Characteristics of the Church

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by Rexlion, Jun 4, 2021.

  1. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Is Jesus, the LORD? I think so, don't you. :) It makes perfect sense that the same LORD who instituted the Isrealite's Passover Feast, should have also given us himself as our Passover. "Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast". He knows all about doorposts and lintels and even having body parts 'awled' to them. 'Awl' there in the covenant for those who seek out the information. :)
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  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Who do we suppose it is that does the pruning of the vine and the olive tree?
     
  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    There's more to explore in this subject, though.

    Question: If the Israelites were members of the same church as us, what about the Israelites who have lived since the time of Pentecost? What about the Jews who live today, including those who live in Israel? (Although I heard that there are more Jews in New Jersey than in Israel.) :laugh: Are they still part of the church, or have they been cut off? And if the ethnic group, the natural children of Jacob, have been cut off because of unbelief (Rom. 11), what does that say about the Israelites in the wilderness? It does not seem possible that they could have been part of the church with us when one considers that they all died in the wilderness due to unbelief; only Joshua and Caleb (and their families) entered the promised land. Unbelievers aren't part of the church, am I correct? :hmm:
     
  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    The long answer to this is, Rom.9:30-33 + Rom.10:1-21 + Rom.11:1-36.

    I think Paul is saying, we don't know really, it's in God's hands that Israel is not altogether in The Church and God can deal with that situation fairly without any injustice. Gentiles, like us can be thankful that we have been included and grafted in to the rootstock, (presumably that rootstock is the Old Testament Church of faithful Israel, in continuity). But what of the rest who did not join the sect of the Christians but remained 'fathful' Israelites and Hebrews?

    The writer to The Hebrews says to them:
    "So we must listen very carefully to the truths we have heard, or we may drift away from them. For since the messages from angels have always proved true and people have always been punished for disobeying them, what makes us think that we can escape if we are indifferent to this great salvation announced by the Lord Jesus himself and passed on to us by those who heard him speak?
    God always has shown us that these messages are true by signs and wonders and various miracles and by giving certain special abilities from the Holy Spirit to those who believe; yes, God has assigned such gifts to each of us.
    And the future world we are talking about will not be controlled by angels. No, for in the book of Psalms David says to God,"What is mere man that you are so concerned about him? And who is this Son of Man you honor so highly? For though you made him lower than the angels for a little while, now you have crowned him with glory and honor. And you have put him in complete charge of everything there is. Nothing is left out."
    We have not yet seen all of this take place, but we do see Jesus--who for a while was a little lower than the angels--crowned now by God with glory and honor because he suffered death for us. Yes, because of God's great kindness, Jesus tasted death for everyone in all the world."


    This is only my own opinion, but is broadly based on my understanding of scripture, (such as that may be), and what I believe to be the character of Jesus Christ, but I think that modern day Judaism contains members of Christ's Church by virtue of the fact that one has only to respect Christ's credentials as a prophet and a leader of God's people and to be obedient to His teachings to BE a disciple of Christ. And discipleship is what Christ expects of us, Luke 14:26-33, not mere alignment with the dictates of a mostly Gentile, (it would obviously seem to some Jews), religious organisation, often hostile to the Jews 'faith' in God.

    God would know if a Jewish follower of Christ, (such as Nicodemus for instance), John 7:50-52, John 19:39. was acting out of 'faith' or out of 'lip service to the law'. Clearly Nicodemus was like Nathaniel "An Israelite in whom was no guile". I believe any such Jewish person of similar character and faith in God and His ways will be rewarded with the fulfilment of the promises of the Old Covenant, because they have 'kept faith' with God, often in the face of severe oppression by the ungodly, such as in 1930-45 in Europe and at other times elsewhere in the world, God will keep faith with them.

    Messianic Jews of course we may safely assume are rewarded according to the Terms of the New Covenant and are undoubtedly integrated into Christ's Church, but this does not mean they have to adopt Gentile styles of worship or join 'Gentile predominant Churches'. Even baptism might not be essential for their salvation, if they are circumcised, since the two are synonymous, but I would strongly recommend it to them, especially if female, since it is a sign and seal of a new covenant commitment to Christ as their Messiah and Master and the beginning of a new life, out from under the yoke of The Law.

    I think we can assume it to be correct that there are no un-believers in the invisible church. I personally think there may be some non-believers in it though, perhaps, but they don't know they are in it. :laugh:
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  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    It's Sunday, and another question came to me as I thought about our recitation of the Nicene Creed. We believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic church. The 'church' in the wilderness didn't seem very holy, and I don't recall Moses being an apostle, so what's the deal with that?
     
