6.4.2 The manifestation of the church of Christ in history

The historicity of the church is based on the historicity of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ lived as true Man among mankind: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled ... we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1: 1-3).


Just as human beings were able to perceive Jesus Christ with their senses, so too they can experience His church. It is manifest in historical reality, specifically within the fellowship of human beings who have been baptised, who believe in Christ, and who profess Him.


The letters of the Apostles in the New Testament already bear witness to the discrepancy between the demands of the gospel and the reality in the congregations. This divergence has always persisted throughout its historical reality, and has up until now remained impossible to undo. Although the church of Christ is perfect in nature, it shows itself to be imperfect in its historical form. While it is perfect as an institution of God, it exhibits shortcomings on account of the human beings who are active within it and who are to serve as "living stones ... being built up" as "a spiritual house" (1 Peter 2: 5).