What do I understand the church to be?
I understand the church to be all of the people of God plus the institutions of the church, with God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit working in and through all of us to bring us closer to God, who is love, and away from all evil, and that through the teaching, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we may gain eternal happiness in heaven with Him in the next life.
The church began with Jesus Christ; "And I say to thee:
That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and
The gates of hell shall not prevail against it". Mat 16:18
God's love impelled him to take action to help his creatures gone astray. Jesus is the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, who was sent for love of mankind:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.... The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among...