Vol. 9, No. 1
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There is a sense in which the church of the Lord could be classified as being Catholic, Protestant and Jewish. This may seem rather strange to a society wherein all 'Christian' organizations are quickly placed in one of the aforementioned categories but hardly to be found in all three of them.
First, the church of Jesus Christ is Catholic in nature because of the Lord's design of his called out people. The word catholic simply means universal. The prophet Isaiah prophesied that the "house of God," which is the "church of the living God," would be inhabited by people from "all nations" (Isaiah 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 3:14-15). Since the Gospel of Christ is to be preached to every creature in this world, it is clearly seen that the church is also universal in nature (Mark 16:15). Especially is this understood when we learn that the Lord adds the saved to his church (Acts 2:38, 41, 47). Jesus died for the sins of the entire world (John 3:16; Hebrews 2:9). He also shed his blood in order that the church might be established (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25). There is to be no restriction placed on the universality of the Gospel and the church of Jesus Christ.
Second, the church is Protestant in that the members thereof are to protest and speak against all kinds of sin. The church and the world are opposed to each other. There can be no peace between the two, no more than between Christ and Satan, good and evil, righteousness and wickedness. Paul instructed Timothy to rebuke and to reprove (2 Timothy 4:1-3). Christians should express their disapproval of all injustices, departures from the faith and the rank immorality that exist today (Ephesians 5:11).
Third, there is a real sense in which the Bible refers to Christians as being Jewish, that is, the spiritual descendants of Abraham who became known as the head of the Hebrew nation. The apostle Paul teaches in Romans 2:28-29, "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart; whose praise is not of men, but of God." It is the putting off of the old man of sin and the putting on of Christ that makes a person acceptable to God today (Colossians 2:9-10). As penitent believers who have been immersed into Christ, we became the true nation of God. Peter refers to those who have been "born again" as being "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation" and God's "own special people" (1 Peter 1:23; 2:9). "And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" Galatians 3:29). God's Israel today is not fleshly but spiritual in nature.
The universal church (Christians throughout the world), God's chosen people, should be protesting the works of Satan continuously until time shall be no more. In this manner we understand that the church is Catholic, Protestant and Jewish.