Forum for ex-members of Revival Churches
Revival_Centres_Discussion_Forums > Bible, Beliefs, Scriptures and 'The Word' > The Christian room - For Christians about Christianity Go to subcategory:
Author Content
Sea Urchin
  • Rank:Poster Venti III
  • Score:9110
  • Posts:436
  • From:Australia
  • Register:15/02/2007 7:34 AM

Date Posted:11/12/2008 12:32 PMCopy HTML

A recent brief conversation in the shoutbox has prompted me to start this thread:

The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose.

This gives Ian the opportunity to provide his view on the doctrine of the Church. According to Ian I am unable to understand the purpose and role of the church (because I attend a pentecostal church) but I will attempt to write up my thoughts in the morning.

This is an excerpt of the conversation;

urchin: Ian, could you please expand on your statement "I think you'll find that eccesiology is much, much more important WRT acceptance or rejection by God than you credit it being".  I don't understand this concept of being 'accepted or rejected by God' - are you suggesting that our very salvation is dependant on which church we attend, and if so, where does grace come into it?
 
Didaktikon: Urch. What I suggested was that you don't have a particularly good grasp of ecclesiology, and its implications; consequently, you view salvation largely in terms of the individual. I would suggest that Scripture informs us quite differently. As an aside, evangelicals are weakest in their doctrine of the Church, whilst Pentecostals don't even have a doctrine of the Church! Ian



Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #1
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:11/12/2008 9:31 PMCopy HTML

Good morning, Urch.

The fact remains that you don't understand the subject in any detail beyond the standard 'catch-phrases', as our brief tete-a-tete in the 'Shoutbox' yesterday clearly demonstrated. And given that your experience of Christianity is mediated through a distinctively Pentecostal frame-of-reference, what does this suggest to you about the capacity for your style of Christianity to impart adequate teaching in this area of theology?

To enable this conversation to progress towards something meaningful, I'm going to set you a little 'homework'. I'd like for you to consult every passage in the New Testament that addresses the issue of "the Church". I'd then like you to undertake a similar task with respect to "the believer", and finish by analysing the results. You should find the matter illuminating.

Blessings,

Ian


email: didaktikon@gmail.com
Sea Urchin Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #2
  • Rank:Poster Venti III
  • Score:9110
  • Posts:436
  • From:Australia
  • Register:15/02/2007 7:34 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:12/12/2008 12:59 AMCopy HTML

Ian

My 'experience' of Christianity is not mediated through anything or anyone except Jesus Christ, although obviously we can all be ínfluenced by the teachings that we receive.  During the last 2 years, as I have been looking to Jesus as my saviour, my redeemer, my all, I feel myself growing in ways that I never knew about prior to coming to relationship with Him.  I  thank Him each day for loving me so much that He took such a 'luke-warm' person as I was, and showed me a better way. Yes, this may come over as 'all loopy pente bla bla' but I don't really care what others think of me, I only want to become more like Jesus and less like 'me' - and I will do WHATEVER it takes. This has nothing to do with the 'local church' I attend (because I honestly don't think it matters which denomination/local church) but is to do with actually making Jesus the Lord over my life.

Anyway, after thinking over things last night and researching a little, this is my understanding of 'the church' (for what it's worth)

The 'church' is not the building but describes the people - ALL who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.  The word 'ekklesia' is the Greek word for church which seems to mean 'an assembly'.  Jesus said 'I will build my church' in Matt 16 and He obviously loved it (us) so much that He gave His life for it. The church is the body of Christ and I wonder sometimes whether Jesus even 'sees' the many divisions and denominations or just looks and sees US as believers in all our diveristy? 

John 17:20-23 in the Message says "I'm praying not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind - just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, So they'll be as unified and together as we are - I in them and you in me. Then they'll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless world evidence that you've sent me and loved them in the same way you've loved me".

This passage (and I've read through the many translations) seems (to me) to say that Christ wants the church to be united in one heart and one mind.  I guess this doesn't mean all denominations merging, but to have a unity and a common purpose - to reach those that don't know Him. If this is our aim, then maybe instead of squabbling about 'who is right' and 'the loopy pentes are wrong' etc maybe we should keep focussed on the goal of reaching the lost with the gospel message. And (dare I say it?) even embrace the fact that different denominations can reach people in different ways that enables them to come to know Christ - the goal should be to reach out (not just vertically but horizontally, as you say Ian).

I will be busy doing the 'homework' that you've kindly 'set' for me, but the above is how I (currently) see the church, its role and purpose. 
 
Urchin

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #3
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:12/12/2008 2:15 AMCopy HTML

Hi, Urch.

My 'experience' of Christianity is not mediated through anything or anyone except Jesus Christ, although obviously we can all be ínfluenced by the teachings that we receive.

Rubbish. Your experience of Christianity is comprehensively mediated through your particular religious context, given that Christianity necessarily involves a corporate faith and not a strictly individual one. Further that the Christian faith itself is fully expressed in, and is engaged with and through, a corporate identity. Such is the biblical model, such is the testimony of history. Your views by comparsion, present little than a reflection of the western philosophical penchant for individualism.

During the last 2 years, as I have been looking to Jesus as my saviour, my redeemer, my all, I feel myself growing in ways that I never knew about prior to coming to relationship with Him.  I  thank Him each day for loving me so much that He took such a 'luke-warm' person as I was, and showed me a better way. Yes, this may come over as 'all loopy pente bla bla' but I don't really care what others think of me, I only want to become more like Jesus and less like 'me' - and I will do WHATEVER it takes. This has nothing to do with the 'local church' I attend (because I honestly don't think it matters which denomination/local church) but is to do with actually making Jesus the Lord over my life.

You've been a Christian for a scant two years, and during that time your formative experience of Christianity has been within the parameters of a rather defective form of Australian Pentecostalism. Consequently, the degree to which you do become "conformed to the image of God's Son" has everything to do with your local church, its teachings, its dogmas and its practices. And given your comments thus far, it seems that you still apparently have failed to grasp that salvation isn't simply a matter of the 'vertical' relationship between you and God. However, I personally hold hope that your continued study into what the NT teaches about the 'Church' will broaden your understanding. And the results should also inform the naive assumptions that you currently hold concerning your chosen fellowship, too.

The 'church' is not the building but describes the people - ALL who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.  The word 'ekklesia' is the Greek word for church which seems to mean 'an assembly'.  Jesus said 'I will build my church' in Matt 16 and He obviously loved it (us) so much that He gave His life for it. The church is the body of Christ and I wonder sometimes whether Jesus even 'sees' the many divisions and denominations or just looks and sees US as believers in all our diveristy?

Well, such is a very simplistic and, at best, partial description of the reality of what IS the Church. But even in the gossamer-like threads that you've offered me above, surely you noted that the essence remains fully corporate? (I'd encourage you to think through the implications that derive from this fact).

