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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    Dictionary Definition g1577. ἐκκλησία ekklēsia; from a compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): — assembly, church.
    AV (118) - church 115, assembly 3;
    a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating the assembly of the Israelites any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously in a Christian sense an assembly of Christians gathered...

    The Book of Hebrews throws some light upon how the writer viewed the Israelite assembly/ecclesia/the church, regarding the role Christ played in redeeming it, and of course the New Testament church, [ which has an even better Covenant ] which he goes on to explain in 11 succeeding chapters.

    He quotes the Christ quoting Psalm 22, thus:

    For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, [ the entire OT and NT church ] should make the founder of their salvation [ both OT and NT ] perfect through suffering. [ Referring obviously to Christ i.e. His suffering, not ours] For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. [i.e. God ] That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying,

    “I will tell of your name to my brothers; - (who are his brothers)? [ Mark 3:33-34 ] These are Jews/Israelites/church, [ Mark 3:35 Jesus could point to them and those like them, so presumably He certainly was truthfully accepting them as brothers].

    in the midst of the congregation - [the KJV has church for (ecclesia/ congregation) ] - I will sing your praise.” [ This clearly referred to the Israelite ecclesia. ]

    And again,

    “I will put my trust in him.” [ Isa.8:17 NIV ]

    And again,

    “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” [Isa.8:16-18 TLB ]

    Since therefore the children [ of Israel ] share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, [ became mortal ] that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. [ past Israel ]+[ future church ]&[ All this refers to past Israel and points only to the present and future 'children' that God will now give also to Christ as he has already done for His past brothers and sisters. All those God had given Him and will yet give Him ]

    For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. [ offspring here obviously refers to this: [ Josh.24:3, 1 Chron.16:13, Ps.105:6, Gen.17:9-14 ] Therefore he [ Christ Jesus ] had to be made like his brothers in every respect, [ mortal ] so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

    Heb.2:10-18. I don't see any other valid interpretation of this passage from Hebrews, written to Hebrews for the education of Hebrews, but also valid for us Gentiles.
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    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    By "exclusive" of those who never hear the Gospel I am hoping you are meaning those who hear and reject the Gospel are excluded from the Church of Christ, in whatever 'dispensation' or place on the planet, they happen to be born, live and die. No one is automatically excluded from the benefits of the atonement for being so unfortunate as to be born, live and die, before Jesus Christ was born, or for being honestly ignorant of all God's laws that mankind should 'live' by. Fairs fair, after all. Judged according to their deeds and their heart as all the rest of us are, but we fortunately know of our Saviour and are at peace with God or unfortunately for those who have rejected him and are at emnity with Him by spurning His abundant and undeserved Grace.
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  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I mean exclusive, as opposed to inclusive, as used here:
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-happens-to-those-who-never-hear-gospel/
    I meant it that way because, from what I'm reading here and there, the 'exclusive' view is the mainline Reformed viewpoint; correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not making a statement about your viewpoint herein, for I recall this.
     
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Yes, agreed. This shows us that the usage doesn't always mean 'church.' It can mean assembly or congregation or gathering, etc. In Hebrews 2:12 I note with some chagrin that, as you point out, the KJV (usually very good IMO but not in this particular verse) is one of the rare Bible versions to translate it 'church'; the other versions are using 'congregation' or 'assembly,' or some say 'meeting.' In the portion being quoted, Ps. 22:22, Wycliffe is the outlier to use 'church' in the translation. This weakens the allegation that the writer of Hebrews referred to O.T. Israel as a church (much less the Church).
    Glad you brought that up. Are you herein saying that the N.T. Church has an even better Covenant than the O.T. church? Because I'm wondering how anyone can see the two as the same church when they are based on different Covenants? Heb. 8:6 does say that Jesus is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises, and Heb. 12:24 says it is a new covenant. New and better means this covenant is not identical with what was before). The NT covenant, called the Covenant of Grace, is the covenant God administers through Christ's Church. The O.T. Covenant, called the Covenant of Law, was administered through a theocratic government. See the difference?
    An alternate understanding of this prophecy would be of the Millennial reign, just saying.
    This jumble is hard for me to follow. Ps. 105:6, 1 Chron. etc. seem too tangential, for 'chosen' does not show us 'chosen as members in Christ' versus chosen under the land covenant mentioned in Gen. (the latter can only help your case by use of circular reasoning, thus no help). But Hebrews 2 is a potentially valid bit of evidence for your proposition, albeit somewhat inferential. We would be obliged to assume that no one can be one of Christ's brothers without being a member of Christ's Church. I don't know another scripture confirms or denies that assumption; do you?

