What is a Church?
"Ekklesia" is the Greek word the New Testament uses for the word "church." This word means "a called out assembly." As Baptists, we are called out of the world's system (or world's organization) for a time, and assembled together in a building, in order to hear the Word of God preached. A church is not a building; a church is people! The building is a means to an end. An empty church building is not a called out assembly!
The earliest biblical record we have of a New Testament church is when Jesus began calling out His discipes in Mark Chapter 1:16-21:
16: Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17: And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18: And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. 19: And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. 20: And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him. 21: And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
Although the word "church" is not mentioned in this passage, this was a church because it was a called out assembly. Jesus had a mission for His disciples to fulfill. He had asked them to forsake their earthly livelihoods and spend the rest of their lives telling others about the salvation only found in Him. The church at Jerusalem that Jesus started was a place where believers could gather together, get away from the cares and influences of the world for a time, encourage one another, pray as a group, hear preaching, and testify how God had used them in winning others to Jesus and bringing them into the church.
The first New Testament reference of the word "church" is found in Matthew 16:18, when Jesus said, And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (a pebble or stone), and upon this rock (Jesus, Himself) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
How do we know that Jesus was building His church on Himself and not Peter, as the Catholics claim? Explaining this is going to be quite time consuming and redundant. But because many Baptists are ignorant of this fundamental truth, and have accepted Rome's explanation that Jesus built the church on Peter, I must make it as clear as possible and list these many references. Consider the following (note the personal pronoun "Rock"):
Deuteronomy 32:4: He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
Deuteronomy 32:15: But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
Deuteronomy 32:18: Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.
Deuteronomy 32:30: How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?
I Samuel 2:2: There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
II Samuel 22:2: And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; 3: The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
II Samuel 22:32: For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?
II Samuel 22:47: The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.
II Samuel 23:3: The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
Nehemiah 9:15: And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.
Psalm 18:2: The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
Ps:18:31: For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?
Psalm 18:46: The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.
Psalm 27:5: For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
Psalm 28:1: Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.
Psalm 31:2: Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. 3: For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.
Psalm 40:2: He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
Psalm 42:9: I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
Psalm 61:2: From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 62:2: He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.
Psalm 62:6: He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. 7: In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Psalm 71:3: Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.
Psalm 78:16: He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
Psalm 78:20: Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?
Psalm 78:35: And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.
Psalm 81:16: He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.
Psalm 89:26: He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
Psalm 92:15: To shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
Psalm 94:22: But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.
Psalm 95:1: O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Psalm 105:41: He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.
Isaiah 8:14: And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Isaiah 17:10: Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips.
Isaiah 51:1: Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
I Peter 2:38: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4: To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5: Ye also, as lively stones (believers, like Peter, are stones), are built up a spiritual house,(6) an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6: Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7: Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8: And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
Does the Bible give you any idea as to Who this Rock is?
Although the word "church" does not appear in the Old Testament, it is not until Acts 7:38 where there is a reference back to the Old Testament when Moses was leading the Jews out from Egyptian bondage to Canaan: This is he (Moses) that was in the church in the wilderness. . . This "church" is not the same type of organization we see in a local, New Testament Baptist church in this age, but it was truly a called out assembly. In order to travel to the liberty of the Promised Land, the Jews had been called out of Egyptian bondage as a group, they assembled in the wilderness, with the purpose of serving God in Canaan.
It is also interesting that there are only two references to the word "church" in Matthew, but none in Mark, Luke, or John. But in Acts, there are 22 references to the word "church."
Catholicism teaches us that she is a "universal church," when the Bible clearly indicates that each New Testament church is local; but never does the Bible indicate a universal church. Each use of the word "church" has to be taken in context with the passage. Although redundant (and at times, even sarcastic), to prove this point, I have of necessity listed many verses. It is also important to note the context in which the passage takes place.
Pay special attention to the passages which are marked with an asterisk (*) which more clearly show that Jesus, not Peter, is the Head of each local church assembly. Hint: the first reference is Ephesians 1:22.
Matthew 16:18: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (This is as far as Catholicism goes. Let's see what the rest of the New Testament shows us. Remember to look for the "*". )
Matthew 18:17: And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church (local): but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (At this time in history, there was only the church in Jerusalem.)
Acts 2:47: Praising God, and having favour with all. And the people the Lord added to the church (in Jerusalem) daily such as should be saved.
Acts 5:11: And great fear came upon all the church (in Jerusalem), and upon as many as heard these things.
Acts 7:38: This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness (there was no "universal church" in the wilderness!) with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
Acts 8:1: And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Acts 8:3: As for Saul, he made havock of the church (in Jerusalem), entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
Acts 9:31: Then had the churches (plural) rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
Acts 11:22: Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
Acts 11:26: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church (in Antioch), and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
Acts 12:1: Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church (in Jerusalem).
Acts 12:5: Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church (in Jerusalem) unto God for him.
Acts 13:1: Now there were in the church (singular) that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Acts 14:23: And when they had ordained them elders in every church (plural), and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
Acts 14:27: And when they were come, and had gathered the church (in Antioch) together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
Acts 15:3: And being brought on their way by the church (in Jerusalem), they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
Acts 15:4: And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
Acts 15:22: Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church (in Jerusalem), to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
Acts 15:41: And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches (plural).
