Why is your church the true Church?

Discussion in 'Navigating Through Church Life' started by Tuxedo America, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    I was raised Episcopalian for a year or two during my childhood, but ended up getting confirmed in the "Roman" Catholic Church in high school. I didn't practice my faith until I got to college, so I didn't know what my Church taught until I began studying. Prior to my studies, I would have said that Jesus isn't present in the Eucharist, man has no power to forgive sins- so, I had been heavily influenced by protestant attitudes.

    After learning what the RCC taught and hearing the defense for its doctrines, I was convinced. I remain so based on the Church history I've read.

    So, my question to everyone here is: what convinces you that your church is correct, whether you're Anglican or otherwise?
     
  2. Anne

    Anne Active Member Anglican

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    I remain Anglican based on the Church history I have read as well ;) So uh oh....
     
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  3. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    "Why is your church the true Church?"

    I wouldn't say that's the right question. Anglicans believe that Anglican doctrine, tradition and practice exemplifies the best of Christianity, not that it's the only true church out there.

    Even Roman Catholics don't believe they are the one true church any longer... in this as in many other things they are becoming more and more like Anglicans
     
  4. Ide

    Ide Active Member

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    I agree with Anglican 74- it's not the right question for me. From what I've read of church history I would be more incline to see Eastern Orthodoxy over Roman Catholicism as the "one true church" given its history and organizational structure.

    I did not grow up Christian, so I don't base my views on an allegiance to any camp. I try my best to understand what the arguments say according to scripture, tradition and reason. I'm not an official member of any church at this time, but my sympathies lie in the Anglo Catholic branch.

    I think that even the RC church has numerous fissures emerging even though it will deny that it affects them. I don't think there is a single church body which hasn't suffered from fraction and discord.
     
  5. outlawState

    outlawState New Member

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    There is little in the bible that says that you have to be convinced that your church is "the correct one" to be a Christian. Christianity is primarily a personal endeavour, and in that respect your own faith is more important than that of other church members. What matters is that you and your church are part of the "church of God." But as Polycarp made clear with the gnostic Cerinthius, and as Peter made clear with Simon Magus, there are degrees of heresy that exclude some from being seen as part of the church of God.

    So the real question is identifying churches which one shouldn't attend. There are many, and they are increasing all the time with liberalism or should I say libertinism. A primary if perhaps surprising requirement to be seen as a "church of God" in 1 Cor 11 is that women should cover their heads when praying or prophesying.
     
  6. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    “The Anglican Communion, with its fellowship of Churches, has a special responsibility at this time in the world. We have no doctrine of our own—we only possess the Catholic doctrine of the Catholic Church enshrined in the Catholic creeds, and those creeds we hold without addition or diminution. We stand firm on that rock. We know how to bring to bear on our Christian devotion and creed all the resources of charity and reason and human understanding submitted to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So we have a freedom and embrace a faith which, in my belief, represents the Christian faith in a purer form than can be found in any other Church in Christendom. That is not a boast. It is a reminder to us of the immense treasure that is committed to our charge — the immense responsibility on us in these days to maintain unshaken those common traditions that we have inherited from those who have gone before us.”​

    Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher, 99th Archbishop of Canterbury, quoted in Church Times, 2 February, 1951.​

    I do not believe that we are the true Church, but that we are part of the true church, namely the one holy catholic and apostolic church.

    On my reading of theology and church history, I would have trouble coming to the position of the latin-rite catholics, and whilst there are things that trouble me in Anglicanism, Anglicanism afford me the luxury of belonging while I wrestle with those things.
     
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  7. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    Why do you say this? Are you implying that individuals are making this claim, or that the Church is teaching this?
     
  8. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    What specifically do you think in Church history and theology supports Anglicanism as opposed to Catholicism, SDA, Baptists, etc.?
     
  9. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    Doesn't there have to be one Church that is "more perfect" and teaches more accurately than any other? This is the Church we should be seeking. If Jesus said to eat His flesh and drink His blood, and He wanted the command to be understood as churches that believe in the Real Presence understand it, shouldn't we be in a church that teaches it? Same goes for every other matter of faith. At some point, I believe there should exist one church which teaches more accurately than any other, and we should oblige ourselves to be counted among its faithful.
     
  10. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Both... the people: the majority of the RCC Church hierarchy, bishops to Cardinals to Popes; to the teachings: to the magisterial documents and teachings of the last sixty years amount to this exact teaching!

    That there may be a Church that's more perfect than others out there at any given time is not controversial.. That's just a tautology. At every given time Churches can compare to one another in their fidelity to our Lord, and some Church will #1 by definition.. that ranking changes with the times, as Churches become more and less faithful to Him as they become corrupt or recover..
     
