there is also a vice-president. There is also a secretary and a treasurer of each chapter.

Membership in the Church
1 Early Church
One could not join the Church. Rather God added to the Church those who were being saved (Acts 2:47). The local church recognized all members of the one Church. Members of the one-and-only Church (founded by Christ) who visited or attended the local church had full privileges.

2 Entity X
A person can join the local church if he agrees with their statement of faith. If he joins, he gets onto their membership roll. Only those on the membership roll can take communion, give a sermon, or vote.

3 Club
A person can join the club if he agrees with their statement of purpose. If he joins, he gets onto their membership roll. Only those on the membership roll can vote or participate in club activities.

Conducting of Meetings
1 Early Church
There was a body ministry in the meetings. This means that the meetings were open for any member of the Church (which Christ founded) to minister as the Lord led him or her. This ministry may have been the suggestion of a hymn, the singing of a hymn, a teaching, a tongue, a prophecy, etc.

2 Entity X
The pastor leads all meetings. He may be assisted by the assistant pastor, if there is one. The pastor usually does all the preaching. If he is absent, the assistant pastor gives the sermon. If there is no assistant pastor, the pastor may choose one of the members of the church to speak in his absence.

3 Club
The president leads all the meetings. If he is absent, the vice-president conducts the meeting.

Decisions
1 Early Church
Decisions were made as a result of prayer and the resulting thoughts of the brothers and sisters present under the direction of the elders (overseers). The elders had the final word in decision making.

2 Entity X
Decisions are made in a democratic fashion. Issues are discussed and the majority vote decides.

3 Club
Decisions are made in a democratic fashion. Issues are discussed and the majority vote decides.