This passage (and I've read through the many translations) seems (to me) to say that Christ wants the church to be united in one heart and one mind.  I guess this doesn't mean all denominations merging, but to have a unity and a common purpose - to reach those that don't know Him. If this is our aim, then maybe instead of squabbling about 'who is right' and 'the loopy pentes are wrong' etc maybe we should keep focussed on the goal of reaching the lost with the gospel message. And (dare I say it?) even embrace the fact that different denominations can reach people in different ways that enables them to come to know Christ - the goal should be to reach out (not just vertically but horizontally, as you say Ian).

To begin with, who is it that says the 'aim' of the Church is "...to reach those that don't know him?" Scripture? Or you? And your later opinions with respect to the issue present little more than the same unbiblical and personalised/internalised defence for your Pentecostal choices, that you are wont to repeat whenever I challenge you on this subject. In short, you've not come close to addressing the core issues.

So, in summary, I believe you've much more reading, study and reflection ahead of you.

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
Sea Urchin Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #4
  • Rank:Poster Venti III
  • Score:9110
  • Posts:436
  • From:Australia
  • Register:15/02/2007 7:34 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:12/12/2008 3:39 AMCopy HTML

Ian, of COURSE I've got more reading, study and reflection to do! I look forward with anticipation to doing just that for the rest of my life, in actual fact.  And yes, I have considered more formal study and hope to pursue it further in my 'retirement' (whenever THAT might be!)   

Ian: To begin with, who is it that says the 'aim' of the Church is "...to reach those that don't know him?" Scripture? Or you?

I don't believe that this is the ONLY aim of the church but surely Jesus WANTS us to lead others to Him - or do you not think so for some reason? Perhaps you could share with all of us the reason for not thinking this, if that's the case?

The scripture that I used (I thought) tells me that, through His church Christ wants the unbelievers to have 'evidence' that the Father sent him and that God loves them in the same way that He loves Him.
John 17:20-23 in the Message says "I'm praying not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind - just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, So they'll be as unified and together as we are - I in them and you in me. Then they'll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless world evidence that you've sent me and loved them in the same way you've loved me.

Ian: And given your comments thus far, it seems that you still apparently have failed to grasp that salvation isn't simply a matter of the 'vertical' relationship between you and God. However, I personally hold hope that your continued study into what the NT teaches about the 'Church' will broaden your understanding. And the results should also inform the naive assumptions that you currently hold concerning your chosen fellowship, too.

If (as you say) I've failed to grasp that salvation isn't simply a matter of the vertical relationship between my and God, then WHY do I want to reach out to others so that they may also know the gospel message and come to salvation in Christ?  Isn't that part of reaching out horizontally? Am I missing the point again?
Rest assured I WILL continue studying and I pray that my understanding will be broadened also. I know you may find this hard to believe but my 'assumptions' about my 'chosen fellowship' are not quite as naive as you might think. My eyes are open and I am 'sorting' and 'sifting' and keeping an open mind in regards to available options - if that makes sense.

Urchin


Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #5
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:13/12/2008 6:24 AMCopy HTML

Good afternoon, Urch.

Ian, of COURSE I've got more reading, study and reflection to do! I look forward with anticipation to doing just that for the rest of my life, in actual fact.  And yes, I have considered more formal study and hope to pursue it further in my 'retirement' (whenever THAT might be!)

Okay, but so?

To begin with, who is it that says the 'aim' of the Church is "...to reach those that don't know him?" Scripture? Or you?

I don't believe that this is the ONLY aim of the church but surely Jesus WANTS us to lead others to Him - or do you not think so for some reason? Perhaps you could share with all of us the reason for not thinking this, if that's the case?

What I think is that you're being rather 'hazy' and altogether uncritical in your thinking. You clearly said the aim of the Church was "...to reach those that don't know him". I simply challenged you as to why you thought that was the, or even an, 'aim' (or 'purpose') of the Church.

And given your comments thus far, it seems that you still apparently have failed to grasp that salvation isn't simply a matter of the 'vertical' relationship between you and God. However, I personally hold hope that your continued study into what the NT teaches about the 'Church' will broaden your understanding. And the results should also inform the naive assumptions that you currently hold concerning your chosen fellowship, too.

If (as you say) I've failed to grasp that salvation isn't simply a matter of the vertical relationship between my and God, then WHY do I want to reach out to others so that they may also know the gospel message and come to salvation in Christ?  Isn't that part of reaching out horizontally? Am I missing the point again?

'Yes', you are missing the point again. Please try to remember that we're discussing the Church and not Christian evangelism, okay? But I suppose I'll have to give you a bit of a 'push' so that you'll turn your thinking in a direction that it, perhaps, should go. Read Philippians 2:12. You may be interested to discover that the pronouns therein appear in the plural rather than in the singular form. Is this point significant? Is it germane to our current discussion? What do you think?

Rest assured I WILL continue studying and I pray that my understanding will be broadened also. I know you may find this hard to believe but my 'assumptions' about my 'chosen fellowship' are not quite as naive as you might think. My eyes are open and I am 'sorting' and 'sifting' and keeping an open mind in regards to available options - if that makes sense.

Sure. As I understood things to stand, you were still fellowshipping with "the Edge". Further, only just the other day you assured me (and all the other readers of the "Chatbox") that where one fellowships isn't ultimately of any significance. Both factors have me still leaning towards you being rather naive.

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
Sea Urchin Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #6
  • Rank:Poster Venti III
  • Score:9110
  • Posts:436
  • From:Australia
  • Register:15/02/2007 7:34 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:13/12/2008 12:47 PMCopy HTML

Philippians 2:12

(NLT) Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.

(KJV) Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #7
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:13/12/2008 1:06 PMCopy HTML

Urchles,

That is indeed the passage. Now what is its significance?

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #8
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:15/12/2008 7:24 AMCopy HTML

Hi, Ralph.

Do you reckon that your quoting of Mounce's dictionary served to advance the discussion that I was having with Urch? Or is it possible that it might better be considered one of those 'distractions' that I alluded to in the Shoutbox
a day or two earlier? You presented your offering as (in your words) "...a starting point of studies". However, I'd already set Urch some 'homework'; a little research that I intended would function as the proper point-of-departure (or 'starting point') for this particular study.

To answer the questions: what IS the Church, what is its role and its functions; doesn't hinge on a lexical study of the Greek term, 'ekklesia'. To adequately address this enquiry requires one to delve into the very rich theology relating to this theme that we might find scattered throughout the New Testament corpus.

And to briefly correct Mounce, Paul does, indeed, consider the Church to be a physical structure: a 'building' comprising of individual physical 'bricks', believers such as you and me.

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
Sea Urchin Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #9
  • Rank:Poster Venti III
  • Score:9110
  • Posts:436
  • From:Australia
  • Register:15/02/2007 7:34 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:16/12/2008 12:23 PMCopy HTML

Ian, 

I've now read every scripture on 'the church' and 'the believer' in the New Testament but am still 'chewing it over' before I write anything. 

