as time permits
I have many questions on this topic that I would like to ask and interact on. Using this article as a springboard for these questions I will cut and paste portions and comment as time permits;
quote 1] The Reformers said that the redeemed elect alone made up that universal invisible church of Christ, and all true churches on earth were known as the visible church. They put a great emphasis on the invisible nature of the church so as to make a great distinction.
Because the reformers were trying to correct the Roman error, they felt the need to introduce terminology that is not found in scripture. Although they used the terms invisible/and visible to describe what they called" the invisible work of the Spirit" in a real christian. It seems as if the scripture does not use this terminology but instead speaks of individual christians as members in particular, or living stones.
In 2Cor 3 Paul speaks of individual christians as known and read of all men. This does not seem to indicate a focus on any "invisible" aspect to it.
Does the book Visible Saints deal with this particular issue?
Was there or is there currently any debate on this topic?
What could I find the strongest discussions on this issue?
I am aware that the topic and term universal church is often thrown around but other than Hebrews 12:22-24 or Revelation 21-22 I do not see many clear references to this vague notion.
quote 2] The second paragraph in this same chapter states, “The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation as before under the law) consists of all those, throughout the world, that profess the true religion, and of their children; and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.” This demonstrates the visible nature of the invisible church.
I believe it is here that this terminology invisible/visible is held onto by padeobaptists
in order to satisfy what they see as the covenant sign, however this is what allows for unregenerate church membership. A dead formalism can creep in because the children are taught that they are already in union with Christ? If the Holy Spirit has not quickened the young child of wrath, and they are in a natural condition in Adam, how can they understand the things of the Spirit of God?
Almost all the sermons I have heard on sermonaudio dealing with this issue from that perspective assume that it is just a matter of instruction and intellectual accent to the confessional teaching. I do not hear any really clear message that these children indeed need to be born again. I hear much about the "promise."[ which I believe really is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit].
In this next quote you seem to zero in more about what I am asking about;
quote 3] In order to appreciate the local church, and the work of Christ in the church, one must first define, clearly, The Invisible Church. The Invisible Church encompasses all of the elect for all of time; all those who are truly saved. What is its nature? There are seven areas I want to open up to you in seeing the nature of this invisible church first for clarity.
Without going into a Landmarkism type of error, this next section of the article becomes a key area of examination to see whether or not these things are so, biblically.
quote 4] At one level, this invisible church is based on election, regeneration and the rock of Christ through enlightened profession.
quote 5] Wherever Christ is in a Christian, you have the True Invisible Universal Church; for any indwelling believer is a representative of that church.
My question here is do you not agree that this representative ,with enlightened profession,and indwelt by the Spirit will be quite visible in a local assembly? It would be the True Visible Church.
quote 6]Secondly, the Invisible Church is without corruption
Yes agreed.But they visibly assemble. If goats,tares and hypocrites also assemble with or among us the scripture speaks of and warns about this. Spots in our love feasts,clouds without water Jude 12, 13.
I want to work through the rest of this article and am trying to keep my comments and questions as brief as possible. So I will pause here for now. Let me know if You want me to clarify any of these comments. All responses are welcome.
Hope Reformed Baptist Church:
All that die have not the plague, and all that perish eternally are not guilty of the same profligate sins.The covetous are excluded from the kingdom of God no less severely than fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, and thieves, 1 Corinthians 6:9,10.