I was in a nutrition store recently with one of my Catholic Transformation t-shirts on. I'm not sure if that's what got the guy started giving me and the cashier his version of some Christian thought or not. As he was sharing about faith, he also used a few words that sounded more like a bar room conversation. That was intriguing to say the least.
One of the things that he said that stood out was something close to this paraphrase, "I don't attend Church. The Church is right here." I took that to mean that me, the cashier and him discussing faith was what why he said the Church is right here. I also believe that statement could have come from his thoughts on Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Jesus said, "I am there among them." He didn't say, "The Church is there among them."
I don't believe it's all that uncommon for Matthew 18:20 to be used as a reason to not attend Church. Yes, it's true that two or three are gathered in Christ name, he is there among them. But Christ is also there with me on my own in my vehicle and many other places of solitude. With just me, Christ is there.
I don't think me, the cashier and the guy talking represented THE CHURCH: Paul said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:15 "if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." ( NIV ) Hmmm.... "...the pillar and foundation of the truth." Well, I don't believe the three of us standing at the front counter of a nutrition store represented the pillar and foundation of truth as THE CHURCH. I do believe we could represent Christ as a small group of believers. I believe we could have shared the Gospel with anyone entering the store. I believe we could have prayed together and read scripture in the nutrition store but that didn't make us THE CHURCH.
No, Mr. "I don't attend Church." I'm sorry the three of us were/are not THE CHURCH.
One of the many disagreements in Christianity is whether THE CHURCH is a particular Church or THE CHURCH is the complete body of believers in Christ throughout the world. I've been on both sides of this disagreement and see it different as a Catholic than I did as an evangelical.
I do believe in the 4 marks of the Church: The Church is ONE. It is HOLY. It is CATHOLIC. It is APOSTOLIC. Just like the creed states,""I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."
Rather than getting into whether Christ founded a Church or not, I'll leave you with this video from Steve Ray that's just under an hour. If you don't believe Christ established ONE Church, I ask you to at minimum watch this video, pray for the truth to be revealed regardless of your personal opinion and re-read the New Testament looking for whether Christ founded A CHURCH or thousands of Churches that don't agree with each other and continue to split.
Doesn't it make logical sense that there would be ONE Church in existence since the time of Christ?