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In light of some recent discussion about the “Church,” i thought it might be interesting to start a new thread and further discuss the Church and its role in Christianity. Let me begin by saying that i am staunchly protestant, but i'm NOT one of those who think Catholics can't be real Christians or anything like that. ANY Church that exposes its members to the teachings found in the Bible provides an environment where people can come to know God through Christ. But of course i do believe some denominations hold to better doctrines than some others.

I'd like to generally state what my interpretation of the Bible has led me to believe the Church IS and what it is NOT.

It is:
-The living body of Christ on earth.
-An organization providing fellowship with other believers.
-A place to worship God in the community of other believers.
-Responsible for spreading the Truth about God and the ONLY way to God, Jesus.
-An organization designed to help Christians mature in their understanding of the teachings of Jesus and in Christians' attempts at becoming more like Christ.
-Composed of everyone who truly knows Christ as Lord and Savior.

It is NOT:
-Infallible (Church leaders can and DO make mistakes and should be called into question if their statements seem counter to the teachings of Christ)
-Led by people who have greater insight into the interpretation of scripture than any given Christian (holding a position of leadership does not automatically qualify one to best understand the Bible; however, a good education regarding the writers of the Bible and the history surrounding Biblical events often helps one become a church leader, and these things DO help in interpreting the Bible)
-Have a monopoly on "how to get to heaven." (A person can read the Bible and God can work in that person's life without the aid of any church member--though this is not necessarily common)

These lists are not comprehensive, and i'd be interesting in hearing additions and/or comments.

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