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The Clarion Herald

    By definition, a New Testament Church is "a called-out assembly of scripturally baptized believers who are covenanted together; under the Holy Spirit's direction, for mutual edification and the carrying out of the Great Commission". This requires the gathering together of: (1) A specific people, (2) In a specific place, (3) For a specific purpose.
    By nature, a New Testament church is strictly LOCAL and VISIBLE -- as is evidenced by the various figures used in the New Testament to illustrate its true function; (1) It is Christ's "little flock", (Luke 12:32; Acts 20:28). (2) It is God's "building", "household" and "holy temple", (I Cor. 3:16-17; 12:27; I Tim. 2:15; Eph.2:22; comp. I Pet. 2:5-10). (3) It is Christ's "body" -- a living, active organism -- manifesting to the world "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:22; 5:23-25).
    Coming from the Greek word "ekklesia", (meaning "to call out"), the word "church" is used in three different ways in the New Testament. First, it is used in a "generic" or "institutional" sense; "Christ ... loved the church, and gave himself

for it", (Eph. 5:25; comp. 5:23). But this no more speaks of a universal church than of a universal "husband" or "wife". Three times the word is used of a Greek TOWN MEETING -- called together to conduct the business of the city, (Acts 19:32, 39, 41). By far the most common usage, however, is that of a "local assembly". Once it is so used of the Israelites -- called out of Egypt and assembled in the wilderness, (Acts 7:38). The over-whelming majority of usages require the idea of a LOCAL ASSEMBLY. Every rule, command provision, promise and ordinance given to the New Testament Church is designed for the function of a LOCAL assembly, and ONLY for a local assembly.
    The idea of a "universal" church (that cannot assemble) is utterly foreign to the New Testament. No such "church" is once mentioned in all the Scriptures. No provision is made for such a monstrosity. The very idea is a contradiction of all New Testament teaching regarding the concept, function and purpose of the church as Christ intended it to be, The doctrine of a "universal" church (visible or invisible) is an ADDITION TO the Word of God. Its proponents place themselves in great jeopardy by presuming to

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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald

alter the Word of God to conform to their vain imaginations.
    Apart from a SPECIFIC LOCALITY there can be no ASSEMBLY; there is no possible way for a church to function without an ASSEMBLY, (I Cor. 11:18; 14:23). The churches (plural) of the New Testament are LOCATED -- some in various cities (Acts 11:22 26; 15:22; I Cor. 1:2; 16:1; 2 Cor. 8:1; Gal. 1:22; etc.); others as HOUSEHOLD CHURCHES, (Rom. 16:5; I Cor. 16:19; Col. 4:15; Philemon 2).
    In REALITY there is no such thing as a CHURCH without a LOCALITY -- an assembly that cannot assemble! A New Testament church may he PHOTOGRAPHED!!
    Let those who sit lightly on local church life recall the Savior's deep love and high evaluation of it. For it He shed His precious blood -- purchasing it at infinite cost. And through it He desires glory in every generation of this present age.
-- Eugene L. Garner


    In a human body, Jesus of Nazareth, having finished the work His Father sent Him to accomplish, has ascended into heaven -- where He is now seated at the Father's right hand, sharing His throne and glory.
    While the Son of God was incarnate among men, He established a new "order" -- a new witnessing agency -- which He called "my church", (Matt. 16:18) and to which He promised His age-long presence through the Holy Spirit, (Matt. 28:18-20; cf. John 14:16-18; Acts 1:8). By means of local assemblies, woven into the very warp and woof of local communities throughout the world, Jesus Christ has chosen to carry on His "unfinished" work -- that of proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom to the ends of the earth.
    Through the Holy Spirit Jesus Christ INDWELLS and ENLIVENS every such assembly -- each being the re-incarnation of the Living Christ; and, thus, HIS BODY, (I Cor. 12:12, 27). His body consists of "many members", (I Cor. 10:17; Eph. 5:30, 32). He is its Saviour, (Eph. 5:23). He has so tempered it together as to resist schism and division, (I Cor. 12:24-25). Every member is important -- the function of each one necessary to the prosperity of the whole, (Eph. 4:16). Apostles and masters have "suffered for his body's sake" (Col. 1:24). Jews and Gentiles are reconciled to God, and each other, "in one body", (Eph. 2:16). Worship around the Lord's Table involves the "communion of the BODY of Christ", (I Cor. 10:16).
    Communion involves FELLOWSHIP --