I've also read Phillipians 2:12 in all of the translations and, rather than take that one verse out of context, have read and re-read the whole book of Phillipians which Paul wrote while imprisoned. I've found it very challenging to read and understand (simple soul that I am) 

When Paul refers to 'salvation' in this verse, I don't believe he is talking about the Phillipians' eternal salvation (as we cannot 'earn' our salvation) They were already believers and therefore already 'saved' and also he used the term 'my beloved' which was an expression he used for believers. I think 'salvation' here was more to do with deliverance from sufferings (from their opponents).

In 1:27-30 Paul calls them to be in unity in the faith because they were under attack for their faith as he also was. Unity comes through selflessness and humility among the believers with Jesus himself being the model of humility. He obeyed the Father and the Father exalted Him when He humbled himself.

It appears to me that Paul was speaking of ongoing obedience with humility, reverence and respect (fear and trembling). The Phillipians had always obeyed and Paul was calling them to obey yet again. If we love and honour God, then we should want to obey him. 

In the Message translation v12-13 Paul told the Phillipians to " keep on doing what you've done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I'm separated from you, keep it up. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God".

Lots more studying to do!

Urch

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #10
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:16/12/2008 11:54 PMCopy HTML

Urchles,

Well done! You're very clearly on the right track. With respect to the Philippians passage, two points: (1) the Greek word for 'salvation' doesn't always refer to a spiritual 'saving', and (2) I'd suggest that you hone in on the corporate aspects of the passage a little more, especially the implications vis the 'horizontal' aspect to salvation.

Fun, huh?

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
Sea Urchin Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #11
  • Rank:Poster Venti III
  • Score:9110
  • Posts:436
  • From:Australia
  • Register:15/02/2007 7:34 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:17/12/2008 12:58 AMCopy HTML

With respect to the Philippians passage, two points: (1) the Greek word for 'salvation' doesn't always refer to a spiritual 'saving'
 _______________________________________________________________________________________________

The same Greek word for 'salvation' is also used for 'deliverance' - Paul uses the word 'salvation' twice in previous verses but was not talking about eternal (spiritual) salvation so when he tells the Phillipians to work out their salvation in v12, I think he is speaking more about deliverance from trials/suffering/ persecution etc.

I'd always thought it was to do with our actual spiritual salvation - very different to what I'd believed it to be!
 
I guess it's time for me to stop being lazy and do my own searching out of matters (like my name suggests)

s urchin
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #12
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:17/12/2008 1:09 AMCopy HTML

Urchles,

The joy of independent discovery, eh?

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
Sea Urchin Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #13
  • Rank:Poster Venti III
  • Score:9110
  • Posts:436
  • From:Australia
  • Register:15/02/2007 7:34 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:17/12/2008 2:23 AMCopy HTML

Brolgs, that's my fault!

Ian mentioned Phil 2:12 as a starting point and I sort of got stuck there (which is OK as far as I'm concerned). I feel the need to examine and search out a little more diligently than I have in the past - good for all of us to do!

I guess I'll get to 'the church, its purpose and its role' bit in a while.

Urch
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
Sea Urchin Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #14
  • Rank:Poster Venti III
  • Score:9110
  • Posts:436
  • From:Australia
  • Register:15/02/2007 7:34 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:22/12/2008 12:39 PMCopy HTML

Just briefly on Phil. 2:12, in light of what Urch has revealed; could one say "Work out your own "SAFETY" with soundness of doctrine"?
       ____________________________________________________________________________________

Somehow I don't think that would be correct Brolgs. One of the words that keeps 'jumping' out at me is the first word of verse 12 - the word 'therefore'. To read ONLY verse 12 then, would be not reading it in context as the word 'therefore' connects this verse to the previous verses as a kind of 'summary' (sorry about the capitals, can't seem to get italics)

I may be a little off track here (and I'm sure Ian will let me know if I am) but I've been thinking about the closing verses of chapter 1.  Paul speaks about the Phillipians' unity of spirit and purpose in "striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents". It appears that their UNITY was an important aspect and that their enemies could not prevail against the believers' UNIFIED front. Their unity was a sign of 'deliverance'  (salvation) from their opponents. They'd already gained their eternal salvation through their faith in Christ, so the salvation spoken of here is a salvation of 'deliverance'. Just as there is salvation through faith, so there is one (a deliverance) through suffering. 

Back to 'unity' (this is from an article I read recently) - "We cannot oppose one another as believers if we expect to oppose the attacks of the world against our common faith. Humility toward our brothers and sisters in the faith is the key to our unity. If we do not kneel to serve one another, we will have a difficult time standing before the world".

This whole exercise has brought out these key words for me - ongoing obedience, humility and unity. Another key word (phrase) is 'one another-ing' - we need to love and serve one another in humility as Christ loved and served and gave himself for us. We are meant to build each other up, encourage and strengthen one another, use whatever gifts we're given to build up the church and honour our preachers and teachers. Just as our personal relationship with our creator is important, so too is our relationship with one another. If our relationship with one another is not good, how can we be the 'shining lights' that we are called to be? 

"But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as HE pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you' nor again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.'
No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honourable, on these we bestow greater honour; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need.
But God composed the body, having given greater honour to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one for another.
And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually." 1 Cor 12:18-27

Urchin



So rather than a call to 'work out our own (individual) salvation..' it appears to me to be a challenge by Paul to
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #15
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:30/04/2009 8:57 AMCopy HTML

Good evening, one and all.

I thought I'd introduce a 'small' thought, in the hope of stimulating further 'big' thinking. So here it is: can a person be a Christian, but not be a part of the Church?

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
spitchips Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #16
  • Rank:Rookier III
  • Score:2050
  • Posts:98
  • From:Australia
  • Register:25/10/2008 4:59 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:30/04/2009 10:00 AMCopy HTML

Hello Ian,

I believe the quick answer is 'no'. I'm thinking of one aspect right now - discipline. We are called to be His disciples. I cannot be disciplined on my own. I love my own way far too much. I can rationalise till the cows come home any wayward thinking/behaviour. Anyone who has spent any time out of fellowship can tell you what a slippery slope it can be.

A small issue in light of this weighty topic, but thought I started here, because this has been my experience.

I'm beginning to find my place in a church where I matter, where I can worship my God ALONGSIDE fellow believers. I can now not imagine this type of worship as a 'loner'.

Chips

 

Talmid Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #17
  • Rank:Regular Rookier
  • Score:5980
  • Posts:293
  • From:Australia
  • Register:21/04/2008 10:04 PM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:30/04/2009 11:41 AMCopy HTML

Hi All

My current understanding is that when one becomes a Christian, by definition one becomes part of the Church Universal which I understand to be the group of people that God is redeeming to himself through Jesus.

The bible then calls Christians to be involved in the koinonia/fellowship that has been mentioned elsewhere. This means the bible calls Christians to be involved "closely" with one another at a local level, exercising and being nurtured by the gifts and ministries (and sharing the Lord's Supper) presented in that book. Such fellowship is both a "fruit" of the Spirit and duty (act of worship) in a Christian's life, much as love (by this men will know you are my disciples) is pictured in the bible.

