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#42620 - Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:29 PM Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean?  
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Hi everyone,

Some of us have been discussing all kinds of things related to Church on another thread (don't quite know where it is around here but it's around here somewhere) and the thread in question got a bit tangled up in a discussion of all kinds of Church issues.

I thought it would be good to narrow the discussion down a bit and discuss just one aspect of what everyone brought up in that thread.

Namely the meaning of the word Church.

In the New Testament did the word Church mean a building of some sort? A group of people with leaders such as elders and deacons? Was a Church a group of people that was organized around what are commonly referred to as Sacraments today such that without those Sacraments it would not have been considered a Church?

What was a Church? What saith the Word?

If I may suggest...I think it would be good to further narrow our discussion by having us stick only to that which is written in the Bible. Without regard for Creeds and what learned Christian men have said since New Testament times.

I will post more shortly as I have time but I wanted to at least open this topic up if any were interested in discussing this further.

Thanks.

Carlos

#42625 - Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:49 AM Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? [Re: carlos123]  
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hisalone Offline
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1. Belongs to God. 1Ti 3:15.
2. The body of Christ. Eph 1:23; Col 1:24.
3. Christ, the foundation-stone of. 1Co 3:11; Eph 2:20; 1Pe 2:4,5.
4. Christ, the head of. Eph 1:22; 5:23.
5. Loved by Christ. Song 7:10; Eph 5:25.
6. Purchased by the blood of Christ. Ac 20:28; Eph 5:25; Heb 9:12.
7. Sanctified and cleansed by Christ. 1Co 6:11; Eph 5:26,27.
8. Subject to Christ. Ro 7:4; Eph 5:24.
9. The object of the grace of God. Isa 27:3; 2Co 8:1.
10. Displays the wisdom of God. Eph 3:10.
11. Shows forth the praises of God. Isa 60:6.
12. God defends. Ps 89:18; Isa 4:5; 49:25; Mt 16:18.
13. God provides ministers for. Jer 3:15; Eph 4:11,12.
14. Glory to be ascribed to God by. Eph 3:21.
15. Elect. 1Pe 5:13.
16. Glorious. Ps 45:13; Eph 5:27.
17. Clothed in righteousness. Re 19:8.
18. Believers continually added to, by the Lord. Ac 2:27; 5:14; 11:24.
19. Unity of. Ro 12:5; 1Co 10:17; 12:12; Ga 3:28.
20. Saints baptised into, by one Spirit. 1Co 12:13.
21. Ministers commanded to feed. Ac 20:28.
22. Is edified by the word. 1Co 14:4,13; Eph 4:15,16.
23. The wicked persecute. Ac 8:1-3; 1Th 2:14,15.
24. Not to be despised. 1Co 11:22.
25. Defiling of, will be punished. 1Co 3:17.
26. Extent of, predicted. Isa 2:2; Eze 17:22-24; Da 2:34,35; Hab 2:14.

Torrey, R. (1995, c1897). The new topical text book : A scriptural text book for the use of ministers, teachers, and all Christian workers. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos research Systems, Inc.


Hisalone
Matt. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. KJV
#42626 - Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:50 AM Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? [Re: carlos123]  
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Pilgrim Offline
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Pilgrim  Offline

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Originally Posted by carlos123
If I may suggest...I think it would be good to further narrow our discussion by having us stick only to that which is written in the Bible. Without regard for Creeds and what learned Christian men have said since New Testament times.

carlos,

I am perplexed by your suggestion and thus need help in understanding why anyone would or could entertain it for the following reasons:

1. IF the Bible itself is to be understood, i.e., interpreted... especially by those who have been given gifts specifically for that purpose by the Holy Spirit for the upbuilding of the saints, then are we not to value what these members of the Church, the body of Christ have contributed?

2. IF the Church consists of all those who have professed Christ from Adam to the last to come to Christ before He returns, why should those who lived in the past be excluded?

