Characteristics of the Church

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

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    To clarify: I'm 'ballparking' that 99%of the Israelis prior to Jesus' incarnation were tares, unbelievers held captive by a priesthood that emphasized the law (including tithes on the mint and dill, why do you suppose they emphasized that?) :laugh: and that fell to profiteering (buying selling, exchanging currency) from every visitor to the Temple. :yes: And yes, there were far more apostles and disciples of Jewish background at the time of Pentecost than of any other, so it's not surprising that the early church became mostly people of Jewish descent, for the first few years.

    BTW, thank you for the small concession. :thumbsup: In the end, God's children will all be there no matter how we've set forth definitions. :)

    Oh, and I asked two people at the parish this past Sunday what their view is. One is a deacon and the other is, I believe, holder of a Master's in theological studies. Both of them said without hesitation that they understand the church to have begun in the NT era, and both thought it was (so far as they knew) the normal Anglican concept. Just an anecdote. :)
     
  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I hope I don't have a heart attack..... :biglaugh::rofl:
     
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  3. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    We seem to have finally stumbled upon the fundametal principle of theological insight which defines Anglicanism from the other sects and denominations of the church. It affects our understanding of Baptism and its meaning and efficacy. It affects our understanding of judgement and salvation, Covenant and continuity of God's Grace from generation to generation. It affects our wholehearted trust in God's promises to us and our offspring. It defines us as the people of Christ and the assembly of God and the Church of the Messiah of the Children of Israel.

    Admittedly there are many who have brought alternative views into the Anglican church, but this view of the continuity of God's Grace toward his chosen people in both Old and New Testaments is fundamentally established at the very conception of Anglicanism. It can be found in the Anglican divines and all the original founders of the Church of England, I think.
    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
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  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    "Essential Truths for Christians," by the Rt. Rev. John H. Rodgers, Jr., Th.D. came highly recommended to me by my rector. Caveat: this is not scripture, nor is it the writing of an early churchman or Council. Turning to the chapter on Article 19, I find the following pertinent information on P. 368 (bold print is added by me for emphasis):

    "First, there is an invisible aspect of the visible Church due to the inherent invisibility of faith... The Church is a believing community. Invisibility is therefore occasioned by the fact that genuine faith is not always easy to distinguish from its counterfeits." (False teachers, hypocrites, and family custom are then mentioned.) "St. Paul said of the visible community of Israel, no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly (Romans 2:28-29). This is true of the visible Church as well. Not all in the visible Church are genuine believers in Christ."

    From this statement it may be drawn that Rt. Rev. Rodgers does not include O.T. Israel as a part of the invisible Church. Instead he refers to Israel as a "visible community" distinguishable from "the visible Church."

    On the next pages, Rodgers writes:
    "The Church is 'one' in that it worships one God, has one Savior and Lord, one faith, one baptism, one Holy Spirit. Its unity lies in its being united with its one Head.
    "The Church is 'holy' in its being set apart from all other societies or communions by its relationship with the Lord Whom it worships and serves alone. It is also holy as it walks in His ways by His Holy Spirit, manifesting the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
    "The Church is 'catholic,' or universal, in that it is the community into which everyone in the world is invited through repentant faith in Christ Jesus...Anglicans do not deny the presence of the Church where the ordained ministry of a visible church is ordered in some other pattern, as long as the Gospel is truly preached and the sacraments of the Gospel are rightly celebrated.
    "The Church is 'apostolic in that it is 'sent' by the Risen Lord to the world. Global mission lies at the heart of the Church. It is sent to do works of mercy and, above all, to share the Gospel with and make disciples of all peoples...In addition, the Faith of the Church is in accord with the teaching of the Apostles. A body or community that does not hold to the teaching of the Apostles and is not on Apostolic mission is neither Apostolic nor the Church."
    "Lastly, there are certain essential activities of the Church with reflect its nature. These are first, the corporate worship of the Father through the Son by the Spirit, second, fellowship with one another that involves the exercise of sacrificial care for one another in Christ, which includes teaching and discipling one another, and third, obeying the Great commission together, being on mission to the world."