a sharing of things in common. In the Lord's Supper every body-member partakes of Christ in a sense that is VERY REAL, though not literal, (John 6:53-60). Here is a joint-participation of every body-member in an act of spiritual worship, where fellowship is shared, (I Cor. 10:16-23). A proper observance of this ordinance requires that one recognize the CHURCH, as assembled for the purpose of worship and fellowship, as BEING Christ's "body" -- a living organism sustained by His very life -- and that his attitude toward the BODY is, in reality, his true attitude toward the Christ! Failure to recognize the fact that this IS HIS BODY, as one observes the ordinance, makes him guilty of SIN against Him; such lack of discernment is a sin against THE BODY, (I Cor. 11:23-24, 29).
    Whenever a local-church-body is functioning properly (according to God's purpose), it becomes a LIVING MANIFESTATION of the very FULNESS OF CHRIST, (Eph. 1:23) -- His glory being reflected in Christ-like living, (2 Cor. 3:18).
    As the "head" of His body, the church (Col. 1:18), Jesus Christ is our sovereign Lord -- our superior in status, authority and power. More than this, He is our "chief" Who freely and graciously calls us into fellowship with Himself in the ministry of reconciliation. It is a high privilege to serve the Lord with gladness. Any supposed "body" that fails to render faithful service -- manifesting the fulness of her Head -- is either dead or dormant; it is merely a CORPSE! But our Living Head both directs and

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sustains all whose lives are abandoned unto Him IN FAITH -- enabling us to "do all things" through His strength, (Phil. 4:13); and to be "more than conquerors" through His unfailing love, (Rom. 8:37).
-- Eugene L. Garner


    Contrary to the argument of modern "charismatic's", opposition to their professed superior spirituality is rooted in something far more substantial than a mere "emotional reaction". There are definite Biblical reasons for rejecting the hysteria and spiritual (?) license being practiced by those who would sever the live-line of the established "church".
    Among my reasons for rejecting the modern use of "tongues" are the following:
    1. "Tongues" were originally designed as a "sign" to unbelieving Israel, and no Scripture indicates that it was God's intention to continue their usage throughout this age, (Isa. 28:11; I Cor. 14:21).
    2. When tongues were used on the Day of Pentecost, and later at Corinth, they were in recognizable languages and dialects that could be understood and interpreted. This was something clearly different from today's phenomena.
    3. It was NEVER God's intention that ALL Christians should exercise the gift of tongues, (I Cor. 12:30). The "gift" was sovereignly bestowed by the Holy Spirit -- where it was needed, (I Cor. 12:31).

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    4. The Biblical view of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that of an historic event whereby the early church was anointed for spiritual service, (Matt. 3:11; Acts 1:5). On Pentecost this baptism came -- UN-SOUGHT! Never is the baptism of the Holy Spirit regarded, in the New Testament, as an INDIVIDUAL experience to be authenticated by the ability to speak in an unrecognizable tongue.
    5. The modern tongue phenomenon is more like the "glossalalia"
practiced by pagan religions than that described in the book of Acts; it should be regarded as another Satanic device -- designed for the delusion of men, (2 Cor. 4:4).
    6. A reckless and hilarious use of tongues is being employed to promote ecumenicity, the World Council of Churches, realignment of Protestants with the Roman Catholic Church, and a single world-religion.
    7. And many of the strongest advocates of the tongue phenomena -- instead of manifesting a superior spirituality in life are actually abandoning the most basic of moral principles. Adultery, fornication, lasciviousness, uncleanness, etc. are nowhere mentioned as fruits of the Spirit, (see Gal. 5:19).
    If the blind lead the blind it is not unreasonable to expect both to fall. Beware of "charismatic deceivers" who "compass sea and land to make one proselyte" while despising the "order" the Lord Himself has established for the effecting of HIS PURPOSE in the earth. Charismatic's may make their boast of having "prophesied" in the name of the Lord, of having "cast out devils" and done many wonderful works. But He who purchased the (local) church with His own blood, and promised His age-long presence with her, will answer: "I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that WORK INIQUITY!"
    Separate yourself from this pre-sumptuous, deceptive, fraudulent, Christ-dishonoring, hell-bound avalanche of destruction BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!!
-- Eugene L. Garner