3. IF the insights of those in the past are to be excluded and that which is to be allowed is "only to that which is written in the Bible", then are we then not restricted to simply post Bible verses? aka: textproofing without comment?

4. IF comments/interpretation is to be allowed but only by us on this board, then on what biblical warrant are we to do so in exclusion for any other believer, past or present?

So, again I ask these questions because I am confused as how to proceed.

In His grace,



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simul iustus et peccator

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#42629 - Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:43 AM Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Robert Offline
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Pilgrim,
I agree with your concern about leaving out the opinions of the Church universal, past and present. That being said, we still have the responsibility to make judgements on the exegesis set forth by such men. We cannot decide ahead of time who we will give authority to (should there be disagreement among said men of God). We have to look at their points of view and decide what we believe. There is no getting around this responsibility!
Peace,
Robert

#42631 - Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:05 PM Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? [Re: Robert]  
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Pilgrim Offline
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Pilgrim  Offline

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Originally Posted by Robert
Pilgrim,
I agree with your concern about leaving out the opinions of the Church universal, past and present. That being said, we still have the responsibility to make judgements on the exegesis set forth by such men. We cannot decide ahead of time who we will give authority to (should there be disagreement among said men of God). We have to look at their points of view and decide what we believe. There is no getting around this responsibility!

Please allow me to iterate in response to what you and carlos123 have several times wrote in regard to the writings of "stalwart" men, sometimes with ridicule and disrespect; men indwelt by the Spirit of Christ and endowed by Him with gifts and offices in the body of Christ; the Church.

It hasn't been a few times that what was explained is that the writings of these men on the relevant subjects brought to the floor, e.g., the organization of the Church, the authority of the Church, the office bearers in the Church with their responsibilities, the sacraments, corporate worship, meeting on the Lord's Day, the NT Sabbath, etc., have been tested over time as to their faithfulness to Scripture. Some of these writings took the form of official denominational Confessions and Catechisms. Most all include biblical references to support them. In fact, e.g., the Westminster Confession makes it more than clear from the beginning that the Confession is only a secondary authority and that Scripture is the ultimate and final authority, e.g.,

Quote
Chapter I, Article VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.

Article X.X. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.

Secondly, I and others have pointed you to articles here on The Highway in which the authors have painstakingly studied the Scriptures and written what they have found the Scriptures to teach on a particular subject. The majority of us here have examined those writings and found them to be in accord with biblical truth and thus they serve as a means of expressing what we believe God has spoken and offered them to you as such. The vast majority of the Protestant churches, albeit until the last 100+ years have also been agreement on what these men wrote across denominational lines. Therefore, since these things are considered to be faithful to the Scriptures and thus "the faith once delivered unto the saints", the onus is upon you and others like you who hold views antithetical and/or contrary to them to show where these men erred in their understanding of their study of the Scriptures. To do this you need to READ them! [Linked Image]

Lastly, we have the right to judge who is to be given secondary authority ahead of time since this is our home, our churches, our denominations in which we have found unity world-wide regardless of our other minor differences. We belong to the CHURCH of the Lord Christ whose Spirit brought forth these godly men at sundry times when the Church was attacked as to its doctrines. The benefit has been ours. We see no reason to set ourselves above the wisdom of these men since we have already searched the Scriptures and found that these men spoke truth. Again, the onus is upon YOU, carlos123, hisalone (who has aligned himself in spirit with you too as being one of the 'opposition'), and any others who join with us here to show by sound exegesis, biblical hermeneutics using the Analogy of Faith that the official statements of faith found in the Creeds, Confessions, Catechisms and writings of the church doctors of theology are in error.

