Baptism & The Church

Discussions on ecclesiology such as the nature, constitution and functions of the church.
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Mastermind
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#16

Post by Mastermind » Tue Jan 25, 2005 7:02 pm

Yes, I did mean the catholic/greek orthodox version of a saint. And hey, the saints I respect the most are the ones who never asked for any of it. Some of them (like Joan of Arc) truly deserve it. I'm Greek Orthodox and I would consider her a saint.

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#17

Post by Anonymous » Tue Jan 25, 2005 9:44 pm

Jac,

Unfortunately, I disagree with some of what you said :? . Don't get me wrong, I've been to church, and I enjoy it as much as the next guy. However, even though I love to hear sermons, I feel it is not something of necessity. Jesus said, "make God your Rabbi", and I stick strongly by that. Essentially I feel the church was and is somewhat still very important in leading and organizing christians as you stated, however scripture was not so accessible back in biblical day's and majority of people were even illiterate. Scripture is key in understanding God, as it contains his word, revealed through those truely ordained by him.

As for the Holy Spirit using teachers to disciple his people is very valid as that is the case with the apostles, however I don't see what this has to do with church. Sermons are of great interest for me as I like to hear other interpretations, and opinions on scripture. Yet I sometimes disagree with what is said and most of the time, I formulate my own interpretation of the scripture he/she might be talking about. Everyone needs equipping but I believe it should come from one's own studying of scripture.

Everything you claim the church does, is done by the bible. So in conclusion, I'm all for going to church and will probably do so in the future, however I'm strongly against the principle that its a necessity. It's not disobedient at all as I don't recall God every saying anything of the like. I believe people need to find a time in their life when they feel they are ready for church. A good church can be a great tool for bolstering one's faith even more or help bring back faith that was lost.

Also having not been to church periodically for sometime and that hasn't weakened my faith but multiplied it tenfold. I also appreciate church even more now after my absence then i had before. Everyone has to at one point in their life seek God on their own and try to understand him from their perspective, before they can be fully understand what they are being taught. Jesus let his disciples hear and grapple over his parables before he bestowed upon them the Holy Spirit.

Also how are we to know some people are not as the Jewish leaders or "experts of religion" who claimed to know a lot about scripture and God, when Jesus showed them they knew very little. It can be hard to sometimes discern the difference between the devil and a saint.

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#18

Post by Jac3510 » Tue Jan 25, 2005 11:04 pm

You'll have to forgive me for picking this apart. There is a lot to be pointed out.
vvart wrote:Unfortunately, I disagree with some of what you said :? . Don't get me wrong, I've been to church, and I enjoy it as much as the next guy.
When did I suggest that church was about enjoyment? I assume you meant this as a figure of speech, but, regardless, it tells me that you have missed the motivation behind the reason we go.
vvart wrote:However, even though I love to hear sermons, I feel it is not something of necessity.
I believe I cited five major functions of the church, and none of them was "the preaching of sermons." Preaching would fall under the category of "equipping of the saints." This is, of course, done by teaching, and teaching can take several forms. Regardless, though, we have Paul's COMMAND to Timothy to preach the Word. To who? TO HIS CONGREGATION! What does that say, then, about the congregation?

Anywho, forget that entire paragraph and notice your word "feel" in your sentence. Please don't take this the wrong way, but your feelings or opinions do not matter, nor do mine. What matters is Scripture, and it tells that the teaching of pastors is necessary.
vvart wrote:Jesus said, "make God your Rabbi", and I stick strongly by that.
Where?
vvart wrote:Essentially I feel the church was and is somewhat still very important in leading and organizing christians as you stated, however scripture was not so accessible back in biblical day's and majority of people were even illiterate.
Don't confuse first century Christianity with middle-ages Christianity. The Scriptures were written in Koine Greek, the common man's language, and there is no reason at all to believe that most of the people were illiterate. Roman society was very much like our own. Further, Scripture was very accessible. Again, it was written in the common man's language, and secondly, it was freely copied time and time again. Do remember that most of the NT comes in the forms of letters that were read to a local body of believers.
vvart wrote:Scripture is key in understanding God, as it contains his word, revealed through those truely ordained by him.
Of course. I have no disagreement with this.
vvart wrote:As for the Holy Spirit using teachers to disciple his people is very valid as that is the case with the apostles, however I don't see what this has to do with church.
What do you think it means for someone to have the gift of teaching? Why do you think that Paul says that pastors must have this gift? What is their office to do? Why does James say that not many should become teachers?

