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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.

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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,


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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,


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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

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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 Carlos’s 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 don’t have the time at the moment to look up all the passages that show this. Fortunately I don’t 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 don’t 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



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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




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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

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

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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


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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.

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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,


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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,


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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

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"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!

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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

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