Forum Post on the Nature of the Church (1)

Nature of the Church

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~~ moved post of Schnieddog from closed thread ~~
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God himself is the final say so. not any group of people. the bible teaches that salvation is a free gift to anyone who recieves Jesus as savior. you can ignore this if you want, but i suggest you dont. the bible says don not trust in man who has but a breath, but to trust in God. the bible is easy to understand in regards to salvation. it is a gift of God ... so that no one can boast.


Part of the nature and purpose of the Church is to lead people to Christ Jesus, and to support them in their walk toward Christ Jesus.

The Church is not merely a "group of people", but a singular body, united in Christ Jesus. When we entrust ourselves to the teachings of the Church, we are not entrusting ourselves to men, but to God Himself, through Christ Jesus, who died for the sanctification of the Body ~ the Church.

In the Church we do not see the person of men, but the glory of God. God, indeed, will judge each one's salvation, but has given us the Church as the means of salvation, through our Lord and Savior. The Church itself is a gift; a gift that must be received, for it is the very Body of Christ by which we are saved.

God bless, Matt


Hi,
I partially agree with God gives us many gifts, and the church is one of them, but there is biblically only one requirement for salvation. Recieving Gods gift of eternal life which he made possible through Jesus Christ.
The book of Galations teaches this very thoroughly.
Thanks for responding


You can't get the "big gift" unless you receive and utilize all the other gifts - only such will help one "grow up to salvation."

God bless, Matt


i am sorry matt, but you dont have it right. the reason Jesus came here and died was to bring us into a relationship with God. That is the only reason. The gifts he gives us after that are to lead us in our walk with him.


So, basically, one can just say...."Hey Jesus, I don't care about any of these other gifts you've got for me...because I've got the one that *I* want." It's illogical, and untrue.

As I said, you can't get the gift of salvation without acceptance of the other gifts. These gifts are certainly gifts that help us in our walk toward salvation. If we don't accept these gifts, we aren't walking toward salvation. If we're not walking toward salvation, we can't have salvation because it's out of reach.

God does not give us salvation first, then all the means by which to attain salvation afterwards. That's backwards logic.

God bless, Matt


i never said we shouldnt care about the other gifts. what you dont understand is, salvation is a relation ship with God. not something we work up to our work for. he gives it to us for free.then after we are brought into that realtionship with him we will grow in the grace and knwledge of our lord Jesus Christ.


I believe that the Bible, and the Church, have consistently taught that we are, indeed, brought into relationship with God...in fact, a relationship of a son to a Father; a very close relationship.

However, that relationship in and of itself is not our salvation. Salvation is really culminated upon our entrance into heaven...our coming into full communion with the glory of God. It is the point where we are fully perfected in our Lord, free of sinfulness.....completely and wholly sanctified, truly righteous....and thus declared actually just.

Too many want to call the relationship the culmination of salvation. Too many want to call the initial commitment the culmination of salvation. When we begin to play a board game, shall we call the start, the finish? When we run a race, shall we mistake the starting line for the finish line? In the same vein, shall we say we have passed the finish line when we are still running the race?

In Adam, the first man, we see how sinfulness damaged...nay, destroyed....the full relationship with God that was originally there. Our sinfulness does the same thing. These sins count along the way, therefore we can't merely rely upon our initial justification - our baptism - as securing our salvation, as being the finish line. Rather we must view it as our starting point...our new life...our "second chance", which is made possible by the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Schnieddog, we are not that far apart in our soteriology (theology of salvation)...where I believe we part ways is in whether we believe we must acheive actual holiness and what part that plays in our journey and entrance into the Beatific Vision.

I think we both believe that it is by the grace of God that "good works" are performed. However, I think we begin to part ways where you say that the Christian will perform these "works" because they are saved. The Catholic position says that performing these "works" is a cooperation of the individual's free will, with the grace and will of God. One does not HAVE to perform these "works", as though God removed the free will of the individual. One can choose to perform these works or not perform them. This plays a part in the individual's eventual salvation, for one who is obedient is growing into salvation - a closer relationship with God, because he/she practices the righteous works God desires for us. For one who is not obedient, they are moving themselves away from salvation, out of relationship with God, because they choose themself over God.

Our relationship and eventual salvation - entrance into the full glory of God - is dependent on our acceptance of the grace of God....the "filling of our glass".

God bless, Matt


I dont think you know where i am coming from. What i am trying to do is clarify who does the saving. it is God alone who saves us. yes we must respond, and when we do respond we have to let God change our hearts. when he changes our hearts we will want to change our actions. if the holy spirit is in us we will begin to really love. as we are commanded. but that is the work of God. we can only allow him to do this in our lives.
salvation is now. the bible says we are dead in our sins and God brings us to life by his spirit. that is salvation. the life of the spirit, now and until we are perfected in heaven. obviously we are not in heaven yet, but Jesus said the kngdom of heaven is within us. if we are born again. saved from sin to real life.