We are willing to let you give it a try. We are open to what you have to present from the Scriptures even though myriad others over centuries have done likewise and failed. We are more than confident that God's truth has and always will withstand any and all assaults. grin

In His grace,


[Linked Image]

simul iustus et peccator

[Linked Image]
#42633 - Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:13 PM Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? [Re: Pilgrim]  
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hisalone Offline
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y
Originally Posted by Pilgrim

hisalone (who has aligned himself in spirit with you too as being one of the 'opposition'), and any others who join with us here to show by sound exegesis, biblical hermeneutics using the Analogy of Faith that the official statements of faith found in the Creeds, Confessions, Catechisms and writings of the church doctors of theology are in error.


Aligned myself with the opposition? I didn't align myself with anyone other than state the truth of the matter. I will not align with you either if that is what you expect of everyone on this discussion board. If that is the case, there is no discussion anymore, just patting each other on the back telling each other how great we are. I'm disappointed in a lot of what I have seen posted on this board, personal and unchristian comments that had no place here.

2 Tim. 2:23-26 NASB But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.24 And the Lordís bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.


I see now the majority opinion, that man could not possibly be incomplete with his interpretations of God's word. Don't you think God is continually unveiling more and more of Himself through His word through His Spirit as the last days approach? yet you choose to stay in the past. Isn't that what the Israelites did? The teachers were unwilling to accept a continuing unveiling of God's truth? There is a tenacity to protect the letter of the law here which is good, but be careful you aren't also protecting the Spirit from showing you more of Christ's glory. I have never said anything contrary to scripture, I just see it differently than you. I hold the reformed creeds concerning Christ and His church, salvation and man. I read the same things you do, none of them have the handle on the truth as you are aware, isn't it possible that also groups of individuals over the years also didn't see things completely clear? Israel was warned over and over but they held on to the truth as they were taught content to stay where they were. Much like Reuben and Gad who were content to stay on the opposite side of the Jordan instead of entering the promised land. Not only did they bring harm to themselves, but they became a discouragement to others. Are you as your name suggests a "Pilgrim" or are you a squatter? Some important questions we must each answer.


Hisalone
Matt. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. KJV
#42635 - Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:02 PM Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? [Re: Pilgrim]  
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"Lastly, we have the right to judge who is to be given secondary authority ahead of time since this is our home, our churches, our denominations in which we have found unity world-wide regardless of our other minor differences."

Of course you have the right to do so. And I have the right to question it, as did the Bereans towards the Apostle The Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true Acts 17:11.
When did I treat your stalwarts with "ridicule and disrespect"?
Robert
As far as reading all the links, what's the hurry? Why rush through it? I would rather take time to really consider it. Might take awhile.

Last edited by Robert; Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:17 PM.
#42637 - Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:48 AM Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? [Re: hisalone]  
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Originally Posted by hisalone
Aligned myself with the opposition? I didn't align myself with anyone other than state the truth of the matter. I will not align with you either if that is what you expect of everyone on this discussion board. If that is the case, there is no discussion anymore, just patting each other on the back telling each other how great we are. I'm disappointed in a lot of what I have seen posted on this board, personal and unchristian comments that had no place here.

Methinks it is more than obvious that you are of a similar ilk with carlos123 and Robert, i.e., you "standalone" in regard to being aligned with the great tradition of the Church and its statements of faith as found in the Protestant confessions and catechisms and with its individual "stalwarts". I can't count how many times you sloughed off such men as William Hendriksen, Jonathan Edwards, etc., saying in essence you really don't care what THEY wrote because you have your Bible and the Holy Spirit to teach you.

Secondly, you would be hard-pressed to find in even 1 of my 11315 posts here where I even intimated that anyone should align themselves with me. Perhaps this is just a reaction which flows out of your insistent autonomy which finds associating oneself with any particular group repugnant? When I read the Bible, particular in the NT, I find myriad references to joining a group, becoming a member of a local assembly, people being excommunicated from a group, those who left the Church because they were not of the Church, i.e., those who are of one mind, having been brought to the same faith by the Spirit and those who are of a different mind who are either disciplined or leave. There is great respect in the Church for those who the Spirit has given for teaching. And this respect also exhibits itself in embracing those teachings, aka: the faith. Here's a germane article that you might benefit from: In Defense of Creedalism, by Kenneth Gentry, Jr.

