The Highway

The importance of going to church

Posted By: Johan

The importance of going to church - Wed May 20, 2009 7:40 PM

I found today a sheet of paper laying around with the following on it:

The importance of going to church

  • It is important for us a human beings, to go to church and not only do so when we are going through trials and tribulations.
  • When we participate in church gatherings it is when we have the ability to experience greater joy and happiness.
  • The other factor is that we need to seek for spiritual upliftment in describing the many things we want to achieve so that we may receive holy promptings pertaining to the things we want to achieve at the end of the day.
  • Then consequently, we will be seeking to keep ourselves constructively occupied, and lifting where we stand it is when we are most likely to act with a form of godliness.
  • Furthermore, we draw near with our lips and feel the power thereof.


(Some points read a bit difficult!).

Comments?


Johan
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed May 20, 2009 7:47 PM

Johan,

The first thing that came to mind after reading those points is that WORSHIP was noticeably missing. It's all about ME; what I can get emotioinally and materially.

In His grace,
Posted By: hisalone

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed May 20, 2009 8:12 PM

I have been putting together a short study on New Age cults. It is interesting that all that was on the list could fit the new age "mentality". I have been studying a little about the emergent church and instead of emergent, why don't we call it what it is, a New Age church? For the new ager it is all about sensation and experience. Maybe churches won't use incense and mantras, but many still fill the services with things that are for the purpose of appealing to the senses such as rock music, multimedia and a list of other things. Worship is all about Christ, not us, and He will only be found through His word, not anything man conjures up. I mentioned the emergent church, but it also applies to a number of churches that would call themselves biblical. The church needs to wake up, the wolves are running about and the sheep are being mauled.

Posted By: Johan

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 21, 2009 5:15 AM

Originally Posted by Pilgrim

The first thing that came to mind after reading those points is that WORSHIP was noticeably missing. It's all about ME; what I can get emotioinally and materially.


Indeed, I also noticed it. A year or two ago we had a discussion in church council about the quality of singing by the congregation. One of the elders said that he is irritated when the singing is poor and then feels to just stop singing. I noted that first of all the singing is not to make us feel good but that singing is a form of prayer directed to God. If you stop singing because you are irritated, then you miss the real meaning of singing in the worship service. Again, this person's view was that it is al about ME.

Johan
Posted By: Johan

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 21, 2009 6:06 AM

Originally Posted by hisalone
I have been putting together a short study on New Age cults. It is interesting that all that was on the list could fit the new age "mentality". I have been studying a little about the emergent church and instead of emergent, why don't we call it what it is, a New Age church? For the new ager it is all about sensation and experience. Maybe churches won't use incense and mantras, but many still fill the services with things that are for the purpose of appealing to the senses such as rock music, multimedia and a list of other things. Worship is all about Christ, not us, and He will only be found through His word, not anything man conjures up. I mentioned the emergent church, but it also applies to a number of churches that would call themselves biblical. The church needs to wake up, the wolves are running about and the sheep are being mauled.



Something that I have been wondering about recently is what the process was that lead to the deformation of the early church and that after some time resulted in the RCC. Are there any similarities between the situation then and now? The four points that this person listed about why it is important to go to church clearly speaks of a misconception of what the church is. (Strictly speaking there is no such thing as "going to church", because we are the church.) Hisalone refers to filling the services with things that appeals to our senses etc. Are all these things an early sign of deformation? What does history tell us about how the deformation started. Unfortunately I am not clued up with that details.

Johan
Posted By: hisalone

Re: The importance of going to church - Fri May 22, 2009 1:11 AM

Those are some interesting questions. I know that gnosticism and the New Age are basically the same thing, so that has been an attack on the church from the very beginning. What about the RCC and all the ritualistic services with their censors and icons etc, what did promote that other than sin? Did the leaders in the church start those things to get the interest of the people like what is happening in churches today? Sensual worship such as smell and sight?

There was quit a bit less sharing of bible knowledge then compared to today with all the resourses available to us, of which most important is the Word of God in everyone's hands. Because of that, a different tactic would need to be used by the enemy to deceive God's people. Is that what is happening today? a return to the ignorance of the spiritual dark ages even though we have so much available?

That is a scary thought, think how much more harshly the church today will be judged because of all we have at our disposal and still, due to laziness and neglect, believing the lies of the enemy. Why did the RCC church turn to the iconic, ritualistic services? I guess bad doctrine and overall ignorance of what God said, isn't that how it always starts?
Posted By: CovenantInBlood

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed May 27, 2009 12:32 AM

Johan,

Sounds like something promoting going to a seeker-sensitive mega-church. I know a lot of "Christians" who go to church for just these reasons.
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed May 27, 2009 8:04 PM

Hi everyone,

This is my first post here but this thread caught my eye as I was looking around after having read a most excellent article on this site about the Sovereign Election of God.

I don't attend organized church. I don't go to a building on Sundays, sit there for a couple of hours, and watch one man exercising his gifting in front of hundreds of the rest of us who must sit mute as spectators.

There is something very wrong with organized Church today. It is nothing like New Testament Church was.

I say all that even though I am an absolutely committed Christian who loves the Lord.

And no I am not rebellious to authority, having an independent spirit, or otherwise. I want to be with my brothers and sisters in Christ but I just don't fit into the square hole that organized Churches would have me fit into.

May I suggest that the important thing is NOT going to Church (as if we can go to something the Lord never meant to be a place) but rather that we Christians BE the Church? Wherever we happen to be?

Just my thoughts if anyone cares to discuss this more.

Carlos
Posted By: CovenantInBlood

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed May 27, 2009 10:00 PM

Hi Carlos,

Welcome to The Highway! hello

Quote
And no I am not rebellious to authority, having an independent spirit, or otherwise. I want to be with my brothers and sisters in Christ but I just don't fit into the square hole that organized Churches would have me fit into.


Despite what you say about not having an independent spirit, it sure does sound like you have an independent spirit! giggle Now, perhaps all of the churches in your area are promoting a false gospel, in which case you would have reason not to be joined to them. But the church has a visible manifestation - as the body in which the word of God is faithfully preached, the sacraments (baptism & the Lord's Supper) are rightly observed, and sin is disciplined. We see in Scripture that these are done in the context of local assemblies (Greek ecclesia, translated "church," means "assembly"), in which godly men have been called as elders/overseers & deacons.

Perhaps you can tell us a little more about what you think the church is supposed to be like, according to Scripture?
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 12:41 AM

Hi there CovenantBlood!

Nice to hear from you. Glad too that although I sound rebellious you are at least giving me a chance to say a bit more about where I am coming from smile.

Incidentally if there is rebellion in my heart may the Lord cause it to come to the surface that I might repent from it for it would be most displeasing to God not to mention hypocritical of me to go around with such in my heart.

I couldn't help but notice that under your name there is the term "Persnickety Presbyterian" so perhaps the Lord will humble me through one such as you and cause me to see what I do not at present see in my heart smile. I never noticed that term before...a term which is not neccessarily very commendable with respect to how it is defined in the dictionary.

My further comments are interspersed in between yours below...

Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood

Despite what you say about not having an independent spirit, it sure does sound like you have an independent spirit! giggle


Just curious CovenantInBlood...if you care to share, I am wondering what I said that might lead you to believe that I have an independent spirit? I am not asking from the standpoint of defending myself. Who knows. Maybe the Lord wants to point out something in me that needs attention but I am going to have a hard time seeing it as clearly as you seem to see it. Maybe the Lord can use you to help me in that regard.

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Now, perhaps all of the churches in your area are promoting a false gospel, in which case you would have reason not to be joined to them.


Well...now you are being a bit, how shall I put it, fascitious I think. Of course not all the churches are promoting a false Gospel CovenantInBlood. That would be quite ridiculous and altogether arrogant if I or anyone else thought such a thing.

Though in truth such a thing might be more common that we might realize in that many churches today teach that one can accept Jesus "into their heart" without submitting to Him as Lord (a most unblical Gospel if I ever heard one).

But that is not the reason I don't attend Sunday churches.

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But the church has a visible manifestation - as the body in which the word of God is faithfully preached, the sacraments (baptism & the Lord's Supper) are rightly observed, and sin is disciplined.


You are correct in saying that the Church is a Body and that within her the word of God is (or at least should be) faithfully preached. And yes, of course, Baptism and the Lord's Supper are part of what the Church does or is involved in doing. And I am very glad to hear you say that the Body is a place where sin is disciplined (that too is greatly lacking in most assemblies).

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We see in Scripture that these are done in the context of local assemblies (Greek ecclesia, translated "church," means "assembly"), in which godly men have been called as elders/overseers & deacons.


I believe I might differ with you just a tad CovenantInBlood in that it is my understanding that the Church or ecclesia is not so much an assembly (as in a building or something associated with a building) as it is a group of called out one's. Called out from the world to proclaim the excellencies of Him who calls us.

Nowhere in the entire New Testament is Church associated with a building. It is true that New Testament Christians met at first in a building, the Temple in Jerusalem but that was incidental and simply a convenience to their being Christians (not to mention that it was the most convenient and natural place to meet given their Jewish background).

It would be more in line with what they did in the New Testament to say that Church was a field or even a home than a specific Church building (if we were to superimpose our understanding of Church as a building today on the New Testament Christians such that we would start looking for a place to associate with Church as opposed to being the Church wherever we might be).

I am also glad to hear you talking of elders/overseers as opposed to Pastors which is definitely more in line with what Church leaders were. In New Testament times they were not called and labeled by their work, that of shepherding, but by a recognition of their being more mature and qualifying to lead by virtue of that maturity as elders.

So I think you and I would agree a great deal if not entirely on what Church is CovenantInBlood claphands

Quote

Perhaps you can tell us a little more about what you think the church is supposed to be like, according to Scripture?


I'd be glad to.

I was just discussing this with a good friend of mine just a couple of days ago. He too does not attend a regular Sunday Church (there are a lot of us by the way and many more opting out of organized representations of Church these days...dare I say it might even be a move of God?). But both of us are absolutely committed to having Jesus be Lord of our lives and we are both surrendered to whatever He might want to do with our lives.

In 1 Cor 14:26 is an interesting description of what Church was supposed to be like in Corinth and what I believe it should be like, overall, today. My quote is from the New American Standard Bible...

Quote

What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation Let all things be done for edification.


Interesting set of verses those. Now why are we not allowing the Holy Spirit to lead our get togethers as a Church today. Do you know of any Church where God through His Spirit is given control of an assembled gathering like that? I sure don't. And I've either been involved or have attended a great many Church assemblies in my lifetime as a Christian.

I've only ever seen one such practice of Church. And that was not in an established and organized Church assembly. Rather it was among a group of Christians who the Lord knit together in an apartment building that we all lived in at the time. Some of us did not attend Sunday churches, some did, but we all met as equals in the eyes of our common Father and we allowed Him to lead us.

It was the most wonderful fellowship I ever experienced in my life and the most wonderful and true manifestations of God happened in that small Body that I think I have ever experienced.

At most Sunday emphesizing Churches I am expected to go and sit and listen and learn and give some money perhaps. But I must sit and stand and sing and then sit back down in line with what is expected of me. Not by God but by the Church leaders of that particular assembly. Much of what passes for Church today is about control. About controlling the sheep so that things happen according to an expected norm of supposed order in the Church.

The order spoken about in the context of the verses I shared is not the kind of order that most Church leaders have in mind!

It is an order that allows the Holy Spirit to have free reign to move through members of His Body to speak out and otherwise do through them whatever He wills to do through them.

Why is that spiritual gifts among the Sheep must lie dormant or relatively unused in the pews while only a very few, and usually the same one's, get to exercise their gifting up front?

Where is the biblical justification for that?

I don't see it.

This is just one point CovenantInBlood. There are many, many other things I could say.

But I don't want to emphesize the many things wrong with the practice of Church as we know it today. Rather I want to be free to implement what I see in the New Testament among my Christian brothers and sisters without undue and unscriptural restraint being placed upon us by Church leaders who are more interested it seems in promoting their Church programs, structure, and traditions, than in allowing God to be God in our midst.

When I have tried to be a part of traditional Churches I have without exception bumped into the conflict between what is (in current practice) and what I see in the New Testament. From wanting to baptize people in water in public (instead of in a Church baptistry) to wanting myself and others to be free to share what the Lord might lay on our hearts...the practice of New Testament Christianity doesn't fit into the traditions of most existing Churches today. Rather one must put on a straight jacket of Church traditions in order to be able to fit in.

Something new is needed and I am seeing God do a most wonderful thing among Christians at large who are getting sick of the straight jackets they are being placed into by Church traditions that are not of God's making.

Carlos


Posted By: Johan

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 12:32 PM

Carlos,

Well, I would say that ALL on the forum will agree that the Church is not a building.

IMHO you are a bit vague about many things. What exactly is it that you would like to see in the gathering of believers? What about things like the sacraments and discipline that CovenantBlood refers to? And what traditions are you against?

Regards

Johan
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 5:01 PM

Hi Johan,

In all honesty it is so very difficult at times to explain what I am saying to those who are for the most part content with their Sunday services.

Nothing personal intended but it's like people are hard of hearing or something.

Vague? I thought I explained it pretty clearly but let me try a different tack...

I assume you go to a Sunday emphasizing Church where the Sunday service is the main Church activity and focus. In other words a typical North American Church.

Let's say you invite me to your Church.

Alrighty then...thanks for the invite.

Now...

Can I stand up during a service if I sense the Lord through His Spirit wanting me to share something such that I can share it? If not why not? (keep in mind the verses I shared previously about how the Spirit wants to control the meeting).

Can I baptize new converts in the nearest river or lake? In public? Will I be supported (don't mean financially) in doing so and will I be restricted in the free encouragement that others follow the biblical example and do the same?

Will I be able to baptize new converts immediately as a way of being converted rather than having them say a sinner's prayer and enter a length baptism class the end objective of said class being to get them baptized.

Will I be able to break bread around a meal in my home and to invite other believers to join me there whether they are part of your Church or not? If not...why not?

Will I and other men be encouraged to look upon ourselves as potential Church leaders based solely on our character and desire (based on qualifications clearly laid out in Timothy and Titus) without consideration for our theological training or advanced doctor's of divinity degrees?

Can I encourage the women at your Church to wear head coverings? If not...why not? I am not talking about forcing anyone to wear head coverings. I am saying can I even encourage that as something that God wants done?

Can I encourage other believers at your Church to join me in open air preaching and reaching out to the lost?

Must I force any persons who respond to go to your Church or can I have them get together with ANY local assembly of the Body even if the local assembly that they ultimately end up at does not meet in a typical Church building, have a building, or is even noticeably organized? If I can't do that why not?

Can I share with other believers in your Church about the spiritual gifts being for today? Such as tongues and prophecy and otherwise? If not...why not? Must I only share what your Church leaders want me to share? Where is the scriptural justification for that? If we are all equal in the eyes of God and if His Spirit leads us is it not possible that I or your leaders could be wrong in something we believe such that the Lord might want another one of us to share that something different with the Body for the growth and edification of the rest? Not in divisive manner but rather in a recognition that none of us have a corner in truth? Where we must openly respect each other and allow differences of opinion to not only exist but be taught. Encouraging believers to make up their own minds.

Should I go on?

Do you honestly think that I would fit into your Church as it is at present?

Would Jesus, that radical and non-religious person who came into the world and turned the established religious structures on their head, be accepted into your Church? I mean really? You know, that Jesus who called the Pharasees hypocrites. That Jesus who healed on the Sabbath (outside acceptable Church ministry times). That Jesus who accepted the worst of sinners into His company. Who often slept on the ground with His disciples. Would Jesus, the real Jesus, really be accepted at your Church?

Carlos
Posted By: hisalone

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 6:07 PM

Carlos,

I understand what you are saying but it must be considered from the view of others also. I think we are in agreement that the teaching of Christ is of the most importance correct? The things you are mentioning have nothing to do with our salvation in Jesus Christ, tongues, head coverings and other things you mentioned. It would be wrong for you to become a part of a body in whom you are in disagreement with. Why, because you cause a brother to stumble. Without getting into where I stand on those issues, you must realize we are all at different places in our biblical understandings as to the issues you mentioned. As you said, who has the corner on the truth? With that in mind, it is best to join a body that has the same view as you and grow together with them. For some of us, if you were to bring those things up during the service other than just as questions in a teaching setting, it would be considered an attack on the unity of the church. Where would it stop? People would want to expound all kinds of wild doctrines causing confusion and disunity in the church. Certain individuals have been gifted for pastoring and teaching, it is a gift of God that the church must recognize. Much like the sons of Korah, everyone thinks they are a teacher or pastor, and that isn't biiblical. Jumping up to give a prophecy is better done in a church that allows that, in our church it would probably freak someone out, causing them to stumble. I'm not saying it is wrong if you feel led to do that, but don't do it in a church you know is more reserved in their worship. We are all different, we all have our styles, join the one you best fit with. If you take notice, even Jesus obeyed the form of worship in the synagogue by going to the front to read the Scriptures, why didn't he just give the exposition of the reading from where He stood in the congregation? We must recognize the order in the churches we attend, God is a God of order. I am not saying this to discourage you, just trying to point you to what I believe is best for you and the church.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 7:19 PM

scratchchin At first reading it sounds like you are making man the standard of how the worship of God should be done. Is this what you are suggesting to Carlos?

