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Moderated Forums => Orthodox-Other Christian Discussion => Orthodox-Protestant Discussion => Topic started by: FountainPen on December 27, 2011, 10:41:29 AM

Title: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 27, 2011, 10:41:29 AM
The reason i can't accept the orthodox position on many issues is simply because i don't accept the visible church. It colours everything i read and makes it impossible to view certain topics any other way.

The church that's being built is a spiritual one. It's all about having the law written on our heart not following the law as the Hebrews used to. It's about what makes a person clean or unclean which is determined by what's in a heart and what flows from a mouth.

Matthew 15:11
"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man."

Luke 6:45
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh".

If the church were a visible church then it would be easy to tell the wheat from the tares but it isn't easy because we can't see and judge another's heart.

Matthew 13
"‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest..."

So no wonder it's easy for a church who believes themselves to be visible, for them to be able to discern who God has revealed to be made "Saints"...by the guidance of the Spirit of course.

It seems to me that only the overview of Orthodoxy is different to Protestantism -- the external dogmatic shell. The internal mess seems remarkably similar to how the rest of Christendom claim to be guided by the Spirit and believe a multitude of different things backed up with the odd patristic quote or two from various denominations jurisdictions.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Manalive on December 27, 2011, 11:28:34 AM
I don't want to start shooting out scirpture bullets but:
1 Timothy 3:15
"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."


Dogma and ethics are one in the Orthodox Church. If one claims to really be an Orthodox Christian you won't find differences in theology or morals among another Orthodox Christian you talk to. The Tradition which has been past down to us from the Apostles is the same faith that it has always been. Of course there are differences among individuals in regard to something like the calendar change, ecumenicalism, etc. But in regards to differences among the Orthodox churches with something like, say, fasting traditions or the liturgical language is of a different translation -- it's a small difference in that particular church. It's not something that divides the churches and causes a schism. In theology, questions regarding the Trinity, the nature of Christ, the virginity of the Theotokos, what the church is, the Orthodox are in agreement. Greek, Slavic, Arabic, whatever, we are all in communion with one another.

I am from the Slavic tradition, when I'm in a Greek church, be it Antiochian or Greek, it is still an Orthodox church.. only the small traditions are different.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on December 27, 2011, 12:37:59 PM
If there was no structured Church being formed, then why did Paul and company go out and annoint ministers? Why did the disciples of the Apostoles themselves teach and speak of an established, physical Church? Why did these churches answer to the apostoles? If there was no physical church with no structure, then half of the New Tesatament would not exist as there would be no need for the epistles. There is no way anyone can not read the epistles and clearly see that St. Paul is speaking from an authoratative role. There would be no need for authority if there were not a physical church.

Jesus Himself spoke about the church in a physical aspect.

Are there members of the Body we dont know about? Sure. However, this is the exception, not the rule.

Just a cursory review of christianity right after Jesus shows, pretty strongly, of a unified hierarchial body of believers.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 27, 2011, 12:54:25 PM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 27, 2011, 01:11:53 PM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on December 27, 2011, 01:22:00 PM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.
Sorry, but IMO the scriptures you gave give no argument whatsoever for the invisible church.

You can proof text whatever you want and legitimize any point anyone wishes with snippets of text. However, the scripture must be read in its entireity. The entireity clearly points to a structured, authoratative Church. This can clearly be seen reading all of the Pauline epistles, 2 Peter, and Acts. The evidence of the authoratative church is pretty overwhelming actually.

I would like to note that yes, Pentecost happened not in a temple. Perhaps that is because of the temple's hand in the execution of Christ? Its not like there was an established place yet. Thats like saying there were no icons at Pentecost, therefore we should not have icons either......

I'd also point out as to why there are rules for excommunication that would be not only unecessary, but silly if there were only an invisible church.

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 27, 2011, 01:31:27 PM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.
Sorry, but IMO the scriptures you gave give no argument whatsoever for the invisible church.

You can proof text whatever you want and legitimize any point anyone wishes with snippets of text. However, the scripture must be read in its entireity. The entireity clearly points to a structured, authoratative Church. This can clearly be seen reading all of the Pauline epistles, 2 Peter, and Acts. The evidence of the authoratative church is pretty overwhelming actually.

I would like to note that yes, Pentecost happened not in a temple. Perhaps that is because of the temple's hand in the execution of Christ? Its not like there was an established place yet. Thats like saying there were no icons at Pentecost, therefore we should not have icons either......

I'd also point out as to why there are rules for excommunication that would be not only unecessary, but silly if there were only an invisible church.

PP

Most of us also grow up in family units pp but our eternal family (the one that matters) is the family of God. So we have an earthly family and a spiritual family, both are important but not equally so.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on December 27, 2011, 01:35:30 PM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.
Sorry, but IMO the scriptures you gave give no argument whatsoever for the invisible church.

You can proof text whatever you want and legitimize any point anyone wishes with snippets of text. However, the scripture must be read in its entireity. The entireity clearly points to a structured, authoratative Church. This can clearly be seen reading all of the Pauline epistles, 2 Peter, and Acts. The evidence of the authoratative church is pretty overwhelming actually.

I would like to note that yes, Pentecost happened not in a temple. Perhaps that is because of the temple's hand in the execution of Christ? Its not like there was an established place yet. Thats like saying there were no icons at Pentecost, therefore we should not have icons either......

I'd also point out as to why there are rules for excommunication that would be not only unecessary, but silly if there were only an invisible church.

PP

Most of us also grow up in family units pp but our eternal family (the one that matters) is the family of God. So we have an earthly family and a spiritual family, both are important but not equally so.
As I said before, Im not saying that there are not members of the body that we do not know about.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 27, 2011, 01:39:08 PM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.
Sorry, but IMO the scriptures you gave give no argument whatsoever for the invisible church.

You can proof text whatever you want and legitimize any point anyone wishes with snippets of text. However, the scripture must be read in its entireity. The entireity clearly points to a structured, authoratative Church. This can clearly be seen reading all of the Pauline epistles, 2 Peter, and Acts. The evidence of the authoratative church is pretty overwhelming actually.

I would like to note that yes, Pentecost happened not in a temple. Perhaps that is because of the temple's hand in the execution of Christ? Its not like there was an established place yet. Thats like saying there were no icons at Pentecost, therefore we should not have icons either......

I'd also point out as to why there are rules for excommunication that would be not only unecessary, but silly if there were only an invisible church.

PP

Most of us also grow up in family units pp but our eternal family (the one that matters) is the family of God. So we have an earthly family and a spiritual family, both are important but not equally so.
As I said before, Im not saying that there are not members of the body that we do not know about.

Just a few million more than you'd want to acknowledge?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on December 27, 2011, 01:43:31 PM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.
Sorry, but IMO the scriptures you gave give no argument whatsoever for the invisible church.

You can proof text whatever you want and legitimize any point anyone wishes with snippets of text. However, the scripture must be read in its entireity. The entireity clearly points to a structured, authoratative Church. This can clearly be seen reading all of the Pauline epistles, 2 Peter, and Acts. The evidence of the authoratative church is pretty overwhelming actually.

I would like to note that yes, Pentecost happened not in a temple. Perhaps that is because of the temple's hand in the execution of Christ? Its not like there was an established place yet. Thats like saying there were no icons at Pentecost, therefore we should not have icons either......

I'd also point out as to why there are rules for excommunication that would be not only unecessary, but silly if there were only an invisible church.

PP

Most of us also grow up in family units pp but our eternal family (the one that matters) is the family of God. So we have an earthly family and a spiritual family, both are important but not equally so.
As I said before, Im not saying that there are not members of the body that we do not know about.

Just a few million more than you'd want to acknowledge?
I'll acknowledge as many as I can, doesn't bother me. It does not take away from the fact that Christ did not create a religion (or faith) called Christianity, but created a eucharistic community called the Church. A living, breathing, physical body with Him as our head.

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 27, 2011, 01:52:52 PM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.
Sorry, but IMO the scriptures you gave give no argument whatsoever for the invisible church.

You can proof text whatever you want and legitimize any point anyone wishes with snippets of text. However, the scripture must be read in its entireity. The entireity clearly points to a structured, authoratative Church. This can clearly be seen reading all of the Pauline epistles, 2 Peter, and Acts. The evidence of the authoratative church is pretty overwhelming actually.

I would like to note that yes, Pentecost happened not in a temple. Perhaps that is because of the temple's hand in the execution of Christ? Its not like there was an established place yet. Thats like saying there were no icons at Pentecost, therefore we should not have icons either......

I'd also point out as to why there are rules for excommunication that would be not only unecessary, but silly if there were only an invisible church.

PP

Most of us also grow up in family units pp but our eternal family (the one that matters) is the family of God. So we have an earthly family and a spiritual family, both are important but not equally so.
As I said before, Im not saying that there are not members of the body that we do not know about.

Just a few million more than you'd want to acknowledge?
I'll acknowledge as many as I can, doesn't bother me. It does not take away from the fact that Christ did not create a religion (or faith) called Christianity, but created a eucharistic community called the Church. A living, breathing, physical body with Him as our head.

PP

A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HabteSelassie on December 27, 2011, 04:11:25 PM
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


The church that's being built is a spiritual one. It's all about having the law written on our heart not following the law as the Hebrews used to. It's about what makes a person clean or unclean which is determined by what's in a heart and what flows from a mouth.

If the church were a visible church then it would be easy to tell the wheat from the tares but it isn't easy because we can't see and judge another's heart.

It seems to me that only the overview of Orthodoxy is different to Protestantism -- the external dogmatic shell. The internal mess seems remarkably similar to how the rest of Christendom claim to be guided by the Spirit and believe a multitude of different things backed up with the odd patristic quote or two from various denominations jurisdictions.

But sister, the Visible Church remains Spiritual as does not the visible human race also mutually have a spiritual existence?  The Body of Christ is Spiritual, we are spiritually united both to Christ and to our Brothers and Sisters in the human family.  When we say Visible Church we are not speaking in strictly physical or tangible terms. It is not our physicality that makes us Christians, it is our spiritual participation and synergetic cooperation with the Spirit of God through Sacramental Worship in the Divine Mysteries.  The Invisible Church is equally alive, active and interconnected with the Visible Church, however these are no longer tangible physical beings, but this does not negate their existence and mutual fellowship.  The Angels are not physical beings and yet we accept their almost tangible presence interacting within our physical world, why should the Invisible Church (called the Church Triumphant) be any different? 

You mistake our Sacramental worship as being an attempt to follow some kind of Law, but that is not our approach.  We are not Baptized or Confess of our Sins, or receive the Holy Communion, or revere our Ordained Clergy out of some kind of legalistic obligation.  Rather, we are brought to celebrate these out of the Grace of God, in precisely a spiritual manner which you are referring too.  However, we remain physical in the Church Militant (the Visible Church) and so our spiritual existence is merged with our physical, through the Mysteries. When we are Baptized the physical senses perceive water, but the spiritual faculties of man experience the depth of the Grace of God inherent in the Mysteries.  If all you see is the water, you are not looking deep enough in the heart.  Further, when we receive Holy Communion to the perception of the senses Our Lord is merely  Bread and Wine, but in the depths of the Spirit we understand we are Communing in the Spirit with the very real presence of the Son of God Incarnate!  See, it is as they see, more than skin deep.

In the Orthodox then, we also believe in the Communion of the Saints, and this is in a spiritual way.  The Saints are real in our lives, they are not simply dead and buried, for as Paul says, if such were the case where would our hope be?  Even within the Church, our fathers do not attempt to Judge as Christ has the tares from the wheat.  Further, do you fully understand what Christ was saying in that parable? God has spared the tares and the wheat to grow alongside each other, not necessarily because He plans to universally destroy the tares, rather that because of His mercy and love for Mankind He allows the tares to continue to grow that they might become Repentant.  In Orthodox we are not predeterminists or Calvinists in our theology, there is not a set margin or number of Saints vs Sinners.  The roster for Heaven was not filled at Creation, the Book of Life is written with the eraser of Jesus Christ's Precious and Holy Blood!!  So God allows the tares to live and grow in His Mercy that these might also come to repentance as we in Orthodox have.  Before our Repentance, before our acceptance of the Seven Divine  Mysteries, we are also the tares!! So we do not vaunt over the tares rather we pray they grow in God's Grace into wheat.

Quote
The Lord is not tardy as to the promise, as some are deeming tardiness, but is patient because of you, not intending any to perish, but ALL to make room for repentance."
2 Peter 3:9

The Mission of the Church is to proclaim Salvation and dispense the Divine Mysteries which are the means of Salvation.  The Church is not out there trying to find those pre-determined to be saved, rather the Church is honestly and sincerely out in the world praying for sinners that ALL might come to Repentance, that ALL might come to His Church, that ALL might find God's Love.  We operate under the basic assumption that all people have an equal opportunity towards Salvation because all people were equal-opportunity Sinners before God's Grace came into their lives.  Just as we all sin, we can all find God, there is no pre-destined Salvation for some and pre-determined damnation for others, God loves us all.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Asteriktos on December 27, 2011, 04:24:20 PM
Like the human person, the Church is made up of a mixture of the spiritual and material; and for both Christ is the head.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Irish Hermit on December 27, 2011, 06:48:08 PM
It must be a misery being in an invisible Church.  Lonely and isolated.  Just you and nobody else.

And I suppose that if you discover another member of the invisible church, then there are two of you and it is not invisible anymore.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 27, 2011, 08:59:53 PM
It must be a misery being in an invisible Church.  Lonely and isolated.  Just you and nobody else.

And I suppose that if you discover another member of the invisible church, then there are two of you and it is not invisible anymore.
Don't worry we have cloaks like Harry Potter.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Irish Hermit on December 27, 2011, 09:55:30 PM
It must be a misery being in an invisible Church.  Lonely and isolated.  Just you and nobody else.

And I suppose that if you discover another member of the invisible church, then there are two of you and it is not invisible anymore.
Don't worry we have cloaks like Harry Potter.

But really, is it not lonely being an invisible church of one?  I cannot imagine that Christ wishes that for you.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: jnorm888 on December 27, 2011, 11:15:54 PM
The reason i can't accept the orthodox position on many issues is simply because i don't accept the visible church. It colours everything i read and makes it impossible to view certain topics any other way.

The church that's being built is a spiritual one. It's all about having the law written on our heart not following the law as the Hebrews used to. It's about what makes a person clean or unclean which is determined by what's in a heart and what flows from a mouth.

Matthew 15:11
"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man."

Luke 6:45
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh".

If the church were a visible church then it would be easy to tell the wheat from the tares but it isn't easy because we can't see and judge another's heart.

Matthew 13
"‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest..."

So no wonder it's easy for a church who believes themselves to be visible, for them to be able to discern who God has revealed to be made "Saints"...by the guidance of the Spirit of course.

It seems to me that only the overview of Orthodoxy is different to Protestantism -- the external dogmatic shell. The internal mess seems remarkably similar to how the rest of Christendom claim to be guided by the Spirit and believe a multitude of different things backed up with the odd patristic quote or two from various denominations jurisdictions.

Thanks for being honest about your reasons. It's appreciated!

However, there is a reason to believe in a Visible Church. You see, the Church is the Body of Christ. And Christ is not just invisible only. He is not just spiritual only for that would be some sort of Christological Docetism.


 The Church is united to Christ and so to make the Church Spiritual only would be some sort of Ecclesial Docetism.

The Church being the Body of Christ is real and so it's more than just symbolism or soft spiritualism only. Yes, we believe that both good and bad fish co-exist within the Church. Unlike the Anabaptists, we don't believe that the Church must only be filled with good fish.


And yes we believe in the internal warfare. We believe in the struggle or battle for interior strength! But the Church is a collective, a community that is united to Christ. And the One Person of Christ is not just spiritual/invisible only. He is also simultaneously physical/visible as well. And so the One Church is also simultaneously invisible and visible.

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: biro on December 28, 2011, 12:08:19 AM
I can't think that the Church would be invisible, when Christ said, "On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." That sounds too emphatic to be a metaphor.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on December 28, 2011, 01:28:39 AM
To expand upon what jnorm said, Penny, you've basically got a false dichotomy going and you're also desacralizing matter. God doesn't act spiritually, He came in the flesh, eating, sleeping, dying on a wooden beam, rising in a body. He ministers to us with a book, pen and ink, and people's vocal chords and water and wine and bread (metaphorical or not, makes no difference in this context). Why are the elders commanded to anoint with oil? Why make a big deal about leadership passing through the laying on of hands? There's physical space and action right there, visible things being used as part of our salvation whether we meet in a building with icons and altars and incense or not.

The big problem I have with your view is it leaves no substantial meaning for the meeting together. If Jesus was preaching your view, I don't think He would have said, "Wherever two or three are gathered, there am I in the midst of them," He should have said, "Wherever at least one is gathered in my name..." One might as well just post on a website all there life and call that "Church." Your view doesn't just reject Orthodoxy, it rejects 90% of Protestantism and winds up with Harold Camping and Otis Q. Sellers. The corporate worship and Eucharist basically becomes a nonessential coffee klatsch because you're swapping the Catholicity (wholeness and completeness) of the local Church for the Catholicity of the individual. We're physical beings as well as spiritual and we're saved that way, in our bodies and in a community.

On the other side of the token, to say that the Church is visible is not of course to say she is only visible. Your point about being able to tell who is and is not in thus misses the point. He who is in the visible Church, might not be in it invisibly as well- he needs both. Just because the question of whether this works the other way around is a contested one does not invalidate the importance of the visible.

And in Orthodoxy, Jesus is still the visible head of the Church, He's there in the Flesh every Sunday  ;)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: JamesRottnek on December 28, 2011, 05:18:12 AM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.
Sorry, but IMO the scriptures you gave give no argument whatsoever for the invisible church.

You can proof text whatever you want and legitimize any point anyone wishes with snippets of text. However, the scripture must be read in its entireity. The entireity clearly points to a structured, authoratative Church. This can clearly be seen reading all of the Pauline epistles, 2 Peter, and Acts. The evidence of the authoratative church is pretty overwhelming actually.

I would like to note that yes, Pentecost happened not in a temple. Perhaps that is because of the temple's hand in the execution of Christ? Its not like there was an established place yet. Thats like saying there were no icons at Pentecost, therefore we should not have icons either......

I'd also point out as to why there are rules for excommunication that would be not only unecessary, but silly if there were only an invisible church.

PP

Most of us also grow up in family units pp but our eternal family (the one that matters) is the family of God. So we have an earthly family and a spiritual family, both are important but not equally so.
As I said before, Im not saying that there are not members of the body that we do not know about.

Just a few million more than you'd want to acknowledge?
I'll acknowledge as many as I can, doesn't bother me. It does not take away from the fact that Christ did not create a religion (or faith) called Christianity, but created a eucharistic community called the Church. A living, breathing, physical body with Him as our head.

PP

A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd




What on earth possessed you to think that Christ isn't physical?  Do you not know that He ascended to Heaven in His resurrected BODY?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on December 28, 2011, 05:33:10 AM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.
Sorry, but IMO the scriptures you gave give no argument whatsoever for the invisible church.

You can proof text whatever you want and legitimize any point anyone wishes with snippets of text. However, the scripture must be read in its entireity. The entireity clearly points to a structured, authoratative Church. This can clearly be seen reading all of the Pauline epistles, 2 Peter, and Acts. The evidence of the authoratative church is pretty overwhelming actually.

I would like to note that yes, Pentecost happened not in a temple. Perhaps that is because of the temple's hand in the execution of Christ? Its not like there was an established place yet. Thats like saying there were no icons at Pentecost, therefore we should not have icons either......

I'd also point out as to why there are rules for excommunication that would be not only unecessary, but silly if there were only an invisible church.

PP

Most of us also grow up in family units pp but our eternal family (the one that matters) is the family of God. So we have an earthly family and a spiritual family, both are important but not equally so.
As I said before, Im not saying that there are not members of the body that we do not know about.

Just a few million more than you'd want to acknowledge?
I'll acknowledge as many as I can, doesn't bother me. It does not take away from the fact that Christ did not create a religion (or faith) called Christianity, but created a eucharistic community called the Church. A living, breathing, physical body with Him as our head.

PP

A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd




What on earth possessed you to think that Christ isn't physical?  Do you not know that He ascended to Heaven in His resurrected BODY?
I'm quite sure that's not what she meant. Most people think in these sort of pseudo-Platonic terms without meaning to. I know I do.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: mountainman on December 28, 2011, 10:27:35 AM
The Church, Like HIm whose body we are, makes visible what was previous to the incarnation, invisible.  The form given to us by God was filled with living visible content.  To say there is visible and invisible is a false division because the fullness of what was hidden has been made visible (manifest) to us in the birth of the Lord.  The degree to which any one individual adheres to what is plainly manifest in the worship of the church is part of this great mystery because it is only the freedom to do so which enables us to do so.  This is not an "invisible" church but only many sinners working out there salvation with fear and trembling through fidelity to the fullness of what has been revealed plainly for all to see.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on December 28, 2011, 11:40:45 AM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.
Sorry, but IMO the scriptures you gave give no argument whatsoever for the invisible church.

You can proof text whatever you want and legitimize any point anyone wishes with snippets of text. However, the scripture must be read in its entireity. The entireity clearly points to a structured, authoratative Church. This can clearly be seen reading all of the Pauline epistles, 2 Peter, and Acts. The evidence of the authoratative church is pretty overwhelming actually.

I would like to note that yes, Pentecost happened not in a temple. Perhaps that is because of the temple's hand in the execution of Christ? Its not like there was an established place yet. Thats like saying there were no icons at Pentecost, therefore we should not have icons either......

I'd also point out as to why there are rules for excommunication that would be not only unecessary, but silly if there were only an invisible church.

PP

Most of us also grow up in family units pp but our eternal family (the one that matters) is the family of God. So we have an earthly family and a spiritual family, both are important but not equally so.
As I said before, Im not saying that there are not members of the body that we do not know about.

Just a few million more than you'd want to acknowledge?
I'll acknowledge as many as I can, doesn't bother me. It does not take away from the fact that Christ did not create a religion (or faith) called Christianity, but created a eucharistic community called the Church. A living, breathing, physical body with Him as our head.

PP

A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd
Come on FP, you're smarter than that.

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: ignatius on December 28, 2011, 06:31:14 PM
Grace and Peace to all,

Is there any evidence of such a teaching as an 'invisible church' prior to Martin Luther and John Calvin to Orthodox Knowledge?

1 Timothy 3:15: "...the household of God, which is the church of the Living God, the pillar and bulwark of truth."

Catholics and Orthodox accept this passage at face value: the Church is the ground or foundation of truth; it is infallible; it is specially protected by the Holy Spirit so that it can be the Guardian and Preserver of apostolic tradition and truth and doctrine.

Protestants (in the final analysis) do not believe this, which is the reason they refer far move often to "scriptural authority" than to "Church authority" (as if the two were opposed to each other). Catholics and Orthodox, on the other hand, believe in faith that they will not and cannot be in conflict.

Sola Scriptura as defined by Martin Luther didn't seem to exist before Martin Luther... which is why I don't prescribe to such a novelty.

How did the Church resolve issue that arise? I have come to learn that the Church Council is the normative means that the Church uses to resolve issues as it did in Acts 15. I don't see St. Paul offering it's decisions as something optional but went aboard and taught them to the churches. This is all scriptural and the Orthodox Church continues to operate in this fashion to this day, to their credit.

How does this invisible church resolve issues? How would a Council be received in modern Protestant Churches today? Would it be like they did in Acts 15? I think not.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 28, 2011, 08:19:12 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Asteriktos on December 28, 2011, 08:25:38 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 28, 2011, 08:28:09 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Asteriktos on December 28, 2011, 08:31:58 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.

Perhaps this is true compared to certain Protestant groups. But from a Catholic perspective Orthodoxy probably often looks like a disorganized mess--something in need of more structure, more visible authority, etc.  In that way Orthodoxy could be seen as somewhere in the middle of the continuum, trying to maintain a balance between the two.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on December 28, 2011, 08:41:44 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.
But Christ redeems and raises our bodies as well, a physical body is part of a physical church. One is not more important than the other in an eternal sense.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 28, 2011, 08:47:51 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.
But Christ redeems and raises our bodies as well, a physical body is part of a physical church. One is not more important than the other in an eternal sense.

The Kingdom of God is primarily about Spirit which you wiull find echoed all over the New Testament.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 28, 2011, 09:27:14 PM
If there were visible unity in protestantism, the idea of a visible church would be embraced. However, since this does not exist, one is forced to embrace the invisible church notion to rationalize and attempt to make sense of all the division.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: NicholasMyra on December 28, 2011, 09:32:20 PM

The Kingdom of God is primarily about Spirit which you wiull find echoed all over the New Testament.

The Spirit does not mean "of the immaterial spiritual world". It means of the Holy Spirit who gives life to all flesh and makes his abode, his kingdom, in human temples.

The Holy Spirit is not an immaterial bodiless power. He is beyond material and immaterial, to Him the angels are as solid as rocks.

Here is a good video by NT Wright that touches on the subject:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jNaVgyqUD8
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on December 28, 2011, 10:06:08 PM
If there were visible unity in protestantism, the idea of a visible church would be embraced. However, since this does not exist, one is forced to embrace the invisible church notion to rationalize and attempt to make sense of all the division.
The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't. I doubt they consider themselves part of the same church as you.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 28, 2011, 10:30:49 PM
If there were visible unity in protestantism, the idea of a visible church would be embraced. However, since this does not exist, one is forced to embrace the invisible church notion to rationalize and attempt to make sense of all the division.
The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't. I doubt they consider themselves part of the same church as you.

Those who have chosen to break communion with the Church, and break themselves from the Church, are no longer part of the Church. Should they repent and decide to come back to the Church some day, they are welcome.

Until then, they are their own group.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Mivac on December 28, 2011, 10:35:24 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

Then what is the point of the general resurrection and St. Pauls strong defense of the Resurrection of Christ Jesus if our salvation involves only that what we cannot see with our eyes?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: ignatius on December 28, 2011, 10:37:24 PM
If there were visible unity in protestantism, the idea of a visible church would be embraced. However, since this does not exist, one is forced to embrace the invisible church notion to rationalize and attempt to make sense of all the division.
The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't. I doubt they consider themselves part of the same church as you.

Those who have chosen to break communion with the Church, and break themselves from the Church, are no longer part of the Church. Should they repent and decide to come back to the Church some day, they are welcome.

Until then, they are their own group.

Grace and Peace HandmaidenofGod,

Would it be fair to say that what they've kept still sanctifies, sister? What is common between us and the One True Church, Holy Tradition continues to sanctify because it has not been torn from that salvific root of Grace?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on December 28, 2011, 11:17:34 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
What makes you think this?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 29, 2011, 12:17:15 AM
If there were visible unity in protestantism, the idea of a visible church would be embraced. However, since this does not exist, one is forced to embrace the invisible church notion to rationalize and attempt to make sense of all the division.
The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't. I doubt they consider themselves part of the same church as you.

I won't say where the visible church isn't, but I will say where I believe the visible church to be.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Irish Hermit on December 29, 2011, 12:47:21 AM
The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't.

See Message 7 at

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,41825.msg684001.html#msg684001

There can be only one Church of Christ.   As Archpriest Michael Protopopov notes in his small monograph on "Bishop" Tikhon Pasechnik and the "Russian True Orthodox Church" group:

"If one’s actions take a person outside the Church then that person is outside the Church. There is no alternative. There is no shopping list of churches. There is only One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."

http://pages.prodigy.net/frjohnwhiteford/RTOC.htm
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on December 29, 2011, 01:40:05 AM
The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't.

See Message 7 at

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,41825.msg684001.html#msg684001

There can be only one Church of Christ.   As Archpriest Michael Protopopov notes in his small monograph on "Bishop" Tikhon Pasechnik and the "Russian True Orthodox Church" group:

"If one’s actions take a person outside the Church then that person is outside the Church. There is no alternative. There is no shopping list of churches. There is only One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."

http://pages.prodigy.net/frjohnwhiteford/RTOC.htm
Very well. I stand corrected. Thanks, folks.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 29, 2011, 01:50:36 AM
Grace and Peace HandmaidenofGod,

Would it be fair to say that what they've kept still sanctifies, sister? What is common between us and the One True Church, Holy Tradition continues to sanctify because it has not been torn from that salvific root of Grace?

That is for God and God alone to judge.

As we like to say in Orthodoxy, we won't say where God's grace is not, but we do know where it is.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the One, True, Holy, Apostolic Church that was founded on Pentecost. Those groups who choose not to be in communion with her (whether they call themselves "Greek Old Calenderists" or the "Roman Catholic Church") are not part of the One, True, Church.

Do their sacraments contain the grace of God? That is for God alone to judge.

It is not for me to speak beyond that.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 29, 2011, 04:52:43 AM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
What makes you think this?

It just does and you know it does.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: LBK on December 29, 2011, 05:14:23 AM
Quote
It just does and you know it does.

That's not an answer, that's a copout. A fudge, as your countrymen would say.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: jnorm888 on December 29, 2011, 07:28:06 AM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

Is The Church One or Two? You seem to be saying that only the spiritual church is the church for she alone is the bride. Is this what you are saying?

Also, why don't you believe the physical church to be the bride too! If there is only one Body then you can't really have two churches.........one spiritual and the other physical for that would be two bodies.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Melodist on December 29, 2011, 09:09:53 AM
But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.

That's because the apostles established a physically visible Church. We have to put emphasis on it because there are people teaching otherwise.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on December 29, 2011, 10:13:54 AM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
What makes you think this?

It just does and you know it does.
1.  It's rude to put words in my mouth by saying I know it does. You don't know what I know.
2.  You still haven't answered my question.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Shiny on December 29, 2011, 10:17:34 AM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
What makes you think this?

It just does and you know it does.
Best argument EVAR
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on December 29, 2011, 10:21:34 AM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
What makes you think this?

It just does and you know it does.
Best argument EVAR
Yeah, right. ::) ;)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on December 29, 2011, 10:40:00 AM
As I stated before. You can make the scriptures say anything by proof text. Looking at the totality of scripture, you really can not come to any other conclusion that the Church is mainly physical. If it wasn't then half of what was commanded would make absolutely no sense.

Are there members that we do not know about? Of course. But to say that the Church is completely invisible is patently ridiculous. Even when I was a protestant I always had a problem with the invisible church idea because it is simply not true.

I would hand my paycheck to someone if they read all the epistles and can legitimize that St. Paul is speaking of the invisible church.

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 29, 2011, 11:38:53 AM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
What makes you think this?

It just does and you know it does.
Best argument EVAR
Yeah, right. ::) ;)

I didn't want to answer because i'm not really interested in debating or winning an argument or continually be accused of firing out bible verses, which is such a predictable and slack defense of any position especially since patristic quotes can also be used in this way -- and often are here.


For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on December 29, 2011, 11:50:39 AM
Quote
The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe
I can totally sympathize with this statement. When I started looking into Orthodoxy I felt the same way. Although I do understand WHY the Church does not commune with other Christians, I still see how this can be a major sticking point.

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on December 29, 2011, 12:50:27 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
What makes you think this?

It just does and you know it does.
Best argument EVAR
Yeah, right. ::) ;)

I didn't want to answer because i'm not really interested in debating or winning an argument or continually be accused of firing out bible verses, which is such a predictable and slack defense of any position especially since patristic quotes can also be used in this way -- and often are here.
So why do you lump me in with everyone else? I asked a question because I sincerely wanted to know why you think the Orthodox Church places her emphasis firmly on the physical visible Church, not because I want to debate you or throw patristic verses at you. You accuse us of holding a particular point of view and of using debate tactics we call you out for. The least you could do is back up your accusations when asked, not just reply to my questions with more accusations.


For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.
You think you could give a more rational, less emotional response than this? Angry isn't very convincing.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FormerReformer on December 29, 2011, 02:12:59 PM
Quote
The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe
I can totally sympathize with this statement. When I started looking into Orthodoxy I felt the same way. Although I do understand WHY the Church does not commune with other Christians, I still see how this can be a major sticking point.

PP

Yes, this was a problem I had for a few years myself.

The problem comes in here:
Quote
separates herself from others of the same faith,

The answer, of course, is that if we had the same faith we would not be separated. Most Evangelicals, for example, deny the ability of God's Grace to act in the world through physical vehicles such as bread and wine, marriages, ordination, holy unction, relics, icons, etc. By denying the Mysteries they separate themselves from Orthodoxy.

Calvinism, as a heresy, has no place in Orthodoxy. Most Christians would agree with our rejection of Arianism, yet would cry at our rejection of Presbyterianism, though both are heretical.

Traditional Lutherans and High Church Anglicans are closer to Orthodoxy than any other group, but the former still deny the intercession of the saints and the latter are yoked with Low and Broad Church Anglicans who flat out reject the Mysteries as well as the last three ecumenical councils (IIRC Lutherans have this problem, as well). Add to this the problems of the last century where certain factions of God and Christ denying teachers have gained a substantial foothold in the leadership of both denominations in the Western world( though as Lutherans make up several different denominations in the US this is mitigated somewhat), to the point where a large swath of US and Canadian parishes are no longer even recognizable as Christian, and Orthodoxy is wise to stand apart.

As for Rome- well, I would hope a Protestant could understand the reason for not rushing into reunion. Let's just say it starts with a "P", rhymes with "hope", and believes that all Patriarchs must submit to him for ordination to their position.

Saying "We all believe in Jesus" is all well and good, but at the end of the day do we all believe the same thing about Jesus? If the Orthodox are right about the Eucharist being the Body and Blood, and that one who does not recognize this eats and drinks his own damnation, isn't it the height of charity to refrain from allowing others to the chalice? In the other direction, as an Orthodox Christian who can receive the Body and Blood in its fullness, why would I want to sit down to a symbolic piece of Saltine and a shot-glass of Welch's?

Now that I am Orthodox, btw, I don't look back on my Evangelical upbringing or my adult years as an Anglican as being profitless, or as not having been Christian. I merely see it as a 20 year Catechumenate. My Baptist family taught me the basics of faith, the milk and water a child requires. My Anglican years prepared me for more sound teaching and acclimated me to Sacramental theology, it was like pb&j. Orthodoxy gives me meat and wine- I am no longer a child with grape juice in my glass playing at drinking wine, I no longer sit at the kid's table at the Marriage Feast.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 29, 2011, 02:26:45 PM
For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.


Okay, so we're familiar with the Orthodox Church's definition of "Church," but what about yours?

You've mentioned the terms spiritual church and physical church. For Orthodox Christians, the Church is both spiritual and physical. It is physical, in that we have the church buildings, the clergy, the Liturgy, etc. It is spiritual, in that whenever we pray, we are joining in communion and worship with all of the saints, and our prayers are being lifted up along with all of the other Orthodox Christians praying with us.

When we are participating in the Liturgy, we are going beyond space and time. We are not just remembering Christ's crucifixion and resurrection as an event of the past, but as the here and now.

So my question to you is what are your definitions of these terms?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Shanghaiski on December 29, 2011, 04:41:34 PM
Quote
The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe
I can totally sympathize with this statement. When I started looking into Orthodoxy I felt the same way. Although I do understand WHY the Church does not commune with other Christians, I still see how this can be a major sticking point.

PP

How does the Orthodox Church separate herself from others of the same faith?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on December 29, 2011, 04:47:13 PM
Quote
The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe
I can totally sympathize with this statement. When I started looking into Orthodoxy I felt the same way. Although I do understand WHY the Church does not commune with other Christians, I still see how this can be a major sticking point.

PP

How does the Orthodox Church separate herself from others of the same faith?
I bolded the part I am referencing. Now that I am almost in the Church, and I understand the teachings on at least a basic level, I no longer hold these feelings. I understand why the Church does what it does (on about 90% of things).

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Irish Hermit on December 29, 2011, 05:21:40 PM
The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't. I doubt they consider themselves part of the same church as you.

These are some of the Churches in the world of “alternative Orthodoxy.”   Most deny one another’s sacraments and most declare that what they call “world Orthodoxy” also has no Sacraments.  In their eyes I am not even baptized,

So here is the contemporary composition of the *One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church*.

This is a uniquely modern expression of the Church where none of its branches are in communion with the other branches.

Autonomous True Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe and America
Holy Orthodox Church in North America
ROCiE Metropolitanate of Moscow under Metropolitan Damascene of Moscow
Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church under Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia under Archbishop Anthony of San Fransisco
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia under Archbishop Vladimir of San Fransisco
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia- under Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa
Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece under Abp Kallinikos of Athens
Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece under Archbishop Makarios of Athens
Genuine Orthodox Church Of Greece under Archbishop Nicholas of Athens
Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece under Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Thebes
Genuine Orthodox Church of the Patristic Calendar of Metropolitan Anghelos of Avlonos
Genuine Orthodox Synod under Metropolitan Kirykos of Mesogaia
Russian True Orthodox Church under Archbishop Tikhon of Omsk
True Orthodox Church of Serbia
True Orthodox Churches of Bulgaria
True Orthodox Churches of Romania
Synod in Resistance under Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili

---There are more Churches of course. Others may like to add to this list.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 29, 2011, 06:04:24 PM
The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't. I doubt they consider themselves part of the same church as you.

These are some of the Churches in the world of “alternative Orthodoxy.”   Most deny one another’s sacraments and most declare that what they call “world Orthodoxy” also has no Sacraments.  In their eyes I am not even baptized,

So here is the contemporary composition of the *One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church*.

This is a uniquely modern expression of the Church where none of its branches are in communion with the other branches.

Autonomous True Orthodox Metropolia of Western Europe and America
Holy Orthodox Church in North America
ROCiE Metropolitanate of Moscow under Metropolitan Damascene of Moscow
Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church under Metropolitan Valentine of Suzdal
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia under Archbishop Anthony of San Fransisco
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia under Archbishop Vladimir of San Fransisco
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia- under Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa
Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece under Abp Kallinikos of Athens
Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece under Archbishop Makarios of Athens
Genuine Orthodox Church Of Greece under Archbishop Nicholas of Athens
Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece under Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Thebes
Genuine Orthodox Church of the Patristic Calendar of Metropolitan Anghelos of Avlonos
Genuine Orthodox Synod under Metropolitan Kirykos of Mesogaia
Russian True Orthodox Church under Archbishop Tikhon of Omsk
True Orthodox Church of Serbia
True Orthodox Churches of Bulgaria
True Orthodox Churches of Romania
Synod in Resistance under Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili

---There are more Churches of course. Others may like to add to this list.

*sigh*

Lists like these always remind me of this scene (http://youtu.be/gb_qHP7VaZE) from "The Life of Brian." (Note: Offensive language, NSFW)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 29, 2011, 06:14:13 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
What makes you think this?