That is a very Catholic thing to say. (And I do mean that sincerely.)

What we have to look at is that being "dead to sin" occurs when we are finally perfected - sanctified, and thus declared just. But, when Paul speaks of it, he speaks of those who were perfectly sanctified through baptism (which the Church has always taught from the first). Therefore, let us not fall back into these transgressions. Notice he doesn't say that we will not fall back into these transgressions..but, that we should strive not to. Attempt to remain "dead to sin", as you were at your baptism. This is expressed, I believe, in the totality of Paul's letters.

God bless, Matt


is your point that we can lose our salvation, or not be good enough to be saved? my point is that God saves us and if we depend on him for salvation we will have it. if a walked away from him now, i wouldnt bank on going to heaven, but thats not my main point.my point is, we have to trust in him for salvation.im not arguing whether you can lose it or not. just that we cant earn it. its a gift. and if we really recieve it we will walk with him. if not , we wont. its a matter of focus and trust. either you will trust yourself or you will trust him.


The entire Holy Scriptures from beginning to the end is an account and witness to God's Love for His human creation. Since sin keeps us away from God but God loved us (His creation) so much that He did not want to be departed from us. Yet He is holy and so our sinful nature causes us to be departed from Him. And so He sends His Word Incarnate down who would be the ultimate once-and-for-all sacrifice which God accepts and will be the bridge that can bring us to God.

We are given the free will to choose to accept Christ or to reject Him. We choose this because we know that Christ is the only being who can bring us to God. We reject Christ because we don't want to love God. We don't care, and don't want to be with Him.

If we reject Christ, we reject God ("the one who sent [Christ]"). And then we don't get to be with God in heaven after the Victory.

But if we accept Christ, we are not just acknowlegding Him as our Lord & Savior. In accepting Christ as Lord & Savior, we are actually acknowledging that God loved us so much that He desire that we do not forever be departed from Himself. We take that Love that God has for us and we radiate this Love to others. In this way, we are manifesting our acceptance of God's Gift. We are not just thinking it; we are exercising it to make it more real and concrete.

We could do this by a number of things. We could do anything that shows our love of the Lord our God. We could do this by "loving each other as we love ourselves". We try to, in "all our hearts in all our minds and in all our souls" seek to unite our full selves with God. We did not do this completely already when we first accepted Christ; that moment was just when "the fun has only just begun". We do this every single moment of our lives - to seek an ever perfect unity with God. Matt is right when he said that this unity is made perfect when we die and go up to heaven because heaven is the domain of God. Everything is perfect there; outside of heaven is not perfect. The finish line is the gate of Heaven.

Jesus Christ is the source of all God's Graces. No matter what grace we're talking about that is from God, graces are still from the same source. It's just that the *Ultimate* Grace is God's gift of salvation through Christ. But that doesn't exclude all other Graces from God because all God's graces bestowed on us is for the purpose of bringing us closer to Him. Thus all God's graces are all in one and one in all.

I think the challenge for us is to recognize what might be a grace from God and what might not be. The Church has always been a great Grace from God. Moses was a Grace from God because God chose him to lead God's people out of Egypt [sin].
Christ was the fulfilment of this foreshadowing. He leads people out of slavery of sin. Although Christ has gone back up to heaven, His Spirit is still with us because God does not desert us. That's a Grace from God. This Spirit runs through and works through all Christians. Communities of faith sprung up here and there. Elders are elected to be heads of these communities. These leaders are to be regarded as "shepherds of the flock" (Christ being *the* Shepherd of them all). All this is for the purpose of continuing to guide people along and to prepare the Bride to become pure and faultless for the Groom. THAT's a grace from God.

Because our human weakness still exists even with Christ coming down to fulfill prophecy and all that, and now that the visible Word has gone back up to heaven, we humans are easy to go off path and forget all that God has done for us. Thus the establishment of churches and the election of leaders. They are given authority to rule Christians in much the same manner as a mother would discipline her children. This authority is not because of any human(s). Rather, this authority is powered and manifested by the Holy Spirit, who was sent by Christ who was in turn sent by the Father. Thus there is unity of authority between the leaders of the churches and God because it's all the same authority.