Acts 16:5: And so were the churches (plural) established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
Acts 18:22: And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church (in Caesarea), he went down to Antioch.
Acts 19:37: For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches (not "the Church"), nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.
Acts 20:17: And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church (in Ephesus).
Acts 20:28: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God (in Ephesus), which he hath purchased with his own blood. (Since Jesus purchased each church with His blood, it makes sense that they belong to Him, not Peter.)
Romans 16:1: I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
Romans 16:4: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles (plural).
Romans 16:5: Likewise greet the church that is in their house (imagine a universal church in their house!). Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
Romans 16:16: Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ (plural) salute you.
Romans 16:23: Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.
I Corinthians 1:2: Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
I Corinthians 4:17: For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church (plural).
I Corinthians 6:4: If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church (in Corinth).
I Corinthians 7:17: But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches (plural).
I Corinthians 10:32: Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God (that is in Corinth):
I Corinthians 11:16: But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God (plural).
I Corinthians 11:18: For first of all, when ye come together in the church (in Corinth), I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
I Corinthians 11:22: What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God (in Corinth), and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
I Corinthians 12:28: And God hath set some in the church (in Corinth), first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
I Corinthians 14:4: He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church (in Corinth).
I Corinthians 14:5: I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church (in Corinth) may receive edifying.
I Corinthians 14:12: Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church (in Corinth).
I Corinthians 14:19: Yet in the church (in Corinth) I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
I Corinthians 14:23: If therefore the whole church (in Corinth) be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
I Corinthians 14:28: But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church (in Corinth); and let him speak to himself, and to God.
I Corinthians 14:33: For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints (plural). 34: Let your women keep silence in the churches (plural): for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35: And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church (in Corinth).
I Corinthians 15:9: For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God (in Jerusalem).
I Corinthians 16:1: Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches (plural) of Galatia, even so do ye.
I Corinthians 16:19: The churches (plural) of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church (singular) that is in their house.
II Corinthians 1:1: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
II Corinthians 8:1: Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
II Corinthians 8:1819: And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; 19: And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:
II Corinthians 8:2324: Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. 24: Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.
II Corinthians 11:8: I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
II Corinthians 11:28: Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Notice Paul didn't say "the care of the church!"
II Corinthians 12:13: For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.
Galatians 1:2: And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
Galatians 1:13: For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
Galatians 1:22: And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ:
*Ephesians 1:22: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him (Jesus, not Peter) to be the head over all things to the church (at Ephesus),
Ephesians 3:10: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church (at Ephesus) the manifold wisdom of God,
Ephesians 3:21: Unto him be glory in the church (at Ephesus) by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
*Ephesians 5:23: For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ (not Peter) is the head of the church (at Ephesus): and he is the saviour of the body (Individually, not collectively. People are not composed of a universal body.) 24: Therefore as the church (at Ephesus) is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church (at Ephesus), and gave himself for it; Just as there is no such thing as a universal husband, there is no such thing as a universal wife. Each husband and each wife are a unique entity, just as Jesus (through the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit) oversees each individual church.
Ephesians 5:27: That he might present it to himself a glorious church (future tense, at the Rapture, when all believers gather together in the clouds to form His Bride, the church), not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:29: For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church (at Ephesus):
Ephesians 5:32: This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church (at Ephesus).
Philippians 3:6: Concerning zeal, persecuting the church (Saul, before he was converted, persecuted the church in Jerusalem. See Acts 8:13.); touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Philippians 4:15: Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
*Colossians 1:18: And he (Jesus, not Peter) is the head of the body, the church (each church is a body, and He is the head of each individual body of believers): who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Colossians 1:24: Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church (at Colosse):
Colossians 4:15: Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 16: And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.
I Thessalonians 1:1: Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 2:14: For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God (plural) which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
II Thessalonians 1:1: Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
II Thessalonians 1:4: So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God (plural) for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
I Timothy 3:5: (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the (local) church of God?) How can a pastor rule a universal church any more than he can rule a universal house?
I Timothy 3:15: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God (ever hear of a universal house?), which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
I Timothy 5:16: If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the (local) church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
Philemon 1:2: And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:
Hebrews 2:12: Saying, I (Jesus) will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church (in Jerusalem, the only church Jesus knew during His earthly ministry) will I sing praise unto thee.
Hebrews 12:23: To the general assembly and church of the firstborn (all believers become a church at the Rapture), which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
James 5:14: Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders (pastors) of the church (imagine this being a universal church!); and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
I Peter 5:13: The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.
III John 1:6: Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well:
III John 1:9-10: I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10: Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the (local) church.
Revelation 1:4: John to the seven churches (plural) which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
Revelation 1:11: Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Revelation 1:20: The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
Revelation 2:1: Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
Revelation 2:7: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. 8: And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
Revelation 2:11: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. 12: And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
Revelation 2:17: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. 18: And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
Revelation 2:23: And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Revelation 2:29: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Revelation 3:1: And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Revelation 3:6: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 7: And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
Revelation 3:13: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 14: And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Revelation 3:22: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Revelation 22:16: I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. Get the point? Jesus addressed individual churches in Asia, not a universal church!
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