It just does and you know it does.
Best argument EVAR
Yeah, right. ::) ;)

I didn't want to answer because i'm not really interested in debating or winning an argument or continually be accused of firing out bible verses, which is such a predictable and slack defense of any position especially since patristic quotes can also be used in this way -- and often are here.
So why do you lump me in with everyone else? I asked a question because I sincerely wanted to know why you think the Orthodox Church places her emphasis firmly on the physical visible Church, not because I want to debate you or throw patristic verses at you. You accuse us of holding a particular point of view and of using debate tactics we call you out for. The least you could do is back up your accusations when asked, not just reply to my questions with more accusations.
Because it seemed to me as though you were asking a question you knew the answer to because the answer was obvious. I couldn't think of a good reason for you doing that. I apologise.

For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.
You think you could give a more rational, less emotional response than this? Angry isn't very convincing.

Yes. Here is the less emotional response.


The Orthodox church firmly states where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, who she is not in communion with while making statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her.

The church does occasionally mention the existence of Christians outside The Church.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Iconodule on December 29, 2011, 06:37:04 PM
It must be a misery being in an invisible Church.  Lonely and isolated.  Just you and nobody else.

And I suppose that if you discover another member of the invisible church, then there are two of you and it is not invisible anymore.

I was in the invisible church before it was cool
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on December 29, 2011, 06:45:59 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
What makes you think this?

It just does and you know it does.
Best argument EVAR
Yeah, right. ::) ;)

I didn't want to answer because i'm not really interested in debating or winning an argument or continually be accused of firing out bible verses, which is such a predictable and slack defense of any position especially since patristic quotes can also be used in this way -- and often are here.
So why do you lump me in with everyone else? I asked a question because I sincerely wanted to know why you think the Orthodox Church places her emphasis firmly on the physical visible Church, not because I want to debate you or throw patristic verses at you. You accuse us of holding a particular point of view and of using debate tactics we call you out for. The least you could do is back up your accusations when asked, not just reply to my questions with more accusations.
Because it seemed to me as though you were asking a question you knew the answer to because the answer was obvious. I couldn't think of a good reason for you doing that. I apologise.

For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.
You think you could give a more rational, less emotional response than this? Angry isn't very convincing.

Yes. Here is the less emotional response.


The Orthodox church firmly states where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, who she is not in communion with while making statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her.

The church does occasionally mention the existence of Christians outside The Church.
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 29, 2011, 06:59:13 PM
What few are willing to tell you, is that in order to be a member of the invisible Church, one must be a Ninja.

(http://images.cheezburger.com/completestore/2011/6/7/84a79ca2-4a8a-4297-b1c4-0123e3ac116c.jpg)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 29, 2011, 08:15:25 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
What makes you think this?

It just does and you know it does.
Best argument EVAR
Yeah, right. ::) ;)

I didn't want to answer because i'm not really interested in debating or winning an argument or continually be accused of firing out bible verses, which is such a predictable and slack defense of any position especially since patristic quotes can also be used in this way -- and often are here.
So why do you lump me in with everyone else? I asked a question because I sincerely wanted to know why you think the Orthodox Church places her emphasis firmly on the physical visible Church, not because I want to debate you or throw patristic verses at you. You accuse us of holding a particular point of view and of using debate tactics we call you out for. The least you could do is back up your accusations when asked, not just reply to my questions with more accusations.
Because it seemed to me as though you were asking a question you knew the answer to because the answer was obvious. I couldn't think of a good reason for you doing that. I apologise.

For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.
You think you could give a more rational, less emotional response than this? Angry isn't very convincing.

Yes. Here is the less emotional response.


The Orthodox church firmly states where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, who she is not in communion with while making statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her.

The church does occasionally mention the existence of Christians outside The Church.
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?

Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.

The 'invisible' church i'm talking about is  "....within you" (Luke 17:21) and one where Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone, where the building grows. (Ephesians 2: 19-21)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on December 29, 2011, 08:17:54 PM
Most Evangelicals, for example, deny the ability of God's Grace to act in the world through physical vehicles such as bread and wine, marriages, ordination, holy unction, relics, icons, etc.
While at the same time insisting that God works primarily through a physical book.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 29, 2011, 08:26:29 PM
Most Evangelicals, for example, deny the ability of God's Grace to act in the world through physical vehicles such as bread and wine, marriages, ordination, holy unction, relics, icons, etc.
While at the same time insisting that God works primarily through a physical book.

God works through a physical book?! Oh really? I thought, in fact, i've heard, read and seen evidence on many occasions that God actually works through His Holy Spirit. If there was a book, an actual physical book that God works through it would surely have to be under lock and key for the stampede of miracle seekers would be catastrophic if it were say, somewhere in an ordinary house?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on December 29, 2011, 09:06:37 PM
Most Evangelicals, for example, deny the ability of God's Grace to act in the world through physical vehicles such as bread and wine, marriages, ordination, holy unction, relics, icons, etc.
While at the same time insisting that God works primarily through a physical book.

God works through a physical book?! Oh really? I thought, in fact, i've heard, read and seen evidence on many occasions that God actually works through His Holy Spirit. If there was a book, an actual physical book that God works through it would surely have to be under lock and key for the stampede of miracle seekers would be catastrophic if it were say, somewhere in an ordinary house?
God works through both. If he only worked through the Spirit, we wouldn't even need the book. You're making false dichotomies again.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on December 29, 2011, 09:07:09 PM
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?

Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.
Why is it a ridiculous question? Because you just don't want to answer questions? I have a purpose for asking the question that you think you're discerning though you're very clearly not. So why don't you just answer the question without prejudging it as though you know my agenda?

Are the saints who have died members of the Church, or are they not?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: ignatius on December 30, 2011, 01:44:33 AM
Grace and Peace HandmaidenofGod,

Would it be fair to say that what they've kept still sanctifies, sister? What is common between us and the One True Church, Holy Tradition continues to sanctify because it has not been torn from that salvific root of Grace?

That is for God and God alone to judge.

As we like to say in Orthodoxy, we won't say where God's grace is not, but we do know where it is.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the One, True, Holy, Apostolic Church that was founded on Pentecost. Those groups who choose not to be in communion with her (whether they call themselves "Greek Old Calenderists" or the "Roman Catholic Church") are not part of the One, True, Church.

Do their sacraments contain the grace of God? That is for God alone to judge.

It is not for me to speak beyond that.

Grace and Peace HandmaidenofGod,

I have heard it said that Schism is born from a lack of charity, Heresy from a lack of humility... I can only hope that our division is one which lacks love.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on December 30, 2011, 01:56:12 AM
Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.

The 'invisible' church i'm talking about is  "....within you" (Luke 17:21) and one where Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone, where the building grows. (Ephesians 2: 19-21)

FountainPen, I am interested in hearing your definitions, as per my post above:

For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.


Okay, so we're familiar with the Orthodox Church's definition of "Church," but what about yours?

You've mentioned the terms spiritual church and physical church. For Orthodox Christians, the Church is both spiritual and physical. It is physical, in that we have the church buildings, the clergy, the Liturgy, etc. It is spiritual, in that whenever we pray, we are joining in communion and worship with all of the saints, and our prayers are being lifted up along with all of the other Orthodox Christians praying with us.

When we are participating in the Liturgy, we are going beyond space and time. We are not just remembering Christ's crucifixion and resurrection as an event of the past, but as the here and now.

So my question to you is what are your definitions of these terms?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 30, 2011, 06:02:26 AM
Most Evangelicals, for example, deny the ability of God's Grace to act in the world through physical vehicles such as bread and wine, marriages, ordination, holy unction, relics, icons, etc.
While at the same time insisting that God works primarily through a physical book.

God works through a physical book?! Oh really? I thought, in fact, i've heard, read and seen evidence on many occasions that God actually works through His Holy Spirit. If there was a book, an actual physical book that God works through it would surely have to be under lock and key for the stampede of miracle seekers would be catastrophic if it were say, somewhere in an ordinary house?
God works through both. If he only worked through the Spirit, we wouldn't even need the book. You're making false dichotomies again.

Vol, you can't say that. The book itself isn't anything more than printing, pages and binding -- it's just a book. God works through His word, it's His word that's inspired. I know i'm being picky but it's only the word that matters and that's an important point to make.

We don't actually need the book either. We have the word of God and that's an amazing blessing but we don't need it. All we need is the Spirit of God -- the power unto salvation.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 30, 2011, 07:01:18 AM
Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.

The 'invisible' church i'm talking about is  "....within you" (Luke 17:21) and one where Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone, where the building grows. (Ephesians 2: 19-21)

FountainPen, I am interested in hearing your definitions, as per my post above:

For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.


Okay, so we're familiar with the Orthodox Church's definition of "Church," but what about yours?

You've mentioned the terms spiritual church and physical church. For Orthodox Christians, the Church is both spiritual and physical. It is physical, in that we have the church buildings, the clergy, the Liturgy, etc. It is spiritual, in that whenever we pray, we are joining in communion and worship with all of the saints, and our prayers are being lifted up along with all of the other Orthodox Christians praying with us.

When we are participating in the Liturgy, we are going beyond space and time. We are not just remembering Christ's crucifixion and resurrection as an event of the past, but as the here and now.

So my question to you is what are your definitions of these terms?

Sorry HandmaidenofGod, i thought that answer would do you and Peter, both.

The invisible church is one that can't be known by us by empirical means but thankfully is known to God.

The visible church is one where people gather who profess Christ but who none of us can tell who is and who isn't really His, and neither should we try. Therefore, there will be a mix of people who gather such as the examples given to us in the word.

The church is compared to a floor where there is wheat and chaff (Matt. iii. 12)
The church is compared to a field where there are tares as well as good seed (Matt 13:24, 25)
The church is compared to a net, which gathers bad and good fish (Matthew 13:47)
The church is compared to a house where there are vessels of every kind some to honour and some to dishonor (2 Tim 2:20)

This is why the spiritual, invisible church is the bride He is coming back for.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 30, 2011, 07:07:20 AM
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?

Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.
Why is it a ridiculous question? Because you just don't want to answer questions? I have a purpose for asking the question that you think you're discerning though you're very clearly not. So why don't you just answer the question without prejudging it as though you know my agenda?

Are the saints who have died members of the Church, or are they not?

None of us can know that except God. None of can know what's in the heart of a person while they are on earth; the visible church is full of both true Christians and those in church for other reasons. Howcan we presume to know such a thing?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Clemente on December 30, 2011, 09:25:43 AM
The Early Church certainly viewed the Church in visible terms. Look at I Clement 42

"1 Clem. 42:1 The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent forth from God.

1 Clem. 42:2 So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order.

1 Clem. 42:3 Having therefore received a charge, and having been fully assured through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in the word of God with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come.

1 Clem. 42:4 So preaching everywhere in country and town, they appointed their firstfruits, when they had proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons unto them that should believe.

1 Clem. 42:5 And this they did in no new fashion; for indeed it had been written concerning bishops and deacons from very ancient times; for thus saith the scripture in a certain place, I will appoint their bishops in righteousness and their deacons in faith."

The visible Church was seen as a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy as quoted in Isaiah 60:17.

There is no notion of an "invisible Church" that I am aware of in the Fathers. There was in fact a recognition that many quasi-Christian groups were outside of the Church and there was no attempt to include them in that definition. See Augustine for example:

“Inasmuch, I repeat, as this is the case, we believe also in the Holy Church, [intending thereby] assuredly the Catholic. For both heretics and schismatics style their congregations churches. But heretics, in holding false opinions regarding God, do injury to the faith itself; while schismatics, on the other hand, in wicked separations break off from brotherly charity, although they may believe just what we believe. Wherefore neither do the heretics belong to the Church catholic, which loves God; nor do the schismatics form a part of the same.” Augustine, On Faith and Creed, 10:21 (A.D. 393).
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on December 30, 2011, 11:23:13 AM
As I said before, there are members of the Church that nobody knows about, and I had some time to think about it as to how to present my belief on this.

The only way that I can present it is that there are "invisible" members of the visible Church. I hope that makes sense.

BTW a question. If Christ is coming to get the invisible Church, does that mean the visible Church in the way Orthodoxy sees it is incorrect? If so, how are the rules and commands to the Church explained? What about the authority that is clearly exercised in the scriptures?

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Ortho_cat on December 30, 2011, 11:31:28 AM
Most Evangelicals, for example, deny the ability of God's Grace to act in the world through physical vehicles such as bread and wine, marriages, ordination, holy unction, relics, icons, etc.
While at the same time insisting that God works primarily through a physical book.

God works through a physical book?! Oh really? I thought, in fact, i've heard, read and seen evidence on many occasions that God actually works through His Holy Spirit. If there was a book, an actual physical book that God works through it would surely have to be under lock and key for the stampede of miracle seekers would be catastrophic if it were say, somewhere in an ordinary house?
God works through both. If he only worked through the Spirit, we wouldn't even need the book. You're making false dichotomies again.

Vol, you can't say that. The book itself isn't anything more than printing, pages and binding -- it's just a book. God works through His word, it's His word that's inspired. I know i'm being picky but it's only the word that matters and that's an important point to make.

We don't actually need the book either. We have the word of God and that's an amazing blessing but we don't need it. All we need is the Spirit of God -- the power unto salvation.

if you didn't have the bible how would you know what to believe though?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on December 30, 2011, 11:35:47 AM
Quote
Vol, you can't say that. The book itself isn't anything more than printing, pages and binding -- it's just a book. God works through His word, it's His word that's inspired. I know i'm being picky but it's only the word that matters and that's an important point to make.

We don't actually need the book either. We have the word of God and that's an amazing blessing but we don't need it. All we need is the Spirit of God -- the power unto salvation
If we didn't need it, God would not have wasted the time with it. its not like God moves "just for kicks" or to give "frills" on the faith. This is simply silly talk.

If we didn't need the Word, why inspire it?

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on December 30, 2011, 01:32:57 PM
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?

Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.
Why is it a ridiculous question? Because you just don't want to answer questions? I have a purpose for asking the question that you think you're discerning though you're very clearly not. So why don't you just answer the question without prejudging it as though you know my agenda?

Are the saints who have died members of the Church, or are they not?

None of us can know that except God. None of can know what's in the heart of a person while they are on earth; the visible church is full of both true Christians and those in church for other reasons. Howcan we presume to know such a thing?
That's not what I asked, FountainPen.

The saints who have died in Christ--I'm talking about those whom God knows as saints and who are no longer with us in the flesh--are they members of the Church as Orthodox know it--visible, invisible, I don't care--or not?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 30, 2011, 01:42:49 PM
Quote
Vol, you can't say that. The book itself isn't anything more than printing, pages and binding -- it's just a book. God works through His word, it's His word that's inspired. I know i'm being picky but it's only the word that matters and that's an important point to make.

We don't actually need the book either. We have the word of God and that's an amazing blessing but we don't need it. All we need is the Spirit of God -- the power unto salvation
If we didn't need it, God would not have wasted the time with it. its not like God moves "just for kicks" or to give "frills" on the faith. This is simply silly talk.

If we didn't need the Word, why inspire it?

PP

Primuspilus

There is only one way a person can come to a saving knowledge of Christ and that is via the Holy Spirit with the grace of God which i think you'd agree with too. He uses many mediums to bring about this enlightenment and the word of God is one way people can come into this knowledge and kingdom.

I'm not saying it's not inspired, authoritative, informative and helpful, it's all those things and more. You have icons and relics that you consider sacred so I just wanted to be careful not to inadvertently agree that the actual book was something more than it is.

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on December 30, 2011, 01:45:34 PM
Quote
There is only one way a person can come to a saving knowledge of Christ and that is via the Holy Spirit with the grace of God which i think you'd agree with too. He uses many mediums to bring about this enlightenment and the word of God is one way people can come into this knowledge and kingdom
*nods*

Quote
I'm not saying it's not inspired, authoritative, informative and helpful, it's all those things and more. You have icons and relics that you consider sacred so I just wanted to be careful not to inadvertently agree that the actual book was something more than it is
I understand your view now. I appreciate you clearing it up.

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 30, 2011, 01:47:20 PM
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?

Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.
Why is it a ridiculous question? Because you just don't want to answer questions? I have a purpose for asking the question that you think you're discerning though you're very clearly not. So why don't you just answer the question without prejudging it as though you know my agenda?

Are the saints who have died members of the Church, or are they not?

None of us can know that except God. None of can know what's in the heart of a person while they are on earth; the visible church is full of both true Christians and those in church for other reasons. Howcan we presume to know such a thing?
That's not what I asked, FountainPen.

The saints who have died in Christ--I'm talking about those whom God knows as saints and who are no longer with us in the flesh--are they members of the Church as Orthodox know it--visible, invisible, I don't care--or not?

I don't know if they are members of the church, as Orthodox know it -- i'm not Orthodox.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on December 30, 2011, 01:53:14 PM
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?

Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.
Why is it a ridiculous question? Because you just don't want to answer questions? I have a purpose for asking the question that you think you're discerning though you're very clearly not. So why don't you just answer the question without prejudging it as though you know my agenda?

Are the saints who have died members of the Church, or are they not?

None of us can know that except God. None of can know what's in the heart of a person while they are on earth; the visible church is full of both true Christians and those in church for other reasons. Howcan we presume to know such a thing?
That's not what I asked, FountainPen.

The saints who have died in Christ--I'm talking about those whom God knows as saints and who are no longer with us in the flesh--are they members of the Church as Orthodox know it--visible, invisible, I don't care--or not?

I don't know if they are members of the church, as Orthodox know it -- i'm not Orthodox.
Yes, they are members of the Church. The saints arent dead. :)

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on December 30, 2011, 01:54:53 PM
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?

Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.
Why is it a ridiculous question? Because you just don't want to answer questions? I have a purpose for asking the question that you think you're discerning though you're very clearly not. So why don't you just answer the question without prejudging it as though you know my agenda?

Are the saints who have died members of the Church, or are they not?

None of us can know that except God. None of can know what's in the heart of a person while they are on earth; the visible church is full of both true Christians and those in church for other reasons. Howcan we presume to know such a thing?
That's not what I asked, FountainPen.

The saints who have died in Christ--I'm talking about those whom God knows as saints and who are no longer with us in the flesh--are they members of the Church as Orthodox know it--visible, invisible, I don't care--or not?

I don't know if they are members of the church, as Orthodox know it -- i'm not Orthodox.
Then why did you call my question a "ridiculous question" as though everyone knows that the Orthodox consider them equal members of the Church as evidenced by our "common practise to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with [us], to God."? The simple fact is that we deem those who have died in Christ to still be members of the Church, even though they are invisible, which kinda burns up your straw man idea that we believe only in the visible Church.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 30, 2011, 02:00:16 PM
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?

Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.
Why is it a ridiculous question? Because you just don't want to answer questions? I have a purpose for asking the question that you think you're discerning though you're very clearly not. So why don't you just answer the question without prejudging it as though you know my agenda?

Are the saints who have died members of the Church, or are they not?

None of us can know that except God. None of can know what's in the heart of a person while they are on earth; the visible church is full of both true Christians and those in church for other reasons. Howcan we presume to know such a thing?
That's not what I asked, FountainPen.

The saints who have died in Christ--I'm talking about those whom God knows as saints and who are no longer with us in the flesh--are they members of the Church as Orthodox know it--visible, invisible, I don't care--or not?

I don't know if they are members of the church, as Orthodox know it -- i'm not Orthodox.
Then why did you call my question a "ridiculous question" as though everyone knows that the Orthodox consider them equal members of the Church as evidenced by our "common practise to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with [us], to God."? The simple fact is that we deem those who have died in Christ to still be members of the Church, even though they are invisible, which kinda burns up your straw man idea that we believe only in the visible Church.

Can you tell me where i said that Orthodoxy "only" believes in the visible church? I think i said it gives more of an emphasis to the visible church.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on December 30, 2011, 02:12:19 PM
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?

Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.
Why is it a ridiculous question? Because you just don't want to answer questions? I have a purpose for asking the question that you think you're discerning though you're very clearly not. So why don't you just answer the question without prejudging it as though you know my agenda?

Are the saints who have died members of the Church, or are they not?

None of us can know that except God. None of can know what's in the heart of a person while they are on earth; the visible church is full of both true Christians and those in church for other reasons. Howcan we presume to know such a thing?
That's not what I asked, FountainPen.

The saints who have died in Christ--I'm talking about those whom God knows as saints and who are no longer with us in the flesh--are they members of the Church as Orthodox know it--visible, invisible, I don't care--or not?

I don't know if they are members of the church, as Orthodox know it -- i'm not Orthodox.
Then why did you call my question a "ridiculous question" as though everyone knows that the Orthodox consider them equal members of the Church as evidenced by our "common practise to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with [us], to God."? The simple fact is that we deem those who have died in Christ to still be members of the Church, even though they are invisible, which kinda burns up your straw man idea that we believe only in the visible Church.

Can you tell me where i said that Orthodoxy "only" believes in the visible church? I think i said it gives more of an emphasis to the visible church.
I think that the whole hub-aloo is becuase so many folks totally discount the Visible Church, so we immidately come to the defense of it, sometimes to the detriment of the Invisible part. Such as it was  with my defense anyways....

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on December 30, 2011, 03:11:06 PM
Most Evangelicals, for example, deny the ability of God's Grace to act in the world through physical vehicles such as bread and wine, marriages, ordination, holy unction, relics, icons, etc.
While at the same time insisting that God works primarily through a physical book.

God works through a physical book?! Oh really? I thought, in fact, i've heard, read and seen evidence on many occasions that God actually works through His Holy Spirit. If there was a book, an actual physical book that God works through it would surely have to be under lock and key for the stampede of miracle seekers would be catastrophic if it were say, somewhere in an ordinary house?
God works through both. If he only worked through the Spirit, we wouldn't even need the book. You're making false dichotomies again.

Vol, you can't say that. The book itself isn't anything more than printing, pages and binding -- it's just a book. God works through His word, it's His word that's inspired. I know i'm being picky but it's only the word that matters and that's an important point to make.

We don't actually need the book either. We have the word of God and that's an amazing blessing but we don't need it. All we need is the Spirit of God -- the power unto salvation.
I didn't say the book is more than a book, the Gospel itself isn't more than words if you don't believe it. I also didn't say God cannot save apart from the Bible, of course He can. But under normal circumstances, it's one of the mediums He works through. Some one in a prison camp or something where there are no Bibles may not need one, but those of us who have access to them and don't use them will have quite the time trying growing toward Christ. I see the valid distinction you want to make, but to me in this context it leads to missing the forest for the trees (now I'm one cliche over, darn...)

We can apply this same reasoning to the Visible Church. The Thief on the Cross was not baptized and had nothing to do with the Visible Church and yet he was saved.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on December 30, 2011, 03:18:53 PM
Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.

The 'invisible' church i'm talking about is  "....within you" (Luke 17:21) and one where Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone, where the building grows. (Ephesians 2: 19-21)

FountainPen, I am interested in hearing your definitions, as per my post above:

For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.


Okay, so we're familiar with the Orthodox Church's definition of "Church," but what about yours?

You've mentioned the terms spiritual church and physical church. For Orthodox Christians, the Church is both spiritual and physical. It is physical, in that we have the church buildings, the clergy, the Liturgy, etc. It is spiritual, in that whenever we pray, we are joining in communion and worship with all of the saints, and our prayers are being lifted up along with all of the other Orthodox Christians praying with us.

When we are participating in the Liturgy, we are going beyond space and time. We are not just remembering Christ's crucifixion and resurrection as an event of the past, but as the here and now.

So my question to you is what are your definitions of these terms?

Sorry HandmaidenofGod, i thought that answer would do you and Peter, both.

The invisible church is one that can't be known by us by empirical means but thankfully is known to God.

The visible church is one where people gather who profess Christ but who none of us can tell who is and who isn't really His, and neither should we try. Therefore, there will be a mix of people who gather such as the examples given to us in the word.

The church is compared to a floor where there is wheat and chaff (Matt. iii. 12)
The church is compared to a field where there are tares as well as good seed (Matt 13:24, 25)
The church is compared to a net, which gathers bad and good fish (Matthew 13:47)
The church is compared to a house where there are vessels of every kind some to honour and some to dishonor (2 Tim 2:20)

This is why the spiritual, invisible church is the bride He is coming back for.
You assume that those Christians who will ultimately not be saved are not still part of the Bride, an assumption which Orthodoxy rejects and I'm not sure is in evidence from those passages.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on December 30, 2011, 07:01:12 PM
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?

Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.
Why is it a ridiculous question? Because you just don't want to answer questions? I have a purpose for asking the question that you think you're discerning though you're very clearly not. So why don't you just answer the question without prejudging it as though you know my agenda?

Are the saints who have died members of the Church, or are they not?

None of us can know that except God. None of can know what's in the heart of a person while they are on earth; the visible church is full of both true Christians and those in church for other reasons. Howcan we presume to know such a thing?
That's not what I asked, FountainPen.

The saints who have died in Christ--I'm talking about those whom God knows as saints and who are no longer with us in the flesh--are they members of the Church as Orthodox know it--visible, invisible, I don't care--or not?

I don't know if they are members of the church, as Orthodox know it -- i'm not Orthodox.
Then why did you call my question a "ridiculous question" as though everyone knows that the Orthodox consider them equal members of the Church as evidenced by our "common practise to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with [us], to God."? The simple fact is that we deem those who have died in Christ to still be members of the Church, even though they are invisible, which kinda burns up your straw man idea that we believe only in the visible Church.

Can you tell me where i said that Orthodoxy "only" believes in the visible church? I think i said it gives more of an emphasis to the visible church.
Well, the way you've been ranting on this thread implies to me that you see us as guilty of more than just emphasizing the visible Church at the expense of the invisible (as if such a dichotomy exists).

What you need to see is the much larger context. To those, like you, who disparage the idea that the Church could be visible and emphasize the concept of an invisible Church, we defend the very visible nature of the Church in a way that looks as if we place our emphasis on the visible Church at the expense of the invisible. With others, however, who focus their attention too much on the visible institutions of the Church, such as we often see in the Roman Catholic Church (and sometimes even among the Orthodox), we emphasize in our defense that the Church is first a manifestation of an invisible mystery: the mystery of Christ in us through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father. Quite naturally, we speak differently to different people so that all may come to a deeper appreciation of all that the Holy Orthodox Church is. Just don't take our words to others and make them out as if they're addressing you.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: jnorm888 on December 30, 2011, 09:02:27 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
What makes you think this?

It just does and you know it does.
Best argument EVAR
Yeah, right. ::) ;)

I didn't want to answer because i'm not really interested in debating or winning an argument or continually be accused of firing out bible verses, which is such a predictable and slack defense of any position especially since patristic quotes can also be used in this way -- and often are here.
So why do you lump me in with everyone else? I asked a question because I sincerely wanted to know why you think the Orthodox Church places her emphasis firmly on the physical visible Church, not because I want to debate you or throw patristic verses at you. You accuse us of holding a particular point of view and of using debate tactics we call you out for. The least you could do is back up your accusations when asked, not just reply to my questions with more accusations.
Because it seemed to me as though you were asking a question you knew the answer to because the answer was obvious. I couldn't think of a good reason for you doing that. I apologise.

For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.
You think you could give a more rational, less emotional response than this? Angry isn't very convincing.

Yes. Here is the less emotional response.


The Orthodox church firmly states where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, who she is not in communion with while making statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her.

The church does occasionally mention the existence of Christians outside The Church.
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?

Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.

The 'invisible' church i'm talking about is  "....within you" (Luke 17:21) and one where Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone, where the building grows. (Ephesians 2: 19-21)

Does "within you" mean separate and independent from Christ? Does it mean not being in communion with Jesus and the Apostles and their church plants?


When the Angel visited the Roman centurion in the book of Acts, did he tell him to go and start an independent christian group not in communion with what Jesus already started with the Apostles? Or did he tell him to go see Peter?


When Jesus spoke to Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus, did he tell him to go and start an independent group not in communion with what He already started? Or did he tell him to go see Ananias? I'm not looking at the text and so I probably got some of the details wrong, but the gist is the same.


Yes, Jesus is the chief corner stone, but don't forget that this Chief cornerstone is God Incarnate! Which means that He is not just Invisible only!

You see, the Docetists believed that Jesus's physical body was an illusion. You are making a similar mistake. For when the building grows is the physical aspect of the building only an illusion? This is what you seem to be saying. And if you aren't saying this then it would seem as if you are seeing two separate buildings altogether. One building as being spiritual while the other building being physical. If this is what you're saying then you are making a mistake similar to Nestorianism. In their case they did it with Christology, in your case it's being done with Ecclesiology.

So what are you saying? Are you saying Jesus is only spiritual as the chief corner stone and the building that grows from His foundation is also only spiritual?

In how you understand things, where does the physical fit in all of this? Especially since you said only the spiritual church is the Bride!

Also, what does "one body" and "one faith" mean to you in this passage? Does it mean only the spiritual church to you? If so then what is the physical? Is it a totally separate and independent body from the spiritual body? If so then you are making it seem as if two bodies exist instead of only One?

What importance is the physical if only the spiritual is the bride? How would your interpretation fit Ephesians chapter four verses  four and five?


Ephesians 4:4-5
"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;"


What does this passage mean to you?


Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 30, 2011, 10:43:16 PM
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?

Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.
Why is it a ridiculous question? Because you just don't want to answer questions? I have a purpose for asking the question that you think you're discerning though you're very clearly not. So why don't you just answer the question without prejudging it as though you know my agenda?

Are the saints who have died members of the Church, or are they not?

None of us can know that except God. None of can know what's in the heart of a person while they are on earth; the visible church is full of both true Christians and those in church for other reasons. Howcan we presume to know such a thing?
That's not what I asked, FountainPen.

The saints who have died in Christ--I'm talking about those whom God knows as saints and who are no longer with us in the flesh--are they members of the Church as Orthodox know it--visible, invisible, I don't care--or not?

I don't know if they are members of the church, as Orthodox know it -- i'm not Orthodox.
Then why did you call my question a "ridiculous question" as though everyone knows that the Orthodox consider them equal members of the Church as evidenced by our "common practise to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with [us], to God."? The simple fact is that we deem those who have died in Christ to still be members of the Church, even though they are invisible, which kinda burns up your straw man idea that we believe only in the visible Church.

Can you tell me where i said that Orthodoxy "only" believes in the visible church? I think i said it gives more of an emphasis to the visible church.
Well, the way you've been ranting on this thread implies to me that you see us as guilty of more than just emphasizing the visible Church at the expense of the invisible (as if such a dichotomy exists).
"Ranting", "guilty" ? lol+ Could you give me the less emotional version of - "No, i couldn't find where you said that FountainPen, my mistake" - please?

What you need to see is the much larger context.
Don't make assumptions that i don't see the larger context.

To those, like you, who disparage the idea that the Church could be visible...
I think i said the visible church was important. It's more than "could be", it is visible, that's an aspect of how people gather and organise themselves.

...and emphasize the concept of an invisible Church,
As does scripture.

...we defend the very visible nature of the Church in a way that looks as if we place our emphasis on the visible Church at the expense of the invisible.
I'll accept that it looks that way and may not be that way.

With others, however, who focus their attention too much on the visible institutions of the Church, such as we often see in the Roman Catholic Church (and sometimes even among the Orthodox), we emphasize in our defense that the Church is first a manifestation of an invisible mystery: the mystery of Christ in us through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father. Quite naturally, we speak differently to different people so that all may come to a deeper appreciation of all that the Holy Orthodox Church is. Just don't take our words to others and make them out as if they're addressing you.
That's a fair point in some respects.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 30, 2011, 10:46:58 PM
I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
What makes you think this?

It just does and you know it does.
Best argument EVAR
Yeah, right. ::) ;)

I didn't want to answer because i'm not really interested in debating or winning an argument or continually be accused of firing out bible verses, which is such a predictable and slack defense of any position especially since patristic quotes can also be used in this way -- and often are here.
So why do you lump me in with everyone else? I asked a question because I sincerely wanted to know why you think the Orthodox Church places her emphasis firmly on the physical visible Church, not because I want to debate you or throw patristic verses at you. You accuse us of holding a particular point of view and of using debate tactics we call you out for. The least you could do is back up your accusations when asked, not just reply to my questions with more accusations.
Because it seemed to me as though you were asking a question you knew the answer to because the answer was obvious. I couldn't think of a good reason for you doing that. I apologise.

For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.
You think you could give a more rational, less emotional response than this? Angry isn't very convincing.

Yes. Here is the less emotional response.


The Orthodox church firmly states where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, who she is not in communion with while making statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her.

The church does occasionally mention the existence of Christians outside The Church.
Those who have died in Christ and await the resurrection of their bodies at the last day... Based on what you know about us, do you think we would count them as members of the Church right now, even though they're invisible to us?

Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.

The 'invisible' church i'm talking about is  "....within you" (Luke 17:21) and one where Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone, where the building grows. (Ephesians 2: 19-21)

Does "within you" mean separate and independent from Christ? Does it mean not being in communion with Jesus and the Apostles and their church plants?


When the Angel visited the Roman centurion in the book of Acts, did he tell him to go and start an independent christian group not in communion with what Jesus already started with the Apostles? Or did he tell him to go see Peter?


When Jesus spoke to Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus, did he tell him to go and start an independent group not in communion with what He already started? Or did he tell him to go see Ananias? I'm not looking at the text and so I probably got some of the details wrong, but the gist is the same.


Yes, Jesus is the chief corner stone, but don't forget that this Chief cornerstone is God Incarnate! Which means that He is not just Invisible only!

You see, the Docetists believed that Jesus's physical body was an illusion. You are making a similar mistake. For when the building grows is the physical aspect of the building only an illusion? This is what you seem to be saying. And if you aren't saying this then it would seem as if you are seeing two separate buildings altogether. One building as being spiritual while the other building being physical. If this is what you're saying then you are making a mistake similar to Nestorianism. In their case they did it with Christology, in your case it's being done with Ecclesiology.

So what are you saying? Are you saying Jesus is only spiritual as the chief corner stone and the building that grows from His foundation is also only spiritual?

In how you understand things, where does the physical fit in all of this? Especially since you said only the spiritual church is the Bride!

Also, what does "one body" and "one faith" mean to you in this passage? Does it mean only the spiritual church to you? If so then what is the physical? Is it a totally separate and independent body from the spiritual body? If so then you are making it seem as if two bodies exist instead of only One?

What importance is the physical if only the spiritual is the bride? How would your interpretation fit Ephesians chapter four verses  four and five?


Ephesians 4:4-5
"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;"


What does this passage mean to you?




I've answered all of the relevant parts of this in my responses to other posts in this thread.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 30, 2011, 10:52:19 PM
Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.

The 'invisible' church i'm talking about is  "....within you" (Luke 17:21) and one where Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone, where the building grows. (Ephesians 2: 19-21)

FountainPen, I am interested in hearing your definitions, as per my post above:

For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.


Okay, so we're familiar with the Orthodox Church's definition of "Church," but what about yours?

You've mentioned the terms spiritual church and physical church. For Orthodox Christians, the Church is both spiritual and physical. It is physical, in that we have the church buildings, the clergy, the Liturgy, etc. It is spiritual, in that whenever we pray, we are joining in communion and worship with all of the saints, and our prayers are being lifted up along with all of the other Orthodox Christians praying with us.

When we are participating in the Liturgy, we are going beyond space and time. We are not just remembering Christ's crucifixion and resurrection as an event of the past, but as the here and now.

So my question to you is what are your definitions of these terms?

Sorry HandmaidenofGod, i thought that answer would do you and Peter, both.

The invisible church is one that can't be known by us by empirical means but thankfully is known to God.

The visible church is one where people gather who profess Christ but who none of us can tell who is and who isn't really His, and neither should we try. Therefore, there will be a mix of people who gather such as the examples given to us in the word.

The church is compared to a floor where there is wheat and chaff (Matt. iii. 12)
The church is compared to a field where there are tares as well as good seed (Matt 13:24, 25)
The church is compared to a net, which gathers bad and good fish (Matthew 13:47)
The church is compared to a house where there are vessels of every kind some to honour and some to dishonor (2 Tim 2:20)

This is why the spiritual, invisible church is the bride He is coming back for.
You assume that those Christians who will ultimately not be saved are not still part of the Bride, an assumption which Orthodoxy rejects and I'm not sure is in evidence from those passages.
I'm not sure i understand Vol; all who are His will be saved.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on December 30, 2011, 11:03:52 PM
Well, the way you've been ranting on this thread implies to me that you see us as guilty of more than just emphasizing the visible Church at the expense of the invisible (as if such a dichotomy exists).
"Ranting", "guilty" ? lol+ Could you give me the less emotional version of - "No, i couldn't find where you said that FountainPen, my mistake" - please?
No. I gave you the less emotional version of what I could have said. ;) What you've been doing matches the standard definition of "rant".

What you need to see is the much larger context.
Don't make assumptions that i don't see the larger context.
I don't need to make assumptions when your posts make abundantly clear that you're missing the forest for the trees.

To those, like you, who disparage the idea that the Church could be visible...
I think i said the visible church was important. It's more than "could be", it is visible, that's an aspect of how people gather and organise themselves.

...and emphasize the concept of an invisible Church,
As does scripture.
You haven't established that Scripture makes a dichotomy between visible and invisible as you do. Others have shown you how the same Scriptures emphasize the concept of a Church that is much more visible than you like to admit. Is it convenient for you to overlook these?

...we defend the very visible nature of the Church in a way that looks as if we place our emphasis on the visible Church at the expense of the invisible.
I'll accept that it looks that way and may not be that way.
Thank you. :)

With others, however, who focus their attention too much on the visible institutions of the Church, such as we often see in the Roman Catholic Church (and sometimes even among the Orthodox), we emphasize in our defense that the Church is first a manifestation of an invisible mystery: the mystery of Christ in us through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father. Quite naturally, we speak differently to different people so that all may come to a deeper appreciation of all that the Holy Orthodox Church is. Just don't take our words to others and make them out as if they're addressing you.
That's a fair point in some respects.
In what respects?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on December 30, 2011, 11:20:05 PM
Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.

The 'invisible' church i'm talking about is  "....within you" (Luke 17:21) and one where Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone, where the building grows. (Ephesians 2: 19-21)

FountainPen, I am interested in hearing your definitions, as per my post above:

For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.


Okay, so we're familiar with the Orthodox Church's definition of "Church," but what about yours?

You've mentioned the terms spiritual church and physical church. For Orthodox Christians, the Church is both spiritual and physical. It is physical, in that we have the church buildings, the clergy, the Liturgy, etc. It is spiritual, in that whenever we pray, we are joining in communion and worship with all of the saints, and our prayers are being lifted up along with all of the other Orthodox Christians praying with us.

When we are participating in the Liturgy, we are going beyond space and time. We are not just remembering Christ's crucifixion and resurrection as an event of the past, but as the here and now.

So my question to you is what are your definitions of these terms?

Sorry HandmaidenofGod, i thought that answer would do you and Peter, both.

The invisible church is one that can't be known by us by empirical means but thankfully is known to God.

The visible church is one where people gather who profess Christ but who none of us can tell who is and who isn't really His, and neither should we try. Therefore, there will be a mix of people who gather such as the examples given to us in the word.