Originally Posted by hisalone
2 Tim. 2:23-26 NASB [i][b]But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels...

I'm guilty as charged, e.g., entertaining your absolutely bizarre view, totally lacking in any biblical support re: demon angels propogating with human females who gave birth to some hybrid alien race which already existed at the time and who then it is alleged built the pyramids long before the Egyptians came into existence as well as the monolithic structures on Easter Island, et al. And, then asserting that the archaeological records found in Egypt which tell of how the Egyptians built these pyramids are all fabricated, lies, etc. I should have simply avoided that discussion entirely as the text says. I accept the rebuke and appreciate you doing so.

Originally Posted by hisalone
I see now the majority opinion, that man could not possibly be incomplete with his interpretations of God's word. Don't you think God is continually unveiling more and more of Himself through His word through His Spirit as the last days approach?

nope I do NOT think nor believe that God is continually revealing himself. Again, I stand firmly with the CHURCH in its belief that the Canon is closed, that ALL that God has revealed about Himself is found in the closed Canon, the Bible. There is no more "revelation" of God to be found outside of the Scriptures. Any further "insights" into this Word will be in harmony with those truths already revealed which the CHURCH has through the Spirit been teaching and preaching since the days of the Apostles. IF one comes with a "new teaching", which is contrary to what the CHURCH has always believed, then the author of that "new teaching" is under obligation to show where the CHURCH has gone wrong. This is what Luther did, what Calvin did, what all the Reformers and Puritans did...!

Originally Posted by hisalone
yet you choose to stay in the past. Isn't that what the Israelites did? The teachers were unwilling to accept a continuing unveiling of God's truth? There is a tenacity to protect the letter of the law here which is good, but be careful you aren't also protecting the Spirit from showing you more of Christ's glory. I have never said anything contrary to scripture, I just see it differently than you. I hold the reformed creeds concerning Christ and His church, salvation and man. I read the same things you do, none of them have the handle on the truth as you are aware, isn't it possible that also groups of individuals over the years also didn't see things completely clear?... Are you as your name suggests a "Pilgrim" or are you a squatter? Some important questions we must each answer.

Quote
Jeremiah 6:16-17 (ASV) "Thus saith Jehovah, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls: but they said, We will not walk [therein]. And I set watchmen over you, [saying], Hearken to the sound of the trumpet; but they said, We will not hearken."

I think that sufficiently answers your question about my choice to stand in the past and how my username, Pilgrim, is consistent with it.

Is it possible that entire groups, I'm assuming you are referring to those who wrote the WCF, Belgic, London Baptist, Thirty-nine Articles, Helvetic confessions, etc., were all in error? NO... It is NOT possible that they ALL where in error. To even suggest such is to charge that they all were void of the Spirit's guidance when they were ALL brought to agree on most everything doctrinal. IF that is what you truly think, then again the onus is upon YOU to show where all these hundreds of thousands of pastors, teachers, theologians and laity erred in their hermeneutics. And, then you will have to explain why it is that their lives were exemplary in holiness; far beyond what most of us here would ever claim for themselves. I'm not referring to differences on what kind of carpet or if any should be laid in the foyer, how often the Lord's Supper should be administered, etc. READ the great Confessions and Catechisms and you will see that ALL these different denominational statements of faith are essentially in agreement. This is a true testimony of God's working in the minds and hearts of Christ's disciples. If you choose to stand apart from them and revel in some "new revelation of God" which is contrary to what the Church has always believed, so be it. But you place yourself "outside the camp". As I see it, you have only two choices, 1) prove that which you disagree as being in error, 2) throw out your "new insights" and join the throng and rejoice in being a member of the Church, the "pillar and ground of the truth" (1Tim 3:15).