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Development. In the KJV the church's convocations are referred to as being 'holy' and 'holiness' is demanded of the Israelite 'church' by God himself. Ex.12:16, Ex.19:6, Ex.22:31, Num.15:40, Deut.7:6 etc.

    The church did not become 'catholic' until it learned from Christ how to be so but it was under his command that it becomes so. Matt.24:14, Matt.28:19. Being 'catholic' is not what made it the Church though. It was the church already, before it became 'universal'. Being universal is a feature of the New and Better Covenant, not a defining factor of a New and previously non existant as yet, Church.

    There were no Apostles in the Israelite Church because Apostles were ‘sent’ by Jesus of Nazareth, (apart from Paul, who was sent by Christ), whereas God’s ministers and messengers under the previous terms of the covenant were appointed by YAHWH. Ps.104:3-4, Num.11:26-29.

    The gospel this morning reminded me of what was required of the Isrealite 'church' for salvation. Mark 3:20-35.

    "Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." Mark 3:33-34.

    Jesus looked around him and clearly identified family, (that is, he accepted those around Him right then, as being his kith and kin), you don't put your kith and kin in hell at the judgment, so he must have been looking at the church when he said this, because only the church is promised eternal life. And before anyone says no one could 'do the will of God', I would say Jesus seemed to think it not only possible but mandatory for Iraelites under the covenant. If it were not possible, that would be a cruel trick on God's part to suggest it was but then send them all to hell just because they died before it became practically possible through Christ, to do the will of God. It was the faith of the brothers, (patiently awaiting the coming of their Messiah), that Jesus pointed at that day, that ensured their salvation, just as it is faith in Him that ensures ours, who recognise his Messiahship from, this side in time, of His ascention.
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  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I've been doing some more studying and thinking, and I'm going to have to disagree about this. I'm quite positive now that "the church" to which we belong, the church which Jesus Christ established and said He would build, is not the same as the "church" of Israel.

    First, it must be noted that ecclesia was a Greek word in common usage and could denote any sort of assembly or grouping of people. For example Acts 19:20-41 speaks of a crowd of people who got together as a sort of 'lynch mob' looking to take out their anger on Paul and his companions. This could not in any way be regarded as a church gathering, yet the Greek word for this mob is ecclesia. Therefore we can see the the Septuagint's use of this Greek word in the O.T. does not prove, and should not suggest, that the group of Israelites were a 'church.'

    Second, when Paul spoke of the Israelites eating and drinking what our translators called 'spiritual' meat and drink, it was physical, material food and water, not some ghostly things. Plainly what is meant could be more accurately called supernatural meat and drink, since it came to them by supernatural means by God's provision. And when Paul mentions a spiritual (that is, supernatural) rock (the Greek doesn't capitalize 'Rock' btw) that followed them, Paul is referring to an old recorded legend of the Jews in which a chunk of the very rock from which the water sprang was said to have rolled along behind the Israelites on their journeys to dispense water wherever they went. Now, what about "...and that rock was Christ"? Christ is not Jesus' last name, you know. :rolleyes: The word christos in Greek literally means 'anointed.' Paul could have meant that the (legendary) chunk of rock was anointed, or he might possibly have meant that the rock which spouted water was a figure of Jesus the anointed one. This verse does not prove that Jesus led the people. Why, if anything it might be used to prove that Jesus followed them around... perhaps while the Father or the Holy Spirit led the people in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. And the mere fact that God led them in the wilderness does not truly make them "the church;" God led Pharaoh to harden his heart, and that proves nothing about the church, either.

    The fact of the matter is, the ecclesia or assemblage of Israelites was, almost to a man, filled with stubborn, disobedient, unfaithful, ungrateful people who refused to follow Moses into the promised land and who cast a golden idol at their earliest opportunity. They were not holy (God makes the believer holy by the indwelling Holy Spirit, which those people lacked altogether) and they were not apostolic. Nor was their theology orthodox; they were more heretical in their beliefs than any Arian or Novatian. They could not have been a part of our one, holy, catholic, apostolic church.
     
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  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    The doctrine of a continuous, unified church spanning the O.T. and N.T. eras alike derives from Romanism. I have encountered it many times among Roman Catholics. It is an idea that pollutes the Anglican Church today.

    Here's the capstone proof for us Anglicans that the O.T. assembly of Israelites did not constitute, make a part of, or have anything to do with Jesus' church.