Most of us here who are of the Reformed tradition (in a good sense, i.e., in accord with the Confessions and Catechisms that came out of the Protestant Reformation they being summaries of biblical truth) hold to what is known as "The Regulative Principle of Worship". This principle stands against all others because it teaches that God and God alone determines how He is to be worshiped. Further, Nothing is to be done unless there is an explicit command to do so or by good and necessary inference, e.g., from example. Remember, we went through this in the thread concerning the offerings of Cain and Abel. wink

The Protestant Reformation was a seed bed from which grew the core doctrines of Scripture, e.g., the person and nature of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit, justification, sanctification, eternal security, the administration of sacraments and along with several others, the worship of God.

Narrowing in on worship, the true Protestant Church teaches that God has set in order the guidelines that govern the meeting together of the saints, aka: corporate worship which first of all must consist of a plurality of Elders and Deacons. These are men who are gifted and called of God to serve in their respective offices for the purpose of preaching, teaching, ruling, disciplining and providing for the saints. One of the prominent elements of Protestant biblical worship is the centrality of the preaching of the Word by those called to that responsibility. (Scripture references can be provided if needed) grin This preaching of the Word is to be done by those who "labor in the Word and doctrine" (1Thess 5:12, 13; 1Tim 5:17). This cannot be done as suggested by some, i.e., a extemporaneous speaking by anyone who happens to be in the assembly.

It is true that no one denomination nor individual church "has the corner of the truth", i.e., knows and teaches everything God has revealed perfectly. But this must not be construed as some form of agnosticism. One need only read through the Protestant Confessions and it will become very evident that they all agreed on most everything across denominational lines. The Spirit of God was mightily active during that period of Church history and one would be an arrogant fool to disregard the work of the Spirit in those men and the documents which resulted from their joined efforts in searching the Scriptures to know what God has revealed as truth.

Finally, as the old adage goes, "If you find a perfect church, don't join it because you'll ruin it!" giggle

Here is a worthwhile article on: "Choosing a Church", by Daniel Wray.

In His grace,
Posted By: hisalone

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 7:50 PM

No pilgrim, I'm not saying man sets the standard on how we worship God. What I tried to convey is that we are all at different points in our walk with God, and it is a growth process. There are certain aspects of worship I expect in any service, but then there are accidentals, such as form of music or even no music that are not as important. If I had my way, there would only be hymns sung in the church, but that is my preference, but does that make someone else's style wrong? not if it is Christ honoring. We can be too much of sticklers on what people "must" do and forget what the doing is all about (what Carlos spoke of). God sets the standard and if we truly desire to grow in grace and knowledge, the "church" will make the necessary corrections as it grows. Some churches are more mature than others, but does that mean the more mature "biblically regulated" church body is better? I hope your answer is no, and that is what I'm trying to convey in my last post. There are certain things that are absolutely essential in worship and then other things that are taste and culture. I'm Baptist, but that doesn't mean I'm not comfortable in a Presbyterian church, I disagree about some things, even doctrinally, but I can worship and find our Lord's blessing there. I suppose there are Penecostal, Methodist, Anglican and Epsicopal, as well as other churches that I can also worship in and draw close to God through Jesus Christ, again not agreeing on everything they do, but if Christ is the focus through His word and truth, I can be quite at home.

Worshipping in Spirit and truth does not mean only those who are in what you call the "regulative principle of worship" are actually worshipping does it?
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 8:07 PM

Originally Posted by hisalone
If I had my way, there would only be hymns sung in the church, but that is my preference, but does that make someone else's style wrong? not if it is Christ honoring.

Yes, it certainly does make a difference! There are biblically mandated "styles" and there are man-fabricated "styles". And those fabricated by men are vain worship, aka: offerings of Cain. And what exactly is "Christ honoring"? Is it someone's personal feeling or motive, i.e., existential at its source? Or, is "Christ honoring" that which is in CONFORMITY to the Word of God, i.e., "regulated" by God's revealed will? scratch1

Originally Posted by hisalone
Worshipping in Spirit and truth does not mean only those who are in what you call the "regulative principle of worship" are actually worshipping does it?

yep that's exactly what it means. Truth is propositional; not relative. And God and His Word are the only source of truth. Those who deviate from it or reject it are not worshiping the one true God but an idol of their own making. We don't take the "Emergent Church" lightly or any such group, church or denomination which promotes unbiblical worship.

In His grace,
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 8:32 PM

Howdy hisalone (I like your name!)...

Thanks for sharing. A couple of things you said that I would like to comment on.

Originally Posted by hisalone
Carlos,
I understand what you are saying but it must be considered from the view of others also. I think we are in agreement that the teaching of Christ is of the most importance correct? The things you are mentioning have nothing to do with our salvation in Jesus Christ, tongues, head coverings and other things you mentioned.


Agreed so far...

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It would be wrong for you to become a part of a body in whom you are in disagreement with.


Hmm...not sure about that. I mean who of us is in complete agreement with every other of us? I daresay that not a single one of us is ever in complete agreement with any other of us.

If it is perfectly acceptable for me to fellowship with you or others with whom I am not in perfect agreement why must I exclude myself or otherwise be excluded from fellowship with a body of believers (as opposed to individual believers) just because I or they are also not in perfect agreement?

Is there any biblical basis for believing that such a thing is...well...biblical?

I mean is there any scriptural support for the idea that a Christian cannot or should not fellowship with a local representation of the Body unless that Christian is in agreement with that body regarding the particulars of what that group might believe?

I don't think there is such support. I could be wrong but I think the whole notion that believers who disagree cannot be in the same body and actively so is itself unscriptural and promotes ungodly division.

If you and I disagree on some particular point of doctrine and we both have a third individual who is a common friend are we not both able and free in the Presence of God to expound to our common friend our respective views? In love and a spirit of humility and respect for each other? Without endangering our friendship in Christ?

If we can do that in person among ourselves why does it now become taboo to do so simply because we now find ourselves among a much greater group of believers as represented by a local body (otherwise called a Church)?

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Why, because you cause a brother to stumble.


The context of causing a brother to stumble biblically has to do with wounding someone's conscience and embolding them through the exercise of our freedom to do what for them is wrong (i.e. with the example given being that of eating meat sacrificed to idols).

How would I cause anybody in your Church for example, assuming your Church differed with me on the matter of spiritual gifts, to so stumble?

At what point do we draw the line between walking in love and walking in fear of offending the sensibilities of any of our brothers and sisters who simply have an incorrect understanding of truth?

Can we not walk in love and allow each other freedom to express variying points of view regarding what the Bible says on a given subject? Without neccessarily having such a difference force a division?

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Without getting into where I stand on those issues, you must realize we are all at different places in our biblical understandings as to the issues you mentioned. As you said, who has the corner on the truth? With that in mind, it is best to join a body that has the same view as you and grow together with them.


Admittedly that would be ideal but I know of no group anywhere that is as homogenous in their agreement as the ideal that you describe.

I have found no group, other than non-aligned Christians that is, who allow each other freedom to follow the Bible in the totality of what it plainly says to do and believe. So the choice for me and countless others is to either shut our mouths and restrain ourselves and abide by group policy or open our mouths, speak the truth as we see it in love, do what the bible says, and let God work.

Between the two I think it is safe to say that I have no choice before God but to do the latter. Of course that also means that I tend to not fit into existing Church structures which is regretable but more an indication of how stiffling and suppresive Church strucutures presently are than in my having a wrong heart or unwillingness to work with my brothers and sisters in Christ to do all that God might want to do through us all.

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For some of us, if you were to bring those things up during the service other than just as questions in a teaching setting, it would be considered an attack on the unity of the church.


Mind you I am not so unaware of God's ways that I would just barge into Churches and start mouthing off some "thus saith the Lord" to one and all but I am curious, if I did do that, why would you and others consider it an attack on the unity of the church?

Would not the example set in Corinth where each one has this or that and is free to express it before a gathering of the Church (where the rest judge what is said) point rather to the fact that such an expression is the healthiest expression of the Holy Spirit having free reign to operate as He might want to rather than as an attack on unity?

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Where would it stop? People would want to expound all kinds of wild doctrines causing confusion and disunity in the church.


Paul would not have encouraged the Corinthians to so do if your concern is what would result. The fact is that under such freedom of expression the Holy Spirit Himself would lead through the Body to judge and otherwise highlight wrong expressions. That Body would be a most healthy Body that would allow freedom in Christ for all to freely exercise their gifts while also judging wrong thought and action.

The fact is that we are encouraged to operate in such freedom right in the passages I quoted if not by explicit command then certainly by example. It's there in black and white.

Why are we not doing that?

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Certain individuals have been gifted for pastoring and teaching, it is a gift of God that the church must recognize.


Absolutely! That does not negate what Corinthians says by way of example about how we should operate in more freedom within assemblies of the Body.

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Much like the sons of Korah, everyone thinks they are a teacher or pastor, and that isn't biiblical.


What is not biblical are present day Church structures that hinder the Holy Spirit freely expressing Himself through whomever He wills to do so. Again it's in black and white in the example set out in 1 Cor.

So what if everyone thinks they are a teacher? Is it a sin to think that oneself is a teacher? I am sure every Pastor thinks they are a teacher.

The wrongness is not in thinking we are teachers. The wrongness is in so restricting everyone from freely expressing what they feel is God within them wanting them to do that none of those who think they are teachers ever got much chance to say anything at all. Such that they might be able under the correction of the Spirit through others to come to a place of brokeness to realize that perhaps they are not the great teachers they have thought themselves to be.

Again, setting all opposing logic aside, what do you make of Paul's instructions for the Corinthian Church? Are we to follow the example he set for them? If not...why not?

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Jumping up to give a prophecy is better done in a church that allows that, in our church it would probably freak someone out, causing them to stumble.


So now the criteria for whether we allow something, a biblical something at that, to happen in our modern assemblies is whether we will cause someone to "freak out"???

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I'm not saying it is wrong if you feel led to do that, but don't do it in a church you know is more reserved in their worship.


Hmm...I wonder what Jesus would have done in such a Church? Would he have given way to the more reserved way of that Church or would He not rather have strongly rebuked that Church to stop their stubborness?

What gives any of us as Christians the right to tell other Christians to not fully express themselves to God in our company???

That strikes me as incredibly arrogant.

Am I to believe that biblically, assuming that I was a tongue speaking prophet (which I am not), that I cannot express myself to God in a wholesome and biblical manner when around some Christians because they are sensitive such that their religious sensitivities might be offended by my expression???!!!

Is that biblical?

Is the only choice here for one such Christian to further seperate and divide from other Christians so that they might freely express themselves to God in an assembly of His called out one's??

Does no one else see anything wrong with that???

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We are all different, we all have our styles, join the one you best fit with.


Yes that is what is natural. I mean that we join with those who we best fit with. Fortunately for us all that is not God's way for if He had done the same not a one of us would have been deemed fit to join with Him!

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If you take notice, even Jesus obeyed the form of worship in the synagogue by going to the front to read the Scriptures, why didn't he just give the exposition of the reading from where He stood in the congregation?


A valid point but if I may also point out what Jesus did among those in the synagogues is more akin to what we do among unbelievers who are religious than among those of us who are truly called by His name.

If I attend a Catholic Church for example (and no I am not saying all Catholics are unbelievers) I am most certainly not going to stand up and start running up and down the halls yelling "Praise God!" (not that I do that anywhere mind you but just by way of illustration).

It would not be winsome to do so.

But that gathering is not my family gathering. It is best I think to look at what Jesus did when with His disciples to gain a better understanding of how what He did might be an indication of what we should do in the Church. Not to what He did inside a synagogue that listened to Him one minute and the next tried to throw Him off a cliff!

While Jesus did follow the order of how things were done with respect to reading please note how he handled the subsequent dialog. He most certainly did not kowtow to existing tradition by what He subsequently said. Indeed they tried to kill Him!

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We must recognize the order in the churches we attend, God is a God of order.


The context of that oft misused and misquoted verse is a context of the Holy Spirit instituting an order into a gathering by the free expression of His gifts within the Body. Where prophets are allowed to speak one at time, where woman must keep silent, where tongues speakers cannot speak unless their is an interpreter and so forth.

It is not at all related to the proper order that we have today where saints sit, and stand, and kneel, and say Amen when they are told to do so and at not other time in an hour long service.

Isn't it incredibly ironic that today any such expressions of tongues, prophecy, and so forth are considered out of order when those very things were PART OF THE ORDER being spoken of then???!!!

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I am not saying this to discourage you, just trying to point you to what I believe is best for you and the church.


I appreciate your heart in doing so if not your views with respect to why we shouldn't or can't follow the order of assembly as laid out for us by example in 1st Cor.

Carlos
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 8:45 PM

Just so everyone knows...I am not an emerging church person (whatever the emerging church means..I have some notion of it but don't know much about it). I am simply a Christian. A disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I do not trust in my own ability to save myself. I trust in God through the blood of Christ alone for my salvation. Apart from Him I am a miserable and I mean miserable wretch of a sinner. Unworthy to so much as look to God much less have any kind of relationship with Him.

But in Him I am washed clean from all my sins, made alive with Christ. I can access the Father freely and confidently as His child, credited as righteous by Him who has accepted Jesus as my substitute.

I am neither Pentecostal (though I have had some Pentecostal type experiences in my life), Baptist (though I believe wholeheartedly in sticking to the Word, the neccessity of being Baptized, and preaching the Gospel in it's fullness), or any other denomination. I am first and foremost and only ever just a Christian. And I wholeheartedly welcome all who call themselves by that same name (as long as they don't try to force me to conform to their sensitivities and traditions that are extra-biblical and as long as they don't try and force me to shut my mouth or otherwise keep me from doing and saying all that my Father might want me to say).

Carlos



Posted By: hisalone

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 8:51 PM

I believe the regulative principle directs us toward the proper act of worship, but true biblical worship is a matter of the heart. A person can follow all the guidelines of the regulative principle and still be a "Cain" in the heart. How often did God reprimand the Israelites because they followed the rules of worship but their hearts were far from Him?

Isa. 29:13-14 NASB Then the Lord said,ďBecause this people draw near with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,14 Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous;
And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the discernment of their discerning men shall be concealed.Ē

Proper worship consists of knowing who we worship and having a proper view of ourselves. I don't disagree that the regulative principle is important, but I disagree that only those who follow a person's interpretation of the regulative principle are really worshipping. God is with all those of a broken and contrite heart or His word is not true. True worship is a matter of the heart, it is not dictated by what we do outwardly. My confidence is based on Jesus Christ, not on my form of worship.


What is Christ honoring? again, it is acknowledging who He is and recognizing who we are, the emergent church has failed to do that and because of that have entered into error and have become apostate.
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 9:06 PM

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Proper worship consists of knowing who we worship and having a proper view of ourselves. ... God is with all those of a broken and contrite heart or His word is not true. True worship is a matter of the heart, it is not dictated by what we do outwardly. My confidence is based on Jesus Christ, not on my form of worship.


Can I jump up and down in the hallowed aisles of this forum and say "Praise God!" to that?

Raise my hands to God and say "Amen!"?

Here...for a moment I am even going to go all Pentecostal on you and start the flag waving surrender

Carlos

PS. I just looked through my very long, long post above. I didn't realize, in the passion of my feelings for the subject while standing on the commons of this forum preaching my heart out, that I had written a book laugh
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 9:19 PM

Originally Posted by Pilgrim

....One of the prominent elements of Protestant biblical worship is the centrality of the preaching of the Word by those called to that responsibility. (Scripture references can be provided if needed) grin This preaching of the Word is to be done by those who "labor in the Word and doctrine" (1Thess 5:12, 13; 1Tim 5:17). This cannot be done as suggested by some, i.e., a extemporaneous speaking by anyone who happens to be in the assembly.


Agreed that there need to be times when one's yes, sit in their respective pews (or on the grass or wherever) and just listen.

What I find incredibly ironic is the fact the the Church of today, which claims to be acting out what Jesus would want, has taken what Jesus did when He preached in the open before a mass of people and made a form out of it. A form that has become the primary form of Church practice today.

A form that outright denies the validity of any other form of Church assembly (such as the one I have quoted from 1 Cor).

Why do we highlight and make a tradition of the style Jesus used in open air teaching, bring it into a building, decorate that tradition with certain trappings (i.e. a pulpit, an order of things, a style of dress on the part of the teacher...suit and tie usually) and then go around decrying any attempt to do what is otherwise allowed in the New Testament that does not conform to our now established form of Church tradition?

Carlos
Posted By: hisalone

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 9:22 PM

Carlos,

I read through your post and where we split ways is our interpretation of 1 Corinthians. It appears your belief is that all the gifts are in operation today, where my stance is that certain sign gifts have ceased. An example is the issue of tongues, those were known languages and inmportant in the start of the early church. Also in the early church they did not yet have all of scripture, the finished revelation of God as we have now and the Spirit did work in a marvelous way, gving people utterances, but that isn't necessary today, we have the full revelation of Jesus Christ in the canon of scripture. Healings is another one, not that God can't heal through prayer, but people aren't gifted such as Paul or Peter were to be able to lay hands on people and make them well. Again that was for the purpose of establishing the church.

When I said you would "freak" out someone, it would be considered strange and unbiblical in our church body. It would be disruptive and might even in some cases cause others to follow suit, causing disunity. Look at what happened at the Toronto Blessing. You would always be welcome to attend our fellowship, but it would be expected that the form of worship would be respected.

You spoke of causing a brother to stumble as pertaining to meats, yes, but it pertains to all aspects of our lives as christians. Any action can cause a brother to stumble. Not everyone is called to teach, that is where arrogance begins. That is the probem with many churches today, people in the teacher's seat who do not understand spritual truth. God speaks through individuals today, in the pulpit and in teaching, it is His gifting. Many times people think it is God speaking to them or through them who are sadly mistaken. How many entered into error because of listening to deceptive spirits? Our hearts are desparately wicked who can know them?
Posted By: hisalone

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 9:43 PM

Originally Posted by carlos123
[quote]

Can I jump up and down in the hallowed aisles of this forum and say "Praise God!" to that?

