Church as building: “We need to do some repairs to the church this week.”
Church as organized event: “I didn’t see you at church this morning.”
Church as legal institution: “The church might lose its tax exemption.”
Church as spiritual institution: “…the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners…” (Lewis)
Church as possession: “Our church is the best.”
Church as the community result of disciple-making: “I will build my church” vs. “Go and make disciples” (Stetzer)
These are not the same.
Not all of these are present in the New Testament.
When you say “church” – which one of these are you referring to?


  1. I’m definitely with Stetzer here. In our Taipei house church community, we try to be aware of the terminology we use, because of the attendant baggage it often involves. Other examples might be: worship ≠ singing, discipling ≠ classes, worship service ≠ church.

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