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  11. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I think you are asking me to take a position I specifically did not take.

    In a sense the RCC is fairly much a top down hierarchy, whilst Anglicanism has something more a mix and our hierarchy is held to account. I see this as healthy - frustrating but healthy. I have trouble accepting the notion of no salvation outside the catholic church (especially when understood institutionally) and I do not think it is our role to hem God in, and whilst I would see God as acting and using the Church as a vehicle of salvation, I don't want the tail to wag the dog - and in an orthodox shrug I might conclude ineffable. Whilst I accept some of the basic notion of the Petrine Primacy, I am not altogether sure why that ends up being seen as Rome rather than Antioch, and I wouldn't see the Pope as having a governing authority over and above scripture, tradition and indeed the Great Ecumenical Councils (Nicaea 1, Constantinople 1, Ephesus, and Chalcedon to be quite specific). I also do not believe that the Catholic Church is limited to that part of the Church in communion with the Bishop of Rome, and I do not accept any council since 1054 as being truly ecumenical even though they are names and claimed as such.

    On the other hand I quite like the way the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral summarises the essentials in terms of Scripture, Creed, Sacraments and the Historic Episcopacy.

    I ask no-one to accept what I say as anything other than what is true for me. In this tradition of Faith, Hope and Reason that I have grasped, and been grasped by, I encounter the good news of salvation of Jesus Christ. So this is the way I choose to walk. I am glad of those who choose to walk with me, and accept that others have seen the great faceted diamond of salvation in a slightly different hue and must walk according to the light that they have grasped.
     
  12. outlawState

    outlawState New Member

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    No. For a start the argument that you make is completely alien to the bible, wherein it is assumed that all true churches are in fellowship with each other, which is the way it should be. The church that we are commanded to seek is the kingdom of God, a heavenly church, which is manifested on earth in different locales. The notion of excommunication or one-upmanship using esoteric points of philosophical doctrine is foreign to the gospel. One can very plausibly argue that the matter of who is right or wrong on many "issues" is entirely subordinate to the matter that the RCC or "high church" chooses to unrecognize or excommunicate on the basis of such trifles.

    The high church has a deadful history of denying fellowship to other believers. The RCC supremacy, which followed the Council of Chalcedon, and the elevation of the Roman Bishops begun by Leo I to "universal bishops" over the whole church, was with the naked aim of achieving political supremacy, and equally the Council of Nicea imposed its own unique formula of Trinitarian supremacy that sought to ostracize any other church not owning its creeds. They were more about wielding political power than anything else. The creeds are mostly political compromises with the aim of triuphing over enemies, such as Arians. They are not necessarily about theological correctness or biblical fidelity. Surrounding the Roman churches (Roman and Orthodox) were a host of evangelical smaller churches, in Bulgaria, Britain, Persia and beyond, which were all but ostracized due to these political power plays. This process of political power play eventually led to the metropolitans of Antioch and Alexandria, whom did not subscribe to Chalcedon, being deposed from their former status.

    So when you talk about "accurate teaching" what you often mean is the result of political power-play. The doctrine of the "real prescence," is another unambiguously human gloss on the words of Christ, which one can adopt or reject. It means little in the final analysis because judgement is according to works (Rom 2:6). To distinguish churches on the basis of such trifles or vanities is like Pharisees arguing amongst themselves over the "traditions of men."
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  13. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    My own experience has been completely to the contrary.
    Whilst I think Leo's Tomb was an attempt to exert influence over the Council at Chalcedon, I don't know that I would cloth it with the naked aim, and I am not sure which Council of Nicaea you refer to, for whilst the first dealt with the doctrine of the Trinity, and was specifically called to deal with the issue of Arianism, and resulted in a number of the Arian's being banished (though they then drifted back), the second largely dealt with iconoclasm.
    I think this claim is quite disparaging of the work of the Cappadocian Fathers, and the significant contribution they made to the Nicene Creed as it came to be promulgated at the 1st Council of Constantinople (381 AD). I also feel that the Nicene Creed is one of the best pieces of theological writing since the prologue to the fourth gospel. The Nicene Creed is well grounded in Holy Scripture.
    There were significant power plays at both Ephesus and Chalcedon, and I agree that Cyril of Alexandria was not properly heard, and was almost certainly wrongly accused of monophysitism at Chalcedon, and that must of that may well have been orchestrated by Antioch following similar treatment of Nestorius at Ephesus under Cyril's lead. Antioch however did subscribe the the Council of Chalcedon, and Alexandria was not given the opportunity, though my understanding in talking to Oriental Orthodox christians is that it is such a fine line that they would almost certainly have subscribed to it had they been heard and given the opportunity.