Someone could perhaps be a Christian and not fellowship with other Christians through ignorance, although I believe the Spirit would provide inner, if not external, witness that such was a bad "place to be". Someone who professed to be a Christian and was presented with Jesus' teaching must necessarily seek to fellowship with other Christians. I say this as a confirmed "loner", whose initial reaction to the thought of solitary confinement is, "Aaah, peace and quiet at last!" I've learned that while it's good (and "fun" for me) to spend time in my "private prayer space", it's sinful to stay there (and God's blesses when I step out).
The evidence for Mann-made global warming is unequivocal.
outaegypt Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #18
  • Rank:Poster Venti I
  • Score:6570
  • Posts:312
  • From:Unknown
  • Register:22/06/2006 3:38 PM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:30/04/2009 11:46 AMCopy HTML

 I'm presently wondering do you have to belong to a conventional church per say or can you be fellow-shipping regularly with a group of like minded people in an informal fashion, when does the body of christ become a church. 
When I think church I think building.  
I feel safer and closer to God depending on him presently being away from a church than I have  for a long time in one.
 I heard a Pastor at a church recently say 'we love you and we love being your Pastors' (they had just 'taken over' our church 2 weeks prior).. the person(teen) next to me lent across and said 'he wouldnt know me if he passed me on the street so how can he love me and care for my soul'. 
I have no desire or calling at this time to be under the authority of any man,  many men as we have seen, are self seeking liars and do not have the heart of God. There are few that are not caught up in the authority of position. 
To me the church should be an upside down ladder and the Pastor at the bottom as a servant to his people given to his care. 
A servant is to be treated with respect and not there for you willy nilly wants either, his service is firstly to the Lord.
So often churches are filled with insignificant unsuccessful  men that couldn't quite make it up the corporate ladder so they try to find their worth in positions of authority in churches to earn the respect they are incapable of receiving from real people in the real world, losing sight that he who is greatest is least.



As I hear it, I'll repeat it, Its up to you if you believe it! Allegation big and small, soon revealed before us all. outa here- Outa Egypt!
stalwort Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #19
  • Rank:
  • Score:0
  • Posts:0
  • From:Australia
  • Register:26/04/2009 1:29 PM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:30/04/2009 2:03 PMCopy HTML

Hi all, Interesting discussion.
Yes, I think one can be a Christian and not be in fellowship (though not the best solution to one troubles).
After all salvation is by Jesus, not the church.
Peter did ask a similar question concerning Apollo 'who followeth not with us'. God worked with that outsider Apollo in signs and miricles.
The question (very sneeky Ian) raises so many more questions about the makeup, validity and function of the church universal, how God sees the church and anyone who is considered (by God) to be a disciple.
Lets face it, we can't really allow ourselves to be disciplined by the churces many of us have been in as the church (corporate) itself is relatively undisiplined and have a tendancy to close the door to the kingdom of heaven. All teaching really comes from the Spirit anyway. Sure we can 'learn' stuff re a theological approach to the Word, but real knowledge comes via the Spirit and Word.

In saying all that, some of the deepest moments one can spend with the Lord are in fellowship, but not excluse to it.

GBYA

stalwort
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #20
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:30/04/2009 11:45 PMCopy HTML

Good morning, all.

Thank you for the responses, which, from my perspective, have certainly been interesting to read. If I may, I'd like to inject a few more personal thoughts to continue this dialogue.

Thought one: although Western society and culture would suggest otherwise, Christianity is a thoroughly corporate belief system in an ontological sense. The entire NT witnesses to a level of inter-dependence that simply can't be matched or offset by personal in-dependence. And the metaphors that we find used in the NT to describe the Christian Church invariably use corporate imagery. Let's consider but one for the moment: the Church as the Body of Christ, with individual members being particular 'organs'. If you cut off an ear it will die, as no part of a living body is capable of life when detached from the corporate, inter-dependent unit which is the body itself. So too the believer.

Thought two: the NT witnesses universally to Christian worship being a corporate function. One can't be taught, one can't teach or exercise one's gifts and graces, separate to or detached from the church gathered. Furthermore, the central act of Christian worship--communion--can only occur in a corporate setting. Worship of Jesus Christ remains the central function of Christianity. And worship of Jesus Christ is primarily a corporate event.

Thought three: the definition of "Christian" is "follower of (Jesus) the Christ". Jesus' teaching was of mutually supportive, inter-dependent, mutually-submissive, unified, corporate life. How can one claim to be a "follower of (Jesus) the Christ" if one chooses to reject his teaching on this fundamental issue? Christianity is on Christ's terms, not ours.

Thought four: the ultimate form of Church discipline involves the rejecting of a person from Christian fellowship. Consequently, the 'lone-Christian' image is of a person who has been cut-off from the Body of Christ and, therefore, is under the ban of God. What sane person would place themselves in such a position intentionally?!

Thought five: with respect to the supposed distinction between the "Church Triumphant/Universal" and the "Church Militant/Local", I would suggest that the latter exists as a sub-set of the former. Theologically, there are no grounds whatsoever for assuming that one can be a part of the one but apart from the other.

Thought six: the entire witness of Scripture is one of submission to authority. First to God through Christ; second to those in positions of authority (whether secular or religious); third each to one and another in Christ. A Christian simply does not have the luxury of choosing not to be in submission to hierarchy, as according to Paul, such remains part of the Created Order. Furthermore, the Christian Church has always been a "work-in-progress". There are no perfect churches, if there were, then three-quarters of Paul's letters wouldn't have had to be written! Acknowledging this, endure we must with what we have.

So to summarise my position thus far, it seems that Scripture is perfectly clear on the issue: one cannot be a Christian and stand independent of the Christian Church. To do so is nothing but sinful rebellion, at the heart of which is fallen human pride.

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
Sea Urchin Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #21
  • Rank:Poster Venti III
  • Score:9110
  • Posts:436
  • From:Australia
  • Register:15/02/2007 7:34 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:01/05/2009 12:34 AMCopy HTML

 Not the first time I've jumped in with an opinion and been 'shot down' but FWIW these are my thoughts...

As Christians we are called and equipped to serve one another and to let the love of God shine through us to a dark and lost world. How do we serve one another? By being part of (and serving in) a local church, by loving others, by ministering to everyone that needs an encouraging word (not just those in our church but to everyone that we come in contact with) and by showing God's transforming work in us to those that don't yet know Him. God has given each of us at least one gift to be used to bring glory and honour to His name. We bring our gifts to the local church that we attend (and come under the authority of) to build up the body of Christ. There are different views - but one body. There are different gifts - but one Body. There are different ministrations - but one Body. WE are the Body of Christ, His beautiful Bride - why would we NOT want to celebrate this, worship Him and share this with other like-minded folk?

