QUESTION: I am 50 years old and it seems the Protestant church has changed drastically from when I was a young child, and not for the better. I was told that there is a church within a church. What does that mean? – C.W.
ANSWER: There is a group of people, often a minority, in almost every congregation who have personally met the living Christ and can never be the same again. The word “church” comes from a Greek word, ecclesia, which means “to call out.” The church is composed of all those true believers from Pentecost onward who are united together in Christ. The Bible teaches that we are the Body of Christ, of which He is the Head (Ephesians 1:22-23).
Within the vast complexities, bureaucracies, organizations and institutions of Christendom there exists the true Body of Christ. They are the ones who have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27). They are scattered in all denominations, and many are in no denomination at all. This is the church against which Christ promised the gates of hell would never prevail (Matthew 16:18).
The church needs to be called back to Biblical authority. The Protestant church today is possibly as far from the authority of the Scriptures as was the Roman church in the 16th century. We desperately need a new reformation within the Protestant church.
Only a healthy church can help a sick world. Much social action today is nothing but sheer humanism. True members of the church are those who have been transformed by the power of Christ. The changing of people’s hearts is the primary mission of the church. To proclaim the entire Gospel of Christ is the only answer to mankind’s deepest needs.
– This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.