Teaching is a very high calling, and the teaching of the Word of God even higher. Do you believe that you can understand ANY of Scripture without the help of the Holy Spirit? If not, that does it not follow that in order to teach it properly, you must be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit? And, if this is the case, and if God has set apart men to teach His word for the purpose of equipping the saints (which could not have stopped with the apostles since Paul gave this command to Timothy, a non-apostle), does it not follow then that God will guide those men in their teaching? Does it not follow that He does this through the ministry of the Spirit?

Am I saying that you cannot learn anything on your own? Of course not. We've all come to conclusions on our own. But let me ask you this, vvart: what is the purpose of the teacher if there is no need for one?
vvart wrote:Sermons are of great interest for me as I like to hear other interpretations, and opinions on scripture.
I like hearing opinions on Scripture. I hate hearing opinions from the pulpit. I hate it so much that I will have no involvement with a church that promotes it.

In my first class on preaching, my professor made it a point to say that our congregation could not care less what we think. God could care less what we think. What is important is what the word of God SAYS, and that is why we are to be extra careful with how we handle it, otherwise, we will incur a stricter judgement, as per James 3:1. Again, don't let the bad examples of false teachers lead you to the wrong conclusion that all teachers are either false or that teaching, as an office, is unwarranted. That simply goes against the grain of Scripture.

vvart wrote:Yet I sometimes disagree with what is said and most of the time, I formulate my own interpretation of the scripture he/she might be talking about.
On one hand, this is commendable. The Bereans were praised by Luke for searching out the Scriptures to confirm what Paul said was true. But, on the other hand, I would urge extreme caution. What you are telling me is that you listen to the "opinion" of the pastor, and if you agree with it, you accept it. Well, in that case, it is no wonder that you don't see the necessity in the pulpit and the church. You only take what you have already agreed to. You are capable of doing that on your own.

Keep in mind that the position of the teacher is one of authority, and the position of the congregation is to LEARN. Obviously, I'm not saying that you should take everything hook, line, and sinker, because humans are still fallible. But, I'm telling you that you still have the mandate from God to submit yourself to your overseer.
vvart wrote:Everyone needs equipping but I believe it should come from one's own studying of scripture.
Then why did Paul order Timothy to equip the saints? Was he telling him to do wrong? What is the need for Timothy at all if the saints are capable of coming to the conclusions all on their own?
vvart wrote:Everything you claim the church does, is done by the bible. So in conclusion, I'm all for going to church and will probably do so in the future, however I'm strongly against the principle that its a necessity.
The thing is, vvart, you haven't offered me a single reason NOT to go. All you have done is tell me that you believe that you can learn on your own, as if learning were the most important part. But, as previously noted, I've listed at least five major functions that you are avoiding. Further, your position that you are just as capable of being discipled on your own as you are in a church setting is debatable at best. And, even further, you have the DIRECT COMMAND in Hebrews that was mentioned in my first post in this thread.

I have, then, offered several major reasons that one SHOULD attend and join a local church, not the least of which is the divine mandate. And, yet, you have said nothing in regard to these, except to offer nice words to the affect that, "It's good for you, but I don't need it." Hopefully, you'll see--and I mean this in all humility and tact--the deep arrogance, even if it is unintentional, that this position is rooted in. You don't need God's ordained institution? Do you really believe that the thing Jesus Christ set up and blessed is the thing you are capable of living and serving Him without?
vvart wrote:It's not disobedient at all as I don't recall God every saying anything of the like.
I believe I've mentioned several places that argue against this.
vvart wrote:I believe people need to find a time in their life when they feel they are ready for church.
Based on what? Your own subjective experience, because I'm working off three major premises:

1) The mandate to attend church, as per Hebrews 11,
2) The ordained office of the teacher and thus the position of disciple as decided by God in His sovereign calling of each person to their place in the Body of Christ, and
3) The establishment of the Church by Jesus Himself, and the sheer logical fact that all the Christians in the world cannot meet in a single place (see 1 again)

Notice all three of these are based on a common source: the Bible. Therefore, I assert that the mandate to church membership and attendance is biblical, and the rejection of it is subjective and nothing less that rebellion against God's declared order.
vvart wrote:A good church can be a great tool for bolstering one's faith even more or help bring back faith that was lost.
A good church is much more than that, too.

I wonder if part of the reason we disagree is that you look at church so individualistically. You do realize, don't you, that God didn't invent the church for you, and you don't go for your benefit, right? The church is for Christ, and we go for Him. We go for the benefit of the Kingdom of God. It is never about us. Anyone who says it is has the entire system exactly backwards.
vvart wrote:Also having not been to church periodically for sometime and that hasn't weakened my faith but multiplied it tenfold. I also appreciate church even more now after my absence then i had before.
Not eating makes a person hungry, too. The starving man appreciates the meal far more than the well fed one. Who, though, is in the better position?

As for your personal faith, as noted above, the church isn't there merely for your benefit and/or the growth of your faith. Suppose we argue that God has chosen to grow you (for certainly the growth was not your work) over the past year. However, I am forced to ask: if this is the case, does it not follow that your growth would have been beneficial to the local community that you would/should have been involved with? Would your growth not served to edify the body of Christ? And yet, in not attending, did you not rob the local church of a blessing? And for the man who knows what is right and does not do it, is it not sin? So, sins of omission are just as real. Do you see that, assuming your faith has been bolstered so much, that it is distinctly possible that you have sinned against God by not being involved in His church? Remember, all is done for the edification of the church, because all is done for and to and through Christ, and He does all for His Church. He loved her so much that He died for her. Should we not do the same? If our God loves something, who are we to say that we do not love it? Who are we to say that He is wrong?
vvart wrote:Everyone has to at one point in their life seek God on their own and try to understand him from their perspective, before they can be fully understand what they are being taught. Jesus let his disciples hear and grapple over his parables before he bestowed upon them the Holy Spirit.
This may be true, but does this necessarily mean that one should not attend the service? Besides, what would it mean to seek God without being taught? Paul makes it clear that to believe we must hear, and to hear someone must preach. Perhaps we can "preach to ourselves," but this is very ironic, because at this point, the one you are talking about is the young Christian (if we haven't figured out who God is yet). And, yet, he is the one who needs the guidance of the church the most, or else he is very apt to fall into false doctrine! Certainly you can see that the untrained, undiscipled mind will misunderstand what the Scriptures say. Jesus said we are to make disciples. He did not say we are to convert them and let them on their own to figure it out, and when they did, then start discipling them.
vvart wrote:Also how are we to know some people are not as the Jewish leaders or "experts of religion" who claimed to know a lot about scripture and God, when Jesus showed them they knew very little. It can be hard to sometimes discern the difference between the devil and a saint.
This is true, but, I ask again, does the existence of false teachers, which DO exist, as the Bible tells us, mean that we should not listen to any of them? If so, then the Bible has contradicted itself. It is up to those who are mature in the faith to keep false teachers out of teaching positions.

I understand, vvart, your position. I held to it myself for some time. But, I simply cannot get past the facts I have mentioned throughout this thread. Christians need the church on many levels, and to say otherwise is sheer arrogance. You need the church. So, go find you a good, local church that isn't teaching false doctrine, and in doing so, start obeying the Word of God. Start being blessed, and more importantly, start blessing others. Use the gifts God has given you for the edification of the Body of Christ. And, of course, do not forsake the assembling of Christians, as is the habit of some.