Raise my hands to God and say "Amen!"?

Here...for a moment I am even going to go all Pentecostal on you and start the flag waving surrender


Carlos, you may like what I said previously, but you might be the only one, I find very few that agree with what I write on this discussion board. What I do like, is that it causes me to work through things, and although I don't usually go along with the status quo, I find help to issues I might be struggling through. The board has been a blessing and profitable in my study.
Posted By: Robin

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu May 28, 2009 9:48 PM

here is a whole long list of very useful articles that directly address most of the issues you have raised about church, church order, and worship.

And here is a section dedicated to Ecclesiology - The Doctrine of the Church.

One in particular that describes church offices and their functions in the local body as defined in the Scriptures might be helpful. Your first post in this thread reflects a very common sentiment that most of us, at one time or another, shared before coming to grips with the scriptures.

Rather than run the whole gambit of subjects addressed in this thread (worship, the sacraments, church membership, gifts of the Spirit, and so on), in a single post or thread, let's try to keep to the original subject and use separate threads to talk about the regulative principle, gifts, etc.

Peruse those articles first and then let's discuss them from the scriptures.

-Robin
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Fri May 29, 2009 12:12 AM

Originally Posted by hisalone
Carlos,

I read through your post and where we split ways is our interpretation of 1 Corinthians. It appears your belief is that all the gifts are in operation today, where my stance is that certain sign gifts have ceased.


You have discerned correctly smile.

I do not believe the perfect spoken about in 1 Cor is the Bible but rather the perfect One whom we will know as perfectly as we are known only after His return.

But be that as it may does it not strike you as rather odd that the exercise of spiritual gifts should go from one of free exercise subject to the judgement of the Body after such an exercise to a paradigm of allowing few if any gifts to operate from the Body such that only a relative few gifted individuals are allowed free exercise thereof up front?

Does it not seem odd that such a change in paradigm falls or stands on the meaning of one word in 1 Cor 13. Namely the word "perfect"? If that one word does indeed mean the Bible then perhaps it's justified. But if it does not do you realize what a restriction the Church of today is putting on the operation of the Holy Spirit?

Does that one word so clearly mean "Bible" or does it possibly mean something else? Are we to limit God in the Church on the possibility that it might actually mean "bible" wnen in fact the text says "perfect" not "bible"?

I am not trying to open up a discussion of spiritual gifts only pointing to how much we may be limiting God if we do not get back to allowing the free operation of spiritual gifts (whatever they may be today). The free operation is my emphasis not whether spiritual gifts (normally referrred to as sign gifts) are for today or not.

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An example is the issue of tongues, those were known languages and inmportant in the start of the early church. Also in the early church they did not yet have all of scripture, the finished revelation of God as we have now and the Spirit did work in a marvelous way, gving people utterances, but that isn't necessary today, we have the full revelation of Jesus Christ in the canon of scripture. Healings is another one, not that God can't heal through prayer, but people aren't gifted such as Paul or Peter were to be able to lay hands on people and make them well. Again that was for the purpose of establishing the church.


I wonder what saints in places where they do not put much stock on that which lies between our ears would say about the ways in which God is working a modern day Acts in today's times?

Have you ever read the book Anointed for Burial detailing the Church in Cambodia just before the fall of Vietnam? That book opened my eyes to a lot of things. Not the least of which was that what I understand in my head might not have been correct with respect to what God was willing to still do in His Body.

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When I said you would "freak" out someone, it would be considered strange and unbiblical in our church body. It would be disruptive and might even in some cases cause others to follow suit, causing disunity.


Disunity is a state of heart. Not of what one does or does not do with respect to the free exercise of any spiritual gifts.

It is a state of heart that causes disunity in the Body.

If you as a friend come before me and start mouthing tongues (assuming you were willing to not abide by the prohibition in exercise mentioned in 1 Cor with no interpreter present) and I did not believe tongues existed today I might look upon your babbling as funny but I do not believe you and I would become enemies or disunited by your exuberent babbling.

Likewise it should be in the Church. No disunity needs to happen.

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Look at what happened at the Toronto Blessing. You would always be welcome to attend our fellowship, but it would be expected that the form of worship would be respected.


Ah..yes the Toronto Blessing had it's own problems. I am very familiar with what happened there.

But we shouldn't throw the baby of freedom in Christ within the Body out with the proverbial water of confusion either smile.

And yes...if I came to your church I would most definitely respect your order of worship even if I might see it as incredibly restricting.

Just a little while ago had the most incredible and powerful move of the Holy Spirit within me while listening to worship music. Where I burst forth with praise of God while weeping almost uncontrollably at God's graciousness to me.

No I do not speak in tongues. But the power of God came upon me so strongly that I could not help but stand up and raise my hands and start moving them in rhythm to my heart expressing thanks and worship to God.

Should such a thing be restrained because someone's religious sensitivities might be offended or otherwise be made uncomfortable? The Lord is returning shortly and we as Christians need to break before Him and start being all that He has called us to be.

We need to give each other freedom to operate under His power and His authority within the Body. Church leaders need to humble themselves instead of constantly trying to protect their turf and the status quo.

Carlos
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Fri May 29, 2009 12:14 AM

Some excellent stuff at the links you shared Robin. THANK YOU! You have given me lots to chew on. Much appreciated.

Carlos
Posted By: Tom

Re: The importance of going to church - Fri May 29, 2009 2:42 AM

Carlos

From what you have revealed about yourself, though I could be mistaken, it appears that you would be comfortable with The Brethern. Most of them that I know, meet in houses.

Tom
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Fri May 29, 2009 7:14 AM

Thanks for the input Tom but if you don't mind giving me additional input I have a question.

Why do I have to join up with any particular group of Christians (i.e. The Brethren)? Why can't I just be a Christian? A non-denominational, non-aligned Christian?

I had a most wonderful time of great worship with a good friend of mine. We got together and talked, listened to worship music together, sang, raised our hands and otherwise worshipped God together. It was a most wonderful time. Two men worshipping God together.

He and I are both not aligned with any one particular group of Christians. We both fellowship with a variety of Christians who go to different "Churches" (my fellowship is mostly over the internet since at present I have no car and no bus fare to speak of while his fellowship is more in real life as opposed to over the Internet).

But we are not aligned with any particular denomination or "Church". Is that wrong?

Carlos
Posted By: sojourner

Re: The importance of going to church - Fri May 29, 2009 7:27 PM

Welcome Carlos,
While trying not to be redundant as to the sites Robin pointed out,we are commanded as far as the assembling of ourselves (Heb.10:25).The purpose being that union in numbers begets strength and love while helping to overcome the power of Satan.
Posted By: Tom

Re: The importance of going to church - Sat May 30, 2009 3:50 AM

Originally Posted by carlos123
Thanks for the input Tom but if you don't mind giving me additional input I have a question.

Why do I have to join up with any particular group of Christians (i.e. The Brethren)? Why can't I just be a Christian? A non-denominational, non-aligned Christian?

I had a most wonderful time of great worship with a good friend of mine. We got together and talked, listened to worship music together, sang, raised our hands and otherwise worshipped God together. It was a most wonderful time. Two men worshipping God together.

He and I are both not aligned with any one particular group of Christians. We both fellowship with a variety of Christians who go to different "Churches" (my fellowship is mostly over the internet since at present I have no car and no bus fare to speak of while his fellowship is more in real life as opposed to over the Internet).

But we are not aligned with any particular denomination or "Church". Is that wrong?

Carlos


How does one participate in the sacraments such as baptism and communion if they don't attend a fellowship of believers?
I believe the sacraments must be taken with in the confines of an organized body of believers, with elders leading.
That all I have time to say at the moment.

Tom
Posted By: Robin

Re: The importance of going to church - Sat May 30, 2009 11:46 AM

Carlos,

The Lord's Supper is more than merely a memorial to Christ's sacrifice. In many churches it is called "communion" because the Body of Christ on earth is His church. It is the unity we enjoy in Christ that makes the Church what it is.

Could you enjoy such unity with someone who believes, for example, that Mary is a co-redeemer and intermediary between God and Man? Or with a person who believes that Christ died "spiritually" but not physically? Could you share the bread and the cup with someone who believes that theose elements actually become the literal body and blood of Christ?

We are called as members of one body. Two cannot walk together unless they are agreed. That is why there are "organized churches." Now there are plenty of churches and denominations other than my own where I can enjoy the worship of God and the fellowship of my brethren in Christ, but with whom I could not fully participate as a matter of conscience informed by Scripture. Some things are simply too important to set aside. The sacraments being one of them; biblical worship being another (despite room for differences), church polity, etc. That is why joining with like-minded believers offers a chance to fully participate with them and experience the fullest possible unity in Christ.

Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Sun May 31, 2009 5:06 PM

Originally Posted by sojourner
Welcome Carlos,
While trying not to be redundant as to the sites Robin pointed out,we are commanded as far as the assembling of ourselves (Heb.10:25).The purpose being that union in numbers begets strength and love while helping to overcome the power of Satan.


For sure I understand the importance of fellowship. No question.

But Heb 10:25 does not say that I or other Christians must all get involved in the visible representation of Church today most commonly known as the Sunday Church service? At least to my reading of that passage in context.

How does it read to you?

Carlos

Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Sun May 31, 2009 5:17 PM

Originally Posted by Tom

How does one participate in the sacraments such as baptism and communion if they don't attend a fellowship of believers?
I believe the sacraments must be taken with in the confines of an organized body of believers, with elders leading.
That all I have time to say at the moment.

Tom


Hmm...well...I can certainly go and baptize someone in the nearest lake, pond, pool, or stream that has water. There is no requirement for a baptism to occur among a group of witnesses. The baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch by Philip being a case in point. Undoubtedly there would have been others who witnessed the baptism but such others were incidental to the eunuch being baptized at that moment in time because there was ready water available to perform the baptism.

So one does not need to get with a Sunday Church at all to engage in baptisms. At least not biblically speaking.

Communion? Well...again biblically speaking, it takes no more than two or three. And it doesn't have to be in a Church building at all. If we are to believe what Jesus said about His being present when so little as two or three are gathered in His name then we can and indeed should have communion before our meals, on public buses, or wherever we might feel led to engage in remembering what Jesus did with some bread and appropriate fluid to represent his blood.

I am not sure why you are of the belief that the sacrements, and more specifically the two you mentioned, must be done among an organized group of believers? Also what do you think an organized group of believers is?

Do we have to be organized somehow in order to obey God with his respect to His wanting us to baptize others and participate in communion? I mean organized in a visible way as a Church mind you since of course some sort of organization is necessary to go to a place where one's can get baptized and to get the bread and fluid neccessary to have communion but I don't think that's the kind of organization you had in mind if I am not mistaken.

Carlos
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Sun May 31, 2009 5:38 PM

Hi Robin,

Originally Posted by Robin
Carlos,

The Lord's Supper is more than merely a memorial to Christ's sacrifice. In many churches it is called "communion" because the Body of Christ on earth is His church. It is the unity we enjoy in Christ that makes the Church what it is.


Not sure I would agree about it being more than just a memorial as if the Catholic idea of Transubstantiation has any merit for example.

But setting that issue aside for purposes of this thread...

Quote

Could you enjoy such unity with someone who believes, for example, that Mary is a co-redeemer and intermediary between God and Man? Or with a person who believes that Christ died "spiritually" but not physically? Could you share the bread and the cup with someone who believes that theose elements actually become the literal body and blood of Christ?


To answer your question no, I could not enjoy the kind of fellowship that the Lord meant for me to have with born-again believers among persons having the beliefs that you mentioned.

Quote

We are called as members of one body. Two cannot walk together unless they are agreed.


Agreed. Makes sense...

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That is why there are "organized churches."


Hmm...

So you are saying if I understand you correctly that the reason that organized churches are good is because they allow those of us with similar beliefs to walk together in sweet fellowship? Is that a right understanding of what you are saying Robin?

And if that is correct does that mean that you and I cannot enjoy sweet fellowship centered around the Lord unless we are agreed on any number of particulars that relate to Christian practice?

Quote

Now there are plenty of churches and denominations other than my own where I can enjoy the worship of God and the fellowship of my brethren in Christ, but with whom I could not fully participate as a matter of conscience informed by Scripture. Some things are simply too important to set aside. The sacraments being one of them; biblical worship being another (despite room for differences), church polity, etc. That is why joining with like-minded believers offers a chance to fully participate with them and experience the fullest possible unity in Christ.


Some things are simply too important to set aside...I agree with that.

But let me ask you something Robin. I think from what you have said that we would probably agree on what communion is, biblically speaking. On the importance of worship. Of devotion to God. Church policy with respect to that which is clearly indicated in the Scriptures regarding the make up of what Church leaders are, their qualifications, and other particulars of such offices (mind you I am referring to biblically based ideas not church traditions).

Let's see, if I am not mistaken you and I would probably agree on most all the major points of Christian belief and practice.

So why is it that we must now be in two different local Churches and perhaps even associate ourselves with two different denominations? Biblically speaking is there any justification for such a difference of association with respect to those what we might have deeper fellowship with?

Are we not in danger of actually doing the opposite from what the Bible commands? Namely to be one in not only belief but in practice?

Perhaps you believe that Chritians should give up all their possesions and give to the poor and I am of the belief that we should use our possessions and money wisely without necessarily giving it all away.

Does such a difference now make it all but impossible for you and I to enjoy sweet fellowship because we are not entirely agreed?

I daresay that the so-called agreement that is purported to be among those in organized Churches is not nearly as complete as it may seem. Oh we might agree to meet at so and so place and to respect the beliefs of the leadership or denomination while participating there but I suspect that if you were to poll the sheep and ask them pointed questions about what they personally believe that the so-called unity of any given Church is a mirrage. It seems to be there but it really isn't in that the majority of sheep would probably differ in their beliefs not only from the Church in question but even from each other.

May I suggest that unity and deep fellowship is not a matter of how greatly we agree on every particular but a matter of how humble we are willing to be in the Presence of God and before one another? How willing we are to love each other as ourselves? I mean among true Christians.

Carlos
Posted By: Tom

Re: The importance of going to church - Sun May 31, 2009 9:02 PM

Carlos

I think Pilgrim dealt with this earlier in this thread.
Please see here.

Tom
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The importance of going to church - Sun May 31, 2009 11:56 PM

Originally Posted by carlos123
Hmm...well...I can certainly go and baptize someone in the nearest lake, pond, pool, or stream that has water. There is no requirement for a baptism to occur among a group of witnesses. The baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch by Philip being a case in point. Undoubtedly there would have been others who witnessed the baptism but such others were incidental to the eunuch being baptized at that moment in time because there was ready water available to perform the baptism.

So one does not need to get with a Sunday Church at all to engage in baptisms. At least not biblically speaking.

1. Philip was an ordained Deacon in the infant church and thus at that time, he was qualified to perform the baptism of the eunuch.

2. The conversion and baptism of the eunuch is a unique event and thus should not be used as a paradigm for polity in the Church.

3. Just as important is to take into account the historical development of the Church. It took time for its organization to mature. If the same logic is used that you are advocating, i.e., that the situation of the infant Church is to be copied, then we should all be wearing clothes of goat skin, cooking all are meals over fires, offering animal sacrifices on the Sabbath, etc., etc., as did Adam and the first family.

Originally Posted by carlos123
Communion? Well...again biblically speaking, it takes no more than two or three. And it doesn't have to be in a Church building at all. If we are to believe what Jesus said about His being present when so little as two or three are gathered in His name then we can and indeed should have communion before our meals, on public buses, or wherever we might feel led to engage in remembering what Jesus did with some bread and appropriate fluid to represent his blood... I am not sure why you are of the belief that the sacrements, and more specifically the two you mentioned, must be done among an organized group of believers?

1. See above for the historical development of the Church.

2. The Lord's Table (aka: communion) is celebrated by the corporate body of believers that regularly come together and is to be totally separate from any other type of meal. (cf. 1Cor 11:20ff)

3. Unbelievers and those under discipline are not allowed to partake of the Lord's Supper. So, how can this regulation be enforced without Elders administering and overseeing it? Elders are appointed of God to RULE in the churches thus the Lord's Table cannot be done extemporaneously by anyone and just anywhere. This is to profane the sacrament and to ignore the government of the Church which God established. (cf. 1Tim 3:1-7)

Originally Posted by carlos123
Also what do you think an organized group of believers is?

1. The organized Church consists of a) a plurality of Elders, b) Deacons, pastor/teachers, and laity. (cf. Eph 4:10-16; 1Tim 5:17; Titus 1:5; 1Pet 5:1; The Church Body of Christ; The Church)

2. These meet together regularly on the Lord's Day for the purpose of worship. (cf. The Perpetuity and Change of the Sabbath, The Sabbath Question). The various and indispensable elements which are part of the corporate worship of God's people are: Preaching of the Word, prayer, singing of Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, giving of tithes and offerings, administration of the sacraments (as required and according to an agreed schedule which is not regulated). Too many references to list.

3. The Church is the body of Christ which meets in various locales as separate assemblies wherein there are the officers who are responsible for proper worship, the preaching/teaching of the Word, the administration of the sacraments and where individual believers serve one another according to the gifts given to them by God through the Holy Spirit. Again, too many references to list. (cf. The Church of Christ, by James Bannerman, Banner of Truth, 2 Vol., The Scriptural Doctrine of the Church, by Douglas Bannerman, Baker)

In His grace,
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:44 AM

Originally Posted by Tom
Carlos

I think Pilgrim dealt with this earlier in this thread.
Please see here.

