In a context about listening to preaching, Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:21: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." Teaching should be proven, tested, which is also a loving thing to do, because if it's wrong, it's not helping the person who believes it or the people listening to him. With that in mind, consider the following tweet about one of this series:
It's a sign of godliness to cannibalize and turn on your own with the doctrine of separation: http://t.co/0G7DTj8fN0
— IFB Logic (@IFBLogic) September 25, 2013
For the bitter, carnal scoffer, the narrative must be that these IFBs eat their own ("cannibalize"). Does it deserve any analysis for its shallowness, hypocrisy, and fallaciousness?
Cloud implies that local-only proponents are false teachers, who start with a pre-conceived definition of church and then force it on every usage of ekklesia. He buttresses that point by referring to three times in Acts 19 that the KJV translators translate ekklesia, "assembly." In all three instances, it is not the ekklesia Jesus started. However, the translation does more to damage Cloud's cause, since they translate it "assembly," because that's what ekklesia means. Of course, ekklesia is not always a "church," but that doesn't mean that it is anything other than an assembly. Cloud shows his ignorance of Greek, when he says a meaning of ekklesia is "called out assembly." That's like saying, "pizza pie." You're actually saying "pie pie," because the word "pizza" means "pie." Ekklesia means "called out" (ek - out of, klesia - called). Called out to what? To assemble. The original usage of the word was the citizens of a Greek city state called out of their homes to assemble for governing. It still means assembly.
Cloud says that local-only advocates say that "church" must always be used as an assembly, because that's what the word means. He says the Holy Spirit can adapt Greek words to mean something different than their standard usage in the first century. What he is saying is true in certain instances, but not in very many. Almost exclusively the word was used in the Bible the same way it was in secular literature. In the case of ekklesia, this is true. It is always an assembly, which is why that word was used. We can easily see that ekklesia is used as an assembly. We don't have one instance of a usage that would have us know that it means anything different than assembly. Cloud doesn't give one in his article.
Then Cloud states that Ephesians 2 could be referring to a spiritual church in heaven that is gathered there already, since believers are already seated in the heavenlies. He writes:
For example, Ephesians 2 says that every believer is made alive and risen from the dead and seated in heavenly places together with Christ (Eph. 2:5-6). That’s present tense.
If you look at the verbs in the Textus Receptus (or the critical text for that matter), they aren't present tense verbs. They're aorist. "Hath quickened," "raised us up together," and "made us sit together" are all aorist tense. None of them are present tense. None. So the kind of action of those verbs is not continuous. When you make a theological point, a teaching, based on the verbs being "present tense," and they're actually not present tense, that really does undermine completely your argument. They are not said to be continuously sitting in heavenly places, as if you've got a functioning assembly already in heaven made up of all the saved people. An obvious point is that you don't have the word "church" (ekklesia) appearing in Ephesians 2:5-6. Cloud reads that into the text. There is no doctrine of the church there.
Cloud starts then to answer questions about the church. I'll talk more about those later.