    Article 19 - The Church
    The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure word of God is preached and the sacraments are duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same. As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred: so also the Church of Rome has erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.​

    Were the Israelites a congregation of faithful men? No.
    Were the sacraments (baptism and Eucharist) duly ministered to them according to Christ's ordinance? No.
    Was the pure word of God preached in their midst? Debatable.
    (Were the Israelites 'visible'? Yes. Whoopee.)

    Truly, "the Church of Rome has erred." Let us not make the same error!
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
  9. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    On the contrary in all my years of studying this, I’ve seen Rome repeat over and over again that the Church was started in the New Testament. They actually have to say that, because only in the New Testament do you have Peter, the Papacy, etc. They believe that the Papacy is what constitutes the Church, so they have to state that it began in the NT, otherwise allowing the OT to have been a church of sorts would utterly invalidate the entire claim of the Papacy. And indeed I’ve never seen Roman theologians refer or allow the OT to be called the Church (someone correct me if I’m wrong please!).

    Indeed I’ve only seen Anglican theologians refer to the OT as the church, actually as a dig against the Papacy (that it’s not essential for a body to become the church). Therefore I see it as one of the distinguishing marks of the Anglican tradition.
     
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  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Well, frankly, I haven't studied RC doctrine on this specific issue. It's just what I've encountered over the years (more than a decade) mainly on one website run and populated by RC laity. No guarantee they have accurate ideas about it. I suppose I shouldn't have included that dig in my post, but it lined up so nicely with the end part of Article 19, and I assumed... :facepalm:
     
  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    That's good. :)
    But you are not suggesting that the 'assembly' of the Israelites was a 'lynch mob' surely and the word used in the LXX to describe the Israelite 'assembly' was ecclesia, the same Greek word used in the New Testament to describe the Church. I think your reasoning is shaky in the semantic use of the Greek term if you try to make out the Israelites were a mere mob. They had leadership ordained by God, just like the church of today. Presumably you are wanting to re-translate and correct the faulty bits in the King James Bible to make church read 'mob'.

    "This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, [Jesus Christ] that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt," Acts 7:37-39.
    No, but this one does: "This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt.

    You seem to be opinionated that the church is incapable of being disobedient to Christ, and that therefore obedience is necessarily a mark of The Church, and furthermore, therefore the Israelites could not have been the church because they were disobedient, (faulty reasoning and perverse logic though that undoubtedly may be).

    Annanias and Sophira were both in the church and both just as disobedient to its head and leader, which was Christ, and there were others in the church, you call the only church, who were just as disobedient as any in the wilderness church.
    The way you view the Israelite church one wonders how Jesus ever had a people to come to. How he ever came in the fulfilment of scripturally recorded promises to anybody. Had no holy and faithfully righteous people in his ancestry. Just popped into human history descended from a string of 'mobsters' on his adopting father's side of the family, that had all hated and disobeyed God. Gosh that would be just so heretical.

    Oh! so I see you got there before me. The heretical Hebrew church that gave us the supposedly un-heretical scriptures, delivered to us magically by God, untainted by the heretics who put pen to paper. I don't believe any of that crap myself. Yes the Israelites were plenty naughty but so was the Apostolic Church at first, (and probably still is if truth be admitted), otherwise Paul was ranting on about nothing to his converts.

    Where did you get this silly idea that Church members cannot commit sin, so if they do they couldn't have been Church members? Not very scriptural at all that silly idea. Nobody in Christ's Church should commit sin, but we often still do. It does not disqualify the Church from being the Church though, or do you think it should? We call the Israelites in the wilderness the Children of Israel, We could just as accurately call many of them the 'Naughty' Children of Israel but their naughtyness does not mean they couldn't possibly have been the Church

    Firstly it's not your or even our one, holy, catholic, apostolic church. It's Christ's.
    Secondly 'Holy' just means 'set apart' and we can all agree that the Israelites were 'set apart' by God, for God's purpose, which was to make the Church and redeem the world.
    Thirdly the church became Apostolic when Christ 'sent' his disciples to complete the task God had started with the church in the wilderness. In fact the church God started when he counted Abraham as 'righteous'; because Abraham believed God's promises to him. (something every dispensationalist fails to do every time they fail to baptise their infants, and believe God's promises made by Him in scripture, to their redeemed and believing parents).
    The doctrine of a continuous, unified church spanning the O.T. and N.T. eras alike derives from the teaching of The Apostles as derived from the scriptures, just as the baptism of the infants of believers derives from the pages of scripture. The fact that 'Dispensationalists' don't understand that is proof positive that there is disobedience and stupidity in the Church. That doesn't stop them being 'the Church' fortunately for them.

