Attempting a Return to Christianity via Anglican Church

Discussion in 'New Members' started by Steve Orr, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. Steve Orr

    Steve Orr New Member

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    EDIT

    Oh boy. I already introduced myself here less than a year ago and just rewrote almost exactly what I had written then. Doh!

    Just ignore me lol. Or delete this post, please.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That's all right. Today is a new day. You can make this your 'fresh start' here! :yes: And maybe a fresh start with Christianity, too. :thumbsup:

    Christianity (essentially) is not about going to church or rituals or fellowship, even though those things may stand out visibly. Rather, in its true essence, Christianity is about coming into a right relationship with the living Creator of the universe. Every one of us Christians came into the relationship with shortcomings and defects (not one of us is perfect), but God works in and through each of us to improve us as we learn to trust Him more, hear Him better, and follow His gentle leading.

    Becoming a Christian isn't joining a church group. It's realizing that God created everything (and it was perfect), but humans sinned by disobedience and by failing to trust Him (Adam and Eve trusted the deceiver's lie instead of God's words to them). Every human being since then has fallen short of God's standard (which is perfection, for God is perfect). But in His love and mercy, God came to earth and became human (we pronounce His name Jesus, although back then among the Hebrews it sounded more like "Yeshua"); He became human so He could take the penalty for our sins upon Himself. He said if we would just believe in Him, He would restore our relationship with Him and make us His children. Jesus said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life (John 5:24). Jesus proved who He was by healing every sick person who came to him for healing, by raising at least three people from the dead, by living a sinless life, and by prophesying not just the manner of His eventual death but also that He would rise from the dead. Hundreds (at least) of people saw Him die on the cross, and over 500 people saw Him alive afterward (nail holes and all). No ordinary mortal could do any of those things, and those events are well-established as factual in the New Testament writings (the historicity of which is better supported than those of Plato or of many other early writings which we accept as historically accurate).

    It would be difficult for me to describe the joy and awe I experienced on the day when I trusted God to keep me safe and asked Him (the Holy Spirit) to come and live inside of me. Not that everyone will have an 'earth-shattering' experience when they come to faith in Jesus Christ, but I did; and no atheist could ever convince me that there is no God... they're too late, I have met Him and I know Him personally! I hope you will meet Him one day soon, too. There is nothing better than knowing God's love and trusting in Him to help us in this life, as well as trusting His promise of eternal life along with Him in the perfect, new universe He's going to create after He gets rid of this polluted one (Rev. 21:1).

    An Anglican church is a great place to learn more of the truth about God, as long as you don't expect perfection...because every church is filled with imperfect human beings for members (and clergy, I might add). Even so, attending church will almost always do a person more good than harm, ;) and I recommend it.

    God loves you! He really, really loves you!
     
  3. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Just add to my good friend's point here, that there is no need for a dichotomy between these things. To not see the importance of the inward connection with God is to miss a core part of being Christian, and to not request, require or depend on the physical/visible Church is to be a gnostic and a heretic. We have the wonderful duet between the visible Church, the liturgies, sacraments, the ministers of the church, the common prayer, and the inward faith that is engendered and nourished through these things. Almost nobody in human history has been graced by God immediately, through direct visitation; for the vast majority of humanity (for you and me), He works mediately through his Church, and through the world around you. If you struggle with faith, one of the big ways back is to join in the common prayers, bible studies, and fellowships of the Church. We are embodied people, and if you embody your faith, you will get what all the rest of us have also gotten, namely the visible hand of God in the world. Enjoy your journey!
     
  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Although I agree with what you have said here, (how could I not, I am an Anglican myself), I feel the need to point out that any denomination, (and the Anglican Communion is one), is in itself not "The Church". It is an earthly manfestation of 'The Church of Christ" only to the extent that it contains many faithful disciples and adheres to Christ ordained principles of spiritual and moral conduct.

    If the Anglican Communion gradually lost true disciples one by one until there was only one left, when that last true disciple ceased to attend it, the Churches of the Anglican Communion would still exist upon Earth as a physical reality, but no longer as a spiritual entity.

    However closely any denomination follows the doctrine of Jesus Christ, it does not in fact become itself, the Church of Christ on Earth. It merely most closely or more closely resembles the actual Church of Christ on Earth.

    The Church of Christ is a spiritual entity. The body of Christ is not a physical, organisational, legal, ecclesiastical authority. Not Roman Catholicism, not Anglicanism, not Baptists, not Methodists, not Christadelphianism, nor any kind of 'ist' or 'ism'

    The body of Christ is the invisible church of Christ on earth and in heaven. It is one and in unity with itself and Christ.