The church is compared to a floor where there is wheat and chaff (Matt. iii. 12)
The church is compared to a field where there are tares as well as good seed (Matt 13:24, 25)
The church is compared to a net, which gathers bad and good fish (Matthew 13:47)
The church is compared to a house where there are vessels of every kind some to honour and some to dishonor (2 Tim 2:20)

This is why the spiritual, invisible church is the bride He is coming back for.
You assume that those Christians who will ultimately not be saved are not still part of the Bride, an assumption which Orthodoxy rejects and I'm not sure is in evidence from those passages.
I'm not sure i understand Vol; all who are His will be saved.
I mean those who are His and then fall away a'la Hebrews 6
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 30, 2011, 11:27:24 PM
Well, the way you've been ranting on this thread implies to me that you see us as guilty of more than just emphasizing the visible Church at the expense of the invisible (as if such a dichotomy exists).
"Ranting", "guilty" ? lol+ Could you give me the less emotional version of - "No, i couldn't find where you said that FountainPen, my mistake" - please?
No. I gave you the less emotional version of what I could have said. ;) What you've been doing matches the standard definition of "rant".
I'd gladly agree if by "standard definition" you mean male standard definition for when a woman is trying to communicate something important.

What you need to see is the much larger context.
Don't make assumptions that i don't see the larger context.
I don't need to make assumptions when your posts make abundantly clear that you're missing the forest for the trees.
That would be the lack of engine in the airbus, no doubt.

To those, like you, who disparage the idea that the Church could be visible...
I think i said the visible church was important. It's more than "could be", it is visible, that's an aspect of how people gather and organise themselves.

...and emphasize the concept of an invisible Church,
As does scripture.
You haven't established that Scripture makes a dichotomy between visible and invisible as you do. Others have shown you how the same Scriptures emphasize the concept of a Church that is much more visible than you like to admit. Is it convenient for you to overlook these?
I haven't overlooked them any more than the examples i have provided have been overlooked. Peter, there isn't a dichotomy. The visible aspects of the church have a mix of believers and unbelievers in them that the invisible aspects (living saints, if you will) of the church do not. All the same church.

...we defend the very visible nature of the Church in a way that looks as if we place our emphasis on the visible Church at the expense of the invisible.
I'll accept that it looks that way and may not be that way.
Thank you. :)
You're welcome :)

With others, however, who focus their attention too much on the visible institutions of the Church, such as we often see in the Roman Catholic Church (and sometimes even among the Orthodox), we emphasize in our defense that the Church is first a manifestation of an invisible mystery: the mystery of Christ in us through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father. Quite naturally, we speak differently to different people so that all may come to a deeper appreciation of all that the Holy Orthodox Church is. Just don't take our words to others and make them out as if they're addressing you.
That's a fair point in some respects.
In what respects?

In that it doesn't make the statements any less true even if the answers were meant for someone else's question.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 30, 2011, 11:32:09 PM
Peter, that's a ridiculous question given that they are quite literally, invisible -- and given also that it's common practise (for you) to petition those reposed in Christ, to pray with you, to God.

The 'invisible' church i'm talking about is  "....within you" (Luke 17:21) and one where Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone, where the building grows. (Ephesians 2: 19-21)

FountainPen, I am interested in hearing your definitions, as per my post above:

For what it's worth then...

The Orthodox church makes such a song and dance of where it is and the fact that She Is The One True Only Apostolic and Holy Catholic Church and separates herself from others of the same faith, no less, who she is not in communion with while making grand statements that ekklesia and the companionship of others is of paramount importance to her and indeed the very definition of church to some -- or so i'm led to believe.

And yes, i've noted the nod that's occasionally given to the existence of Christians outside The Church.


Okay, so we're familiar with the Orthodox Church's definition of "Church," but what about yours?

You've mentioned the terms spiritual church and physical church. For Orthodox Christians, the Church is both spiritual and physical. It is physical, in that we have the church buildings, the clergy, the Liturgy, etc. It is spiritual, in that whenever we pray, we are joining in communion and worship with all of the saints, and our prayers are being lifted up along with all of the other Orthodox Christians praying with us.

When we are participating in the Liturgy, we are going beyond space and time. We are not just remembering Christ's crucifixion and resurrection as an event of the past, but as the here and now.

So my question to you is what are your definitions of these terms?

Sorry HandmaidenofGod, i thought that answer would do you and Peter, both.

The invisible church is one that can't be known by us by empirical means but thankfully is known to God.

The visible church is one where people gather who profess Christ but who none of us can tell who is and who isn't really His, and neither should we try. Therefore, there will be a mix of people who gather such as the examples given to us in the word.

The church is compared to a floor where there is wheat and chaff (Matt. iii. 12)
The church is compared to a field where there are tares as well as good seed (Matt 13:24, 25)
The church is compared to a net, which gathers bad and good fish (Matthew 13:47)
The church is compared to a house where there are vessels of every kind some to honour and some to dishonor (2 Tim 2:20)

This is why the spiritual, invisible church is the bride He is coming back for.
You assume that those Christians who will ultimately not be saved are not still part of the Bride, an assumption which Orthodoxy rejects and I'm not sure is in evidence from those passages.
I'm not sure i understand Vol; all who are His will be saved.
I mean those who are His and then fall away a'la Hebrews 6
Ah, okay.
 :-\

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on December 30, 2011, 11:46:17 PM

BTW a question. If Christ is coming to get the invisible Church, does that mean the visible Church in the way Orthodoxy sees it is incorrect? If so, how are the rules and commands to the Church explained? What about the authority that is clearly exercised in the scriptures?

PP

Sorry Primus, I read back and realised i missed this.

I can't say if it's incorrect as i don't know enough about the way Orthodoxy sees the visible church to fully comment. I can only really comment when i come across aspects of doctrine or belief that i might view as a distortion of how the church was intended to be.

I have no problem with the authority and accountability of overseers within the visible church. I do however see us all as being accountable to each other and before God but then i think we'd be in agreement there also most probably.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: jnorm888 on December 31, 2011, 12:10:14 PM
Quote
I've answered all of the relevant parts of this in my responses to other posts in this thread.

The word relevant is subjective and ambiguous, if I thought you answered my critiques then I would of never of asked you. I presented my examples in a way that connected Christology with Ecclesiology for a reason. I think you are being evasive, and I think you really don't want to use Christology as a grid to follow when talking about this issue.

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: jnorm888 on December 31, 2011, 12:23:31 PM
Does "within you" mean separate and independent from Christ? Does it mean not being in communion with Jesus and the Apostles and their church plants?


When the Angel visited the Roman centurion in the book of Acts, did he tell him to go and start an independent christian group not in communion with what Jesus already started with the Apostles? Or did he tell him to go see Peter?


When Jesus spoke to Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus, did he tell him to go and start an independent group not in communion with what He already started? Or did he tell him to go see Ananias? I'm not looking at the text and so I probably got some of the details wrong, but the gist is the same.


Yes, Jesus is the chief corner stone, but don't forget that this Chief cornerstone is God Incarnate! Which means that He is not just Invisible only!

You see, the Docetists believed that Jesus's physical body was an illusion. You are making a similar mistake. For when the building grows is the physical aspect of the building only an illusion? This is what you seem to be saying. And if you aren't saying this then it would seem as if you are seeing two separate buildings altogether. One building as being spiritual while the other building being physical. If this is what you're saying then you are making a mistake similar to Nestorianism. In their case they did it with Christology, in your case it's being done with Ecclesiology.

So what are you saying? Are you saying Jesus is only spiritual as the chief corner stone and the building that grows from His foundation is also only spiritual?

In how you understand things, where does the physical fit in all of this? Especially since you said only the spiritual church is the Bride!

Also, what does "one body" and "one faith" mean to you in this passage? Does it mean only the spiritual church to you? If so then what is the physical? Is it a totally separate and independent body from the spiritual body? If so then you are making it seem as if two bodies exist instead of only One?

What importance is the physical if only the spiritual is the bride? How would your interpretation fit Ephesians chapter four verses  four and five?


Ephesians 4:4-5
"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;"


What does this passage mean to you? Did the Roman Centurion and Saul/Paul start separate independent bodies not in communion with the church plants that the Apostles started? If not then you can't say what you are saying.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Shiny on December 31, 2011, 12:41:58 PM
If this doesn't catch your attention and change your ways, nothing ever will!

Is it any wonder why the Jesus Seminar has created their own Jesus because the original Church is invisible!(http://i.imgur.com/oMY1Z.gif)

Come on guys, the Church is invisible you know it is.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 01, 2012, 12:58:43 PM
Quote
I've answered all of the relevant parts of this in my responses to other posts in this thread.

The word relevant is subjective and ambiguous, if I thought you answered my critiques then I would of never of asked you. I presented my examples in a way that connected Christology with Ecclesiology for a reason. I think you are being evasive, and I think you really don't want to use Christology as a grid to follow when talking about this issue.



...would have never have asked you

Thanks. Opinions always welcome as well.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 01, 2012, 01:44:40 PM
Does "within you" mean separate and independent from Christ? Does it mean not being in communion with Jesus and the Apostles and their church plants?
Luke 17:20-21 “Now when He was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them saying, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation;  neither shall they say, 'Lo here!' or 'Lo there!' For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Jesus made it clear in response to their unbelief “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Matt 12:28)

In other words it accompanied His person to answer your question.


When the Angel visited the Roman centurion in the book of Acts, did he tell him to go and start an independent christian group not in communion with what Jesus already started with the Apostles? Or did he tell him to go see Peter?
I agree. I think we differ in the church model at the time of the Apostles.

When Jesus spoke to Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus, did he tell him to go and start an independent group not in communion with what He already started? Or did he tell him to go see Ananias? I'm not looking at the text and so I probably got some of the details wrong, but the gist is the same.

Yes, Jesus is the chief corner stone, but don't forget that this Chief cornerstone is God Incarnate! Which means that He is not just Invisible only!
The size of your text won't suddenly make what you're saying true. I don't think i stated anywhere that He was invisible "only". Like i said, i have answered this already.

You see, the Docetists...
Could you repeat that please?

...believed that Jesus's physical body was an illusion.
Jesus' physical body was not an illusion.

You are making a similar mistake.
I am?

For when the building grows is the physical aspect of the building only an illusion?
No.

This is what you seem to be saying.
I'm not, no.

And if you aren't saying this...
I'm not, no.

...then it would seem as if you are seeing two separate buildings altogether.
No. I covered this already earlier on when i said i didn't see them as separate but aspects of one whole.

One building as being spiritual while the other building being physical. If this is what you're saying
I'm not, no.

...then you are making a mistake similar to Nestorianism. In their case they did it with Christology, in your case it's being done with Ecclesiology.

So what are you saying? Are you saying Jesus is only spiritual as the chief corner stone and the building that grows from His foundation is also only spiritual?
No.

In how you understand things, where does the physical fit in all of this? Especially since you said only the spiritual church is the Bride!
Well done! You actually read something i did say.
The physical, visible church is a very important part of a whole which includes The Bride. There are many people within the visible church who are not His and never will be His. For that reason only those sealed with the Spirit, given by the Father (which can only be known and identified by the Father), are the ones being made ready.

Also, what does "one body" and "one faith" mean to you in this passage? Does it mean only the spiritual church to you? If so then what is the physical? Is it a totally separate and independent body from the spiritual body?
The wheat and tares cannot be separated by man. They grow as one unit until the one who can separate them, does.

If so then you are making it seem as if two bodies exist instead of only One?
I don't think i am making it seem like anything.

What importance is the physical if only the spiritual is the bride? How would your interpretation
It's not my interpretation, it's part Holy Scripture and part teachings from your very own church fathers that also agree the wheat and the tares abide and grow together until they are separated by the only one who can possibly tell the difference between them.

fit Ephesians chapter four verses  four and five?

Ephesians 4:4-5
"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;"
There is only one body.

What does this passage mean to you? Did the Roman Centurion and Saul/Paul start separate independent bodies not in communion with the church plants that the Apostles started? If not then you can't say what you are saying.
I've answered this already.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FormerReformer on January 01, 2012, 02:33:47 PM

So what are you saying? Are you saying Jesus is only spiritual as the chief corner stone and the building that grows from His foundation is also only spiritual?
No.
[/quote]

Forgive me, but you did seem to say this in reply 10
Quote
A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd

Also, your exegesis of the wheat and tares is faulty: the wheat and tares grow together, not because no one can tell the difference, but because the process of uprooting the tares would uproot some of the wheat as well (as plants grow near each other their roots often become entangled- and you can't get rid of the tares by any other process than uprooting, otherwise they grow back- pulling one plant up pulls up the plant next to it as well). The field doesn't represent the Church, but the entire world. The passage doesn't refer to an invisible church at all, if anything the Church is quite visible, standing out as good food amongst the weeds.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 01, 2012, 02:43:28 PM
I have never heard a satisfactory explanation to this verse from those who believe in an invisible church:

"If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth."

How could Paul be referring to an invisible church here? He is obviously referring to a physical real, visible insititution. "you will know how to conduct yourself in...the church of the living God..."

Is he talking about just the one, local church in Ephesus? Does he think that one church is the pillar and foundation of the truth? Of course not. He's talking about all the churches, the visible churches, all individually being the pillar and foundation of truth.

Further, is he talking about just the physical church building itself? Of course not. He is referring to the church as a gathering of an appointed bishop/overseer who has preserved the true doctrine handed down to him from the apostles and his faithful gathered around him in thanksgiving and worship. There is nothing invisible about this.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 01, 2012, 07:28:28 PM
A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd

Also, your exegesis of the wheat and tares is faulty: the wheat and tares grow together, not because no one can tell the difference, but because the process of uprooting the tares would uproot some of the wheat as well (as plants grow near each other their roots often become entangled- and you can't get rid of the tares by any other process than uprooting, otherwise they grow back- pulling one plant up pulls up the plant next to it as well).

The quote above was just a way of opting out. Sometimes it's easier to play to the stereotype especially if you feel you're not getting anywhere.

God is the only one who can know a person's heart and if they are sealed with His Spirit, i don't see how any of us can know whether someone is saved or not. I should have provided a separate reference for that particular statement. I apologise for being misleading.

The field doesn't represent the Church, but the entire world. The passage doesn't refer to an invisible church at all, if anything the Church is quite visible, standing out as good food amongst the weeds.
The field does represent the world and in the world is the church which has all manner of people mixed in and growing together. (Matthew 3 12, Matthew 13:47, 2 Tim 2:20)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FormerReformer on January 01, 2012, 08:21:18 PM
A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd

Also, your exegesis of the wheat and tares is faulty: the wheat and tares grow together, not because no one can tell the difference, but because the process of uprooting the tares would uproot some of the wheat as well (as plants grow near each other their roots often become entangled- and you can't get rid of the tares by any other process than uprooting, otherwise they grow back- pulling one plant up pulls up the plant next to it as well).

The quote above was just a way of opting out. Sometimes it's easier to play to the stereotype especially if you feel you're not getting anywhere.

God is the only one who can know a person's heart and if they are sealed with His Spirit, i don't see how any of us can know whether someone is saved or not. I should have provided a separate reference for that particular statement. I apologise for being misleading.

The field doesn't represent the Church, but the entire world. The passage doesn't refer to an invisible church at all, if anything the Church is quite visible, standing out as good food amongst the weeds.
The field does represent the world and in the world is the church which has all manner of people mixed in and growing together. (Matthew 3 12, Matthew 13:47, 2 Tim 2:20)
The two passages from Matthew don't say any more than the parable of wheat and tares, and stands more as a warning of coming judgement for the entire world. The Church is not mentioned here at all.

2 Timothy 2 is an interesting example (though verse 19 might have been more appropriate to your stance), but not in the way you seem to think. The entirety of the chapter is not about an "invisible" church but about those who depart from the apostolic teaching delivered by St Paul, starting with a reminder followed by simple creed then going into specific examples of what to watch for. The instruction to St Timothy is to expel heretics (2:16-17) from the Church; not to let them go on teaching whatever they wish, St Timothy being secure in the knowledge of an "invisible" church that continues on in the hearts of the "true" believer. The Church is visible, and as her local bishop in Ephesus St Timothy has the task of making the rounds and standing watch, separating out the goats from the lambs.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 01, 2012, 09:09:23 PM
WAYYY too many posts to read but the fact is invisible church theory is a invention of the protestant reformation who broke from the catholic church for valid reasons but wanted to be acknowledged as being part of the church mentioned in scriptures. being protestant you need a verse right?
1 Timothy 3:15 b The CHURCH is the pillar and foundation of truth. this verse can ONLY be fulfilled in a physical united church. the closest legitimate claim similar to an invisible church idea to me would be Christendom being the people of God, in this we may be united but this is still outside of the church.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 01, 2012, 09:11:44 PM
Quote
I've answered all of the relevant parts of this in my responses to other posts in this thread.

The word relevant is subjective and ambiguous, if I thought you answered my critiques then I would of never of asked you. I presented my examples in a way that connected Christology with Ecclesiology for a reason. I think you are being evasive, and I think you really don't want to use Christology as a grid to follow when talking about this issue.



...would have never have asked you
Usually the decision to correct someone else's grammar is taken as a sign that you've run out of substantive things to contribute to the discussion. ;)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on January 01, 2012, 09:52:30 PM
Quote
I've answered all of the relevant parts of this in my responses to other posts in this thread.

The word relevant is subjective and ambiguous, if I thought you answered my critiques then I would of never of asked you. I presented my examples in a way that connected Christology with Ecclesiology for a reason. I think you are being evasive, and I think you really don't want to use Christology as a grid to follow when talking about this issue.



...would have never have asked you
Usually the decision to correct someone else's grammar is taken as a sign that you've run out of substantive things to contribute to the discussion. ;)
If that was the only response of hers to him, then yes. ;)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: jnorm888 on January 02, 2012, 03:05:42 AM
Quote
I've answered all of the relevant parts of this in my responses to other posts in this thread.

The word relevant is subjective and ambiguous, if I thought you answered my critiques then I would of never of asked you. I presented my examples in a way that connected Christology with Ecclesiology for a reason. I think you are being evasive, and I think you really don't want to use Christology as a grid to follow when talking about this issue.



...would have never have asked you
Usually the decision to correct someone else's grammar is taken as a sign that you've run out of substantive things to contribute to the discussion. ;)

I don't mind, for I am always looking for improvement. I'll take it anywhere I can get it!
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 02, 2012, 03:44:07 AM
A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd

Also, your exegesis of the wheat and tares is faulty: the wheat and tares grow together, not because no one can tell the difference, but because the process of uprooting the tares would uproot some of the wheat as well (as plants grow near each other their roots often become entangled- and you can't get rid of the tares by any other process than uprooting, otherwise they grow back- pulling one plant up pulls up the plant next to it as well).

The quote above was just a way of opting out. Sometimes it's easier to play to the stereotype especially if you feel you're not getting anywhere.

God is the only one who can know a person's heart and if they are sealed with His Spirit, i don't see how any of us can know whether someone is saved or not. I should have provided a separate reference for that particular statement. I apologise for being misleading.

The field doesn't represent the Church, but the entire world. The passage doesn't refer to an invisible church at all, if anything the Church is quite visible, standing out as good food amongst the weeds.
The field does represent the world and in the world is the church which has all manner of people mixed in and growing together. (Matthew 3 12, Matthew 13:47, 2 Tim 2:20)
The two passages from Matthew don't say any more than the parable of wheat and tares, and stands more as a warning of coming judgement for the entire world. The Church is not mentioned here at all.

2 Timothy 2 is an interesting example (though verse 19 might have been more appropriate to your stance), but not in the way you seem to think. The entirety of the chapter is not about an "invisible" church but about those who depart from the apostolic teaching delivered by St Paul, starting with a reminder followed by simple creed then going into specific examples of what to watch for. The instruction to St Timothy is to expel heretics (2:16-17) from the Church; not to let them go on teaching whatever they wish, St Timothy being secure in the knowledge of an "invisible" church that continues on in the hearts of the "true" believer. The Church is visible, and as her local bishop in Ephesus St Timothy has the task of making the rounds and standing watch, separating out the goats from the lambs.

Ok let's try this another way.

If i ask you where the church is, will you give me a convoluted answer or can you point me to this visible church?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 02, 2012, 03:50:58 AM
Matthew 16:18...
quite simply the church is this church that Christ said will not be beaten, i see Christendom in three churches... Protestant church most DEFINITELY does not fall into this category, the Catholic church has not prevailed... they have changed shifted and swayed in their traditions and doctrines. In my research this only leaves Orthodoxy to remain as a church who is steadfast against changing traditions and upholding that which was past down!
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 02, 2012, 03:59:44 AM
quite simply...

If it were that simple then this thread wouldn't be "WAYYY" too long for you to bother reading it.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FormerReformer on January 02, 2012, 04:00:51 AM
A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd

Also, your exegesis of the wheat and tares is faulty: the wheat and tares grow together, not because no one can tell the difference, but because the process of uprooting the tares would uproot some of the wheat as well (as plants grow near each other their roots often become entangled- and you can't get rid of the tares by any other process than uprooting, otherwise they grow back- pulling one plant up pulls up the plant next to it as well).

The quote above was just a way of opting out. Sometimes it's easier to play to the stereotype especially if you feel you're not getting anywhere.

God is the only one who can know a person's heart and if they are sealed with His Spirit, i don't see how any of us can know whether someone is saved or not. I should have provided a separate reference for that particular statement. I apologise for being misleading.

The field doesn't represent the Church, but the entire world. The passage doesn't refer to an invisible church at all, if anything the Church is quite visible, standing out as good food amongst the weeds.
The field does represent the world and in the world is the church which has all manner of people mixed in and growing together. (Matthew 3 12, Matthew 13:47, 2 Tim 2:20)
The two passages from Matthew don't say any more than the parable of wheat and tares, and stands more as a warning of coming judgement for the entire world. The Church is not mentioned here at all.

2 Timothy 2 is an interesting example (though verse 19 might have been more appropriate to your stance), but not in the way you seem to think. The entirety of the chapter is not about an "invisible" church but about those who depart from the apostolic teaching delivered by St Paul, starting with a reminder followed by simple creed then going into specific examples of what to watch for. The instruction to St Timothy is to expel heretics (2:16-17) from the Church; not to let them go on teaching whatever they wish, St Timothy being secure in the knowledge of an "invisible" church that continues on in the hearts of the "true" believer. The Church is visible, and as her local bishop in Ephesus St Timothy has the task of making the rounds and standing watch, separating out the goats from the lambs.

Ok let's try this another way.

If i ask you where the church is, will you give me a convoluted answer or can you point me to this visible church?

I can do both!  :D

And will tomorrow, its entirely too late on the East Coast.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 02, 2012, 04:06:29 AM
if becomes difficult when ideas to incorporate everyone get thrown in the mix... this is the simple underlying idea behind Protestantism... It was when i realized this was the truth that i lost faith in the protestant church. that unspoken thought that the church was dead before the reformation. Sure not all denominations believe that, but most do. Protestant church has constantly scratched to find a hold on the early church and the concept that there is a universal church conflicts with all things protestant (maybe not the reformers but protestants are reformers always reforming)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: jnorm888 on January 02, 2012, 05:00:36 AM
Quote
In other words it accompanied His person to answer your question.

As Person what is He? Isn't He a Divine Person(the second Person of the Trinity) with two Natures? A 100% Divine Nature(that He shares with both the Father and Holy Spirit) and a 100% Human Nature(that He shares with humanity)? If so then the Kingdom is not Invisible only for He is not Invisible only! We become citizens of this Kingdom when we are united with Him (being INCHRIST), when we are in union with Him, and this happens when we believe, repent, are Baptized, and Chrismated/Confirmed.

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2908.htm (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2908.htm) (The Great Catechism)
Saint Gregory of Nyssa
Quote:
"Chapters XXXIII., XXXIV., XXXV., XXXVI.— The saving nature of Baptism depends on three things; Prayer, Water, and Faith. 1. It is shown how Prayer secures the Divine Presence. God is a God of truth; and He has promised to come (as Miracles prove that He has come already) if invoked in a particular way. 2. It is shown how the Deity gives life from water. In human generation, even without prayer, He gives life from a small beginning. In a higher generation He transforms matter, not into soul, but into spirit. 3. Human freedom, as evinced in faith and repentance, is also necessary to Regeneration. Being thrice dipped in the water is our earliest mortification; coming out of it is a forecast of the ease with which the pure shall rise in a blessed resurrection: the whole process is an imitation of Christ."



There is also a unity between Baptism and Chrismation

quote:
"As with St. Irenaeus, there is an ecclesiological and sacramental dimension to the doctrine of Recapitulation. Baptism is an essential component of the mystery and for the spiritual life, since the believer must recapitulate that which Christ Himself fulfilled and repeated in His own Recapitulation. As was the case with Sts. Irenaeus and Athanasius, one cannot separate the divine and invisible nature from the works which He does in His human and visible nature, and therefore one cannot separate water and the Spirit into two separate baptisms or events, as this would be a kind of sacramental Nestorianism. [1]


And so we can know who is of God when it comes to initial Salvation, the problem is Salvation is a process. One must persevere till the end. And this happens within the Church which can't be separated from it's visibleness.


Quote
I agree. I think we differ in the church model at the time of the Apostles.

If you agree then what was the Church in the first century? Was it not visible? If the invisible theory was true then there would of been no need to send the Roman military commander to Peter and Saul to Ananias.


Quote
The size of your text won't suddenly make what you're saying true. I don't think i stated anywhere that He was invisible "only". Like i said, i have answered this already.

If He is God Incarnate and if We are His Body then there is no way you can say that only the invisible church is the Bride.


Quote
Could you repeat that please?

Docetists

Quote
Jesus' physical body was not an illusion

Then it must also be the bride that Jesus is coming back for. The Bride is the Church and the Church is simultaneously both invisible and visible. Thus the Bride is simultaneously both invisible and visible.


Quote
Jesus' physical body was not an illusion.

Nor is the visibleness of the Bride/Church which is also Christ's Body! Is Christ's Body only spiritual? The answer is no.


Quote
I am?

Aren't you stressing the invisible church theory?


Quote
No.

Ok, so what is it? I know you say it's important, but if it's not the Bride then is it really important?


Quote
I'm not, no.

What meaning does the word "important" really have if it's not the bride?


Quote
No. I covered this already earlier on when i said i didn't see them as separate but aspects of one whole.

If they are aspects of one whole then the visible is also the bride.


Quote
I'm not, no.

Then the visible is also the bride


Quote
No.

Then the visible is also the bride


Quote
Well done! You actually read something i did say.

Thank you, I'm just trying to understand you.


Quote
The physical, visible church is a very important part of a whole which includes The Bride.

This is confusing, for how can it include the Bride when you said only the spiritual is the bride? If you made a mistake earlier on then that's ok for we all make mistakes. I know I do.


 
Quote
There are many people within the visible church who are not His and never will be His.

Hmm, I know you are speaking of the present and future tenses, but you are Reformed and so I am going to speculate that you may also have in mind some other Calvinistic or Reformed beliefs in this area. I quoted Saint Gregory of Nyssa earlier in where Baptismal Regeneration was advocated and so a person can start out as being His when Baptized and Chrismated into the New Testament Covenant Community...A.K.A. the Church. Later in time a person can fall away and so in this sense there are many people within the Visible Church who are not His (present tense), but if they repent before death then they will be His again, but only God knows who will repent before death and so in that sense we can talk about the future tense.


 
Quote
For that reason only those sealed with the Spirit, given by the Father (which can only be known and identified by the Father), are the ones being made ready.


The second quote I posted above is also relevant here. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit at Chrismation and so we can know and do know. What happens later in time is a different story, for a person can fall away.


Quote
The wheat and tares cannot be separated by man. They grow as one unit until the one who can separate them, does.

They grow as one unit in the Visible Church! Christ founded a Visible Church for not only do we have the example of being united with Him by way of Baptism, but we also have the example of Holy Communion, for we are united with Him also by way of partaking of His Body and Blood!

1st Corinthians 10:16-17
"Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf."


Quote
I don't think i am making it seem like anything.

I could be wrong, but I think I am starting to understand you better.


Quote
It's not my interpretation, it's part Holy Scripture and part teachings from your very own church fathers that also agree the wheat and the tares abide and grow together until they are separated by the only one who can possibly tell the difference between them.

If there is only one body then this would mean that both the wheat and tares would grow together side by side within the Visible Church. The Church is filled with both good and bad fish. With both wheat and tares! But guess what? Each individual in the Church can change back and forth from one to the other.


Saint Irenaeus (180 A.D.)
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vi.v.html (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vi.v.html)(Saint Irenaeus)
quote:
"For He who makes the chaff and He who makes the wheat are not different persons, but one and the same, who judges them, that is, separates them. But the wheat and the chaff, being inanimate and irrational, have been made such by nature. But man, being endowed with reason, and in this respect like to God, having been made free in his will, and with power over himself, is himself the cause to himself, that sometimes he becomes wheat, and sometimes chaff."


I wanted to make some words very big, but I thought you wouldn't like that this time around and so I didn't do it.

I am starting to see why we might differ.


Quote
There is only one body.


There is only one body in where everyone who starts out in it, starts out the same. The difference is in the perseverance of each individual within the Visible Church.


Quote
I've answered this already.

I am starting to understand why we differ. Thanks for the interaction.




[1] pages xii - xvi from the preface of the book The disputation with Pyrrhus of Our Father Among the Saints Maximus the Confessor
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on January 02, 2012, 05:54:40 AM
Matthew 16:18...
quite simply the church is this church that Christ said will not be beaten, i see Christendom in three churches... Protestant church most DEFINITELY does not fall into this category, the Catholic church has not prevailed... they have changed shifted and swayed in their traditions and doctrines. In my research this only leaves Orthodoxy to remain as a church who is steadfast against changing traditions and upholding that which was past down!
That argument isn't going to wash unless you define "beaten." Protestants, other than Anglicans and Scandinavian Lutherans, define the Church prevailing as there being gatherings of true believers left on earth (for example, Calvin simply defined the Church as anywhere the Word of God is preached and communion and baptism served).
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on January 02, 2012, 06:05:25 AM

They grow as one unit in the Visible Church! Christ founded a Visible Church for not only do we have the example of being united with Him by way of Baptism, but we also have the example of Holy Communion, for we are united with Him also by way of partaking of His Body and Blood!

1st Corinthians 10:16-17
"Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf."
So you disagree with FormerReformer that the "field" in the parable is the world?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 02, 2012, 10:50:27 AM
quite simply...

If it were that simple then this thread wouldn't be "WAYYY" too long for you to bother reading it.
You're the one driving this thread by complaining about how "complicated" the subject is.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FormerReformer on January 02, 2012, 11:54:15 AM

They grow as one unit in the Visible Church! Christ founded a Visible Church for not only do we have the example of being united with Him by way of Baptism, but we also have the example of Holy Communion, for we are united with Him also by way of partaking of His Body and Blood!

1st Corinthians 10:16-17
"Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf."
So you disagree with FormerReformer that the "field" in the parable is the world?

He can disagree with me all he wants, who am I? The tares passage is another one of those biblical passages with a built-in translation- Matthew 13:38, "The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one."

However, I think this is more a case of jnorm conceding ground in order to make a point: even if the wheat and tares grow together, they grow together in a very visible field.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FormerReformer on January 02, 2012, 12:28:43 PM
A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd

Also, your exegesis of the wheat and tares is faulty: the wheat and tares grow together, not because no one can tell the difference, but because the process of uprooting the tares would uproot some of the wheat as well (as plants grow near each other their roots often become entangled- and you can't get rid of the tares by any other process than uprooting, otherwise they grow back- pulling one plant up pulls up the plant next to it as well).

The quote above was just a way of opting out. Sometimes it's easier to play to the stereotype especially if you feel you're not getting anywhere.

God is the only one who can know a person's heart and if they are sealed with His Spirit, i don't see how any of us can know whether someone is saved or not. I should have provided a separate reference for that particular statement. I apologise for being misleading.

The field doesn't represent the Church, but the entire world. The passage doesn't refer to an invisible church at all, if anything the Church is quite visible, standing out as good food amongst the weeds.
The field does represent the world and in the world is the church which has all manner of people mixed in and growing together. (Matthew 3 12, Matthew 13:47, 2 Tim 2:20)
The two passages from Matthew don't say any more than the parable of wheat and tares, and stands more as a warning of coming judgement for the entire world. The Church is not mentioned here at all.

2 Timothy 2 is an interesting example (though verse 19 might have been more appropriate to your stance), but not in the way you seem to think. The entirety of the chapter is not about an "invisible" church but about those who depart from the apostolic teaching delivered by St Paul, starting with a reminder followed by simple creed then going into specific examples of what to watch for. The instruction to St Timothy is to expel heretics (2:16-17) from the Church; not to let them go on teaching whatever they wish, St Timothy being secure in the knowledge of an "invisible" church that continues on in the hearts of the "true" believer. The Church is visible, and as her local bishop in Ephesus St Timothy has the task of making the rounds and standing watch, separating out the goats from the lambs.

Ok let's try this another way.

If i ask you where the church is, will you give me a convoluted answer or can you point me to this visible church?

I can do both!  :D

And will tomorrow, its entirely too late on the East Coast.

And as promised- the convoluted answer- Christianity these days is like a plot of land. We know where the boundaries of the land are and we've set a fence up as near those boundaries as possible. In the middle of the land is a house, the house is spacious and well stocked, has heat and light, and all other necessities in abundance and more. 8 year old Petey Jr decided he didn't like the house because he was kept from bossing his little sister Constance around, so he decided to run away- to a tent in the back yard. He took a lot of good food with him and set up next to the garden hose, but he also took a lot of candy and still thinks that mud pies might be edible. A few of his younger brothers went with him, and after a while got tired of his overbearing attitude and mud pies, so they ran away- to different areas of the yard. Some also set up in tents, others decided that dwelling places were the problem to begin with and that the oak tree with the tire swing provided all the shelter they needed. One or two decided to really run away and left the shelter of the fence entirely.

Now, Dad still calls all the kids home for supper, they can come if they wish, but if they insist on being rebellious they can go to bed without eating- except Dad is kinder than that- He sneaks around at night and leaves all his children with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, juice boxes, etc; the nourishment the growing kids will need for the next day. They can come into the house whenever they wish and get tastier food (we're having lasagna tonight) or they can continue playing house in the yard.

The house is the Church, those in the yard are those who left the Church but still adhere to the main tenets of Christianity (schismatics and the heterodox, note, however, that they still receive their nourishment from the house pantry), those who leave the yard entirely are heretics (Arians, Apollinarians, JWs, Mormons) who reject Trinitarian Christianity.

The non convoluted answer- The Orthodox Church. 2000 years of visibility, 2000 years of sound doctrine, 2000 years heresy free.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 02, 2012, 01:06:03 PM
Matthew 16:18...
quite simply the church is this church that Christ said will not be beaten, i see Christendom in three churches... Protestant church most DEFINITELY does not fall into this category, the Catholic church has not prevailed... they have changed shifted and swayed in their traditions and doctrines. In my research this only leaves Orthodoxy to remain as a church who is steadfast against changing traditions and upholding that which was past down!
That argument isn't going to wash unless you define "beaten." Protestants, other than Anglicans and Scandinavian Lutherans, define the Church prevailing as there being gatherings of true believers left on earth (for example, Calvin simply defined the Church as anywhere the Word of God is preached and communion and baptism served).
right but Protestants have as i mentioned an unsaid assumption that the church dies in the early stages and Catholicism became corrupt (there is almost no knowledge of Orthodoxy in most circles) So they see themselves almost as a Josiah restoring the temple. This is not inline with the words of Christ.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Asteriktos on January 02, 2012, 01:11:26 PM
right but Protestants have as i mentioned an unsaid assumption that the church dies in the early stages and Catholicism became corrupt (there is almost no knowledge of Orthodoxy in most circles) So they see themselves almost as a Josiah restoring the temple. This is not inline with the words of Christ.

+1 for using the example of King Josiah :)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 02, 2012, 01:49:26 PM
quite simply...

If it were that simple then this thread wouldn't be "WAYYY" too long for you to bother reading it.
You're the one driving this thread by complaining about how "complicated" the subject is.

Another one of your inaccurate observations?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 02, 2012, 02:01:11 PM
quite simply...

If it were that simple then this thread wouldn't be "WAYYY" too long for you to bother reading it.
You're the one driving this thread by complaining about how "complicated" the subject is.

Another one of your inaccurate observations?
No, it's actually quite accurate, as most anyone could surmise simply by reading this thread and seeing how many of the posts are yours. ;)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 02, 2012, 02:38:22 PM
I have never heard a satisfactory explanation to this verse from those who believe in an invisible church:

"If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth."

How could Paul be referring to an invisible church here? He is obviously referring to a physical real, visible insititution. "you will know how to conduct yourself in...the church of the living God..."

Is he talking about just the one, local church in Ephesus? Does he think that one church is the pillar and foundation of the truth? Of course not. He's talking about all the churches, the visible churches, all individually being the pillar and foundation of truth.

Further, is he talking about just the physical church building itself? Of course not. He is referring to the church as a gathering of an appointed bishop/overseer who has preserved the true doctrine handed down to him from the apostles and his faithful gathered around him in thanksgiving and worship. There is nothing invisible about this.


I doubt that my additions will cause any change to your experience; it's what i've been taught and believe to be true but i doubt it's anything you haven't heard before.

You're right, he couldn't be referring to the "physical church building" because the church is the body of people, God is our Father and we are his children so it's no surprise that we should be referred to as the house of God. All those sealed with the Spirit are the church of the living God and carry the responsibility of "going" and "telling" the gospel, thereby becoming vessels used of God to birth faith in others when they hear the word of God (faith comes by hearing the word of God - rhēma) it produces faith. Flesh and blood did not reveal what was needed to Peter and flesh and blood cannot cause someone's eyes to be opened only the Spirit of God can do that.

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 02, 2012, 02:42:25 PM
quite simply...

If it were that simple then this thread wouldn't be "WAYYY" too long for you to bother reading it.
You're the one driving this thread by complaining about how "complicated" the subject is.

Another one of your inaccurate observations?
No, it's actually quite accurate, as most anyone could surmise simply by reading this thread and seeing how many of the posts are yours. ;)

A lot of the posts are mine, as i try my best not to skip over anyones response. Moreso recently as i've seen how other members have been pulled up for not answering points made in a thread.  ;)

Who knew that diligence could be frowned upon.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 02, 2012, 02:43:23 PM
right but Protestants have as i mentioned an unsaid assumption that the church dies in the early stages and Catholicism became corrupt (there is almost no knowledge of Orthodoxy in most circles) So they see themselves almost as a Josiah restoring the temple. This is not inline with the words of Christ.

+1 for using the example of King Josiah :)
haha i did find it quite fitting
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 02, 2012, 02:47:53 PM

The non convoluted answer- The Orthodox Church. 2000 years of visibility, 2000 years of sound doctrine, 2000 years heresy free.

I willget to your convoluted response -- thanks for that  :laugh:

Can i just confirm that you would say there are true Christians that are not inside The Church?

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 02, 2012, 02:49:09 PM
quite simply...

If it were that simple then this thread wouldn't be "WAYYY" too long for you to bother reading it.
You're the one driving this thread by complaining about how "complicated" the subject is.

Another one of your inaccurate observations?
No, it's actually quite accurate, as most anyone could surmise simply by reading this thread and seeing how many of the posts are yours. ;)

A lot of the posts are mine, as i try my best not to skip over anyones response. Moreso recently as i've seen how other members have been pulled up for not answering points made in a thread.  ;)

Who knew that diligence could be frowned upon.
Who's frowning? ??? I don't see anyone frowning.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 02, 2012, 02:51:06 PM

The non convoluted answer- The Orthodox Church. 2000 years of visibility, 2000 years of sound doctrine, 2000 years heresy free.

I willget to your convoluted response -- thanks for that  :laugh:

Can i just confirm that you would say there are true Christians that are not inside The Church?


ma'am you are confusing ecclisiology(?) in that statement. Orthodoxy is not as cut and dry as protestanism. to be within the church is to be a chrstian how good or bad of one is dependent upon the individual... a better question for you to get an answer would be will every member of orthodox church go to heave... answer no, well we dont know ;)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 02, 2012, 02:53:33 PM
I have never heard a satisfactory explanation to this verse from those who believe in an invisible church:

"If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth."

How could Paul be referring to an invisible church here? He is obviously referring to a physical real, visible insititution. "you will know how to conduct yourself in...the church of the living God..."

Is he talking about just the one, local church in Ephesus? Does he think that one church is the pillar and foundation of the truth? Of course not. He's talking about all the churches, the visible churches, all individually being the pillar and foundation of truth.

Further, is he talking about just the physical church building itself? Of course not. He is referring to the church as a gathering of an appointed bishop/overseer who has preserved the true doctrine handed down to him from the apostles and his faithful gathered around him in thanksgiving and worship. There is nothing invisible about this.


I doubt that my additions will cause any change to your experience; it's what i've been taught and believe to be true but i doubt it's anything you haven't heard before.

You're right, he couldn't be referring to the "physical church building" because the church is the body of people, God is our Father and we are his children so it's no surprise that we should be referred to as the house of God. All those sealed with the Spirit are the church of the living God and carry the responsibility of "going" and "telling" the gospel, thereby becoming vessels used of God to birth faith in others when they hear the word of God (faith comes by hearing the word of God - rhēma) it produces faith. Flesh and blood did not reveal what was needed to Peter and flesh and blood cannot cause someone's eyes to be opened only the Spirit of God can do that.



Well I did say he is not referring to "just the physical church building", but he is referring to a real gathering in a real physical place, is he not?

Otherwise this part wouldn't make a whole lot of sense..."you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household". If we are those being referred to as "God's household" here, would Paul telling us how to conduct ourselves within ourselves? ?? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Prior to this he is talking directly of the responsibility of the overseer and deacons and their duties and functions within the church. He's talking about a real church, a gathering of people in a real place, with bishops and deacons.

I think it is a mistake to completely remove the physical aspect from this text, and i believe to do so renders this portion nearly incomprehensible.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FormerReformer on January 02, 2012, 03:13:54 PM

The non convoluted answer- The Orthodox Church. 2000 years of visibility, 2000 years of sound doctrine, 2000 years heresy free.

I willget to your convoluted response -- thanks for that  :laugh:

Can i just confirm that you would say there are true Christians that are not inside The Church?



I would say that all true Christians are inside the Church- just not necessarily in this present moment. This is not to be confused with an invisible church, however, just a Church that is not visible now in the same way that Florida is not visible from New York. Both are part of America, to one viewing from high enough up both can be seen together, and as one progresses down the I-95 corridor eventually one will see Florida in the distance. In the end, all Christians are Orthodox Christians, just some of the snowbirds happen to have been born in England or Norway.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 02, 2012, 03:19:27 PM

The non convoluted answer- The Orthodox Church. 2000 years of visibility, 2000 years of sound doctrine, 2000 years heresy free.

I willget to your convoluted response -- thanks for that  :laugh:

Can i just confirm that you would say there are true Christians that are not inside The Church?


Ah just realized i mis read your post, Im sorry. all the same there is a misunderstanding in the terms for protestant and Orthodox. an orthodox will admit that they are not the only ones who will be in heaven. However they claim that they are the explicit ones who practice the traditions of Christ. so It depends on what understanding you use, Is a christian one who follows all of the traditions? i think most orthodox would say yes, then no you must be orthodox to be a "true" christian, however is a christian one who will inherit the kingdom of God? if this is your understanding then no one on this side of eternity will ever know.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 02, 2012, 03:32:01 PM
I think it is very difficult to dismiss from scripture that the Church of God is indeed a very visible thing, a local gathering of fellow believers with their bishops, deacons, etc. coming together to break bread and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the church that is the pillar and foundation of truth; not any of these members individually, but them coming together as one body in Christ.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 02, 2012, 03:45:35 PM
I think it is very difficult to dismiss from scripture that the Church of God is indeed a very visible thing, a local gathering of fellow believers with their bishops, deacons, etc. coming together to break bread and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the church that is the pillar and foundation of truth; not any of these members individually, but them coming together as one body in Christ.
See the thing about the invisible church theory isnt that there arent physical churchES but there isnt once single body that is the church universal. in scripture they will place those verses as being regulated to local churches not a overall body.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 02, 2012, 04:03:38 PM
I think it is very difficult to dismiss from scripture that the Church of God is indeed a very visible thing, a local gathering of fellow believers with their bishops, deacons, etc. coming together to break bread and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the church that is the pillar and foundation of truth; not any of these members individually, but them coming together as one body in Christ.
See the thing about the invisible church theory isnt that there arent physical churchES but there isnt once single body that is the church universal. in scripture they will place those verses as being regulated to local churches not a overall body.

I think that Orthodox do not place as much importance of the notion of "church universal" as Roman Catholics do. We are a complete and whole "church" in our local congregation with our bishop.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 02, 2012, 04:10:18 PM
i understand this what i mean was universal faith. as the idea of invisible church is to cover the groups that have differing faiths...

i.e. Baptists and pentecostals, under the invisible church idea, though clashing on almost every theological concept, they are able to claim to be part of this church invisible
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on January 02, 2012, 06:19:38 PM
Matthew 16:18...
quite simply the church is this church that Christ said will not be beaten, i see Christendom in three churches... Protestant church most DEFINITELY does not fall into this category, the Catholic church has not prevailed... they have changed shifted and swayed in their traditions and doctrines. In my research this only leaves Orthodoxy to remain as a church who is steadfast against changing traditions and upholding that which was past down!
That argument isn't going to wash unless you define "beaten." Protestants, other than Anglicans and Scandinavian Lutherans, define the Church prevailing as there being gatherings of true believers left on earth (for example, Calvin simply defined the Church as anywhere the Word of God is preached and communion and baptism served).
right but Protestants have as i mentioned an unsaid assumption that the church dies in the early stages and Catholicism became corrupt (there is almost no knowledge of Orthodoxy in most circles) So they see themselves almost as a Josiah restoring the temple. This is not inline with the words of Christ.
Not really. Most Protestants I've known imagine that history is full of pockets of sometimes persecuted proto-Protestant groups on the margins of society (for example, they'll claim that St. Patrick was essentially a Protestant and that the Church in the British Isles was doing pretty well until Rome clamped down).

Btw, Luther and Calvin taught that St. Gregory the Dialogist was the last good Pope, so that's sixth century right there. It was the Anabaptists who began the idea that the true Church could some how vanish from the planet.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 02, 2012, 06:29:44 PM
the reformists yes they were closer to the traditions of the church, not the protestants for the majority, you have to keep in mind the protestant church holds very little sacred apart from scripture, they scorn many beliefs help but the founders of their church such as the ever virginity of Mary and the literal body of Christ in Eucharist. i believe there is a line to be drawn between protestant and reformer.

also we would always find pockets as you say to validate our positions. Again as protestants we have a need to validate ourselves to prove our legitimacy.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FormerReformer on January 02, 2012, 06:38:04 PM
Matthew 16:18...
quite simply the church is this church that Christ said will not be beaten, i see Christendom in three churches... Protestant church most DEFINITELY does not fall into this category, the Catholic church has not prevailed... they have changed shifted and swayed in their traditions and doctrines. In my research this only leaves Orthodoxy to remain as a church who is steadfast against changing traditions and upholding that which was past down!
That argument isn't going to wash unless you define "beaten." Protestants, other than Anglicans and Scandinavian Lutherans, define the Church prevailing as there being gatherings of true believers left on earth (for example, Calvin simply defined the Church as anywhere the Word of God is preached and communion and baptism served).
right but Protestants have as i mentioned an unsaid assumption that the church dies in the early stages and Catholicism became corrupt (there is almost no knowledge of Orthodoxy in most circles) So they see themselves almost as a Josiah restoring the temple. This is not inline with the words of Christ.
Not really. Most Protestants I've known imagine that history is full of pockets of sometimes persecuted proto-Protestant groups on the margins of society (for example, they'll claim that St. Patrick was essentially a Protestant and that the Church in the British Isles was doing pretty well until Rome clamped down).

Btw, Luther and Calvin taught that St. Gregory the Dialogist was the last good Pope, so that's sixth century right there. It was the Anabaptists who began the idea that the true Church could some how vanish from the planet.

As someone who grew up hearing a number of Baptist Landmarkist teachings, it was always funny for me to study the history of those put forward as "proto-Baptists" throughout history. Montanists, Novatianists, Donatists, Cathari- not exactly the company I'd like to keep. The whole web depends on either a complete non-studying of history outside of Landmarkist texts or a stubborn insistence to read "facts" into the most casual blurb while insisting that since the history of these groups was recorded by Catholics its obviously distorted and untrustworthy.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 02, 2012, 06:54:19 PM
And as promised- the convoluted answer- Christianity these days is like a plot of land. We know where the boundaries of the land are and we've set a fence up as near those boundaries as possible. In the middle of the land is a house, the house is spacious and well stocked, has heat and light, and all other necessities in abundance and more. 8 year old Petey Jr decided he didn't like the house because he was kept from bossing his little sister Constance around, so he decided to run away- to a tent in the back yard. He took a lot of good food with him and set up next to the garden hose, but he also took a lot of candy and still thinks that mud pies might be edible. A few of his younger brothers went with him, and after a while got tired of his overbearing attitude and mud pies, so they ran away- to different areas of the yard. Some also set up in tents, others decided that dwelling places were the problem to begin with and that the oak tree with the tire swing provided all the shelter they needed. One or two decided to really run away and left the shelter of the fence entirely.

Now, Dad still calls all the kids home for supper, they can come if they wish, but if they insist on being rebellious they can go to bed without eating- except Dad is kinder than that- He sneaks around at night and leaves all his children with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, juice boxes, etc; the nourishment the growing kids will need for the next day. They can come into the house whenever they wish and get tastier food (we're having lasagna tonight) or they can continue playing house in the yard.

The house is the Church, those in the yard are those who left the Church but still adhere to the main tenets of Christianity (schismatics and the heterodox, note, however, that they still receive their nourishment from the house pantry), those who leave the yard entirely are heretics (Arians, Apollinarians, JWs, Mormons) who reject Trinitarian Christianity.

I enjoyed reading it but i don't think your analogy works for me.  :)

This brings us to the issue of what worshipping in spirit and truth means and what value has the organisational structure of the church. If you believe baptism and communion hold salvific value then i can see why there would be a need to emphasise a visible church for their safeguard. Jesus corrects the Samaritan woman about where to worship when she indicates a physical place to worship. He tells her since I am here in your midst, the Kingdom of God is with you. Surely Jesus is telling her to focus on Him, not her forefathers* and not to a local, geographical place for truth but to Him? For this reason, i am finding it hard to see why becoming a member of a visible church can make someone a Christian. Jesus is drawing the attention away from where and onto who (Him).

"What Jesus was teaching was that in the new age which he was inaugurating by his death and resurrection the place of worship would not matter, for a man or a woman would not worship merely by being in the right place and doing certain right things. The person would worship in his or her spirit, which could be anywhere."
Dr J M Boice Worship and Scripture: What is Worship?





*not that those who have gone before us have no value but that we can't look to man for revelatory truth, we have to look to God alone for our own personal revelation.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 02, 2012, 06:57:55 PM
Ma'am The context of that situation is off... Jesus was addressing a SINGLE place. Orthodox do not only worship in the church but also in the home, just as Christ taught. This does not take away the belief of the visible church.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 02, 2012, 07:02:05 PM
Ma'am The context of that situation is off... Jesus was addressing a SINGLE place. Orthodox do not only worship in the church but also in the home, just as Christ taught. This does not take away the belief of the visible church.

Please, enough with the Ma'am.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 02, 2012, 07:19:04 PM
either a ma'am or a sir ;) proper mannerisms is nothing to be frowned on:D

What was being addressed by Christ is that there would be no need for a temple. As Christians we are free to worship God anywhere, Walmart, Church, in the car, at home etc. No orthodox will dispute this. This however does not mean that the visible church body is null. The visible church is what safeguards our traditions and manner in how we worship not where.

an example in the 500 yearsish that Protestant church has existed there has been no regulation over doctrine and no accountability. These facts have led to factions such as Mormonism and Jehovah witness becoming existent. The Church holds within it the proper interpretations of scripture insights and wisdom of men and women who have struggled and finished the race we are still running. Its not a matter of local withing the visible church but a matter of practice.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FormerReformer on January 02, 2012, 07:38:58 PM
And as promised- the convoluted answer- Christianity these days is like a plot of land. We know where the boundaries of the land are and we've set a fence up as near those boundaries as possible. In the middle of the land is a house, the house is spacious and well stocked, has heat and light, and all other necessities in abundance and more. 8 year old Petey Jr decided he didn't like the house because he was kept from bossing his little sister Constance around, so he decided to run away- to a tent in the back yard. He took a lot of good food with him and set up next to the garden hose, but he also took a lot of candy and still thinks that mud pies might be edible. A few of his younger brothers went with him, and after a while got tired of his overbearing attitude and mud pies, so they ran away- to different areas of the yard. Some also set up in tents, others decided that dwelling places were the problem to begin with and that the oak tree with the tire swing provided all the shelter they needed. One or two decided to really run away and left the shelter of the fence entirely.

Now, Dad still calls all the kids home for supper, they can come if they wish, but if they insist on being rebellious they can go to bed without eating- except Dad is kinder than that- He sneaks around at night and leaves all his children with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, juice boxes, etc; the nourishment the growing kids will need for the next day. They can come into the house whenever they wish and get tastier food (we're having lasagna tonight) or they can continue playing house in the yard.

The house is the Church, those in the yard are those who left the Church but still adhere to the main tenets of Christianity (schismatics and the heterodox, note, however, that they still receive their nourishment from the house pantry), those who leave the yard entirely are heretics (Arians, Apollinarians, JWs, Mormons) who reject Trinitarian Christianity.

I enjoyed reading it but i don't think your analogy works for me.  :)

This brings us to the issue of what worshipping in spirit and truth means and what value has the organisational structure of the church. If you believe baptism and communion hold salvific value then i can see why there would be a need to emphasise a visible church for their safeguard. Jesus corrects the Samaritan woman about where to worship when she indicates a physical place to worship. He tells her since I am here in your midst, the Kingdom of God is with you. Surely Jesus is telling her to focus on Him, not her forefathers* and not to a local, geographical place for truth but to Him? For this reason, i am finding it hard to see why becoming a member of a visible church can make someone a Christian. Jesus is drawing the attention away from where and onto who (Him).

"What Jesus was teaching was that in the new age which he was inaugurating by his death and resurrection the place of worship would not matter, for a man or a woman would not worship merely by being in the right place and doing certain right things. The person would worship in his or her spirit, which could be anywhere."
Dr J M Boice Worship and Scripture: What is Worship?





*not that those who have gone before us have no value but that we can't look to man for revelatory truth, we have to look to God alone for our own personal revelation.

First- How can I possibly read the New Testament and NOT believe that Baptism and the Eucharist have salvific properties? My bone of contention with my Baptist upbringing was always that you were the worst sort of heretic if you didn't believe in a literal, six-day, 24-hrs-a-day creation, but the moment Our Lord says something about baptism saving or eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood all of a sudden we are supposed to interpret things metaphorically. Further, as regards Eucharist- if eating and drinking can be done unto my condemnation if done improperly (as St Paul tells us in I Corinthians) doesn't it stand to reason that if done properly it works in the opposite manner? If those who approach Communion in an improper spirit are sick and dying shouldn't those who approach in a proper spirit experience healing and life? Too, we safeguard the Holy Gifts not for our own benefit, but for yours, because by not apprehending that which you eat would be to eat and drink your damnation.

Second- the location of the local parish doesn't matter- as per Our Lord's instruction to the Samaritan woman. The Orthodox don't need opulent temples (though we like them), in cases of necessity we can start a mission in someone's garage (though we'd try to set aside that garage specifically for worship, you can't put your Ford in our Iconostasis, thank you). You will find no greater adherence to the idea of worshiping in Spirit and Truth than in Orthodoxy- the very term means "Proper glory (worship)". We don't depend on a local, geographic place for our worship- we do depend on the bishop "Wherever the bishop appear, there let the multitude also be" ( St Ignatius' Epistle to the Smyrneans, chapter 8 ), or the priest, for administration of the Eucharist. We don't hold our prayers in the parish alone, but we pray at home or work or anywhere.

Third- Looking to God alone for our "own personal revelation" is tilting dangerously toward Montanism. Not that we don't have a personal relationship with God- but most of that relationship is formed through the work of those who have gone on before- in the Gospels, the Epistles, the Psalms and Prophets. God speaks to us through others far more often than He speaks to us directly, and salvation is not an individual experience, but a corporate one. The very word "Church" (ekklessia) means "assembly" or "gathering". It is where two or three are gathered in Our Lord's name that He promises He will be, we are all given different gifts for the edification of each other. We are one Body, Christ is our head. My toe's personal revelation from my brain is worth squat if the rest of the leg doesn't get the message. Indeed, if my toe decides to curl under my foot while the rest of my leg has decided to step down, so that the toe is jammed or broken, I am seriously going to start doubting the decisions of my toe and be tempted to cut the darn thing off if it keeps it up. It is only by working in unison and concert that anything can be done, the minute every body part decides to start doing its own thing we no longer have a healthy body but an epileptic.



Post modified to remove unintentional smiley--without white space, "8 )" turns into "8)".  -PtA
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Melodist on January 02, 2012, 07:42:06 PM
This brings us to the issue of what worshipping in spirit and truth means and what value has the organisational structure of the church. If you believe baptism and communion hold salvific value then i can see why there would be a need to emphasise a visible church for their safeguard.

Don't forget the value we place on submitting to God's authority by submitting to our local bishops who were ordained by other bishops whose line of ordination goes back to those who were appointed by the apostles to govern over local churches, who were appointed by Christ Himself.

Quote
Jesus corrects the Samaritan woman about where to worship when she indicates a physical place to worship.

He tells her "Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.".

Quote
He tells her since I am here in your midst, the Kingdom of God is with you. Surely Jesus is telling her to focus on Him, not her forefathers* and not to a local, geographical place for truth but to Him?

Worship was based on the temple as God's dwelling place and the sacrifices made there in Jerusalem. Christ's death and resurrection is the fulfillment of all of those sacrifices, and Christ Himself is "Emmanuel", God with us. So our worship is based on the reality of Christ's death and resurrection. Orthodox worship isn't based on a physical location, but on the people of God, all the members (the bishop or an appointed presbyter presiding along with the people) joined together to proclaim and participate in this reality. This can happen anywhere. Someone once asked me what direction my church building faced, I confused him by answering that it faced northwest (Orthodox churches typically face east).
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Fotina02 on January 02, 2012, 09:35:02 PM

[/quote]

The 'invisible' church i'm talking about is  "....within you" (Luke 17:21) and one where Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone, where the building grows. (Ephesians 2: 19-21)
[/quote]

So then how do these separate persons become the church?

Also, "....you", the human person, is not just the invisible human soul and spirit but also the physical, visible, living human body.  The whole person, spirit, soul, and physical body is deified by Christ (which is why Orthodox venerate relics). 
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: tangentdi on January 03, 2012, 02:34:13 AM
Just a slight quip from me, Fountain pen, Your a smart person. But you often dont answer statments or entire posts. It makes some of these subjects very hard to follow. Otherwise, this is a blast to read.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 03, 2012, 03:34:56 AM
Just a slight quip from me, Fountain pen, Your a smart person. But you often dont answer statments or entire posts. It makes some of these subjects very hard to follow. Otherwise, this is a blast to read.

I don't mean to miss any but the holidays have been a busy time and i'm getting back to it as much as i can. Also, i'm not familiar with Orthodox dogma and some of it isn't that clear either so i've been reading a lot of new material recently and of course that's going to have an impact on how i respond. I'm not at all sure of my position in some areas.

If there's a specific post or point you want answered, tell me what it is and i'll do my best to respond to it.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HabteSelassie on January 03, 2012, 03:22:50 PM
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



Montanists, Novatianists, Donatists, Cathari- not exactly the company I'd like to keep.

I agree a lot of folks living the victor's history have come to see Protestantism as this innocent victim of Catholic and European corruption where as the early "Protestants" as you quoted were in fact quite violent and dangerous.  The violence of the Inquisition was a direct reaction to violence sparked by Protestant radicals who burned parishes and even assassinated clergy.  Interesting how "proto-Protestantism" evolved as the logical replacement for Apostolic Succession to explain validity and legitimacy, even though Protestantism is a broken chain of history and further, who would want to be associated with all the historical heresiarchs ;)

stay blessed,
habte selassie
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 03, 2012, 07:16:28 PM
To expand upon what jnorm said, Penny, you've basically got a false dichotomy going and you're also desacralizing matter. God doesn't act spiritually, He came in the flesh, eating, sleeping, dying on a wooden beam, rising in a body. He ministers to us with a book, pen and ink, and people's vocal chords and water and wine and bread (metaphorical or not, makes no difference in this context). Why are the elders commanded to anoint with oil? Why make a big deal about leadership passing through the laying on of hands? There's physical space and action right there, visible things being used as part of our salvation whether we meet in a building with icons and altars and incense or not.

The big problem I have with your view is it leaves no substantial meaning for the meeting together. If Jesus was preaching your view, I don't think He would have said, "Wherever two or three are gathered, there am I in the midst of them," He should have said, "Wherever at least one is gathered in my name..." One might as well just post on a website all there life and call that "Church." Your view doesn't just reject Orthodoxy, it rejects 90% of Protestantism and winds up with Harold Camping and Otis Q. Sellers. The corporate worship and Eucharist basically becomes a nonessential coffee klatsch because you're swapping the Catholicity (wholeness and completeness) of the local Church for the Catholicity of the individual. We're physical beings as well as spiritual and we're saved that way, in our bodies and in a community.

On the other side of the token, to say that the Church is visible is not of course to say she is only visible. Your point about being able to tell who is and is not in thus misses the point. He who is in the visible Church, might not be in it invisibly as well- he needs both. Just because the question of whether this works the other way around is a contested one does not invalidate the importance of the visible.

And in Orthodoxy, Jesus is still the visible head of the Church, He's there in the Flesh every Sunday  ;)
I do accept that the visible side to the church is important because the church is a body of people who all need to fellowship with each other for support, edification, for accountability, to glorify God and to collectively "shine". Of course i recognise the physical elements of church such as anointing with oil and laying on of hands. I've felt like laying a hand on, or two, on the odd occasion during service.

I believe that everything we do and are is sacred in a way because of who we are in Christ and our new redeemed nature. I don't believe the Spirit shows up when certain acts are performed in a service because i believe He is always with us and will never leave us. When believers assemble together and glorify God collectively it's not an act of worship that's performed but an overflow of a worshipping heart being expressed. That corporate expression of worship and adoration from a repentant heart (and i don't mean someone who has simply confessed recently but someone who is constantly lives in an attitude of repentance) is like a sweet smelling incense that is pleasing to God.

I would call that the church because there are church members there but i would equally point to other point to other places and say the church is there also. It seems as though orthodoxy doesn't do that even though it recognises that some of the church body are not known to the church, it still sees them as being outside of the church. Have i got that right? And if Orthodoxy recognises one who is in the visible church might not be in the invisible church then how can it anoint and baptise those when it believes baptism and the Eucharist to be sacred and salvific?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: sprtslvr1973 on January 03, 2012, 09:02:54 PM
Please forgive me for not having read all of the posts.

Orthodox doctrine does acknowledge an invisible church in a sense, though we usually refer to it as others 'being mystically connected to the Church'.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Riddikulus on January 03, 2012, 09:03:52 PM
I must admit to not having read all the comments, so I hope not to be stepping on anyone's toes. But I was wondering about this.

Hasn't the Ekklesia/Church always been a visible entity; Old and New Testament? Could Israel ever have been some kind of invisible, formless and diverse group of people all claiming to be members of the Ekklesia, but believing any doctrine that took their fancy?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 03, 2012, 09:49:51 PM
A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd

Also, your exegesis of the wheat and tares is faulty: the wheat and tares grow together, not because no one can tell the difference, but because the process of uprooting the tares would uproot some of the wheat as well (as plants grow near each other their roots often become entangled- and you can't get rid of the tares by any other process than uprooting, otherwise they grow back- pulling one plant up pulls up the plant next to it as well).

The quote above was just a way of opting out. Sometimes it's easier to play to the stereotype especially if you feel you're not getting anywhere.

God is the only one who can know a person's heart and if they are sealed with His Spirit, i don't see how any of us can know whether someone is saved or not. I should have provided a separate reference for that particular statement. I apologise for being misleading.

The field doesn't represent the Church, but the entire world. The passage doesn't refer to an invisible church at all, if anything the Church is quite visible, standing out as good food amongst the weeds.
The field does represent the world and in the world is the church which has all manner of people mixed in and growing together. (Matthew 3 12, Matthew 13:47, 2 Tim 2:20)
The two passages from Matthew don't say any more than the parable of wheat and tares, and stands more as a warning of coming judgement for the entire world. The Church is not mentioned here at all.

2 Timothy 2 is an interesting example (though verse 19 might have been more appropriate to your stance), but not in the way you seem to think. The entirety of the chapter is not about an "invisible" church but about those who depart from the apostolic teaching delivered by St Paul, starting with a reminder followed by simple creed then going into specific examples of what to watch for. The instruction to St Timothy is to expel heretics (2:16-17) from the Church; not to let them go on teaching whatever they wish, St Timothy being secure in the knowledge of an "invisible" church that continues on in the hearts of the "true" believer. The Church is visible, and as her local bishop in Ephesus St Timothy has the task of making the rounds and standing watch, separating out the goats from the lambs.

Ok let's try this another way.

If i ask you where the church is, will you give me a convoluted answer or can you point me to this visible church?

10760 Baltimore Avenue  Beltsville, MD 20705

Geeez that was easy

Here is the web address with driving directions:

http://holyapostlesorthodoxchurch.org/
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FormerReformer on January 03, 2012, 09:52:01 PM
A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd

Also, your exegesis of the wheat and tares is faulty: the wheat and tares grow together, not because no one can tell the difference, but because the process of uprooting the tares would uproot some of the wheat as well (as plants grow near each other their roots often become entangled- and you can't get rid of the tares by any other process than uprooting, otherwise they grow back- pulling one plant up pulls up the plant next to it as well).

The quote above was just a way of opting out. Sometimes it's easier to play to the stereotype especially if you feel you're not getting anywhere.

God is the only one who can know a person's heart and if they are sealed with His Spirit, i don't see how any of us can know whether someone is saved or not. I should have provided a separate reference for that particular statement. I apologise for being misleading.

The field doesn't represent the Church, but the entire world. The passage doesn't refer to an invisible church at all, if anything the Church is quite visible, standing out as good food amongst the weeds.
The field does represent the world and in the world is the church which has all manner of people mixed in and growing together. (Matthew 3 12, Matthew 13:47, 2 Tim 2:20)
The two passages from Matthew don't say any more than the parable of wheat and tares, and stands more as a warning of coming judgement for the entire world. The Church is not mentioned here at all.

2 Timothy 2 is an interesting example (though verse 19 might have been more appropriate to your stance), but not in the way you seem to think. The entirety of the chapter is not about an "invisible" church but about those who depart from the apostolic teaching delivered by St Paul, starting with a reminder followed by simple creed then going into specific examples of what to watch for. The instruction to St Timothy is to expel heretics (2:16-17) from the Church; not to let them go on teaching whatever they wish, St Timothy being secure in the knowledge of an "invisible" church that continues on in the hearts of the "true" believer. The Church is visible, and as her local bishop in Ephesus St Timothy has the task of making the rounds and standing watch, separating out the goats from the lambs.

Ok let's try this another way.

If i ask you where the church is, will you give me a convoluted answer or can you point me to this visible church?

10760 Baltimore Avenue  Beltsville, MD 20705

Geeez that was easy

Here is the web address with driving directions:

http://holyapostlesorthodoxchurch.org/

Ha! I came "" this close to doing the same thing with my parish in my response- I even had the web-page loaded up to copy-paste the directions.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 03, 2012, 10:08:49 PM
To expand upon what jnorm said, Penny, you've basically got a false dichotomy going and you're also desacralizing matter. God doesn't act spiritually, He came in the flesh, eating, sleeping, dying on a wooden beam, rising in a body. He ministers to us with a book, pen and ink, and people's vocal chords and water and wine and bread (metaphorical or not, makes no difference in this context). Why are the elders commanded to anoint with oil? Why make a big deal about leadership passing through the laying on of hands? There's physical space and action right there, visible things being used as part of our salvation whether we meet in a building with icons and altars and incense or not.

The big problem I have with your view is it leaves no substantial meaning for the meeting together. If Jesus was preaching your view, I don't think He would have said, "Wherever two or three are gathered, there am I in the midst of them," He should have said, "Wherever at least one is gathered in my name..." One might as well just post on a website all there life and call that "Church." Your view doesn't just reject Orthodoxy, it rejects 90% of Protestantism and winds up with Harold Camping and Otis Q. Sellers. The corporate worship and Eucharist basically becomes a nonessential coffee klatsch because you're swapping the Catholicity (wholeness and completeness) of the local Church for the Catholicity of the individual. We're physical beings as well as spiritual and we're saved that way, in our bodies and in a community.

On the other side of the token, to say that the Church is visible is not of course to say she is only visible. Your point about being able to tell who is and is not in thus misses the point. He who is in the visible Church, might not be in it invisibly as well- he needs both. Just because the question of whether this works the other way around is a contested one does not invalidate the importance of the visible.

And in Orthodoxy, Jesus is still the visible head of the Church, He's there in the Flesh every Sunday  ;)
I do accept that the visible side to the church is important because the church is a body of people who all need to fellowship with each other for support, edification, for accountability, to glorify God and to collectively "shine". Of course i recognise the physical elements of church such as anointing with oil and laying on of hands. I've felt like laying a hand on, or two, on the odd occasion during service.

I believe that everything we do and are is sacred in a way because of who we are in Christ and our new redeemed nature. I don't believe the Spirit shows up when certain acts are performed in a service because i believe He is always with us and will never leave us. When believers assemble together and glorify God collectively it's not an act of worship that's performed but an overflow of a worshipping heart being expressed. That corporate expression of worship and adoration from a repentant heart (and i don't mean someone who has simply confessed recently but someone who is constantly lives in an attitude of repentance) is like a sweet smelling incense that is pleasing to God.

I would call that the church because there are church members there but i would equally point to other point to other places and say the church is there also. It seems as though orthodoxy doesn't do that even though it recognises that some of the church body are not known to the church, it still sees them as being outside of the church. Have i got that right? And if Orthodoxy recognises one who is in the visible church might not be in the invisible church then how can it anoint and baptise those when it believes baptism and the Eucharist to be sacred and salvific?

Not exactly. You may have heard this before, we say "We know where the Church is but we can't say with certainty where it is not".
We account for God's mercy outside the path to salvation that he set for all of us. The path he set has only one vehicle, The Church. You should not count too much on being an exception.

 We are the exact same Church founded on the day of Pentecost. Not an idea thought of on Pentecost. We are the exact same organization chronicled in the Book of Acts. We did not disband, we did not go away, we did not fall from the faith. We still exist. You can take a bus or drive a car and get to where we are and join us in Worship. We are not just a set of Principles. We have always existed physically since the day the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles who founded us ..

We are  Catholic meaning when we come together in a particular place the whole of the Church is there.

The Heterodox have a high view of Scripture and a low view of the Church.The Orthodox have a high view of scripture and a high view of The Church..

Questions?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 03, 2012, 10:10:14 PM
A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd

Also, your exegesis of the wheat and tares is faulty: the wheat and tares grow together, not because no one can tell the difference, but because the process of uprooting the tares would uproot some of the wheat as well (as plants grow near each other their roots often become entangled- and you can't get rid of the tares by any other process than uprooting, otherwise they grow back- pulling one plant up pulls up the plant next to it as well).

The quote above was just a way of opting out. Sometimes it's easier to play to the stereotype especially if you feel you're not getting anywhere.

God is the only one who can know a person's heart and if they are sealed with His Spirit, i don't see how any of us can know whether someone is saved or not. I should have provided a separate reference for that particular statement. I apologise for being misleading.

The field doesn't represent the Church, but the entire world. The passage doesn't refer to an invisible church at all, if anything the Church is quite visible, standing out as good food amongst the weeds.
The field does represent the world and in the world is the church which has all manner of people mixed in and growing together. (Matthew 3 12, Matthew 13:47, 2 Tim 2:20)
The two passages from Matthew don't say any more than the parable of wheat and tares, and stands more as a warning of coming judgement for the entire world. The Church is not mentioned here at all.

2 Timothy 2 is an interesting example (though verse 19 might have been more appropriate to your stance), but not in the way you seem to think. The entirety of the chapter is not about an "invisible" church but about those who depart from the apostolic teaching delivered by St Paul, starting with a reminder followed by simple creed then going into specific examples of what to watch for. The instruction to St Timothy is to expel heretics (2:16-17) from the Church; not to let them go on teaching whatever they wish, St Timothy being secure in the knowledge of an "invisible" church that continues on in the hearts of the "true" believer. The Church is visible, and as her local bishop in Ephesus St Timothy has the task of making the rounds and standing watch, separating out the goats from the lambs.

Ok let's try this another way.

If i ask you where the church is, will you give me a convoluted answer or can you point me to this visible church?

10760 Baltimore Avenue  Beltsville, MD 20705

Geeez that was easy

Here is the web address with driving directions:

http://holyapostlesorthodoxchurch.org/

Ha! I came "" this close to doing the same thing with my parish in my response- I even had the web-page loaded up to copy-paste the directions.

Go ahead and post it. It makes the point even stronger..
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: wasamwillbe on January 04, 2012, 01:15:21 AM
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



Montanists, Novatianists, Donatists, Cathari- not exactly the company I'd like to keep.

I agree a lot of folks living the victor's history have come to see Protestantism as this innocent victim of Catholic and European corruption where as the early "Protestants" as you quoted were in fact quite violent and dangerous.  The violence of the Inquisition was a direct reaction to violence sparked by Protestant radicals who burned parishes and even assassinated clergy.  Interesting how "proto-Protestantism" evolved as the logical replacement for Apostolic Succession to explain validity and legitimacy, even though Protestantism is a broken chain of history and further, who would want to be associated with all the historical heresiarchs ;)

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Could you direct me to some references to this "violence sparked by Protestant radicals who burned parishes and even assassinated clergy" please, I have not heard this before and would like to read further on this. Thanks.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 04, 2012, 01:17:51 AM
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



Montanists, Novatianists, Donatists, Cathari- not exactly the company I'd like to keep.

I agree a lot of folks living the victor's history have come to see Protestantism as this innocent victim of Catholic and European corruption where as the early "Protestants" as you quoted were in fact quite violent and dangerous.  The violence of the Inquisition was a direct reaction to violence sparked by Protestant radicals who burned parishes and even assassinated clergy.  Interesting how "proto-Protestantism" evolved as the logical replacement for Apostolic Succession to explain validity and legitimacy, even though Protestantism is a broken chain of history and further, who would want to be associated with all the historical heresiarchs ;)

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Could you direct me to some references to this "violence sparked by Protestant radicals who burned parishes and even assassinated clergy" please, I have not heard this before and would like to read further on this. Thanks.
ummm read Irish history much? how about early American History? there has almost always been great animosity between protestants and Catholics. The Brits used to call the Irish polytheistic heretics.. Not to mention KKK targeting Catholics and Orthodox which were led by many protestant leaders...
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: wasamwillbe on January 04, 2012, 01:28:24 AM
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



Montanists, Novatianists, Donatists, Cathari- not exactly the company I'd like to keep.

I agree a lot of folks living the victor's history have come to see Protestantism as this innocent victim of Catholic and European corruption where as the early "Protestants" as you quoted were in fact quite violent and dangerous.  The violence of the Inquisition was a direct reaction to violence sparked by Protestant radicals who burned parishes and even assassinated clergy.  Interesting how "proto-Protestantism" evolved as the logical replacement for Apostolic Succession to explain validity and legitimacy, even though Protestantism is a broken chain of history and further, who would want to be associated with all the historical heresiarchs ;)

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Could you direct me to some references to this "violence sparked by Protestant radicals who burned parishes and even assassinated clergy" please, I have not heard this before and would like to read further on this. Thanks.
ummm read Irish history much? how about early American History? there has almost always been great animosity between protestants and Catholics. The Brits used to call the Irish polytheistic heretics.. Not to mention KKK targeting Catholics and Orthodox which were led by many protestant leaders...
my misunderstanding, I thought he was referring to Montanists, Novatianists, Donatists, Cathari.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 04, 2012, 01:46:31 AM
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



Montanists, Novatianists, Donatists, Cathari- not exactly the company I'd like to keep.

I agree a lot of folks living the victor's history have come to see Protestantism as this innocent victim of Catholic and European corruption where as the early "Protestants" as you quoted were in fact quite violent and dangerous.  The violence of the Inquisition was a direct reaction to violence sparked by Protestant radicals who burned parishes and even assassinated clergy.  Interesting how "proto-Protestantism" evolved as the logical replacement for Apostolic Succession to explain validity and legitimacy, even though Protestantism is a broken chain of history and further, who would want to be associated with all the historical heresiarchs ;)

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Could you direct me to some references to this "violence sparked by Protestant radicals who burned parishes and even assassinated clergy" please, I have not heard this before and would like to read further on this. Thanks.
ummm read Irish history much? how about early American History? there has almost always been great animosity between protestants and Catholics. The Brits used to call the Irish polytheistic heretics.. Not to mention KKK targeting Catholics and Orthodox which were led by many protestant leaders...
my misunderstanding, I thought he was referring to Montanists, Novatianists, Donatists, Cathari.
Im unsure but i know that the Protestant church has a very dark history to it, especially toward its sister churches
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 04, 2012, 05:27:23 AM
To expand upon what jnorm said, Penny, you've basically got a false dichotomy going and you're also desacralizing matter. God doesn't act spiritually, He came in the flesh, eating, sleeping, dying on a wooden beam, rising in a body. He ministers to us with a book, pen and ink, and people's vocal chords and water and wine and bread (metaphorical or not, makes no difference in this context). Why are the elders commanded to anoint with oil? Why make a big deal about leadership passing through the laying on of hands? There's physical space and action right there, visible things being used as part of our salvation whether we meet in a building with icons and altars and incense or not.

The big problem I have with your view is it leaves no substantial meaning for the meeting together. If Jesus was preaching your view, I don't think He would have said, "Wherever two or three are gathered, there am I in the midst of them," He should have said, "Wherever at least one is gathered in my name..." One might as well just post on a website all there life and call that "Church." Your view doesn't just reject Orthodoxy, it rejects 90% of Protestantism and winds up with Harold Camping and Otis Q. Sellers. The corporate worship and Eucharist basically becomes a nonessential coffee klatsch because you're swapping the Catholicity (wholeness and completeness) of the local Church for the Catholicity of the individual. We're physical beings as well as spiritual and we're saved that way, in our bodies and in a community.

On the other side of the token, to say that the Church is visible is not of course to say she is only visible. Your point about being able to tell who is and is not in thus misses the point. He who is in the visible Church, might not be in it invisibly as well- he needs both. Just because the question of whether this works the other way around is a contested one does not invalidate the importance of the visible.

And in Orthodoxy, Jesus is still the visible head of the Church, He's there in the Flesh every Sunday  ;)
I do accept that the visible side to the church is important because the church is a body of people who all need to fellowship with each other for support, edification, for accountability, to glorify God and to collectively "shine". Of course i recognise the physical elements of church such as anointing with oil and laying on of hands. I've felt like laying a hand on, or two, on the odd occasion during service.

I believe that everything we do and are is sacred in a way because of who we are in Christ and our new redeemed nature. I don't believe the Spirit shows up when certain acts are performed in a service because i believe He is always with us and will never leave us. When believers assemble together and glorify God collectively it's not an act of worship that's performed but an overflow of a worshipping heart being expressed. That corporate expression of worship and adoration from a repentant heart (and i don't mean someone who has simply confessed recently but someone who is constantly lives in an attitude of repentance) is like a sweet smelling incense that is pleasing to God.

I would call that the church because there are church members there but i would equally point to other point to other places and say the church is there also. It seems as though orthodoxy doesn't do that even though it recognises that some of the church body are not known to the church, it still sees them as being outside of the church. Have i got that right? And if Orthodoxy recognises one who is in the visible church might not be in the invisible church then how can it anoint and baptise those when it believes baptism and the Eucharist to be sacred and salvific?

Not exactly. You may have heard this before, we say "We know where the Church is but we can't say with certainty where it is not".
We account for God's mercy outside the path to salvation that he set for all of us. The path he set has only one vehicle, The Church. You should not count too much on being an exception.

We are the exact same Church founded on the day of Pentecost. Not an idea thought of on Pentecost. We are the exact same organization chronicled in the Book of Acts. We did not disband, we did not go away, we did not fall from the faith. We still exist. You can take a bus or drive a car and get to where we are and join us in Worship. We are not just a set of Principles. We have always existed physically since the day the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles who founded us ..

We are  Catholic meaning when we come together in a particular place the whole of the Church is there.

The Heterodox have a high view of Scripture and a low view of the Church.The Orthodox have a high view of scripture and a high view of The Church..

Questions?


None for you. I think i'll wait for Vol's response, thanks.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on January 04, 2012, 06:03:06 AM
Habte is talking about the Cathari (otherwise known as Albigensians), thirteenth century Gnostics who, with the backing of some local princes burned down Churches and assassinated clergy in the south of France leading to a Papal Crusade against them. The third century Donatists of North Africa also had a radical faction called the Circumcelians who roamed the countryside in gangs, attacking people with clubs hoping to be "martyred" when their victims defended themselves.

Calling the Albigensians and Circumcelians "proto-Protestants" is misleading because they would be considered heretical by today's Protestant churches anyway. I was referring to what are essentially arguments from silence I've seen that posit some kind of "Bible believing" church in the caves of medieval Europe that we no evidence for.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on January 04, 2012, 06:24:29 AM
I do accept that the visible side to the church is important because the church is a body of people who all need to fellowship with each other for support, edification, for accountability, to glorify God and to collectively "shine". Of course i recognise the physical elements of church such as anointing with oil and laying on of hands. I've felt like laying a hand on, or two, on the odd occasion during service.
How important to you can it possibly be if it isn't "part of" the Bride?
I believe that everything we do and are is sacred in a way because of who we are in Christ and our new redeemed nature.
Agreed.
I don't believe the Spirit shows up when certain acts are performed in a service because i believe He is always with us and will never leave us.
You quoted Jesus as saying, "Wherever two or three are gathered in My name..." does this mean when a believer is alone in a room, Jesus isn't there? God was present always with the Hebrews and yet He asked for a Tabernacle and later a Temple (Solomon even said at the dedication that the heavens themselves cannot contain God). And when the priests entered, God manifested in power, in a way He wasn't doing all the all the other moments of the day. God is with us always, yes. But there are times and places where He makes Himself known to us in a particular way and intensity.

The Orthodox epiklesis does not ask the Spirit to come down as if He were not already present, it simply asks Him to act upon the bread and wine and make Jesus present in a particular and physical way.
When believers assemble together and glorify God collectively it's not an act of worship that's performed but an overflow of a worshipping heart being expressed. That corporate expression of worship and adoration from a repentant heart (and i don't mean someone who has simply confessed recently but someone who is constantly lives in an attitude of repentance) is like a sweet smelling incense that is pleasing to God.
Eh, that's kind of six of one and a half dozen of the other. An overflow is still an act.
I would call that the church because there are church members there but i would equally point to other point to other places and say the church is there also. It seems as though orthodoxy doesn't do that even though it recognises that some of the church body are not known to the church, it still sees them as being outside of the church. Have i got that right?
I think it is more accurate to say they are part of the one Church though unawares. That's the rationale behind bishops who receive ex-RCs and Protestants with only Chrismation instead of a full-on baptism. It's recognize that the baptism, though incorrect was still performed with a sincere heart and so God is kind "filling it out" in response to the person's seeking after Him. They were already saved eternally (or not depending on whether they apostatized) and God is bringing into the visible church temporally. That's the way I understand it anyway, taking into account God's foreknowledge and such.
And if Orthodoxy recognises one who is in the visible church might not be in the invisible church then how can it anoint and baptise those when it believes baptism and the Eucharist to be sacred and salvific?

The same way a Protestant minister might baptize someone even they could be insincere in their confession of faith, they do it in hope that the person is really saved.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 04, 2012, 10:05:44 PM
Okay, then I have a question. In what year did the Church disappear and become invisible?

We know it existed. It got itself organized and then spread out, had a structure and ways to solve internal disagreements.

When did it change from actually existing physically to simply a shared idea? When was that exactly?

Thanks 
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 05, 2012, 04:17:27 AM
lol when the protestants felt left out
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: David Young on January 05, 2012, 09:33:20 AM
In what year did the Church disappear and become invisible?

Perhaps the Rapture happened and we all got left behind.
 ;)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on January 05, 2012, 10:43:47 AM
In what year did the Church disappear and become invisible?

Perhaps the Rapture happened and we all got left behind.
 ;)
Why are we wondering? Go to the source:

(http://www.kirk-cameron.org/pictures/24.jpg)

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 05, 2012, 11:13:03 AM
There are two types of Religion. The first is "Religion in Principle". It is based on merits and virtues bundled up together that you shoot for. Everything is symbolic. The Eucharist, if needed at all, is a mere symbol. "The Church" is a shared idea. The human body is a husk covering the real you, your soul ( or if you're Gnostic, God inside of you). Worship  is centered around Preaching so we can be filled up with information and more and more idea's.

The other type of Religion is based on "Actual Manifestation", that is to say, concrete existence. The Eucharist is Actually the Body  blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. The Church is factually and in reality joined to Christ.   Both body and soul need to be saved.

It's not that we don't need good information or correct understanding, but we focus on emptying ourselves of passions and sin and gain humility rather than filling ourselves up with factoids. We try to actually practice the full art of salvation.

It's like the person who says they have read all the books about Zen Meditation. They agree Zen Meditation is good and they know all about it........... but they don't actually meditate.

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: katherineofdixie on January 05, 2012, 11:29:58 AM
Okay, then I have a question. In what year did the Church disappear and become invisible?

We know it existed. It got itself organized and then spread out, had a structure and ways to solve internal disagreements.

When did it change from actually existing physically to simply a shared idea? When was that exactly?

Thanks 

Love it! You're my hero! ;D
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 05, 2012, 04:23:13 PM
I do accept that the visible side to the church is important because the church is a body of people who all need to fellowship with each other for support, edification, for accountability, to glorify God and to collectively "shine". Of course i recognise the physical elements of church such as anointing with oil and laying on of hands. I've felt like laying a hand on, or two, on the odd occasion during service.
How important to you can it possibly be if it isn't "part of" the Bride?
It's as important as works is to faith. We are saved by faith through grace and the evidence of that faith will be works, or the faith is dead. So we are saved through Christ and the outworking of that salvation is done through a flesh and blood body. The emphasis being though, that the church isn't the entry point for salvation because faith is the entry point for salvation.

When believers assemble together and glorify God collectively it's not an act of worship that's performed but an overflow of a worshipping heart being expressed. That corporate expression of worship and adoration from a repentant heart (and i don't mean someone who has simply confessed recently but someone who is constantly lives in an attitude of repentance) is like a sweet smelling incense that is pleasing to God.

Eh, that's kind of six of one and a half dozen of the other. An overflow is still an act.
Sorry, i possibly should have said "...merely an act" but i think you know what i am getting at. It's not something where we turn up and go through the motions just to check the church attendance box (i'm not suggesting you or anyone here is doing that).Worship is about a 'grafted-in' life saved from eternal death and the overflow of devotion due to God.


I would call that the church because there are church members there but i would equally point to other point to other places and say the church is there also. It seems as though orthodoxy doesn't do that even though it recognises that some of the church body are not known to the church, it still sees them as being outside of the church. Have i got that right?

I think it is more accurate to say they are part of the one Church though unawares. That's the rationale behind bishops who receive ex-RCs and Protestants with only Chrismation instead of a full-on baptism. It's recognize that the baptism, though incorrect was still performed with a sincere heart and so God is kind "filling it out" in response to the person's seeking after Him. They were already saved eternally (or not depending on whether they apostatized) and God is bringing into the visible church temporally. That's the way I understand it anyway, taking into account God's foreknowledge and such.

So potentially then and unbeknown to them at this time, millions of Protestants and Roman Catholics are already part of the one Church as she sees it?

And if Orthodoxy recognises one who is in the visible church might not be in the invisible church then how can it anoint and baptise those when it believes baptism and the Eucharist to be sacred and salvific?

The same way a Protestant minister might baptize someone even they could be insincere in their confession of faith, they do it in hope that the person is really saved.

No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 05, 2012, 04:25:34 PM
Okay, then I have a question. In what year did the Church disappear and become invisible?

We know it existed. It got itself organized and then spread out, had a structure and ways to solve internal disagreements.

When did it change from actually existing physically to simply a shared idea? When was that exactly?

Thanks  

You haven't read my responses so far or you wouldn't be asking silly questions.
I've never once said that the visible aspect of church was insignificant or didn't exist.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on January 05, 2012, 05:13:46 PM
Quote
I've never once said that the visible aspect of church was insignificant or didn't exist
But the problem is, if there is a visible church, that has authority and sanction from Christ, all of the folks that claim to be it, cant be. They believe completely different things.

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 05, 2012, 06:24:39 PM
Quote
I've never once said that the visible aspect of church was insignificant or didn't exist
But the problem is, if there is a visible church, that has authority and sanction from Christ, all of the folks that claim to be it, cant be. They believe completely different things.

PP

I agree with the point above. If you acknowledge that there is some sort of Church I dont think you are acknowledging what we understand as The Chruch. Since The Church has continued to exist and has retained it's authority you cant set up a counterpoint to that with some sort of lowest common denominator agreement and say that is "really" The Church. 

I think what you mean is that we need a nice warm place to meet and by golly that's important too. What we mean is that the arc of salvation is the Church. 

I still would like to stick to my contention. The Church clearly existed at the beginning. It had structure and a mission, membership, rules and a means to guard the Faith. What happened to that Organization? When did it disband? Why was it a physically existing entity with an address and then change to simple common agreement on the lowest common points of agreement?

I dont think that ever happened. The heresy of an Invisible Church is a rationalization by those ignorant of the History of The Christian Church.   
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 05, 2012, 06:41:13 PM
Quote
I've never once said that the visible aspect of church was insignificant or didn't exist
But the problem is, if there is a visible church, that has authority and sanction from Christ, all of the folks that claim to be it, cant be. They believe completely different things.

PP

I accept that and because of the complexity of material that we all have to work with that's sadly always going to be the case, each part of the church believing that they have more of the truth than the others for various reasons.

I don't believe Christ would reject a heart that is sincerely trying to follow Him with the information they have at hand. I believe that it is the love and the outworking of that love in their lives will be the ultimate decider for those of us who are closer to the truth and for those who aren't but who've done their best with what they have had available to them.

The only church that Christ is coming back for without spot or wrinkle is invisible at present but visible to God. It's mixed in with the flesh and blood church on this earth and is one. The unity of which isn't centered around rituals and practices but on Christ. He is the unity that we share in, not whether we all agree on all issues. Can we agree on who He is and in his resurrection? If we can do that and love each other as we work out our salvation, then in doing so we will be closer to the truth than we all might suppose each other to be.

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 05, 2012, 08:27:33 PM
Quote
I've never once said that the visible aspect of church was insignificant or didn't exist
But the problem is, if there is a visible church, that has authority and sanction from Christ, all of the folks that claim to be it, cant be. They believe completely different things.

PP

I accept that and because of the complexity of material that we all have to work with that's sadly always going to be the case, each part of the church believing that they have more of the truth than the others for various reasons.

I don't believe Christ would reject a heart that is sincerely trying to follow Him with the information they have at hand. I believe that it is the love and the outworking of that love in their lives will be the ultimate decider for those of us who are closer to the truth and for those who aren't but who've done their best with what they have had available to them.

The only church that Christ is coming back for without spot or wrinkle is invisible at present but visible to God. It's mixed in with the flesh and blood church on this earth and is one. The unity of which isn't centered around rituals and practices but on Christ. He is the unity that we share in, not whether we all agree on all issues. Can we agree on who He is and in his resurrection? If we can do that and love each other as we work out our salvation, then in doing so we will be closer to the truth than we all might suppose each other to be.



I think that's overly sentimental.

It's really not a matter of too much complicated material to wade through. It's a matter of having an incorrect view of The Church in God's plan. The Church is ONE, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

The bet you are trying to make is that sincerity trumps Christianity as long as it dove tales Christianity in some part or another. The best we can say is maybe. But you are taking a terrible risk and for no good reason.

The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is not a derivative of something else. It is actually The Church, the same organization with the same attributes existing continually since Pentecost. It's not a matter based on Faith, it's something that can be empirically demonstrated via historical record.

Once you can come to grips with Church History you are then faced with only one additional question. Did the Historical Church lose it's Faith or become heretical? We can then look at those issues and see if there really is any heresy. If not, then you are looking at The Church founded by the Apostles existing in an unbroken succession.   I  think you would have some obligation to at least make your peace with it and dump custom made concepts like the Church is  invisible.    
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: ByGracethroughFaith on January 05, 2012, 11:57:36 PM
Hi, I'm new to this thread, I've just spent the last hour browsing through the posts.

I noticed early on in the thread somebody used the verse in 1 Timothy 3:15 ("But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth",) to suggest that the church is visible. This entire chapter from Paul to Timothy more than confirms that the church itself is a visible entity and that there are ways one needs to conduct themselves in the 'house of God'.

It would be impossible for the church to be 'invisible' only.. It must be, and it is visible. Are we as individual believers not visible? When we gather together in the name of Jesus together, are we not visible? Does Jesus not say where 2 or more are gathered together in my name He is there?

But surely we can better understand what Paul is saying to Timothy here when we look at what he says to the Corinthian church in chapter 3:16.. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” – 1 Cor 3:16..

The temple of God.. Is it not within us as believers? When we gather together as believers, is this not a church? Is it not visible?

Paul also exhorts the Ephesian elders to ‘feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). More evidence that the church is visible.

1 Corinthians 6:19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

I don't by any means doubt that the church is invisible. However, there are many members of the Body of Christ, which makes up the church today. So when many members of the church get together, wherever they are, whether it be in a house, a garage, a hall, a park or a dedicated building, that assembly or congregation of saints is also called a church.

When a group of saints gets together to worship God by studying His word, building each other up or edifying one another, does not the Bible call them a church? For example, Paul writes to the ‘church at Ephesus’, and the ‘church of Galatia’, and the ‘church at Corinth’. These are congregations made up of those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour are they not?

Do not each one of us become a part of the church as we are placed into the Body of Christ by believing in Jesus Christ? Is not the Body of Christ the church?

Do we really have an idea here that we must be part of the 'orthodox church', or the 'catholic church', or the 'baptist church', or the 'pentecostal church' in order to be a part of the church? If we wish to think this way do we not confuse and divide ourselves and others? I understand that the orthodox church will say they are not divided, at least within themselves, other than a few so called so called 'minor' issues, i.e ecumenism, freemasonry etc. but the same can be said about the 'pentecostal' church, or the 'catholic' church. They will also claim they aren't divided and that they themselves are in the truth.  

Let us not divide ourselves by arguing about which building is the true church.. Biblically speaking, the true church is made up of those who believe that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Saviour, and that He died on that stake to pay for our sin. Wherever these people gather is wherever you will find the church.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: LBK on January 06, 2012, 12:04:26 AM
Quote
and that He died on that stake to pay for our sin.

Christ died on a cross, not a stake.  :police:
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: ByGracethroughFaith on January 06, 2012, 12:32:06 AM
Agreed..
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 06, 2012, 12:37:34 AM
we can go so far as to call it a tree, but a stake...nay. ;)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 06, 2012, 01:50:04 AM
Okay, then I have a question. In what year did the Church disappear and become invisible?

We know it existed. It got itself organized and then spread out, had a structure and ways to solve internal disagreements.

When did it change from actually existing physically to simply a shared idea? When was that exactly?

Thanks  

You haven't read my responses so far or you wouldn't be asking silly questions.
I've never once said that the visible aspect of church was insignificant or didn't exist.
No, you just believe that the visible Church is merely a byproduct of individuals living out their individualized faiths in Christ, while we believe that the visible Church, no less than the invisible, is the very means by which Christ intends for us to work out our salvation: in community.

It's impossible to love your neighbor if you have no neighbor.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Fotina02 on January 06, 2012, 03:22:11 AM
Recommended reading:

Christianity or the Church?, by Saint Ilarion (Troitsky), the Holy New Martyr. This is a modern classic about the essential interrelatedness between Christianity and the Church. His main premise: "Without the Church there is no Christianity."

excerpts:

The Church was designed to reflect the perfect unity of the Three-One God

Here is what Saint Cyril of Alexandria writes: "Christ, having taken as an example and image of that indivisible love, accord and unity which is conceivable only in unanimity, the unity of essence which the Father has with Him and which He, in turn, has with His Father, desires that we too should unite with each other; evidently in the same way as the consubstantial, Holy Trinity is united so that the whole body of the Church is conceived of as one, ascending in Christ through the fusion and union of two people into the composition of the new perfect whole. The image of Divine unity and the consubstantial nature of the Holy Trinity as a most perfect interpenetration must be reflected in the unity of the believers who are of one heart and mind." Saint Cyril also points out "the natural unity by which we are all bound together, and all of us to God, cannot exist without bodily unity."

All the earthly works of Christ, therefore, must not be thought of as teaching alone. Christ did not come to earth to announce some novel theoretical propositions to mankind. No! He came in order to create a completely new life for mankind, that is, the Church. Christ Himself said that He would build the Church (cf. Matt. 16:18).

This new human community, according to the conception of the Creator Himself, differs vitally from all other associations of people into various societies. Christ Himself often referred to His Church as the Kingdom of God and said that this Kingdom is not of the world, that is, its nature is not of the world, not temporal; it is not comparable with earthly kingdoms (cf. John 14:27; 15:19; 17:14-16; 18:36).

The idea of the Church as a new, perfect community as distinct from a community of the state organization is profoundly and beautifully expressed in the kontakion for the feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, when the Church recalls and celebrates its beginning. "When the Most High came down and confused the tongues, He divided the nations, but when He distributed the tongues of fire, He called all into unity. Therefore, with one accord we glorify the All-holy Spirit." Here the creation of the Church is placed into opposition to the Tower of Babel and the "confusing of tongues," at which time God, the Most High, came down, confused the tongues and divided the nations.

In our times we hear many various answers such as: "To be a Christian means to recognize Christ's teaching, to try to fulfill His commandments." This, of course, is the best of such answers. The first Christians, however, answered the question in a completely different way. From the very first pages of its history, Christianity appears before us in the form of a harmonious and unanimous community. Outside of this community there were no Christians. To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14). Each new believer was like a branch grafted to the tree of Church life.

To be Christian means to belong to the Church

"On the Unity of the Catholic Church," we read the famous words, "He who does not have the Church as his mother cannot have God as his Father." Saint Cyprian completely refuses the name "Christian" to all those who stand outside the Church,

Only one who has come to believe in the Church, who is guided by the concept of the Church in the appraisal of the phenomena of life and the direction of his personal life, one who has felt a Church life within himself, he and only he is on the correct path. Much that earlier seemed indefinite and vague will become obvious and clear. It is especially precious that in times of general vacillation, of wandering from side to side, from the right to the left and from the left to the right, every Church-conscious person feels himself standing on a steadfast, centuries-old rock; how firm it feels under his feet.

The Spirit of God lives in the Church. This is not a dry and dogmatic thesis, preserved only through respect for what is old. No, this is truth; truth which can be experienced and known by everyone who has been penetrated by Church consciousness. This Grace-filled Church life cannot be the subject of dry scholastic research, for it is accessible for study only through experience. Human language is capable of speaking only vaguely and unclearly about this Grace-filled life.

Saint Hilary of Poitiers spoke correctly when he said, "This is the characteristic virtue of the Church - that it becomes comprehensible when you adopt it."

Only he who has Church life knows about Church life, he requires no proofs; but for one who does not have it, it is something which cannot be proved.

For a member of the Church the object of all his life must be constantly to unite more and more with the life of the Church, and, at the same time, preach to others about the Church, not substituting it with Christianity, not substituting life with dry and abstract teaching.

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/sthilarion_church.aspx

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 06, 2012, 03:47:24 AM
I think most protestants agree that the church is partly visible and partly invisible.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 06, 2012, 05:26:02 AM
No, you just believe that the visible Church is merely a byproduct of individuals living out their individualized faiths in Christ, while we believe that the visible Church, no less than the invisible, is the very means by which Christ intends for us to work out our salvation: in community.

It's impossible to love your neighbor if you have no neighbor.

What i actually did was compare its importance to faith and works. I wouldn't have though you believe your deeds to be merely a byproduct of your faith Peter.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Fotina02 on January 06, 2012, 11:07:20 AM

It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.



Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
Quote
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).

We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.

Read the Acts passage again. It's clear that one could proclaim all day "I am saved" but of no effect outside the Church.

Again from St Ilarion quoted before:

Here is a more distinctive example, an illustration of precisely this joining to the Church. The persecutor Saul who had breathed threatening and murderous desires against the Lord's disciples, underwent a miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus, and became a follower of Christ. Here before us is a special revelation of God to man. In Damascus, the Lord sent Ananias to baptize Saul. Saul then travelled to Jerusalem in order to join himself to the disciples there. After Barnabas had informed the Apostles about him, "he abode as one among them." Thus, even the future great Apostle whom, in the vision of Ananias, the Lord calls a chosen instrument (Acts 9:15), immediately after conversion became united with the Church which was a visible community. Here is graphic evidence that the Lord does not want to know His servants outside of the Church.

It is easy to understand why the holy Apostle Paul speaks so persistently about the Church in his epistles: he is not creating a teaching about the Church, for during his very conversion Paul knew precisely this Church and not something else, for he recalls subsequently: "For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jew's religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the Church of God, and wasted it" (Gal. 1:13). Saul did not persecute followers of some kind of teaching, but, specifically, the Church, as a defined value, perceivable even to "outsiders."

According to the witness of the compiler of the Acts, the first Christian community was the almost complete realization of this concept of the Church. The company of the faithful, we read in the Acts of the Apostles were "of one heart and of one soul" (Acts 4:32). It is remarkable that during the fourth century, while the dogma concerning the Holy Trinity was being explained, certain of the holy fathers used the analogy of the early Christians to describe the unity of the Holy Trinity.

How sharply the first Christian community was defined is beautifully demonstrated in one verse from Acts which has somehow been passed over unnoticed. "And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them" (Acts 5:13).

Thus, on the one hand, conversion to Christianity is conceived of as uniting with the Church, and on the other hand, "none of those who were not of their number dared join them." Is it not clear, then, that from the very beginning when the direct disciples of Christ were still alive, Christianity was a visible society - the Church, because it was not then a theory; it was life itself.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 06, 2012, 11:18:47 AM

It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.



Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
Quote
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).

We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.

Read the Acts passage again. It's clear that one could proclaim all day "I am saved" but of no effect outside the Church.

Fotina, there is no such thing as outside the church. The moment you are saved you are the church.

Quote
Again from St Ilarion quoted before:

Here is a more distinctive example, an illustration of precisely this joining to the Church. The persecutor Saul who had breathed threatening and murderous desires against the Lord's disciples, underwent a miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus, and became a follower of Christ. Here before us is a special revelation of God to man. In Damascus, the Lord sent Ananias to baptize Saul. Saul then travelled to Jerusalem in order to join himself to the disciples there. After Barnabas had informed the Apostles about him, "he abode as one among them." Thus, even the future great Apostle whom, in the vision of Ananias, the Lord calls a chosen instrument (Acts 9:15), immediately after conversion became united with the Church which was a visible community. Here is graphic evidence that the Lord does not want to know His servants outside of the Church.

Yep, immediately after conversion he went to gather. That's precicely what i was saying, thanks.

Quote
It is easy to understand why the holy Apostle Paul speaks so persistently about the Church in his epistles: he is not creating a teaching about the Church, for during his very conversion Paul knew precisely this Church and not something else, for he recalls subsequently: "For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jew's religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the Church of God, and wasted it" (Gal. 1:13). Saul did not persecute followers of some kind of teaching, but, specifically, the Church, as a defined value, perceivable even to "outsiders."

The followers/disciples are the church.

Quote
According to the witness of the compiler of the Acts, the first Christian community was the almost complete realization of this concept of the Church. The company of the faithful, we read in the Acts of the Apostles were "of one heart and of one soul" (Acts 4:32). It is remarkable that during the fourth century, while the dogma concerning the Holy Trinity was being explained, certain of the holy fathers used the analogy of the early Christians to describe the unity of the Holy Trinity.

How sharply the first Christian community was defined is beautifully demonstrated in one verse from Acts which has somehow been passed over unnoticed. "And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them" (Acts 5:13).

Thus, on the one hand, conversion to Christianity is conceived of as uniting with the Church, and on the other hand, "none of those who were not of their number dared join them." Is it not clear, then, that from the very beginning when the direct disciples of Christ were still alive, Christianity was a visible society - the Church, because it was not then a theory; it was life itself.

Christianity is a visible society i would agree.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 06, 2012, 11:26:52 AM

It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.



Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
Quote
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).

We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.
How do you define saved?

I don't. The word defines it accurately enough but i daren't provide a source or i'll get accused of proof texting or firing bible bullits. ;)
You do realize I didn't ask you. ;)

Actually, you just showed me that you DO define saved. How do you know, though, that your definition is a complete, biblical understanding of salvation? How do we know if you won't tell us?

Well if we can cut to the chase i suppose we're back to Vol's question suggesting none of us can know if we truly believe or not. I would say that to answer the question is that what we truly believe will be evidenced by the outworking of our faith.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on January 06, 2012, 11:37:19 AM

It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.



Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
Quote
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).

We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.
How do you define saved?

I don't. The word defines it accurately enough but i daren't provide a source or i'll get accused of proof texting or firing bible bullits. ;)
You do realize I didn't ask you. ;)

Actually, you just showed me that you DO define saved. How do you know, though, that your definition is a complete, biblical understanding of salvation? How do we know if you won't tell us?

Well if we can cut to the chase i suppose we're back to Vol's question suggesting none of us can know if we truly believe or not. I would say that to answer the question is that what we truly believe will be evidenced by the outworking of our faith.
Nope, even atheists can do good works. You won't ever know if your works were done truly for the love of God and neighbor or out of pride (except in that relative sense I was talking about).

Working on your other post.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on January 06, 2012, 12:02:31 PM
It's as important as works is to faith. We are saved by faith through grace and the evidence of that faith will be works, or the faith is dead. So we are saved through Christ and the outworking of that salvation is done through a flesh and blood body. The emphasis being though, that the church isn't the entry point for salvation because faith is the entry point for salvation.
I don't draw as sharp a distinction as you do. Faith is faithfulness. There is no magic moment during which one is a true believer and yet not following Christ, which means obeying the commandments you can according to the grace you've been given at the time. To not take advantage of the visible church when it is available is to fail to keep the faith. As such, whatever invisible components there are peripheral and in response to human frailties it would seem.
Quote from: FountainPen
Sorry, i possibly should have said "...merely an act" but i think you know what i am getting at. It's not something where we turn up and go through the motions just to check the church attendance box (i'm not suggesting you or anyone here is doing that).Worship is about a 'grafted-in' life saved from eternal death and the overflow of devotion due to God.
Indeed, and normally grace will lead a soul to being grafted in by joining a visible body. In cases where this is not possible, God has other means of uniting one to Himself but this is the exception not the rule just like someone who perseveres to the end without a life dwelling in the Scriptures.

Quote from: FountainPen
So potentially then and unbeknown to them at this time, millions of Protestants and Roman Catholics are already part of the one Church as she sees it?
That would seem to be the idea. It's something I still have difficulties with myself to be honest. I do believe though that since God is outside time, He can draw us and keep us in Him in ways we can't understand and we need to recognize that there comes a point where arguing about the ordo salutis breaks down do the limitations of human language. Most Orthodox believe prayer can somehow effect the past so perhaps baptism does as well? Seems kind of plausible to me.

Then again, I might be transcending "Orthodoxy vs. Protestantism" here and just talking out of my own hat.

Quote from: FountainPen
No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
It really shouldn't imo. If baptism is only a symbol, it's still a declaration before the people of God and the entire world that one has died with Christ to rise with Him. To knowingly baptist someone who did not believe would be to make a mockery of God.

Again, given that old relative knowledge I keep harping on, we have to do what we can.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) on January 06, 2012, 12:03:06 PM
ByGracethroughFaith and FountainPen--First, I do commend you for taking the Word of God seriously for we are called to do so. The core question is indeed what is the highest authority for understanding the Word of God. The Holy Scriptures themselves are not the highest authority because they are written words that are not accompanied by explanations and definitions--they are understood by the reader according to his own filters and abilities. Thus, sola scriptura ends up being "I believe in what I believe" multiplied by the number of believers. Granted that there is congruence and the number of Holy Scriptures do not number in millions but,  at least in the Protestant world, there seem to thousands of sects and thus Holy Scriptures. Even in any given sect, folks shop around for congregations and preachers with whom they agree. I think the problem here is an overemphasis on individuals over the Body of Christ. When trying to understand, the first thing is to pray for understanding, that is quite true. But, you just cannot stop there; one must defer to what the Body believed since 33 AD. It is true that there is a an order to interpretive authority: I will accord greater authority to those writers/interpreters of the salvific story and message of Christ and His Holy Apostles, that is, the early Church Fathers, whose writings and practice have been preserved in and by the Church--the visible one. My opinion must be the least authoritative, not the most authoritative. I must be guided by those who came before me (see Apostle Paul in particular) and those who have received special grace by virtue of their ordination. This does not make me a blind follower but an informed one.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 06, 2012, 12:12:36 PM

It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.



Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
Quote
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).

We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.
How do you define saved?

I don't. The word defines it accurately enough but i daren't provide a source or i'll get accused of proof texting or firing bible bullits. ;)
You do realize I didn't ask you. ;)

Actually, you just showed me that you DO define saved. How do you know, though, that your definition is a complete, biblical understanding of salvation? How do we know if you won't tell us?

Well if we can cut to the chase i suppose we're back to Vol's question suggesting none of us can know if we truly believe or not. I would say that to answer the question is that what we truly believe will be evidenced by the outworking of our faith.
Nope, even atheists can do good works. You won't ever know if your works were done truly for the love of God and neighbor or out of pride (except in that relative sense I was talking about).

Working on your other post.

Since we're talking about those who acton faith, i don't think Atheists are a good example as they would never have faith in Christ to act upon. Separately however, demons also believe and yes, humanists produce good deeds. The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see though so for those with an emphasis on salvation through the visible church, i doubt that would be an acceptable definition.

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 06, 2012, 12:16:00 PM

It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.



Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
Quote
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).

We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.
How do you define saved?

I don't. The word defines it accurately enough but i daren't provide a source or i'll get accused of proof texting or firing bible bullits. ;)
You do realize I didn't ask you. ;)

Actually, you just showed me that you DO define saved. How do you know, though, that your definition is a complete, biblical understanding of salvation? How do we know if you won't tell us?

Well if we can cut to the chase i suppose we're back to Vol's question suggesting none of us can know if we truly believe or not. I would say that to answer the question is that what we truly believe will be evidenced by the outworking of our faith.
OK. :-\ I don't see how that defines what it means to be saved. Is it possible that you may be thinking of salvation purely according to its juridical, "right legal standing before God" sense and that you may be missing how salvation, according to the Orthodox sense, entails also the entire process of theosis--entire sanctification, if you will? Before we take this conversation on salvation any further, we will probably want to define our terms so we are no longer talking past each other.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 06, 2012, 12:20:04 PM
Quote from: FountainPen
No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
It really shouldn't imo. If baptism is only a symbol, it's still a declaration before the people of God and the entire world that one has died with Christ to rise with Him. To knowingly baptist someone who did not believe would be to make a mockery of God.

Again, given that old relative knowledge I keep harping on, we have to do what we can.

It really shouldn't but it does in the OC, which is why it's not the same at all. So my original question is still outstanding.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on January 06, 2012, 12:26:17 PM

It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.



Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
Quote
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).

We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.
How do you define saved?

I don't. The word defines it accurately enough but i daren't provide a source or i'll get accused of proof texting or firing bible bullits. ;)
You do realize I didn't ask you. ;)

Actually, you just showed me that you DO define saved. How do you know, though, that your definition is a complete, biblical understanding of salvation? How do we know if you won't tell us?

Well if we can cut to the chase i suppose we're back to Vol's question suggesting none of us can know if we truly believe or not. I would say that to answer the question is that what we truly believe will be evidenced by the outworking of our faith.
Nope, even atheists can do good works. You won't ever know if your works were done truly for the love of God and neighbor or out of pride (except in that relative sense I was talking about).

Working on your other post.

Since we're talking about those who acton faith, i don't think Atheists are a good example as they would never have faith in Christ to act upon. Separately however, demons also believe and yes, humanists produce good deeds. The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see though so for those with an emphasis on salvation through the visible church, i doubt that would be an acceptable definition.


Sounds fine to me. One is never saved just by being in the visible church. Without the Spirit it's all just empty ritual. But for someone who is sealed by the Spirit, membership in the visible church will coincide with this. Working out your own salvation is not possible outside the company of believers (again, barring people who simply can't for some reason).
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on January 06, 2012, 12:30:20 PM
Quote from: FountainPen
No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
It really shouldn't imo. If baptism is only a symbol, it's still a declaration before the people of God and the entire world that one has died with Christ to rise with Him. To knowingly baptist someone who did not believe would be to make a mockery of God.

Again, given that old relative knowledge I keep harping on, we have to do what we can.

It really shouldn't but it does in the OC, which is why it's not the same at all. So my original question is still outstanding.
No, I meant that to Protestants symbolic-only baptism should not be considered less weighty than salvivic baptism is to the Orthodox, to do otherwise would be to abuse the nature of a symbol.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Seafra on January 06, 2012, 12:32:33 PM
most protestants seem to have some err in understanding orthodox soteriology as well.. i actually spent 4 hours with a Calvinist repeating the same 6 lines over and over... Where protestants see the assurance of our salvation to be insurance in Orthodoxy its not some ticket that you hold onto to get into heaven. To the Orthodox it we have assurance of our salvation but not insurance its a continual process... so no orthodox will ever admit they ARE SAVED.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on January 06, 2012, 12:40:47 PM
Assurance is not faith. It is assurance.

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 06, 2012, 12:48:06 PM
Quote from: FountainPen
No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
It really shouldn't imo. If baptism is only a symbol, it's still a declaration before the people of God and the entire world that one has died with Christ to rise with Him. To knowingly baptist someone who did not believe would be to make a mockery of God.

Again, given that old relative knowledge I keep harping on, we have to do what we can.

It really shouldn't but it does in the OC, which is why it's not the same at all. So my original question is still outstanding.
No, I meant that to Protestants symbolic-only baptism should not be considered less weighty than salvivic baptism is to the Orthodox, to do otherwise would be to abuse the nature of a symbol.

I wasn't meaning it didn't carry weight but that it doesn't change someone's eternal destination in the Protestant church like it does for Orthodoxy.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on January 06, 2012, 12:52:06 PM
Quote from: FountainPen
No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
It really shouldn't imo. If baptism is only a symbol, it's still a declaration before the people of God and the entire world that one has died with Christ to rise with Him. To knowingly baptist someone who did not believe would be to make a mockery of God.

Again, given that old relative knowledge I keep harping on, we have to do what we can.

It really shouldn't but it does in the OC, which is why it's not the same at all. So my original question is still outstanding.
No, I meant that to Protestants symbolic-only baptism should not be considered less weighty than salvivic baptism is to the Orthodox, to do otherwise would be to abuse the nature of a symbol.

I wasn't meaning it didn't carry weight but that it doesn't change someone's eternal destination in the Protestant church like it does for Orthodoxy.
So how does one legitimize the multiple references of baptism effecting eternal destination?

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Volnutt on January 06, 2012, 01:03:39 PM
Quote from: FountainPen
No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
It really shouldn't imo. If baptism is only a symbol, it's still a declaration before the people of God and the entire world that one has died with Christ to rise with Him. To knowingly baptist someone who did not believe would be to make a mockery of God.

Again, given that old relative knowledge I keep harping on, we have to do what we can.

It really shouldn't but it does in the OC, which is why it's not the same at all. So my original question is still outstanding.
No, I meant that to Protestants symbolic-only baptism should not be considered less weighty than salvivic baptism is to the Orthodox, to do otherwise would be to abuse the nature of a symbol.

I wasn't meaning it didn't carry weight but that it doesn't change someone's eternal destination in the Protestant church like it does for Orthodoxy.
In most cases in my experience it does since if you're not baptized after a reasonable amount of time people tend to query your faith. And that's how it should be imo, again that tight relationship between faith and works.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 06, 2012, 01:08:12 PM

It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.



Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
Quote
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).

We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.
How do you define saved?

I don't. The word defines it accurately enough but i daren't provide a source or i'll get accused of proof texting or firing bible bullits. ;)
You do realize I didn't ask you. ;)

Actually, you just showed me that you DO define saved. How do you know, though, that your definition is a complete, biblical understanding of salvation? How do we know if you won't tell us?

Well if we can cut to the chase i suppose we're back to Vol's question suggesting none of us can know if we truly believe or not. I would say that to answer the question is that what we truly believe will be evidenced by the outworking of our faith.
Nope, even atheists can do good works. You won't ever know if your works were done truly for the love of God and neighbor or out of pride (except in that relative sense I was talking about).

Working on your other post.

Since we're talking about those who acton faith, i don't think Atheists are a good example as they would never have faith in Christ to act upon. Separately however, demons also believe and yes, humanists produce good deeds. The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see though so for those with an emphasis on salvation through the visible church, i doubt that would be an acceptable definition.



yet we work out our salvation in visible ways...by partaking of the sacraments, for example.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Asteriktos on January 06, 2012, 01:40:28 PM
FoutainPen,

I respect that you are here not just to argue for argument's sake, and I'm going to try to give this another shot--hopefully a more thorough one this time.

Quote
The reason i can't accept the orthodox position on many issues is simply because i don't accept the visible church. It colours everything i read and makes it impossible to view certain topics any other way.

The church that's being built is a spiritual one. It's all about having the law written on our heart not following the law as the Hebrews used to. It's about what makes a person clean or unclean which is determined by what's in a heart and what flows from a mouth.

I believe the Church to have both visible and invisible elements. My thoughts on this fall into three categories: scriptural, traditional, and philosphical. With regard to the Church being both visible and invisible, this ultimately springs from the relationship of Christians with God. Christians are members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27), but there is some type of connection that goes beyond the physical, for St. Paul says that we are not only one body (which could be interpreted as simply being a category) but also "members one of another." (Rom. 12:5) We also are supposed to "have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16),  though often this doesn't seem to be the case. As for the visible element of the Church, I think there is actually more evidence for that than for the invisible connection.

As I mentioned earlier in the thread, St. Paul wrote to specific groups of people in specific places (ie. local, visible church communities), so that addresses his epistles "To all that be in Rome" (Rom. 1:7), "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth" (1 Cor. 1:2), and so forth. Jesus also addresses specific churches in the Apocalypse, such as "the church of Ephesus" (Rev. 2:1), "the church in Smyrna" (Rev. 2:8), and so forth.

This Church, it seems to me, was founded by Jesus Christ, who specifically picked twelve disciples (Matt. 10:1-4; 28:16-20; etc.), and was especially close with three of them in particular (Matt. 17:1-9; 26:37; Mk. 5:37). In Matt. 16 we find him explicitly saying he had a church:  "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 16:18-19)

A few things about this passage come to mind. First, this was a public (ie. visible) declaration of the founding of a Church. Second, the power to bind and loose was given, this prerogative being again mentioned in Jn. 20:23. I think this "binding and loosing" makes the most sense, exegetically (taking into consideration this whole post), if we assume a visible Church with visible authorities in charge. There is also mention of "gates of hell". The early Church fathers and writers saw in this phrase numerous things, including 1) worldly persecution, 2) heresies and schisms, 3) corporate and widespread sin in the body of Christ, and 4) personal sin in each of us. If these are accurate understandings of the meaning of the passage, I believe a visible Church structure makes the most sense of how this prophecy would work out practically in the life of the Church.

At the beginning of the Church one of the first things the leaders did was replace the fallen Judas (Acts 1:15-26). They later chose seven deacons to minister to the Church (Acts 6:2-6), so they could focus on their mission. And because their work was essentially missionary, and they often did not stay in one place their whole lives, they would appoint leaders for the local Churches to guide the body of Christ. So for example St. Paul says: "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee" (Tit. 1:5; cf 1 Cor. 7:17).

Strikingly, even though St. Paul received his gospel by divine revelation (Gal. 1:11-12), he still felt the need to verify his teachings with the leaders of the Church. He says: "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother." (Gal. 1:18-19)  Why just these two? Why not the rest of the Church? And even this was not good enough for St. Paul, for he goes on to say: "Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain." (Gal. 2:1-2)  So Paul checked a second time, after doing ministry for years, only with the leaders or those "of reputation," to check and make sure he had not run in vain.  

An important early Council was also called (Acts 15) to deal with issues and disturbances, and the leaders of the council seemed to expect their decisions to be followed by the other Christian communities (Acts 15:23-31). Also notice that there were specific leaders--"apostles and elders"--at the Acts 15 council (Acts 15:6-31).  This type of guidance was not only from councils, but also on the local parish level, so we find in Hebrews the words: "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation... Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." (Heb. 13:7, 17) Even people who weren't in the Church, but sought truth and salvation, sought guidance, as for example with the Ethiopian eunuch, who when reading the Old Testament was asked by St. Philip: "Understandest thou what thou readest?" and to which he replied: "How can I, except some man should guide me?"

This guidance continued into the early Church, this guidance being protected partly through apostolic succession. It is true that we are all members of the holy temple of Christ (invisibly), and Christ is the chief corner stone, but it is the "apostles and prophets" that are the (visible) foundation (Eph. 2:19-22). So when there was a problem in the Church in Corinth in the late 1st century, St. Clement of Rome advised them that they could not rightly dismiss their leaders since they had done nothing wrong:

Quote
The apostles have preached the gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus says the Scripture in a certain place, I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith...

Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties.

-- St. Clement of Rome, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 42-44

St. Ignatius, writing a decade later, was of an even firmer belief about the importance of the visible leadership, saying things like:

Quote
"See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

-- St. Ignatius, Epistle to the Smyrneans, 8; cf Epistle to the Magnesians, 6 and Epistle to the Trallians, 3

And St. Ignatius, writing at the end of the 2nd century, said that: "we are in a position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to our own times" (Against Heresies, 3, 3); and he further said that: "it is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church—those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles" (Against Heresies, 4, 26). And for one further reference he says: "True knowledge is [that which consists in] the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place, and has come even unto us, being guarded and preserved without any forging of Scriptures, by a very complete system of doctrine, and neither receiving addition nor [suffering] curtailment [in the truths which she believes]; and [it consists in] reading [the word of God] without falsification, and a lawful and diligent exposition in harmony with the Scriptures, both without danger and without blasphemy; and [above all, it consists in] the pre-eminent gift of love, which is more precious than knowledge, more glorious than prophecy, and which excels all the other gifts [of God]." (Against Heresies, 4, 33)

Now, as for a philosophical (or epistemological) reasons, St. Vincent of Lerins brought up one when he pointed out that people argue over the meaning of Scripture, and thus we must follow what tradition and the Church teach when there are disputes (Commonitory, 2). The Church, for him as for all the early Christians, was not a do-it-yourself thing, but something done in community--both the local community, and the larger community of the Church wherever it was in the world. Not only do people with no visible Church have to make a subjective judgment on what traditions to consult and follow, and what Church to be a part of and follow, bu they also have to make an arbitrary decision about what books are in the Scripture. They can only hope that God is guiding them, and that those who disagree are simply misled or misunderstanding the will of God.

Quote
If the church were a visible church then it would be easy to tell the wheat from the tares but it isn't easy because we can't see and judge another's heart.

Even though things aren't always clear, we do judge today (1 Cor. 6:4) and will judge even angels (1 Cor. 6:3). Sometimes people are not uprooted, but at other times they are (Tit. 3:10). God knows the end for each of us, and will guide the theanthropic body of Christ to do as it can, should and must for the salvation of our souls.

Quote
It seems to me that only the overview of Orthodoxy is different to Protestantism -- the external dogmatic shell. The internal mess seems remarkably similar to how the rest of Christendom claim to be guided by the Spirit and believe a multitude of different things backed up with the odd patristic quote or two from various denominations jurisdictions.

I don't think this is a fair evaluation of either Orthodox doctrine and dogma, or Orthodox history. Perhaps it seems clear to me just because I went a different route (?). I was a biblical studies major at a Protestant school, and after studying history and theology on my own (I never did get to take many actual theology classes there) I came to the conclusion that God had indeed founded a Church, and that it was visible--and I came to this conclusion not just based on history but also on the witness of Scripture. Eventually I found my way into Orthodoxy... and then in and out and in and out and in...  but I think that just makes me better at this kind of post, because I've been there, I've been the devil's advocate, the skeptic, the one arguing against.

I do apologize for the length of this post. I realise people sometimes make long posts as a sort of debate tactic, but that was not my intention here. I just wanted to be as detailed as possible with my thoughts.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FatherGiryus on January 06, 2012, 01:42:38 PM
Let's try a slightly different approach.  Let's think about marriage.

Marriage has visible components: companionship and intercourse being two of the more obvious ones.  Yet, there are also 'invisible' characteristics: love, caring, sharing, etc.

Some people live 'outward' marriages in that they do the physical stuff but their own inward disposition (or at least one of them) is no longer oriented towards the marriage.  However, it is impossible to call a marriage a marriage when the couple refuses to live together, share their material blessings, etc.  It becomes something other than marriage.

Now, take this understanding of marriage and apply it to Christ and the Church: you cannot be part of the Body of Christ if you refuse to share in the common life of the Church, just like in marriage.  St. Paul's letter reflect a common life of all believers, as does the Gospels.  St. Peter splits off over his regret for his denial, but he soon returns.  In marriage, their are moments where the bonds are temporarily broken, but restored through repentance.  Same is true of the Church: someone may lead a sham life in the Church, but they have the opportunity until the Last Judgment to change.

But, you can't say you have intimacy with those whom you refuse to be with.  Our modern world tries to replace intimacy with others by using email, texting, Facebook, IM and many other technologies to replace intimacy.  They don't work.   

An 'invisible church' is like an 'invisible marriage'... both are impossibilities.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: tangentdi on January 06, 2012, 06:51:33 PM
I thought I might put a thought forward even though my education in this is not full. (part of why I enjoy reading on here so much. :laugh: ) It occurs to me that there is a good quote from 1 Corinthians 1:10 "Now I plead with you, Brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same Judgment."

The Invisible Church has no Divisions for it is full within Christ as he is the Head of that Church. But the Visible Church is spoken of here and we are told to keep no Contentions among us. (in Verse 11 of the same chapter) This could be called part of the main purpose of the Visible Church I think. The visible Church must be "The Pillar and Ground of the Truth." Which when we rely on our own personal Interpretations is very near impossible to achieve because this relies on Human Reasoning which is notoriously Fallible. And the reply, that the Holy Spirit will guide us is not very plausible as a reason because if he Guided each of us with such unerring accuracy there would BE no disagreements among those who stand as their own interpreters. This is how I see the need for the Visible Church, and Holy Tradition.

This is just my thought in the subject. :p

TD Andreis
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: ByGracethroughFaith on January 06, 2012, 08:00:08 PM
I thought I might put a thought forward even though my education in this is not full. (part of why I enjoy reading on here so much. :laugh: ) It occurs to me that there is a good quote from 1 Corinthians 1:10 "Now I plead with you, Brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same Judgment."

The Invisible Church has no Divisions for it is full within Christ as he is the Head of that Church. But the Visible Church is spoken of here and we are told to keep no Contentions among us. (in Verse 11 of the same chapter) This could be called part of the main purpose of the Visible Church I think. The visible Church must be "The Pillar and Ground of the Truth." Which when we rely on our own personal Interpretations is very near impossible to achieve because this relies on Human Reasoning which is notoriously Fallible. And the reply, that the Holy Spirit will guide us is not very plausible as a reason because if he Guided each of us with such unerring accuracy there would BE no disagreements among those who stand as their own interpreters. This is how I see the need for the Visible Church, and Holy Tradition.

This is just my thought in the subject. :p

TD Andreis

I appreciate that. Thankyou. I'm in agreement with you. The bible actually says there 'should' be no division among us. However, there is.

We grow spiritually through reading, more importantly, hearing the Word. This is how the Spirit works. Through His Word.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Asteriktos on January 06, 2012, 08:10:53 PM
EDITED
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: JamesR on January 06, 2012, 10:54:12 PM
The reason i can't accept the orthodox position on many issues is simply because i don't accept the visible church. It colours everything i read and makes it impossible to view certain topics any other way.

You say it like that is a bad thing. But, this is precisely a good thing because it protects us from adopting millions of heretical views and twisting the faith to match our own view. If it were not for this guidance then we would not be worshipping the true God our Savior Jesus Christ, but would be worshipping the abstract ultra-personal God of our mind. The issue is whether you accept the authority of the visible Church or not.

Quote
The church that's being built is a spiritual one. It's all about having the law written on our heart not following the law as the Hebrews used to. It's about what makes a person clean or unclean which is determined by what's in a heart and what flows from a mouth.

I'm having a bit trouble understanding you here, but I'll try to respond to where I think you are coming from, since I am actually a recent convert from Protestantism. The Church being built is a spiritual Church, but it is also physical. The issue is that you are dividing the spiritual and the physical, glorifying the spiritual and demonizing the physical. But this is not so. Jesus Christ redeemed both the spiritual and the physical. And, just as Jesus Christ is fully man and fully God yet still one Being, so we believe that the Church is fully physical yet also spiritual. Both have been redeemed by Jesus Christ and are being used to serve Him. The physical aspect of the Church exists because humans are physical creatures, and if we cannot worship God physically then, pardon my french, we are screwed and hopeless because there is no possible way to worship God. I know that many Protestant groups try to avoid this point by saying things like 'Well we can worship Him through our spirit or spiritually' but, when it all comes down to it, how can you do this unless you use your physical aspect? The way we worship God spiritually is through worshipping Him physically. Our physical actions are what helps us build up our spirit, and we can use our physical actions for this purpose because Christ made it possible by becoming physical Himself. Likewise, the 'visible' or 'physical' Church as you put it also serves the function to help a person develop their spirit. The Church builds you up physically and through the process you are built up spiritually as well. Likewise, going to Church means more to us than just a remembrance or act of worship. It is the Spirit and the Physical being united together, both being used to serve God. How is this done you may ask? I have no idea; it is a Mystery like the Eucharist. Also, you said something about having the law written on our hearts and not following it like the Hebrews did. I find that a bit contradicting, what is the point of having the law written on our hearts if we do not practice it? This is like the whole faith vs. works debate all over again. But, my answer to that is my same answer to this. You cannot have one without the other. If you do not have the law written on your heart then you cannot worthily live out the law, and if you cannot live out the law then you do not have it written on your heart.

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So no wonder it's easy for a church who believes themselves to be visible, for them to be able to discern who God has revealed to be made "Saints"...by the guidance of the Spirit of course.

It is even more amazing how a 'Church' that randomly sprang up 1500 years after Jesus Christ think that they can, with the guidance of the Spirit of course, can try to affirm that all Christians up until the 16th century were pagans who worshipped pictures and got everything wrong. I'm sorry if this offends, but as another former Protestant I think I can say this; Protestantism is really mediocre once you convert to Orthodoxy. Converting was the greatest thing that ever happened to me and if I, a dumb 15 year old kid can find God through His true Church, then I see no reason why you cannot either if you are probably smarter and more mature than I am. The truth is that all Churches are visible and make claims, the only difference is that the Orthodox Church can back up its claims with miracles, history and even testimony from the Apostles.

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It seems to me that only the overview of Orthodoxy is different to Protestantism -- the external dogmatic shell.

This is entirely false. First, because you cannot even define Protestantism because there are literally thousands of new odd Protestant denominations popping up every day and they all have different beliefs and practices. Heck, if you go into any Protestant Church and show a Bible passage to each member of the congregation I assure you that each of them will give you a different answer. Whereas if you did the same in an Orthodox Parish, they would all either give you a similar answer, or tell you to see what the Church Fathers said about it. Besides that, Orthodoxy and Protestantism are entirely different! I can think of hundreds of doctrinal differences. Theosis, scripture, negative theology, etc. It goes on and on. The only Protestant denomination even remotely similar to Orthodoxy is traditional Lutheranism and the Methodist Church.

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The internal mess seems remarkably similar to how the rest of Christendom claim to be guided by the Spirit and believe a multitude of different things backed up with the odd patristic quote or two from various denominations jurisdictions.

The difference is that our Church is guided by the Spirit and our sources are legitimate. Just look at history and you will see why. Most Protestants ignore Christian history up till the 16th century. Getting on topic, the one think that stuck out to me right now was your emphasis on the use of the word 'denomination'. You act as if Orthodoxy is a denomination, but, no, we are not. We are the oldest, original Church, we are pre-denominational because denomination implies a change from the original, but we are the very original. We have nothing to prove' you are the one who has something to prove because the Protestants are the ones who advocated change.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: tangentdi on January 07, 2012, 03:04:44 AM
I have to say I think if just reading and hearing were the case then historical facts would line up very differently. Why would people die in acts if the rituals were just that or symbols?  I think part of the measure here has to come from history. The apostles started a church, a physical one whilst being members of a spiritual church. Maybe I'm missing the point (as I think I may be) but it seems to me much of the debate here would be much simpler with a measuring stick grounded in history. Preferably secular history.

TD Andreis
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: ByGracethroughFaith on January 07, 2012, 03:55:54 AM
I have to say I think if just reading and hearing were the case then historical facts would line up very differently. Why would people die in acts if the rituals were just that or symbols?  I think part of the measure here has to come from history. The apostles started a church, a physical one whilst being members of a spiritual church. Maybe I'm missing the point (as I think I may be) but it seems to me much of the debate here would be much simpler with a measuring stick grounded in history. Preferably secular history.

TD Andreis

Let me guess. The Orthodox church?

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Ortho_cat on January 07, 2012, 03:57:32 AM
I have to say I think if just reading and hearing were the case then historical facts would line up very differently. Why would people die in acts if the rituals were just that or symbols?  I think part of the measure here has to come from history. The apostles started a church, a physical one whilst being members of a spiritual church. Maybe I'm missing the point (as I think I may be) but it seems to me much of the debate here would be much simpler with a measuring stick grounded in history. Preferably secular history.

TD Andreis

Let me guess. The Orthodox church?



Don't take our word for it. Come and see.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HabteSelassie on January 07, 2012, 02:57:49 PM
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I have to say I think if just reading and hearing were the case then historical facts would line up very differently. Why would people die in acts if the rituals were just that or symbols?  I think part of the measure here has to come from history. The apostles started a church, a physical one whilst being members of a spiritual church. Maybe I'm missing the point (as I think I may be) but it seems to me much of the debate here would be much simpler with a measuring stick grounded in history. Preferably secular history.

TD Andreis

Let me guess. The Orthodox church?



Did you have anywhere else in mind? We're open to suggestions ;)

stay blessed,
habte selassie
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 09, 2012, 03:28:57 PM
I believe the Church to have both visible and invisible elements.
That's because it does.

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My thoughts on this fall into three categories:
Animal, vegetable and mineral?

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scriptural, traditional, and philosphical.
Close.

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With regard to the Church being both visible and invisible, this ultimately springs from the relationship of Christians with God.
I think it more accurately 'springs' from the fact that we are not of this world but we are in the world

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Christians are members of the body of Christ but there is some type of connection that goes beyond the physical,
There is not "some type of connection" at all. We are spiritual beings in earthly bodies, we are not of the world, it's not just a "connection".
John 15:19 -- If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

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for St. Paul says that we are not only one body (which could be interpreted as simply being a category) but also "members one of another." (Rom. 12:5) We also are supposed to "have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16),  though often this doesn't seem to be the case. As for the visible element of the Church, I think there is actually more evidence for that than for the invisible connection.
More evidence for a visible body than for the "invisible connection"? I don't agree.

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As I mentioned earlier in the thread, St. Paul wrote to specific groups of people in specific places (ie. local, visible church communities),
Yes, churches that met regularly together in each others' houses.

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so that addresses his epistles "To all that be in Rome" (Rom. 1:7), "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth" (1 Cor. 1:2), and so forth. Jesus also addresses specific churches in the Apocalypse, such as "the church of Ephesus" (Rev. 2:1), "the church in Smyrna" (Rev. 2:8), and so forth.
Many visible churches but one Church (invisible); one body.

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This Church, it seems to me, was founded by Jesus Christ, who specifically picked twelve disciples (Matt. 10:1-4; 28:16-20; etc.), and was especially close with three of them in particular (Matt. 17:1-9; 26:37; Mk. 5:37). In Matt. 16 we find him explicitly saying he had a church:  "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 16:18-19)
And where is Peter's church today?

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A few things about this passage come to mind. First, this was a public (ie. visible) declaration of the founding of a Church. Second, the power to bind and loose was given, this prerogative being again mentioned in Jn. 20:23. I think this "binding and loosing" makes the most sense, exegetically (taking into consideration this whole post), if we assume a visible Church with visible authorities in charge.
Of course. No one's saying the visible aspects of church aren't important.

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There is also mention of "gates of hell". The early Church fathers and writers saw in this phrase numerous things, including 1) worldly persecution, 2) heresies and schisms, 3) corporate and widespread sin in the body of Christ, and 4) personal sin in each of us. If these are accurate understandings of the meaning of the passage, I believe a visible Church structure makes the most sense of how this prophecy would work out practically in the life of the Church.
You're missing the depth in your overall 4 point assesement.

Ephesians 6:4 -- "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

This is what fuels "wordly persecution...heresies and schisms...corporate and widespread sin in the body of Christ" and "personal sin in each of us". Therefore the root of the visible "gates of hell" are somewhat invisible.

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At the beginning of the Church one of the first things the leaders did was replace the fallen Judas (Acts 1:15-26). They later chose seven deacons to minister to the Church (Acts 6:2-6), so they could focus on their mission. And because their work was essentially missionary, and they often did not stay in one place their whole lives, they would appoint leaders for the local Churches to guide the body of Christ. So for example St. Paul says: "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee" (Tit. 1:5; cf 1 Cor. 7:17).

Strikingly, even though St. Paul received his gospel by divine revelation (Gal. 1:11-12), he still felt the need to verify his teachings with the leaders of the Church. He says: "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother." (Gal. 1:18-19)  Why just these two? Why not the rest of the Church? And even this was not good enough for St. Paul, for he goes on to say: "Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain." (Gal. 2:1-2)  So Paul checked a second time, after doing ministry for years, only with the leaders or those "of reputation," to check and make sure he had not run in vain.

An important early Council was also called (Acts 15) to deal with issues and disturbances, and the leaders of the council seemed to expect their decisions to be followed by the other Christian communities (Acts 15:23-31). Also notice that there were specific leaders--"apostles and elders"--at the Acts 15 council (Acts 15:6-31).  This type of guidance was not only from councils, but also on the local parish level, so we find in Hebrews the words: "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation... Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." (Heb. 13:7, 17) Even people who weren't in the Church, but sought truth and salvation, sought guidance, as for example with the Ethiopian eunuch, who when reading the Old Testament was asked by St. Philip: "Understandest thou what thou readest?" and to which he replied: "How can I, except some man should guide me?"

People, who need saving, live on earth. The Great Commission is about going out into the world and taking the good news into the communities of this dark world to be a light. All that would be regarded as visible aspects of the church. All of that would need a community to accomplish it and to be accountable to one another while doing so.

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Now, as for a philosophical (or epistemological) reasons, St. Vincent of Lerins brought up one when he pointed out that people argue over the meaning of Scripture, and thus we must follow what tradition and the Church teach when there are disputes (Commonitory, 2). The Church, for him as for all the early Christians, was not a do-it-yourself thing, but something done in community--both the local community, and the larger community of the Church wherever it was in the world.
This is where we outwork our faith in local visible church and community.

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Not only do people with no visible Church have to make a subjective judgment on what traditions to consult and follow, and what Church to be a part of and follow, but they also have to make an arbitrary decision about what books are in the Scripture.
They would have had to do that during the schism and again when heresies arise later. When several people in authority assert one position and many others in authority assert another, the individuals have to make a decision being guided by the Holy Spirit of course, as to which persons in authority are correct. No church leaders are infallible, which you would agree and when you have a split in the church over an issue, individuals are forced to make a decision.

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Even though things aren't always clear, we do judge today (1 Cor. 6:4) and will judge even angels (1 Cor. 6:3). Sometimes people are not uprooted, but at other times they are (Tit. 3:10). God knows the end for each of us, and will guide the theanthropic body of Christ to do as it can, should and must for the salvation of our souls.
We can do nothing to add to the salvation of our souls that Christ has not already done for us.

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I don't think this is a fair evaluation of either Orthodox doctrine and dogma, or Orthodox history. Perhaps it seems clear to me just because I went a different route (?). I was a biblical studies major at a Protestant school, and after studying history and theology on my own (I never did get to take many actual theology classes there) I came to the conclusion that God had indeed founded a Church, and that it was visible--and I came to this conclusion not just based on history but also on the witness of Scripture. Eventually I found my way into Orthodoxy... and then in and out and in and out and in...  but I think that just makes me better at this kind of post, because I've been there, I've been the devil's advocate, the skeptic, the one arguing against.
Thanks for sharing your experiences and opinions.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 09, 2012, 05:08:21 PM
I believe the Church to have both visible and invisible elements.
That's because it does.

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My thoughts on this fall into three categories:
Animal, vegetable and mineral?

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scriptural, traditional, and philosphical.
Close.

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With regard to the Church being both visible and invisible, this ultimately springs from the relationship of Christians with God.
I think it more accurately 'springs' from the fact that we are not of this world but we are in the world

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Christians are members of the body of Christ but there is some type of connection that goes beyond the physical,
There is not "some type of connection" at all. We are spiritual beings in earthly bodies, we are not of the world, it's not just a "connection".
John 15:19 -- If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

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for St. Paul says that we are not only one body (which could be interpreted as simply being a category) but also "members one of another." (Rom. 12:5) We also are supposed to "have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16),  though often this doesn't seem to be the case. As for the visible element of the Church, I think there is actually more evidence for that than for the invisible connection.
More evidence for a visible body than for the "invisible connection"? I don't agree.

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As I mentioned earlier in the thread, St. Paul wrote to specific groups of people in specific places (ie. local, visible church communities),
Yes, churches that met regularly together in each others' houses.

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so that addresses his epistles "To all that be in Rome" (Rom. 1:7), "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth" (1 Cor. 1:2), and so forth. Jesus also addresses specific churches in the Apocalypse, such as "the church of Ephesus" (Rev. 2:1), "the church in Smyrna" (Rev. 2:8), and so forth.
Many visible churches but one Church (invisible); one body.

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This Church, it seems to me, was founded by Jesus Christ, who specifically picked twelve disciples (Matt. 10:1-4; 28:16-20; etc.), and was especially close with three of them in particular (Matt. 17:1-9; 26:37; Mk. 5:37). In Matt. 16 we find him explicitly saying he had a church:  "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 16:18-19)
And where is Peter's church today?

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A few things about this passage come to mind. First, this was a public (ie. visible) declaration of the founding of a Church. Second, the power to bind and loose was given, this prerogative being again mentioned in Jn. 20:23. I think this "binding and loosing" makes the most sense, exegetically (taking into consideration this whole post), if we assume a visible Church with visible authorities in charge.
Of course. No one's saying the visible aspects of church aren't important.

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There is also mention of "gates of hell". The early Church fathers and writers saw in this phrase numerous things, including 1) worldly persecution, 2) heresies and schisms, 3) corporate and widespread sin in the body of Christ, and 4) personal sin in each of us. If these are accurate understandings of the meaning of the passage, I believe a visible Church structure makes the most sense of how this prophecy would work out practically in the life of the Church.
You're missing the depth in your overall 4 point assesement.

Ephesians 6:4 -- "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

This is what fuels "wordly persecution...heresies and schisms...corporate and widespread sin in the body of Christ" and "personal sin in each of us". Therefore the root of the visible "gates of hell" are somewhat invisible.

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At the beginning of the Church one of the first things the leaders did was replace the fallen Judas (Acts 1:15-26). They later chose seven deacons to minister to the Church (Acts 6:2-6), so they could focus on their mission. And because their work was essentially missionary, and they often did not stay in one place their whole lives, they would appoint leaders for the local Churches to guide the body of Christ. So for example St. Paul says: "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee" (Tit. 1:5; cf 1 Cor. 7:17).

Strikingly, even though St. Paul received his gospel by divine revelation (Gal. 1:11-12), he still felt the need to verify his teachings with the leaders of the Church. He says: "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother." (Gal. 1:18-19)  Why just these two? Why not the rest of the Church? And even this was not good enough for St. Paul, for he goes on to say: "Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain." (Gal. 2:1-2)  So Paul checked a second time, after doing ministry for years, only with the leaders or those "of reputation," to check and make sure he had not run in vain.

An important early Council was also called (Acts 15) to deal with issues and disturbances, and the leaders of the council seemed to expect their decisions to be followed by the other Christian communities (Acts 15:23-31). Also notice that there were specific leaders--"apostles and elders"--at the Acts 15 council (Acts 15:6-31).  This type of guidance was not only from councils, but also on the local parish level, so we find in Hebrews the words: "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation... Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." (Heb. 13:7, 17) Even people who weren't in the Church, but sought truth and salvation, sought guidance, as for example with the Ethiopian eunuch, who when reading the Old Testament was asked by St. Philip: "Understandest thou what thou readest?" and to which he replied: "How can I, except some man should guide me?"

People, who need saving, live on earth. The Great Commission is about going out into the world and taking the good news into the communities of this dark world to be a light. All that would be regarded as visible aspects of the church. All of that would need a community to accomplish it and to be accountable to one another while doing so.

Quote
Now, as for a philosophical (or epistemological) reasons, St. Vincent of Lerins brought up one when he pointed out that people argue over the meaning of Scripture, and thus we must follow what tradition and the Church teach when there are disputes (Commonitory, 2). The Church, for him as for all the early Christians, was not a do-it-yourself thing, but something done in community--both the local community, and the larger community of the Church wherever it was in the world.
This is where we outwork our faith in local visible church and community.

Quote
Not only do people with no visible Church have to make a subjective judgment on what traditions to consult and follow, and what Church to be a part of and follow, but they also have to make an arbitrary decision about what books are in the Scripture.
They would have had to do that during the schism and again when heresies arise later. When several people in authority assert one position and many others in authority assert another, the individuals have to make a decision being guided by the Holy Spirit of course, as to which persons in authority are correct. No church leaders are infallible, which you would agree and when you have a split in the church over an issue, individuals are forced to make a decision.

Quote
Even though things aren't always clear, we do judge today (1 Cor. 6:4) and will judge even angels (1 Cor. 6:3). Sometimes people are not uprooted, but at other times they are (Tit. 3:10). God knows the end for each of us, and will guide the theanthropic body of Christ to do as it can, should and must for the salvation of our souls.
We can do nothing to add to the salvation of our souls that Christ has not already done for us.

Quote
I don't think this is a fair evaluation of either Orthodox doctrine and dogma, or Orthodox history. Perhaps it seems clear to me just because I went a different route (?). I was a biblical studies major at a Protestant school, and after studying history and theology on my own (I never did get to take many actual theology classes there) I came to the conclusion that God had indeed founded a Church, and that it was visible--and I came to this conclusion not just based on history but also on the witness of Scripture. Eventually I found my way into Orthodoxy... and then in and out and in and out and in...  but I think that just makes me better at this kind of post, because I've been there, I've been the devil's advocate, the skeptic, the one arguing against.
Thanks for sharing your experiences and opinions.


There is not "some type of connection" at all. We are spiritual beings in earthly bodies,

Buzzzt... Heresy alert !

Jesus Christ was FULLY Human and FULLY Divine both at the same time. Right?... We too are fully human physical beings. It is an error to think of the body as a cast off husk and the "Real you" 100% spiritual. We save the entire being in Christianity, body and soul. 

To say "We are not of this World" does not mean our body is not real or secondary. It means we are not concerned too much with the things of this World and have as our goal eternal salvation.

You are staying consistent with my observation. Everything is a metaphor, a symbol an idea or a Principle. Nothing is concrete or an actually existing manifestation. Our bodies are not the True Person, the Church is "really" invisible. The Eucharist is a mere symbolic memorial.. on and on.

This is what can happen when you discard the teaching authority of The Church and try to interpret scripture all on your lonesome. One error leads to the next.


 
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on January 09, 2012, 05:09:33 PM
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There is not "some type of connection" at all. We are spiritual beings in earthly bodies
Gnostics, party of 1, your table would be ready, but it doesn't really exist......

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 09, 2012, 05:24:37 PM
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There is not "some type of connection" at all. We are spiritual beings in earthly bodies
Gnostics, party of 1, your table would be ready, but it doesn't really exist......

PP

If you want to see what this can lead to look no further than Christian "Science" and the musings of Mary Baker Eddie.

We are "really" perfect Spiritual Beings. Sickness is an error and not what God intended for us. Therefore , if you say to yourself this wound or illness is an error, I am really a Spiritual Being, it will go away.   
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on January 09, 2012, 05:31:45 PM
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There is not "some type of connection" at all. We are spiritual beings in earthly bodies
Gnostics, party of 1, your table would be ready, but it doesn't really exist......

PP

If you want to see what this can lead to look no further than Christian "Science" and the musings of Mary Baker Eddie.

We are "really" perfect Spiritual Beings. Sickness is an error and not what God intended for us. Therefore , if you say to yourself this wound or illness is an error, I am really a Spiritual Being, it will go away.   
Yeah, Chrstian "Science" would be laughable if so many didn't follow that madwoman into their doom. Absolute nonsense. BUT when you cast aside authority, you get 30,000 denominations I s'pose....

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 10, 2012, 09:10:12 AM
Let's try a slightly different approach.  Let's think about marriage.

Marriage has visible components: companionship and intercourse being two of the more obvious ones.  Yet, there are also 'invisible' characteristics: love, caring, sharing, etc.

Some people live 'outward' marriages in that they do the physical stuff but their own inward disposition (or at least one of them) is no longer oriented towards the marriage.  However, it is impossible to call a marriage a marriage when the couple refuses to live together, share their material blessings, etc.  It becomes something other than marriage.

Now, take this understanding of marriage and apply it to Christ and the Church: you cannot be part of the Body of Christ if you refuse to share in the common life of the Church, just like in marriage.

Agreed.

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St. Paul's letter reflect a common life of all believers, as does the Gospels.  St. Peter splits off over his regret for his denial, but he soon returns.  In marriage, their are moments where the bonds are temporarily broken, but restored through repentance.  Same is true of the Church: someone may lead a sham life in the Church, but they have the opportunity until the Last Judgment to change.

Agreed.

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But, you can't say you have intimacy with those whom you refuse to be with.

This presents a difficult dilemma because, even though the church outwork their faith in relationships with each other and under accountability and authority (to a degree) of a local visible body, there are times, as you rightly say, that those relationships will be called into question when the truth is at stake.

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Our modern world tries to replace intimacy with others by using email, texting, Facebook, IM and many other technologies to replace intimacy. They don't work.

I agreed. Technology is great but not as a replacement for face to face contact and knowing each other rather than merely knowing information about each other.

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An 'invisible church' is like an 'invisible marriage'... both are impossibilities.

If it is only God that knows who it is He is coming back for, then the ultimate nature of the church is invisible. Surely: it is only by The Spirit that we walk by faith (2 Cor 5:7), He who guides our every thought, word and deed; it's only by faith can we enter; it's only those who are lead by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Rom.8:14); it's only in Christ Jesus, faith (invisible) working through love as neither circumcision nor uncircumcision (visible) matters at all?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 10, 2012, 11:23:47 AM
If it is only God that knows who it is He is coming back for, then the ultimate nature of the church is invisible.



Erroneous conclusion. God will save whomever he will save. He can save within what has been reveled to us or he can save someone outside of it as an exception.   That does not make The Church Invisible. The Lord clearly established his Church upon Peter's confession of faith. He promised that even the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. The Church established itself in a visible manner, became organized and as we read in Scripture acted in a concrete and visible manner.

He didnt say:

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build an idea, and the gates of hell may or may not prevail against it.

Once again I ask you. When did all that change? When was Scripture rendered moot? When did that organization that we clearly and without question know existed, no longer exist?   Do you have a date?

 Surely: it is only by The Spirit that we walk by faith (2 Cor 5:7), He who guides our every thought, word and deed; it's only by faith can we enter; it's only those who are lead by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Rom.8:14); it's only in Christ Jesus, faith (invisible) working through love as neither circumcision nor uncircumcision (visible) matters at all?

Faith is not a mere "idea". The Church is also not merely an "Idea". God incarnated in a real way into the World. We even celebrated it as a big holiday recently. Why would the incarnation be real and everything else merely be a  thought or a notion?  
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 10, 2012, 01:44:05 PM
Erroneous conclusion. God will save whomever he will save. He can save within what has been reveled to us or he can save someone outside of it as an exception.   That does not make The Church Invisible. The Lord clearly established his Church upon Peter's confession of faith. He promised that even the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. The Church established itself in a visible manner, became organized and as we read in Scripture acted in a concrete and visible manner.

He didnt say:

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build an idea, and the gates of hell may or may not prevail against it.

That was part of a wider question/statement to Father Giryus which you've chopped up.

Quote
Once again I ask you. When did all that change? When was Scripture rendered moot? When did that organization that we clearly and without question know existed, no longer exist?   Do you have a date?
And once again forgive me if i won't engage with you.

Quote
Faith is not a mere "idea". The Church is also not merely an "Idea". God incarnated in a real way into the World. We even celebrated it as a big holiday recently. Why would the incarnation be real and everything else merely be a  thought or a notion?  
Where exactly did i use the word "idea" or suggest that it was some kind of idea? I'll answer for you, i didn't.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on January 10, 2012, 02:02:26 PM
Quote
Quote
Once again I ask you. When did all that change? When was Scripture rendered moot? When did that organization that we clearly and without question know existed, no longer exist?   Do you have a date?
And once again forgive me if i won't engage with you.
But it is a valid question.

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 10, 2012, 02:06:44 PM
Quote
Quote
Once again I ask you. When did all that change? When was Scripture rendered moot? When did that organization that we clearly and without question know existed, no longer exist?   Do you have a date?
But it is a valid question.

PP

I've already said several times we're not talking about separate churches, it's all one church.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: primuspilus on January 10, 2012, 02:09:48 PM
Quote
Quote
Once again I ask you. When did all that change? When was Scripture rendered moot? When did that organization that we clearly and without question know existed, no longer exist?   Do you have a date?
But it is a valid question.

PP

I've already said several times we're not talking about separate churches, it's all one church.

I think what Marc is talking about is that in your statements (and I could be wrong) but it is almost as if you believe that the invisible church takes precedence over the visible church.

PP
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 10, 2012, 02:23:00 PM
If it is only God that knows who it is He is coming back for, then the ultimate nature of the church is invisible. Surely: it is only by The Spirit that we walk by faith (2 Cor 5:7), He who guides our every thought, word and deed; it's only by faith can we enter; it's only those who are lead by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Rom.8:14); it's only in Christ Jesus, faith (invisible) working through love as neither circumcision nor uncircumcision (visible) matters at all? [/size]


You are correct in that only Christ knows who is saved and who is not saved. However, consider the following verses from the Gospel of James, 2:14-26:

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What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

It is not enough for us to have faith, we also must carry out Christ's commandments to love one another and to partake of the sacraments. That is the "works" part of being a Christian. We cannot do the "works" part on our own. You can't "love one another" by yourself. You can't partake of the sacraments by yourself.

The first line of your post, although you don't quote it, essentially refers to Matthew 25:31-32

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“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

However, if you keep reading, it goes on to tell us how we are to "love one another":

Quote
And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

In terms of the sacraments, Christ commands us in the following verses:

Matthew 28:18-20: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"

Matthew 26:25-28: "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

John 6:25-69 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%206:25-69&version=NKJV) (I'm providing the link, since it's such a lengthy quote.)


These things can only be accomplished in a real, physical Church.

However, the Orthodox Church does not just see herself as a physical Church, but a spiritual one as well. Every time Divine Liturgy is served, it is not just the communion of the believers present in the physical building that join in worship, but the communion of the saints, the believers who have passed on before us who join us in worship and truth. So the Church is both physical and spiritual.

I hope this makes sense. :)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 10, 2012, 02:35:04 PM
Quote
Quote
Once again I ask you. When did all that change? When was Scripture rendered moot? When did that organization that we clearly and without question know existed, no longer exist?   Do you have a date?
But it is a valid question.

PP

I've already said several times we're not talking about separate churches, it's all one church.

I think what Marc is talking about is that in your statements (and I could be wrong) but it is almost as if you believe that the invisible church takes precedence over the visible church.

PP

No more than the Orthodox church with her visible sacraments and rituals would allow them to take precedence over the invisible nature of the church.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 10, 2012, 03:21:07 PM
Quote
Quote
Once again I ask you. When did all that change? When was Scripture rendered moot? When did that organization that we clearly and without question know existed, no longer exist?   Do you have a date?
But it is a valid question.

PP

I've already said several times we're not talking about separate churches, it's all one church.

I think what Marc is talking about is that in your statements (and I could be wrong) but it is almost as if you believe that the invisible church takes precedence over the visible church.

PP

No more than the Orthodox church with her visible sacraments and rituals would allow them to take precedence over the invisible nature of the church.

That is your perception. Part of the reason we have icons in our Church is to remind us of the Communion of Saints and the invisible bodies that surround us.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 10, 2012, 03:41:45 PM
I would like to share with you some readings from the life of St. Nicholas Planas of Athens, Greece (1851 - 1932). St. Nicholas was known to communicate directly with the Saints. This perhaps will show you how the Orthodox Church is both spiritual and physical.

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He was compassionate, and had no care for wordly things or estates. Night and day he was absorbed in divine worship, and with his small parish of St. Panteleimon in Neo Kosmo which was comprised of thirteen families. The people loved him. His simplicity, his island piety, his kindness, his chastity, his lack of love for money, drew everyone to divine worship. Everyone wanted him to bless their homes, their stores. And he ran everywhere joyously. From aristocratic homes down to the poorest homes, he never kept a drachma on him. The poor always waited outside the church for him to distribute whatever he had in his pocket.

However, a certain priest without a parish of his own, in cooperation with the council members of St. Panteleimon, kicked him out of his parish and sent him to the Church of Saint John, ("the Hunter" as they called it then) in Vouliagimeni. The new parish was very poor and was comprised of eight families. His payment as a priest was one piece of meat from the fattened lamb of Meatfare Sunday or Christmas. This did not brother him, however, because fasting was most important in his life. So long as he had a church in which to liturgize, he was happy.

His having been kicked out of St. Panteleimon, however, bothered him a lot. One night, as he was leaving St. John to go home, he was crying on the road. The place was deserted at that hour. Suddenly he saw on his path a young lad said to him, "Why are you crying, Father?"....

"I'm crying, my child, because they kicked me out of St. Panteleimon's."
"Don't be said, Father. I am always with you."
"Who are you, my child?"
"I am Panteleimon, who lives in Neo Kosmo."

And immediately he vanished from in front of him.


Quote
Once he set out on his own to go to chapel in Peristeri, but he lost his way. He advanced, distressed and praying, without knowing where he was going, until he saw a young lad in front of him, saying to him, "Did you lose your way, Father? I will guide you." The young lad went in front and Father Nicholas went behind, and they reached the door of the church. Here he, himself, relates what happened: "As soon as we reached outside the door, I turned to give him thanks, and immediately he shone brilliantly, and I lost him."

When he liturgized, he wanted everything to contribute to the majesty of the Divine Liturgy. He chanted with such contrition that he would hear the angels chanting with him. Once, he asked a spiritual daughter of his whether she also heard the angels. "No, my Father, I don't hear them." Immediately he repented and said to himself, "I shouldn't have said it, I shouldn't have said it..."

For the duration of the half century in which he liturgized without a break, he never lacked prosphoro (holy bread used for the Holy Divine Liturgy). Always some woman would bring it the night before or some nearby bakery would provide it for him. One day the Matins (Orthros) had proceeded quite a way and no prophoro could be seen anywhere. He sent helpers to go to the women he knew always had prosphoro; he looked in the cupboards of the sanctury --nothing. He was distressed to the point that he started to cry. After such a continuance of liturgies for a cessation to occur now! Whereupon they saw him coming out of the Holy Royal Doors holding a prosphoro (the Sea only, not the whole loaf), which was still very warm and which he had found on the altar table. Moved with joy, he said, "My children, what a sign God did for me!" All miracles he called signs. He did not delve too deeply into these phenomena; he considered them natural, out of his great faith. And he did not comment very much about them, so as not to put on himself.

One night, the eve of the feast of the Holy Hieromartyr Phocas was dawning. One of his spiritual children saw a majestic priest behind Father Nicholas, who was observing how they were chanting the Holy Divine Liturgy. When she metnioned this to the elder, he said to her, bringing his finger to his lips, "Shhh! It is the Hieromartyr Phocas."

source (http://www.serfes.org/lives/stnicholas.htm)

So you may see our highly decorated vestments, the beauty of our temples and think that we are only focused on the physical, but nothing could be further from the truth.

If you attended our services, particularly those of Holy Week, you would see the emphasis placed on the Spiritual.

Do not let your prejudices blind you to what we really believe.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: biro on January 10, 2012, 03:52:54 PM
If there is a sense of unity between believers in different places- and there is, because I'm always happy when I walk past a church and it says 'Orthodox' ;)- this is only important because the Church itself is a real, physical thing that exists. The 'invisible' spirit of being brothers and sisters is a reflection of the physical fact of the Church, not the other way around.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FatherGiryus on January 10, 2012, 07:11:08 PM
No, not quite... we see them as being part of the same reality, not separated.  This is where our disagreement comes: you separate what is visible from what is invisible, while we perceive them as part of the same reality.

No more than the Orthodox church with her visible sacraments and rituals would allow them to take precedence over the invisible nature of the church.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 10, 2012, 07:39:16 PM
No, not quite... we see them as being part of the same reality, not separated.  This is where our disagreement comes: you separate what is visible from what is invisible, while we perceive them as part of the same reality.

No more than the Orthodox church with her visible sacraments and rituals would allow them to take precedence over the invisible nature of the church.

I speak of the different aspects of the church but it's all one church. It's just that some of the people in the visible church won't be in heaven where as all of the people in the invisible church will be.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 10, 2012, 07:42:42 PM
If there is a sense of unity between believers in different places- and there is, because I'm always happy when I walk past a church and it says 'Orthodox' ;)- this is only important because the Church itself is a real, physical thing that exists. The 'invisible' spirit of being brothers and sisters is a reflection of the physical fact of the Church, not the other way around.

But Biro, aren't you just happy when you come across another Christian in this world no matter who they are of what part of the church they belong to? It's nice that you feel good about seeing a church building as well but i feel a little sad that you might only rejoice because it says the word 'Orthodox'.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 10, 2012, 07:48:37 PM
No, not quite... we see them as being part of the same reality, not separated.  This is where our disagreement comes: you separate what is visible from what is invisible, while we perceive them as part of the same reality.

No more than the Orthodox church with her visible sacraments and rituals would allow them to take precedence over the invisible nature of the church.

I speak of the different aspects of the church but it's all one church. It's just that some of the people in the visible church won't be in heaven where as all of the people in the invisible church will be.

This is where the communion of the saints come in.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FatherGiryus on January 10, 2012, 07:48:58 PM
OK, now we are getting somewhere!

1) To 'walk by faith' for us does not mean that one walks alone.  This walk is an exodus, which is never a solo flight.  The exodus is a communal act. 
2) The subject of Romans is the Church of Rome: he is not speaking to an 'invisible' church but a real, visible community.
3) Faith is not an intellectual process, but rather as one who is 'faithful,' following God.  Again, we understand the argument of circumcised and uncircumcised as matters of a visible Church, a single Body of Christ that is indeed as obvious as the communities which St. Paul founded and wrote letters to.


If it is only God that knows who it is He is coming back for, then the ultimate nature of the church is invisible. Surely: it is only by The Spirit that we walk by faith (2 Cor 5:7), He who guides our every thought, word and deed; it's only by faith can we enter; it's only those who are lead by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Rom.8:14); it's only in Christ Jesus, faith (invisible) working through love as neither circumcision nor uncircumcision (visible) matters at all? [/size]

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 10, 2012, 07:54:43 PM
So you may see our highly decorated vestments, the beauty of our temples and think that we are only focused on the physical, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Can i ask you a question then? What is the main focus of the OC regarding new believers, to go into the world and make disciples or is it to bring people into the church building for a service? I can answer that in the short time i've been on these forums i can count several times someone has encouraged me to attend a service. It's all about the physical church because the Eucharist is there -- i understand that and why it's important for Orthodox people to attend services. However, Jesus' ministry saw Him going out to where people gathered in their own communities and on their own terms to take the good news to them and quite probably in a language they understood too.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FatherGiryus on January 10, 2012, 07:55:55 PM
What do you mean by 'in heaven'?  The reason I ask is that, Scripturally speaking, being 'in heaven' is a temporary estate prior to the Resurrection and return of all.  All are resurrected to live here in the New Jerusalem (c.f. Isaiah 66).

No, not quite... we see them as being part of the same reality, not separated.  This is where our disagreement comes: you separate what is visible from what is invisible, while we perceive them as part of the same reality.

No more than the Orthodox church with her visible sacraments and rituals would allow them to take precedence over the invisible nature of the church.

I speak of the different aspects of the church but it's all one church. It's just that some of the people in the visible church won't be in heaven where as all of the people in the invisible church will be.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: biro on January 10, 2012, 07:57:40 PM
FP- why do you separate the idea of going to a service from something that can get you into Heaven? Are we not commanded to worship God?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FatherGiryus on January 10, 2012, 08:00:18 PM
In the Book of Acts, St. Paul usually began his evangelism by starting at the synagogue.  Very early in the history of the Church, dedicated chapels and communities gathered (when not under direct persecution).

The fact is that if you want to find out about the Faith, you have to meet people.  That is how it has always been transmitted.  That's what folks here are encouraging you to do.


So you may see our highly decorated vestments, the beauty of our temples and think that we are only focused on the physical, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Can i ask you a question then? What is the main focus of the OC regarding new believers, to go into the world and make disciples or is it to bring people into the church building for a service? I can answer that in the short time i've been on these forums i can count several times someone has encouraged me to attend a service. It's all about the physical church because the Eucharist is there -- i understand that and why it's important for Orthodox people to attend services. However, Jesus' ministry saw Him going out to where people gathered in their own communities and on their own terms to take the good news to them and quite probably in a language they understood too.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 10, 2012, 08:01:14 PM
Erroneous conclusion. God will save whomever he will save. He can save within what has been reveled to us or he can save someone outside of it as an exception.   That does not make The Church Invisible. The Lord clearly established his Church upon Peter's confession of faith. He promised that even the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. The Church established itself in a visible manner, became organized and as we read in Scripture acted in a concrete and visible manner.

He didnt say:

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build an idea, and the gates of hell may or may not prevail against it.

That was part of a wider question/statement to Father Giryus which you've chopped up.

Quote
Once again I ask you. When did all that change? When was Scripture rendered moot? When did that organization that we clearly and without question know existed, no longer exist?   Do you have a date?
And once again forgive me if i won't engage with you.

Quote
Faith is not a mere "idea". The Church is also not merely an "Idea". God incarnated in a real way into the World. We even celebrated it as a big holiday recently. Why would the incarnation be real and everything else merely be a  thought or a notion?  
Where exactly did i use the word "idea" or suggest that it was some kind of idea? I'll answer for you, i didn't.


Yeah, I do mind..When did The Church founded on Pentecost, spoken of in the Book of Acts and many other places in Scripture disband, cease to exist or become invisible?

It's not a hard question. You dont even need to give an exact date, you can just say something like "around the time of Constantine, "Or when the last Apostle died"

I understand your reluctance. If The Church the one spoken of in Scripture, did not physically cease to exist, then you may find that youre out on a limb.

Where exactly did i use the word "idea" or suggest that it was some kind of idea? I'll answer for you, i didn't.


But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?

So are you trying to say The Church is actually existing but we don't know where it ends or whom it may include? Well, we also say The Church can include people physically outside of it by the grace of God. But it also has an obvious and continuous  physical existence. The organization that was founded on Pentecost still exists as a matter of historical fact. Therefore, when did that Physical part of The Church disband, cease to exist or become invisible?  

Many Protestants say they began their conversion journey into the Orthodox Church when they realized that the original, historic Church still exists. They were so busy being appalled by the Roman Catholic Church that they did not realize they were not seeing the whole picture.



Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 10, 2012, 08:01:27 PM
OK, now we are getting somewhere!

1) To 'walk by faith' for us does not mean that one walks alone.  This walk is an exodus, which is never a solo flight.  The exodus is a communal act.  
2) The subject of Romans is the Church of Rome: he is not speaking to an 'invisible' church but a real, visible community.
3) Faith is not an intellectual process, but rather as one who is 'faithful,' following God.  Again, we understand the argument of circumcised and uncircumcised as matters of a visible Church, a single Body of Christ that is indeed as obvious as the communities which St. Paul founded and wrote letters to.


If it is only God that knows who it is He is coming back for, then the ultimate nature of the church is invisible. Surely: it is only by The Spirit that we walk by faith (2 Cor 5:7), He who guides our every thought, word and deed; it's only by faith can we enter; it's only those who are lead by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Rom.8:14); it's only in Christ Jesus, faith (invisible) working through love as neither circumcision nor uncircumcision (visible) matters at all?


Forgive me i don't want to seem like i'm arguing against your knowledge, i know squat compared to you. I find that hard to accept when i read of Peter and Paul's experiences on their faith journey and many others in scripture.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FatherGiryus on January 10, 2012, 08:07:31 PM

But, Sts. Peter and Paul worked as part of a greater structure!

Remember St. James and the Apostles who remained in Jerusalem?  Did Sts. Peter and Paul ignore them?

The disadvantage we all have when reading the Bible in modern English is that the 'you' that is now used for singular and plural once was only to a group: the epistles were letters to communities, not to individuals.  There is a whole corporate notion that has been lost because we read 'you' as 'to me' the person when it is 'to you all'.


Forgive me i don't want to seem like i'm arguing against your knowledge, i know squat compared to you. I find that hard to accept when i read of Peter and Paul's experiences on their faith journey and many others in scripture.


Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 10, 2012, 08:09:52 PM
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

Quote
But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 10, 2012, 08:19:51 PM
FP- why do you separate the idea of going to a service from something that can get you into Heaven? Are we not commanded to worship God?

Yes we are but it's more than that as well. Worship is more than an act (although it can be that) but it is evidenced by the trail that we all leave behind us as we go about our day or week. That will tell you what (or who) people worship, not what they do on a Sunday morning.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 10, 2012, 08:26:50 PM
What do you mean by 'in heaven'?  The reason I ask is that, Scripturally speaking, being 'in heaven' is a temporary estate prior to the Resurrection and return of all.  All are resurrected to live here in the New Jerusalem (c.f. Isaiah 66).

No, not quite... we see them as being part of the same reality, not separated.  This is where our disagreement comes: you separate what is visible from what is invisible, while we perceive them as part of the same reality.

No more than the Orthodox church with her visible sacraments and rituals would allow them to take precedence over the invisible nature of the church.

I speak of the different aspects of the church but it's all one church. It's just that some of the people in the visible church won't be in heaven where as all of the people in the invisible church will be.

#laughs

I knew when i clicked "post" that someone would pick up on that phrase.

For the purpose of just this post, i simply mean broadly speaking -- in that direction -- heavenward bound.

 ;D
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FatherGiryus on January 10, 2012, 08:52:16 PM
 :D

Yes, but the same is true of 'heavenward bound'.

In Orthodox terminology, we tend not really to talk about salvation as a destination, but a process.  It goes something like this:

I often ask, 'Is Jesus the way to salvation?'  Most people reflexively answer, 'Yes.'

Then I say, 'No.'  After I get the puzzled look I am hoping for, I answer, 'Salvation is the way to Jesus Christ.'

There is a fundamentally different way of looking at what we are trying to accomplish: are we merely looking for Elysium or Valhallah, or are we seeking an eternal union with Christ?  The question of salvation isn't all that complicated when you think of it in that way.  It is not a place, but a union where God as He truly Is is no longer avoidable as it is now.

The problem with heresy is that it sets human expectations of God in a false manner, and can lead one to reject the True Christ, the one behind the name.  We do not want to forsake the truth of who He is and reduce His Name to a magic incantation.  It is all about content.


What do you mean by 'in heaven'?  The reason I ask is that, Scripturally speaking, being 'in heaven' is a temporary estate prior to the Resurrection and return of all.  All are resurrected to live here in the New Jerusalem (c.f. Isaiah 66).

No, not quite... we see them as being part of the same reality, not separated.  This is where our disagreement comes: you separate what is visible from what is invisible, while we perceive them as part of the same reality.

No more than the Orthodox church with her visible sacraments and rituals would allow them to take precedence over the invisible nature of the church.

I speak of the different aspects of the church but it's all one church. It's just that some of the people in the visible church won't be in heaven where as all of the people in the invisible church will be.

#laughs

I knew when i clicked "post" that someone would pick up on that phrase.

For the purpose of just this post, i simply mean broadly speaking -- in that direction -- heavenward bound.

 ;D

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 10, 2012, 10:09:34 PM
So you may see our highly decorated vestments, the beauty of our temples and think that we are only focused on the physical, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Can i ask you a question then? What is the main focus of the OC regarding new believers, to go into the world and make disciples or is it to bring people into the church building for a service? I can answer that in the short time i've been on these forums i can count several times someone has encouraged me to attend a service. It's all about the physical church because the Eucharist is there -- i understand that and why it's important for Orthodox people to attend services. However, Jesus' ministry saw Him going out to where people gathered in their own communities and on their own terms to take the good news to them and quite probably in a language they understood too.

It's not either/or, but both.

Yes, we are to feed the hungry, heal the sick, visit those in prison, etc., however we are also to partake of the Eucharist and join in fellowship with one another.

Look at the Apostles. They went out into the world proclaiming the Good News, but they also came together and worshiped in the Temple. After Pentecost they proclaimed the Good News on Solomon's Portico because they were not allowed back in the Temple. Churches were established throughout the Mediterranean. We have Paul's letters to these Churches.

When St. Herman of Alaska evangelized the Aleut Native Americans during Russia's colonization of Alaska, one of the reasons they trusted him is because he would negotiate with the Russian fur traders on their behalf. He then used the Cyrillic alphabet to put the Aleut language into writing, and then translated the Gospel and all of the Service books from Russian and Greek into the Aleut language.

So he met the Native Americans where they were at as fur traders, helped them in their trade, and then brought them into the Temple.

Many Orthodox parishes in the US and throughout the world either have their own or work with different ministries to help those less fortunate. My parish has a food pantry to feed the hungry. Although Orthodox Christians, and Orthodox Christian Organizations such as the IOCC are happy to go out into the fields and "reap the harvest," (John 4:34-36) just as Philip invited Nathanial, so too do we invite all to "Come and See." (John 1:45-46)

I will leave you with a quote that a friend of mine who is a priest once said,

"Our faith is more than just a Sunday faith. It is not just something that we come once a week, or only at Christmas or Easter to participate in. But our faith is what permeates our lives. It is the glue that keeps our life together. And it is the fuel that keeps our life going. Our faith is not just a Sunday faith. It is a way of life for us. We don't just leave Christ at the door of the Church and visit Him only on Sundays. Yes, Sundays are important, but so is the rest of the week." Fr. Christos Mars, Annunciation Cathedral, Atlanta, GA
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 10, 2012, 10:48:51 PM
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

Quote
But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.

My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through. To my thinking the historical question is pivotal. If the Original Church still exists it would have important implications for your theories.

I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  

And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 11, 2012, 08:35:17 AM
Yes, but the same is true of 'heavenward bound'.

In Orthodox terminology, we tend not really to talk about salvation as a destination, but a process.  It goes something like this:

I often ask, 'Is Jesus the way to salvation?'  Most people reflexively answer, 'Yes.'

Then I say, 'No.'  After I get the puzzled look I am hoping for, I answer, 'Salvation is the way to Jesus Christ.'

Without wishing to be in any way disrespectful Father this is a good example of why people like myself get very worried when we read statements like yours. Especially as scripture is held in such high regard that everything else is measured against it.

Jesus says "I am the way...". He is the one mediator (1 Tim 2:5) between God and man, The door (John 10:9), the bridge between Father God and sinful man is The Christ, Jesus.

I'm not meaning to be nit-picky either but i am a bit
(http://emoticonhq.com/images/ICQ/Kolobok/shocked.gif)

Quote
There is a fundamentally different way of looking at what we are trying to accomplish: are we merely looking for Elysium or Valhallah, or are we seeking an eternal union with Christ?  The question of salvation isn't all that complicated when you think of it in that way.  It is not a place, but a union where God as He truly Is is no longer avoidable as it is now.
I agree completely, salvation isn't a place but more of a state of being. A union with Christ becoming joint heirs of the promise and a reconciliation to Father God.

Quote
The problem with heresy is that it sets human expectations of God in a false manner, and can lead one to reject the True Christ, the one behind the name. 
I can easily see how that can be the case.

Quote
We do not want to forsake the truth of who He is and reduce His Name to a magic incantation.  It is all about content.
Amen
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 11, 2012, 08:48:03 AM
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

Quote
But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.

My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through.
Marc, it's not as if we were discussing anything, lol+

Quote
I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  
You have nothing to say, so you make an assumption and proceed to argue against your own (incorrect) assumption? lol++

5 cookie points as Vol says

Quote
And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
I can't produce a date because i don't hold that view.
I haven't said you've insulted me or made any such fuss, another incorrect assumption.

Lack of interest in what you post would be slightly closer to the truth Marc, yes dear.

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 11, 2012, 08:55:13 AM
So you may see our highly decorated vestments, the beauty of our temples and think that we are only focused on the physical, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Can i ask you a question then? What is the main focus of the OC regarding new believers, to go into the world and make disciples or is it to bring people into the church building for a service? I can answer that in the short time i've been on these forums i can count several times someone has encouraged me to attend a service. It's all about the physical church because the Eucharist is there -- i understand that and why it's important for Orthodox people to attend services. However, Jesus' ministry saw Him going out to where people gathered in their own communities and on their own terms to take the good news to them and quite probably in a language they understood too.

It's not either/or, but both.

Yes, we are to feed the hungry, heal the sick, visit those in prison, etc., however we are also to partake of the Eucharist and join in fellowship with one another.

Look at the Apostles. They went out into the world proclaiming the Good News, but they also came together and worshiped in the Temple. After Pentecost they proclaimed the Good News on Solomon's Portico because they were not allowed back in the Temple. Churches were established throughout the Mediterranean. We have Paul's letters to these Churches.

When St. Herman of Alaska evangelized the Aleut Native Americans during Russia's colonization of Alaska, one of the reasons they trusted him is because he would negotiate with the Russian fur traders on their behalf. He then used the Cyrillic alphabet to put the Aleut language into writing, and then translated the Gospel and all of the Service books from Russian and Greek into the Aleut language.

So he met the Native Americans where they were at as fur traders, helped them in their trade, and then brought them into the Temple.

Many Orthodox parishes in the US and throughout the world either have their own or work with different ministries to help those less fortunate. My parish has a food pantry to feed the hungry. Although Orthodox Christians, and Orthodox Christian Organizations such as the IOCC are happy to go out into the fields and "reap the harvest," (John 4:34-36) just as Philip invited Nathanial, so too do we invite all to "Come and See." (John 1:45-46)

I will leave you with a quote that a friend of mine who is a priest once said,

"Our faith is more than just a Sunday faith. It is not just something that we come once a week, or only at Christmas or Easter to participate in. But our faith is what permeates our lives. It is the glue that keeps our life together. And it is the fuel that keeps our life going. Our faith is not just a Sunday faith. It is a way of life for us. We don't just leave Christ at the door of the Church and visit Him only on Sundays. Yes, Sundays are important, but so is the rest of the week." Fr. Christos Mars, Annunciation Cathedral, Atlanta, GA

I realise that the OC does a lot for charity and you all have regular fasting times and for giving alms, which is again to your credit. I can't remember the last time our church fasted where the cause wasn't an issue over finances, even though the scripture says to do it regularly. To our shame.

It's admirable but it is humanitarian based work Handmaiden. While i realise to feed and clothe the poor is a witness of love in many ways, it's not primarily for witnessing and telling the gospel or bringing people to salvation -- unless i've misunderstood. That's why i see the emphasis as being different for us both.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Gebre Menfes Kidus on January 11, 2012, 10:13:33 AM
I've met a lot of people who claim to be part of the "invisible church," but strangely these people are quite visible to me.



Selam
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: biro on January 11, 2012, 10:41:37 AM
If the church were invisible, how would anybody know it was a church?  ???
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 11, 2012, 11:34:47 AM
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

Quote
But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.

My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through.
Marc, it's not as if we were discussing anything, lol+

Quote
I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  
You have nothing to say, so you make an assumption and proceed to argue against your own (incorrect) assumption? lol++

5 cookie points as Vol says

Quote
And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
I can't produce a date because i don't hold that view.
I haven't said you've insulted me or made any such fuss, another incorrect assumption.

Lack of interest in what you post would be slightly closer to the truth Marc, yes dear.



I think I understand. You are committed to fighting on your own ground. You want to play Scripture throw-down., shoot out at the Proof Text Corral. I get it.  We have a very different paradigm that we use as a lens.   Yours is a judicial approach with you as the sole judge/interpreter. It's like when the Catholics say, "with Protestants everyone is the Pope except the Pope"

This is why it didnt compute when some folks urged you to actually attend an Orthodox Liturgy. Authentic Christianity, the Original Form if I may be so bold as to say, is very experiential. Yours seems to be a laundry list of dictum's that you agree with and then you get some sort of spiritual seal as you mentioned. 

The issue is broader than the "Invisible Church". It's how you develop an internal logic that get's you to that conclusion. You do it by appointing yourself as sole Judge, Jury and Executioner of passages from Scripture. Our reaction is "Who are you again?"..

We approach Scripture much differently. We ask a simple question, how has this issue been understood over the two thousand year history of The Christian Church. It's hard to imagine that Saint after Saint, all the Doctors of the Church, Great ecumenical teachers, all the Councils,, Bishops, Monks and Patriarchs missed the question, only to come to 2012 and Bob on the internet does a re-reading and finds that The Church is really Invisible. 

You do have the luxury of having  many former Protestants here who know how to play in your sandbox and don't mind dusting off their skills. But at the end of the day your personal opinion, which runs counter to 2000 years of The Christian Church's understanding has no weight, no matter how logical or well crafted your arguments. Christianity did not grow out of the soil of American rugged individualism.

So again, the pivotal question remains, when did the Original Church cease to exist? If it never did ( and I realize that's news to most all Protestants who have only looked at Rome carefully) that fact has enormous implications for you.   

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 11, 2012, 11:38:41 AM
So you may see our highly decorated vestments, the beauty of our temples and think that we are only focused on the physical, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Can i ask you a question then? What is the main focus of the OC regarding new believers, to go into the world and make disciples or is it to bring people into the church building for a service? I can answer that in the short time i've been on these forums i can count several times someone has encouraged me to attend a service. It's all about the physical church because the Eucharist is there -- i understand that and why it's important for Orthodox people to attend services. However, Jesus' ministry saw Him going out to where people gathered in their own communities and on their own terms to take the good news to them and quite probably in a language they understood too.

It's not either/or, but both.

Yes, we are to feed the hungry, heal the sick, visit those in prison, etc., however we are also to partake of the Eucharist and join in fellowship with one another.

Look at the Apostles. They went out into the world proclaiming the Good News, but they also came together and worshiped in the Temple. After Pentecost they proclaimed the Good News on Solomon's Portico because they were not allowed back in the Temple. Churches were established throughout the Mediterranean. We have Paul's letters to these Churches.

When St. Herman of Alaska evangelized the Aleut Native Americans during Russia's colonization of Alaska, one of the reasons they trusted him is because he would negotiate with the Russian fur traders on their behalf. He then used the Cyrillic alphabet to put the Aleut language into writing, and then translated the Gospel and all of the Service books from Russian and Greek into the Aleut language.

So he met the Native Americans where they were at as fur traders, helped them in their trade, and then brought them into the Temple.

Many Orthodox parishes in the US and throughout the world either have their own or work with different ministries to help those less fortunate. My parish has a food pantry to feed the hungry. Although Orthodox Christians, and Orthodox Christian Organizations such as the IOCC are happy to go out into the fields and "reap the harvest," (John 4:34-36) just as Philip invited Nathanial, so too do we invite all to "Come and See." (John 1:45-46)

I will leave you with a quote that a friend of mine who is a priest once said,

"Our faith is more than just a Sunday faith. It is not just something that we come once a week, or only at Christmas or Easter to participate in. But our faith is what permeates our lives. It is the glue that keeps our life together. And it is the fuel that keeps our life going. Our faith is not just a Sunday faith. It is a way of life for us. We don't just leave Christ at the door of the Church and visit Him only on Sundays. Yes, Sundays are important, but so is the rest of the week." Fr. Christos Mars, Annunciation Cathedral, Atlanta, GA

I realise that the OC does a lot for charity and you all have regular fasting times and for giving alms, which is again to your credit. I can't remember the last time our church fasted where the cause wasn't an issue over finances, even though the scripture says to do it regularly. To our shame.

It's admirable but it is humanitarian based work Handmaiden. While i realise to feed and clothe the poor is a witness of love in many ways, it's not primarily for witnessing and telling the gospel or bringing people to salvation -- unless i've misunderstood. That's why i see the emphasis as being different for us both.

Which Church do you belong to?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FatherGiryus on January 11, 2012, 12:12:40 PM
Well, that's my fault for not being clearer: the Church does not teach salvation as a process without Jesus Christ.  I was not prepared for you to assume that salvation could ever be separated from the Christ given your experiences here.  The very fact that one begins the journey means that He is part of what we do because He is aiding us.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  This path of salvation, for us, necessitates the Holy Mysteries, foremost of which is the Eucharist, the real Body and Blood.  I forgot that you do not assume this in your definition, and so it was my error for not being clearer.

However, in all this talk about 'heaven' and 'salvation' without talking about this union with Christ is dangerous.  It leads to universalism or, worse yet, Calvinism.

But, I don't want to stray too far, so let's get back to the topic: salvation is the transformative process in which we gradually come into union with Christ through His Church.  It is not a goal or a place, but a verb.  You could even use it as a pronoun, but a pronoun for Christ (He is our Salvation).  But, as I mentioned before, the Orthodox do not use the word so much largely because we do not want people to forget that this salvation process is all about Jesus Christ.

This is why, when you do come to an Orthodox service, you will hear many hymns referencing the theology of the Councils defining Christ's personhood.  This is how important the proper definition of His personhood is to us: we give up having 'fun' hymns for theological ones precisely because this definition of who He is defines what direction the path will go.

When you boil your theology down to 'Jesus is the way to salvation,' it simply is too imprecise to be relied upon.  This 'Jesus' could be handing out tickets to the Happy Hunting Grounds.  The Islamic paradise has no Divine center: it is about receiving material rewards (i.e. virgins, etc.).  There are many people who theorize about whether Buddhists can be saved without wondering if the Buddhists would even want to be united with Christ.  This shows how far off of Christ this definition of salvation can get.

The path to Christ can only be trod with His help, just as God helped all those before us in their exoduses.  We can accomplish nothing without Him.  This is why we need to receive the Holy Mysteries, to strengthen us for this task, but even the strengthening itself is through union with Him.  Remember what we believe about the Eucharist.  It all ties together.

I think this proves that slogans ("No creed but Christ... and, er, this creed!") do not serve well to define what we mean.  This is why the Church itself, as a visible institution is necessary: there are simply too many opportunities for error without it.  If we cannot look at the Scriptures and automatically all come to the same conclusions, then this means that we need something greater than ourselves to accomplish the task.

If someone refuses to be part of this, what benefit is it to him?  So, someone decides to identify with an 'invisible church' because he does not like the institution... what does that mean if the institution is right?  The problem also is that if the institution is wrong, then Christ Himself was wrong and the gates of hell have prevailed in derailing the 'visible church' from the truth. 

FP, I have enjoyed our exchanges.  I have a lot of new converts and inquirers, and this exchange has helped me sharpen up my skills.  Thank you!  :)





Yes, but the same is true of 'heavenward bound'.

In Orthodox terminology, we tend not really to talk about salvation as a destination, but a process.  It goes something like this:

I often ask, 'Is Jesus the way to salvation?'  Most people reflexively answer, 'Yes.'

Then I say, 'No.'  After I get the puzzled look I am hoping for, I answer, 'Salvation is the way to Jesus Christ.'

Without wishing to be in any way disrespectful Father this is a good example of why people like myself get very worried when we read statements like yours. Especially as scripture is held in such high regard that everything else is measured against it.

Jesus says "I am the way...". He is the one mediator (1 Tim 2:5) between God and man, The door (John 10:9), the bridge between Father God and sinful man is The Christ, Jesus.

I'm not meaning to be nit-picky either but i am a bit
(http://emoticonhq.com/images/ICQ/Kolobok/shocked.gif)

Quote
There is a fundamentally different way of looking at what we are trying to accomplish: are we merely looking for Elysium or Valhallah, or are we seeking an eternal union with Christ?  The question of salvation isn't all that complicated when you think of it in that way.  It is not a place, but a union where God as He truly Is is no longer avoidable as it is now.
I agree completely, salvation isn't a place but more of a state of being. A union with Christ becoming joint heirs of the promise and a reconciliation to Father God.

Quote
The problem with heresy is that it sets human expectations of God in a false manner, and can lead one to reject the True Christ, the one behind the name. 
I can easily see how that can be the case.

Quote
We do not want to forsake the truth of who He is and reduce His Name to a magic incantation.  It is all about content.
Amen
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 11, 2012, 12:24:45 PM
I realise that the OC does a lot for charity and you all have regular fasting times and for giving alms, which is again to your credit. I can't remember the last time our church fasted where the cause wasn't an issue over finances, even though the scripture says to do it regularly. To our shame.

It's admirable but it is humanitarian based work Handmaiden. While i realise to feed and clothe the poor is a witness of love in many ways, it's not primarily for witnessing and telling the gospel or bringing people to salvation -- unless i've misunderstood. That's why i see the emphasis as being different for us both.

Fountain Pen, I'm really quite flabbergasted and don't know what to tell you.

You have said Orthodoxy focuses too much on the physical, and we have demonstrated to you how we focus on the physical and the spiritual.

You asked if the main focus was to draw people into a building or to make believiers out of them. I demonstrated how we do both, and you say our motivations are purely humanitarian in nature and have nothing to do with spirituality. Who are you to judge our motivations? Who are you to say that these efforts don't ultimately lead to the salvation of souls?

I am not sure how you can read the account I provided of St. Herman of Alaska, and say that his efforts to help the Aleuts were purely Humanitarian. The fact that you can attend an Orthodox service in Alaska today that is populated by the Aleut Native Americans and hear the service in the Aleut language is a testimony to the soul saving work that St. Herman did.

May I ask, have you ever attended an Orthodox service? Have you ever participated in Orthodox parish life?

I really feel like you are making many judgments about us without having ever experienced what Orthodox praxis is like. This is not some lure to have you come in just for the sake of coming in, but like anything else in life, until you experience it for yourself, you really can't make an accurate judgment. I can sit and tell you all day what it is like to commute from my home in New Jersey to my office in New York City, but until you were to do it for yourself, you wouldn't be able to really understand what a hassle it is to commute 2 hours each way, and take 4 trains to get to work.

Perhaps rather than judging the Orthodox Church on the merits that you believe to be true, perhaps you should start asking what God says is true.

When you read our history, educate yourself on our beliefs, read how the saints of the Church have lived the faith, I think you will see that both our beliefs and our praxis are in line with Christ and the Apostle's teachings of what the Church should be.

When I read your OP, you water down our beliefs to an "internal mess [that] seems remarkably similar to how the rest of Christendom claim to be guided by the Spirit and believe a multitude of different things backed up with the odd patristic quote or two from various denominations jurisdictions."

Frankly, that is insulting to us and our history. It also tells me that you really don't know much about our Church.

You provided an assortment of scripture quotes as to why you believe the Church is invisible, and have basically either argued or flat out refused to listen to our reasoning as to why we believe otherwise.

What is your motivation for coming on this board?

This is an obscure forum specific to the Eastern forms of Christianity.

Did you come on here to prove us all wrong? Or have you come here to listen and learn? Because frankly, if you've come to do the latter, it really does seem that you've come for the former.

I don't know that providing you with more proof of what our Church is and is not will do any good, as it seems to me your mind is already made up.

Am I wrong?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: biro on January 11, 2012, 12:29:30 PM
Quote from: FountainPen
It's admirable but it is humanitarian based work Handmaiden. While i realise to feed and clothe the poor is a witness of love in many ways, it's not primarily for witnessing and telling the gospel or bringing people to salvation -- unless i've misunderstood. That's why i see the emphasis as being different for us both.

Mt. 25:34-46

   34Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

    35For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:

    36Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.

    37Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink?

    38And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee?

    39Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee?

    40And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

    41Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.

    42For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink.

    43I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.

    44Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?

    45Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.

    46And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FatherGiryus on January 11, 2012, 12:41:58 PM
  For us, alsm are a spiritual encounter with Christ.  From Matthew 25:

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’  Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’  Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


It is not described here as merely humanitarian (which is important enough if you love others as God loves you), but a mystical encounter with Christ!