    WHAT!!! No women in the Church, faithful or not? This goes far beyond just making them wear hats and veils in church, doesn't it? :laugh::biglaugh:

    Were Annanias and Sophira a faithful man and woman? Acts 5:1-5.
    Was the guy in Corinth having it off with his mother faithful? 1 Cor.5:1. (This was obviously far more serious than just still living with your mum, no matter how many Christian mums would dearly like to kick their 35 year old sons out of the house when they still eat but don't pay their way).
    Baptism
    is directly equivalent to circumcision and circumcision is a 'Spiritual' sacrament.
    The sacrament of the Old Testament pointed forward to the incarnate Christ and were the seals of the grace which was subsequently to be obtained through the sufferings and death of Christ, whereas those of the New Testament are concerned with and point back to Christ and his perfect redemptive sacrifice which has now been accomplished.

    Passover
    is not quite equivalent since it only commemorates deliverance from slavery in Egypt, whereas Eucharist commemorates deliverance from sin altogether. However the sacrament of Passover does commemorate the 'faith' of the Israelites and their obedience to God's commands, just as the Eucharist should call to mind our 'conversion' from death to life eternal through our obedience to Christ's call and reliance on God's Grace. Once more though the Passover can be seen as looking forward to a greater deliverance, while the Eucharist looks back to Christs atonement.
    Where in heck do you think the scripture care from? Is it NOT the pure word of God. Who was it preached to; Gentiles? Most of what we read was said in the Old Testament was said to the Church there.
    Not quite sure what point you are trying to make here but I agree with it. Yes it seems they were, especially to their enemies when God was on their side.
     
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  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    And we Anglicans, being Reformed, know they are wrong when they say the Church was started in the New Testament. Just as they are wrong about many other things in the scriptures. Someone in this thread needs to see who his bedfellowes really are on this issue, and it's not Anglicans who've got it wrong. :laugh:
    Quite so, definitely no polution either. It is in fact the Pure Doctrine of The Apostles and the sign of an Apostolic faith.
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  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    You are most certainly not wrong.

    "Roman Catholic theology affirms that there is an essential difference between the sacraments of the Old Testament and those of the New. It assimilates the sacraments of the Old Testament to the Mosaic covenant and affirms that their significance is purely typical. The sanctification resulting from them was not internal, (it maintains), but only legal, and prefigured the grace which was subsequently to be conferred on mankind in virtue of Christ's passion. This does not mean that no internal grace accompanied their usage, but simply that it was not effected by and through the sacraments as such, as, according to Roman Catholic teaching, is the case since the coming of Christ. They had no objective efficacy, they did not sanctify the recipient ex opere operato, but only by reason of the faith and charity with which they were received-ex opere operantis. Because the full experience of the grace typified by these sacraments depended on the coming of Christ, the saints of the Old Testament were received into the limbus patrum until Christ brought about their deliverance.

    Such affirmations, and all others connected with them, have for their background a particular conception of the relationship between the Old and the New Testaments which flows in general from a priori philosophical notions. It places the two Testaments in opposition to each other without discerning, as the Reformed theologians habitually did, their internal unity, equally concerning the divine Person who inspired them as concerning their respective contents. This anti-legalism, surpassing the limits of a legitimate protest against Judaism and Pharisaism, produces an unwarranted opposition between the Old and the New Testaments, destroys the unity of revelation, devalues the teaching provided in the Old Testament, and finishes by making it, in the name of the dignity of the New Testament, a factor of negligible proportions for faith and for piety, and consequently for theology.

    Certain forms of Protestantism also have frequently constituted themselves the champions of such principles, and they have been tirelessly refuted by those of us who are persuaded by the Holy Spirit of the internal unity of the Holy Scriptures taken in their entirety."

    (The Biblical doctrine of Infant Baptism, Piere ch Marcel.)
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  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I left something out, so correction/addition:
    The way you view the Israelite church one wonders how Jesus ever had a people to come to. How he ever came in the fulfilment of scripturally recorded promises to anybody. Had no holy and faithfully righteous people in his ancestry. Just popped into human history descended from a string of 'mobsters' on his mother's and his adopting father's side of the family, that had all hated and disobeyed God. Gosh that would be just so heretical and even suggests the BVM was 'unchurched'. :hmm:

    Throughout history the word "unchurched" was a derogatory reference to people lacking access to culture or education or referred to inappropriate, improper or impolite behavior. It is no longer used this way. (more's the pity). :laugh:
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  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    You have been making the mistake of thinking it is the pruned off dead branches which are the distinguishing feature of church. Looking at the dead branches and saying "That is not the church".

