T Nation

Invisible Church


Can I get an explanation of the doctrine of an Invisible Church. Maybe some scripture and Father's writings on the subject?

I keep hearing of this spirit Church or invisible Church and all the proof I see is people saying that it is Biblical, but not actual Biblical verses.

So, let's start putting forth some substance (verse or ECF writing) showing that Jesus created a visible and invisible Church.

NB: I want to learn about this doctrine and why you believe it. I, of course, don't believe in the doctrine. However, I am not here to refute it, but to listen and pose questions to further understand it. I would hope anyone that joins this discourse shows respect to each other and discusses this with civility. :slightly_smiling:

I am, Nation,
Your obedient Servant,

Brother Chris IV


I think by invisible, it means that since we can't just look at someone and know that they are part of the body of Christ, then it is technically invisible.

But of course any true believer is part of the Church, and since we can obviously see people (except for blind people) then the Church is visible.

I think what I'm trying to say is that there is an invisible aspect to the visible Church of Christ.


It's in the Bible! Oh, no it's not....

I am just kidding. I know this is something that many evangelicals believe in. And for the most part, with the exception of very few, I have great admiration love and respect for my protestant brothers and sisters.

If I were to describe it I would agree that we are one body in Christ. God does not turn his back on those who love him. Never has and never will. Heck he seldom does on those who reject him. He just doesn't force anybody to love him. Forced love is not real love.


I have never heard any protestant bring this up in debating them, but maybe it's more of a catholic hot button.

I would say that invisible means unseen, but I think it doesn't mean unseeable. pat, Bro. Chris and other posters are invisible to me, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

But I have no clue what the Protestant explanation is.


I cannot devote a 40 hour work week to these forums which is what it would require for me to participate in al this without constantly linking to somebody else's work. It isn't possible. Yer jist killin me Chris.


This, (in short) which is so manifestly true, that only genuinely olympic level intellectual gymnastics can convince someone they've been extricated therefrom. My dear friend Christopher will be along shortly with a demonstration. Don't lemme down Chris, I'm rootin for ya!!!


the "invisible church" is a concept used by Protestants to reconcile their rejection of the Catholic Church with the Scriptures (specifically the promise made by Christ that the Church would not fall).

the idea is that when Christ spoke about the Church he was in fact speaking about the "invisible Church". ie : the "real" one, formed by the Saints and all those who have been saved by God's (predestined) Grace since the beginning of the world.
Only God know who is part of this Church and who is not.

being a member of the "visible church" doesn't make you automatically a member of the invisible one.

The invisible Church is God's Church. It will not fall, and will not fail.
the visible(s) church(es) is "man made", and, as such, not only it can fall, but it probably will. repeatedly.
hence the need for a Reformation.

Augustine is often quoted as the source of this doctrine. While i don't think he ever conceived this specific concept (which arose much later), it's true that, as a student of Plato, he quite often used these kind of dialectical oppositions visible/invisible - phenomenal/noumenal - earthly/heavenly.


FREAKIN GREAT!!!! You get Trib's gold star for his "Pagans with a Purpose" award. That is a perfectly fabulous concise exposition of the doctrine indeed. Sorry Forbes, the fornicating Frenchman wins little brother =]

Kamui if ya yell me ya copied and pasted this from somewhere your star turns immediately bronze, ya hear me?


Ah yes, the invisible church. I've a photo of one local to me. Here ya go.


LOLLOLOLOL!!!!! I had to type this through the tears. I really needed a laugh like that. Very good man!!!


I aim to please!


That WAS a good one =]


I lolled too, Sloth.


Ah...I see.


Haha! Where'd you find that, Chris?


Wonder woman is still hot!


I would say that is a very healthy dodge of reality. Look, the only problem with this whole line of reasoning, is A) it has no scriptural foundation, and B) there was a very real, vibrant and rapidly growing church. It only suddenly became invisible in the 1500's.


You live in GA too, don't you? Where is that?

What part, anyhow? I am NE Atlanta metro.


I believe my friend Patrick Vandapool made it. www.patrickvandapool.com


Yes Chris I do admit that is pretty funny too. Of course it has nothing to do with the actual doctrine which I know you all know. Jist fer kix, everybody raise their hand who knows who will wind up in heaven.