Tom


Tom...he didn't quite deal with the questions I asked you but I think at this point we have all said our piece and there seems to be little point in discussing it further. It just seems like we are getting nowhere.

In the final analysis we will each stand before God and give an account to Him. I will continue with all my heart with those around me who see the same things I do with respect to the organized Church and how far it has fallen from what Christ intended, to do all that He might call us to do.

And those who see otherwise will continue to do what they do.

May the Lord use us all to the extent that we are willing, to draw others to Himself through us.

Thanks so very much for the input you gave me.

Carlos

Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:05 AM

Hi Carlos,
I hope things are going well today. I have had similar questions as you and hold similar stances. I think that the others make a good point when they speak of interaction with elders. Are you in contact with elders? How do you obey the verses that speak of submitting to elders?
Magil
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:08 AM

How do you know that the Eunuch's situation was unique? Surely Acts doesn't give us a blow by blow account of conversions. Maybe the eunuch teaches us that a crowd is not necessary? Surely they could have traveled to an assembly.
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:10 AM

Originally Posted by carlos123
Originally Posted by Tom
Carlos

I think Pilgrim dealt with this earlier in this thread.
Please see here.

Tom


Tom...he didn't quite deal with the questions I asked you but I think at this point we have all said our piece and there seems to be little point in discussing it further. It just seems like we are getting nowhere.

In the final analysis we will each stand before God and give an account to Him. I will continue with all my heart with those around me who see the same things I do with respect to the organized Church and how far it has fallen from what Christ intended, to do all that He might call us to do.

And those who see otherwise will continue to do what they do.

May the Lord use us all to the extent that we are willing, to draw others to Himself through us.

Thanks so very much for the input you gave me.

Carlos



I don't understand that attitude that we all just rest in how we see things. How could the Lord change us if we have such an attitude?
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:28 AM

Since you ask I will continue...

The whole issue of submission to deny the types of things I have been saying is...well...a straw man. An argument which holds no water. Not saying you are using this argument to discount anything Magil...just saying.

What is an elder? I mean biblically speaking. It is my understanding that he (and it was a he) was someone who was...well...older (i.e. elder) in his mature Christian walk. Someone who could be publicly recognized as a leader of God's people if he not only was an elder in maturity based on his character but also had the desire to enter into the work, and it is a work, of shepherding the sheep.

An elder was not and is not only someone who is recognized as such. Elders do not become older overnight. The Holy Spirit raises them up over time as He matures them.

So my first point is that it is perfectly possible to encounter an as yet unrecognized elder among our Christian acquaintences.

Are we to submit to others only because they are recognized? I dare say not.

May I add that we are not to submit to only recognized elders or unrecognized elders but also to one another as fellow brethren. We are to head to the bottom in loving service to others.

Tell me something...which of the following two is the greater submission?

#1. I go to a Sunday Church faithfully. I go and sit and stand, kneel and pray, sing and clap when the sheep are encouraged to do so. I do that dutifully as a good sheep should. I respect the Church leaders and I do what I am asked to do each Sunday. After all it's their Church I reason to myself. Then when the service is over I go home and live for myself the rest of the week until the following Sunday.

#2. I don't go to a Sunday Church. I get with Christians throughout the week to counsel them, to love on them, to help them in their every day needs and to otherwise shepherd them. I consider myself to be their servant and aim for the bottom in pushing them ahead of me. To be more than me in Christ. I submit and yield to them in things that they might want to do when we get together that are not sinful because my desire and outlook is to be their servant in a very real sense.

May I suggest that case #2 is far more in line with the submission that the Lord intended for us to have than case #1.

We claim far and wide that we are living in submission simply because we attend a Sunday service when in fact we may be very rebellious in heart in the eyes of God overall.

Whereas a person may not go to Church on Sundays and externally may appear by sight to be rebellious when in fact in the eyes of God they may be the most submissive of all.

I personally have to yield to God through authorities in my life every single day. My landlord, the government, other Christians who come into my life and with whom I might have a tendency to want my own way with. I must yield to all in so far as God wants me to serve all.

It is a piece of cake to go to some Sunday Church and play the submissive game on the surface. It is quite another to actually learn to be submissive when I don't want to be out in the real world among real people in real interactions.

Ironically I have encountered leaders who are anything but submissive in heart. Who react like little kids when someone tries to take their toys away at the very thought that someone might not recognize them as leaders or bow to their opinions. Thankfully not many are like that but there are some.

But I would say that many leaders have not themselves learned submission in the school of real life. Their lack of true submission make further divisiveness in the Church more, not less likely. They have little true humility in their hearts. It's pretty tough to have a dispute with a godly, humble man whose aim is to place themselves under you in service.

Mind you that doesn't mean leaders are to be wishy washy or to allow others to step all over them but any standing up is for the glory of God and for the good of the sheep and most certainly not for themselves.

Am I submissive to elders? You bet...when I am around them. But whether I find myself around them or not I am submissive to all as God would have me be. 7 days a week and not just on Sundays.

Carlos

Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:41 AM

Originally Posted by Robert

I don't understand that attitude that we all just rest in how we see things. How could the Lord change us if we have such an attitude?


I agree Robert but there comes a time to gracefully just allow my fellow brethren with whom I disagree to go on their way to follow the dictates of their own conscience. However unable to see what I so clearly see in the Scriptures they may appear to be.

Yes there would be some profit in continued discussion but it seems to me that some here are very set in their ways and have what I can only describe as religious blinders on. I don't say that lightly but I believe that is the truth. I also mean no offense but Jesus Himself would not have hesitated to say the truth if such was the case. I must do no less.

It would take a lot of work and a whole lot of discussion to work through the issues verse by verse and the final outcome of such a discussion is uncertain with respect to all of us coming to agree with the more perfect way of God.

Whether that more perfect way would line up more with my interpretation of things, theirs, or none of ours.

Carlos
Posted By: Tom

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:41 AM

Carlos

It appears to me that you are justifying not going to "Sunday Church", just because you think option number 2 is better than the first option.
Although in the case of number 1, the person is hypocritical. It does not mean that option number 2 is biblically justified either.
The Bible is clear that on the Lord's Day, we are to assemble as believers.
There may be times when this is not possible, but we should endeavor to do this.

You also told me that Pilgrim didnít quite deal with my questions. Although I think he dealt with them fairly extensively, I do believe Pilgrimís latest post that can be seen here deals with your questions with even more detail.
If for some reason, you still donít think he has dealt with your questions. Please let me/us know what in particular he has not dealt with.

By the way, I hope the time hasnít come where we need to stop this discussion because it has become fruitless. As it stands I think this discussion is still at the point of iron sharpening iron.

Tom
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:57 AM

Hi Tom,

If you want to continue this discussion by all means I am game for that but I would just prefer that you not point to what others have said as answering my questions to you. I read Pilgrims post about what he supposedly answered of my questions and rather than trying to figure out what those answers were...well...I gave up smile.

At this point I don't even remember my questions LOL.

I will be try and be more to the point.

Originally Posted by Tom
Carlos

It appears to me that you are justifying not going to "Sunday Church", just because you think option number 2 is better than the first option.


I appreciate the wisdom of your asking instead of assuming Tom.

I am not justifying one or the other as a support for not going to Church on Sundays. I was just saying that between the two the first is not real submission while the second is. Many think the first is all the submission that is needed. I am pointing out that the Lord requires much greater submission on the part of us all to one another than might at first glance appear to be all the submission that is needed to Church leaders alone.

Quote

The Bible is clear that on the Lord's Day, we are to assemble as believers.


Where does it say this Tom? I mean that we are commanded to assemble on the Lord's Day?

Does that mean that we are not to assemble on any other day? Or that if we do and do not also assemble on the Lord's Day that we are somehow deficient on our practice before God?

What exactly is the Lord's Day biblically speaking? Which day was it? Has it changed since New Testament times?

Quote

There may be times when this is not possible, but we should endeavor to do this.


Why? In my heart and to my conscience based on my understanding of biblical things the Lord is not interested in what particular day we assemble or even whether we assembly in a building or on the way to work on a public bus. He is interested in our hearts. His building is us. And He inhabits our spirits through His Spirit. We are His building wherever we may be.

I am not sure at this point what Pilgrim said Tom. It's getting real late and I am quite beat so if you wouldn't mind doing me a big favor can we restart our discussion by your giving me your input to the above new questions I have asked?

Otherwise I will have to wait till later tomorrow or even Tuesday to go back through this thread to figure out what Pilgrim might have said in response to either your questions or mine (at this point I don't which :)).

It's difficult for me to follow the thread on this forum. It's not like any other forum I've ever been on format wise. But I can certainly follow one post at a time.

Carlos
Posted By: Johan

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:33 AM

Hi Carlos,

It seems to me as if you base your views on some aspects of the early NT church. But what about the fact that the apostle Paul addressed his letters to what we can call congregations, ie. groups of believers that already point to some degree of organization. And Jesus himself instructed the apostle John to write letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor. This tells me that even in the NT church there already was already level of organization. After all, we are brothers and sisters in Christ and part of God's household; we therefore belong together; also visibly.


Johan
Posted By: Robin

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:40 AM

You keep asking the same questions and getting the same answers. I really seems you have simply not bothered to read and consider the several very detailed articles we have pointed you to which describe God's government of His people according to Scripture.

If you disagree, fine. But your disagreement is not going to change anyone's mind, particularly since you are not arguing from the Scriptures, but from your own apparently negative experiences with churches.

Let me offer further warning, that outside of the Church, there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

Posted By: hisalone

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:35 AM

Originally Posted by Robin


Let me offer further warning, that outside of the Church, there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.



Now there is a loaded statement without defining terms. I thought there was no possiblity of salvation "outside" of Christ? Now if you mean Church as in Christ's body, fine, but if you mean church as the Catholics or many others define it, well, we have problems. Knowing your theological stance by your previous posts, I know you mean in Christ, but certainly that phrasing is dangerous and misleading.
Posted By: Robin

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:33 PM

Originally Posted by hisalone
Originally Posted by Robin


Let me offer further warning, that outside of the Church, there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.



Now there is a loaded statement without defining terms. I thought there was no possiblity of salvation "outside" of Christ? Now if you mean Church as in Christ's body, fine, but if you mean church as the Catholics or many others define it, well, we have problems. Knowing your theological stance by your previous posts, I know you mean in Christ, but certainly that phrasing is dangerous and misleading.


Actually, that's a quote from a Reformed source, and should be quite familiar to anyone who has actually taken the time to read the articles we keep citing in this thread.

I knew I'd "catch" someone by referring to it.... but I didn't expect it to be you.

Posted By: hisalone

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:42 PM

giggle you didn't catch me, I actually knew it was quoted for the very reason you stated, but why? What was your intention? A doctrinal sting operation, hmmmmmmm?
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:33 PM

Hi to yourself Johan,

Originally Posted by Johan
Hi Carlos,

It seems to me as if you base your views on some aspects of the early NT church. But what about the fact that the apostle Paul addressed his letters to what we can call congregations, ie. groups of believers that already point to some degree of organization. And Jesus himself instructed the apostle John to write letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor.


Yes my views are indeed based in part on some aspects of the early New Testament Church but not entirely so. I would like to think they are based on the totality of the New Testament if not the entire Bible. Until and if someone can show me otherwise which is certainly always possible.

Paul certainly did address his letters to congregations...well...with one or two exceptions but those exceptions are not germane to this discussion.

Quote

This tells me that even in the NT church there already was already level of organization. After all, we are brothers and sisters in Christ and part of God's household; we therefore belong together; also visibly.


Johan


And yes...you are also correct in saying that there was indeed some level of organization in the NT Church and that yes, there is some measure of visibility to our togetherness (or else we would be...well...invisible and of no use to anyone LOL).

But the problem as I see it is that many of us here are so focused on the organizational aspects of Churchianity that we might be in danger of becoming almost Pharasitical about it. To the point that we might forget that with God the more important thing is the heart.

The organization of the Church is or should be a reflection of Christ living in believers through His Spirit and operating through them to do His will. It should not become something that gets codefied into some sort of legal set of rules by which we are to worship God.

The Old Testament was like that under the Law. Jesus came bringing something new.

The Pharasees constantly tried to get Jesus to fit into their outward form of religion. Jesus constantly went outside those norms and by so doing revealed their hearts to be wrong.

It is our hearts that God is after. If those are right then of course there is some level of organization or structure involved in being the Church (i.e. elders, deacons, church discipline, communion, and so forth) but the structure that is indicated, at least biblically, is a very simple structure.

It is a very flexible and beautiful structure that reflects a new understanding (under the New Covenant) that we are no longer what is seen on the outside but what is seen in the heart.

God has come to live inside of us. What was previously a holy, house of the Lord if you will in the Temple, has now shifted to become us in that the Holy of Holies has now been associated with the Presence of God in us.

There is no longer a Holy House of the Lord at all under the New Covenant with regard to it being a place.

What was previously a very regulated and very involved sacrificial system has now been taken care of by Christ in what He did on the cross so that we no longer have to go through this long or involved ritual to approach God but can have confident and free access to Him by faith more like children running to sit in their Father's lap.

Man has a tendency to take pride in outward appearance. God looks at the heart.

Religion is not God's doing. It is man trying to be what can only be when God lives inside. And if we have the living God inside of us the outward acts of our religiosity become less meaningful and even uneccessary by virtue of the fact that God, GOD, has come to live inside of us Himself.

Making us holy. Making us the new temple. Making us the new place of worship in that there is no longer a designated place of worship but rather a person. Christ in us as a Body wherever we happen to be.

I know that for some of you...my statements might seem more just another recitation of opinion in that I have not given many verses but the underlying problem in our discussion, as I see it, is the overall problem of a difference in our overall perspective on Church. An overall perspective that might cause us to be technically correct in some interpretations of what is literally said in the Bible but wrong in spirit.

I have been trying to address that overall perspective that lies behind our statements.

Yes...I have been hurt and badly so by many so-called brethren in organized Churches. Well do I remember the various times that I fell into real need and had the organized Church leave me out in the cold with not so much as a willingness to extend the most meager bread crumb to me in my need. God provided to me still as He always does.

His provision came to me through those who would not be considered very spiritual at all. Persons who have been somewhat unstable mentally. Persons who have not been attending Sunday Churches. Persons who are unbelievers. Christians outside the traditional mainstream. It's like God has used the despised to shame those who are supposedly the most outwardly spiritual to help me realize in part the incredible hypocrisy that there is in organized North American Churches.

I have forgiven all such hurts and if I have not done so entirely in any particular that I perhaps have not, I do here and now forgive anyone who treated me thus. I forgive them from the heart in the Presence of a Holy God from whom I have needed so much forgiveness for myself.

But having done that I must still try and point my brethren to what I see as a real need that we stop our focus on religious assemblies and start worshipping God in spirit and truth wherever we happen to be. Whether that place is in a Sunday Church building, a park, a bus, in our homes or anywhere else. As a Body we do not need a set place of worship anymore as if not having such makes us no Body at all.

WE are the Church. WE are the Body. And Christ in us is not bound to only be touched and seen within a building. He is with us and in us. And wants to do through us what He did in New Testament times wherever the people are. Outside the confines of the Temple and it's religious observances.

Like Jesus in New Testament times who exposed hearts by going against the grain of Sabbath observance as it had become enshrined in Jewish religious tradition so to I think we need to get away from the concept of Church as being something that happens on a Sunday morning and break free into the fullness of what the Lord intended the Church to be. With or entirely without a Sunday morning time of gathering.

Now look what I have gone and done again...I've written another book of a post smile.

Carlos
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:10 PM

Originally Posted by carlos123
Originally Posted by Robert

I don't understand that attitude that we all just rest in how we see things. How could the Lord change us if we have such an attitude?


I agree Robert but there comes a time to gracefully just allow my fellow brethren with whom I disagree to go on their way to follow the dictates of their own conscience. However unable to see what I so clearly see in the Scriptures they may appear to be.

Yes there would be some profit in continued discussion but it seems to me that some here are very set in their ways and have what I can only describe as religious blinders on. I don't say that lightly but I believe that is the truth. I also mean no offense but Jesus Himself would not have hesitated to say the truth if such was the case. I must do no less.

It would take a lot of work and a whole lot of discussion to work through the issues verse by verse and the final outcome of such a discussion is uncertain with respect to all of us coming to agree with the more perfect way of God.

Whether that more perfect way would line up more with my interpretation of things, theirs, or none of ours.

Carlos


Hi Carlos,
What about me? I am open to your point of view. I would like to hash it out. You are a person with a good deal of insight, I believe. I don't accept all that you say, for if I did such without testing, I would be bowing to a mere human. Stick around, let me enjoy dialogue with you, either here or elsewhere.
Peace,
R
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:14 PM

Carlos said: "It would take a lot of work and a whole lot of discussion to work through the issues verse by verse and the final outcome of such a discussion is uncertain with respect to all of us coming to agree with the more perfect way of God."

I say: what is wrong with a lot of work and discussion? Maybe God (I think He does) wants us to work hard!!!
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:16 PM

Originally Posted by Tom
Carlos

It appears to me that you are justifying not going to "Sunday Church", just because you think option number 2 is better than the first option.
Although in the case of number 1, the person is hypocritical. It does not mean that option number 2 is biblically justified either.
The Bible is clear that on the Lord's Day, we are to assemble as believers.
There may be times when this is not possible, but we should endeavor to do this.

You also told me that Pilgrim didnít quite deal with my questions. Although I think he dealt with them fairly extensively, I do believe Pilgrimís latest post that can be seen here deals with your questions with even more detail.
If for some reason, you still donít think he has dealt with your questions. Please let me/us know what in particular he has not dealt with.