    When I weigh that one reasonably applicable scripture (Heb. 2) against all the reasons I laid out at the beginning of the thread, I hope you can understand why I remain personally unconvinced. It's easier for me to accept that we might not be understanding Heb. 2 correctly, than to make the huge leap.

    So, is there anything in the Articles which says an Anglican must be a Reformed adherent?
     
  5. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Massachusetts was the same place with the same people and the same government, before and after it was a colony (law and organization). Abraham was the same person with the same relation to God before and after the birth of Isaac (promise and fulfillment).
    They also aren’t based on different covenants. The promises of God to Abraham and (later) the Israelites are consistently described as an everlasting covenant. That puts the nails in the Dispensationalist coffin all by itself. Either there is an everlasting covenant (from of old) existing side-by-side with a new covenant, or the “new” covenant is simply a further revelation about the prior everlasting one (viz., the inclusion of the Gentiles). Either way, they can’t be broken down into distinct, non-overlapping phases with equally distinct, universally applicable rules and standards. The Reformed (including Anglican) understanding has always been that justification by faith was the cause of salvation in both covenants, and that what we receive today in the Gospel sacraments is identically one and the same with what the Israelites received under whatever forms were prescribed at the time. St. Paul in particular makes this abundantly clear.
     
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  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. In my reading, I've discovered that Dispensationalists also believe justification by faith is the cause of salvation, in all times of mankind until God places His children on the New Earth. And they believe the covenants to Abraham will be everlasting; but since the land covenant is not yet fulfilled, they believe it will be so beginning with the Second Advent.
     
  7. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Ok, but what is the theoretical justification for that? Building up a true system isn’t merely a matter of induction. I’ve seen a lot of scriptural citation in this discussion but very little in the way of testing different exegetical choices against different theories of salvation history. A good theory should be able to generate hypotheses that can then be tested against possible interpretations of many different passages. The theory that explains the most data wins until a better theory comes along. The Trinitarian and Christological dogmas of Nicea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon do this very effectively. Nothing simultaneously explains such passages as “My Father is greater than I” and “I and the Father are one”and “not my will, but Thy will be done”, so effectively as the Constantinopolitan-Chalcedonian synthesis that emerged at the conclusion of the first five centuries of the post-resurrection Church’s history. I don’t see Dispensationalism coming anywhere close to that level of explanatory power. That, combined with its late arrival and conflict with earlier Confessions, makes it suspect.

    Why would some promises of previous “covenants” go unfulfilled into the next one(s)? And who says the “land covenant” is unfulfilled (I’m not referring to 1948, BTW)? That’s confusing “covenant” with “prophecy”, and “prophecy” with “prediction.” There’s also a difference between title and possession. The latter is contingent, at least according to the Pentateuch, upon a certain degree of compliance with the Torah. The story of the descendants of Abraham from Genesis through 2 Kings is one of coming in and out of possession of the land over and over again based on things like the prevalence of idolatry and adoption of “foreign ways (and gods)”. None of that means the land provisions are unfulfilled.
     
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  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    No innocent tribesmen (in the sense that they are as guilty of sin as any other human on earth, (even Christian believers even though in the church). But innocent tribesmen in that they have never rejected the Gospel, having never ever known of Christ’s atonement for them when “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself and no longer holding their sins against them." 2 Cor.5:19-20.They simply have never been counselled to “be reconciled themselves with God”, so should not be held to account for the Church’s failure to reach them with the Gospel. No one will die for another man’s sins. Ezek.18:20-21. [ Nor the Heathen for the tardiness of the Church ]

    No he is just ignorant and ignorance is not foolishness and it is foolishness that is sin, not ignorance.
    Even "ritual, liturgy, and sacrifice" may constitute a desire to "seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him." Acts 17:27. Abraham, that man of faith, did all three before, and even after, God counted him as righteous.
    No it’s not. Not if one understands that St Paul is talking about how the gospel operates in those who actually hear and understand it. Rather than in those who have never ever yet been exposed to it through no fault of their own but the tardyness of the church in not preaching the Gospel, (as it is presented in the New Testament under the New Covenant, which the church should now well know).

