Ephesians 1 – Thoughts From Our Devotions

That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:10)

I’m not a universal church promoter.  Language prohibits that clearly.  But I must consistently deny the ultra-pendulum swing of the other direction.  This verse says that He would gather all things together in Christ. (Not here, but in other places, the church is referred to as Christ’s body.)  And all those things are not in one place.  These are things “both which are in heaven, and which are on earth.”  Again, this is not a universal church — that phrase is an oxymoron.  But, it is a universal something!  Something more than a future glorified church.





  1. At least then we (all who were ever in Christ) will all be assembled together in one place; hence a church. Even then, the assembly will still be a local body and not a ‘universal’ one, although I think it may be composed of all who ever was in Christ. Just some thoughts on your thoughts.

  2. I honestly don’t know what an ultra pendulum swing is in the other direction. My understanding is that a pendulum swing is a sort of knee-jerk reaction that purposefully goes the other direction based on a revulsion with something else experienced. The pendulum swing, I am assuming, is from the universal church to some kind of total isolationistic type of position, or perhaps that someone outside of a true church is potentially unsaved. I love the in Christ relationship, and I it has nothing to do with church membership. These two ideas are clearly differentiated, en Christou (in Christ) and en soma (in body). In 1 Corinthians 12:27 Paul said to the church of Corinth, Ye are the body of Christ. He left himself out of that church with that statement, and also defined the body of Christ as local. I appreciate my sonship along with all believers and my heavenly citizenship along with all believers, but they have very little practical purpose.

  3. I would say your guess of an ultra-pendulum swing is about right. There just seems to be some people who love the local church “so much” that they cast doubt on the worth of any one that doesn’t practice church polity as they do. So much so, that even some other Baptists don’t measure up to their level of following the Bible. You have to be rebaptized to join their church even if your were already baptized in a Baptist church.

  4. I do not believe in a visible perpetuity, but I also believe that many “landmarkers” are misrepresented. They want a proper recipient and a proper administrator. For instance, two people can’t go to a swimming pool without any church authority and truly get baptized. Something more is necessary besides being dunked in water and being really sincere. One of the Baptist distinctives is that baptism is a church ordinance. We take that from Scripture. I too would rebaptize some people who were baptized in a Baptist church based on the same reasoning. I don’t assume the name Baptist means New Testament Christianity any more. The person may have been sincere, but the person is not the only party involved. I empathize with someone who believes that Protestants do not have authority to baptize because trace their lineage through Rome, and so reject their baptist. Anyway, just some thoughts.

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