Characteristics of the Church

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

  1. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This is works righteousness Rexlion, you see that right? If he does “the best that he can do”, he will be justified… what? You can’t really believe that.

    If he was one of the elect, even an aborigine, then God would provide the means for how to save him.
     
  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus - out side the Church there is no salvation.

    This is an ancient principle held in both the East and the West. If you allow the aforementioned aborigine to be within the embrace of salvation, then you by virtue of this are allowing him to be part of the Church. The principle does now allow the institution to establish who is saved, but rather allows God to determine who will be a member.
     
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I'm not alleging a works-based righteousness, it's a righteousness imputed through faith in the Creator of whom the person has never heard, but of whom the creation itself speaks.
    Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
    Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:


    You postulate that, if someone is in this situation, God will send a missionary or give the man a vision or something. You could be right about that. I have heard reports of Muslims who lived in countries closed to the Gospel, who received visions from God in which He showed them Jesus.

    I'm only postulating that, even if God did not send a vision to such a person, that person might come to faith in God from (Rom. 1:19-20) what he sees in the creation around him, and a just God might not hold such a person to a standard of believing more than what God has caused to be revealed to him.
     
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    You realize, I hope, that the Roman church wields that statement like a cudgel. By their definition, the RCC is the only true church, and outside of the RCC there is no salvation. It's wrong when they say it, and (unless you can show such a demanding requirement from the Bible) it's wrong when anybody says it. Look, the OT faithful were not a part of the church when they lived (although they will be united with us in that glorious, resurrected body), so by saying that quote you're excluding them from salvation, too. As I pointed out in post #28:

    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.
     
  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The OT church and the NT church are not in a physical continuation in the sense that the OT Aaronic priesthood was propitiatory, and that is no longer necessary since our High Priest Jesus Christ is the perfect high priest fulfilling that function. Instead the NT priesthood is from the line of Melchisedech, where the sacrifice offered is one of praise and thanksgiving (literally “eucharistos”). There are other differences as well.

    So what we can say is that the OT church is the type of the NT church. They were same but different; different but the same.

    The OT sacraments were indeed duly administered: the mandatory circumcision of the flesh; the Manna in the desert and the regular sacrifice and consumption of the Sacrificial Lamb. The threefold order of the OT ministry (levite, priest, high priest). The justification by faith taught in at least a dozen OT passages. It was indeed the One True Church, albeit not yet universalized for the whole world and under the aegis of the Messiah, as took place from the NT onward.
     
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Abram was just in the same position as the aborigine would be, surely. If God accepted Abram's 'faith' in God's promise as righteousness, (which is exactly what christian regeneration entails), just as did Abram, then he must have been elect, while he continues to believe in the promise. That is all that happened with Abram and which caused God to change his name to Abraham. It is God who chooses and names us, not ourselves. It is God/Christ who decides who excatly is in the church. He chooses; not ourselves or any other human being on earth.

    If such an aborigine were to hear the Gospel preached in the power of the Holy Spirit he would immediately repond as the crowd did at Pentecost and probably say something like, "What must I do to be saved". The answer of course is believe and be baptised, but in fact we also know that to be saved and to enter the church we don't actually have to do anything. God has already done everything necessary to ensure our salvation. Baptism is a seal and a sacrament, not a qualification in 'faith' and even less, not a qualification in righteousness. Once called by God to be in the Curch though, we must learn from Christ and teach others what we now know. Matt.28:19-20.

    Once more, it is God alone who knows what is in the heart of a man or woman, God alone who knows if they are in the Church.

    For the purposes of earthy ecclesiastical 'book-keeping' we have baptiismal certificates and records but God's books are the only ones which really count. If your name is written clear in the Lamb's Book of Life, then you were in the Church, whether in Old or New Testaments. Whether pagan, heathen Jew, Moslem or Christian. If your name is blotted out, then you were not. Revelation 3:5, Revelation 17:8, Revelation 20:12-15.

    There is also an even larger multitude which do not fall neatly into either category, it would seem. Revelation 5:11-14.
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  7. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    You are not paying attention are you. Where have I said that Jesus' church existed a thousand years prior to His incarnation. I haven't, not once. I have said that Christ's church existed prior to the New Testament. Jesus of Nazareth was a man born in time who lived and died a man. The Christ was The Messiah, an eternal being who pre-existed the universe but who dwelled bodily and inseparably divinely, in Jesus of Nazareth. When Jesus said, "upon this rock I will build my church", was it Jesus of Nazareth who was saying it or was it The Christ of God, The Anointed One?
    Were those words the pronouncement of a man or of the eternal God, who "Before Abraham was, is"? John 8:58. If Christ was around even before Abraham, then he certainly was around 400 years later, with Moses and the Isrealites or do you still think that's not possible for him? Acts 7:37-39 says it's not only possible, it actually happened, or don't you believe that either?

    How else can you explain Christ's appearance with the angel on Mt Sinai, to speak with Moses and be with the church?

