The Myth Of The Universal Invisible Church
By Pastor Roy Mason
In addition to what has been previously said about the Universal theory,
I wish to bring some further indictments against it:
ONE IS THAT IN THE SERIOUS AND SACRED MATTER OF CHRIST'S CHURCH THIS THEORY
BECOMES UNDER EXAMINATION A BIZARRE AND STUPID THING.
Consider this with me: If the church that Christ started was a Universal
Invisible thing, and if all believers are members of it, then pray tell
me WHY IT EVER NEEDED ANYBODY TO START IT? IT WOULD HAVE EXISTED ANYHOW
WITHOUT ANYBODY STARTING IT! It would "just have been" anyhow, without
Jesus ever going to the trouble of starting it. It is made to be such a
great thing that this so-called Body was started, yet if the Universal
theory is true it would have been without starting, just the same. That
makes Christ to have done something that didn't need to be done. I repeat,
if every person who becomes a Christian just automatically is added to
the Invisible Church, they would be just as truly added had Jesus never
even mentioned church. In other words, if THAT is what Jesus built, HE
BUILT NOTHING! A foolish line of reasoning seems to be involved here, yet
I am dealing with a valid argument against the Universal Invisible Church,
for there is simply no way around the truth that if all saved persons have
been inducted into the mystical Body of Christ, and that constitutes the
real, sure enough Church, such a church would have been WITHOUT ANYBODY
GOING TO THE TROUBLE TO START IT. Deity doesn't engage in absurdities.
Jesus didn't die for - give Himself for, a church of that sort and kind.
Another indictment against the Universal theory is this:
IT MAKES JESUS TO BE A PHILANDERER. You have perhaps known young men who
engaged in the philandering practice of getting engaged to girl after girl.
Tiring of these he finally wed an entirely different woman. Something like
that Christ is made to be by the Universal theorists. Let's see if that
is not true.
In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul is writing to the Corinthian church and
he is writing about that church. That this is true is made plain in verse
where he says, "I robbed other churches taking wages of them to do
you service." So beyond question he is speaking to, and about,
that local church. In verse 2 he says, "For I am jealous over
you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that
I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."
Back in ancient times marriages were usually arranged by parents, just
as they are in some lands today. A daughter was betrothed or espoused to
a certain man. In some instances the man later saw somebody else he wanted,
so he went back on his betrothal, and married someone else. Paul here uses
the illustration of such a betrothal, applying it to the church at Corinth.
He says, "I have betrothed (or espoused) you to one
husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."
Now note that this local church is spoken of as a betrothed virgin, engaged
to be married in other words to Christ. The question is, WILL THE BRIDE
FINALLY PROVE TO BE THE ONE TO WHOM CHRIST IS ENGAGED? If the betrothed
is the local church, will the ultimate Bride be composed of the genuine
members of the true local churches, when that times comes when "the church
in prospect" now, becomes a visible actuality? The Universal churchites
would have Christ now engaged to the one whom Paul is speaking about in
this passage, yet they would have the wife to be a different character
entirely, for they make the Bride to be composed of all of the saved from
everywhere. If this were true, then Christ would have to break His engagement
and marry an entirely, different woman! I for one don't believe that the
wife is going to be different from the betrothed.
Another indictment against the Universal theory is this:
IT CAUSES PEOPLE TO MINIMIZE AND NEGLECT THE LOCAL CHURCH. I recall that
some women moved from another city and began to attend the church where
I was once pastor. They were bright, well educated women, and they believed
in the plain preaching that I was doing. These three women were close friends
of one of the co-editors of the Scofield Bible, and they had absorbed the
Universal church theory. They spoke to me very approvingly of my preaching,
and I said to them, "You like to attend church here, and you are in favor
of the kind of ministry I am trying to carry on, how about you taking membership
with our church?" Oh no, they didn't want to do that! Why? The truth finally
came out. They minimized the local church, and were not greatly impressed
with it, because they WERE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH THAT WAS SO MUCH MORE
IMPORTANT - THE BIG UNIVERSAL CHURCH. Of course I indicated that I didn't
believe there was such a thing, but apart from that, I pointed out that
the Universal Church had never won a soul to Christ, had never sent out
a missionary, had never taught the Bible to anybody - indeed had never
done anything. Those women continued to attend our services, but they were
completely wedded to their theory such that they felt no need of local
There are many people like those I have just described. They like to attend
Bible conferences and hear men speak about "the CHOORCH," and the "Rapture
of the CHOORCH." They are so taken up with that Universal Church theory
that a local visible church is a trifling thing in their eyes.
I was asked to speak before a group of Baptist pastors once. Most of these
were holders of the Universal theory, and I was asked to present my opposing
views, which I did with great enjoyment. In the course of my remarks I
said, "You brethren who are so committed to the Universal theory - there
is one thing that would cure you, and that would be for you to have to
DRAW AN INVISIBLE SALARY FROM YOUR UNIVERSAL CHURCH!" But no - preachers
may believe in the Universal Church, but they always want their salary
to come from their visible church!
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