Some Additional Indictments
In addition to what has been previously said about the Universal theory, I wish to bring some further indictments against it:
ONE IS THAT IN THE SERIOUS AND SACRED MATTER OF CHRIST'S CHURCH THIS THEORY BECOMES UNDER EXAMINATION A BIZARRE AND STUPID THING.
Consider this with me: If the church that Christ started was a Universal Invisible thing, and if all believers are members of it, then pray tell me WHY IT EVER NEEDED ANYBODY TO START IT? IT WOULD HAVE EXISTED ANYHOW WITHOUT ANYBODY STARTING IT! It would "just have been" anyhow, without Jesus ever going to the trouble of starting it. It is made to be such a great thing that this so-called Body was started, yet if the Universal theory is true it would have been without starting, just the same. That makes Christ to have done something that didn't need to be done. I repeat, if every person who becomes a Christian just automatically is added to the Invisible Church, they would be just as truly added had Jesus never even mentioned church. In other words, if THAT is what Jesus built, HE BUILT NOTHING! A foolish line of reasoning seems to be involved here, yet I am dealing with a valid argument against the Universal Invisible Church, for there is simply no way around the truth that if all saved persons have been inducted into the mystical Body of Christ, and that constitutes the real, sure enough Church, such a church would have been WITHOUT ANYBODY GOING TO THE TROUBLE TO START IT. Deity doesn't engage in absurdities. Jesus didn't die for - give Himself for, a church of that sort and kind.
Another indictment against the Universal theory is this:
IT MAKES JESUS TO BE A PHILANDERER. You have perhaps known young men who engaged in the philandering practice of getting engaged to girl after girl. Tiring of these he finally wed an entirely different woman. Something like that Christ is made to be by the Universal theorists. Let's see if that is not true.
In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul is writing to the Corinthian church and he is writing about that church. That this is true is made plain in verse 8 where he says, "I robbed other churches taking wages of them to do you service." So beyond question he is speaking to, and about, that local church. In verse 2 he says, "For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."
Back in ancient times marriages were usually arranged by parents, just as they are in some lands today. A daughter was betrothed or espoused to a certain man. In some instances the man later saw somebody else he wanted, so he went back on his betrothal, and married someone else. Paul here uses the illustration of such a betrothal, applying it to the church at Corinth. He says, "I have betrothed (or espoused) you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Now note that this local church is spoken of as a betrothed virgin, engaged to be married in other words to Christ. The question is, WILL THE BRIDE FINALLY PROVE TO BE THE ONE TO WHOM CHRIST IS ENGAGED? If the betrothed is the local church, will the ultimate Bride be composed of the genuine members of the true local churches, when that times comes when "the church in prospect" now, becomes a visible actuality? The Universal churchites would have Christ now engaged to the one whom Paul is speaking about in this passage, yet they would have the wife to be a different character entirely, for they make the Bride to be composed of all of the saved from everywhere. If this were true, then Christ would have to break His engagement and marry an entirely, different woman! I for one don't believe that the wife is going to be different from the betrothed.
Another indictment against the Universal theory is this:
IT CAUSES PEOPLE TO MINIMIZE AND NEGLECT THE LOCAL CHURCH. I recall that some women moved from another city and began to attend the church where I was once pastor. They were bright, well educated women, and they believed in the plain preaching that I was doing. These three women were close friends of one of the co-editors of the Scofield Bible, and they had absorbed the Universal church theory. They spoke to me very approvingly of my preaching, and I said to them, "You like to attend church here, and you are in favor of the kind of ministry I am trying to carry on, how about you taking membership with our church?" Oh no, they didn't want to do that! Why? The truth finally came out. They minimized the local church, and were not greatly impressed with it, because they WERE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH THAT WAS SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT - THE BIG UNIVERSAL CHURCH. Of course I indicated that I didn't believe there was such a thing, but apart from that, I pointed out that the Universal Church had never won a soul to Christ, had never sent out a missionary, had never taught the Bible to anybody - indeed had never done anything. Those women continued to attend our services, but they were completely wedded to their theory such that they felt no need of local church membership.
There are many people like those I have just described. They like to attend Bible conferences and hear men speak about "the CHOORCH," and the "Rapture of the CHOORCH." They are so taken up with that Universal Church theory that a local visible church is a trifling thing in their eyes.
I was asked to speak before a group of Baptist pastors once. Most of these were holders of the Universal theory, and I was asked to present my opposing views, which I did with great enjoyment. In the course of my remarks I said, "You brethren who are so committed to the Universal theory - there is one thing that would cure you, and that would be for you to have to DRAW AN INVISIBLE SALARY FROM YOUR UNIVERSAL CHURCH!" But no - preachers may believe in the Universal Church, but they always want their salary to come from their visible church!