    That being said, traditional Anglicanism is in my opinion a most suitable place for true disciples of Christ to 'work out their own salvation' Phil.2:12 and discover God's provision and purpose for their lives.
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    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    According to the Anglican tradition, a church is a Church if it has three criteria: 1. the gospel is preached; 2. it has valid ministers; 3. it exercises church discipline. A body of people doesn't just become part of The Church by calling themselves as such, or by calling themselves 'a denomination'. Not every body which calls itself a 'denomination' is in fact part of the Church of Christ. But those that fit the criteria (there are a few of those, on the planet today) is in fact a portion of the actual Church of Christ on the earth. There are tangible criteria for who counts as in the Church, and there are tangible, visible boundaries for who is in the Church, on earth.
     
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    All very helpful points, but none of which refute anything of mine that you quoted. An Anglican Church is THE church only as long as it follows Christ in Word, Deed and Doctrine in every respect, in every person. As long as it contains any unregenerate sinner, (and it always must), it is not THE Church, (That is something much greater and more spiritual), but it is still a good church for disciples of Christ to be members of or for the unregenerate to become regenerate. (There are others of course, but pastures are not always greener on the other side of the hedge).
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    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
  7. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    I would disagree that having a personal relationship with God is all Christianity is about. Even atheists have a personal relationship with Hod even if they don't know it. God knows them and when they die they will be subject to His judgement. Believing in God and accepting who He is are, of course, vitally important. I do, however, firmly believe that we Christians must worship God and that is why the liturgy is important. It is the communal, public worship of God.
     
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  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that God insists that me must worship Him. God insists that we must not worship anyone else, which is not quite the same thing, is it. I think we need to worship God. It is good for us to do so. I really don't think God actually gets very much out of it though. Particularly insincere and hypocritical worship. Jer.7:21-28. God would far rather we Love him and have due regard for our neighbour by behaving more like Jesus did.
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  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    You're correct that a personal relationship with God is not "all" Christianity is about. We could come up with a very long list of all the things Christianity is about. However, I still feel that when we boil it down to its barest essence, Christianity is about coming into a right relationship with the living Creator of the universe, by His grace through our faith in Jesus Christ. What I mean is this: God loves us and wants to make us His own children, part of His family, and He wants to enter and take up abode inside us (the Holy Spirit), but until we come to believe in Christ we have no right relationship with God and are at enmity with Him.

    Anyone who doubts that this is the most basic essence of being a Christian need look no further than the Eucharist. Every time we partake spiritually by faith of Jesus' body and blood, we see this truth brought home to us: Christ is in us, and at the same time we are found in Christ. If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him (John 14:23). The Eucharist is often called Communion by many, because in it we partake in a tangible reminder that we commune (have intimate fellowship) with God. Eucharist reminds us that Christ our brother is in us and that He desires to work in, with, and through us; He is the friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24). There is no higher calling for a human being than to be indwelt by and in intimate communication with the Creator; indeed, what do you think we will be doing with God for all eternity, if not communing intimately with Him as we praise Him, look upon His majesty, bask in His love and glory, and partake of His wisdom? The entire liturgy leads up to, points toward, and culminates in our communion with God.

    If we value so little our intimate relationship with God in this life, what will we do when we come face to face with Him for all eternity; do we expect to just spend our time walking around some park-like place admiring the flowers and the rest of creation, while ignoring our fabulous Creator? Is that how we should live our mortal lives? Zoe begins here, now, in this mortal flesh which the Holy Spirit has deigned to make His temple! The Mighty One (He of the burning bush, the pillar of fire by night, and the cloud of glory in the tabernacle) indwells us! We have an intimate, personal, love-filled relationship with the Almighty Creator!
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
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  10. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    I do not say that belief is not necessary or important. Of course, it is. Slavish adherence to the liturgy would be meaningless without faith. I mentioned the importance of liturgy because your prior post read to me like a fundamental Evangelist might write such as all you have to do is let Jesus into your life and your saved, which implies nothing else is. I don't want to digress into a discussion about whether works are necessary but worshipping God is the most important thing we do as God's children.
     
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  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I understand. And I can appreciate you hearing a 'fundamentalist' twang in my posts from time to time, because I've "been there and done that," so the lingo is part of my baggage. :) I wrote what I wrote to our friend Steve Orr concerning the all-important starting point of becoming a follower of Christ and the tremendous implication for a person's life in being able to talk with and receive help from the Almighty Creator Himself. Whereas you were, I think, focusing a bit more upon the important spiritual growth that takes place as we walk in obedience to God's written word and the inner witness of the Spirit (part of that walk is our participation in a local church where we justly praise and worship Him, receive nurturing and support in our faith and doctrine and morals, and learn to make ourselves a blessing to others both in the church and outside of it).

    Let me add a word about worshipping God: although we worship Him in church with the liturgy, truly you're right about the importance of worship because (now that I've been a believer for decades) I realize that every good thing in and about my life comes from God. And I've gotten to where worship is not even totally a conscious decision; I'll be working or doing whatever and "Praise God," or "Thank you, Lord," just pops out of my mouth because I'm grateful to Him. Worship becomes a lifestyle, eventually.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2020
  12. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    I do agree. Worship of God is vitally important, and it should not be confined, as you quite rightly point out, to one hour per week on Sunday morning.