A reader from Western Massachusetts says, "I have heard this common theme that all Christians are the Church. I know that is not so, and I remember some scriptures on how to show that. I even spoke with one person, and used a physical example (that I thought might help to the point), but got nowhere. What do I do with the verse in Acts 2:47, `And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.' Could you help me?"
In Acts 2:41, we are told, "In the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Then in verse 47, he said, "The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." It is apparent that them, in verse 41, and the Church, in verse 47, are the same people.
Conversely, in Acts 5:11-14, when the conspiracy of Ananias and Sapphira was revealed and they were punished, "Great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things." The passage goes on to say that although "multitudes were added to the Lord," many were afraid to join the Church of God.
There is no passage of scripture which, in any way suggests that all who are born again compose "The Body of Christ." On the contrary, we have various statements and examples which prove that the body of Christ is a specific group of believers who are "called and chosen." One of those is found in 1 Peter 1:10, "Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure." Another is in Rev. 22:19, where the punishment for the offense was to have your "part (taken) out of the book of life, and out of the holy city."
In addition, the descriptions which are given of the church could in no way describe Christianity as a whole. Eph. 4:15,16 provides us a good example. "Speaking the truth in love, (we) may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." I believe that even the most casual observer can see that Paul is not describing Christian sectarianism, but rather a specific group of people bound together as a corporate unit working with love for the benefit of the whole, and for the advancement of the cause of Christ. That body is called "God's Elect."
(Editor's note: For a more in-depth study on the subject of the Body of Christ, please refer to our other publications: God's Church: Prophecy in Motion; Holy Jerusalem; and The Truth about God's Elect. These booklets may be obtained by contacting us using the information on page 2.)