    Paul is justifying the responsibility of and the necessity for the Church to preach the Gospel. He’s not, out of hand, just condemning “those that live in darkness who have been deprived of any opportunity to ‘see the great light’ and saying they will all go to hell for their ignorance.”

    Such a condemnatory ’chain of logic’ is only ‘clear’ in the mind of American dispensationalists who have distorted the Gospel Message by limiting the efficacy of God’s atoning act in Christ, whereby God has reconciled the world to himself, not holding their sins against them. 2 Cor.5:19. This Gospel statement also comes from the mind of St Paul and was put there by God.
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  9. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    :laugh::biglaugh: :rofl:I wonder how many KJV only believers would likewise suddenly drop their precious KJV is the Word of God preconceptions in order to defend their 'dispensationalist' theological presumptions? :facepalm:
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  10. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Yes exactly, that is what Scripture clearly states.
    There you go again with your a priori 'dispensationalist' assumptions. :facepalm: Salavion comes for Israelites under BOTH covenants and BOTH are the Covenant of GRACE. The New and better Covenant is New only by virtue of the fact that it is an EXTENSION of the ETERNAL Abrahamic Covenant with even better promises to a greater number of people. Circumcision, the sign and seal of THE Covenant, was not imposed under the LAW. The O.T. covenant under which Isralites were promised salvation was the Covenant with Abraham, (THAT is the Covenant of Grace, resting upon faith, and declared an Everlasting Covenant by God, who cannot lie or break His word, 430 years before any "Covenant of Law" under Moses.

    Of course it's not identical, if it was it would't be better. :laugh: But a better covenant does not cancel an EVERLASTING covenant, making God a liar. You are trying to make out that the Old Covenant of Grace with Abraham was the covenant of law, which is passing away, but it's not that covenant at all. Heb.7:18-22. Gal.3:17-18. Scripture says so, if we understand scripture.
    It never ceases to astonish me how little many people know about the covenant under which God guarantees their salvation. Statements such as that only serve to confirm my astonishment as being justified. :laugh:

    I think we can safely assume that anyone to whom Christ would say "I never knew you", is and never has been a 'brother' to Christ. Matt.7:23. If not a 'brother' obviously not ever a member of the church, since Christ knows every single member of it very personally. He even indwells them, comes in to sup with them Rev.3:20 and God has adopted them as family along with His only begotten Son. Gal.4:5, Eph.1:5.
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    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Ps.105:6 puts the lie to the usual 'dispensationalist' reasoning that the Abrahamic promises to offspring referred only to Christ, Gal.3:16, and not to anybody else. Whereas Ps.105:6 says: "O offspring/seed of Abraham his servant, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!" Offspring here refers to 'sons -plural', of Jacob, (referring to those under the Abrahamic Covenant), his 'chosen ones'. His 'chosen ones' does not refer to Jacob's but to God's chosen ecclesia. Whether you want to call it a church or an assembly does not change what it actually is as far as God is concerned, neither can it affect the salvation that they are offered by God in the promises to Abraham and his seed forever. Luke 1:55.

    1 Chron. etc. "O offspring of Abraham his servant, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!", when something pops up twice Ps. 105:6 or more, 1 Kings 3:8. one can assume there is something there of note in the scripture. Matt.12:18, Matt.20:10-16, (an interesting one since it refers to perhaps Gentile 'late comers' receiving the same 'wage' as Israelites who have laboured countless generations under the sun, for a covenant promised reward.), Matt.22:14, John 15:16, Acts 9:13-16, Eph.1:4, (goes to show it is not at all difficult for God to have chosen Israelites for salvation, before the birth of Christ.), 1 Pet.2:9.

    It is not anywhere near such a huge leap as you imagine it to be, in spite of all the reasons you cited at the beginning of the thread. The Church of Jesus Christ undoubtedly had its Birthday on that Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem in 32 AD or thereabouts, but it was conceived on earth, as far as scripture enlightens us, with Abraham 430 years before The Law and Moses. Probably been gestating in the womb of God, Isa.49:15, since long before Noah and his family in the Ark, (which is itself a precursor and type of The Church.), 1 Pet.3:18-22.

    Just because Pentecost was the Church's 'birthday', (and I'm prepared to accept that metaphor), does not mean that the OT church's gestating foetus can be regarded by you as 'dead', of no salvational account, not really The Church and thus aborted from the salvation history of God's chosen people under Old and New Covenants, both.

    Reformed from what? Obviously the Anglican theology of God and His Church has been reformed compared to that of the errors of the Roman Catholic church that preceeded it. Carry on in the theological errors of the RC church and you can forget about calling yourself an Anglican, because we are just 'catholic' and 'reformed' not Roman Catholic and un-reformed. :wallbash:
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  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Isa.49:15 particularly interesting.

    "But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
    my Lord has forgotten me.”
    “Can a woman forget her sucking child,
    that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
    Even these may forget,
    yet I will not forget you.
    Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are continually before me."
    RSV

    "Your walls are continually before me" is a metaphor for the feeling a pregnant mother has when she is continually reminded of the huge bulge 'before her', which every 'mum to be' seems to characteristically cuddle and 'protect' by habitually, periodically placing her palms on her bulge. She (God, metaphorically), is talking to her baby inside the walls of her womb.

    What a pity that so many male literalist scripture interpreters completely miss the fact that THIS is the way God feels about the progeny of Abraham. This is the way God feels about His children.

    Notice how even bible translaters stupidly miss this obvious metaphorical device, missing the placing of the mothers protective palms upon her bulge.

    Living Bible Translation:

    "Yet they say, “My Lord deserted us; he has forgotten us.”
    “Never! Can a mother forget her little child and not have love for her own son? (left out womb altogether notice).
    Yet even if that should be, I will not forget you.
    See, I have tattooed your name upon my palm,
    and ever before me is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins :laugh: :biglaugh: TLB

    It's this kind of blind ignorant literalism which has delivered the monster of 'dispensationalism' into the theological world. As if the passage itself could ever justify God picturing a pile of bricks in connection with being a 'well gone' pregnant mother.

    Young's Literal Version at least gives us what scripture actually says, rather than telling us what some idiot 'literalist' thinks it must mean.

    "And Zion saith, `Jehovah hath forsaken me, And my Lord hath forgotten me.'
    Forget doth a woman her suckling,
    The loved one -- the son of her womb?
    Yea, these forget -- but I -- I forget not thee.
    Lo, on the palms of the hand I have graven thee,
    Thy walls [are] before Me continually. YLV

    And to think there are those who tell us there is no metaphor in their Bible, yet they still think they understand it. :laugh:
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    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Moses ran into trouble over not keeping The Covenant himself. Zipporah his wife had to circumcise with hands in order to save his life for an important ministry. Ex.4:20-25.
     
  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    One of the marks of the Church is its mission to spread the Gospel: the good news that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead to save & redeem His people.

    We don't read of such a mission existing in the Old Testament, for obvious reasons.

    A few days ago I mentioned that I was buying a couple of books on theology. One was by Packer. Another was on dispensationalism, by Ryrie. In the latter, I read something that I want to share.

    "The dispensationalist's answer to the question of the relation of grace and law is this:
    the basis of salvation in every age is the death of Christ;
    the requirement for salvation in every age is faith;
    the object of faith in every age is God;
    the content of faith changes..." (because it is dependent upon what God has or has not revealed to a given person or group).

    This makes great sense to me. God does not require of everyone the same level of revelation knowledge about Him and His triune nature. If a person knows nothing of Jesus but has faith in God Almighty to have mercy upon him, I don't believe God will necessarily condemn him. Those who presume to say they know for sure that God will condemn such a man might, in my view, be committing the sins of judgmentalism and presumptuousness.

    Joh 1:17-18 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

    That "grace and truth" did not come to those Israelites. They could not come until Jesus Christ came in the flesh.

    When Jesus came, He declared the Father. He showed us the Father. He gave the glory to the Father.