For those (Christians) who are perhaps afraid to come under the authority of a local church (and it is understandable given the previous experiences that we've all faced) we should examine ourselves through prayer, and ask God to reveal our motives so that we can, through Christ, work on them. Fear can be overcome - not all churches are like the Rev groups. Sometimes though, it goes a little deeper than fear - some folk have trouble coming under any type of authority and this is exactly what the enemy of our souls wants. When Lucifer fell from grace, the issues centred on pride, authority and dishonour. We need to honour leadership, both in the church and outside the church. When we honour those in authority over us, we acknowledge the Lordship of Christ over us.

Urch
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #22
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:01/05/2009 1:09 AMCopy HTML

Once more.

A few people raised the issue of how one assesses whether a group is a Christian church, and even if one needs to be involved with such a 'formal' organisation. The alternative, apparently, is to be found in 'fellowshipping' in decidedly 'informal' settings and/or arrangements.

I would suggest that, historically, Christianity has understood there to be certain 'marks' that serves to identify the Christian church. As these 'marks' can be 'Googled', there's not much point in me noting the various Catholic (Orthodox and Roman) and Protestant (principally Reformed and Lutheran) lists here. However, it should become clear to all who undertake a survey of the results, that not every group who calls itself a Christian church actually is a Christian church (Revivalism immediately springs to mind). But is this fact even important? Does a group of Christians need to be a 'church' for meaningful engagement to take place?

My response is, it depends.

Meaningful personal engagement can take place anywhere, over a cup of coffee in someone's lounge room for example. However, spiritual maturation requires input in ways that only the Church can provide: communion, teaching, growth through discipleship and discipline immediately springs to mind. And germane to our current discussion is the simple fact that Jesus Christ explicitly stated that he would build his Church, and that the entire NT witness focuses on the Church being the conduit for Christian growth and mission given that it alone is founded upon delegated apostolic authority.

Perhaps the main reason why some people find 'informal' Christian social gatherings more appealing than formalised church participation; however, is that the former occurs on their terms? Something to think about.

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #23
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:04/05/2009 4:48 AMCopy HTML

Ralph,

Do we need to have a theological education? Isn’t it suffice being just concerned for saving souls and keeping people in a place that functions as a waiting room for the hereafter?

I sincerely hope that you're kidding. Consider: if one isn't theologically informed, then how does one know that one's beliefs and practices are actually correct? That they are biblically defensible and pleasing to God? Furthermore, without a reasonable level of theological sophistication, how could one be certain that what one presents to others is actually capable of 'saving souls'? How could one make the categorical distinction between truth and heresy?

After all, we see and hear of churches doing just that, where the people are happy and blessed as long as they are experiencing some emotional joy or spiritual event that convinces them it is God’s way.

So spiritual 'truth' is to be assessed by the level of 'happiness' displayed by people, huh? That subjective human emotions rather than objective biblical fidelity is the new measure by which such matters are to be judged?

I find that I need to ask: are you actually serious?

Ian

P.S. Who is Peter Kuric? I've never heard of him.

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
outaegypt Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #24
  • Rank:Poster Venti I
  • Score:6570
  • Posts:312
  • From:Unknown
  • Register:22/06/2006 3:38 PM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:06/05/2009 3:03 AMCopy HTML

Just something I read and found interesting...
 Is it really God's idea to have people leading others? Why isn't everybody just the same and able to lead themselves?  Is the church pastor the only kind of Christian leader? Does God have any direction for leadership in civil spheres  of society like government and the judiciary?  What makes a good leader?  Does everything need leadership?
Here are some comments to assist your understanding of these issues from a biblical Christian perspective:
                   A Christian perspective of leadership in society is based on three fundamental biblical principles:
1. The priesthood of all believers.
2. The universal human need for leadership. 
3. The servant nature of leadership
Leadership will only be effective and safe if a balance is kept of these three perspectives, so we will examine them in some detail.

1.  The Priesthood of all Believers
Every person is responsible to give account to God for his or her own life. There is no sense in
 which a king, minister, governor, leader, boss, leader, captain, or pastor has any titled premium on God's presence or favour. God communicates through His Holy Spirit to every person who personally desires a relationship with Him and is willing to approach Him through faith in the atoning work of Christ. 

Biblical Christian leadership, then, is not a matter of a leader standing between God and another person as 'God's representative' (that is, a 'priest'). Nor is leadership a matter of the leader’s unlimited authority over another person's life such that questioning the authority of a leader's opinions about a matter is automatically equated to disobedience to God.                              In the light of this concept, then, leaders need to see themselves in the role of exercising real authority, but their authority is limited to specific areas and times in the lives of people who are, ultimately, accountable only to God. For example, the boss in a business has real authority over the worker inasmuch as he is dealing with a matter of employment, but outside of that, the boss has no authority. 
Church leaders have a special God-given responsibility to 'watch over the souls' of people who commit themselves to pastoral care. The role of this kind of leadership is identified in Scripture as that of the 'undershepherd'; that is, church leaders serve those they lead entirely on behalf of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus. The image of the shepherd is one of a servant who leads sheep to places of sustenance and safety and protects them from outside harm and from foolishness within. Similarly, church leaders exercise authority only to help people to better understand God and to walk in obedience to Him. People may choose, (but cannot be forced to) submit to the care of church leaders and obey them appropriately as a part of their submission to the care and authority of God. 
Human imperfection has led to many abuses of church authority, so we are wise to be careful to see that a church leader’s exercise of authority is always open to scrutiny and accountability in the light of God’s word. 
The concept of the ‘priesthood of all believers’ also has implications for the method of operation of leadership. Leaders can see the people they lead as a means to make the leaders’ vision, mission, or ministry more successful - and people become ‘pawns’ in the leader’s great game of life. Alternatively, leaders can see the people they lead as God's servants, gifted potential ministers of God’s kingdom into the society around them. The latter kind of leader will want to see the people they lead become more successful in their walk with and service of God. Such leaders will look to nurture people's gifts, encourage them to find God's peculiar call on their lives, and seek to release them to minister where God calls them.
2.  The universal need for leadership
A thoughtful perusal of the Bible leaves one in no doubt that God identifies we humans (somewhat unflatteringly!) as 'sheep' in need of shepherding. This is obviously true in a broader social context than our spiritual need of the Great Shepherd or of church discipleship. In all spheres of life (political, economic, scientific, educational, cultural etc), creative and productive development invariably follows the vision and action of gifted leaders. Conversely, communities without visionary and strong leadership suffer disillusionment, dissipation, lack of progress, and, eventually, social disintegration.
It seems that God’s plan for the peaceful, free, and prosperous operation of human community has properly constituted human leadership as one of its key elements. 
3.  The servant nature of leadership
In his training of His leaders-to-be, Jesus distinguished between 'gentilic' (self-seeking) leadership  and leadership that is based on the principles of humility and service (e.g., Matthew 20:24–28). The essential difference between these two kinds of leadership is the attitude of the leaders to themselves and the people they lead.
Jesus indicates that only the servant kind of leadership will be of use in the building of His eternal kingdom, so there is an obvious application of His teaching to Church leaders, Christian parents, and other Christian leaders. 
Distinguishing between the attitudes of 'gentilic' and servant leadership, however, is just as relevant to leadership in any sphere of society, whether the leaders and those being led are Christian or not. A biblical Christian perspective of leadership will make any leader, Christian or otherwise, more capable of leading in a way that is appropriate for the development of a free, peaceful and productive community. 
The biblical Christian perspective of leadership is characterized by an attitude of service. Leaders see themselves as the servants of those that they lead. In contrast to self-seeking leaders, who may seek to further their own reputation, profit, egos, or programs by using those they lead as 'consumer items', servant leaders put self-interest aside to look to the needs of the people they lead and to enhance the mission of the organization that they serve. The mission-mindedness and passion of servant leaders is tempered by their refusal to abuse people in reaching their productivity goals. Servant leaders will inspire and empower people to find their place and function within an organization rather than bully or manipulate them. When correction needs to be brought by a servant leader, it will be done with the best interests of both the one being corrected and the mission of the organization concerned.
Whether in the Church, business, politics, or volunteer organizations, the biblical Christian 'formula' for leadership will be effective in producing orderly, peaceful, productive, and pleasant community. This is illustrated by the fact that much contemporary leadership theory, although it is not all ostensibly Christian, advocates the application of some of these principles to modern business and organizational culture. 
As I hear it, I'll repeat it, Its up to you if you believe it! Allegation big and small, soon revealed before us all. outa here- Outa Egypt!
Akriboo Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #25
  • Rank:Not quite new
  • Score:770
  • Posts:37
  • From:Australia
  • Register:16/03/2008 7:03 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:19/05/2009 7:18 AMCopy HTML