Important questions we must each answer. wink




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simul iustus et peccator

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#42638 - Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:34 AM Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? [Re: hisalone]  
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Hisalone

Originally Posted by hisalone

Don't you think God is continually unveiling more and more of Himself through His word through His Spirit as the last days approach?


I am totally confused by what you REALLY mean with such a statement. scratch1 Can you provide an example where in recent times the Church came to new insights so that eg. it was necessary to make changes to creeds. Surely you must have some reason to say so. I agree 100% with Pilgrim that it is at least Robert who has to provide the evidence, but now I would say that you also have to do so.

Johan

Last edited by Johan; Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:35 AM.
#42641 - Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:57 AM Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? [Re: Johan]  
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Robert Offline
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Originally Posted by Johan
Hisalone

Originally Posted by hisalone

Don't you think God is continually unveiling more and more of Himself through His word through His Spirit as the last days approach?


I am totally confused by what you REALLY mean with such a statement. scratch1 Can you provide an example where in recent times the Church came to new insights so that eg. it was necessary to make changes to creeds. Surely you must have some reason to say so. I agree 100% with Pilgrim that it is at least Robert who has to provide the evidence, but now I would say that you also have to do so.

Johan


Wait a minute, what evidence are you asking for?

#42644 - Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:25 AM Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? [Re: Johan]  
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hisalone Offline
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Such as the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Yes, it was revealed fully in scripture (I'm not saying there is any "new" truth). However, our Lord allowed the truth of justification by faith to be lost and hidden for an extended period of time. It wasn't until individuals were willing to stand against the grain, against those teachers who were set in their beliefs, that the truth was finally regained. I don't doubt that those who were against the doctrine of Justification by faith were not fully convinced in their minds that they were defending God's truth, but in their desire to protect something from the past they became unteachable.

Whenever people stand against the majority, they are condemned and hated, but they must stand lest they sin against God. I plainly stated I have come to different opinions on things on this newsgroup, I'm not above being taught. I also do not force my opinions or become personal when someone doesn't agree (at least I try not to, but I am a sinner still). I think there was an opportunity to help Carlos123, he demonstrated from reading his posts that he loved the same Christ we do, but certain comments drove him away. Where was the gentleness? That is a big problem in the church today, I'm right you are wrong attitude. On some doctrines it is imperative we defend, non-negoiable, but other things are an issue of maturity and growth. People need to quit muscling their truth on people but allow the Spirit to speak. If a person is truly humble before God and willing to search scripture, we must not discouarge them by hammering our truth down their throats, when were we given the job of the Holy Spirit? A lot of trouble in the church could be avoided if we were more Christlike in how we relate to each other.

A good book concerning some of what I'm talkign about, the progress and regaining of truth is "Progress of Doctrine" by Bernard: It is on Google books

http://books.google.com/books?id=hocNAAAAQAAJ&pg=PR13&dq=progress+of+doctrine#PPA234,M1

I'm not saying the old is not true, but that there is a possibility of greater understanding, or as in the above example a renewed or recapturing of the truth. I am not satisfied accepting what "men" said in the past, but I question and search for what God is saying. As Robert said, becoming a Berean in spirit. I'm not looking for any new truth, but I'm looking to understand the old truth better.

As for creeds, this comes into issues that are divisive. The issue of baptism is one which it is fruitless to pursue on this newsgroup and each must be convinced in their own mind.

Some things I spoke of was the love of God, I don't deny that God rejects or accepts individuals by His own choosing, but I also say He loved the whole world, demonstrated in His sending Christ to die for sinners. I tried to show there is an objective love and a subjective love of God. None of which contradicts scripture other than it shows God's love for all and His predestination and love for only the elect. God is infinitely greater than our minds can fathom, but we need to think past our own experiences (thinking like finite beings) to understand Him more clearly. I thought this was a discussion board to discuss, not fight and belittle if someone doesn't agree.