God bless
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#19

Post by Mastermind » Tue Jan 25, 2005 11:06 pm

Nothing on saints? :(

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#20

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Jan 26, 2005 8:34 am

Jac3510 wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:I'm interested in these statements, and I am not attacking churches as I feel they serve a very important purpose when run correctly.
I'd agree, obviously . . . although you'd understand if I feel you have understated things a bit here. It would be rather comparable to saying that Jesus' death on the cross "served an important purpose." Well, yes, it did . . . but it is much more than that, isn't it? Granted, I also understand that you and I probably look at the church a little differently, anyway. But, from my perspective, and hopefully I can clear that up some, membership in the local church is nothing short of a commandment.
And I believe it is impossible *not* to be apart of the Church if one truly has Christ. As for obtaining "membership" within a "local church" (or a "church"), I disagree that such is a commandment. My idea of a shepherd (as with Peter in John 21:16-17) is not necessarily a leader who has their sheep in a pen (so-to-speak). Rather the shepherd is also one who realises there are some sheep outside the pen that may need assistance and direction, and he (or she) goes after them regardless of what day of the week it is, or where they are located.

Those who see the Church as a "church" (I will use quotes around church when I mean an organised assembling of Christians at a given time and place), I believe need to expand their view of the Church. God calls and leads people in different ways, and not all are lead to be apart of a "church" (whether it be a timing issue, or something else). I do not say this to boast, as I have many flaws (far more than I'd like :(), but although I may not be known personally here, I place myself on the table alongside of vvart as evidence God can indeed lead and teach people Himself outside of a "church." Those close to me I'm certain would witness my growth in God, and my being lead and defined by Him outside of a "church." Now this may not applicable to all, some (if not most) may best grow within a "church." The one point I want to stress, is that just because one does not participate in a "church" does not mean they do not participate in the Church.
Jac wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:At the same time I've witnessed and heard of a lot of people being hurt by churches and those that lead them.
This is certainly true, but I wonder what it has to do with the Christian's responsibility to the church one way or the other.
Kurieuo wrote:Ordained? Only God can know who He has truly ordained, and quite frankly a believe a lot who run churches ordain themselves (or are ordained by friends or a close relationship other leaders, and so on and on).
Again, I agree on all accounts. But, again, I wonder what this has to do with the Christian's responsibility to the church one way or the other.
I think your point might be lost on me (?). Some may be responsible to the Church within a "church," and then upon leaving forget any such responsibility. Just because I may have it the other way around, that is, being responsible to the Church outside a "church," does not mean I'm any less apart of the Church or ejecting responsibility to help and be a light to others.
Jac wrote:Of course, no church is perfect. Look at the church at Corinth, or the churches that Jesus addressed in the Revelation! Should all the believers have abandoned them? You and I would both agree that is not the solution. So what is? Proper teaching, exhortation, and discipline, of course.
Let's look at a passage of Paul's to the church in Corinth:
  • 1 Corinthians 2—
    Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's...
First notice Paul refers to the "church" (singular) "at Corinth." Then Paul further defines the church at Corinth as "them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus..." Now the church (all who have been sancified by Christ), is indeed far from perfect. What is the solution? Christ, and the guidence of the Holy Spirit! If the imperfection lies with man, why would we look to man for proper teaching, exhortation, discipline? Now here is the catch-22 because I'm not saying a "church" can't provide good teaching and so forth, as I strongly believe God uses "churches" as very powerful instruments. Yet, I also believe God is very real, that He is interested in those who belong to Him, that He provides the right food to those as necessary, and that God directs each of us who are His in the way we should go. Therefore, while a "church" is a very powerful instrument for guiding the Church, and great for communion amongst other believers, one does not need to be apart of a "church" to receive this.
Jac wrote:Also, for what it is worth, when I say "local church," I absolutely do not mean the one closest to your home. I've heard it used that way, and I strongly oppose that idea. I use the term to refer to a particular group of believers that gather at a particular location (even if that location may change). In this way, you fulfill the previously mentioned mandate from Hebrews.
Good to hear about the first. However, let's say you moved to an entirely new country, and knew no Christian people. For those who may be reading and want to join a "church," how would you go about finding a "church" to be apart of? Would you look for a Catholic Church? Eastern Orthodox? SDA? Lutheran? Methodist? Baptist? Any of these?