    "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, [Christ] that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him [Moses] in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: [the Israelites] who received the lively oracles to give unto us: [the Law and the Priphets] To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him [Christ] from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt. Acts 7:37-39. This says that it was not against Moses that the people rebelled, it was against Christ.
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    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Nice try. But as you admit, the OT priesthood was propitiatory whereas the NT priesthood is not; and "there are other differences as well," as you point out. Too many differences! Whatever gathering or assembly (to which the word ecclesia, a word with a broad meaning in Greek, has been used) the Israelites had is different. Not the same. Not 'the church'. Different.

    Hey, gatherings to honor Molech included priests, too. By the screwy definition being suggested, they were a church, too! But only one church was built upon the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ's redemptive work on the cross. That church began sometime in A.D.
     
  9. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Do you deny that Abraham was justified by faithful Christ? Or that the Patriarchs had literally met Christ in person? Then if so, you have a bone to pick with St Paul who affirms all those things. According to St Paul, the Christ was just as real for the Old Testament as for the New, just in a different mode, and he would affirm that the OT writers wrote explicitly about Christ, consciously. In other words it’s not us “reading Jesus into the OT after the fact”, no he claims that the OT was explicitly dedicated to Christ, and the people were explicitly saved by him, as well as having a personal knowledge of him.
     
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  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Jesus is not Christ? Wow. Interesting argument. Sounds like semantics and word play to me. Might even be a heresy, something to do with His natures.

    So, if you're right, those who had faith in God the Father didn't get righteousness imputed to them, because that was only for those who believed in the coming Messiah (of whom they had limited knowledge). Is that what you mean?
     
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  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I don't deny that at all. Those who had faith in the revelation God provided to them were justified by God. Same as the examples I gave of the aborigine or the man in a Muslim country.

    I gather from your reaction that you're trying to say this is supposed to be a part of Anglican doctrine? I haven't read that before now.
     
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  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you understand the Messianic hope of the Old Testament church, which was 'faith'. It was as salvific as the hope of the New Testament Church in Jesus of Nazareth and his atoning death and resurrection.

    Most other denominations cannot explain satisfactorily how it was that the people of the Old Testament could be saved. They don't understand the Covenant, let alone the NEW Covenant. Many even think no Old Testament saints were saved; only people who believe in Jesus. Anglicans are just not that sold out on 'dispensationalism' and all its assumptions, that they are willing to cosign the ancient people of God to such an uncertain fate, especially when scripture, taken as a whole, says otherwise. God is the God of the living not the dead. Matt.22:31-33. I guess you are equally as astonished as they were to discover that these people are not dead but very much alive and with God, according to what Jesus said or are we supposed to doubt that too in order to uphold the more spurious notions of 'dispensationalism' concerning their fate?
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  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Still not listening or reading what I've written. I have not written "Jesus is not Christ" until this instant and only then to quote your misquote. :laugh: Go back and actually read what I REALLY wrote, then apologise for misquoting me. ;)

    No. The Covenantal PROMISE of God the Father was, among other things, for a Messiah which would bring about their deliverance, whom they MUST listen to. Those that believed the Father's promise were saved as much as those who listened to him when he came [ John 12:49 ]and we who believe Christ's atonement has taken away the sins of the world. Abraham believed the promise and it was counted to him by God as righteousness. You and I are under exactly the same Covenant conditions as was Abraham, if you don't believe God's promised salvation, you have no assurance of salvation. All still depends on faith, not works of the law.

    Basically salvation is a simple as this. Anyone who does not believe what God promises them, is calling God a liar. (There will be consequences). Anyone who believes what God promises them will get what God has promised them, eventually.

    This principle applies to everyone equally in all 'dispensations'. God is very fair. :clap::yes:

    Meanwhile we will all be judged according to our deeds. Some of us will have Jesus as our advocate and defence attorney.
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  14. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I realize that RCC wields the phrase in an inappropriate way, in that it seeks to conform God to the will of the institution. For a long time I thought the statement was erroneous, but then I came to understand the Eastern Position, and understood the immense value of the ineffable in understanding our approach to God and indeed God's approach to us.

    The Ecclesia of God is more than the 'visible Church of Christ'. I understand and support the first part of Article 19, as a proper description of the Christian Church. I have no doubt that there are many faithful Israelites throughout the Christian Centuries and before, who will be counted in the Ecclesia of God. Abraham, Moses and Elisha would be but three examples.

    There is a lot about the naming and shaming of a number of Churches that follows that is unclear. What were the errors of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch. When I read the Cairo Agreed Statement with the Oriental Orthodox I am not sure that we indeed had misunderstood their position. Also I am not sure how Constantinople got off the hook here.

    So I contend 'Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus' is not wrong, but rather that it has been wrongly understood and expounded by the RCC. Historically I believe this arose as part of driving the wedge between East and West in the period that followed the Great Schism.
     
  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    It is believed by some theologians (and if it's expressly stated in the Bible please point out chapter and verse) that the pre-incarnate Son of God (not yet known as Jesus or as the Christ) appeared to a few of the patriarchs. I concede the point, because I think this is true. However, they could not have placed faith in this personage as God because they thought of it as an angel (messenger) from God. That doesn't make it "Christ's Church" in the OT era.