Hisalone
Matt. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. KJV
#42648 - Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:22 PM Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? [Re: hisalone]  
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Hisalone,

There is something in your statement/question

Quote
Don't you think God is continually unveiling more and more of Himself through His word through His Spirit as the last days approach?


that I simply don't understand. I just don't see how the fact that justification by faith alone was hidden for a long time is an example of God continually unveiling more and more of Himself through his word through the Holy Spirit. Same with the baptism example. It is not an example of God continually unveiling more and more of Himself in these last days. If God really continually unveil more and more of Himself and it can undeniably be shown from Scripture, then why would it be divisive? The issue of baptism is also not new!

You comment on attitudes etc. To some extent you are right but do not always blame the other side. Take your above statement. I don't think it is at all clear what you really want to say because further down in your post you say "I'm not looking for any new truth, but I'm looking to understand the old truth better". To me there is a contradiction in these two statements of yours. At the end of your post you say " God is infinitely greater than our minds can fathom, but we need to think past our own experiences (thinking like finite beings) to understand Him more clearly. Do you really mean what you say, namely that through thinking past our own experiences we can understand Him more clearly. I thought that He reveals Himself to us in Scripture and in that way we know Him. I thus find your last statement just as confusing as the one quoted above and feel that such vague statements is one reason for misunderstandings on a forum like this.

In Christ

Johan



#42650 - Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:53 PM Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? [Re: Johan]  
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It is true that I have a hard time communicating via writing, and some will say speech also. I said God is continually unveiling more and more of Himself through His word, meaning, I hope this is clear, that we develop a clearer undertanding from the benefits of the saints who went before, such as Calvin, Manton, Owen etc. who spoke and taught His Word. Basically this means, standing on their shoulders (their doctrines) getting an even better glimpse of the Son of Glory.

We also limit our understandings when we approach everything from a man based view (our experiences which I mean by finite thinking), we must see things as God sees them. I'm not trying to be confusing intentionally. Christ is the truth, and in that respect their is only one truth, who is revealed in Scripture, but not necessarily comprehended.

As a side note, I often tell people when we look into scripture, we should see more and more of ourselves as we become more and more like Jesus Christ. It isn't a roadmap to life or a book of rules, but a mirror to the soul. When we first looked into it we saw vile miserable creatures in need of a savior, but as time goes on, we begin to see ourselves as we are being transformed into the image of Christ. I often believe people neglect their Bibles because they still see that vile person, not allowing the living Word to transform them. I treat the Word as a living, active powerful, transforming book that is more than just a set of doctrines. It is what the Spirit uses to translate us into the Kingdom of God taking on the appearance of the Son of God.

Again, I am sorry if I'm confusing, I honestly am not trying to be so, I don't know any better way to say things, and I apologize. Forgive me for my inadaquacies. I am doing the best I can.


Hisalone
Matt. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. KJV
#42652 - Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:31 PM Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? [Re: hisalone]  
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Pilgrim Offline
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Pilgrim  Offline

Head Honcho

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,314
NH, USA
Originally Posted by hisalone
Such as the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Yes, it was revealed fully in scripture (I'm not saying there is any "new" truth). However, our Lord allowed the truth of justification by faith to be lost and hidden for an extended period of time. It wasn't until individuals were willing to stand against the grain, against those teachers who were set in their beliefs, that the truth was finally regained.

From what Johan asked you, this would be an example of a doctrine, view, teaching which would require a change in the Church's creed, confession, etc. Secondly, the doctrine of Sola Fide was not "new light" but OLD truth which was certainly believed long before Luther brought the matter before the then (and still continues to be) apostate. Even a cursory reading of the ECF will show that the doctrine of justification by faith alone was well established as the doctrine of the Church. Augustine surely held to Sola Fide in the 4th century. So, I think your example is irrelevant.