Do you mean the mandate in Hebrews 10:25—"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is..."? If so, I'm wondering in what way this mandates our gathering at a "local church." Within context, it seems to be the case the believers should meet with each other to receive encouragement in their faith, and spur each other on with love towards good works (v.24). I honestly believe this is best accomplished within small groups of perhaps two or three, and not necessarily within a larger gathering as found within a "church." People appear much more down to earth within smaller groups, and they also tend to interact more personally and honestly.

What is also interesting is that the word for "assembling" is episunagoge rather than the simpler sunagoge as used in James 2:2 which reads, "For if there come unto your assembly [sunagoge] a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment." The James passage appears to be an obvious reference to a formal religious gathering, but why the different word in Hebrews? It is a very real possibility the author never intended the meeting here to be an assembling at a "church."
Jac wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:I am confident the Holy Spirit will always lead those who are His with or without attending church.
I am also confident that the HS will lead those who are His . . . but, again, what does this say about the church? You certainly cannot be suggesting that the HS does not use pastors/teachers to disciple His people. I can't believe you would suggest that "some just don't need it." Perhaps the correct view on this would be that all need it in the same way that we all need certain vitamins in our bodies. We can survive without them, but doing so makes us weak in some form or fashion.
What does the fact the Holy Spirit will lead those outside the Church who are His say? First, it perhaps says the Church isn't only found in a place at a certain time. I've also never said the Spirit does not use teachers (and I believe you are a very good one!), and I have continually advocated the importance a "church" plays. Yet, I do not believe that a "church" makes the Church.
Jac wrote:I would ask you this: if the church, in its formal sense, is absolutely unnecessary--so much so that attendance and membership is merely "gravy" . . . "icing on the cake," so to speak--then why has God seen fit to call men into the service of pastoring? There WILL be a day when no one will need to be taught, because all men will know God. But, that day has not yet come. Until then, the overseer is called to equip the saints. Do you believe that some are just so special that they don't need equipping?
1) I would never say a "church" is absolutely unnecessary, rather I uphold such an institution (in its many denominations) as having an important part in God's plan.
2) While there will be a day when all things are made complete, including teachings, the day has already come where Christ ascended to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit to be with us, and to teach us. (John 14:26)
Jac wrote:Also, for the record, as noted originally, you aren't commanded to go to church just to learn. The church has many functions, only one of which is to train up disciples of the Lord. Other, equally important, functions include corporate worship, encouragement, community outreach, and community (especially the in reference to the Christian community) support. To be a "lone" Christian--one not connected to a local body of believers--is to ignore all of these facets.
This is perhaps where we can agree somewhat. A Christian should have contact with other Christians for some of the reasons stated in Hebrews 10:24-25. At the same time, I strongly believe God can and does sustain "lone" Christians, and helps them to grow if their hearts are set on God. I feel sorry for such people, as they lack a valuable source of affirmation as a Christian, and many of the things you mention above. The dangers of being totally deprived of contact with other Christians should be taken seriously. If we ever find such a person, we should help them. Such a person may be a total introvert, or be anthrophobic (something I believe is becoming more common today in Western society). Therefore they should look into taking steps at becoming more social, and conquering their social fears.

Kurieuo.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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#21

Post by RGeeB » Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:41 am

Kurieuo wrote: At the same time, I strongly believe God can and does sustain "lone" Christians, and helps them to grow if their hearts are set on God. I feel sorry for such people, as they lack a valuable source of affirmation as a Christian, and many of the things you mention above. The dangers of being totally deprived of contact with other Christians should be taken seriously. If we ever find such a person, we should help them. Such a person may be a total introvert, or be anthrophobic (something I believe is becoming more common today in Western society). Therefore they should look into taking steps at becoming more social, and conquering their social fears.

Kurieuo.
Hey K, you just nailed an issue I have stuggled with as I have searched for a Christian community I can be part of. To be honest, I think I communicate more with people on this board than with my church members. One issue you had raised about the guidance of the Holy Spirit - Do you or anyone else have suggestions of how I can tap more effectively into that?
ps. Do you think Jesus would recognise an internet based church?
Maranatha!