Hello Ian et al,

What a great topic and indeed worthy of in-depth research and/or study. The home work set by Ian has been invaluable, provoking and, to a certain extent, unsettling.

There are many questions circulating in my mind, some I have already came up with an answer but need confirmation, others require a guiding hand.

To begin with, the first NT reference to Church is found in Matthew 16:18, And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it”. Is the Church infallible? Surely Jesus’ statement, “the gates of Hades will not overcome it” points to this conclusion...infallibility of the Church. Will He not (as His bride) “maker her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless”? Ephesians 52:6-27

This thought stems from Ian’s post, Thought six: the entire witness of Scripture is one of submission to authority. First to God through Christ; second to those in positions of authority (whether secular or religious); third each to one and another in Christ. A Christian simply does not have the luxury of choosing not to be in submission to hierarchy, as according to Paul, such remains part of the Created Order. Furthermore, the Christian Church has always been a "work-in-progress". There are no perfect churches, if there were, then three-quarters of Paul's letters wouldn't have had to be written! Acknowledging this, endure we must with what we have.”

I certainly have no desire to submit to an RF ‘pastor’ or ‘house leader’ unless I know that such congregation falls under the definition of a Church...one holy catholic apostolic. (Mark of the true church)

As you can imagine, just the ‘mark of the church’ leaves me to ponder the inevitable, “do all roads lead to Rome”. I am rather cautious in my path as I can envisage a direction to Rome growing stronger should infallibility reign supreme! (Not to mention the Apostolicity of the Church consisting in its identity with the body which Christ established on the foundation of the Apostles, and which He commissioned to carry out His work...no other body save this is the Church of Christ! Again to Matthew 16:18)

Bless you all

Akriboo

Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #26
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:19/05/2009 8:28 AMCopy HTML

Good evening, Akriboo; long-time, no-hear.

To begin with, the first NT reference to Church is found in Matthew 16:18, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it”. Is the Church infallible? Surely Jesus’ statement, “the gates of Hades will not overcome it” points to this conclusion...infallibility of the Church.

No it doesn't, the passage points to the constancy and endurance of the Church in spite of the machinations of the Evil One.

I certainly have no desire to submit to an RF ‘pastor’ or ‘house leader’ unless I know that such congregation falls under the definition of a Church...one holy catholic apostolic. (Mark of the true church)

Well, such is one set of 'marks', to be certain. 'One' implies a Church united (by the Spirit) under Christ. 'Holy' means to be set about for God's purposes. 'Catholic' infers universality, a Church that isn't restricted by geography, time, culture or circumstances. 'Apostolic' directs us to the nature of the Church's witness and ministry. None of these marks, by the way, are limited in application to the Church of Rome.

As you can imagine, just the ‘mark of the church’ leaves me to ponder the inevitable, “do all roads lead to Rome”.

Not by a very long shot! To begin with, the Roman Catholic Church isn't the only ancient communion that understands herself to be defined by the Patristic 'marks': so too do the respective national Orthodox, for example. And, of course, the Protestant arm of the Western Church identifies with the 'marks' too.

I am rather cautious in my path as I can envisage a direction to Rome growing stronger should infallibility reign supreme!

Well, I really don't understand why you'd think that. After all, the entire New Testament clearly demonstrates that the Christian Church isn't infallible in her ways, practices and observances. So my advice, don't be too narrow in your understanding of where the 'marks' point, or what they infer.

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
Akriboo Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #27
  • Rank:Not quite new
  • Score:770
  • Posts:37
  • From:Australia
  • Register:16/03/2008 7:03 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:19/05/2009 9:21 AMCopy HTML

Hello Ian,

Yes, long-time, no-hear but covertly active in reading, researching and pondering. I just can’t thank you enough for your knowledge, wisdom and assistance since leaving Revival.  You are valued dearly in my heart!

“'One' implies a Church united (by the Spirit) under Christ.

Does not the implication rather rests in that the Church is One because its members;

<!--[if !supportLists]-->1.       <!--[endif]-->Are all united under one government

<!--[if !supportLists]-->2.       <!--[endif]-->All profess the same faith

<!--[if !supportLists]-->3.       <!--[endif]-->All join in a common worship?

After all, Christ Himself declared that the unity of his followers should bear witness to Him. The unity and brotherhood promised by Christ are to be the visible manifestation on earth of the Devine union (John 17:21). Paul reaffirms this in that he sees in the visible unity of the body of Christ an external sign of the oneness of the Spirit who dwells within it. There is, he says, “one body and one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:4)

I just wonder if the Church was divided into two or more mutually exclusive bodies, how she could witness to that oneness of Spirit in unity. As in a living organism the union of members in one body is the sign of the one animating principle within...so it is with the Church, so I speculate. Is it no so that should we as members of the Church being united by the profession of the same faith, speak of external profession as well as internal acceptance?

Despite what one wants to believe or say (“Protestant arm of the Western Church identifies with the 'marks' too”), can there be a unity of Spirit compatible with differences of Creed?

Bless you

Akriboo

Akriboo Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #28
  • Rank:Not quite new
  • Score:770
  • Posts:37
  • From:Australia
  • Register:16/03/2008 7:03 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:19/05/2009 8:58 PMCopy HTML

Good morning Ian,

I don't subscribe to the infallibility of the Church doctrine, just exploring the possibility. I have come to learn that my interpretation of scripture is not necessarily the correct interpretation.

