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Today's Excellent Church.

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Post by Benson »

Acts 2 gives the narrative of how the Body of Christ His Church was brought into being by the coming of The Holy Spirit, according to Joel ch. 2 as cited by Apostle Peter.

Today, there are no features within modern Christendom which are a continuation of either Acts ch. 2, Joel ch. 2, The Jerusalem Messianic Church, or the Pauline Gentile Church.

This post remains very short because there is no other information in Scripture to authenticate the state of today's so called "Church." If one thinks the Church does exist today according to the foundation of the Apostles with Christ as the Cornerstone, tell us where on Earth it exists in the hearts of Men before God. No place in Paul's teaching says the Church is some intangibly perceived group of minds set upon faith in Christ.

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Re: Today's Excellent Church.

Post #161

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PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 11:17 am I think we would all agree that we do not want to be a part of groups whose belief systems and practices deviate significantly from and often contradict the Holy Scriptures.
Sure, but who becomes the arbiter of what is a significant deviation from Scripture? As we see on this forum, two sincere truth seeking believers can both read the same Bible and come to different interpretations.
ADD -- Are extra-biblical revelations or other books needed to understand the Bible or cited as the source of doctrine? These are often viewed as being superior to the Bible. A variation of this characteristic is that the Bible is declared to be accurate and complete, but that it can only be understood properly by the interpretations provided by the group’s leader or the organization.
Yes. Not only did the Bible as we know it, not fall from the sky, like I said above, it needs to be interpreted.

SUBTRACT -- Does the group devalue Jesus Christ by denying His deity? The same question applies regarding the Holy Spirit. When what the Scriptures say about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are studied, one finds that each is called “God” (2 Corinthians 1:3; John 1:1; 20:28; Hebrews 1:8; Romans 9:5; Acts 5:3–4) and each manifests the attributes of deity.
Yep. Also, under subtraction would be does the group take out the part where Jesus established an authoritative Church? Christians were intended to listen to Sacred Scripture AND Sacred Tradition (the Church). Any group that removes half of that equation and claims the Bible as sole authority would be in error. Nowhere in the Bible does the Bible say it is our sole authority.

MULTIPLY -- Does the group multiply the requirements for salvation? Is salvation that is dependent on membership in the organization and certain required rituals a denial of justification by faith? Is salvation either uncertain or merely a future thing? Romans 5:1, Ephesians 2:8-10, and Titus 3:5 clearly show the error of groups that do any of these things. Additionally, faith equals salvation plus works, rather than "faith plus works equals salvation." Scripture is clear that good works are the result of God’s grace; they do not earn salvation (Galatians 5:22–25).
Yes, and equally important is to keep in mind Martin Luther added the word alone to Sacred Scripture in the verse, “We are saved by faith”. He translated Scripture to say, “We are saved by faith alone”. The word alone was not in the original Bible. In fact, the only place alone is used in the context of salvation is in James 2:24 when Scripture says, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

Also, the Church is certainly permitted to enforce Christ’s teachings. Things like Baptism as one example. She has the obligation and authority to do so. Remember Scripture itself tells us,

"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” -John 16:12

“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” - 2 Thessalonians 2:15

“Now I commend you for remembering me in everything and for maintaining the traditions, just as I passed them on to you.” -1 Corinthians 11:2

DIVIDE -- Does the organization claim to be the only one that has the truth? Does it claim it is God’s sole channel or only true church? As a result, are all other religious organizations to be rejected as false? If a person leaves the group is salvation lost?
Logically speaking there is only one truth, and since Christ’s Church was established by Christ and He promised to remain with her, we have confidence it is True. Scripture itself refers to the Church as the ‘pillar and foundation of truth’.

That said, the Church has always recognized when there are elements of truth outside of her. He who is not against us is with us. However, other churches do not have the fullness of the faith that God intended. But of course those outside of the Church can be saved, but even if they don’t realize it yet, it will be through Christ’s Church that they are saved. And they will be so happy to be saved, they will be cool with that.

There are some other important characteristics to consider:

DOCTRINAL AMBIGUITY -- Are the teachings of the group characterized by doctrinal ambiguity or uncertainty? Are doctrines presented as revealed by God, or as “due- time” light, later rejected or replaced by new understandings?
Yes, truth does not change. Our understanding of things can change, and practices can change, but there should not be changes regarding matters on teachings of faith and morals. If your church use to teach homosexual acts are wrong, but have since caved to the fashions of the day and say they are ok, then you cannot be in Christ’s Church. The moral law does not change.