With great reluctance I would also mention that your view of the "universal love of God" DOES impact against the great Confessions and Catechisms of the Protestant Church which came out of the Reformation. The BIBLE and thus The Canons of Dordt are very clear that God does NOT love all men, for the love of God is inextricably consigned to those who were predestined to salvation in Jesus Christ. So, this would be another view, doctrine, teaching which you might call a "further revelation of God Himself" that is contradictory to what the Reformers and Puritans believed in regard to the very being, nature and attributes of God and the doctrine of predestination/reprobation. Again, it is NOT as if such things were never considered over the past two millennia. It is NOT as if men such as John Calvin or Jonathan Edwards or John Owen, or Charles Spurgeon, or Charles Hodge, or Louis Berkhof, et al never opened their Bibles and sought to find answers to such issues. They were Bereans! And some of us are likewise Bereans and have searched the Scriptures and found what they wrote as being true.

The way you come across at times is that you aren't willing to stand upon these men's shoulders but rather to step on their heads. Can you honestly say that when (if) you read the Westminster Confession of Faith you are awed by the wisdom of what the framers wrote? Do you feel inadequate in your knowledge of Scripture and of God due to the thoroughness found in each and every single article? Do you feel humbled when you see how their love of God and of His Word is handled? And, do you feel thankful and praise God for this incredible document? Personally, I must and will publicly profess I do as is likewise the case with similar Confessions and Catechisms that came out of the Protestant Reformation. Are they infallible? No. Are they authoritative? Yes as secondary authorities which the CHURCH has been blessed with to be used as summaries, guides and guardians of biblical truth. Those of us who have voluntarily and gladly joined with confessional churches consider ourselves most privileged to be the recipients of the Holy Spirit's work in the writers of all these historical church documents. We see God's hand in them and praise Him for His providential care in preserving them for our benefit and for raising up teachers who instruct us in them.

In His grace,



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simul iustus et peccator

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#42653 - Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:21 PM Challenges to several recent statements [Re: hisalone]  
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Paul_S Offline
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Paul_S  Offline
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The Bronx, NY
hisalone,

You have just made several statements which at face value--and you gave no hint of their being intended in any other way--simply cannot be squared with the consensus of Christian thought.

First, you said:
Originally Posted by hisalone
Whenever people stand against the majority, they are condemned and hated, but they must stand lest they sin against God.


Did you even consider the implications of this statement? By using the term "whenever" and invoking the name of God, your statement is the equivalent of saying: "the majority is always wrong in God's sight, the minority is always right". Is that really what you believe?

Does that mean that you believe that, let's say, the Mormons, the Jehovah's Witnesses and the followers of Rev. Moon--which all would agree are still minorities--are right in the sight of God? Please clarify this and if necessary, restate your assertion in terms that are universally true.

Second, you said:
Originally Posted by hisalone
I also do not force my opinions or become personal when someone doesn't agree
followed closely by:
Originally Posted by hisalone
That is a big problem...
:
People need to quit ...
:
we must not ...


I don't know how you think anyone on a website can "force" their opinions on another. This is not a church, remember--even as loose and disorganized a thing as some have recently wanted to render that term--but rather a public interchange between willing participants under the terms of the site owners. The ordinary steps of church discipline, from private admonition through group admonition through excommunication, simply cannot operate in this environment, since by definition, and consented to in the terms of registration, this is a public forum.

Does that mean that slanderous attacks are appropriate? No, because the Lord forbids such. But because this is a public forum, every assertion made here falls under the greater scrutiny given to those who teach, that is, make public declarations about the truth of God:

"Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1)" and
"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37" and
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)

Have you considered that every statement you make here is in fact personal, both because you are making it, and because unknown numbers of people, ie "persons", will read it?

Back to your "not forcing your opinions", which for the reasons above I must take as, "not telling anyone too strongly what they may not want to hear", how do explain that you then feel free, after having said that you do no such thing, to go ahead and charge "persons" here to "quit x" or "must not x" or rebuke them by saying that "x is a big problem". On your own terms that would seem to be "forcing your opinion" on some of us.