Keep in mind that not all Christians live in one place; they are spread out geographically. Because of man's weakness, various divisions could result. Even divisions could result *within* a church. The division that is of the most concern is Christian beliefs/truths. We all know that the Holy Spirit does not teach contradictory truths. So if this Spirit is amidst all the churches wherever they may be, there is to be unity in beliefs. As well, the authority that is had by the "shepherds of the flock" must be united as well. Thus, in a macro-level, all these churches who are united "in Spirit and in truth" comprise the "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church". Because this Church has the Authority of God, we are to listen to It as if we were directly listening to God. There are times when we may be doubtful of this Church, but we are to have faith. Remember that the Israelites started to lose their faith and started to complain to and about Moses. And then God got mad because of their lack of faith.


All this is God's Grace. Made possible by Christ. Made possible by Grace. Because of this Grace, we get the Church. If we really want to show our appreciation for God, we need to accept what He has given us. Our human weakness (and perhaps also the work of the Evil One) leads to our doubt and lack of faith. So if we doubt what God has given us and thus we reject it, then we are rejecting the graces which God is trying to give us.

Through the Church, God continues to give us His graces. His Love for us means that He wishes to bestow His Graces lavishly on us. If we truly love God, should we not advance forward with open arms to receive those Graces? Should we not try to learn where we can get these graces so that we can start receiving them?

We should strive for unity because this is apparently what Christ wanted (Jn 17). The purpose of the Church (like Moses) is for God to guide His people into the new land (heaven). The Church does this by preaching the Gospels to people everywhere. The Church also keeps its members spiritually nourished. What a great gift from God!
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I guess the other challenge is identifying what and where this "Church" is...


i agree with almost everything you said. we are to be united in faith and the Church(the body of believers) which is comprised of people with differnet gifts for serving is very important. but i will only belong to a church that is biblical in nature. the catholic church is not, nor has it been.


No, I'm not necessarily arguing that one can lose their salvation - though that is a logical conclusion based on the Church's teaching on salvation.

What I am saying is the same as you....we rely upon God for our salvation. And, I believe we are saying the same thing on the further issue....that we must act in holiness. This idea is more developed by the Catholic Church, as to how we "act in holiness."

The Church states that it is God who moves us to righteous works, and it is us who cooperate with this call (grace) by actually performing these works; doing the will of God.

In order to become actually holy, actually righteous, perfectly perfect, we must constantly practice these things...learning the will of God, and doing the will of God. The more we practice this, the more readily we will act uprightly.

As I said, it's wholly initiated by God...but, from such a point, our eventual salvation is reliant upon a cooperation between us and God. Otherwise, if salvation were merely a gift, with no requirement on the part of the recipient, what would be the criteria for receipt or non-receipt of such a gift?

God bless, Matt


but i will only belong to a church that is biblical in nature. the catholic church is not, nor has it been.

Now, now, Schneiddog, I thought we were getting along so well. Why'd you have to go and say that?

You've asserted that the Catholic Church is not a (the) Biblical Church.....based on what?

Matt


How do you know whether a church is biblical or not? The Bible is a book. Like any book, it needs to be read and interpreted. How do we know that we have interpreted it right? Like I said, the Church has to be united because the Holy Spirit runs it. Therefore, we will know if it's truth not just at an individual level but also at the macro level. So you can say that the Holy Spirit will guide each of us as we pray and read the Bible. Everybody says that. Is there consensus with everything among all the churches? Obviously, there isn't.

Just look at what happened after the Reformers spoke up. There were contradictions between Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. They all thought that their teachings were the true teachings of the true Church of Christ. But there were contradictions between their teachings. So who's correct? As well, we need to look at what the early church and early church fathers had to say because truth has to be consistent over time. So far, it seems to me that the Catholic Church, among all the other Christian denominations and churches, has the characteristics of the true Church.

Further, consider the following...

If we assume that the true Christian church is any church that teaches stuff that don't contradict each other, which church would be on the list? Could, for example, the Lutheran and the Baptists be on the same list? Could the Presbyterian and the Reformed Church be on the same list? What about the Anglican and the Missionary-Alliance Churches? Or how 'bout the Methodist and the United?


By the way, I'm not saying that "there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church" because I believe that no sincere soul who seeks to establish an eternal relationship between himself and the unknown God (Creator of all things) will be dismissed by God. It's just that if there does exist the one true Church, we should sought to make ourselves part of it.

{i guess i have a kind of conservative way of thinking...}


James,
It looks as if you are talking to yourself. :)
Seriously, Most Protestants believe the "Church" is sort of a nebulous thing, while we Catholics know it is a real, visable, entity established by Jesus to carry out His work of bringing Him (Word of God) to all people. Protestants must believe the way they do, because once they believe otherwise, they are confronted with "IF IT IS A REAL, VISABLE, ENTITY, THEN WHERE DO I SEE IT ?" Their answer then must be: I SEE IT IN THE ONLY CHURCH THAT HAS BEEN HERE SINCE JESUS WAS HERE. This is a fundamental change of belief for them. As a group, it has little chance of happening, but for individuals, it happens every day. It happened for me, and I see evidence of it happening frequently in my RCIA connection. It's a slow but a sure thing. The truth will manifest itself eventually.