By the way, I hope the time hasnít come where we need to stop this discussion because it has become fruitless. As it stands I think this discussion is still at the point of iron sharpening iron.

Tom


Tom,
Where is it clear in Scripture that we are to assemble on the Lord's Day?
R
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:20 PM

Originally Posted by Johan
Hi Carlos,

It seems to me as if you base your views on some aspects of the early NT church. But what about the fact that the apostle Paul addressed his letters to what we can call congregations, ie. groups of believers that already point to some degree of organization. And Jesus himself instructed the apostle John to write letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor. This tells me that even in the NT church there already was already level of organization. After all, we are brothers and sisters in Christ and part of God's household; we therefore belong together; also visibly.


Johan


Well, it seems to me, Johan, that the church of our day comes nowhere close to this level of organization. Imagine Paul writing to the church in Birmingham, for instance. We don't have the unity to even assemble to hear Paul's letter!
R
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:28 PM

Originally Posted by Robert

Hi Carlos,
What about me? I am open to your point of view. I would like to hash it out. You are a person with a good deal of insight, I believe. I don't accept all that you say, for if I did such without testing, I would be bowing to a mere human. Stick around, let me enjoy dialogue with you, either here or elsewhere.
Peace,
R


I ain't going anywhere Robert. I remain as ever your humble servant in discussing things further smile.

Well...as long as there is some degree of openess in evidence I guess...which I believe there is.

Mind you I am not saying that I have a corner on all this. I for sure don't.

In my reading this morning I was particularly struck by how flubby and stumbling and just naive the disciples of the Lord were. How slow of heart to believe all that was of Christ.

That is so true of me and of all of us I think. We tend to think of ourselves as something when in fact we continue to stumble around and flub things up and otherwise be slow of heart to believe as we should.

Hopefully we can move forward into a more spacious plain where we will continue to stumble around into an even more spacious plain of understanding as the Lord continues to patiently lead us on. We are so in need of His continued grace in all this. I don't say that just because it's a nice or right thing to say. I truly see my continued need for His grace to help me see things I am hard of seeing still.

Carlos
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:32 PM

Originally Posted by Robert
Carlos said: "It would take a lot of work and a whole lot of discussion to work through the issues verse by verse and the final outcome of such a discussion is uncertain with respect to all of us coming to agree with the more perfect way of God."

I say: what is wrong with a lot of work and discussion? Maybe God (I think He does) wants us to work hard!!!


Agreed Robert. I was just saying what I did from the standpoint that if one can discuss things with others where it does not take as much work that it might be best to so do rather than taking all the more time to discuss things with those who...well...might be more set in their ways.

That's all I meant. Certainly I did not mean to say that understanding the things of God does not require some work from us. Even some underlying understanding of Greek meanings and other such things from time to time.

So for sure Robert...let's continue. I am real busy today with computer work so I don't know how much time I can devote to this today but for sure my heart is here and not in my computer work. I love discussing the things of God and only wish I could get paid to discuss things with others LOL.

Carlos
Posted By: sojourner

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:43 PM

Carlos,
You asked how I read Hebrews 10:25.I read it as a clear exhoration for us to meet as a group on a regular basis.
You asked ,"What is an elder?". See Titus 1:5-9.
1 Cor.12:7 speaks of how we should use our spiritual gift.It plainly tells us that our gift was given to profit withal (to benefit the body).How can we be obedient to this command if we don't meet as a group?
Also, I agree with Tom in respect to Baptism and Communion.
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:45 PM

Carlos,
Thanks for your reply. I can only hope that such a forum is open to new light and reform. Some forums come down with an iron hand on questioning the old interpretations. I will believe in the best until I see otherwise....
Peace to all,
Robert
Carlos, in what vocational area are you skilled? Computers?
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:59 PM

Originally Posted by sojourner
Carlos,
You asked how I read Hebrews 10:25.I read it as a clear exhoration for us to meet as a group on a regular basis.
You asked ,"What is an elder?". See Titus 1:5-9.
1 Cor.12:7 speaks of how we should use our spiritual gift.It plainly tells us that our gift was given to profit withal (to benefit the body).How can we be obedient to this command if we don't meet as a group?
Also, I agree with Tom in respect to Baptism and Communion.


The New Testament believers met daily, it seems, for we read that they are to "encourage one another daily". It is hard to do that if you only see someone on Sundays! It is hard to find folks to meet with daily, though. I am not there. This is a very hard verse to obey for me! Perhaps we sholdn't be so concerned about Sunday as we should be concerned about daily meeting? Sunday would be included as one of the days included in the definition of "daily". That would please everyone here!
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:02 PM

Originally Posted by Robert
Carlos,
Thanks for your reply. I can only hope that such a forum is open to new light and reform. Some forums come down with an iron hand on questioning the old interpretations. I will believe in the best until I see otherwise....
Peace to all,
Robert


I am indeed appreciative of how I, a relative and really practical nobody, has been accepted to come in here and start speaking my piece. Accepted as an equal if not altogether agreed with (not a bad thing).

That is a most wondrous thing to experience for you are indeed correct in saying that at many so-called Christian forums I would not be able to so freely discuss things.

Quote

Carlos, in what vocational area are you skilled? Computers?


My skills are about as far ranging as my comments (i.e. professional telemarking, window cleaner, painter, etc..) but at present the skills that seem to be paying me the most have to do with web site development and maintenance. I went to school and got a degree in computer programming (an Associates only) but in all frankness whatever I learned then is almost entirely outdated. My skills however are not and I am most definitely up on the use of the latest technologies.

If you want to know more just PM me...I think this forum has that capability if I am not mistaken.

Carlos
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:04 PM

Thanks for your continued input sojourner. Alas a response to what you said will require more time than I have just now. I will get back to you later today if not tomorrow.

Carlos

Originally Posted by sojourner
Carlos,
You asked how I read Hebrews 10:25.I read it as a clear exhoration for us to meet as a group on a regular basis.
You asked ,"What is an elder?". See Titus 1:5-9.
1 Cor.12:7 speaks of how we should use our spiritual gift.It plainly tells us that our gift was given to profit withal (to benefit the body).How can we be obedient to this command if we don't meet as a group?
Also, I agree with Tom in respect to Baptism and Communion.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:15 PM

Originally Posted by carlos123
Are we to submit to others only because they are recognized? I dare say not.

Scripture disagrees:

Hebrews 13:17 (ASV) "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit [to them]: for they watch in behalf of your souls, as they that shall give account; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief: for this [were] unprofitable for you."

Also, Elders are not qualified nor restricted due to physical age.

1 Timothy 4:12 (ASV) "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an ensample to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity."


Elders are called by the Holy Spirit AND appointed (aka: ordained) by men and not simply "recognized" to their office:

Acts 20:28 (ASV) "Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood."

1 Timothy 4:14 (ASV) "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." (notice the organizational structure)

Titus 1:5 (ASV) "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee charge;"


May I add that we are not to submit to only recognized elders or unrecognized elders but also to one another as fellow brethren. We are to head to the bottom in loving service to others.

Originally Posted by carlos123
Tell me something...which of the following two is the greater submission?

#1. I go to a Sunday Church faithfully. I go and sit and stand, kneel and pray,... Then when the service is over I go home and live for myself the rest of the week until the following Sunday.

#2. I don't go to a Sunday Church. I get with Christians throughout the week to...

1. Such an individual is a hypocrite and thus does not prove anything against biblical submission to those whom God has called to serve as Elders (pastor/teachers/rulers in the Church).

2. You are neglecting the biblical mandate to meet together in corporate worship according to the will of God as revealed in Scripture. The true Church can be defined according to Scripture as one where there is: a) the pure preaching of the Word, b) the right administration of the sacraments, and c) exercising of church discipline.

Originally Posted by carlos123
We claim far and wide that we are living in submission simply because we attend a Sunday service when in fact we may be very rebellious in heart in the eyes of God overall.

Strawman ALERT! Scripture in myriad places demands that worship be done in "spirit", i.e., in, by and through the Holy Spirit from the heart, AND in "truth", i.e., according to biblical teaching, aka: propositional, absolute truth. The fact that so many "go to church" without a right heart is again no proof that the organized church and one's submission to it as it is faithful to the Word should be rejected. "As a man thinketh, so is he", i.e., IF one has a regenerated heart which is desirous to obey God in all things, one's conduct will be an expression of it. (cf. Deut 10:16; Jh 14:15; 15:10; Jam 2:14ff; 1Jh 5:2,3)

There can be 1000's of vain gatherings of those who profess to be followers of Christ and call themselves a "church". But their disobedience and dissimulation does not abrogate the biblical teaching concerning how one's heart should be and how it should be expressed in meeting corporately in an organized assembly. God's Word stands upon its own merits and not upon man's faithfulness in keeping it aright.

The true Church has always been an "organization". Anyone who even reads the Bible in a cursory fashion can see this, e.g., Tabernacle, Temple, Synagogue, homes, and meeting houses. The outward form of meeting changed by God's direction at various times, but the internal structure has always remained basically the same. There have always been leaders called to serve God and to minister to the gathering of believers, (too many references to list), to whom was given great responsibility and to whom respect and obedience was due.

In His grace,
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:44 PM

Originally Posted by Robert
Thanks for your reply. I can only hope that such a forum is open to new light and reform. Some forums come down with an iron hand on questioning the old interpretations. I will believe in the best until I see otherwise....

The men of Athens titillated themselves with "new light" daily:

Quote
Acts 17:18-21 (ASV) "And certain also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, What would this babbler say? others, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached Jesus and the resurrection. And they took hold of him, and brought him unto the Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by thee? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (Now all the Athenians and the strangers sojourning there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing.)"

Notice that the Athenian philosophers considered Paul's biblical teaching which consisted primarily of truth found in the Old Testament and exemplified in the Lord Jesus Christ as "strange things" and which was believed in all the churches and eventually became part of the Canon. Scripture calls this truth, "the faith once delivered unto the saints." Jude 1:3 It is referred to many times in this manner: (cf. Jer 6:16; Isa 8:20; Acts 14:22; 16:5; Rom 1:5; 1Cor 16:13; Gal 1:23; Col 1:23; 2:7; 1Tim 4:1; 6:10; 2Tim 3:8; 4:7; Titus 1:9; et al)

The Church throughout history has been attacked by those who would deny those teachings which it has embraced as true. Consequently, and fortunately, a response was made in the form of either a Creed, Confession or Catechism. These documents have stood the test of time across denominational lines, excepting some doctrines which are unique to each denomination. Thus, the onus is upon those who would reject these secondary authorities and their testimony as they are summaries of biblical truth, to show where they err.

We, being "Reformed" are always open to correction and to reform our understanding of Scripture IF <---- one can with sound exegesis of the Scriptures show where there is error. grin

In His grace,
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:57 PM

Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by Robert
Thanks for your reply. I can only hope that such a forum is open to new light and reform. Some forums come down with an iron hand on questioning the old interpretations. I will believe in the best until I see otherwise....

The men of Athens titillated themselves with "new light" daily:

Quote
Acts 17:18-21 (ASV) "And certain also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, What would this babbler say? others, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached Jesus and the resurrection. And they took hold of him, and brought him unto the Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by thee? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (Now all the Athenians and the strangers sojourning there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing.)"

Notice that the Athenian philosophers considered Paul's biblical teaching which consisted primarily of truth found in the Old Testament and exemplified in the Lord Jesus Christ as "strange things" and which was believed in all the churches and eventually became part of the Canon. Scripture calls this truth, "the faith once delivered unto the saints." Jude 1:3 It is referred to many times in this manner: (cf. Jer 6:16; Isa 8:20; Acts 14:22; 16:5; Rom 1:5; 1Cor 16:13; Gal 1:23; Col 1:23; 2:7; 1Tim 4:1; 6:10; 2Tim 3:8; 4:7; Titus 1:9; et al)

The Church throughout history has been attacked by those who would deny those teachings which it has embraced as true. Consequently, and fortunately, a response was made in the form of either a Creed, Confession or Catechism. These documents have stood the test of time across denominational lines, excepting some doctrines which are unique to each denomination. Thus, the onus is upon those who would reject these secondary authorities and their testimony as they are summaries of biblical truth, to show where they err.

We, being "Reformed" are always open to correction and to reform our understanding of Scripture IF <---- one can with sound exegesis of the Scriptures show where there is error. grin

In His grace,


Thanks, Pilgrim
I appreciate your response. It is obvious that you are a serious believer.
Perhaps the words "new light" should have been explained or you could have asked me what I meant before any assumptions were made. I simply meant that we should all be open to a deeper understanding of Scripture. New to us in that sense, not some new agey extra-scriptural "new light"!
You state that "we, being "Reformed" are always open to correction and to reform our understanding of Scripture IF <---- one can with sound exegesis of the Scriptures show where there is error."
Are you sure that you are "always open to correction"? Perhaps you stumble into pride from time to time like Peter (bless his heart). I just mean "take heed if you think you stand, lest you fall"! We all have blind spots, no? I know that I do. And pride to constantly battle. Take the above with kindness and true caring for you!
Robert
Posted By: Tom

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:21 AM


Hi Carlos

The reason why I referred you to Pilgrim's posts is because your questions had already been dealt with in his posts.
I also need to limit my time here because I already spend too much time on-line as it is.
That being the case, if you truly want to know what I think, concerning your questions. You had better go back and read your post again where you asked me the questions, then go to Pilgrim's posts.

For others who may be reading this, would you agree that Pilgrim already dealt with Carlosís questions?

Quote
I am not justifying one or the other as a support for not going to Church on Sundays. I was just saying that between the two the first is not real submission while the second is. Many think the first is all the submission that is needed. I am pointing out that the Lord requires much greater submission on the part of us all to one another than might at first glance appear to be all the submission that is needed to Church leaders alone.


The second might be real submission, but it is not real submission to the Lord's Day.

Quote
Where does it say this Tom? I mean that we are commanded to assemble on the Lord's Day?


I donít have the time at the moment to look up all the passages that show this. Fortunately I donít have to, for there are quite a few articles on the Highway itself that have already done this. For instance: http://www.the-highway.com/sabbath_Engelsma.html.

If you donít have time to read the whole article, there are sections with in the article that are more specific to your question. I would say that in less than 3 minutes you should be able to understand where I am coming from.

Quote
Does that mean that we are not to assemble on any other day? Or that if we do and do not also assemble on the Lord's Day that we are somehow deficient on our practice before God?

What exactly is the Lord's Day biblically speaking? Which day was it? Has it changed since New Testament times?


Actually I think it is a great practice to assemble on other days. How ever, other days are not the Lord's Day. Which is the first day of the week (Sunday).
The article deals with this in greater detail.

Quote
Why? In my heart and to my conscience based on my understanding of biblical things the Lord is not interested in what particular day we assemble or even whether we assembly in a building or on the way to work on a public bus. He is interested in our hearts. His building is us. And He inhabits our spirits through His Spirit. We are His building wherever we may be.


Perhaps after you read the article, your understanding of biblical things will change. Or at least get you to do some research into some of the things the article says.

Tom


Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:48 AM

Originally Posted by Tom

Perhaps after you read the article, your understanding of biblical things will change. Or at least get you to do some research into some of the things the article says.

Tom


Tom...I read almost the entire article, skipping some toward the end since it was just repeating or re-emphesizing what had already been said.

I must say that this article is absolutely full of opinion, assumption, and downright additions to what is said in various verses that it refers to for support of it's position that one day of the week is more sacred and more to be considered than any other day under the New Covenant. Not only that but that we must all now dutifully attend Church as in a Sunday Church building if we are to honor the Sabbath! That such is clearly indicated in the Bible and so forth.

I daresay that by the authors premise I am close to being branded a heretic for implying that every day should be considered alike by those of the New Covenant.

Like I said it is full of personal opinion drawing conclusions based on scanty or non-existant support from the Scriptures with respect to what they actually say.

One thing that I think I need to do is do a more thorough study of the Sabbath and whether we as Christians today are to observe one day above all others today. Which I will do. Perhaps by this weekend.

I will post back here on what I find. Though I have an understanding of things already I hesitate to share the fullness thereof lest I too end up simply reciting personal opinion.

The author of that article, while undboutedly well intentioned, took a great deal of liberty I think in drawing the conclusions he did.

Carlos



Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:08 AM

Originally Posted by carlos123
Originally Posted by Tom

Perhaps after you read the article, your understanding of biblical things will change. Or at least get you to do some research into some of the things the article says.

Tom


Tom...I read almost the entire article, skipping some toward the end since it was just repeating or re-emphesizing what had already been said.

I must say that this article is absolutely full of opinion, assumption, and downright additions to what is said in various verses that it refers to for support of it's position that one day of the week is more sacred and more to be considered than any other day under the New Covenant. Not only that but that we must all now dutifully attend Church as in a Sunday Church building if we are to honor the Sabbath! That such is clearly indicated in the Bible and so forth.

I daresay that by the authors premise I am close to being branded a heretic for implying that every day should be considered alike by those of the New Covenant.

Like I said it is full of personal opinion drawing conclusions based on scanty or non-existant support from the Scriptures with respect to what they actually say.

One thing that I think I need to do is do a more thorough study of the Sabbath and whether we as Christians today are to observe one day above all others today. Which I will do. Perhaps by this weekend.

I will post back here on what I find. Though I have an understanding of things already I hesitate to share the fullness thereof lest I too end up simply reciting personal opinion.

The author of that article, while undboutedly well intentioned, took a great deal of liberty I think in drawing the conclusions he did.