    I don't for one moment argue that the Church has ever been immune from politics, and I think a fair reading of Acts, and some of the Pauline material should make that apparent. That however does not mean that we are bereft of good people doing their best to trust God, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly, and God does not abandon us.
     
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  14. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. Which specific documents are you talking about so I can discuss it?
     
  15. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    All the churches shared the same teaching. You didn't have Baptist pastor Bob in Corinth and Catholic Father Tom in Thessalonica. They believed the same things.
     
  16. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    In what way does Christ offer salvation? Unless God appeared to every single one of us, we would need someone to tell us that we can obtain salvation. We would also need them to tell us what salvation is and how we can obtain it. Jesus stated many requirements for being saved, such as, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16), "Unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3), "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6: 54). Whatever interpretation one takes of these, surely we can all agree that Jesus attaches them to the promise of eternal life? One question we should be asking ourselves is, "Who has this teaching authority?" Another question we should ask is, "Who has the power to do these things?" In other words, who can baptize, forgive sins, consecrate the bread and wine of the Eucharist, etc.?

    In Old Testament times, I see no reason to believe, for example, that gentiles could imitate Jewish worship, and God would make their priesthood and sacrifices and such "valid". This is among my biggest problems with protestantism. I see it as worshipping God, but doing so without valid holy orders because nobody was ordained by someone else who was ordained, and so on and so forth. Even if they were, I can't bring myself to believe that they could teach radically different things than their "original" church taught, and either retain "God's blessing" (for lack of a better term), and retain the power/authority that their ordination gave them.

    I'll even turn this onto the Catholic Church itself. The Catholic Church (the one I'm in) predates Luther and all of the reformers. Every reformer necessarily believes that the Catholic Church is wrong. So, if we assume that my thoughts on ordination are correct (and that at least one of the reformers are correct), then nobody is validly ordained. Nobody inside or outside of the Catholic Church would have a valid ordination because, if the Catholic Church is in error, then it wouldn't have the authority to validly ordain anyone. In other words, we'd all be up cr*p creek with no paddle.

    It's one thing to say that one was ordained by so-and-so, and they were ordained by someone else, and the first people in that line are the apostles- but how can that ordination be valid if error has been taught somewhere along the way?

    Thusly, I believe that, whichever Church Jesus instituted, it is the means by which Christ (the head) offers and grants salvation to all people.
     
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  17. GunMetal23

    GunMetal23 New Member

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    Eh, I have mixed views on this. Christ did start an actual church. The Bible is only half the story (respectfully). The majority of the New Testament is letters addressing specific concerns for individual churches. There's nothing laid out in the format of the Old Testament. Such as rules, regulations and guidelines. The closest thing we have is the didache, but I even question what might've been changed in it. There are doctrines within the Catholic Church which are completely alien to scripture, and any early church writings. I don't see any scriptural evidence that the church is just the body of believers, I see the contrary actually. But I could see it panning out to be the body of believers. There is no "true church" without error today. Catholics have the increasing problem of sedevacantism and traditionalist railing against what's going on inside the church. Liberalism is taking over the emergent church and other churches which hold to apostolic traditions. It's all a mess right now. The main thing is to Love God, keep the faith of Christ, and obey the commandments. Sacraments help in all 3 areas. IMO you can't go wrong there. Eastern Orthodoxy is an interesting faith. If I had to say what was closest to the "true church" it'd be them. In Christ- Rome
     
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  18. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    John 6:37
    Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away

    John 19:30
    When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

    That I would understand to be the one holy catholic and apostolic Church which we affirm every time we say the Nicene Creed.

    English orders clearly predate the Act of Supremacy, and indeed both the Norman and the Danish Invasion, and also the Augustinian Mission, and Indeed the Council of Arles. I did not take this as a discussion about the validity of orders, per se, and I do say that to see the Anglican Church as an English expression of reformed theology is to sell it short and miss a great deal of the nature and character of our Church.
     
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  19. Severus

    Severus New Member

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    So you're basically saying that someone who is in error can't ordain someone or get ordained?
    According to Roman Catholic theology this isn't true, because every validly ordained bishop can ordain, even if he is a heretic, a schismatic or excommunicated (cf. Ott, L. (1959). Grundriss der Dogmatik. 4th ed. Freiburg: Herder, p. 546). Even before Vatican II the RCC regarded all sacraments in the Eastern Orthodox Church, which was heretical and schismatical from their point of view, as valid.
     
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  20. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments.
    Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ’s, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ’s ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith, and rightly, do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.
     
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