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#22

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Jan 27, 2005 9:38 am

RGeeB wrote:One issue you had raised about the guidance of the Holy Spirit - Do you or anyone else have suggestions of how I can tap more effectively into that?
I can't think of anything fancy we can do, but can only recommend following the two greatest commandments (Mark 12:30-31) to help us grow closer to God. That is, love God with all your heart and soul (thoughts, desires, passion, life, actions), love God with your mind (understanding, reasoning, thinking) and do so to the best of your ability. The second is to love others, which was also what Jesus stressed at the last supper to the Apostles.

Christ says, "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." (John 14:21) Christ also said that if we love Him, that He will ask the Father and another Counselor would be given to be with us forever—the Spirit of Truth. (John 14:15-16) So there is no need to worry about being guided by the Spirit. He is already with you, since the very moment you came to Christ, and has been directing your life likely in subtle ways, although I'm sure there would be times where His working is more evident (especially in retrospect). The Thayer dictionary says of the word translated "Counselor":
  • 1c1) of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles (after his ascension to the Father), to lead them to a deeper knowledge of the gospel truth, and give them divine strength needed to enable them to undergo trials and persecutions on behalf of the divine kingdom
Although Christ was talking to the Apostles when He said that the Holy Spirit would be given, Jesus makes evident when He replies to Judas' question (v.22) that His words apply to everyone! (John 14:22-23) Thus, you have a Counsellor already by your side, the Holy Spirit, and He is already leading you, and planning trials in your life that will bring you into line with His desires, and refine your faith. And as Christ also says: "the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things..." (John 14:26)

We who belong to Christ, are also assured of our faith being refined in 1 Peter 1:3-9:
  • 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Having given your life to Christ, it now belongs to Him to do with as He pleases. Some think becoming a Christian means good times are ahead, and that all their problems will go away. I do not see this in Scripture, but rather it seems Christians are going to be in for a much harder time, as God wants our faith to be pure and shown genuine! At the same time He is with us as our Counsellor, to help us.

Now I'm certain we all can be assured He will mold us and refine us according to His will. Such refinement will happen through hard life experiences, tragic events, and struggles. Our faith is being refined through these things, and at the same time being proved genuine as we continue looking to Christ. If we go through the same tragic circumstances Job went though, will our faith be made more pure and shown genuine? How will we respond if we have to suffer for Christ as He suffered for us? It is through hardship our faith is really tested, and not just this, but it becomes more pure.

So, to summarise my very long response (as this was as much a learning exercise for me, as it was writing it), how can you tap into being guided more? Your life is already in His hands, so you can be guaranteed of this! However, you can also strengthen your faith and relationship by following Christ's two commandments.
RGeeB wrote:ps. Do you think Jesus would recognise an internet based church?
I have previously reasoned with the belief that the Church is made up of all who are His, and Christ recognises those who are His (John 10:14). He also says that where two or three are gathered in His name He is in the midst (Matthew 18:20). I see no reason why a gathering on the Internet between fellow believers would not be recognised by Christ. Yet, I don't think the Internet provides the same fullness and richness that personal contact does. I'm sure this point would be plain to all.

Kurieuo.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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#23

Post by RGeeB » Fri Jan 28, 2005 1:43 am

Thanks. I've also looked at the HS like a coach training athletes.
Maranatha!

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#24

Post by Anonymous » Fri Jan 28, 2005 10:08 pm

This is great - like Iron sharpens Iron.

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Re: Baptism & The Church

#25

Post by Once4all » Fri Apr 08, 2005 9:29 am

vvart wrote:I've never been baptized and I always assumed it wasn't a requirement for salvation, but lately I've been reading conflicting reports. Essentially I'm wondering if anyone has a definitive answer to this question?
Yes, be baptized (by immersion). It is a necessary response to the gospel message upon belief and repentence.

