My Thoughts. . .
Jesus emphatically stated, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). The church established by Jesus is essential to one’s salvation. Why? It is the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). Jesus is its head (Ephesians 1:22-23). God adds the saved to it (Acts 2:46-47). Yet, we are told it is invisible. You cannot know its true membership. Yet, one must be a member of this divine body of Jesus to be saved.
Although the Bible does not mention it, some believe there is a visible church. Its membership is made up of the saved AND the lost. It is visible and non-essential to ones salvation. Yet, it is essential for fellowship. Although most who advocate the invisible and visible church doctrine seldom admit it, but the entire belief system is without biblical authority and is little more than a man-made contradiction.
Basically, this view teaches that Jesus, the Son of God, was capable of building his church which would contain ONLY the saved and it would be invisible. However, Jesus was incapable of making his church visible. Therefore, a visible non-essential church had to be created that would provide fellowship for both the saved and unsaved membership. Jesus was powerless to provide that fellowship in the church he built. Notice, Jesus is not the builder of the visible, non-essential church!
The non-essential church could be divided, different doctrines could be taught, and each could have its own religious vocabulary. Each could have its necessary rules of worship, ordination, operation, designation, membership, fellowship, dialogue, designations, and doctrine different from the others. These differences would not affect the membership of those who were in the body of Christ. Everything required, taught, or practiced by the visible church was not essential to salvation, nor would it affect the salvation of those in the invisible church. I hope you are keeping up with which church has and does what?
The visible church could divide without violating Jesus command to be “one” (John 17:21). Why? Because the visible church is not his. Why? It is non-essential. Its only purpose is to allow saint and sinner to be in fellowship with one another. Yet, no one knows for sure that he nor the other is in the invisible saved church. The visible church makes it possible to refer to an unsaved member as his brother or sister in Christ. Yet, the unsaved are not in the body of Christ. So, the relationship does not exist. It is a lie propagated by Satan so the unsaved will feel brotherly.
If one is a member of the visible church, how does he know whether that relationship with the unsaved will not cause him to lose his fellowship with Jesus? One is not saved by anything that relationship in the visible church offers! Membership has no validity. The worship, work, and support the member of that visible church donates does not bring any spiritual reward from God. God reserves His blessings for the church Jesus built, not the man-made pseudo ones. They are non-essential creations of man.
This view of the visible/invisible church teaches that fellowship may be found in a visible, non-essential church but it is absent in the body of Jesus Christ!