    Numerous criteria are laid out for the Church of Christ which neither Israel nor the faithful patriarchs fit.

    Perhaps someone wishes to quote from an equivalent (or better) Anglican source stating that O.T. Israel, or the patriarchs, were members of 'the Church of Jesus Christ' for comparison purposes.
     
  5. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I am probably prepared to distinguish between the 'Ecclesia of God' (those called of God in any age) and the Christian Church (which specifically calls on the name of Jesus), from the point of a working hypothesis, yet from the point of view of the Latin phrase 'Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus' I think you need a bigger understanding of Church, such as might be encompassed by 'the whole ecclesia of God'
     
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    This though is as true for the Church under the New Covenant, 'dispensation' as it always was also under the 'Old'.

    Clearly St.Paul seems to think all Jews who respond to the message of The Gospel must have been necessarily Jews inwardly, (as Abraham was and responded positively by faith. Gal.3:8), and those who don't respond positively to it when presented with it, were and are clearly only Jews outwardly and is also saying that Abraham and others must have been Jews inwardly. He does not even seem to mean that Jews [inwardly] were necessarily good people, he had a history himself of opposing Christ. 1 Tim.1:15, Phil.3:2-11. It was not under the Law that Jews[inwardly], were counted righteous. (None were, especially St Paul, by his own confession). It is entirely by faith that the old testament saints could be identified as Jews [inwardly]. Phil.3:8-9. But their faith was a firm belief in God's Promises for a future Messiah, not in attempts, (successful or not), at Law keeping to attain a righteousness that would compel God to accept their entry into The Kingdom of God, by dint of their impressive qualifications. Ps.147:10.

    Thus it was that Christ could say to the Pharisees "“Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you." Matt.21:28-32. Notice Christ did not say Pharisees would not enter, on this occasion. Just that they would be in the queue behind tax collectors and prostitutes.

    Also this was said by Christ before the crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and the day of Pentecost. According to standard 'Dispensationalists' theory these tax collectors and harlots couldn't possibly yet "enter the Kingdom of God", (Which is obviously a metaphor for the invisible church of Jesus Christ), because, (they say), it did not at the time Christ said this, even exist. How do dispensationalists explain that tax collectors and harlots were entering the Kingdom of God by 'faith' before the very existence of the very Church they also claim they must be entering in order to be in the Kingdom of God?

    The Kingdom of God has always existed. When John the Baptist [ Matt.21:32 ] declared "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." He wasn't saying the Kingdom of God was only just beginning, and some tme after that a gospel could be preached, he was saying it is already here, and right now is always the time to get into it for anyone, by 'repenting and believing the gospel'

    When we pray "Thy Kingdom come", we don't mean it's not here yet, we mean "Thy Kingdom increase on earth", that God's will may be increasingly done on earth as it already is universally done by everyone in heaven.

    Drawn it may be by some who want to do that, but it by no means necessarily supports the drawing of such a conclusion.

    Under both Covenants there are 'visible' and 'invisible' ecclesia. There are likewise Jews, either [outwardly visible] or [inwardly invisible].

    (Actually not only Jews but all Hebrews, [outwardly or inwardly], if we are to be strictly correct in our terminology. Jews were only the tribe of Judah, which does not even include the priesthood, which was the tribe of Levi.) Israel was all 12 tribes. All were the ecclesia. Some, like Abramam, believed the promises of God. God knows who they were.
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    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021
  7. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I never understood why people felt the need to use the phrase like the invisible church… Why not retain the word church for the obvious meaning of the visible body, while those who are actually faithful we just call ‘the faithful’ or ‘the elect’

    in any case i have not been able to find the term invisible church in Reformation anglican texts
     
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  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I agree. Obviously everybody that is baptised is in the church, just as everybody in the Israelite ecclesia was supposed to be circumcised or else God did not consider them to be in the ecclesia. Though there is the exemption already there that females were in the ecclesia though not circumcised, for obvious reasons. There might be a principle for the church there somewhere, though perhaps God is not quite so strict about baptism for males under the New Covenant and has extended the sign and seal of circumcision to apply to females also in baptism. Yet another sign to us that it is an even Better Covenant than the one before it. Who knows.
    .
     
