2007-01-13 - Basic Beliefs
Part 12 - Based on The Apostle's Creed
"I believe in the holy catholic church; the communion of saints"
Before I begin Installment 12 of this Series I would like to give you the background on something and clear up a few misconceptions.
Misconception (1): In the Apostles' Creed - the word "catholic" does NOT mean the Roman Catholic church. I know some people have misunderstood this.
The definition of the word catholic is simply "universal" - and has nothing to do with any particular denomination. In fact it means just the opposite. The "holy catholic church" simply means every Christian who has ever lived or ever will live. Whether you are a Baptist; Presbyterian; Methodist; Pentecostal or something else - if you believe in Christ as Savior you are a member of the "holy catholic church."
As AOL's dictionary states: catholic: of, relating to, or forming the church universal b of; relating to, or forming the ancient undivided Christian church or a church claiming historical continuity from it.
Misconception (2): Universal does not mean the Universalist denomination. It does not mean that everyone is going to Heaven. It simply means the church includes everyone who is a Christian - or "saved" as some would word it - regardless of national origin; age; denomination; or of any time era.
As Romans 10:13 reminds us- everyone who calls on Christ's name is saved. It doesn't say "everyone who is in my denomination" or "everyone who is from the US or Africa or England or "everyone who is born into the a Christian family" or "everyone who votes Democratic (or Republican)." It simply says "everyone who calls on His name."
While the Bible instructs us each (if able physically) to be an active member of a local church body - we are also brothers and sisters of Christians all around the world - as well as those who preceded us to Heaven - and those who will follow us. We are all part of the body of Christ - which the Bible says is His church.
Colossians 1:24 b (NIV) ..."His body which is the church."
Christians who fervently worship in a field in Africa (some are too poor to own buildings) are brothers and sisters of Christians who worship in a million-dollar sanctuary. We are all members of Christ's body. This isn't a literal body of course; it's metaphorical.
Questions or Comments?