One Holy Church Universal

From The Kingdom of God: The Biblical Concept and Its Meaning for the Church (John Bright, 1953):

“The Church … is not at all an organization, nor yet the sum-total of all its organizations: it is an organism; it is the people of … faith, the people of the Kingdom of God. We speak not now of the churches [small c], but of the Church [capital C]—and of a far higher sense of peoplehood than most of us have known. We are not the people of the Rev. Dr. [X]’s church, held there by the power of the Rev. Dr. [X]’s oratory—or in spite of it, by a very stubborn loyalty. We are not the people of the Presbyterian, the Methodist, or the Baptist churches, challenged by the worthy programs of these churches and finding fellowship in them. We are not men of good will, concerned for the foundations of society, aware that these are the gifts of religion to society, and so supporters of our churches. We are the people of the Church.

And the Church is greater than the churches. As the true Israel of God’s purpose was not equal to the Israelite nation, so is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ not equal to the Christian churches. It is in every one of them, yet beyond all of them—so much so that no church may claim to be the One True Church without self-deification and blasphemy. The Church is an invisible thing. It cuts across the membership [roll] of the churches along a line no ecclesiastical statistician could follow, and reaches out to include the most improbable publicans and sinners. It breathes in and out of the forms and standards of the churches like a wind blowing “where it wills” [or] may indeed “hear the sound of it,” but there is no telling “whence it comes or whither it goes” …. The Church is a supra-earthly community transcending time and space. In it one sits down with Father Abraham and the Twelve, with the Christian brother in the pew and the Christian brother in China. It is the community of all who have heard the sound of the Kingdom of God drawing near, and have said Yes to its coming. It is the new Israel, the new people of God, One Holy Church Universal.”

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