  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Circumcision and baptism are unrelated. Circumcision was a requirement of a specific covenant. Baptism is never explicitly required in Scripture. The closest one can come to that is:
    Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
    Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    Since Jesus never said that he who is not baptized shall be damned, baptism isn't the determining factor. Jesus said many, many times that anyone who believes (unqualified by baptism) will receive eternal life, which reveals the basic truth of the Gospel that we are saved by grace through faith, not by works. Not, 'saved by grace through faith plus baptism', for in fact the outward sign (baptism) of the inward change is a physical (albeit sacramental) work.

    What's next? Will someone claim that one has a better chance of attaining eternal life based on frequency of receiving the sacrament of Holy Eucharist? That would be a work also.

    No one has shown any Anglican divine, respected Anglican writer, or early church writer saying that the Church of Christ began anytime before Jesus' incarnation. And we know that the Bible doesn't say this, either. I have shown a respected Anglican writer (respected by my rector, an archdeacon, at least) :cool: saying the Church of Christ began in the NT era. Absent sound, reliable proofs to the contrary, one must conclude that this strange doctrine of the Church of Christ in OT times is a heterodox fable. Fulminating about baptism won't prove otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021
  10. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    “Unless you are born again of water and the Holy Ghost, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven”

    “as the Hebrews were saved by the washing of the sea, so ye shall be saved by the laver of regeneration”
     
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  11. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Magnificent juxtaposition!
     
  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Prov.18:17 applies.
    Specifically The Covenant. You know, the one that St Paul said of "I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy;".
    Col.2:11 seems to indicate that St Paul considered "circumcision of the heart" essential to salvation or at least assumed that any "believer" he wrote to had, along with all other "believers", undergone "circumcision of the heart", which Paul believed to be ministered by Christ for all believers, at baptism.

    The thief on the cross was not baptised, but was undoubtedly circumcised in the flesh and Christ it seems ministered 'circumcision of the heart' for him also, not with hands, because his were nailed to a cross at the time. So we can take it as read, (in scripture), that no one is baptised by demand of God. Believers are privileged to be 'circumcised by Christ' in baptism though. Col.2:11-14.

    I can't quite see how we arrived here, so I won't bother trying to find an exit from a warren of a question.

    You and other 'American dispensationalists' think they know that the Bible doesn't say this, but that depends on how bleared are their 'dispensationalist tinted spectacles' that myopically distort their vision of Biblical truth. In fact some are even totally blind to it and the Anglican Church is in danger of theologically becoming a victim of the blind being led by the 'Yankey dispensationalistic' blind and all of us falling into the slough of despond.

    I haven't finished yet.

    Circumcision was given to Abraham, (not to Moses!), as a sign and seal of the justification which he obtained through faith, by believing in the promises of the Covenant of Grace, and thus as a sign of the cleansing away of sins in the same way as is expressed by baptism today. The significance of the Covenant of Grace was spiritual . The promise made to Abraham is spiritual and the Apostle calls it the Gospel. Gal.3:8. The significance of the right of circumcision was thus spiritual also, not only because the sign was in harmony with the promise (of which it is precisely the sign and seal), but because of the spiritual meaning attributed to circumcision as representing, at the same time, the promise of God to circumcise the heart of the people and of their children : "The LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your posterity, so that you may love the LORD your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, and that you may live". (Deut.30:6.)
    Circumcision thus represents the obligation resting upon him who had received this sign, in authentication of this promise, to circumcise his heart and to live according to the Covenant. It is essential that Deut.6:5-9, Deut.30:6, and Matt.22:36-37, should be linked with each other and parallel passages. It is simply a matter of a summary of the law!
    The Law and the prophets, and not only the Apostle Paul, proclaim that it is not sufficient to be distinguished externally by the circumcision of the flesh, if the circumcision of the heart is lacking. From this it follows that uncircumcised lips are impure lips, and that an uncircumcised heart is a heart stained with sin. Ex.6:2, Lev.26:41, Deut.10:16, Deut.30:6, Jer.4:4, Jer.9:25-26, Acts 7:51, Rom.2:26-29, Rom.4:11.
    It is not by chance that the terms "circumcise" and "circumcision" are employed to express yealding of the heart, conversion and faith. Those who are circumcised outwardly but unconverted in their heart are called "the false circumcision" since it is only believers who participate in the true circumcision, which is according to the Spirit. Phil.3:2-3, Rom.2:28-29.

    The device whereby an attempt is made by dispensationalists and others to divide this Abrahamic Covenant into two or three covenants, distinct from each other, in order that, to suit the convenience of certain people, a " carnal " element may be inserted into it, has no justification, for when the Bible refers to the Covenant with Abraham it always speaks of it in the singular. Ex.2:24, Lev.26:42, 2 Kings 13:23, 1 Chron.16:15, Ps.105:89, etc. etc.

    Finally the New Testament declares that "Christ was the minister of the circumcision for the sake of the truth of God, in order to confirm the promises made to our forefathers". Rom.15:8. KJV. If in spite of all this you still insist that the true circumcision, - that is to say circumcision as it was settled in the mind of God, and not as it has been deformed by the legalistic conceptions of certain Judaisers - is a carnal institution and was never spiritual, then you would be saying that Christ was the minister of a carnal institution. If however it is impossible to attribute to Christ a carnal ministry, then it follows that the true circumcision is spiritual.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021
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  13. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    John Jewel, Apology:
    Moses, who was a Civil Magistrate, and a Leader of the People, both Received from God, and Delivered to the People all Orders concerning their Religion and Rites ;  and chid Aaron the Bishop very severely about the Golden Calf, and the Corruption of Religion.

    Lancelot Andrews, Letters on Episcopacy:
    Would you have me fetch it yet higher? even out of the Old Testament, and there from the Divine Law it self? S. Jerome says: And that we may know that the Apostolical traditions were taken out of the Old Testament; what Aaron, and his Sons, and the Levites were in the Temple, that do Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons challeng to themselves in the Church. S. Ambrose says, in both those places, 1. Corinth. 12. and Ephes. 4. speaking of the Jews, Whose tradition, saith he, hath passed over to us. I omitt Aaron; lest you should reject him, as a Type of Christ. Over his Sons, the Priests, was there not in their several families נשיא. i. e. a Prelate; or, as is said † elswhere, פקיר i. e. a Bishop. Over the Gersonites. Num. 3.24. Over the Kohathites. vers. 30. Over the Merarites. verse 35. Was not Eleazar there, even while his Father was alive, נשיא נשיאים, as if you would say, Prelate of Prelates. verse 32. Who is elsewhere called נכיר פקיר as if you would say, Archbishop. There are therefore in the Law, לויים ,כהנים ,נשיאים, i. e. Prelats or Bishops, Priests, and Levites: In the Gospel, The Apostles, the Seventy Two, and those Seven, Acts VI. In the Apostles practise, which was taken from those Two [the Law and Gospel] Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons. But do not, do not think, that this was by Apostolical Right alone; if there be in the Gospel, if in the Law, any Divine Right, this Government is not without example in both, it is founded on both. Either then there is no Divine Right in the form of Church Government, and then wellfare Amsterdam, where so many humane prudences as there are, so many forms of Government shall be set up. Or, if there be any Divine Right, it is in Those Three, it is for us.

    Here we have statements from the Anglican divines as well as the Church Fathers.
     
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  14. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    This thread began with this (demonstrably false) conclusion, and somehow has ever since been fixated on Dispensationalism, which has literally nothing to do with any historic Anglican understanding of the Church. The Creed we affirm daily says we believe in “the communion (singular) of saints”, with all that implies. One canon, two testaments, three creeds, four councils, and five centuries.
     
