Q&A: The Invisible Church

The Invisible Church

What is the invisible church?

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Answer

In Christian theology, we've often spoken of the visible and invisible church. These terms can be very, very helpful, but they can also differ depending upon our theological backgrounds and heritages and our theological commitments. "Invisible church" probably is the term that is less disputed from among individual Christians, and it refers primarily to the fact that the church is universal. We cannot see all believers at one time because they are not only from the remnant and the people in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament era of all times, all places. So we speak of Christ's universal body, his people that encompasses all those various times and places, and "invisible" is a good term that refers to that.

Answer by Dr. Stephen J. Wellum

Dr. Stephen J. Wellum (B.S., Roberts Wesleyan College; M.Div., Ph.D., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology