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re: Church of God

De Maria's picture

Noshic,

The discussion in the 2 Tim 3:16 thread in the Biblical studies is suffering a severe case of topic drift.

So, hopefully, this will help ameliorate the problem.

Anyway, I think more than one person has asked this question. Perhaps it is interesting enough to warrant its own thread. You said:

I must state that I've found this discussion very intense and thought-provoking (despite the diversion into the subject of prophets vs apostles- which I couldn't exactly understand the relevance of)
May I though ask a humble question? What is the Church of the living God?

From a Catholic perspective, the Church, has multiple meanings.

The Church is the Body of Christ.
This is the Body of Believers all over the world. I believe this is the definition with which you are most familiar. Or at least, the one you accept.

The Church is the Household of God.
This is the Body of Christ plus the host of heaven. We believe the Church of God extends into heaven. Or perhaps it is vice versa. The Church of God extends from heaven onto the earthly plane.

The Church is the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth.
This is what we call the Magisterium. The Teaching Church. Whose doctrines will always uphold the truth.

The Church is also the local congregation.

And, of course, the Church is also the building in which we congregate for prayer.

I always understood it to be the body of true believers through the ages, the invisible church which is present within and outside the organized church(es), as opposed to any one institution that qualifies as the pillar and foundation of truth.

Well, Jesus only made one Church. So, I believe there is only one true Church.

For we know that within each visible church, and even among those in authority there, there are some who are wolves in sheep's clothing. Some of them we may know by their fruit, but ultimately only God who examines the motivations of our heart can identify His true church.

You've mixed apples and oranges in that statement. It is a classic case of non sequitur.

The first part of your statement reads:
1. For we know that within each visible church, and even among those in authority there, there are some who are wolves in sheep's clothing.

But that has nothing to do with the second part of your statement:
2. Some of them we may know by their fruit, but ultimately only God who examines the motivations of our heart can identify His true church.

Thus giving the impression that the true Church of God will have no sinners. But Jesus said that there would be weeds in the wheat (Matt 13:24-29). I believe that means that the sinners will be mixed in with the righteous in His Church until the day of judgement.

And I believe He's also able to separate those who might follow an errenous doctrine through an honest error of judgement or lack of clear understanding, from those who stick to error for reasons of material gain, power, loyality to family or tradition rather than God, rebellion, pride or prejudice. Let me add that this last remark is not directed at anyone in particular- perhaps more at myself- for I still have a tremendous lot to learn.

Everything is possible with God.

Welcome to the discussion.

Sincerely,

De Maria

JeffLogan's picture

Has this become a place to

Has this become a place to discuss the merits and shortcomings of the Roman Catholic Church? (I use Roman not as a pejorative but to distinguish it from other catholic churches.)

DM writes - I don't think that Jesus would penalize one for not listening to the Church if the Church could commit error.

Nor would God bind that which the Church bound if the Church could commit error.

Sounds like a good argument.

DM writes - From a Catholic perspective, the Church, has multiple meanings.

The Church is the Body of Christ.
This is the Body of Believers all over the world. I believe this is the definition with which you are most familiar. Or at least, the one you accept.

I can agree with that statement. The church (body of believers) is not defined by a creed, nor an association or membership in an earthly institution, nor in any particular grouping of traditions or sacraments. The church is defined as those who believe in Christ apart from all "philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world."

    But the scriptures shut up all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. Gal 3:22 (ASV)


The Church is the Household of God.
This is the Body of Christ plus the host of heaven. We believe the Church of God extends into heaven. Or perhaps it is vice versa. The Church of God extends from heaven onto the earthly plane.

I suppose that is a logical extension since those in heaven surely believe in Christ. I don't know that it can be found in scripture though I believe it to be Biblical. However, I would like to see something if it exists so I can reference it later.

The Church is the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth.
This is what we call the Magisterium. The Teaching Church. Whose doctrines will always uphold the truth.

Do you appeal to this Bible verse?

    14 These things write I unto thee... that thou mayest know how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Tim 3:14-15 (ASV)

Even the church, which should be the pillar and ground of the truth, is found encouraging the selfish love of pleasure. When money is to be raised for religious purposes, to what means do many churches resort? To bazaars, suppers, fancy fairs, even to lotteries, and like devices. Often the place set apart for God's worship is desecrated by feasting and drinking, buying, selling, and merrymaking. Respect for the house of God and reverence for His worship are lessened in the minds of the youth. The barriers of self-restraint are weakened. Selfishness, appetite, the love of display, are appealed to, and they strengthen as they are indulged.

You appeal to scripture but scripture does not support you here. This is a two way street. The church is to teach us truth but at the same time the truth either confirms or condemns the church.

Because of your arrogant boasting I feel freedom to refute it. The RCC, for instance, has not always been right especially when it comes to accusing astronomers of heresy. Consider the case of one Giordano Bruno who recanted of everything but his cosmological views of the universe. And yet he was burned at the stake as an heretic simply because his true concepts of the cosmos were beyond the comprehension of his inquisitors. He held the heretical idea that the earth revolved around the sun and that other planets existed which may posses life. It seems to me a grave error of misjudgment to condemn a man to death for believing something more Biblical than the supposedly infallible church doctrines. Now the church has just finished a 5-day reexamination of their position on such matters. How many more men must die for believing truth rather than the erroneous doctrines of the church before the church finally gets everything right?

What was that you said earlier? "I don't think that Jesus would penalize one for not listening to the Church if the Church could commit error. Nor would God bind that which the Church bound if the Church could commit error."

Perhaps Bruno and friends still have a chance with God as their judge.

The Church is also the local congregation.

Yes, the word ekklesia means assembly or congregation but not necessarily religious in nature.

And, of course, the Church is also the building in which we congregate for prayer.

Yes, it has come to apply to buildings.

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“The path of true piety is so plain as to require
but little political direction.” --George Washington,
re: absence of "Jesus Christ" in U.S. Constitution.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. -Proverbs 18:2 NIV



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