The Church Universal

THE CHURCH

The Church Universal

The church of the Lord is scattered over the whole terrestrial globe, and thus is universal. All they are in it who have lived in the good of charity according to their religious belief. (HH n. 328)

As regards the Lord’s spiritual church, it should be known that it is throughout the whole terrestrial globe. For it is not limited to those that have the Word, and from this have obtained a knowledge of the Lord, and some truths of faith; but it is also with those who have not the Word, and are therefore entirely ignorant of the Lord, and consequently do not know any truths of faith (for all truths of faith refer to the Lord); that is, with the Gentiles remote from the church. For there are many among them who from rational light have come to know that there is one God; that He created all things, and that He preserves all things; as well as that all good, consequently all truth is from Him, and that similitude with Him makes man blessed; and who live, moreover, according to their religious belief, in love to God and in charity towards the neighbour; who from the affection of good do the works of charity, and from the affection of truth worship the Supreme. It is those that are of such a character among the Gentiles who are in the Lord’s spiritual church. And although ignorant of the Lord while they are in the world, yet they have within them the worship and tacit acknowledgment of Him, when they are in good; for in all good the Lord is present. (AC n. 3263)

The Specific Church, and its relation to the Church Universal

It is called the church where the Lord is acknowledged and where the Word is. For the essentials of the church are love and faith in the Lord from the Lord; and the Word teaches how a man must live in order that he may receive love and faith from the Lord. (HD n. 242)

They that are without the church, and acknowledge one God, and live in a certain charity towards the neighbour according to their religious belief, are in communion with those that are of the church; for no one who believes in God and lives well is condemned. It is therefore clear that the church of the Lord is everywhere in the whole world, although specifically it is where the Lord is acknowledged, and where the Word is. (ibid. n. 244)

By means of the Word there is conjunction of heaven with those also who are out of the church, where the Word is not; for the Lord’s church is universal, and with all who acknowledge a Divine [Being] and live in charity. And furthermore, after death they are instructed by the angels and receive Divine truths. The church universal on earth is in the sight of the Lord as one man, just as heaven is; and the church where the Word is, and where by means of this the Lord is known, is as the heart and lungs in that man. (HH n. 308)

By means of the church they are saved who are out of the church. None but those that are within the church are in the faith of charity; for the faith of charity is truth of doctrine adjoined to the good of life. For the case is this: The Lord’s kingdom on earth consists of all that are in good; who although scattered over the whole earth are yet one, and as members constitute one body…. The church on the earth is like the heart and lungs; and they that are without the church are as the parts of the body which are sustained and kept alive by the heart and lungs. It is clear from this that without a church somewhere on earth the human race could not subsist; just as the body cannot without the heart and lungs within it. (AC n. 2853)

Unless there exists somewhere on earth a church where the Word is, and where by means of it the Lord is known, there cannot be conjunction with heaven; for the Lord is God of heaven and earth, and without the Lord there is no salvation. It suffices that there be a church where the Word is, although it consist of a few comparatively; through this the Lord is yet present everywhere throughout the whole earth, for through this heaven is conjoined with the human race. (SS n. 104)

It is known that [the character of] a church is according to its doctrine; and that doctrine is from the Word. But yet doctrine does not establish a church; but the integrity and purity of the doctrine, consequently the understanding of the Word. (TCR n. 245)

The Lord is present with man through the reading of the Word; but He is conjoined to him by means of and according to his understanding of truth from the Word. And in proportion as the Lord is conjoined to man, the church is in him (SS n. 78)

Where the Specific Church is

The church is nowhere else than where the Word is rightly understood; and such as is the understanding of the Word among those who are in the church, such is the church. (SS n. 79)

That there may be a church there must be doctrine from the Word; because without doctrine the Word is not understood. Yet doctrine alone does not constitute the church with man, but a life according to doctrine. From this it follows that faith alone does not constitute the church, but the life of faith, which is charity. Genuine doctrine is the doctrine of charity and of faith together, and not the doctrine of faith without the other; for the doctrine of charity and of faith together is the doctrine of life, but not the doctrine of faith without the doctrine of charity. (HD n. 243)

Who constitute the Specific Church

It is one thing for the church to be with a nation, and another for the church to be in a nation. As for example, the Christian church is with those who have the Word, and from doctrine preach the Lord; but yet there is nothing of the church in them unless they are in the marriage of good and truth; that is unless they are in charity towards the neighbour, and thence in faith; or unless the internals of the church are within the externals. (AC n. 4899)

He who is not in spiritual good, that is in the good of charity, and in spiritual truths, that is in truths of faith, is not of the church although he was born within the church…. They that do not live according to the Word, or according to doctrine from the Word, so that it is the rule of life, are not of the church, but are out of it; and those who live in evil, thus who live contrary to doctrine, are farther out of the church than the Gentiles who know nothing at all of the Word, of the Lord, and of the Sacraments. For, since they know the goods and truths of the church they extinguish the church within them; which the Gentiles cannot do because they do no not know them. (AC n. 6637)

The Church is one thing and Religion another

The church is one thing and religion another. The church is called a church from doctrine; and religion is called religion from life according to doctrine. All doctrine is called truth; and its good also is truth, because it only teaches it. But everything of life according to those things which doctrine teaches is called good; doing the truths of doctrine likewise is good. Thus is the church distinguished from religion. But where there is doctrine and not life it cannot be said that there is either a church or religion; because doctrine looks to life, as one with itself, just as do truth and good, faith and charity, wisdom and love, understanding and will. There is therefore no church where there is doctrine and not life. (AR n. 923)

Who are meant by Gentiles?

In many places the Word refers to those that are in darkness, in the shadow of death, and in thick darkness, whose eyes the Lord will open; and by them the Gentiles are meant, who have been in good works but not in any truths, because they have not known the Lord, neither were in possession of the Word. Precisely similar to these are they in the Christian world who are in works alone, and in no truths of doctrine. They know of the Lord it is true, but yet do not approach Him; and they possess the Word, but do not search after the truths therein. (AR n. 110)

The Good and Truth among the Gentiles is not constituent of the Church

That the good of life may be [constituent] of the church there must be doctrinals from the Word which are implanted in that good. Without doctrinals it is indeed the good of life, but not yet good [constituent] of the church; thus not yet truly spiritual, save only as to its capacity to become so. Such is the good of life among the Gentiles who have not the Word, and therefore do not know of the Lord. (AC n. 3310)

The Gentiles who are out of the church can be in truths, but not in truths of faith…. Truths of faith are all doctrinals concerning the life eternal, concerning the Lord’s kingdom, and concerning the Lord. These cannot be known to them, because they have not the Word. (ibid. n. 2049)

One thought on “The Church Universal

  1. Pingback: The Doctrine of Salvation | End Times Prophecy Report

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