FALSE PROPHECY -- Does a study of the group’s history reveal that its leaders have pronounced or promoted false prophecies? This was done either by new revelations or by speculations based on erroneous interpretations of Scripture. According to the Bible, these failures clearly identify a false prophet (Deuteronomy 18:21–22).
True.

Grace and peace to all.
Peace to you as well.

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Re: Today's Excellent Church.

Post #162

Post by JehovahsWitness »

RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:19 pm
JehovahsWitness wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 11:16 am
Jehovah's Witnesses have never made a failed PROPHECY because we do not, and have never prophecied. Would you like to challenge me on that?


Yes...It is very convenient to make prophecies {snip}

So now would be the time for you to prove (provide documented evidence) of Jehovah's Witnesses claiming they are presenting PROPHECY. I expect to see the Word PROPHECY or a synonym in your proof. A direct quote which contains claims of PROPHECY will suffice.
"The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic " -Watchtower August 15, 1950, page 263.
Image
source : https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1001077240







Thanks,


JW
INDEX: More bible based ANSWERS
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 81#p826681


"For if we live, we live to Jehovah, and if we die, we die to Jehovah. So both if we live and if we die, we belong to Jehovah" -
Romans 14:8

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Re: Today's Excellent Church.

Post #163

Post by onewithhim »

onewithhim wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:54 pm
RightReason wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 2:12 pm [Replying to JehovahsWitness in post #141]

So, an indicator of a false religion isn't false prophecies? Be aware of false prophets? An indicator of a false religion isn't adding to or changing Sacred Scripture? JW's do not teach the Trinity and deny the divine nature of Jesus -- something all of Christendom taught from the get go. I think JW's need to take a serious look at themselves and stop calling g everyone else the whore of Babylon. Seems you are unfamiliar with the correct meaning.
JWs have made NO false prophecies. They haven't made any prophecies, because that is not what we do. We simply take what is ALREADY in the Scriptures and issue warnings and whatever needs to be said. A few times what was said concerning warnings or explanations was not correct, but that is not false prophesying. It was the Governing Body's attempt at understanding a certain situation. All religions do that....try to understand and then issue their opinions. That is what has gone down. Opinions based on what they thought was true, but no new prophecies! Big difference.

JWs have NOT added to or changed Scripture, as many religions have, including the RCC. JWs go back to the earliest known manuscripts and have translated from those, unlike the translators of the Douay and King James versions.....they just went back as far as the Latin Vulgate, not the original Greek and Hebrew. I have studied dozens of Bible versions and listened to many different Bible scholars, not just ours. I agree with Jason BeDuhn who wrote "Truth In Translation." The New World Translation is the best Bible translation, with the Catholic New American Bible coming in second. You should read his reasonings.

Christendom may have taught the God-ship of Jesus, but Christians didn't teach that from the get go. That false teaching started up near the end of the first century, and became somewhat entrenched when the pagan Constantine decided that it would be part of the official doctrine, in 325 AD. The Catholic Church itself stated that the Trinity was not firmly entrenched until around the 8th century. I have copies of what they said in the New Catholic Encyclopedia. JWs went all the way back to the pure teachings of Jesus and his Apostles. There was so Diety of Jesus there, nor any Trinity.
It seems my argument was overlooked and might add something important to the discussion.

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Re: Today's Excellent Church.

Post #164

Post by PinSeeker »

RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:21 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 11:17 am I think we would all agree that we do not want to be a part of groups whose belief systems and practices deviate significantly from and often contradict the Holy Scriptures.
Sure, but who becomes the arbiter of what is a significant deviation from Scripture? As we see on this forum, two sincere truth seeking believers can both read the same Bible and come to different interpretations.
Well, I specified belief systems and practices deviate significantly from and often contradict the Holy Scriptures. Significant deviations from Scripture are not hard to discern.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:21 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 11:17 am ADD -- Are extra-biblical revelations or other books needed to understand the Bible or cited as the source of doctrine? These are often viewed as being superior to the Bible. A variation of this characteristic is that the Bible is declared to be accurate and complete, but that it can only be understood properly by the interpretations provided by the group’s leader or the organization.
Yes. Not only did the Bible as we know it, not fall from the sky, like I said above, it needs to be interpreted.
It needs to be understood correctly, yes. But interpretation does not entail adding to it. The RCC and the Watchtower Society are both guilty of this (in different ways, regarding various things).
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:21 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 11:17 am SUBTRACT -- Does the group devalue Jesus Christ by denying His deity? The same question applies regarding the Holy Spirit. When what the Scriptures say about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are studied, one finds that each is called “God” (2 Corinthians 1:3; John 1:1; 20:28; Hebrews 1:8; Romans 9:5; Acts 5:3–4) and each manifests the attributes of deity.
Yep. Also, under subtraction would be does the group take out the part where Jesus established an authoritative Church?
He did, certainly, but the question is, what is the nature of that Church, and Who is it's Head? We can see Who in, among other places, Ephesians 1:22 ("And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church..."), Ephesians 5:23 ("For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior."), and Colossians 1:18 ("And (Christ) is the head of the body, the church..."). And as we read in Ephesians 2, we are now "fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (the Church), built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in Whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him (we) also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:21 pm Christians were intended to listen to Sacred Scripture AND Sacred Tradition (the Church). Any group that removes half of that equation and claims the Bible as sole authority would be in error. Nowhere in the Bible does the Bible say it is our sole authority.
There are many important questions on which Scripture is silent, and no one claims that everything Jesus or the apostles ever taught is preserved in Scripture. But everything binding on our consciences, and everything God requires of us is given to us in Scripture, which is exactly what Peter himself tells us (2 Peter 1:3), and we are forbidden to add to or take away from Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Revelation 22:18-19). To add to it is to lay on people a burden that God Himself does not intend for them to bear (Matthew 23:4). This was one of the egregious errors of the Pharisees, who, perhaps unknowingly, went against the Word of God by handing down traditions (Matthew 15, Mark 7, Colossians 2:8).

Scripture is the perfect and only standard of spiritual truth, revealing infallibly all that we must believe in order to be saved and all that we must do in order to glorify God.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:21 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 11:17 am MULTIPLY -- Does the group multiply the requirements for salvation? Is salvation that is dependent on membership in the organization and certain required rituals a denial of justification by faith? Is salvation either uncertain or merely a future thing? Romans 5:1, Ephesians 2:8-10, and Titus 3:5 clearly show the error of groups that do any of these things. Additionally, faith equals salvation plus works, rather than "faith plus works equals salvation." Scripture is clear that good works are the result of God’s grace; they do not earn salvation (Galatians 5:22–25).
Yes, and equally important is to keep in mind Martin Luther added the word alone to Sacred Scripture in the verse, “We are saved by faith”. He translated Scripture to say, “We are saved by faith alone”. The word alone was not in the original Bible. In fact, the only place alone is used in the context of salvation is in James 2:24 when Scripture says, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
The Bible I read (multiple versions, but I particularly like the ESV) says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." There is no 'alone' in there for sure, but only faith, which is the gift of God, is mentioned, and nothing else. Therefore, it is faith alone. As for James 2:24, yes, man is justified by works and not faith alone, but the works (synonymous with love and service) that we do that bring justification are the NATURAL RESULT of God-given faith (and not the other way around, as some think). If our faith does not produce works, then that "faith" is not really faith at all and is thus dead, and this is exactly what James is saying. So, yes, faith -- God-given faith alone -- is the primary driver.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:21 pm Also, the Church is certainly permitted to enforce Christ’s teachings. Things like Baptism as one example. She has the obligation and authority to do so.
Nope. This is legalism, and is to be avoided by all, especially including those of the one holy, catholic (universal, inclusive of all believers) Church.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:21 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 11:17 am DIVIDE -- Does the organization claim to be the only one that has the truth? Does it claim it is God’s sole channel or only true church? As a result, are all other religious organizations to be rejected as false? If a person leaves the group is salvation lost?
Logically speaking there is only one truth, and since Christ’s Church was established by Christ and He promised to remain with her, we have confidence it is True. Scripture itself refers to the Church as the ‘pillar and foundation of truth’.
Well, right, but this is in reference to all believers, who together make up Christ's one holy, catholic -- invisible, in the sense that we don't know who all is included, just all truly heart-regenerate, repentant believers, and only God knows for sure -- Church. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, not the Roman Catholic Church... or any other church, like the Church of Christ (any church that claims exclusivity for itself that only Christ could and did claim for Himself).
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:21 pm That said, the Church has always recognized when there are elements of truth outside of her.
Sure, but you're referring to the Roman Catholic Church and therefore claiming it's exclusivity (as if it rightfully has any), which is the point. But yes, Christians are to try to distinguish between right and wrong, who is with us and who is not.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:21 pm However, other churches do not have the fullness of the faith that God intended. But of course those outside of the Church can be saved, but even if they don’t realize it yet, it will be through Christ’s Church that they are saved.
But not the Roman Catholic Church. Or any other Protestant Church, for that matter. Christ's one universal Church, God's Israel.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:21 pm And they will be so happy to be saved, they will be cool with that.
LOL! That they will. Blessed. Forevermore.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:21 pm DOCTRINAL AMBIGUITY -- Are the teachings of the group characterized by doctrinal ambiguity or uncertainty? Are doctrines presented as revealed by God, or as “due- time” light, later rejected or replaced by new understandings?
Yes, truth does not change. Our understanding of things can change, and practices can change, but there should not be changes regarding matters on teachings of faith and morals. If your church use to teach homosexual acts are wrong, but have since caved to the fashions of the day and say they are ok, then you cannot be in Christ’s Church. The moral law does not change. [/quote]
And I say all sinners are welcome in our churches, including the Roman Catholic Church. God will separate the wheat from the tares; we are to allow the tares to be among the wheat.

Grace and peace to you, RR
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Re: Today's Excellent Church.

Post #165

Post by RightReason »

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Re: Today's Excellent Church.

Post #166

Post by RightReason »

RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 3:52 pm
So now would be the time for you to prove (provide documented evidence) of Jehovah's Witnesses claiming they are presenting PROPHECY.

"The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances, nor is it dogmatic " -Watchtower August 15, 1950, page 263.

Again, I’m not trying to be rude. Onewithhim started it with saying the Catholic Church was a false prophet. I’m simply pointing out how/why many would see JW’s as fitting that bill.

Yes, these are the words from the Watchtower since 1993:

AW 22/3/93 The Watchtower, the official journal of Jehovah's Witnesses has said: "We have not the gift of prophecy". Jehovah's Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus' second coming, have suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect. Never in these instances, however, did they presume or originate predictions "in the name of Jehovah". Never did they say, "These are the words of Jehovah."

And yet here were some previous statements they made:


WT June 15, 64 "As Jehovah revealed his truths by means of the first century Christian congregation so he does today by means of the present-day Christian congregation. Through this agency he is having carried out prophesying. All of this activity is not an accident. Jehovah is the one behind all of it."

"The Nations shall know ...", 1971 There is an authentic prophetic class of Christians among us. Jehovah has raised up a genuine "prophet" within our generation. Regardless of how Christendom views or regards this group of anointed witnesses of Jehovah, the time must come, and that shortly, when those making up Christendom will know that really a "prophet" of Jehovah was among them."

AW 10/8/68 "True, there have been those in times past who predicted an "end to the world", even announcing a specific date ... yet nothing happened. The end did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. What was missing? Missing was the full measure of evidence required in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Missing from such people were God's truths and evidence that he was guiding and using them."

https://www.redemptionofhumanity.org/ha ... rophecies/


So, I’m sure you can understand why however they present themselves today, there was a time when they claimed to be acting as prophets.
[/quote]

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Re: Today's Excellent Church.

Post #167

Post by RightReason »

onewithhim wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 1:44 pm It seems my argument was overlooked and might add something important to the discussion.
Your argument was not overlooked. It was addressed.
JWs have made NO false prophecies. They haven't made any prophecies, because that is not what we do.
Yes, that is what they now claim, but history shows otherwise.
JWs have NOT added to or changed Scripture
I already posted in this thread the many places JW’s used their own unique translation. They added words that weren’t there and changed words that were.

The New World Translation is the best Bible translation
Scholars point out many problems with NWT

Christendom may have taught the God-ship of Jesus, but Christians didn't teach that from the get go.
Yes, they did. This can be shown from historical record, early Church writings, Sacred Scripture, and Sacred Tradition.

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Re: Today's Excellent Church.

Post #168

Post by RightReason »

8
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Re: Today's Excellent Church.

Post #169

Post by RightReason »

RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:49 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm Well, I specified belief systems and practices deviate significantly from and often contradict the Holy Scriptures. Significant deviations from Scripture are not hard to discern.
That sounds like when two sincere Christians who disagree both claim their position is so obvious. And again, how can one determine what a significant deviation is? If your church believes Jesus was speaking symbolically when He said, “This is my body. Truly, truly, I say to you my body is real food and my blood is real drink” and my Church believes he was speaking literally, would you consider that a significant deviation?

It needs to be understood correctly, yes. But interpretation does not entail adding to it.
Again, we were not told the Bible is our sole authority. As Christians we are expected to follow Sacred Scripture AND Sacred Tradition. Following Sacred Tradition is not being guilty of adding to the Bible, but it seems you might think it is. The Church can never contradict the Bible, but it does have the authority to declare things not specifically mentioned in the Bible. For example the word Trinity is not in the Bible and yet the Church has declared the doctrine of the Trinity.

The RCC and the Watchtower Society are both guilty of this (in different ways, regarding various things).
Please provide an example of the Catholic Church adding to the Bible. Thank you.
He did, certainly, but the question is, what is the nature of that Church, and Who is it's Head?
Clearly, Christ is the head of His Church and as the head of His Church He said, “thou art Peter and upon this rock, I build my church. He who hears you, hears me. Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven him. Whatever you bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven. I give to you the keys to the kingdom"
We can see Who in, among other places, Ephesians 1:22 ("And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church..."), Ephesians 5:23 ("For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior."), and Colossians 1:18 ("And (Christ) is the head of the body, the church..."). And as we read in Ephesians 2, we are now "fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (the Church), built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in Whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him (we) also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
You will get no argument from me with any of that. All true!


There are many important questions on which Scripture is silent, and no one claims that everything Jesus or the apostles ever taught is preserved in Scripture.
Amen. And precisely why Jesus set up an authoritative earthly Church.
But everything binding on our consciences, and everything God requires of us is given to us in Scripture, which is exactly what Peter himself tells us (2 Peter 1:3), and we are forbidden to add to or take away from Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Revelation 22:18-19). To add to it is to lay on people a burden that God Himself does not intend for them to bear (Matthew 23:4). This was one of the egregious errors of the Pharisees, who, perhaps unknowingly, went against the Word of God by handing down traditions (Matthew 15, Mark 7, Colossians 2:8).
All true, but that has nothing to do with the authority and power of Christ’s Church or that Jesus did not expect people to listen to His Church.
Scripture is the perfect and only standard of spiritual truth
That is actually unscriptural. Scripture itself calls the church the ‘pillar and foundation of truth’ And of course Jesus Christ Himself is the way, the truth, and the life.
, revealing infallibly all that we must believe in order to be saved and all that we must do in order to glorify God.
Great! Except that the Bible can’t interpret itself. And again two sincere truth seeking Christians can interpret things differently so it doesn’t do a lot of good for them to each claim their personal interpretation of Scripture is the infallible one. God knew we needed an earthly authoritative Church. That was the means He intended to communicate with us.

The Bible I read (multiple versions, but I particularly like the ESV) says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." There is no 'alone' in there for sure, but only faith, which is the gift of God, is mentioned, and nothing else. Therefore, it is faith alone. As for James 2:24, yes, man is justified by works and not faith alone, but the works (synonymous with love and service) that we do that bring justification are the NATURAL RESULT of God-given faith (and not the other way around, as some think). If our faith does not produce works, then that "faith" is not really faith at all and is thus dead, and this is exactly what James is saying. So, yes, faith -- God-given faith alone -- is the primary driver.
Amen. I take no issue with anything you wrote because that is the Catholic position. Congratulations!

Also, the Church is certainly permitted to enforce Christ’s teachings. Things like Baptism as one example. She has the obligation and authority to do so.
Nope. This is legalism, and is to be avoided by all, especially including those of the one holy, catholic (universal, inclusive of all believers) Church.
Oh, and you were doing so well. Jesus Himself was baptized and told the disciples to go forth spreading the Good News and baptizing! Baptism is not legalism and the Church is not being legalistic requiring it of believers.
Well, right, but this is in reference to all believers, who together make up Christ's one holy, catholic -- invisible, in the sense that we don't know who all is included, just all truly heart-regenerate, repentant believers, and only God knows for sure -- Church.
Nope. Jesus established an actual, visible, authoritative, Apostolic Church. And we do know who is included all the way back to Peter and an unbroken line of Apostolic succession ever since. People were told, “He who hears you, hears me”. You can’t hear the Church if she’s invisible.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, not the Roman Catholic Church
"Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me."

But not the Roman Catholic Church.
I disagee. Christ’s established Church is the Catholic Church and all salvation will come by way of Christ’s Church.

And I say all sinners are welcome in our churches, including the Roman Catholic Church. God will separate the wheat from the tares; we are to allow the tares to be among the wheat.
Amen. All are welcome and always have been. But that doesn’t address my previous comment about the Church’s responsibility to teach the truth . . . .


James 5:19-20
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.



Matthew 28:19-20
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Mark 9:42
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.


Peace.

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Re: Today's Excellent Church.

Post #170

Post by PinSeeker »

RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm Well, I specified belief systems and practices deviate significantly from and often contradict the Holy Scriptures. Significant deviations from Scripture are not hard to discern.
That sounds like when two sincere Christians who disagree both claim their position is so obvious. And again, how can one determine what a significant deviation is? If your church believes Jesus was speaking symbolically when He said, “This is my body. Truly, truly, I say to you my body is real food and my blood is real drink” and my Church believes he was speaking literally, would you consider that a significant deviation?
What Jesus said in John 6 cannot be intended literally, because no one ever did that (actually eat His flesh and drink His blood). As Jesus has done frequently in this Gospel, He is speaking in terms of physical items in this world to teach about spiritual realities. Here, to "eat" Jesus's flesh has the spiritual meaning of trusting or believing in Him, especially in His death for the sins of mankind. Similarly, to "drink His blood" means to trust in His atoning death, which is represented by the shedding of His blood. Although Jesus is not speaking specifically about the Lord's Supper here, there is a parallel there, because the receiving of eternal life through being united with "the Son of Man" is represented in the Lord's Supper (where Jesus's followers symbolically eat His flesh and drink His blood).

As for what I would or would not consider a significant deviation, I would not consider transubstantiation a deviation as much as just a (very) significant misunderstanding. I was actually thinking more about something like, "Jesus is not the way, the truth, and the life," while Jesus actually said, "I am the way the truth and the life." Something obvious. Not that you're making any mistake like that, but you get the idea. But on that subject, the sacraments are given to us by God as outward signs that symbolize the real thing. They are formative, but not actual. I realize that the RCC teaches transubstantiation, that's... well, it's wrong.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm Again, we were not told the Bible is our sole authority. As Christians we are expected to follow Sacred Scripture AND Sacred Tradition.
According to whom? Because again, everything God requires of us is given to us in Scripture, which is exactly what Peter himself (who you think is the first pope) tells us (2 Peter 1:3), and we are forbidden to add to or take away from Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Revelation 22:18-19). To add to it is to lay on people a burden that God Himself does not intend for them to bear (Matthew 23:4). This was one of the egregious errors of the Pharisees, who, perhaps unknowingly, went against the Word of God by handing down traditions (Matthew 15, Mark 7, Colossians 2:8).
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm Following Sacred Tradition is not being guilty of adding to the Bible, but it seems you might think it is. The Church can never contradict the Bible, but it does have the authority to declare things not specifically mentioned in the Bible. For example the word Trinity is not in the Bible and yet the Church has declared the doctrine of the Trinity.
I think I need you to define (and maybe give me some examples of -- "Sacred Tradition." Regarding 'Trinity,' no one argues that the word is not in the Bible, but the Bible clearly portrays the one God as three distinct Persons. Genesis 1 and John 1 immediately come to mind, and Jesus Himself names the three Persons clearly in John 14. Christians use the word 'Trinity' because it captures the simultaneous one-ness and three-ness of God, His triune nature. I wouldn't call that a "tradition" of any kind.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm The RCC and the Watchtower Society are both guilty of this (in different ways, regarding various things).
Please provide an example of the Catholic Church adding to the Bible. Thank you.
I get your irritation. I'll just answer this generally by saying the Roman Catholic Church continues to assert its own authority and bind its people to “another gospel” -- it supplements Scripture with additional traditions and teaching, which is exactly what you have been saying.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm He did, certainly, but the question is, what is the nature of that Church, and Who is it's Head?
Clearly, Christ is the head of His Church and as the head of His Church He said, “thou art Peter and upon this rock, I build my church. He who hears you, hears me. Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven him. Whatever you bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven. I give to you the keys to the kingdom"
Jesus is the Rock of our salvation. It is surely true that God used Peter greatly in the foundation of the church. It was Peter who first proclaimed the Gospel on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Peter was also the first to take the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10). In a sense, Peter was the rock “foundation” of the church. However, Jesus was referring not to Peter, but to Peter’s confession of faith in verse 16: “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” Jesus had never explicitly taught Peter and the other disciples the fullness of His identity, and He recognized that God had sovereignly opened Peter’s eyes and revealed to him who Jesus really was. Peter's confession of Christ as Messiah poured forth from him, a heartfelt declaration of Peter’s personal faith in Jesus. It is this personal faith in Christ which is the hallmark of the true Christian. Further, the word for “Peter,” Petros, means a small stone (John 1:42). Jesus used a play on words here with petra (“on this rock”) which means a foundation boulder, as in Matthew 7:24, 25 when He described the rock upon which the wise man builds his house. Peter himself uses the same imagery in his first epistle: the church is built of numerous small petros “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5) who, like Peter, confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and those confessions of faith are the bedrock of the church.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm We can see Who in, among other places, Ephesians 1:22 ("And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church..."), Ephesians 5:23 ("For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior."), and Colossians 1:18 ("And (Christ) is the head of the body, the church..."). And as we read in Ephesians 2, we are now "fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (the Church), built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in Whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him (we) also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
You will get no argument from me with any of that. All true!
Well, great! So, again, Jesus is the Rock of our salvation, on Whom the church is built, and on Whom we should all build our houses (as opposed to sand).
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm There are many important questions on which Scripture is silent, and no one claims that everything Jesus or the apostles ever taught is preserved in Scripture.
Amen. And precisely why Jesus set up an authoritative earthly Church.
Well no, this is why all we Christians have a Helper, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father has sent in Jesus's name. It is He who teaches us all things and brings to our remembrance all that Jesus said to us (John 14:26).
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm But everything binding on our consciences, and everything God requires of us is given to us in Scripture, which is exactly what Peter himself tells us (2 Peter 1:3), and we are forbidden to add to or take away from Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Revelation 22:18-19). To add to it is to lay on people a burden that God Himself does not intend for them to bear (Matthew 23:4). This was one of the egregious errors of the Pharisees, who, perhaps unknowingly, went against the Word of God by handing down traditions (Matthew 15, Mark 7, Colossians 2:8).
All true, but that has nothing to do with the authority and power of Christ’s Church or that Jesus did not expect people to listen to His Church.
Well thanks for acknowledging the truth of what I said, but it refutes the idea that the Church is empowered to enforce the Gospel or add any requirements/traditions to it.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm Scripture is the perfect and only standard of spiritual truth
That is actually unscriptural. Scripture itself calls the church the ‘pillar and foundation of truth’ And of course Jesus Christ Himself is the way, the truth, and the life.
I'll just focus first on the last thing you said here. Yes, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Is not Jesus the Word made flesh, as John says in John 1:14? Yes. So, working backwards in your assertions here, regarding the church being the pillar and foundation of truth, we must not take this out of Paul's context. How, then, should 1 Timothy 3:15 be interpreted? Judging by the context of 1 Timothy, as well as the rest of Scripture, certainly not that “the church” has an infallible grasp of truth. In this case, Paul is saying that the ekklesia -- the body of believers, “the church” -- is the structure that holds up and holds forth the gospel to the world. “The church,” that is, the entire population of Christian believers, bears the earthly responsibility of holding up the truth of the gospel. The ultimate basis of that truth is Christ, not the proclamations or infallibility of members of that body. Paul is calling on believers to care for the structure that “supports” or “props up” our message to the world. So 1 Timothy 3:15 cannot be taken to mean that the church itself is the source or standard for truth.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm ...revealing infallibly all that we must believe in order to be saved and all that we must do in order to glorify God.
Great! Except that the Bible can’t interpret itself. And again two sincere truth seeking Christians can interpret things differently so it doesn’t do a lot of good for them to each claim their personal interpretation of Scripture is the infallible one. God knew we needed an earthly authoritative Church. That was the means He intended to communicate with us.
Hm. Scripture does interpret scripture, actually. God is His own arbiter and needs no help or clarification. What may be unclear to anyone in one passage -- even though it is not really unclear; the failing is in man, not God -- is invariably made clearer in another passage of Scripture -- again, not that it is really more clear, but only clearer to the human hearer -- in one way or another. In short, this is not Scripture but a Scriptural truth, that, as the great hymn says, "What more can He say than to you He has said, to you Whom for refuge to Jesus have fled?" (How Firm a Foundation)
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm The Bible I read (multiple versions, but I particularly like the ESV) says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." There is no 'alone' in there for sure, but only faith, which is the gift of God, is mentioned, and nothing else. Therefore, it is faith alone. As for James 2:24, yes, man is justified by works and not faith alone, but the works (synonymous with love and service) that we do that bring justification are the NATURAL RESULT of God-given faith (and not the other way around, as some think). If our faith does not produce works, then that "faith" is not really faith at all and is thus dead, and this is exactly what James is saying. So, yes, faith -- God-given faith alone -- is the primary driver.
Amen. I take no issue with anything you wrote because that is the Catholic position. Congratulations!
That's great that you agree, but the Catholic position is that faith plus works equals salvation, and that is not right; only God-given faith (as a result of His grace) is necessary for and salvation, and works inevitably follow.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm Also, the Church is certainly permitted to enforce Christ’s teachings. Things like Baptism as one example. She has the obligation and authority to do so.
Nope. This is legalism, and is to be avoided by all, especially including those of the one holy, catholic (universal, inclusive of all believers) Church.
Oh, and you were doing so well.
Sarcasm noted and dismissed.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm Jesus Himself was baptized and told the disciples to go forth spreading the Good News and baptizing! Baptism is not legalism and the Church is not being legalistic requiring it of believers.
Baptism, as a sacrament, is only an outward sign and seal, and is not effectual. No one is hinting that "baptism is legalism," but yes, the Church requiring it as necessary for salvation is legalistic. The baptism that is truly effectual is that of the Holy Spirit. We see this in 1 Corinthians 12:13; 6:19, Romans 6:1-10, Colossians 2:12, 1 John 4:15, and Acts 2:28. And as you must know, Jesus said that "unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (so actually being baptized by men is not absolutely necessary to salvation).
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm Well, right, but this is in reference to all believers, who together make up Christ's one holy, catholic -- invisible, in the sense that we don't know who all is included, just all truly heart-regenerate, repentant believers, and only God knows for sure -- Church.
Nope.
Yep. See above.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm Jesus established an actual, visible, authoritative, Apostolic Church.
His Church -- God's elect -- is invisible in the sense that we cannot see people's hearts; we cannot truly know who is saved and who is not. This is the Church that Jesus established, and is still being built today.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, not the Roman Catholic Church
"Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me."
Such is the sovereignty of God. Yes, if one is teaching as Jesus taught, then the one who is really being listened to and accepted is Jesus, not the human teacher.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm But not the Roman Catholic Church.
I disagree.
Well, as the good Roman Catholic you are, of course you do. Okay.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm Christ’s established Church is the Catholic Church and all salvation will come by way of Christ’s Church.
Nope. Christ's Church consists of all God's elect, people from every tongue, tribe, and nation, who number as the stars in heaven and the sand on the seashore.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm
PinSeeker wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 2:59 pm And I say all sinners are welcome in our churches, including the Roman Catholic Church. God will separate the wheat from the tares; we are to allow the tares to be among the wheat.
Amen. All are welcome and always have been. But that doesn’t address my previous comment about the Church’s responsibility to teach the truth . . . .
Agreed about the teaching.. or what we call equipping of the saints... but that's not quite what you said, is it? No, you said (and I quote), "...the Church is certainly permitted to enforce Christ’s teachings... She has the obligation and authority to do so." That's wrong.
RightReason wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 4:51 pm James 5:19-20 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins... Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God... Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”... Mark 9:42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
I don't see in there where they are to either literally or figuratively held at gunpoint and forced to submit... :D

Grace and peace to you, RR.
Last edited by PinSeeker on Wed May 05, 2021 9:17 am, edited 3 times in total.

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