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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.


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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


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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.

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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...

Quote
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

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Carlos

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

Tom

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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,


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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


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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

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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.

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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?

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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


Last edited by carlos123; Sun May 31, 2009 9:43 PM. Reason: Changed something to someone when referring to elders :)
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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

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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 didn’t quite deal with my questions. Although I think he dealt with them fairly extensively, I do believe Pilgrim’s latest post that can be seen here deals with your questions with even more detail.
If for some reason, you still don’t 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 hasn’t 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

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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

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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

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