What is it?
First of all, there is only one body of Christ on earth.
That body is made up of every true believer that is born again by the Holy Spirit.
It is only divided by countries and places, the Word mentions the Church in Ephesus, Rome, or whatever country and place they gathered.
Then it came down to congregations. The smallest of these was the church in your house.
Rom 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house.
1Co 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
Col 4:15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.
Phm 2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house:
The most important church is a husband, wife, and their children.
1Ti 3:5 “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?”
If there is no church in the house, there can be no gathering on the corner, which is many house churches coming together.
It is all relational.
For a glimpse of the problems in the church in the world today, you need only read Revelation 2 and 3.
They were 7 literal churches, they represent the state of the church through the church age, and the church in any location is in the state of one of those 7 churches, plus they represent the church at the end of the church age. Most today are in the state of the last one, luke warm, and ready to be spewed out unless there is repentance.
Carnality is often spoken of in referring to the end times. It will help to know what carnality is. It is clearly seen when people divide themselves into special groups, excluding others.
1Co 1:12 “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.”
13 “Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”
1Co 3:3 “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”
1Co 3:4 “For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?”
Put in today’s language, “I am AOG, I am Cornerstone, I am Word of Life, I am LMS, Brethren, Baptist, the list is endless.”
Carnal means, fleshly, carnal having the nature of flesh, i.e. under the control of the animal appetites.
Governed by mere human nature not by the Spirit of God.
Human: with the included idea of depravity pertaining to the flesh.
As to who is in leadership in the local congregation.
Paul appointed Elders, Acts 14:23
Their qualifications are clearly laid out in 1 Timothy 3:1-7
Also for Deacons 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
We read that God gave gifts to the church to mature it, Ephesians 4:7-14.
These gifts are given to individual members of the body, they are not special positions.
They are all equal, not one of them special above the other.
This tells us that when we come together we are to worship as a body, all taking part.
1 Corinthians 14:26.
I find no where in the New Testament where a local congregation appointed a pastor over it, that is Old Testament teaching.
Wanting a King. 1 Samuel 8:19-20
If a pastor is appointed, the other 4 giftings of the Spirit need to be appointed as well.
They operated as a family, they operated in relationship with the anointing flowing through who ever the Holy Spirit choose to work in and through.
They were taught to look to God, not man.
We are to submit to the anointing, not to man other than the anointing flowing through them, that includes male, female, and children.
He poured out his Spirit on all flesh, Acts 2:16-21.
The Church was never meant to operate by law,
it is a body that functions only by relationship with Father God, through Jesus by the Holy Spirit, submitting to one another as the Holy Spirit moves through the individual member.
The denominational church in the world today is far from what the church was meant to be, other than in countries like China where it has to operate underground.
People are perishing for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6.