Carlos




Hi Carlos,
I didn't find it very convincing either. He seemed to bring up (if I remember correctly) 1(one)New Testament verse from Revelations first chapter which was not conclusive at all to me. Then he referred to Dort. For me, Dort is not at the level of Scripture in authority, sorry, but the only authority Dort has is when it agrees with Scripture!
Not convinced yet. Bring it on!
Robert
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:10 AM

Carlos,
I do think that the verses about elders need to be dealt with for your interpretation (and mine!).
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:23 AM

Originally Posted by Robert
Carlos,
I do think that the verses about elders need to be dealt with for your interpretation (and mine!).


I've added this to my list of things to do Robert LOL. Seriously. I am just swamped with computer work just now and am trying to get a project finished by tomorrow so that I can get more filthy lucre...I mean money LOL.

For now let me say that I have nothing against elders, that I do not think they need to be neccessarily older chronoligically, that they are to be men, let's see...that recognizing an elder is the same as ordaining him (i.e. what I meant by recognizing one is...well...recognizing one in a public way through a laying on of hands or other form of public recognition before all).

I think that's all that comes to mind for now.

By the way Robert thanks for your encouraging words to me by PM. I appreciate it. Sorry that I didn't respond but I am trying to get this computer work done tonight.

Carlos

Posted By: Johan

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:06 AM

Carlos,

Indeed many of the things you say are correct as well. Your statements about God looking at the heart is so true, but this has been the case since creation. God didn't change.

Here is something from the Belgic Confession which, I hope, helps a bit.

Quote

Article 27: The Holy Catholic Church

* We believe and confess one single catholic or universal church-- a holy congregation and gathering of true Christian believers, awaiting their entire salvation in Jesus Christ being washed by his blood, and sanctified and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

This church has existed from the beginning of the world and will last until the end, as appears from the fact that Christ is eternal King who cannot be without subjects.

And this holy church is preserved by God against the rage of the whole world, even though for a time it may appear very small in the eyes of men-- as though it were snuffed out.

For example, during the very dangerous time of Ahab the Lord preserved for himself seven thousand men who did not bend their knees to Baal.^74

And so this holy church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or certain persons. But it is spread and dispersed throughout the entire world, though still joined and united in heart and will, in one and the same Spirit, by the power of faith.

^74 1 Kings 19:18

Article 28: The Obligations of Church Members

* We believe that since this holy assembly and congregation is the gathering of those who are saved and there is no salvation apart from it, no one ought to withdraw from it, content to be by himself, regardless of his status or condition.

But all people are obliged to join and unite with it, keeping the unity of the church by submitting to its instruction and discipline, by bending their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ, and by serving to build up one another, according to the gifts God has given them as members of each other in the same body.

And to preserve this unity more effectively, it is the duty of all believers, according to God's Word, to separate themselves from those who do not belong to the church, in order to join this assembly wherever God has established it, even if civil authorities and royal decrees forbid and death and physical punishment result.

And so, all who withdraw from the church or do not join it act contrary to God's ordinance.

Article 29: The Marks of the True Church

* We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully, by the Word of God, what is the true church-- for all sects in the world today claim for themselves the name of "the church."

We are not speaking here of the company of hypocrites who are mixed among the good in the church and who nonetheless are not part of it, even though they are physically there. But we are speaking of distinguishing the body and fellowship of the true church from all sects that call themselves "the church."

The true church can be recognized if it has the following marks: The church engages in the pure preaching of the gospel; it makes use of the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them; it practices church discipline for correcting faults. In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and holding Jesus Christ as the only Head. By these marks one can be assured of recognizing the true church-- and no one ought to be separated from it.

As for those who can belong to the church, we can recognize them by the distinguishing marks of Christians: namely by faith, and by their fleeing from sin and pursuing righteousness, once they have received the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ. They love the true God and their neighbors, without turning to the right or left, and they crucify the flesh and its works.

Though great weakness remains in them, they fight against it by the Spirit all the days of their lives, appealing constantly to the blood, suffering, death, and obedience of the Lord Jesus, in whom they have forgiveness of their sins, through faith in him.

As for the false church, it assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God; it does not want to subject itself to the yoke of Christ; it does not administer the sacraments as Christ commanded in his Word; it rather adds to them or subtracts from them as it pleases; it bases itself on men, more than on Jesus Christ; it persecutes those who live holy lives according to the Word of God and who rebuke it for its faults, greed, and idolatry.

These two churches are easy to recognize and thus to distinguish from each other.

Article 30: The Government of the Church

* We believe that this true church ought to be governed according to the spiritual order that our Lord has taught us in his Word. There should be ministers or pastors to preach the Word of God and adminster the sacraments. There should also be elders and deacons, along with the pastors, to make up the council of the church.

By this means true religion is preserved; true doctrine is able to take its course; and evil men are corrected spiritually and held in check, so that also the poor and all the afflicted may be helped and comforted according to their need.

By this means everything will be done well and in good order in the church, when such persons are elected who are faithful and are chosen according to the rule that Paul gave to Timothy.^75

^75 1 Tim. 3

Article 31: The Officers of the Church

* We believe that ministers of the Word of God, elders, and deacons ought to be chosen to their offices by a legitimate election of the church, with prayer in the name of the Lord, and in good order, as the Word of God teaches.

So everyone must be careful not to push himself forward improperly, but he must wait for God's call, so that he may be assured of his calling and be certain that he is chosen by the Lord.

As for the ministers of the Word, they all have the same power and authority, no matter where they may be, since they are all servants of Jesus Christ, the only universal bishop, and the only head of the church.

Moreover, to keep God's holy order from being violated or despised, we say that everyone ought, as much as possible, to hold the ministers of the Word and elders of the church in special esteem, because of the work they do, and be at peace with them, without grumbling, quarreling, or fighting.

Article 32: The Order and Discipline of the Church

* We also believe that although it is useful and good for those who govern the churches to establish and set up a certain order among themselves for maintaining the body of the church, they ought always to guard against deviating from what Christ, our only Master, has ordained for us.

Therefore we reject all human innovations and all laws imposed on us, in our worship of God, which bind and force our consciences in any way.

So we accept only what is proper to maintain harmony and unity and to keep all in obedience to God.

To that end excommunication, with all it involves, according to the Word of God, is required.



Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:01 PM

Originally Posted by Robert
I must say that this article is absolutely full of opinion, assumption, and downright additions to what is said in various verses that it refers to for support of it's position that one day of the week is more sacred and more to be considered than any other day under the New Covenant. Not only that but that we must all now dutifully attend Church as in a Sunday Church building if we are to honor the Sabbath! That such is clearly indicated in the Bible and so forth.

I would hardly conclude that Engelsma's article is "full of opinion, assumption, and downright additions". But be that as it may, this response is anything but a rebuttal. Simply writing something off as you have doesn't make the case in your behalf. nono

In the section, "Biblical Proof" Engelsma bases his view on the perpetuity of the Fourth Commandment. Now, to disprove his contention, you are going to have to exegetically show how hermeneutically one can extricate the Fourth Commandment from the other nine; no mean task I assure you and one which no one has successfully done as of yet. Perhaps you are up to the challenge? grin

There are two other resources which IF you are truly interested in studying the doctrine of the Sabbath will surely be of some help. One is a series written by Jonathan Edwards who has been acclaimed as the "greatest American theologian who has ever lived" (quite an accolade to be sure and one I believe as well as countless others he has earned).

See that 3-part series here: The Perpetuity and Change of the Sabbath.

The second resource is a book written by another recognized theologian who is yet living amongst us; Drs. Francis Nigel Lee. This is the most thorough study on the Sabbath that has ever been written. Surely, if one is to seriously consider this subject this book is indispensable.

The book can be found here: The Covenantal Sabbath

Ah yes, there are more resources available to you in your study:

- The Foundations of the Sabbath in the Word of God, by B.B. Warfield

- The Fourth Commandment:According to the Westminster Standards, by prof. John Murray

- The Sabbath Question, by James MacGregor [Series]

- The Perpetuity and Change of the Sabbath, by James Dennison

So, you can see that this matter of the Sabbath isn't something that the Church has ignored. Over the centuries this issue has arisen and such men as those above along with myriad more have considered the subject, studied the Scriptures and brought forth their findings. I would be more than remiss to not mention the fact that the Holy Spirit dwelt in these men no less than you would claim. The difference, however, is that all of these men were recognized for possessing particular gifts in the knowledge and wisdom of the inspired written Word. They are a formidable group, to say the least, which one needs to deal with and not simply dismiss as being "off the mark". I for one, and I will presume to say with some measure of confidence, that most others here, look forward to your arguments against the above references.

In His grace,
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:09 PM

Originally Posted by Robert
Where is it clear in Scripture that we are to assemble on the Lord's Day?

There is more than ample proof to be found here: My recent reply to Robert.

When you deal with these references with sound exegesis and reasoning from the Scriptures, bring forth your rebuttal, if you can. wink

In His grace,
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:14 PM

Pilgrim,
I respect the scholars that you have mentioned. The only problem with that, though, is that there are most likely scholars worthy of high honor who disagree with the men that you have mentioned. It therefore seems arbitrary to only honor the men that you have mentioned. To do so, I believe, would be to lack an obedient heart which would require me by conscience to hear others from the great Christian tradition that don't agree. By the way, that was Carlos' post, not mine,
Blessings to you,
Robert
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:45 PM

"When you deal with these references with sound exegesis and reasoning from the Scriptures, bring forth your rebuttal, if you can. wink"

Have you done the same with the opposing viewpoints?
I'll see if I can gather some! Fair is fair, Pilgrim!
Posted By: Johan

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:25 PM

Originally Posted by Robert
"When you deal with these references with sound exegesis and reasoning from the Scriptures, bring forth your rebuttal, if you can. wink"

Have you done the same with the opposing viewpoints?
I'll see if I can gather some! Fair is fair, Pilgrim!


You should definitely not try the apostle Paul, Augustine, or Calvyn!

Johan
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:33 PM

Originally Posted by Pilgrim

So, you can see that this matter of the Sabbath isn't something that the Church has ignored. Over the centuries this issue has arisen and such men as those above along with myriad more have considered the subject, studied the Scriptures and brought forth their findings. I would be more than remiss to not mention the fact that the Holy Spirit dwelt in these men no less than you would claim. The difference, however, is that all of these men were recognized for possessing particular gifts in the knowledge and wisdom of the inspired written Word. They are a formidable group, to say the least, which one needs to deal with and not simply dismiss as being "off the mark". I for one, and I will presume to say with some measure of confidence, that most others here, look forward to your arguments against the above references.


A formidable group of men and resources you have pointed me to Pilgrim! Indeed. Makes me wonder at my spiritual sanity in even contemplating the potential that the Sabbath is to be considered just as any other day by Christians today.

Incidentally I am not entirely certain that such is the truth Pilgrim. What I am against is the way that many seem to attach all kinds of things to the Sabbath that have litte or not Scriptural support.

Such as attaching to the Sabbath the supposed requirement that we all attend a gathering of believers inside a nice traditional Church building with a steeple on top. With elders and deacons and baptism and communion and everything else in between. All attached of course to the Sabbath.

This long list of stalwarks of the faith makes me wonder how it is that the Lord every brought me around to realizing that a 2000 year old "Church", I speak of the Roman Catholic Church, was wrong such that I turned away from her teachings and became a Christian.

Not to mention that many of these stalwarks of the faith did not quite grasp the Scriptures as they should have in any number of particulars notwithstanding their supposed correct interpretation of the Sabbath. In other words they were mortal just like any one of us. No better than any of us in understanding the ways of God apart from the Holy Spirit leading them into all truth.

A Spirit by the way that all true Christians have today. As much as any of these men did. And a Spirit that is just as willing today to lead any true seekers after God's truth into a great awareness and insight into the things of God as any of those men might have had.

Rather than building a lofty and seemingly unassailable consensus of what is true based on any number of stalwarks of the faith who might have believed the same thing in times past it would be well for us to take a look afresh at what the Bible actually says for ourselves.

For many stalwarks of the faith have been so very wrong in the past not to mention that one such "Church" which took stalwarkism (if I may put it as such) went so far as to elevate what said stalwarks believed to be equal to what the Scriptures say (referring to the RCC).

If I can do so I will start a new thread when I have done my proper study and come to any definite conclusions that can be adequately supported by Scriptures.

While that may seem quite presumptious of me in my saying that I might be able to draw different conclusions than learned Christian scholars in the past, such a belief is not so much an exalted view of my own biblical prowess as much a belief and trust in the Holy Spirit to lead me and to enable my mind to understand God's perspective on things as I seek the Lord.

A Spirit that all true Christians have.

Carlos

Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:42 PM

Originally Posted by Johan

You should definitely not try the apostle Paul, Augustine, or Calvyn!


So now proper exegesis becomes a matter of which stalwark of the faith we can bring on our side of any argument?

May I suggest that we drop the stalwarks and just focus on the what the Bible says in the plain meaning of what is written (unless there is contextual support for taking something figuratively).

I am concerned that we will end up in a never ending soup of stalwarkism and reference to who said what if we start discussing things based not so much on what the Bible actually says but on how many stalwarks we can find to support our respective positions.

Carlos
Posted By: Paul_S

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:10 PM

carlos123,

In light of:
Quote
This long list of stalwarks of the faith...
Not to mention that many of these stalwarks of the faith...
what is true based on any number of stalwarks of the faith...
For many stalwarks of the faith...
one such "Church" which took stalwarkism...
what said stalwarks believed to be...
a matter of which stalwark of the faith...
May I suggest that we drop the stalwarks...
we will end up in a never ending soup of stalwarkism...
but on how many stalwarks we can find...


before going to Paul, Augustine and Calvin, you might want to visit Webster (N.).
Posted By: Robin

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:15 PM

You have come here with your mind already made up. Additionally, you have come to a web site that specifically and explicitly identifies itself as advocating and promoting Reformed theology. So our minds are made up.

We are here to educate folks about why we embrace the Reformation and it's major doctrines, and to provide biblical exegesis in support of Reformed theology.

If you participate in the discussion boards of the web site that specifically identifies itself as a Refomed resource, having agreed to its Terms of Service you cannot in good conscience demand that we abandon our stated purpose and be "open" to ideas which - from the very start - we openly state our opposition to.

If you ask a question and are pointed to a link which answers the question and you disagree, fine. You wish to make a rebuttal, fine. But your rebuttal must follow the rules of sound scholarship, biblical exegesis, and thoughtful consideration of your opponent's point of view.

Judging by the repeated assertions in this thread with little to no exegesis in support of your arguments, Carlos, it has become apparent that:

1 - You have neither read nor understood the articles and references we have presented, and that

2 - You do not respect the constraints of this forum as a Reformed resource in support of Reformed scholarship.

Criticise us all you want for not being "open minded," but you knew that and agreed to abide by it when you created an account here.




Posted By: hisalone

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:22 PM

Time for me to chime in my 2 cents.

I'm sure individuals thought of Col. 2:16 and other verses concerning keeping laws and traditions, which include Sunday morning worship! However, aren't we all called to be disciples? Isn't the disciple's primary goal to become more like his teacher, who in this case is Jesus Christ?

Church under a steeple etc. is a blessing we enjoy in this country where we have the freedom of religion, if the N.T. church could have had the freedoms we have, don't you think they would have did the same instead of meeting in houses, secretly many times? In a church that was recognizable as a place of Christian worship (steeple etc)?

Now the next question, can we become disciples alone without the meeting together in fellowship as Christians? Now if we believe Matt. 18:20, we meet our teacher Jesus Christ in a special way when we gather together in worship.

Why do I say all this? we fight over should we meet Saturdays or Sundays or not at all, well, if we are true disciples of Jesus Christ, then we would meet as often as possible. One of the problems of most churches today is that they have cut back to one service, Sunday morning. That tells me that church is not interested in discipling people or making demands of the people, they might leave, we don't care what God thinks, doen't He desire total consecration? Read Luke 14:25-35 and then argue about which day to worship.

Why argue about the times, why not argue about why not MORE times of worship!! Do we come together as unto the Lord or to prove how spiritual we are or just for the purpose of doing our duty? For me, I worship whenever our church doors are open in order to become more like Him by learning of Him and seeing Him as He is, encouraged by others of the same mind.

Just my 2c, take it or leave it, but I think debating what day to worship or where is silly (no disrespect intended) in light of what we have been called to be. Disciples of Christ.

Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:22 PM

Carlos,

Let this reply due for both this response and your previous one.

1. You seem to bifurcate what these stalwarts have written from Scripture as if they never consulted the Scripture but simply wrote down their opinions. nono

2. Focusing upon the Bible is fine. But the truth of Scripture is not relative but absolute. Thus, sitting in a corner with your Bible (I'm assuming you are referring to the original languages and not some translation of fallible men, right?) wink The truth is first and foremost given to the CHURCH. It isn't that individuals cannot study the Scriptures for themselves, for even the Bible enjoins ALL to do so. But NOT in isolation from the body of Christ in which the Spirit operates. I say again (passages previously provided), that Elders were given to the Church for the purpose of TEACHING and PREACHING the Word of God. They are GIFTED by the Spirit to do so. To ignore what the Spirit has established in the Church would be nothing short of sheer arrogance.

3. Re: "what the Bible actually says"... again as if neither John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Robert Dabney, all the Reformed Confessions, Catechisms, etc., etc., ad infinitum totally ignored and/or missed the truth of Scripture. At least the Reformers stood toe-to-toe with Rome with the Scriptures and exposed their errors. Why don't you do the same. The onus is upon YOU and Robert to meet the challenge against what the vast majority of the Protestant Church and before has believed and set in writing to guard against heresy.

