The doctrine of the Church, is surely what is meant by defining the “bride” of Christ (Rev 21:9-11), those, chosen and precious to our Lord and Savior.
In the Mosaic days of the Law, Israel was named as such. There needed to be a distinction to show that not all would be chosen. Adopting some elements of non-dispensationalism, (and perhaps arguably some of dispensationalism as well), it is the position of this paper to state that Israel was meant to be separate and distinct, but that the notion of the “church” as a whole was not replacing the importance of Israel’s distinction but rather complimenting it. There is no imposition here that God’s covenant with Israel was ended. Instead, Scripture is clear to show that there is still distinction between Israel and the church beyond the days of the Law and after Pentecost (Acts 3:12, 4:8, 10, 5:21, 31, 25, 21:28). Both hermeneutics and literal interpretations of the Scripture support this distinction which is the dispensationalist view. However, without adhering strictly to it, there also is not a reason to assume that this distinction isn’t more weighted than that of brother and sister within the same family; not interchangeable, nor replacing, but as suggested earlier, complimentary.
In the marriage of the Lamb to His Bride (the church) – if we are to look at the Scriptural references to marriage, two become one. It is my position that Israel and the church became one with the Lamb upon His sacrifice for us, and upon Him coming to take hold of His bride once and for all, the covenants will all be fulfilled and none will lack.
1 Peter 2:9-10 speaks of God’s chosen people and their distinction, but it does not, without question, impose a national or ethnic distinction. Israel will stand strong as “part of the body” (1 Cor 12:12-27) and will be loved by God for its distinction, but nevertheless, the “gentiles”, like an adopted child, will have God’s perfect love as well. I propose a sense of humility in the Church trying to understand the details of the purpose of this distinction, since the road to salvation is already clearly paved (John 14:4). We are all sons of God through faith. (Gal 3:29).
While the Church has gone through significant transition in terms of structure and government, the Congregational form of church government is most Biblically-aligned. Because it holds to autonomy and democracy, the emphasis is not simply on authority, but on accountability and involvement from the church as a body, with Christ as the Head. There is no monarchial structure, and there is no human authority speaking as Christ. The role of the church is a balance of elements supporting believers in their understanding and living of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is not to be secondary, and should be interpreted carefully, hermeneutically, literally and prayerfully. The Church should function in a way to support all parts of the Body (1 Cor 12:12-27), as all are valuable to Christ; and its members should be in full anticipation and preparation for the true calling of the church at the Second Coming of Christ.