The point, hisalone, is that you knew--and those you are defending knew--that this is a public forum when you entered it, and to claim that opinions--stated as assertive declarations--are merely private and therefore not subject to public scrutiny, is simply indefensible.

Third, you are simply wrong in your analysis of the fundamental error of Roman Catholics and Pharisees, and this shatters your usage of the "old/past" vs "new" distinction. You said:
Originally Posted by hisalone
in their (ed.: RC's) desire to protect something from the past they became unteachable.
:
yet you choose to stay in the past. Isn't that what the Israelites did? The teachers were unwilling to accept a continuing unveiling of God's truth? There is a tenacity to protect the letter of the law here which is good, but be careful you aren't also protecting the Spirit from showing you more of Christ's glory.


Hisalone, I am going to very blunt here and yes, hopeful to "force an opinion" into your head (as Bob Newhart said, you might want to take a pad and write down these 10 words):

YOU CANNOT KNOW ANYTHING EXCEPT WHAT COMES FROM THE PAST.

Everything you have ever said on this site, as "new" as it seemed to you at the time, is now in the PAST. Every reaction you have had to something anyone has said on this site, you were "choosing to stay in the PAST". Funny thing, finitude--but I'll have more to say on that in a minute, Dv. You CANNOT know ANYTHING except what comes from the past--get over it.

The error of the RCs and the Pharisees was not that they were trying to "protect the past"--and that is the crux of your using them as warnings against reference to church history, creeds, catechisms, stalwarts--but that they always INNOVATED--notice the Latin there, as in "making something NEW"--RATHER THAN HOLDING ONTO SOLA SCRIPTURA.

It started in Genesis 3. Satan innovated on the Word. It's old now, but it was new then.
Cain innovated with his offering. It's old now, but it was new then.
Nadab and Abihu innovated with their incense. It's old now, but it was new then.
Jeroboam innovated with his idols. It became old, but it was new at first.
The rabbis innovated, not by keeping the old Law, but by adding to the Law. It was becoming old in Jesus' time, but that was not its error--its error was that it circumvented the necessity of a pure heart.
The RCs innovated with all of the above. Not simultaneously, not immediately, but gradually, and every step seeming a reasonable innovation, a "progress of doctrine" which took them AWAY from, rather than TOWARD, the old ways. These became old--time seems to flow in only one direction for us--but they all began as something new at first.

So, you say you want to find something new from God? So have many before you.

Fourth, you said:
Originally Posted by hisalone
we need to think past our own experiences (thinking like finite beings) to understand Him more clearly


I see only two logical alternatives to your parenthetical statement.

Either
(A) not thinking like any being at all
or
(B) thinking like an infinite being.

Please tell me which you had in mind!

Fifth and finally, you said:
Quote
I thought this was a discussion board to discuss, not fight and belittle if someone doesn't agree.


Hisalone, if someone wants to "discuss" secondary or tertiary issues and agrees like gentlemen to enter and leave the ring as friends, no problem. If someone ignorant of primary issues demonstrates true humility by admitting their ignorance, studying answers given, and testing against the Word, and charitably assuming the good intent and maturity and wisdom of either current teachers here or those cited from the past, and responding with exegesis rather than experience (isn't that what the Bereans did?), I'm pretty sure they will not be "fought and belittled".

But if anyone comes, or remains, with an agenda clearly at odds with those attitudes, how can he hope to not be corrected? And what if he feels "belittled"? Haven't our fathers gladly gone to the fire--for the truth--with far less complaint than some here have made for being rebuked when they have turned, and are clearly intending to lead others, so far out of the narrow way?

===================

(And for those wanting to know:
"I" rate:
0.46% of words
40th in rank order)


In Christ,
Paul S
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