Outside the scriptures, one only need to look at the dark ages and read some accounts mentioned in Foxe's Book of Martyrs to see the error of that doctrine.

Inside the scriptures, (and from a biblical point of view), has theological errors been corrected by the Apostles and the transmission of such theology been handed down to successors, hence the infallibility? 

I agree with you that I need to expand my horizons and focus in other directions, which I will. However, you talk about unity, holiness, universality and apostolic,
"Well, such is one set of 'marks', to be certain. 'One' implies a Church united (by the Spirit) under Christ. 'Holy' means to be set about for God's purposes. 'Catholic' infers universality, a Church that isn't restricted by geography, time, culture or circumstances. 'Apostolic' directs us to the nature of the Church's witness and ministry. None of these marks, by the way, are limited in application to the Church of Rome."
could not Revival see that this applies to them in the same manner as "the Protestant arm of the Western Church identifies with the 'marks' too"?

The Apostles corrected the Church, but who corrects the Church today? Is this the reason why we have so many factions? The study helped me to understand that the body of Christ is one (without divisions) united by the Spirit of Christ into one holy universal and apostolic (foundation of the apostles teaching) church.

If I apply this direction to Revival, it comes up short by a long way and go further to suggest that it is not a member of the body of Christ...am I too presumptuous??

God Bless
Akriboo


Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #29
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:19/05/2009 10:45 PMCopy HTML

Good morning, Akriboo.

Yes, long-time, no-hear but covertly active in reading, researching and pondering. I just can’t thank you enough for your knowledge, wisdom and assistance since leaving Revival. You are valued dearly in my heart!

And I do appreciate it, but it's always been the case that I'm happy and content to assist those who seek my help, and who value it.

“'One' implies a Church united (by the Spirit) under Christ." Does not the implication rather rests in that the Church is 'One' because its members; 1. Are all united under one government, 2. All profess the same faith, 3. All join in a common worship?

Not really, as there's something of a difference between the notions of 'unity' and 'unanimity'. The former implies a united purpose, the latter infers an artificial attempt at wholesale agreement. Consequently, the 'one' government under which all Christians are united is the headship of Christ. The 'one' faith which all Christians profess is that "Jesus is Lord". The 'one' worship which unites us all is that which is properly directed to God through Christ, empowered as it is by his Spirit.  

After all, Christ Himself declared that the unity of his followers should bear witness to Him. The unity and brotherhood promised by Christ are to be the visible manifestation on earth of the Devine union (John 17:21). Paul reaffirms this in that he sees in the visible unity of the body of Christ an external sign of the oneness of the Spirit who dwells within it. There is, he says, “one body and one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:4)

Division and fracture within the Body of Christ ought not to be; however, I think that such is largely, and invariably, unavoidable this side of Glory. Consequently, we, the Church, must cast our net as widely as possible, and be generous in our estimations of who are our brethren. But 'generosity' doesn't extend to the acceptance of heresy. And it is for this reason that the various Revivalist groups are not part-and-parcel of what is the Christian Church, ontologically.

I just wonder if the Church was divided into two or more mutually exclusive bodies, how she could witness to that oneness of Spirit in unity. As in a living organism the union of members in one body is the sign of the one animating principle within...so it is with the Church, so I speculate. Is it no so that should we as members of the Church being united by the profession of the same faith, speak of external profession as well as internal acceptance?

Of course, but such is often far harder to achieve in practice than in principle.

Despite what one wants to believe or say (“Protestant arm of the Western Church identifies with the 'marks' too”), can there be a unity of Spirit compatible with differences of Creed?

I think you'll find that all branches of Christianity (Catholic: both Eastern and Western, and Protestant) subscribe to the one creed: that of Nicea. We all accept what it presents, and we all acknowledge the subsequent confirmations and expansions to this creed (such as the Definition of Chalcedon). So differences in ecclesial tradition and culture ought not to be confused as being differences in credal recognition, acceptance or submission.

I don't subscribe to the infallibility of the Church doctrine, just exploring the possibility. I have come to learn that my interpretation of scripture is not necessarily the correct interpretation.

Indeed.

Outside the scriptures, one only need to look at the dark ages and read some accounts mentioned in Foxe's Book of Martyrs to see the error of that doctrine.

No doubt, but why limit yourself to a consideration of just the Western expression of Christianity? Why not review the Eastern, Near Eastern and African situations as well and in doing so limit the affects of cultural and spiritual myopia?

Inside the scriptures, (and from a biblical point of view), has theological errors been corrected by the Apostles and the transmission of such theology been handed down to successors, hence the infallibility?

The basics of our shared faith have been agreed upon since the very beginning, and they have been transmitted faithfully over the centuries. Different cultural and social conditions over this period; however, have led to different emphases being accorded priority in different communions. Such accounts for the vast majority of supposed differences between various branches of Christianity. But when the taxonomy of doctrine is considered, the 'core' beliefs are as they've always been. 

I agree with you that I need to expand my horizons and focus in other directions, which I will. However, you talk about unity, holiness, universality and apostolic, "Well, such is one set of 'marks', to be certain. 'One' implies a Church united (by the Spirit) under Christ. 'Holy' means to be set about for God's purposes. 'Catholic' infers universality, a Church that isn't restricted by geography, time, culture or circumstances. 'Apostolic' directs us to the nature of the Church's witness and ministry. None of these marks, by the way, are limited in application to the Church of Rome." Could not Revival see that this applies to them in the same manner as "the Protestant arm of the Western Church identifies with the 'marks' too"?

No doubt they probably could, although I doubt they'd want to! But in any case, such a arrogation on their part would be wrong. Given that they can't get something so simple as the basic gospel of grace correct, it would be the height of presumption for them to then believe that they belong to the historic and orthodox Christian Church.

The Apostles corrected the Church, but who corrects the Church today? Is this the reason why we have so many factions? The study helped me to understand that the body of Christ is one (without divisions) united by the Spirit of Christ into one holy universal and apostolic (foundation of the apostles teaching) church.

Well, the apostles didn't have the complete canon of Scripture, as the New Testament was still in the process of being written. And it is the New Testament which 'interprets' the Old Testament for the Church Universal. When combined together as Christian Scripture we have the Apostle's doctrine, the so-called "deposit of faith". Finally, it is for this reason that Protestantism maintains the Church stands under Scripture rather than over it.

If I apply this direction to Revival, it comes up short by a long way and go further to suggest that it is not a member of the body of Christ...am I too presumptuous??

Not at all. Revivalism isn't Christian; the Revivalist sects are not a part of the Christian Church.

Blessings,

Ian

email: didaktikon@gmail.com
Biblianut Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #30
  • Rank:Regular Rookier
  • Score:5380
  • Posts:218
  • From:Australia
  • Register:30/11/2010 9:39 PM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:11/10/2013 11:48 AMCopy HTML

Reply to Didaktikon

Good evening, one and all.