  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Lancelot Andrews dedicated and consecrated the church building in which I grew up and was confirmed. It is, as far as can be ascertained the very first Church of England Church building, there being no record of any previous and the service of Dedication having to be written by Lancelot Andrews himself, with parts of it later incorporated into the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
    .
     
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  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    :confused::confused: The first one sounds pretty close to John 3:5 (adding the word "again") but the latter one is found nowhere in scripture. Are we making up verses to suit nowadays?
     
  17. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    This thread has had nothing to do with Dispensationalism; a quick search of the thread shows that you are the first one to use the word! :loopy: And Tiffy is the one who keeps bringing up 'dispensations'; I never used the word even once in this thread, although one time I quoted Tiffy's post containing the word.

    Are all the differences I laid out between the congregation of Israel and the Church of Christ "demonstrably false"? Or, how many are we talking about?
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  18. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That's very interesting. The early churchmen, being of Jewish heritage and loving the Jewish ceremonies and pattern of leadership, modeled some aspects of the Church's polity and practices after that with which they were most familiar.

    I wonder, though, what the Apostles would have thought of the Jewish leadership being called "bishops"? Or what the Jews would have thought? Jews of today would probably have a conniption. :rolleyes: I certainly don't see the word "bishop" in the O.T.

    Nonetheless, my hat is off to you for 'rising to the challenge' of research and finding these! I will ponder them while I wait for my rector to come back from a much-needed vacation so I can accost him :laugh: with questions.

    BTW, I think you've called yourself an adherent to "classic theology." Am I remembering correctly? I thought to look for a good book on this theology but a word search came up empty. Is it known by some other name? And while we're at it, do you have a recommendation? I'm going to do a comparative study on a few of these ... classic, reformed, covenant, and dispensational theologies (there, Invictus, now I've gone and said it!!) :laugh: Are there any other noteworthy 'biggies' I've left out? I figure the best way to understand them all is to read what a proponent of each says for his own preferred flavor, and then compare.
     
  19. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Circumcision of the heart is the indwelling Holy Spirit.
    If I am a dispensationalist, I don't know it. :dunno: There are some similarities, some common beliefs between myself and them, but I doubt it's anywhere near a perfect match. I'll get a book on the subject and study.
    Whatever. What 'dispensationalists' do is not relevant to me. Not sure why you are wielding that word like a cudgel when it doesn't apply.
    Fine. It's still not the same as baptism. All this for nothing!
     
  20. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    No doubt Stalwart can tell us from whence those quotes come. Not all search engines have all versions of the scriptures in english.

    This verse seem to indicate the importance of cleansing in baptism being inextricably linked in the mind with cleansing of the conscience and purifying of the heart in 'faith'. You are quite right to point out though that there seems to be no scripture which absolutely says that if one is not baptised one cannot be admitted into the church, and it is admittance into Christ's church that assures salvation both corporately and individually. It is true of the Church (ecclesia) and individuals in it, in both Old and New Testaments. It is just that it is Christ who does the admitting in both dispensations of the Church (ecclesia) and even the baptism of John the Baptist was seen by St Paul as being insufficient. Rom.15:8, Acts 19:3-5.

    One has to ignore or quickly skip over quite a lot of clear Apostolic teaching the contrary, to reach the conclusion that there is no connection or continuity between the Old and New teastament (assemblies of God). In fact if you understand your scripture and Apostolic teaching you will be convinced, as also the Apostles were, that that continuity and connection was Christ. Luke 24:25-27. (the things concerning himself).

    Since the covenant is the same in both Old and New Testaments, and the sacraments have the same fundamental significance, (i.e. entrance into salvation through admittance and taking on the obligations of God's Covenant, which essentially entails us placing our faith in the Messiah/Christ, and being of a circumcised heart), the following conclusion must be true:

    (1) The church, (ecclesia, covenanted people), has been and remains one. (The OT and NT church is pruned and grafted by Christ)

    (2) The nation of Israel was the (ecclesia, covenanted people), The Church.

    (3) The Christian Church, since it also comes under the covenant of grace, is the same Church.

    Any theology that denies these truths is certainly not Apostolic theology.
    .
     
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