Pax,

Bob


I have to disagree with you. The Catholic Church is quite biblical. You reminded me of something my father used to say to me, when he found out I returned to the Catholic Church as an adult. "You need to be in a full gospell church." So as I said to him, "What do you mean?" He replied, "You know, a church that reads out of the Bible." I replied, "What do you call the readings, I do believe that is gospell." He replied, "You know what I mean, a Full gospell." I replied, "The gospells from the new and old Testements are not full? Because that's what we read at Mass?" He replied, "Well you need a Minister to discuss them." I replied, "I believe we call that Homily." My father became frustrated with me, and said, "You know what I mean."

Now to share with you. My parents were converts. My brother and I were raised Catholic. Just before my teen years, my parents started going to a Pentecostal Church, (Cathedral of the Valley, Phoenix, Az.) I had to go too, which was fine. Half of that church broke away and became a Transmultidenominational Church. (Valley Cathedral, Phoenix, Az.) Which I have a Charter membership in. (whatever that really means)

My teen years were met with much rebellion. When I was 16 I refused to even go to church. Not because I didn't believe in God or Jesus, because I am Born again. Was healed of Epilepsy and brain damage in a Charismatic Catholic Prayer meeting at age 10.
Anyway.. I didn't really like the Church my mother was attending.. First Assembly of God. (Parents divorced when I was 15.) When I became pregnant with my oldest, I knew I needed to attend church. I went to Assembly of God with my mom. I felt so uncomfortable there. But I had attended that church as a teen. I knew quite a few people too. But for some reason it just wasn't right. Needless to say I was quite disapointed. I said to my mother, "I don't know where to go to church at. I did not really like Assembly, but not sure where to go." My mother replied, "Why not go to Sacred Heart?" I replied, "You mean the Catholic Church?" She said "Yeah." I replied, "You sure? I mean I haven't been since I was a kid. I don't remember what to do anymore." Mom said, "Well just go, if that's where the Lord wants you, it will be fine."

So I waited until my daughter was born. I then went to Mass. I was very nervous. I'd forgotten everything. I'd gone to this Church once when I was 15 and it was old and traditional and wooden pews, stained glass windows. *vbg* At the time scared me, because I grew up in a modern Church in Phoenix and this was so different. However. I walked into the front doors dipped my fingers into the Holy water font and made the sign of the cross. I then stepped through the other doors. Walked up the isle and it was as if I'd come home.

This was and still is where God wants me. I do not know much about Catholicism, but I'm learning. I can't say I agree with everything. However what I have read by The Church I do agree with. I may not agree with people here on somethings. It is nothing personal, but some read something and interpret it different than I do. I'm still learning, praying, and asking Our Lord to guide me.

The Catholic Church is more biblical than any of the many Protestant churches I've been too. (I'm not condemming them either.) I have found that the Catholic Church has held onto many traditions, which many Protestants find (for a word) Out dated. One of the things I love so much about the Church, is the traditions. I find great reverancy in the Catholic Church. When I walk into a Catholic Church.. I feel it in my Spirit, my heart, my bones. I feel I've walked onto Holy ground. I've entered His House. There is a reverancy within those walls that I cannot describe, that I've never experienced in a Protestant Church. I've never been to Temple, so I'm not sure what that would be like. I'm sure many know of what I'm speaking of.

So anyway, We are quite Biblical. Please do not misinterpret my words, they are said in quite a soft spoken manner with love of Our Lord. We are one body in Christ.

Love in Christ,
Duy mara


Duy. You have had amazing experiances, and you also have a wonderful attitude. Thanks for sharing that?

polycarp

That is so beautiful, Duy mara. Thank you.


>Half of that church broke away and became a >Transmultidenominational Church.

::startled:: A what?!


A Transoceandubiandanciality Phenomonality. That's the reality.


Poly thanks,
The Lord has really blessed me. He continues to bless me more than I can even say, now that I'm following His will.

I need to write down eveything I remember about being healed and the Charismatic Prayer meeting. The Charismatic Mass we used to attend. Then put it on-line to share with everyone. Each time I sit down to do that I end up doing something else. :)

Love in Christ
Duy mara


Thanks Rose Mary,
I guess there is beauty in truth. He is the Way the Life and the Truth. *VBG*

Love in Christ
Duy mara


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