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Old 05-08-2022, 01:12 AM
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The Whole Church

Acts 5:11 (ESV),

Quote:
And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
Acts 15:22 (ESV),

Quote:
Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers...
Romans 16:23 (ESV),

Quote:
Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.
1 Corinthians 14:23 (ESV),

Quote:
If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?
What, in your opinion, from the verses above, constitutes "the whole church". How many members must be included? Literally every member of the Body of Christ in that area? Or is it merely a generalized sentiment, something like a consensus?

As far as the Greek is concerned, the phrasing is pretty similar in each verse. There doesn't seem, to me at least, to be any insights granted in that regard. The translations are unambiguous and literal.

If we look at the two examples from Acts, we know that by the end of Pentecost, 3,000 souls were added to the church (Acts 2:41). Others continued to be added daily (Acts 2:47). So, in Acts 5, provided there might have been an undisclosed level of decrease in those who continued steadfastly in the Apostle's Doctrine, when it reads that fear came upon the whole church when word got out about Ananias and Sapphira both dying under judgment (Acts 5:1-10), I suspect every person in the church in Jerusalem likely had a shiver go up their spine at the prospect of God outright killing members of the Body who lie to the Holy Spirit.

But, after that, things get a little harder to discern. The letter the Apostles and Elders wrote to the Gentile churches clearly had resistance and disagreement against it, as there were Jews in or from the Jerusalem church who advocated circumcision but were outvoted (Acts 15:1). So, does the phrase "the whole church" include them? If so, does the phrase indicate that they had a change of heart and agreed with the conclusion reached, that it seemed good to the Apostles and Elders and to the Holy Spirit to lay no other expectation on the Gentile believers, than that which was included in the letter? Or were those Jewish Christians who advocated circumcision for Gentiles summarily ex-communicated and not considered part of "the whole church"?

And finally, in Paul's two letters, what does he mean by "the whole church"? Literally every member? And if so, how did Gaius host the entire Body in his home? Was it a small assembly? Furthermore, how then did the "whole church", that is, every member, come together in Corinth, for example? Just how large of a gathering might that have been? Christ told Paul He had many people in Corinth (Acts 18:10). Does this mean dozens, hundreds, thousands? And if a large number like this, what are the implications for every member being able to come together at one time? Seems like a Roman amphitheater would have been required in such cases.

Or should the phrase "the whole church" not mean literally every member? But if not literally every member, what then might the phrase indicate? A bare minimum of members? Like a Minyan?

I welcome everyone's thoughts.
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Last edited by votivesoul; 05-08-2022 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 05-08-2022, 05:34 AM
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Re: The Whole Church

The local congregation.
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Old 05-09-2022, 12:16 AM
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Amanah Amanah is offline
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Re: The Whole Church

I think it may be an indication of unity of mind in the Spirit rather than a definitive number.
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Old 05-09-2022, 12:05 PM
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Re: The Whole Church

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Originally Posted by Amanah View Post
I think it may be an indication of unity of mind in the Spirit rather than a definitive number.
That was my inclination, too.
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Old 05-11-2022, 03:51 PM
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Re: The Whole Church

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Originally Posted by Amanah View Post
I think it may be an indication of unity of mind in the Spirit rather than a definitive number.
Will you please elaborate. Perhaps you could take some of the original scriptures from above and relate them to what you've written above?
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Old 05-11-2022, 03:52 PM
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Re: The Whole Church

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Originally Posted by Scott Pitta View Post
The local congregation.
So, if the local congregation is a mega-church of thousands, like the church in Jerusalem, then does the phrase account for the sentiments of every member?
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Old 05-11-2022, 03:52 PM
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Re: The Whole Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jito463 View Post
That was my inclination, too.
Will you please elaborate. Perhaps you could take some of the original scriptures from above and relate them to what you've written above?
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Old 05-12-2022, 01:48 AM
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Amanah Amanah is offline
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Re: The Whole Church

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Originally Posted by votivesoul View Post
Will you please elaborate. Perhaps you could take some of the original scriptures from above and relate them to what you've written above?
As you have mentioned, it would have been impossible to meet with the 8000+ members of the early Jerusalem Church. And those who disagreed with the Apostles and the council and separated from their teaching by bringing another gospel could not be included as part of the whole church. How can two walk together lest they agree? So, the whole Church must be those born again believers walking in the teachings of the Apostolic Elders/Council.

Whole can also mean complete:

1Th 5:23 - Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely (wholely), and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To be whole/completely part of the whole church must include walking in unity in the Spirit with Apostolic doctrine.

Last edited by Amanah; 05-12-2022 at 02:05 AM.
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Old 05-22-2022, 12:28 AM
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Re: The Whole Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanah View Post
As you have mentioned, it would have been impossible to meet with the 8000+ members of the early Jerusalem Church. And those who disagreed with the Apostles and the council and separated from their teaching by bringing another gospel could not be included as part of the whole church. How can two walk together lest they agree? So, the whole Church must be those born again believers walking in the teachings of the Apostolic Elders/Council.

Whole can also mean complete:

1Th 5:23 - Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely (wholely), and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To be whole/completely part of the whole church must include walking in unity in the Spirit with Apostolic doctrine.
I agree that those who abandoned or would not adhere to the Acts 15 council's decisions were no longer to be considered a part of the "whole church" until they recanted.

Do you have a modern world application you could offer? What would the "whole church" look like today, in the USA, for example?
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Old 05-22-2022, 04:43 AM
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Re: The Whole Church

I dont believe we have a council of men representing the whole counsel of God in the same way that the early Jerusalem Church did. Instead, we are living in the time of savage wolves coming in to destroy the flock. Acts 20:27-31

Acts 20:27-31
King James Version
27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

What we do have is the Word of God. The bible is now the whole counsel of God. Those who walk closely in adherence to biblical counsel now represent the whole church. 2 Timothy 3:14-17

2 Timothy 3:14-17
King James Version
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Last edited by Amanah; 05-22-2022 at 05:20 AM.
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