Harold S. Paisley
Question: Is it scriptural to apply the term "Church of God" to the whole church from Pentecost or all Christians presently on earth, or of a number of churches in a particular area? Could an explanation be given of the terms "Jews, Gentiles and Church of God?" (1 Cor. 10:32).
Answer: The name "Church of God" is never used in the New Testament of the whole church from the beginning, nor is it used of companies of Christians or a group of churches in one union.
The phrase "Church of God" conveys two ideas for saints to understand. Firstly, each church is Gods own possession and secondly, each church is set on its own status of responsibility to act under divine authority alone.
There is a bond which unites all such churches. The link is spiritual. It is life in the risen Lord and is the common bond of all who call upon His Name even our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Sovereign Lord (1 Cor. 1:2).
To use the term "Church of God" as applying to anything other than a local assembly is to confuse things which Scripture differentiates and misses the meaning and value of the term.
As to the expression "give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles nor to the Church of God" (1 Cor 10:32), we state what the application and context means according to our understanding. Most expositors apply the term as a division of the whole world. It is our belief that Paul is speaking of three kinds of people in the city of Corinth. There were Jews, Greeks (RV) and the Church of God. Later he stated that once he persecuted the Church of God (1 Cor. 15:9) and in an earlier writing "I persecuted the Church of God and wasted (made havoc) of it" (Gal. 1:13). In each case he was referring to the local church at Jerusalem.
Regarding the expression "Then had all the churches rest," the R.V. reading "The Church" might suggest that the church was made up of a number of churches (Acts 9:31). A careful reading shows that those who had been persecuted were from the local church of God, scattered from Jerusalem to all the districts mentioned.