The Bible is plain on the nature of the church. A church is an assembly. Assemblies are local only. The church in the Bible is local only. This can be proven in two simple ways, in either order of the following. First, there is not a single Bible verse or even phrase that defines the church as universal. Second, all the verses that would define the church, define it as local. If the Bible is really our final authority, on these bases, the church must be local only and not universal. I suggest again the deserted island approach. Treat the Bible like you have never read it and it's all you have on a deserted island. In reading it, could you find a "universal church" in there? The answer is no. You won't find it, even by implication.
If we don't find it in the Bible, then it must have come from some other source, which it did. The universal concept entered into man's consciousness in alignment with Roman Catholic thinking. Catholic itself means universal. And, of course, part of Satan's conspiracy against God is a one world religious monstrosity to which everyone is forced to belong (sound familiar?). That is the only one world religious organization in the Bible, Satan's one world thing, which finds its inception at the tower of Babel. The local only ecclesiology clashes with this one world mentality where the world has been and to where it is heading. Local only preserves and protects against one world. God told Cain not to get everyone together but the culture did anyway against the instruction of God and built cities that resulted in a flood. After the flood, people didn't pick up on their previous error and we've got universal redux, so that God confuses the languages to spread everything out again.
Today universal ecclesiology is the ideological source of many if not most of the problems in the world. Even in evangelicalism and fundamentalism, men have gladly dumbed down doctrine in subservience to a universal church idea. Men tolerate false belief in order to get along. Getting along is necessary to support a universal church.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not writing this because of the problems that the universal ecclesiology (contradiction in terms) has caused, causes, and will cause. I'm writing it because there is no universal church (contradiction in terms) in the Bible.
I'm going to write this in at least two parts, and part one is this introduction so far, and then point number one in my little outline, there is not a single Bible verse or even phrase that defines the church as universal. There are at least 118 usages of the Greek word ekklesia, translated "church," in the Bible. One would think that if there were a universal church (contradiction in terms) and it were such a major point, as it is presented by evangelicalism and fundamentalism and listed in many church doctrinal statements, then you would find it defined as such in at least one place in the Bible, just one solitary verse. Out of these 118 usages, below are listed the verses in which the "church" is defined as universal:
There's your list. That ought to give pause to Bible scholars, teachers, and students. If it is a biblical teaching, a doctrine to be embraced and received, that it would be found in the actual Bible. A doctrine book about the Bible is not a Bible. Tradition is not the Bible. Catholic dogma is not the Bible. A confession of faith is not the Bible. A universal church, which is a contradiction in terms, because something universal doesn't assemble, isn't found in the Bible. The Bible is sufficient. It has all the teaching we need in it. What's in it is our doctrine. What's not in it is not our doctrine. So universal church doctrine is false doctrine. It is unbiblical doctrine. It shouldn't be believed.
This is point one. We will head to point two next. This hasn't been hard so far, has it? And yet, something does tell me that we are going to have this very uncomplicated issue to be very complicated in a hurry, when we make words in the Bible turn into silly putty. There is a conspiracy against the nature of the church, because altering it affects all doctrine and it is the final stage of Satan's plan to where we know we are heading. The Catholic church really is an invisible church---you can't see it anywhere in the Bible. But it is very resilient and pugnacious and desperate in its desire to stay around. Satan wants it around, because it is the way he plans to fool the most people and take the most people down with him in the end.