Institutional Church

The Early Church sprung from the preaching of the apostles. It was formed by the Holy Spirit and nurtured by the Word of God. The word translated “church” in the New Testament is the Greek word ekklésia, which means “a called-out assembly.” It is used throughout the New Testament to refer to gatherings of Christian believers. The Book of Acts describes it this way:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.   (Acts 2:42-47)

This is how people in the Early Church were being saved. It was not by joining the right Synagogue or following one particular minister over against another. The Apostle Paul wrote:

Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?   (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)

Has our salvation come by joining the right church, denomination, or nondenomination? Why so many different institutional churches? To be sure that we are under the right doctrine? Right doctrine is important, but it will not save us. There exists no perfect church doctrine. Only the Holy Trinity is perfect.

We are called by God to be perfect, yet, on our own, we cannot be. We are given One Spirit under God the Father by the Lord Jesus Christ for the purpose of perfecting us. The right organization and doctrine is not so important. What is important is this:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.