Don't rely on what anyone tells you (including me) because you'll receive a variety of different advice. Get a thorough concordance or use a Bible program with a search feature and look up all the New Testament verses regarding baptism. Read them in context (at least the whole chapter each is contained in.)

You will discover that the simple, plain reading of the Scripture will support a need to be baptized. When men come along and have to interpret every one of these verses to mean something other than what they all plainly say from reading the text, that should tell you something. It should tell you that they have to apply private interpretation to everything the Bible says about baptism in order to support an incorrect assumption or theology. The writings of the many NT writers about this subject are not confusing, unless you are to believe that NONE OF THEM (including Jesus in Mark 16:16) could give clear instruction about this basic doctrine of the faith.

The new covenant went into affect after the death of Jesus (Heb 9:16), so those who try to use, for example, the thief on the cross as proof that baptism is not required, are speaking from the wrong side of the cross. Jesus was alive when He said to the thief, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in Paradise." Jesus saved many in that direct way during His earthly ministry. The question to ask is, How do we respond AFTER His death, after the cross?

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For Jac3510... I found these forums while doing a search for traducianism and came across a thread you were involved in. It is a concept I just became aware of yesterday and one I will be studying more. It seems to make a lot of sense.

In Him,
Once4all

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#26

Post by AttentionKMartShoppers » Fri Apr 08, 2005 11:56 am

I think baptism is more of a physical action of a spiritual nature-purification of a person through accepting Christ. I haven't had it yet, but I plan on it. I don't think God is concerned with physical actions-it's what in your heart. That's why infant baptism means nothing-the child has no clue what's going on. I think it's like circumcision in a way...
Romans 2:
25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, R104 not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
Yes, it has meaning and value if you do it, but it doesn't save you itself.

Peace out :wink:
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He occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened.
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#27

Post by Anonymous » Fri Apr 08, 2005 1:30 pm

Just throwing more scripture into the pile:

Acts 15 gives a description of 4 things the early church fathers wanted us to do/not do. They didn't necessitate a need for baptism.

Acts 15:28, 29

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#28

Post by Once4all » Fri Apr 08, 2005 1:34 pm

AttentionKMartShoppers wrote:I think baptism is more of a physical action of a spiritual nature-purification of a person through accepting Christ. I haven't had it yet, but I plan on it. I don't think God is concerned with physical actions-it's what in your heart. That's why infant baptism means nothing-the child has no clue what's going on. I think it's like circumcision in a way...
I understand and agree with what you are saying regarding physical actions and God being concerned with what is in our hearts. However, Jesus commanded that we be baptized. It was of such importance that He included it in His last words to the disciples before He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father (in the Great Commission).

Many refer to baptism as a work. However, it is not a work that the believer does (in fact, it is done TO him). It is a work of God, not man. You mentioned that you think of it like circumcision, and Paul did compare it to that in Colossians:

Col 2:10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;
Col 2:11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;
Col 2:12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
Col 2:13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,

Paul writes that in Him you were made complete and in Him you had the body of flesh removed (I believe that refers to our sin debt, since we are still obviously in our bodies of flesh for the time being). And how did that happen? Verse 12: by having been buried with Him in baptism.

Does baptism itself save? No, of course not. But God makes us alive together with Christ when we submit to Him in faith, being baptized as He commanded.

In Him,
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#29

Post by Once4all » Fri Apr 08, 2005 1:39 pm

PremoMD wrote:Just throwing more scripture into the pile:

Acts 15 gives a description of 4 things the early church fathers wanted us to do/not do. They didn't necessitate a need for baptism.

Acts 15:28, 29

Are these really the two verses you meant to quote?

Act 15:28 "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:
Act 15:29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell."

That is referring to people (Gentiles, as I recall) who were already Christians. This had nothing to do with becoming a Christian.

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#30

Post by LittleShepherd » Mon May 16, 2005 9:18 pm

Is Baptism necessary for salvation? No. In fact, Biblically speaking, you aren't supposed to be baptized until you are <B>already saved.</B> This is done only once. Maybe twice if you were once falsely baptized, such as with infant baptism. I was falsely baptized many years before I actually came to Christ, so I was baptized twice since the first time didn't count.