4. Yes, the Holy Spirit dwells in all believers alike, generally speaking. But He also gives good gifts to men, (cf. 1Cor 12:4f; Rom 4:6-8; Eph 4:11, 12). Now, your insistence that you have the same Spirit as did Edwards or Murray or et al is fine. However, this really puts you on the block, whether you know it or not. For God's truth is absolute, propositional, eternal and not relative or individualistic. Thus, either the Holy Spirit was not operational in all these hundreds of men and women throughout history when it was revealed to them that the Fourth Commandment is a creation ordinance and one which those delivered from bondage were to perpetually keep, or your view is not of God. The Spirit doesn't speak with a forked tongue! wow1

5. It is also true that no man is infallible in all things; that includes you. grin The litany of stalwarts who wrote concerning the Sabbath surely erred on some things. But what must be kept in mind and which certainly is worthy of consideration is that all these men came from different backgrounds, belonged to different denominations, differed on various articles of the faith with each other, yet they ALL agreed on many things. Could it be that they were ALL wrong on those things which they did not differ?

6. Lastly, bring your arguments if you will. But doubtless, they have all been addressed by these stalwarts with painstaking study of the Scriptures. And, some of the members here are no novices to the Bible either, although I unashamedly admit I cannot hold a candle to the stalwarts named yet I do disagree with them over minor doctrines.

PS: we would prefer you abstain from the silliness of "prooftexting" as is the manner of some, not that you would be guilty of such practice. We much prefer and insist on exegesis and biblical hermeneutical practices. Surely, "a text out of context is nothing more than pretext". BigThumbUp

BTW, yes please do start a new thread on the Sabbath.

Thanks!
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:36 PM

Originally Posted by hisalone
Time for me to chime in my 2 cents.


And much appreciated by me hisalone.

I agree with much if not all of what you said.

But I differ a tad I guess in thinking that there is benefit to be gained in looking at whether or not the Sabbath is to be considered as more important than any other day and even more specifically on whether we can rightly attach everything that is attached to Sabbath keeping as though respect for the Sabbath would justify anything else that we might care to justify in our Christian practice.

You do bring up some good points though and one's that I will have to prayerfully consider for when all is said and done we must each give ourselves liberty to pursue the dictates of our own conscience and do nothing more exegetical than not put a stumbling block in each others way.

To my thinking what I call Churchianity (no offense intended), that frame of belief that focuses on the Sunday Church service as the be all and end all culmination and best expression of the Christian life is a hindrance to the work of God.

And to the degree that any such discussion of a particular such as Sabbath keeping might be used by the Lord to bring some needed undermining of Churchianity...to that degree I look upon such a discussion as being...well...fruitful if not entirely productive perhaps.

I hope that makes sense. I do hope that you along with others here can help us stay on track not only in regard to proper exegesis but also by the spirit of our talk. Without intending to we can stray into not exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit while correctly interpreting the plain and legal meaning of what is said in the Scriptures.

Carlos
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:45 PM

Originally Posted by Pilgrim

PS: we would prefer you abstain from the silliness of "prooftexting" as is the manner of some, ...


I must confess to a certain ignorance of the latest terms regarding biblical discussion as I have almost no notion of what "prooftexting" is. It certainly doesn't sound like something I would want to engage in given that it sounds so bad.

If I do fall into "prooftexting", whatever it is, by all means please do correct me so that I can engage in more...well...godly texting I guess smile.

I don't usually engage in much biblical discussions these days since such as on the whole been generally unfruitful in the past but I am inclined to believe it was no accident that a post here caught my curiosity such that I responded to it and ended up engaged here.

For if I may say so without offending anyone, I seem to have stumbled upon a bastion of Churchianity here. Where persons here are not push overs spiritually speaking. And that is precisely the kind of Christians I need to discuss these things with. The kind that won't so easily take what I say hook, line, and sinker. The kind that will call me out as not having a correct interpretation, if indeed I am incorrect.

I relish this discussion in that the Lord may point out in me attitudes or views that must be brought under His Lordship as being wrong in me. But I also relish the possibility, however seemingly remote, that the Lord might also use me to shed some light on this continuing discussion and perhaps even use me in helping some...well...Churchians see things in a different light themselves. All to His ultimate glory and honor.

Carlos

PS. Now I really have to get back to my computer programming so if I can restrain myself...I will be quiet for a while LOL.
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:57 PM

Originally Posted by Robin

If you participate in the discussion boards of the web site that specifically identifies itself as a Refomed resource, having agreed to its Terms of Service you cannot in good conscience demand that we abandon our stated purpose and be "open" to ideas which - from the very start - we openly state our opposition to.


Hi Robin,

I am demanding nothing Robin.

I read the Terms of Service and nothing in those terms of service was understood by me to mean that I must unconditionally respect a position, any position, that seems unbiblical. Whatever that position is.

I am not a Reformed anything...well...other than a reformed sinner by the grace of God.

If I misunderstood the Terms of Service and otherwise am entering into discussions here that undermine what God would not want undermined then by all means I will leave. For that matter I will leave if I am asked leave for whatever reason unless those in authority here tell me to stay.

I don't believe in coming into Christian assemblies of any kind, whether in real life or over the Internet and stirring up controversy or otherwise. Though what I say in pointing others to what I believe the Bible to say does end up generating controversy.

Not because my beliefs are neccessarily unbiblical but rather because I don't believe in holding any Church tradition as so sacred that it cannot be questioned or even ignored relative to what the Bible might say otherwise.

I meant no offense by anything I have posted and would ask for your forgiveness if I said anything dishonoring to God in anything I said or how I said it.

If it is not desirable that I continue here just say the word and I will gracefully bow out of further participation here.

Thanks.

Carlos
Posted By: hisalone

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:02 PM

Originally Posted by carlos123


For that matter I will leave if I am asked leave for whatever reason unless those in authority here tell me to stay.



Stay Carlos, it is nice to see someone else in opposition, I don't feel so alone smile

BTW I'm no authority, so we both might be asked to leave!!! but I don't think so as long as all is dicussed in love and respect. Sometimes it comes to a point we must just agree to disagree, keep that in mind.
Posted By: CovenantInBlood

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:21 AM

Carlos,

Goodness! This thread has exploded. Well, I don't have the time to address everything that may have been said in this thread, but I 'm going to focus solely on our exchange for the moment.

Originally Posted by carlos123
Just curious CovenantInBlood...if you care to share, I am wondering what I said that might lead you to believe that I have an independent spirit? I am not asking from the standpoint of defending myself. Who knows. Maybe the Lord wants to point out something in me that needs attention but I am going to have a hard time seeing it as clearly as you seem to see it. Maybe the Lord can use you to help me in that regard.


Well, the first clue is that you describe hearing the word of God preached from the pulpit as watching "one man exercising his gifting in front of hundreds of the rest of us who must sit mute as spectators." The second is that you claim not to "fit into the square hole that organized Churches would have [you] fit into." These speak to a spirit that is unwilling to be humble in submission to his Christian brethren, i.e., an "independent spirit." Now, I do allow that there may be legitimate reasons for your inability to "fit in," as I have encountered a number of problematic churches in my short time. But the problem is not being "organized."

Quote
Quote

Now, perhaps all of the churches in your area are promoting a false gospel, in which case you would have reason not to be joined to them.


Well...now you are being a bit, how shall I put it, fascitious I think. Of course not all the churches are promoting a false Gospel CovenantInBlood. That would be quite ridiculous and altogether arrogant if I or anyone else thought such a thing.

Though in truth such a thing might be more common that we might realize in that many churches today teach that one can accept Jesus "into their heart" without submitting to Him as Lord (a most unblical Gospel if I ever heard one).

But that is not the reason I don't attend Sunday churches.


I wasn't being facetious, although I would doubt there are no gospel-preaching churches in your area. However, it is entirely possible, especially in these times.

Quote
Quote

We see in Scripture that these are done in the context of local assemblies (Greek ecclesia, translated "church," means "assembly"), in which godly men have been called as elders/overseers & deacons.


I believe I might differ with you just a tad CovenantInBlood in that it is my understanding that the Church or ecclesia is not so much an assembly (as in a building or something associated with a building) as it is a group of called out one's. Called out from the world to proclaim the excellencies of Him who calls us.

Nowhere in the entire New Testament is Church associated with a building. It is true that New Testament Christians met at first in a building, the Temple in Jerusalem but that was incidental and simply a convenience to their being Christians (not to mention that it was the most convenient and natural place to meet given their Jewish background).

It would be more in line with what they did in the New Testament to say that Church was a field or even a home than a specific Church building (if we were to superimpose our understanding of Church as a building today on the New Testament Christians such that we would start looking for a place to associate with Church as opposed to being the Church wherever we might be).


The Church ("capital C") is the assembly (ecclesia) of the elect ("called out ones"). But its visible manifestation is in local assemblies of believers (the ecclesia of God at Corinth, the ecclesia of the Thessalonians, etc.). I quite agree that this doesn't have to do with a church building per se - a building dedicated to the purpose of being a gathering place for the local assembly is an appropriate convenience, when it can be afforded, but it is not a necessity & has nothing to do with what the church is. Nevertheless, the local assembly is essential to the character of the church as it conducts its mission on earth.

Quote
I was just discussing this with a good friend of mine just a couple of days ago. He too does not attend a regular Sunday Church (there are a lot of us by the way and many more opting out of organized representations of Church these days...dare I say it might even be a move of God?). But both of us are absolutely committed to having Jesus be Lord of our lives and we are both surrendered to whatever He might want to do with our lives.

In 1 Cor 14:26 is an interesting description of what Church was supposed to be like in Corinth and what I believe it should be like, overall, today. My quote is from the New American Standard Bible...

Quote

What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation Let all things be done for edification.


Interesting set of verses those. Now why are we not allowing the Holy Spirit to lead our get togethers as a Church today. Do you know of any Church where God through His Spirit is given control of an assembled gathering like that? I sure don't. And I've either been involved or have attended a great many Church assemblies in my lifetime as a Christian.

I've only ever seen one such practice of Church. And that was not in an established and organized Church assembly. Rather it was among a group of Christians who the Lord knit together in an apartment building that we all lived in at the time. Some of us did not attend Sunday churches, some did, but we all met as equals in the eyes of our common Father and we allowed Him to lead us.

It was the most wonderful fellowship I ever experienced in my life and the most wonderful and true manifestations of God happened in that small Body that I think I have ever experienced.


I have been in Assemblies of God churches that take these verses largely as you do. There are a couple of important points to observe. First, this is still in the context of a local assembly ("When you assemble"). Second, Paul's instructions in this section conclude with the remark, "But all things must be done properly & in an orderly manner." Paul is not condoning spontaneous outbursts; indeed, such confusion as the Corinthians created in their local assemblies by their spontaneous outbursts was not authored by God (v. 33). Third, the apostolic age has long ago ended, & with it the extraordinary gifts & offices of that era which were necessary for laying the foundation of the church as it proceeded forward. There are no longer apostles or prophets, & revelation has ceased with the closing of the canon of Scripture. You can read more about that in our "Charismatic Movement Index."

The other grievances you mention are connected largely to these points that I have already pointed out, so I'm going to leave off here for now.
Posted By: Robin

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:36 AM

And relax. No one is asking anyone to leave! I said EXEGETE, not EXIT.
Pft.

Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:55 AM

Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
Originally Posted by carlos123
Just curious CovenantInBlood...if you care to share, I am wondering what I said that might lead you to believe that I have an independent spirit? I am not asking from the standpoint of defending myself. Who knows. Maybe the Lord wants to point out something in me that needs attention but I am going to have a hard time seeing it as clearly as you seem to see it. Maybe the Lord can use you to help me in that regard.


Well, the first clue is that you describe hearing the word of God preached from the pulpit as watching "one man exercising his gifting in front of hundreds of the rest of us who must sit mute as spectators." The second is that you claim not to "fit into the square hole that organized Churches would have [you] fit into." These speak to a spirit that is unwilling to be humble in submission to his Christian brethren, i.e., an "independent spirit." Now, I do allow that there may be legitimate reasons for your inability to "fit in," as I have encountered a number of problematic churches in my short time. But the problem is not being "organized."

As might be expected, I can heartily recommend a couple of articles which speak to the "organization" of churches within the Visible Church.

1. Ecclesiola in Ecclesia, by D.M. Lloyd-Jones. excellent

2. Sola Ecclesia: The Lost Reformation Doctrine, by Michael Glodo.

He begins with the following two relevant questions to this discussion:

Quote
With which of the following statements are you in greater agreement?

1. ďEvery day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.Ē

2. ďAway from [the church] one cannot hope for any forgiveness of sins or any salvation.Ē

It's surprising to see the answers people give. But and the truth of what is biblical surprises even more. wink

In His grace,
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:46 AM

To any and all who have responded since my last post to this thread....I am loosing track of who said what when that I have yet to respond to.

I will submissively and humbly remain among your company unless as I said, I am asked to leave, in which case I will submissively and humble...make leave to go elsewhere. I truly had no idea what I was getting into when I joined the forum here. I am actually glad I did because I could use some hanging out with others of my brethren who are into Jesus...hmm...I mean exegesis...well...Jesus too LOL.

I do have one suggestion though. This thread is getting rather long and we have covered so very much ground that it might behoove us for purposes of clarifying and highlighting the issues more clearly to start a new thread. If you all are agreeable to that how about "The definition of Church" or "What does the word Church mean in the New Testament?" or some such.

How about it?

And then perhaps another one on whether we are to observe the Sabbath still though I won't participate in this one until after I have had a chance to do some studying over the weekend?

I think some new threads to break apart this long thread might bring some of these issues into sharper focus and allow us to more easily get somewhere in any further discussion. What think ye my beloved brethren? Shall we leave this humble thread and go beyond hither and dither to discuss these issues among new thread habitations?

Carlos
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:52 AM

1. Try using "Threaded Mode" in the "Topic Options" menu to better keep track of who is replying to who.

2. By all means start new threads for any/all of the various topics mentioned in this thread.
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:15 AM

Originally Posted by Johan
Originally Posted by Robert
"When you deal with these references with sound exegesis and reasoning from the Scriptures, bring forth your rebuttal, if you can. wink"

Have you done the same with the opposing viewpoints?
I'll see if I can gather some! Fair is fair, Pilgrim!


You should definitely not try the apostle Paul, Augustine, or Calvyn!

Johan


According to Johan, yea. Calvin and Augustine were not infallible men.
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:23 AM

Originally Posted by carlos123
Originally Posted by Johan

You should definitely not try the apostle Paul, Augustine, or Calvyn!


So now proper exegesis becomes a matter of which stalwark of the faith we can bring on our side of any argument?

May I suggest that we drop the stalwarks and just focus on the what the Bible says in the plain meaning of what is written (unless there is contextual support for taking something figuratively).

I am concerned that we will end up in a never ending soup of stalwarkism and reference to who said what if we start discussing things based not so much on what the Bible actually says but on how many stalwarks we can find to support our respective positions.

Carlos


Great posts, Carlos. I too am against "stalwartism" (however, you must drop the k, replace it with a t). We don't know what Augustine and Calvin would say with today's scholarship, either.
In Christ,\Robert
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:13 AM

Originally Posted by Robert
[quote=carlos123]
Great posts, Carlos. I too am against "stalwartism" (however, you must drop the k, replace it with a t). ...


That's a good one! I can see it now...me preaching at Balboa Park in San Diego...not that I have done so mind you but have been considering it...

"To all you stalwarts out there! Thus saith the Lord..." LOL.

I think I like stalwarkism better even if it is a non-existant word. Stalwartism sounds like some kind of horribly deformed defect in a human being. Akin to a big wart of a defect on their body or something LOL. Yuk!

By the way this forum is a real pain to use. Maybe I don't know how to use it.

Everytime I come here to see a post I must then...

1. Go up and click on the Log in link.
2. Login.
3. Press the back browser button to get back to the Login (after login I am taken to the main forum index page).
4. Press the back browser button again to get back to the post I wanted to see.
5. Press the browser refresh button to have the Reply, Quote and other buttons show up now that I am logged in.
6. Page down on the page to finally find the post I wanted to reply to.

Whew! A lot of work.

Is there not some way for the email that informs me of a new post to just take me to that post and have me click on a Reply button which then takes me to a Login and then automatically takes me to the post in question again?

Without my having to do all this backtracking and refreshing?

Carlos
Posted By: carlos123

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:42 AM

I've started a new thread under the Theological section of the forum if anyone wants to join me there. The subject is "Biblically, what does the word Church mean?".

Carlos

PS. Wow! This short post is a record for me!

Posted By: Johan

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:34 AM

Originally Posted by Robert
Originally Posted by Johan
Originally Posted by Robert
"When you deal with these references with sound exegesis and reasoning from the Scriptures, bring forth your rebuttal, if you can. wink"

Have you done the same with the opposing viewpoints?
I'll see if I can gather some! Fair is fair, Pilgrim!


You should definitely not try the apostle Paul, Augustine, or Calvyn!

Johan


According to Johan, yea. Calvin and Augustine were not infallible men.


Robert, you still have to bring your evidence!
Posted By: Paul_S

Doing what you asked for - Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:16 AM

Originally Posted by carlos123
Now why are we not allowing the Holy Spirit to lead our get togethers as a Church today.


So let's try it out. Since you are clearly troubled by over-emphasis on public worship by the church of Christ on the Lord's day, preferring to equate all meetings of saints, you can hardly object to the gifts of the Holy Spirit being in operation here--especially since "here" is not an actual permanent locale of the type you are so allergic to-- since "to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good" (1 Cor. 12:7).


First, an "utterance of wisdom" (1 Cor. 12:8).

