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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15


The Universal Invisible Church Fallacy

Albert Garner

That there exists a Universal. Invisible Church, composed of the redeemed of all ages, is a fallacy, without any Scriptural, or verifiable basis. No inspired Bible writer gives a) testimony that such exists, b) no specific example of a universal holy Catholic church is pointed out in the Scripture, nor c) is there any circumstantial evidence or statement of necessary inference that all the saved make up a universal, invisible holy Catholic church. Any honorable judge, hearing a case without such evidence, would throw it out of court. So must true Bible believers.


The term Roman Catholic Church means "The Universal Roman Church" because the term "Catholic" means universal!


Then Protestants, who came out of the Roman Catholic Church to make themselves seem great to their followers, used the term catholic "universal" in their "apostles creed" in which they repeat "we believe in the holy "Catholic" Church or holy universal church. They do not believe in the Roman Catholic Church, but they do vow their faith in the holy catholic or holy universal church, meaning to them a Universal invisible church made up of all the redeemed!


From such a view True Baptists have always begged to be excused because no Scripture may be found to teach that there exists an holy Catholic Church when interpreted in contextual setting. Yet many Baptists are turning to and embracing the holy Catholic, universal, Protestant church doctrine.

Solomon warned, "Add thou not to his word, lest he reprove thee and thou be found a liar," Prov. 30:6 - Sharp, and sad but true!


While Isaiah admonished, "To the law and to the testimony: If they speak not according to (in harmony with) this word, it is because there is no light in them", Isa. 8:20.


To have no light within (on any subject) means they are "talking thru their hat", "whistling in the dark". To follow the universal, invisible, mystical (holy catholic or universal church) promoters who seek a big crowd, at the expense of revealed truth is to fall into great danger. Our Lord warned: "If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch"; Mt. 15:14b. These words of warning were given to our Lord's church regarding the doctrines of the Pharisees of the early church. The rule of logic is still true.


1. Follow the Roman Catholic (Universal) church if you may.


2. Follow the Protestant "holy catholic" (universal) church and her creed if you may.


3. Follow the "Protestant Baptist", "catholic (Universal) church" concept if you choose: compromise, fraternize with and "ape" every holy catholic (universal) church that embraces the Protestant composed apostles creed, if you choose, but such is Spiritual fornication, consorting Spiritual adultery, as certainly as Israel's Universal amalgamation of her worship with other religions of her time, Jer. 3:6-11, 14, 20-22.


A LOOK AT THE NATURE OF THE (Holy Catholic (Universal) Church)


Is this kind of church really "holy"?


Dr. S. E. Anderson, former professor at the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary denounced the Universal Church concept in his book, The First Church, published by Challenge Press, P 0 Box 5567, Little Rock, AR. After setting forth and defending the Biblical local nature of the New Testament church he emphasized the ironic fallacies of the invisible church concept that holds all believers are holy by nature and make up an invisible universal (holy Catholic) church.


This author holds that advocates of a universal, invisible holy Catholic church are just as fraudulent and as doctrinally and morally wrong as one who goes about claiming to have large rooster eggs for sale (at a discount price) to all who will prepay him for later delivery. It fills his pocket, but hurts the sucker.


There is "one body", kind of body or assembly that Jesus established and it is local in nature and function. Eph. 4:4,5. One enters it, as an institution, not in regeneration, but after regeneration 1) by a public profession of his faith. 2) by a vote of the local congregation to receive him on his profession, and 3) upon his being baptized by the local church. This is the Bible order and any other order is out of order, Rom. 10:9-13; 14:1; Mattt. 28:18-20,; Acts 2:41-47.


Since the Bible does not refer or allude to, much less affirm, the existence of a "holy catholic church" or a holy universal invisible church composed of all believers, whether in or out of the church, it is profitable to consider what an ephemeral, invisible, intangible, universal, mystical, and mythical holy catholic church does not have. In Dr. Anderson's last chapter of The First Church, he cites 27 things it does not have:


1. It has no address, location, or building.


2. It has no body (form) or tangible framework.


3. It has no meetings, assemblies or meeting places.


4. It has no discipline.


5. It has no baptism.


6. It has no Lord's Supper.


7. It has no deacons.


8. It has no pastors.


9. It has no choirs.


10. It has no treasurer, collections, budgets.

11. It has no missionary collections or fellowship funds.


12. It has no moderator, chairman, or president


13. It has no clerk, records, or membership roll.


14. It has no prayer meetings.


15. It has no business meetings.


16. It has no evangelistic meetings.


17. It has no ordinations of pastors or deacons.


18. It has no messengers or delegates.


19. It has no identity.


20. It has no commission.


21. It has no responsibility.


22. It has no organization.


23. It has no association of sister churches.


24. It has no missionaries.


25. It has no constitution.


26. It has no by-laws or rules of order.


27. It has no name.


What then, you ask, can it do for Jesus Christ?


The answer, the same thing that glasses can do for a blind man that a hearing aid can do for a deaf man, gloves can do for a man with no hands. See? Our Lord established one Church not two and his one Church body has eyes that can see, ears that can hear, tongues than can witness, feet that can follow, and hands that can give Him glory. Mt. 16:18; 18:16-18; Acts 2-:28. Eph. 4: 4,5; 5:25; Eph. 3:21.


In Visiting a Universal Invisible Church by Albert Garner, the author, from pages 118, 119, in the section "The Defense of the Faith", offers the following reductio-ad-absurdum (Latin: "reduction to the absurd”) message as a Sunday morning church calendar for an imaginary Universal, invisible holy catholic church:


        The Calendar:


“On a certain Lord's Day all the members of "the church shall have a universal, invisible assembly, at which time there shall be a sermon delivered by an invisible minister of the invisible church, after which it is hoped there may be an invisible profession of faith.


“This may then be followed by an invisible attempt by the invisible professor to join this invisible church; if received into the invisible fellowship by an invisible vote, he shall be privileged to watch the invisible administration of baptism by the invisible minister, in an invisible baptistry of invisible water.


“Upon the completion of the invisible ordinance of baptism in the universal invisible holy catholic church, there shall be the observance of the Lord's Supper, Invisible hands shall prepare the bread and the wine to be sure that it is invisible, too. There shall then follow the breaking of the invisible bread after prayer by the invisible minister. Whereupon each of the invisible participants shall take a bit of the invisible bread and perform the memorial of invisibly eating it; this shall be ceremoniously and piously followed by the invisible minister's blessing the invisible wine that is to be served to the universal, invisible holy catholic assembly.


“Little care may need be taken by those who serve these invisible elements to the invisible members of the invisible church because they will not be able to see the invisible wine even if it is spilt. The invisible cups may be placed in the invisible holes of the invisible racks on the invisible pews of this invisible holy catholic church, there to await the mystical, invisible washing which they may invisibly need.


“Since this is to be a universal, invisible holy catholic church worship assembly, it will not be necessary for the participants to leave after the service is over (for there shall be nowhere to go, since it is a universal meeting), he may then proceed with any daily chore, for the invisible, universal, mystical holy catholic assembly hour of worship shall then be over.”


Let the church Jesus built contend earnestly for "the faith", once delivered to the saints (the church), making, baptizing, and teaching disciples to observe and do His commands. till He comes, Matt. 28:20; Jn 14:15; 15:14.


For it is to such baptized and serving believers in local, literal churches, not a Universal one, that our Lord shall one day say;


"Well done thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord," Matt. 25:21.