Is Communion necessary for salvation? No. This is also something that you are only supposed to do after you are <B>already</B> saved. Also, it is never specified how often communion should be observed. Some churches do it every week, which is kind of overkill if you ask me. My church does it every 3 months or so. Personally, I think it should be done once a year at passover(the day before Passover, to be specific), since that's the most appropriate time if you think about it. That's when Jesus and the apostles did it.

The above two are commands, but then there are many commands in the Bible. If you lie after you get saved, thus disobeying God, you don't lose your Salvation. When you are saved, you are forgiven of all your sins, past, present, and future. If you don't get baptized, or you don't do communion at least once, you are disobeying God, and that is a sin. However, no sin can ever separate you from God again. Not even forsaking baptism or communion.

The Bible does state, however, that if you love God then you will keep his commandments. As Christians, we don't get baptized or participate in communion in order to fulfill some obligation in order to cement our salvation. We do it simply because Christ said we should, and as Christians we <B>want</B> to be obedient to Christ.

The church, though...that's a sticky topic. The Bible never specifically says that we are to attend an organized church, but we <B>are</B> commanded to do a couple things.

First, we are commanded to gather together with fellow believers. No mention of a "church" is made here, so it's obviously not necessary for all Christians. This can take many forms. Perhaps you work with some Christians on various projects(soup kitchens, charity house buliding, etc.) to help people. Perhaps you and a few other Christians get together regularly for a little Bible study and prayer. It doesn't necessarily have to be an organized church setting, but the Bible message is clear on one point -- <B>Christians were made for each other.</B> A lot of supposed Christians tend to use the fact that they weren't commanded to go to church as an excuse not to fellowship with other Christians altogether.

You aren't commanded to go to church. You <B>are</B> commanded to have regular fellowship with other Christians.

Second, we are commanded to serve one another. Not only to serve one another, but to do it as Christ did it -- even being willing to die for our brothers and sisters in Christ. If you don't regularly fellowship with other believers(whatever fora you use), then there's no way you're properly serving them. Again, this doesn't have to be some super-organized thing. You can offer to babysit for a friend, or help them clean house when they're sick, or whatever. But as a Christian, if you're being obedient to Christ and properly growing as a Christian, then you are going to <B>want</B> to serve other Christians.

Personally, I believe that God calls very few people to <B>not</B> join a particular church. The church organization is just a tool, and when used properly it helps us accomplish a lot. Fellowship, learning, service, missions, etc. To be blunt, I've known a lot of people who have claimed to be Christian yet who say they don't feel the need to attend church. Of these people, I've only known <B>one</B> who didn't use the "church not commanded" thing as an excuse to be lazy and selfish and to forsake regular fellowship and other Christian responsibilities altogether.

1. Baptism not necessary for salvation, but is commanded of Christians, and as a Christian you'll <B>want</B> to be obedient to Christ, and therefore you'll <B>want</B> to follow through in Baptism.

2. Communion not necessary for salvation, but is commanded of Christians, and as a Christian you'll <B>want</B> to be obedient to Christ, and therefore you'll <B>want</B> to follow through in Baptism.

3. Church not commanded, but fellowship <B>is</B> commanded of Christians. As a Christian, you will want to be obedient to Christ, and you <B>will</B> feel a strong desire to fellowship with other Christians in some way, shape, or form. This will usually take the place of an organized church setting, though not always, and you shouldn't disregard the church setting unless you feel God specifically calling you to some other type of fellowship. You <B>are</B> to fellowship, and you <B>are</B> to serve, and as long as you are spiritually healthy you will <B>want</B> to do so.

Conclusion:

Obedience isn't necessary for Salvation, but as a Christian you will want to be obedient. If you find that you have no desire to be baptized, to take part in communion, or to fellowship with other Christians(even if you have to enter into a setting you're not completely comfortable with to do so)...well, desire to be obedient and to fellowship are basic signs that you are indeed a Christian. If you find yourself without these, that's a tell-tale sign that you should reexamine your own salvation.

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