    For those who know not the Son, faith in the Father is as good for them as faith in the Son is for us. Or do we only glorify the Son?

    Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
    Heb 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
    Heb 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
    Heb 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
    Heb 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
    Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is
    (i.e., He exists), and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
     
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  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Oh, come on now, you surely are not trying to convince us that Jesus Christ didn't redeem His People. Luke 1:46-55. All in the church are redeemed.
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  16. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    It’s hard to imagine then why the Jews would’ve included a historical novel like Jonah in their canon, or why there would have been laws regarding foreigners who wished to adopt Israelite ways, or why Ruth would turn out to be such a significant figure in later Judaism. The NT confirms that communities of converts to Judaism existed all over the Mediterranean. I have read somewhere that some estimates are that such communities made up 10% of the population of the Empire. Even after the coming of Christianity, there were some enormous mass conversions to Judaism including across entire kingdoms on the periphery of the Roman and Persian empires (e.g., Yemen). Those communities subsequently survived Islam. Even today Judaism takes in converts every year. The emphasis and rationales may be different, but the idea that there is no conversion mindset at all and that Judaism isn’t concerned with the rest of the world just doesn’t hold water historically.
     
  17. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Oh, come on now, you surely are not trying to convince us that Jesus Christ didn't redeem His People. Luke 1:46-55. All in the church are redeemed. All the redeemed are the church, (ecclesia).

    Would you have the entire Nation of Isreal 'preaching to the choir'? :laugh: What nations were the Israelites told to go and preach the Gospel to? They weren't. They had their own Covenant of Grace with God at that time and God did not require this of them as a condition of their salvation. (But it was indeed their responsibility to impress the nations with their conduct, focus of worship and resulting prosperity). Gen.22:18,Deut.2:25,

    We, and they now have a 'Better Covenant' under which that further obligation exists, because the Ratifier of that New Covenant demanded it and commanded it of us. Matt.28:19, but it is not that alone that defines The Church (the assembly) of Christ, (God). Jesus is the Covenant Head of both Old and New Covenants but has given different instruction to those under The New than he had to those under the Old. Both Covenants were in full operation though when Christ commanded this of all his disciples. We are told in scripture that the Old is obsolete, Heb.8:13 not that it never existed or that it was ever completely abolished.

    If you are a passionate collector of vintage cars you may have a model T ford in your collection. You wouldn't use it to do your shopping in though, because it is obsolete and you have a Newer and Better one. The model T in your collection still very much exists though, and if you have maintained it well, still operates as it was originally designed to do. It is like that with Old and New Covenants. The Old is an everlasting Covenant which has been superceeded by a better one but not entirely replaced. The Old only applied to Israelites, the New applies to the whole human race.
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  18. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    The Old only applied to Israelites, and does still, the New applies to the whole human race, and of course, Isaelites too, as fully qualifying members of the whole human race.
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  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    You are right of course. What about the houshold of Cornelius? How did he get interested in the Jewish God? What about the Centurian who was praised for his faith above even Israel, by Christ? Was he saved or not according to Rexlion's line of reasoning, before Pentecost? What about the Etheopean Eunoch, where did he get his scriptures from? Was Christ the only Jew who kept Covenant with God under the terms laid down for Abraham and his descendents, of which Jesus Christ was most certainly one.

    The only one though???

    I find that hard to believe. The only sinless one. I can go along with that, but not the only one, because keeping Covenant was a matter of having faith, not of being sinless or keeping the whole of The Law. (That is what sacrifices were all about).
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  20. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    You should not need convincing of the firm fact that Jesus did not give the Great Commission until His incarnate, earthly ministry. The Great Commission is one of the hallmarks of the Church. Since the Great Commission didn't exist B.C., this fact suggests that the Church didn't exist B.C.

    Jonah was one man sent to tell Nineveh to repent of sin; He was not sent to preach the Good News of Christ the Redeemer. He was sent to preach, 'God's going to destroy you in a few days!' No good news there! (But the people repented of their sins and humbled themselves before God in hope of mercy, and even though the people did not know or understand anything of Christ, the Messiah to come, God relented.) The story of Jonah actually makes my point, that God honors faith in Him unspecifically; i.e., that faith does not have to specifically be in Christ if one does not know of Christ.
     
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