    But we have this:
    Exo 6:3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
    Exo 6:4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.

    So, maybe a handful of them saw God Almighty. Maybe the Father, maybe the Son, maybe the Holy Spirit. That doesn't make it "Christ's Church" in the OT era. And take note of what they were promised in the covenants: land, prolific descendants, and blessings. Jesus Christ did not promise land or prolific descendants to His Church. Jesus Christ did promise blessings, and the indwelling Holy Spirit, and eternal life. God didn't promise the Holy Spirit or eternal life to the patriarchs (or show us chapter and verse).
     
  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Well, let me ask this: are you in accord with what Tiffy seems to assert, that the body of Israelites was a part of Christ's Church? When most of them were not people of faith but ethnic heirs? Curious to know where you (and, in particular, Anglicans as a general rule) stand on that one.

    BTW, I do fully accept that those faithful patriarchs will be with the Church in eternity, and that they and the Church will then be joined together at last.
     
  17. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Christ was just as present to the OT and the NT. The holy ghost was just as present at Pentecost as on the first line of Genesis. Correct? Abraham was justified by faith in Christ, and personally knew him before his incarnation in 1 AD. Right? The patriarchs personally met Christ. Right? All this is established by St. Paul and even by Christ himself, who says that the Patriarchs knew him, and he knew them. The priests absolved the people of their sins, and sacrificed the sacrificial lamb for real and effective grace upon the people. The entire people was marked by the external sign, at birth (before they could even believe). The OT ministry consisted exactly of a three-fold ministry of levite, priest, and high-priest.

    How exactly is this not a church?

    The only difference is that in the OT, the Church was obscured, and present only to the one people (through God's inscrutable wisdom). Whereas in the NT, it became revealed to the whole world. But it operated in the exact same way, which is why Christ blamed the people, for they had all the blessings of the church and still fell away.


    They weren't 'a people of faith' only to the extent that many in today's Church are not people of faith either. You know as well as I that many professed members in the Church are actually not believers at all. Christ himself talks about this, with the wheat and the tares. So if you accept that the wheat and the tares can exist in the Church today, then what exactly is the problem with believing that there were wheat and tares among the people of Israel?
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
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  18. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Yes, we could call it "a" church. But you'd have to read my first couple of posts in the thread to grasp most of the ways in which this was exactly not THE church of Jesus Christ. Just one of those reasons is, Jesus Christ didn't say, "On this rock I will add to My church," did he?? His church was just beginning to be built by him! As for an OT ecclesia being "a" church, close terminology (the word was used to indicate than just the church, even in the NT) won't make them what they were not.

    The problem is, the people of Israel were somewhere in the neighborhood of, oh, 99% tares. And they didn't have the same revelation of Christ that a scant few patriarchs, kings, prophets, etc received. Remember, during much of the history of OT Israel no one was even reading the Torah to them; at one point someone found it, dusted it off and presented it to the king, and when he read it he was shocked! See, without the indwelling Holy Spirit (a crucial guide to the Church which all Israelis except those scant few lacked!) Christ's Church could not sustain, let alone exist. Since when does a handful of people out of tens of millions create an assembly (which is the root meaning of ecclesia)? Therefore The Church of Jesus Christ was not simply obscured, it was not yet begun by Him.

    If someone could point me to an OT scripture that actually said Christ established His church way back then, I'd accept it for sure. Absent that, I think I should stick with what Jesus said.... about Him building His church, and about the Holy Spirit not yet being sent to all believers.
     
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  19. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    He didn't say "On this rock I will create My church" either.

    While we're at it, he didn't say any English words at all. The word recorded has been translated as "to build" for instance. If you look at the root word (at least comparing the many historic English translations put together, not the new 'approximate' rubbish translations), you'll see him saying something which could easily indicate that in the NT he will seek to build up the Church, rather than to create something out of nothing.

    That being said, if you want to interpret the events of the NT as a hard break with the OT church, you could easily square it with our view of there being only one Church. Just a few posts ago I said that there was a bit of a hard break between the OT and the NT to the extent that the propitiatory priesthood was no longer necessary. So in a qualified sense, the Church that was to be for all time, was only created after the Incarnation of the Messiah. While in another sense, he was merely remaking the church that had already existed in Israel for thousands of years prior.

    That's a very selective reading. If what you say is correct, why is it that 99% of all the followers of Christ were Jews? I believe it was the church historian Eusebius who recorded that it wasn't until the 3rd century that there appeared the first bishops who weren't "the people of the circumcision". Think about it, The NT Church being filled 90-99% by Jews. For hundreds of years. Does that correspond to your sweeping denunciation of the Jewish people?
     
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  20. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Stalwart: If you go on like this we are in danger of agreeing substatially with one another. You do realise I suppose, that this will set a hither to unthinkable presedent. :laugh: :thumbsup:
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