    The Lord was the vinedresser, in both Old and New testaments. John 15:1. (actually Jesus of Nazareth's heavenly Father, but there is only one God, and the Christ is God, so Christ as God, is vinedresser in both Old and New 'dispensations'). Jer.8:13, Mic.7:1.

    These are prophetic generalisations of spiritual famines of grape and olive though.

    There has always been a remnant of faithful followers of God in every church dispenation. 1 Kings 19:10-18. Just as there may be faithful followers of Christ in every sect and denomination in the church after Pentecost, but they are known only to God himself.
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  16. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    It seems to me that those who see a basic opposition between Old and New Testaments, strongly oppose infant baptism also . They often see no connection between The Christian Church and the Church of Israel. Indeed the very term 'Church of Israel' would seem to be a contradiction in terms, to them. They see no connection between the sacraments of the Old Testament and those of The New.

    For them, it seems, the whole doctrine of the covenant of grace disappears and is replaced by an entirely New concept.

    The most disturbing aspect of this new mindset that they seem to have adopted is the fact that they seem to have altered either implicitly or explicitly their entire concept of the biblical notion of grace. Nor is it a question of a devaluation of what is called "prevenient" grace, but an active mutilation of the whole doctrine of grace as it is revealed to us in the Old and New Testaments, and, together with it, of the doctrine of sin - for the two doctrines are intertwined.

    It is as if they have passed, in fact, into another theological world!

    In this new 'dispensation of theirs', they admit that their infants and young children are no longer "heirs of the promises", indeed they are not even in a Covenant which has such promises, since they say it no longer exists.

    Their children are no longer in the Church, which cannot embrace them because of their 'unconscious state'.

    Their families are spiritually and organically disintegrated and disrupted as far as their infant's status is concerned, with a now redundant, even non existent, (according to their reasoning), God given covenant promise.

    The believer is now alone in the presence of God, separated from all collectivities, (even though they were divinely instituted and of which they form a part), and God acts only toward the individual believer and on their behalf, no longer to the family.

    It is desired to bestow upon their children a dangerous and imaginary liberty which they will eventually abuse and misuse, requiring repentance and faith before receiving anything in terms of forgiveness of sins and acceptance into the Covenant of Grace by responding positively to The Gospel.

    The Church has become for them a society of adults to which their children are admitted as proselytes at the time when each on their own believes and is converted and sanctified.

    The ministry and discipline of the Church are not the same as previously; the concepts of the responsibilities of individuals, of parents, of children, and of the Church are quite different, because the methods of divine action are no longer the same and God no longer addresses Himself to the believer and the Church in the same manner. The cure of souls is deprived of powerful means. For some, the sacraments are no longer seals; they no longer remain for any the sacraments of the Covenant of Grace as revealed to us in scripture.

    When we examine the theology, of the opponents of infant baptism and all that they find themselves obliged to sacrifice or ignore, we discover that they are in a dismantled building and obliviously accepting the most desperate spiritual impoverishment.
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  17. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    This is the 'characteristics of the church' thread, not a baptism thread or a 'bash the bad theology' thread, btw. ;) But you can have it now; I am fairly certain I've said everything I could think of on the subject. :)
     
  18. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I was merely calling all this thread reader's attention, (as a rounding off of a wearing out thread), to the fact that our concept of the church and its origins as defined by our understanding of what scripture tells us about it, profoundly affects the faith itself, at even as fundamental a level, as the administration of baptism, the most fundamental sacrament of the church. So dispensationalism is by no means a trivial error as a theological system of biblical interpretation.
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  19. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Let's look at a hypothetical aborigine who knows nothing of our religion, but he sees the hand of God in the world and he asks the Creator to help him. He does what he supposes the Creator would want him to do. Of course, he never attends a church gathering or anything like it. But he responds with faith in God insofar as the measure of revelation of God he has been given.

    Is he a part of the church? I would say 'no', because he is not following Jesus Christ. Will righteousness be imputed to him? I would say 'yes.' So you see, in my view the issue is not 'OT times' versus 'NT times'. The issue is, was the person in the ecclesia?

    I suspect, Tiffy, that your answer to the first question will be 'yes' whereas mine was 'no.' Do I guess correctly?

    On the other side of the coin, there surely are some folks who attend church religiously, yet they do not really believe, and so they are not part of the ecclesia either even though by outward appearances it would seem otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
  20. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Country:
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    Religion:
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    Since your concept (that Jesus' church existed a thousand years prior to His incarnation) is demonstrably inconsistent with Anglicanism, perhaps it is you who have "passed into another theological world." :hmm: Since it isn't an Anglican doctrine, and Stalwart says it isn't a RC doctrine, I am curious to know which sects preach the concept.