Much of your time here has been spent making slanderous and unsubstantiated criticisms against the majority of elders of the church of Christ (in North America, you said) based merely upon their serving in what you derisively term "organized churches" (as if "disorganized churches" are to be preferred) or "Sunday churches" (as if the 99%+ of historic Christians who have worshipped only on the Lord's Day--guess what, it IS biblical--were in error and you, with your fellow Campingites, were the sole remnant of spiritual Israel), to wit:
Originally Posted by carlos123
I don't go to a building on Sundays, sit there for a couple of hours, and watch one man exercising his gifting in front of hundreds of the rest of us who must sit mute as spectators.
There is something very wrong with organized Church today.
It is nothing like New Testament Church was.
:
When I have tried to be a part of traditional Churches I have without exception bumped into the conflict between what is (in current practice) and what I see in the New Testament. From wanting to baptize people in water in public (instead of in a Church baptistry) to wanting myself and others to be free to share what the Lord might lay on our hearts...the practice of New Testament Christianity doesn't fit into the traditions of most existing Churches today. Rather one must put on a straight jacket of Church traditions in order to be able to fit in.


Sir, repent of your slanderous accusation of the innumerable elders of the church of Christ who are laying down their lives to shepherd the sheep of God.


Second, an "utterance of knowledge" (1 Cor. 12:8). You have repeatedly demonstrated an absurd, contradictory ambivalence toward the authority of elders, on the one hand claiming that their authority is not of God when exercised among the assembled saints on the Lord's Day, to wit:
Originally Posted by carlos123
At most Sunday emphesizing Churches I am expected to go and sit and listen and learn and give some money perhaps.
But I must sit and stand and sing and then sit back down in line with what is expected of me.
Not by God but by the Church leaders of that particular assembly.
Much of what passes for Church today is about control.
About controlling the sheep so that things happen according to an expected norm of supposed order in the Church.

and on the other hand, clearly desiring to to exercise the authority of elders yourself, to wit:
Originally Posted by carlos123
...get together with Christians throughout the week to counsel them, to love on them, to help them in their every day needs and to otherwise shepherd them.
I consider myself to be their servant and aim for the bottom in pushing them ahead of me.
:
I can certainly go and baptize someone in the nearest lake, pond, pool, or stream that has water.
There is no requirement for a baptism to occur among a group of witnesses.
:
Do we have to be organized somehow in order to obey God with his respect to His wanting us to baptize others and participate in communion?


Sir, repent of your divided heart in despising the authority of God as exercised through the elders of His church while at the same desiring to exercise that same authority yourself.

Open your eyes, man! Your earliest negative portrayal of elders came in your first post, with a complaint against "watch(ing) one man exercising his gifting in front of hundreds of the rest of us who must sit mute as spectators". How is that different from what you have done yourself to large numbers of readers of this site who can not have profited at all from your self-exalting ramblings against the "Churchianity" which you alone appear to have escaped?


Third, a "discerning of spirits" (1 Cor. 12:10). You have rejected wise counsel proferred in this essential area of doctrine, placing your own experience and preferences above the collective wisdom of generations rooted in the whole counsel of God, while repeatedly acting as your own witness that you are submissive to the entire body of Christ, to wit:
Originally Posted by carlos123
I am not rebellious to authority, having an independent spirit, or otherwise.
:
Incidentally if there is rebellion in my heart may the Lord cause it to come to the surface that I might repent from it for it would be most displeasing to God not to mention hypocritical of me to go around with such in my heart.
:
I am wondering what I said that might lead you to believe that I have an independent spirit?
I am not asking from the standpoint of defending myself.
Who knows.
Maybe the Lord wants to point out something in me that needs attention but I am going to have a hard time seeing it as clearly as you seem to see it.


Sir, repent of the bitterness of this false humility which boldly and publicly draws attention to your own submission to God, while your own responses show that you are at best hesitant to accept any teaching which runs counter to your own desires.


Fourth, "teaching" (1 Cor. 12:29). While others here have labored to instruct you in many particular aspects of the role of the church, often with little gratitude for their efforts, there is one area that you seem extremely ignorant of, preferring to wrongly imply that the entire doctrine of the church is found in a handful of New Testament texts, to wit:
Originally Posted by carlos123
But Heb 10:25 does not say that I or other Christians must all get involved in the visible representation of Church today most commonly known as the Sunday Church service?
At least to my reading of that passage in context.
How does it read to you?


In the big picture, that is in the history of redemption from Genesis to Revelation, the ecclesia was always called out to be together, assembled in a locale, for its highest form of worship, instruction, reception of the means of grace, prayer, discipline, equipping for service and fellowship. That is such a GIVEN that the New Testament hardly needed to emphasize the point. What was chief among the terrors of the Law? To be CUT OFF--removed from the assembly, apart from which there was no hope of receiving the blessings of belonging to Jehovah.

Sir, repent of this running headlong, and encouraging others to do the same, into the death inherent in the attitude "I am the church", and plead the Lord to supply the true humility which places the benefit to your brothers and sisters found in assembling with them ahead of your own desires.


Fifth, "administration" (1 Cor. 12:28). As your posts have multiplied over the past few days I have been curious to find what it was about your style that seemed so unique at this site, and whether it had any relation to the content of your posts. Being unable to let something like this rest, I spent most of last night running several style analyses, and was not completely surprised by what I found.

My analysis used non-quoted text in all posts ranging from your first, #42525 through what was the latest at the time I began the analysis, #42592. Because I was simultaneously interested in some curious confluences of your posts with those of Robert--hmm, imagine that--I broke the posts into 3 groups: your own, Robert's, and everyone else's in this thread.

Here's what I found.

A) breaking the posts into separate words and then ranking their occurences,
the "Non-Carlos/Robert" group had the following common words most frequently:

1. 290 the
2. 168 of
3. 149 to
4. 126 and
5. 118 in
6. 100 is
7. 92 that
8. 74 a
9. 68 you
10. 66 are
11. 61 I


Notice especially that ranking of that little word "I", used eleventh in frequency.
Now here are your own frequencies:


1. 404 the
2. 396 to
3. 307 I


The word you used more than all but two others was "I" !!!! That's what imparts the whole tone of your posts!

Not to be outdone, Robert managed, in his much smaller posts, to use "I" even more
frequently than yourself:


1. 29 to
2. 24 I


B) the same data, expressed as percentages of all words used,


others 1.34%
carlos123 3.11%
Robert 3.81%


So on a word-by-word basis, both you and Robert felt compelled to refer to yourself more than twice as frequently as the other posters.

C) finally, using whole sentences rather than individual words, the analysis shows a similar pattern. In percentages of all sentences, the word "I" was used in


others 16%
carlos123 44%
Robert 37%


This confirms the sense I have had since your earliest posts that your motivation to present your own thoughts, ideas, convictions, interpretations and experiences has far outweighed your submission to the truth of the Word of God in this area of the authority that the Lord Christ has assumed both over and through His church.

Sixth, "exhortation" (Rom 12:8).

Sir, refrain from further attempts at teaching in this area until you have learned, from the Scriptures and godly men who have rightly divided them, to love the beauty of the proper assembling of the saints, and who would rather die than cheapen or abandon it.
Posted By: sojourner

Re: Doing what you asked for - Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:42 AM

Amen, Paul.Bullseye.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Using this Board - Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:01 PM

Quote
carlos123 laments
By the way this forum is a real pain to use. Maybe I don't know how to use it.

Everytime I come here to see a post I must then...

1. Go up and click on the Log in link.
2. Login.
3. Press the back browser button to get back to the Login (after login I am taken to the main forum index page).
4. Press the back browser button again to get back to the post I wanted to see.
5. Press the browser refresh button to have the Reply, Quote and other buttons show up now that I am logged in.
6. Page down on the page to finally find the post I wanted to reply to.

Whew! A lot of work.

For someone who presents himself as being computer savvy, I am rather amused to read the above. giggle

1. When you login to this board, as with most every other board online, you have the option to check the box, "remember me", which will save a 'cookie' to your HDD. In addition, people using any recent version of Internet Explorer will be prompted to save the login information as well, thus another 'cookie' is saved to your HDD.

2. Returning to the board directly from a Favorite/Bookmark or via typing in the URL or by clicking on the link in the notification e-mail will result in you being automatically logged in.

This is not rocket science, nor is this method unique to this board. [Linked Image]

3. IF you disallow all cookies or delete them at the end of the day, then of course you will have to manually login at each visit; an identical process shared by all BB software.

BTW, there is a HELP Forum here where such questions are answered. Posting consternations without an request for help usually go unanswered. wink
Posted By: carlos123

Re: Using this Board - Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:04 PM

Let's see I am now considered self-centerd because of the numerical frequency with which I have used the word "I"? Notwithstanding that I have used that word as short for "it seems to me based on my understanding of the Bible" or "Christ who lives in me seems to have indicated so and so to me" or even "at my present state of grace". "I" just seemed a whole lot shorter and less prone, in it's use, to wear my hand out from typing.

And it would seem now that I am also lacking in true computer skills as I, oops...as was previously stated by, .... I don't know what other word to use here...me...hmmm, by me I guess. Because...well...because I did not realize or use a remember me link, something that is not used by...I am trying real hard to not use the word "I" again but it's awefully tough to do so, by me at any other forum without difficulty.

So given the above I think it best if I take my leave of this forum and bid you all farewell.

The spirit behind the last two posts strikes me as decidedly not at all stemming from the Holy Spirit that I know. Not that those posting as such are not Christians. Only that they were perhaps not walking in love at the moment of their postings. Something I too have at times past perhaps been guilty of myself.

I apologize if I have not been acting in love in any way, shape, or form here and would ask for your all's forgiveness if that has indeed been the case.

I wish everyone well.

If anyone wants to stay in contact with me please send me a direct message and I will be more than happy to provide my email address to anyone that wants it.

Please disregard the other topic I started.

Thanks.

Carlos
Posted By: hisalone

Re: Using this Board - Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:53 PM

I'm sorry you "feel" that way Carlos, shouldn't 1 Cor. 13 come into play here? I have been in disagreement often on this board, but that is what is good about it, giving a person the opportunity to work through issues and doctrines. I never am worried about convincing someone of what I say, that is the Holy Spirit's work, and sometimes I am the one convinced. Feelings shouldn't be part of it, posts can easily be misunderstood. You must do what you believe God would have you do, but the forum has always been kind and loving even when I did take things personally.

I saw that some of the posts were personal against you, but that is where you show the patience of Christ. I just believe sometimes we all just use poor judgment it is part of the sin still working in us. Recognize it for what it is and then go forward. Personal attacks come, but come on, it is just a discussion board, a beneficial one at that. If you look at the posts in reply to me, you'll see I'm not a stranger to negative comments either, but they are just that. Nobody on this discussion board knows enough about me to make certain statements and when they come, they are taken for what they are and I go on.



Posted By: CovenantInBlood

Re: The importance of going to church - Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:51 PM

Originally Posted by Robert
How do you know that the Eunuch's situation was unique? Surely Acts doesn't give us a blow by blow account of conversions. Maybe the eunuch teaches us that a crowd is not necessary? Surely they could have traveled to an assembly.


Robert, the eunuch's situation is unique on its face! Phillip is given direct command from the Lord to travel the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, and when he comes across the eunuch the Lord commands him to approach the chariot. Then, immediately after baptizing the eunuch, Phillip is carried away by the Spirit to Azotus. How "ordinary" could the situation be?
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:59 AM

Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
Originally Posted by Robert
How do you know that the Eunuch's situation was unique? Surely Acts doesn't give us a blow by blow account of conversions. Maybe the eunuch teaches us that a crowd is not necessary? Surely they could have traveled to an assembly.


Robert, the eunuch's situation is unique on its face! Phillip is given direct command from the Lord to travel the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, and when he comes across the eunuch the Lord commands him to approach the chariot. Then, immediately after baptizing the eunuch, Phillip is carried away by the Spirit to Azotus. How "ordinary" could the situation be?


I don't profess to know what God is teaching from such an event. It could mean more than one thing it seems to me.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:54 PM

Robert,

I perceive an avoidance to deal with the issue which YOU originated, i.e., taking the event of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch as being paradigmatic for where/how baptism is to be done. CovenantInBlood challenged your view showing that the event recorded is, in fact, unique on its face. You then respond saying, "I don't profess to know what God is teaching from such an event.", which clearly contradicts what you originally asserted. The issue isn't what the passage "means", but rather how it is to be taken, i.e., a unique event which God providentially brought to pass as part of the infant Church's expansion by the inclusion of Gentiles, OR it is to be taken typically, i.e., a paradigm event which the Church is to model perpetually.

So, let me echo CovenantInBlood's question so as to bring this back to a cogent discussion: "How 'ordinary' could the situation be?"; given the explanation offered?

Thanks! grin
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:35 PM

Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Robert,

I perceive an avoidance to deal with the issue which YOU originated, i.e., taking the event of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch as being paradigmatic for where/how baptism is to be done. CovenantInBlood challenged your view showing that the event recorded is, in fact, unique on its face. You then respond saying, "I don't profess to know what God is teaching from such an event.", which clearly contradicts what you originally asserted. The issue isn't what the passage "means", but rather how it is to be taken, i.e., a unique event which God providentially brought to pass as part of the infant Church's expansion by the inclusion of Gentiles, OR it is to be taken typically, i.e., a paradigm event which the Church is to model perpetually.

So, let me echo CovenantInBlood's question so as to bring this back to a cogent discussion: "How 'ordinary' could the situation be?"; given the explanation offered?

Thanks! grin


I am not sure how unique that it was given that we don't have any idea of how often this happened. Acts doesn't detail every single conversion that occurred.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:50 PM

Originally Posted by Robert
I am not sure how unique that it was given that we don't have any idea of how often this happened. Acts doesn't detail every single conversion that occurred.

Speculation about that which is not revealed has led many astray and/or to fail to embrace that which IS revealed. (cf. Deut 29:29) Jesus Christ taught His disciples ALL that the Father had given Him. Paul failed not to preach the "whole counsel of God". John admits "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that should be written." (Jh 21:25)

The Lord God by His Spirit has put into writing ALL that is necessary for our faith and practice. There is a divine and perfect reason no other such account has been recorded in Scripture. Thus, we are to receive what is revealed as being sufficient for our "teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness." (2Tim 3:16) The account is unique, as designed and purposed by God. Further, IF one was to ignore its uniqueness and construct a polity concerning who, what and where baptism should be administered, it would have to be in harmony, via the Analogy of Faith, with the other historical narratives and didactic passages which teach that the Spirit has assigned Elders to be responsible for this task. wink
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:00 PM

Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by Robert
I am not sure how unique that it was given that we don't have any idea of how often this happened. Acts doesn't detail every single conversion that occurred.

Speculation about that which is not revealed has led many astray and/or to fail to embrace that which IS revealed. (cf. Deut 29:29) Jesus Christ taught His disciples ALL that the Father had given Him. Paul failed not to preach the "whole counsel of God". John admits "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that should be written." (Jh 21:25)

The Lord God by His Spirit has put into writing ALL that is necessary for our faith and practice. There is a divine and perfect reason no other such account has been recorded in Scripture. Thus, we are to receive what is revealed as being sufficient for our "teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness." (2Tim 3:16) The account is unique, as designed and purposed by God. Further, IF one was to ignore its uniqueness and construct a polity concerning who, what and where baptism should be administered, it would have to be in harmony, via the Analogy of Faith, with the other historical narratives and didactic passages which teach that the Spirit has assigned Elders to be responsible for this task. wink


Would you consider the Cornelius account unique?
Posted By: CovenantInBlood

Re: The importance of going to church - Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:14 PM

Originally Posted by "Robert"
Would you consider the Cornelius account unique?


Yep! wink
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:29 PM

Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
Originally Posted by "Robert"
Would you consider the Cornelius account unique?


Yep! wink


So you must then say that a person is saved after baptism, right?
Posted By: CovenantInBlood

Re: The importance of going to church - Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:54 PM

Originally Posted by Robert
Originally Posted by CovenantInBlood
Originally Posted by "Robert"
Would you consider the Cornelius account unique?


Yep! wink


So you must then say that a person is saved after baptism, right?


No. nope Why would I need to say that? What I can say, however, is that to demand that someone speak in tongues prior to being baptized on the basis of this account, for example, is fallacious because the circumstances are unique.

But now we're moving [Linked Image] ! If you want to continue to discuss the baptisms of the Ethiopian eunuch and of Cornelius, start a new thread, please.
Posted By: Robert

Re: The importance of going to church - Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:33 PM

In Acts 2 the more normal circumstances occur: the Holy Spirit is recieved *after baptism*. In Acts 10, it is recieved before. It parallels the Eunuch's case.
Posted By: CovenantInBlood

Re: The importance of going to church - Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:58 AM

Originally Posted by Robert
In Acts 2 the more normal circumstances occur: the Holy Spirit is recieved *after baptism*. In Acts 10, it is recieved before. It parallels the Eunuch's case.


Again, if you want to continue the discussion on baptism, start a new topic!
Posted By: MarieP

Re: The importance of going to church - Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:33 PM

Originally Posted by Johan
I found today a sheet of paper laying around with the following on it:

The importance of going to church

  • Furthermore, we draw near with our lips




I wonder if they actually know the context in which that phrase was spoken? Hmmmm... bingo

Yes, the chief importance of why we go to church is because there is a God who is worthy of all our worship, a Savior to be magnified! Yes, we are edified and encouraged in worship, but why?

1 Peter 2
1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,
"Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame."
7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,
"The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,"
8 and
"A stone of stumbling
And a rock of offense."
They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

I don't see any "me pleasing" in this passage, nor in the books of Hebrews or Revelation. Or Acts. Or Psalms. Or...
Posted By: Doc for Kenya

Re: The importance of going to church - Tue May 17, 2016 6:20 PM

I thought that was interesting that you have been researching the New Age groups. I completed about 20 years of research on that and I teach World Religion for University of Phoenix if I can help.

Doc
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