I thought I'd introduce a 'small' thought, in the hope of stimulating further 'big' thinking. So here it is: can a person be a Christian, but not be a part of the Church?

Blessings,

Ian



Ian,
I don't know about the 'big' thinking bit, but here goes. :)

It is often pointed out that it is a corporate affair regarding Christianity, but there is no such thing as a 'lone' Christian.
It is interesting to note though however, in Mark 9:38... we read of a person, driving out demons in the name of Jesus. For reasons whatever, the disciples where rebuking this man for doing so but Jesus said to let him alone. This man was obviously a believer but was still able to perform this miracle even though he was not a member of the exclusive company of the Twelve.
It appears, in context of the passages, the emphasis is on those who are in sympathy with Jesus and his ministry. Nevertheless he acted in Jesus name and had done what the disciples, on at least one occasion, had not been able to do.(vv 14-28).
A few thoughts come to mind;
Who was this man, Jew or Gentile and why would God, if so be, give him the authority and/or the power to perform such tasks when the disciples failed to do so? Though I think 'faith' may be the key word in this.
If we bridge such an incident over to modern day, wouldn't this man be classed as a lone Christian, i.e. not belonging to any particular church yet still follow Jesus?

Ralph.

I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C.S.Lewis.
Didaktikon Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #31
  • Rank:Forum Oracle
  • Score:62130
  • Posts:2958
  • From:Australia
  • Register:29/08/2007 7:54 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:11/10/2013 11:31 PMCopy HTML

Good morning, Ralph.

It is often pointed out that it is a corporate affair regarding Christianity, but there is no such thing as a 'lone' Christian. Indeed. Such seems to be the New Testament position.

It is interesting to note though however, in Mark 9:38... we read of a person, driving out demons in the name of Jesus. For reasons whatever, the disciples where rebuking this man for doing so but Jesus said to let him alone. This man was obviously a believer but was still able to perform this miracle even though he was not a member of the exclusive company of the Twelve. Might I ask, first, why you think the man was 'obviously' a believer? Is it because he used the name of 'Jesus'? If so, then I would point you to the implication of Matthew 7:22. Second, do you think there might be a philosophical linkage between our current pericope, and what immediately preceded it? Third, what do you think the examples of Matthew 12:27 and 43-45 (even Acts 19:13) infers about the practice of exorcism in Jesus' day?

It appears, in context of the passages, the emphasis is on those who are in sympathy with Jesus and his ministry. Nevertheless he acted in Jesus name and had done what the disciples, on at least one occasion, had not been able to do (vv 14-28). Indeed, and this fact is telling. A few thoughts come to mind: Who was this man, Jew or Gentile and why would God, if so be, give him the authority and/or the power to perform such tasks when the disciples failed to do so? Likely as not because they point to the uniqueness of Jesus as Christ, and the universality of his mission. Though I think 'faith' may be the key word in this. If we bridge such an incident over to modern day, wouldn't this man be classed as a lone Christian, i.e. not belonging to any particular church yet still follow Jesus? I doubt it. And then for several reasons. First, the passage tells us the man was performing exorcisms in Jesus' name. It says nothing about him preaching the message of repentance and the irrupting Kingdom of God. Second, the exorcisms themselves were carried out on Jesus' authority. There was no suggestion made whatsoever that the man was personally known to Jesus, which is fundamental for salvation. Third, whilst the man was clearly sympathetic to Jesus, so too was the 'rich young ruler' of 10:17-27. Fourth, it is entirely possible that the man in question went on to become a disciple of Jesus, and consequently a member of his Church. But to be so requires the public declaration of allegience that takes place with Christian baptism.

Finally for now, I find it suggestive that you used the words, "... not belonging to any particular church yet still following Jesus". There is but the one Church, Ralph, which is to be found in a multitude of expressions. Our English word 'church' encapsulates all that is intended by the Greek ἐκκλησία, which requires people (plural) rather than a person (singular) to fulfill. And the purposes of the Church, remember, are: to worship God in Christ; to provide fellowship and teaching; to engage in discipleship (including disciplining) and witness; to exercise one's gifts and graces for the common good; and to celebrate the sacraments in common unity. None of these can be achieved in isolation (points which I addressed in some detail in an earlier post, #21).

One can certainly believe in isolation, but one can't lay claim to being a Christian and yet remain in isolation.

Blessings,

Ian
email: didaktikon@gmail.com
spitchips Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #32
  • Rank:Rookier III
  • Score:2050
  • Posts:98
  • From:Australia
  • Register:25/10/2008 4:59 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:12/10/2013 7:18 AMCopy HTML

Hi Ian and Ralph

I believe the church is God's finest and most treasured creation - to say you belong to Jesus or that you are a Christian but you 'go it alone', unattached to a church community, is a nonsense.

The bride worthy of the Son, the church stands alone as a unique society on this earth.

Chips
spitchips Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #33
  • Rank:Rookier III
  • Score:2050
  • Posts:98
  • From:Australia
  • Register:25/10/2008 4:59 AM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:13/10/2013 2:55 AMCopy HTML

 Hello all,

Also a scripture comes to mind ... Galations 6 verse 1 & 2. Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, restore them gently?.... V 2. Carry each other's burdens, and in this you fulfil the law of Christ. 

How could a person who was a lone Christian follow this directive? You have to know and love other Christians to do this. 

Chips
Biblianut Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #34
  • Rank:Regular Rookier
  • Score:5380
  • Posts:218
  • From:Australia
  • Register:30/11/2010 9:39 PM

Re:The Church - what it is, its role and its purpose

Date Posted:13/10/2013 4:52 AMCopy HTML

Ian,

Might I ask, first, why you think the man was 'obviously' a believer?
There is no mention of him being otherwise and the verses that follow sound out to me that Jesus discipleship has a far wider view than just the chosen twelve.  

Second, do you think there might be a philosophical linkage between our current pericope, and what immediately preceded it?

I was more apt to linking Mat 12:30. The reference is made to those that were in opposition to Jesus rather than the man casting out the demons. One has to first believe before anything possible in Christ. It is a possibility that this man was baptised unto John?
Third, whilst the man was clearly sympathetic to Jesus, so too was the 'rich young ruler' of 10:17-27
I find a different concept here to what is  back in ch 9. This young ruler's motive was more for personal gain than wanting to be a part of the ministry.

Chips,

The Church certainly is a very important and necessary part of the Christian life of worship, one with Christ and with one another.
It is all that Ian mentioned above and I know if we are not a part of it or tend to let things slip a bit, we get very dry and become as dead branches. I believe we should keep in mind that 'church' isn't the be all and end all in our Christian walk and is more important to worship God in prayer, reading and studying scripture etc., 24/7 and church is but an extension of that worship.

Grace and peace

Ralph.
I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C.S.Lewis.
RCI prophesies
Copyright © 2000-2019 Aimoo Free Forum All rights reserved.