I realise that the OC does a lot for charity and you all have regular fasting times and for giving alms, which is again to your credit. I can't remember the last time our church fasted where the cause wasn't an issue over finances, even though the scripture says to do it regularly. To our shame.

It's admirable but it is humanitarian based work Handmaiden. While i realise to feed and clothe the poor is a witness of love in many ways, it's not primarily for witnessing and telling the gospel or bringing people to salvation -- unless i've misunderstood. That's why i see the emphasis as being different for us both.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 11, 2012, 01:24:51 PM
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

Quote
But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.

My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through.
Marc, it's not as if we were discussing anything, lol+

Quote
I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  
You have nothing to say, so you make an assumption and proceed to argue against your own (incorrect) assumption? lol++

5 cookie points as Vol says

Quote
And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
I can't produce a date because i don't hold that view.
I haven't said you've insulted me or made any such fuss, another incorrect assumption.

Lack of interest in what you post would be slightly closer to the truth Marc, yes dear.



I think I understand. You are committed to fighting on your own ground. You want to play Scripture throw-down., shoot out at the Proof Text Corral. I get it.  We have a very different paradigm that we use as a lens.   Yours is a judicial approach with you as the sole judge/interpreter. It's like when the Catholics say, "with Protestants everyone is the Pope except the Pope"

This is why it didnt compute when some folks urged you to actually attend an Orthodox Liturgy. Authentic Christianity, the Original Form if I may be so bold as to say, is very experiential. Yours seems to be a laundry list of dictum's that you agree with and then you get some sort of spiritual seal as you mentioned.  

The issue is broader than the "Invisible Church". It's how you develop an internal logic that get's you to that conclusion. You do it by appointing yourself as sole Judge, Jury and Executioner of passages from Scripture. Our reaction is "Who are you again?"..

We approach Scripture much differently. We ask a simple question, how has this issue been understood over the two thousand year history of The Christian Church. It's hard to imagine that Saint after Saint, all the Doctors of the Church, Great ecumenical teachers, all the Councils,, Bishops, Monks and Patriarchs missed the question, only to come to 2012 and Bob on the internet does a re-reading and finds that The Church is really Invisible.  

You do have the luxury of having  many former Protestants here who know how to play in your sandbox and don't mind dusting off their skills. But at the end of the day your personal opinion, which runs counter to 2000 years of The Christian Church's understanding has no weight, no matter how logical or well crafted your arguments. Christianity did not grow out of the soil of American rugged individualism.

So again, the pivotal question remains, when did the Original Church cease to exist? If it never did ( and I realize that's news to most all Protestants who have only looked at Rome carefully) that fact has enormous implications for you.    



Oh i used to love this game! This game is called -- If I Cover My Eyes That Means You Can't See Me -- and we all learn it when we're kids. We usually grow out of it though.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 11, 2012, 01:50:29 PM
Well, that's my fault for not being clearer: the Church does not teach salvation as a process without Jesus Christ.  I was not prepared for you to assume that salvation could ever be separated from the Christ given your experiences here.  The very fact that one begins the journey means that He is part of what we do because He is aiding us.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  This path of salvation, for us, necessitates the Holy Mysteries, foremost of which is the Eucharist, the real Body and Blood.  I forgot that you do not assume this in your definition, and so it was my error for not being clearer.
Thank you for being patient and explaining further.

Quote
However, in all this talk about 'heaven' and 'salvation' without talking about this union with Christ is dangerous.  It leads to universalism or, worse yet, Calvinism.

But, I don't want to stray too far, so let's get back to the topic: salvation is the transformative process in which we gradually come into union with Christ through His Church.  
Being transformed by the renewing of our minds, yes. However, some aspects of salvation are process and some are firsts and instantaneous.

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It is not a goal or a place, but a verb.  You could even use it as a pronoun, but a pronoun for Christ (He is our Salvation).  But, as I mentioned before, the Orthodox do not use the word so much largely because we do not want people to forget that this salvation process is all about Jesus Christ.
Right, i see what you mean.

Quote
This is why, when you do come to an Orthodox service, you will hear many hymns referencing the theology of the Councils defining Christ's personhood.  This is how important the proper definition of His personhood is to us: we give up having 'fun' hymns for theological ones precisely because this definition of who He is defines what direction the path will go.
I never cared for the 'fun' hymns as unless they are doctrinally accurate (hardly ever) there's a danger that you end up believing the lyrics to the songs you're humming during the day rather than actual scripture.

Quote
When you boil your theology down to 'Jesus is the way to salvation,' it simply is too imprecise to be relied upon.  
I agree, it never simply boils down to that.

Quote
This 'Jesus' could be handing out tickets to the Happy Hunting Grounds.  The Islamic paradise has no Divine center: it is about receiving material rewards (i.e. virgins, etc.).  There are many people who theorize about whether Buddhists can be saved without wondering if the Buddhists would even want to be united with Christ.  This shows how far off of Christ this definition of salvation can get.
Right.

Quote
The path to Christ can only be trod with His help, just as God helped all those before us in their exoduses.  We can accomplish nothing without Him.  
Amen

Quote
This is why we need to receive the Holy Mysteries, to strengthen us for this task, but even the strengthening itself is through union with Him.  Remember what we believe about the Eucharist.  It all ties together.
Yes, i mentioned to someone only today that i think i need to look at what you believe about the Eucharist. Other practices might not seem so alarming if i understand that more fully i'm sure.

Quote
I think this proves that slogans ("No creed but Christ... and, er, this creed!") do not serve well to define what we mean.  This is why the Church itself, as a visible institution is necessary: there are simply too many opportunities for error without it.  If we cannot look at the Scriptures and automatically all come to the same conclusions, then this means that we need something greater than ourselves to accomplish the task.

If someone refuses to be part of this, what benefit is it to him?  So, someone decides to identify with an 'invisible church' because he does not like the institution... what does that mean if the institution is right?  The problem also is that if the institution is wrong, then Christ Himself was wrong and the gates of hell have prevailed in derailing the 'visible church' from the truth.  

FP, I have enjoyed our exchanges.  I have a lot of new converts and inquirers, and this exchange has helped me sharpen up my skills.  Thank you!  :)
You're welcome and i appreciate very much you giving your time, thank you Father.



Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 11, 2012, 02:08:42 PM
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

Quote
But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.

My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through.
Marc, it's not as if we were discussing anything, lol+

Quote
I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  
You have nothing to say, so you make an assumption and proceed to argue against your own (incorrect) assumption? lol++

5 cookie points as Vol says

Quote
And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
I can't produce a date because i don't hold that view.
I haven't said you've insulted me or made any such fuss, another incorrect assumption.

Lack of interest in what you post would be slightly closer to the truth Marc, yes dear.



I think I understand. You are committed to fighting on your own ground. You want to play Scripture throw-down., shoot out at the Proof Text Corral. I get it.  We have a very different paradigm that we use as a lens.   Yours is a judicial approach with you as the sole judge/interpreter. It's like when the Catholics say, "with Protestants everyone is the Pope except the Pope"

This is why it didnt compute when some folks urged you to actually attend an Orthodox Liturgy. Authentic Christianity, the Original Form if I may be so bold as to say, is very experiential. Yours seems to be a laundry list of dictum's that you agree with and then you get some sort of spiritual seal as you mentioned.  

The issue is broader than the "Invisible Church". It's how you develop an internal logic that get's you to that conclusion. You do it by appointing yourself as sole Judge, Jury and Executioner of passages from Scripture. Our reaction is "Who are you again?"..

We approach Scripture much differently. We ask a simple question, how has this issue been understood over the two thousand year history of The Christian Church. It's hard to imagine that Saint after Saint, all the Doctors of the Church, Great ecumenical teachers, all the Councils,, Bishops, Monks and Patriarchs missed the question, only to come to 2012 and Bob on the internet does a re-reading and finds that The Church is really Invisible.  

You do have the luxury of having  many former Protestants here who know how to play in your sandbox and don't mind dusting off their skills. But at the end of the day your personal opinion, which runs counter to 2000 years of The Christian Church's understanding has no weight, no matter how logical or well crafted your arguments. Christianity did not grow out of the soil of American rugged individualism.

So again, the pivotal question remains, when did the Original Church cease to exist? If it never did ( and I realize that's news to most all Protestants who have only looked at Rome carefully) that fact has enormous implications for you.    



Oh i used to love this game! This game is called -- If I Cover My Eyes That Means You Can't See Me -- and we all learn it when we're kids. We usually grow out of it though.

Ummm. .  huh ?

Lets try again then.. If you have an illness reading about the various treatments and medications will not cure you. Even though it is wise to learn all you can, you need to actually show up at the Hospital and have the surgery.

The nature of the Church is settled theology. Bob, musing on the internet, does not have enough weight to overturn what is long settled.

Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 11, 2012, 02:26:39 PM
Fountain Pen, I'm really quite flabbergasted and don't know what to tell you.

You have said Orthodoxy focuses too much on the physical, and we have demonstrated to you how we focus on the physical and the spiritual.

You asked if the main focus was to draw people into a building or to make believers out of them. I demonstrated how we do both, and you say our motivations are purely humanitarian in nature and have nothing to do with spirituality. Who are you to judge our motivations? Who are you to say that these efforts don't ultimately lead to the salvation of souls?

I apologise Handmaiden, it wasn't my intention to upset you at all. I didn't feel i was judging motives but actions. If i can explain -- when people feed the poor and it isn't a mission headed up with a preacher making a big fuss about saving the lost and telling them about Jesus, unless there is activity of people preaching and teaching the gospel, such as there is when our church has sent a group out to do a homeless soup run, then i am thinking it's purely (and rightly) humanitarian. We do all need to care for those less fortunate than ourselves and sometimes we are the less fortunate and need others to help.

I should have asked a clear question, I'm sorry.

I'm not saying the way our church did it was correct, i don't think it was and it doesn't matter anyway. I was simply trying to establish what happened in these activities and whether any preaching or witnessing happened.

Quote
I am not sure how you can read the account I provided of St. Herman of Alaska, and say that his efforts to help the Aleuts were purely Humanitarian. The fact that you can attend an Orthodox service in Alaska today that is populated by the Aleut Native Americans and hear the service in the Aleut language is a testimony to the soul saving work that St. Herman did.
Yes, and i agree.

Quote
May I ask, have you ever attended an Orthodox service? Have you ever participated in Orthodox parish life?
No, my first encounter with it was when a friend expressed an interest.

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I really feel like you are making many judgments about us without having ever experienced what Orthodox praxis is like. This is not some lure to have you come in just for the sake of coming in, but like anything else in life, until you experience it for yourself, you really can't make an accurate judgment. I can sit and tell you all day what it is like to commute from my home in New Jersey to my office in New York City, but until you were to do it for yourself, you wouldn't be able to really understand what a hassle it is to commute 2 hours each way, and take 4 trains to get to work.
I appreciate that Handmaiden but your churches are not so accessible here as they might be where you are and even if i did have two hours to hop on a train into London on a Sunday morning, i don't think it's a good idea going along to something i know very little about.

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Perhaps rather than judging the Orthodox Church on the merits that you believe to be true, perhaps you should start asking what God says is true.

When you read our history, educate yourself on our beliefs, read how the saints of the Church have lived the faith, I think you will see that both our beliefs and our praxis are in line with Christ and the Apostle's teachings of what the Church should be.
I am doing that and what is coming up in these threads is the result of my reading about the practice and beliefs of Orthodoxy. I'm trying to line the things i'm reading up to scripture to see if what i'm learning is true or not.

Quote
When I read your OP, you water down our beliefs to an "internal mess [that] seems remarkably similar to how the rest of Christendom claim to be guided by the Spirit and believe a multitude of different things backed up with the odd patristic quote or two from various denominations jurisdictions."

Frankly, that is insulting to us and our history. It also tells me that you really don't know much about our Church.
No i don't you're right. I was a little frustrated when i wrote that so i can only apologise again.

Quote
You provided an assortment of scripture quotes as to why you believe the Church is invisible, and have basically either argued or flat out refused to listen to our reasoning as to why we believe otherwise.

What is your motivation for coming on this board?
Well i'd be careful there if i were you. I can see i've been clumsy and will gladly apologise for that but my intention isn't to either argue or refuse to listen. Quite frankly i don't think i've done only that, so i don't think i am guilty as charged on that score.

Quote
This is an obscure forum specific to the Eastern forms of Christianity.
Yes it is and that's part of the attraction. Another part is the claim of Orthodoxy being rooted and unchanging in history and yet another is that my friend is heavily into all this which will eventually either validate my worries for her or eliminate them. Either way, i am compelled to either be wrong myself or prove Orthodoxy wrong -- i can't just leave it now.

Quote
I don't know that providing you with more proof of what our Church is and is not will do any good, as it seems to me your mind is already made up.

Am I wrong?

Well it's like this and i will be straight with you. Like i said before, i will apologise for causing offense and certainly accept responsibility for some poorly worded posts and answer your questions openly about my personal reasons for being here and the difficulties i am having with understanding Orthodox issues and beliefs. However, i would ask you to be careful with your tone as i don't mind being open to a point but i don't feel in any way that i have to answer to you, so i do so out of courtesy not obligation.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FatherGiryus on January 11, 2012, 02:29:54 PM
This passage from Ephesians (4:23) using in English 'mind' is, in Greek, the word 'nous.'

We understand this to be more than the thinking part of a person, but rather his spiritual faculty, the 'eye of the soul' that sees God.  The purification of the nous is a process in which man repents and is healed by God.  Some of the progress can happen quickly, but it is most attained through years of repentance and asceticism, which we are all called to (i.e. taking up the cross).  However, this transformation is an eternal one, going on into the Resurrection and thereafter because we are being united to an eternal Being.


Being transformed by the renewing of our minds, yes. However, some aspects of salvation are process and some are firsts and instantaneous.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 11, 2012, 02:35:20 PM
  For us, alsm are a spiritual encounter with Christ.  From Matthew 25:

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’  Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’  Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


It is not described here as merely humanitarian (which is important enough if you love others as God loves you), but a mystical encounter with Christ!



I realise that the OC does a lot for charity and you all have regular fasting times and for giving alms, which is again to your credit. I can't remember the last time our church fasted where the cause wasn't an issue over finances, even though the scripture says to do it regularly. To our shame.

It's admirable but it is humanitarian based work Handmaiden. While i realise to feed and clothe the poor is a witness of love in many ways, it's not primarily for witnessing and telling the gospel or bringing people to salvation -- unless i've misunderstood. That's why i see the emphasis as being different for us both.

I've never quite looked at this like that before -- a mystical encounter with Christ. I suppose this is how you all see the Eucharist as well in some ways.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 11, 2012, 02:38:27 PM
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

Quote
But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.

My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through.
Marc, it's not as if we were discussing anything, lol+

Quote
I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  
You have nothing to say, so you make an assumption and proceed to argue against your own (incorrect) assumption? lol++

5 cookie points as Vol says

Quote
And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
I can't produce a date because i don't hold that view.
I haven't said you've insulted me or made any such fuss, another incorrect assumption.

Lack of interest in what you post would be slightly closer to the truth Marc, yes dear.



I think I understand. You are committed to fighting on your own ground. You want to play Scripture throw-down., shoot out at the Proof Text Corral. I get it.  We have a very different paradigm that we use as a lens.   Yours is a judicial approach with you as the sole judge/interpreter. It's like when the Catholics say, "with Protestants everyone is the Pope except the Pope"

This is why it didnt compute when some folks urged you to actually attend an Orthodox Liturgy. Authentic Christianity, the Original Form if I may be so bold as to say, is very experiential. Yours seems to be a laundry list of dictum's that you agree with and then you get some sort of spiritual seal as you mentioned.  

The issue is broader than the "Invisible Church". It's how you develop an internal logic that get's you to that conclusion. You do it by appointing yourself as sole Judge, Jury and Executioner of passages from Scripture. Our reaction is "Who are you again?"..

We approach Scripture much differently. We ask a simple question, how has this issue been understood over the two thousand year history of The Christian Church. It's hard to imagine that Saint after Saint, all the Doctors of the Church, Great ecumenical teachers, all the Councils,, Bishops, Monks and Patriarchs missed the question, only to come to 2012 and Bob on the internet does a re-reading and finds that The Church is really Invisible.  

You do have the luxury of having  many former Protestants here who know how to play in your sandbox and don't mind dusting off their skills. But at the end of the day your personal opinion, which runs counter to 2000 years of The Christian Church's understanding has no weight, no matter how logical or well crafted your arguments. Christianity did not grow out of the soil of American rugged individualism.

So again, the pivotal question remains, when did the Original Church cease to exist? If it never did ( and I realize that's news to most all Protestants who have only looked at Rome carefully) that fact has enormous implications for you.    



Oh i used to love this game! This game is called -- If I Cover My Eyes That Means You Can't See Me -- and we all learn it when we're kids. We usually grow out of it though.

Ummm. .  huh ?

Lets try again then.. If you have an illness reading about the various treatments and medications will not cure you. Even though it is wise to learn all you can, you need to actually show up at the Hospital and have the surgery.

The nature of the Church is settled theology. Bob, musing on the internet, does not have enough weight to overturn what is long settled.



Pasadi? Is that you?

Oh i forgot, he's been stymied. ;)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FatherGiryus on January 11, 2012, 02:45:34 PM
Oh, dear!  Not in 'some ways,' but as its primary!

This is what Orthodoxy is about: the spiritual experience of Christ within our neighbor and ourselves.  Everywhere there is the Image and Likeness of God there is an opportunity to encounter God through this Image and Likeness, just as we encounter the Father through the Son.

When we live according to love for others, we discover the love of God, which in turn provides us with love for others.  Yes, it is circular, but it is also hopeful!  God gives us the love to love others, which in turn allows us to experience His love.


I've never quite looked at this like that before -- a mystical encounter with Christ. I suppose this is how you all see the Eucharist as well in some ways.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Marc1152 on January 11, 2012, 02:50:07 PM
I understand your reluctance.
I'm not reluctant to tackle any points raised, in an effort to understand, as i've shown to the best of my ability. Just not yours.

Quote
But you did say Faith was invisible..Right?
No i didn't and you wonder why i won't respond to your questions.

My apologies, you said Salvation is Invisible. Post #206

The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see

Never the less, I didnt mean to provide a tangent for you to slip through.
Marc, it's not as if we were discussing anything, lol+

Quote
I think the confusion is that you look at The Church as if it is like a Protestant Denomination.  We are not a "Denomination". We are not derived from something else. We are "Pre-Denominational".. We are, as a matter of history the Original Church.  I realize that as a Protestant, that claim is probably outside your comfort zone.  
You have nothing to say, so you make an assumption and proceed to argue against your own (incorrect) assumption? lol++

5 cookie points as Vol says

Quote
And of course I realize that you cant produce a date or even a general era for the demise of the Historic Church. So feinting some great insult or lack of interest is just smoke.
I can't produce a date because i don't hold that view.
I haven't said you've insulted me or made any such fuss, another incorrect assumption.

Lack of interest in what you post would be slightly closer to the truth Marc, yes dear.



I think I understand. You are committed to fighting on your own ground. You want to play Scripture throw-down., shoot out at the Proof Text Corral. I get it.  We have a very different paradigm that we use as a lens.   Yours is a judicial approach with you as the sole judge/interpreter. It's like when the Catholics say, "with Protestants everyone is the Pope except the Pope"

This is why it didnt compute when some folks urged you to actually attend an Orthodox Liturgy. Authentic Christianity, the Original Form if I may be so bold as to say, is very experiential. Yours seems to be a laundry list of dictum's that you agree with and then you get some sort of spiritual seal as you mentioned.  

The issue is broader than the "Invisible Church". It's how you develop an internal logic that get's you to that conclusion. You do it by appointing yourself as sole Judge, Jury and Executioner of passages from Scripture. Our reaction is "Who are you again?"..

We approach Scripture much differently. We ask a simple question, how has this issue been understood over the two thousand year history of The Christian Church. It's hard to imagine that Saint after Saint, all the Doctors of the Church, Great ecumenical teachers, all the Councils,, Bishops, Monks and Patriarchs missed the question, only to come to 2012 and Bob on the internet does a re-reading and finds that The Church is really Invisible.  

You do have the luxury of having  many former Protestants here who know how to play in your sandbox and don't mind dusting off their skills. But at the end of the day your personal opinion, which runs counter to 2000 years of The Christian Church's understanding has no weight, no matter how logical or well crafted your arguments. Christianity did not grow out of the soil of American rugged individualism.

So again, the pivotal question remains, when did the Original Church cease to exist? If it never did ( and I realize that's news to most all Protestants who have only looked at Rome carefully) that fact has enormous implications for you.    



Oh i used to love this game! This game is called -- If I Cover My Eyes That Means You Can't See Me -- and we all learn it when we're kids. We usually grow out of it though.

Ummm. .  huh ?

Lets try again then.. If you have an illness reading about the various treatments and medications will not cure you. Even though it is wise to learn all you can, you need to actually show up at the Hospital and have the surgery.

The nature of the Church is settled theology. Bob, musing on the internet, does not have enough weight to overturn what is long settled.



Pasadi? Is that you?

Oh i forgot, he's been stymied. ;)

Alfred is that you?

Oh i forgot, he's been defeated and ran off.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 11, 2012, 02:54:37 PM

Pasadi? Is that you?

Oh i forgot, he's been stymied. ;)

Alfred is that you?

Oh i forgot, he's been defeated and ran off.

See now i'm slightly more interested in your posts  ;)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 11, 2012, 03:18:57 PM
Fountain Pen,

Thank you for responding to my post and for clarifying your position on a number of issues. I apologize if my tone was curt.

While I understand getting to an Orthodox parish may be difficult, I would highly recommend ordering Timothy Ware's "The Orthodox Church." It is available on http://www.amazon.co.uk/ in both paperback and kindle format.

Timothy Ware (now +Metropolitan Kallistos Ware) does an excellent job explaining the history of the Orthodox Church, what we believe, and why. Admittedly, it can be a little dry at times. (He is after all, an Oxford scholar.) However, it has become a standard in most Orthodox catechism, and is a tried and true resource for information on the Church.

I am not trying to dismiss your questions or to stop you from asking them on the forum, but I think this will help you dive deeper into your inquiry of Orthodoxy and be able to ask more focused questions.

On a seperate note, I'd like to address one item you listed in your post to me:

If i can explain -- when people feed the poor and it isn't a mission headed up with a preacher making a big fuss about saving the lost and telling them about Jesus, unless there is activity of people preaching and teaching the gospel, such as there is when our church has sent a group out to do a homeless soup run, then i am thinking it's purely (and rightly) humanitarian. We do all need to care for those less fortunate than ourselves and sometimes we are the less fortunate and need others to help.

I should have asked a clear question, I'm sorry.

I'm not saying the way our church did it was correct, i don't think it was and it doesn't matter anyway. I was simply trying to establish what happened in these activities and whether any preaching or witnessing happened.

Obviously, I cannot address how every humanitarian action carried out by the Orthodox Church worldwide is done, but I would like to say this: sometimes, what seems like a humanitarian action on the outside is exactly what is needed to save souls. Let me give you a personal example:

A friend of mine has a mother who is a Russian Jew and a father who is an Egyptian Muslim. As a child, she attended Catholic school and had been exposed to Protestant Christianity through friends. Although she believed in a god, she didn't follow any particular faith tradition.

Two years ago, she started to date a man who happened to be Russian Orthodox. He brought her to Church with him and introduced her to some of his friends and the priest at coffee hour.

Now, my friend is a very open individual and will basically tell you her life story the first time you meet her.

During introductions, she mentioned she was going to be having surgery, and would be laid up for a few weeks, but would have no one to take care of her.

The people she had just met for the first time at Church set about making a schedule so that each of them would take turns bringing her meals, taking care of her animals, and making sure she was okay. Even the priest volunteered!

They did so without obligation that she ever return to the Church.

My friend was so impressed by the hospitality demonstrated by these individuals over the coming weeks that she did return. She began meeting with the priest and asking questions. Ultimately, a little over a year later, she was baptized and chrismated into the Church.

So what started out as a humanitarian mission turned out to be just what she needed to come to know Christ.

Hope this helps,

HofG
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 11, 2012, 03:38:01 PM
Fountain Pen,

Thank you for responding to my post and for clarifying your position on a number of issues. I apologize if my tone was curt.

While I understand getting to an Orthodox parish may be difficult, I would highly recommend ordering Timothy Ware's "The Orthodox Church." It is available on http://www.amazon.co.uk/ in both paperback and kindle format.

Timothy Ware (now +Metropolitan Kallistos Ware) does an excellent job explaining the history of the Orthodox Church, what we believe, and why. Admittedly, it can be a little dry at times. (He is after all, an Oxford scholar.) However, it has become a standard in most Orthodox catechism, and is a tried and true resource for information on the Church.

I am not trying to dismiss your questions or to stop you from asking them on the forum, but I think this will help you dive deeper into your inquiry of Orthodoxy and be able to ask more focused questions.

On a seperate note, I'd like to address one item you listed in your post to me:

If i can explain -- when people feed the poor and it isn't a mission headed up with a preacher making a big fuss about saving the lost and telling them about Jesus, unless there is activity of people preaching and teaching the gospel, such as there is when our church has sent a group out to do a homeless soup run, then i am thinking it's purely (and rightly) humanitarian. We do all need to care for those less fortunate than ourselves and sometimes we are the less fortunate and need others to help.

I should have asked a clear question, I'm sorry.

I'm not saying the way our church did it was correct, i don't think it was and it doesn't matter anyway. I was simply trying to establish what happened in these activities and whether any preaching or witnessing happened.

Obviously, I cannot address how every humanitarian action carried out by the Orthodox Church worldwide is done, but I would like to say this: sometimes, what seems like a humanitarian action on the outside is exactly what is needed to save souls. Let me give you a personal example:

A friend of mine has a mother who is a Russian Jew and a father who is an Egyptian Muslim. As a child, she attended Catholic school and had been exposed to Protestant Christianity through friends. Although she believed in a god, she didn't follow any particular faith tradition.

Two years ago, she started to date a man who happened to be Russian Orthodox. He brought her to Church with him and introduced her to some of his friends and the priest at coffee hour.

Now, my friend is a very open individual and will basically tell you her life story the first time you meet her.

During introductions, she mentioned she was going to be having surgery, and would be laid up for a few weeks, but would have no one to take care of her.

The people she had just met for the first time at Church set about making a schedule so that each of them would take turns bringing her meals, taking care of her animals, and making sure she was okay. Even the priest volunteered!

They did so without obligation that she ever return to the Church.

My friend was so impressed by the hospitality demonstrated by these individuals over the coming weeks that she did return. She began meeting with the priest and asking questions. Ultimately, a little over a year later, she was baptized and chrismated into the Church.

So what started out as a humanitarian mission turned out to be just what she needed to come to know Christ.

Hope this helps,

HofG

That is an incredibly impressive account and a wonderful testimony of their faithfulness and love which resulted in salvation. That, to me, is a far more effective way of 'evangelising' than the leaflet distributing, event driven, hard sell, that i've experienced.

I'm glad we've come to an understanding as i really appreciate your posts and always try not to miss any.

And -- i'll get the book  ::)  ;D
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 11, 2012, 03:43:46 PM
That is an incredibly impressive account and a wonderful testimony of their faithfulness and love which resulted in salvation. That, to me, is a far more effective way of 'evangelising' than the leaflet distributing, event driven, hard sell, that i've experienced.

I'm glad we've come to an understanding as i really appreciate your posts and always try not to miss any.

And -- i'll get the book  ::)  ;D

 ;D ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 11, 2012, 09:34:30 PM
I've never quite looked at this like that before -- a mystical encounter with Christ. I suppose this is how you all see the Eucharist as well in some ways.

I once read that if every mirror in the world was etched with the icon of Christ, we would all treat each other better, because we would be more mindful that we are each created in the image and likeness of God.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 11, 2012, 11:16:49 PM
Oh, dear!  Not in 'some ways,' but as its primary!

This is what Orthodoxy is about: the spiritual experience of Christ within our neighbor and ourselves.  Everywhere there is the Image and Likeness of God there is an opportunity to encounter God through this Image and Likeness, just as we encounter the Father through the Son.

When we live according to love for others, we discover the love of God, which in turn provides us with love for others.  Yes, it is circular, but it is also hopeful!  God gives us the love to love others, which in turn allows us to experience His love.


I've never quite looked at this like that before -- a mystical encounter with Christ. I suppose this is how you all see the Eucharist as well in some ways.

What other biblical echoes are there that would suggest the bread and wine to be more than a symbolic memorial?

As far as the fathers of the church go, has any one of them written extensively on this that i would find useful to read?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: LBK on January 11, 2012, 11:25:14 PM
As far as the fathers of the church go, has any one of them written extensively on this that i would find useful to read?

The Pre- and Post Communion Prayers are a good place to start. And, their content (as is the case of so much Orthodox hymnography and prayer) is stuffed full of Scripture.

Pre-Communion Prayers:

PREPARATORY PRAYERS
FOR HOLY COMMUNION

In the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good gifts and Giver of Life, come and abide in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us. (Thrice)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, wash away our sins. O Master, pardon our transgressions. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy Name's sake.

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from the evil one.

For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. (12 times).

O come let us worship God our King.
O come let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and God.
O come let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and our God.

Then the following Psalms: 23, 24, 116: 10-19 (King James text); 22, 23, 115 (Septuagint).

Psalm 22.

The Lord is my Shepherd, and will deny me nothing. He has settled me in a green pasture, and nourished me beside refreshing water. He has converted my soul, and led me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake. For even though I walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff have comforted me. Thou hast prepared a table before me in the face of those who trouble me. Thou hast anointed my head with oil. And Thy chalice which inebriates me, how glorious it is! And Thy mercy will follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord throughout the length of my days.

Psalm 23.

The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world and all who dwell in it He has set it on the seas, and prepared it on the rivers. Who will ascend the mountain of the Lord, or who will stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not set his mind on vanity or sworn deceitfully to his neighbour. He will receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God his Saviour. These are the kind who seek the Lord, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Lift up your gates, you princes, and be lifted up, you eternal doors, and the King of Glory will enter. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your gates, you princes, and be lifted up, you eternal doors, and the King of Glory will enter. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

Psalm 115.

I believed and so I spoke; but I was deeply humiliated. I said in my madness: every man is a liar. What shall I give in return to the Lord for all that He has given me? I will receive the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints.

O Lord, I am Thy slave; I am Thy slave and son of Thy handmaid. Thou hast broken my bonds asunder. I will offer Thee the sacrifice of praise, and will pray in the Name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the Lord's house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia. Glory to Thee, O God. (Thrice) Lord, have mercy (Thrice). And then the following prayers:

Overlook my faults, O Lord Who wast born of a Virgin, and purify my heart, and make it a temple for Thy spotless Body and Blood. Let me not be rejected from Thy presence, O Thou Who hast infinitely great mercy.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

How can I who am unworthy dare to come to the communion of Thy Holy Things? For even if I should dare to approach Thee with those who are worthy, my garment betrays me, for it is not a festal robe, and I shall cause the condemnation of my sinful soul. Cleanse, O Lord, the pollution from my soul, and save me as the Lover of men.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Great is the multitude of my sins, O Mother of God. To thee, O pure one, I flee and implore salvation. Visit my sick and feeble soul and intercede with thy Son and our God, that He may grant me forgiveness for the terrible things I have done, O thou who alone art blessed.

On Holy and Great Thursday the following is read:

When Thy glorious Disciples were enlightened at the Supper by the feet-washing, then impious Judas was darkened with the disease of avarice, and he delivered Thee, the Just Judge, to lawless judges. See, O lover of money, this man through money came to hang himself. Flee the insatiable desire which dared to do such things to the Master. O Lord, Who art good towards all, glory to Thee.

Lord, have mercy. (40 times)

Prostrations as desired. Then these prayers:

First Prayer of St. Basil the Great

O Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ our God, source of life and immortality, Who art the Author of all creation, visible and invisible, the equally everlasting and co-eternal Son of the eternal Father, Who through the excess of Thy goodness didst in the last days assume our flesh and wast crucified for us, ungrateful and ignorant as we were, and didst cause through Thy own Blood the restoration of our nature which had been marred by sin: O immortal King, accept the repentance even of me a sinner, and incline Thine ear to me and hear my words. For I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned against heaven and before Thee, and I am not worthy to gaze on the height of Thy glory; for I have provoked Thy goodness by transgressing Thy commandments and not obeying Thy orders. But Thou, O Lord, in Thy forbearance, patience, and great mercy, hast not given me up to be destroyed with my sins, but Thou awaitest my complete conversion. For Thou, O Lover of men, hast said through Thy Prophet that Thou desirest not the death of the sinner, but that he should return to Thee and live. For Thou dost not will, O Lord, that the work of Thy hands should be destroyed, neither dost Thou delight in the destruction of men, but Thou desirest that all should be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth. Therefore, though I am unworthy both of heaven and earth, and even of this transient life, since I have completely succumbed to sin and am a slave to pleasure and have defaced Thy image, yet being Thy work and creation, wretch that I am, even I do not despair of my salvation and dare to draw near to Thy boundless compassion. So receive even me, O Christ Lover of men, as the harlot, as the thief, as the publican, and as the prodigal; and take from me the heavy burden of my sins, Thou Who takest away the sin of the world, Who healest men's sicknesses, Who callest the weary and heavy laden to Thyself and givest them rest; for Thou camest not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. And purify me from all defilement of flesh and spirit. Teach me to achieve perfect holiness in the fear of Thee, that with the clear witness of my conscience I may receive the portion of Thy holy Things and be united with Thy holy Body and Blood, and have Thee dwelling and remaining in me with the Father and Thy Holy Spirit. And, O Lord Jesus Christ, my God, let not the communion of Thy immaculate and life-giving Mysteries be to me for condemnation nor let it make me sick in body or soul through my partaking of them unworthily; but grant me till my last breath to receive without condemnation the portion of Thy holy Things, for communion with the Holy Spirit, as a provision for eternal life, and as an acceptable defense at Thy dread tribunal, so that I too with all Thy elect may become a partaker of Thy pure joys which Thou hast prepared for those who love Thee, O Lord, in whom Thou art glorified throughout the ages. Amen.

First Prayer
of St. John Chrysostom

O Lord my God, I know that I am not worthy or sufficient that Thou shouldest come under the roof of the house of my soul, for all is desolate and fallen, and Thou hast not with me a place fit to lay Thy head. But as from the highest heaven Thou didst humble Thyself for our sake, so now conform Thyself to my humility. And as Thou didst consent to lie in a cave and in a manger of dumb beasts, so also consent to lie in the manger of my unspiritual soul and to enter my defiled body. And as Thou didst not disdain to enter and dine with sinners in the house of Simon the Leper, so consent also to enter the house of my humble soul which is leprous and sinful. And as Thou didst not reject the woman, who was a harlot and a sinner like me, when she approached and touched Thee, so also be compassionate with me, a sinner, as I approach and touch Thee, and let the live coal of Thy most holy Body and precious Blood be for the sanctification and enlightenment and strengthening of my humble soul and body, for a relief from the burden of my many sins, for a protection from all diabolical practices, for a restraint and a check on my evil and wicked way of life, for the mortification of passions, for the keeping of Thy commandments, for an increase of Thy divine grace, and for the advancement of Thy Kingdom. For it is not insolently that I draw near to Thee, O Christ my God, but as taking courage from Thy unspeakable goodness, and that I may not by long abstaining from Thy communion become a prey to the spiritual wolf. Therefore, I pray Thee, O Lord, Who alone art holy, sanctify my soul and body, my mind and heart, my emotions and affections, and wholly renew me. Root the fear of Thee in my members, and make Thy sanctification indelible in me. Be also my helper and defender, guide my life in peace, and make me worthy to stand on Thy right hand with Thy Saints: through the prayers and intercessions of Thy immaculate Mother, of Thy ministering Angels, of the immaculate Powers and of all the Saints who have ever been pleasing to Thee. Amen.

Prayer
of St. Symeon the Translator

O only pure and sinless Lord, Who through the ineffable compassion of Thy love for men didst assume our whole nature through the pure and virgin blood of her who supernaturally conceived Thee by the coming of the Divine Spirit and by the will of the Eternal Father; O Christ Jesus, Wisdom and Peace and Power of God, Who in Thy assumption of our nature didst suffer Thy life-giving and saving Passion - the Cross, the Nails, the Spear, and Death - mortify all the deadly passions of my body. Thou Who in Thy burial didst spoil the dominions of hell, bury with good thoughts my evil schemes and scatter the spirits of wickedness. Thou Who by Thy life-giving Resurrection on the third day didst raise up our fallen first Parent, raise me up who am sunk in sin and suggest to me ways of repentance. Thou Who by Thy glorious Ascension didst deify our nature which Thou hadst assumed and didst honor it by Thy session at the right hand of the Father, make me worthy by partaking of Thy holy Mysteries of a place at Thy right hand among those who are saved. Thou Who by the descent of the Spirit, the Paraclete, didst make Thy holy Disciples worthy vessels, make me also a recipient of His coming. Thou Who art to come again to judge the World with justice, grant me also to meet Thee on the clouds, my Maker and Creator, with all Thy Saints, that I may unendingly glorify and praise Thee with Thy Eternal Father and Thy all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

First Prayer
of St. John Damascene

O Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ our God, Who alone hast authority to forgive men their sins, overlook in Thy goodness and love for men all my offences whether committed with knowledge or in ignorance, and make me worthy to receive without condemnation Thy divine, glorious, spotless, and life-giving Mysteries, not for punishment, nor for an increase of sins, but for purification and sanctification and as a pledge of the life and kingdom to come, as a protection and help, and for the destruction of enemies, and for the blotting out of my many transgressions. For Thou art a God of mercy and compassion and love for men, and to Thee we send up the glory, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Second Prayer
of St. Basil the Great

I know, O Lord, that I partake of Thy immaculate Body and precious Blood unworthily, and that I am guilty, and eat and drink judgment to myself by not discerning the Body and Blood of Thee my Christ and God. But taking courage from Thy compassion I approach Thee, for Thou hast said: "He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in him." Therefore have compassion, O Lord, and do not make an example of me, a sinner, but deal with me according to Thy mercy; and let these Holy Things be for my healing and purification and enlightenment and protection and salvation and sanctification of body and soul, for the turning away of every phantasy and all evil practice and diabolical activity working subconsciously in my members, for confidence and love towards Thee, for reformation of life and security, for an increase of virtue and perfection, for fulfillment of the commandments, for communion with the Holy Spirit, as a provision for eternal life, and as an acceptable defense at Thy dread Tribunal, not for judgment or for condemnation.

Prayer
of St. Symeon the New Theologian

From sullied lips,
From an abominable heart,
From an unclean tongue,
Out of a polluted soul,
Receive my prayer, O my Christ.
Reject me not,
Nor my words, nor my ways,
Nor even my shamelessness,
But give me courage to say
What I desire, my Christ.
And even more, teach me
What to do and say.
I have sinned more than the harlot
Who, on learning where Thou wast lodging,
Bought myrrh,
And dared to come and anoint
Thy feet, my Christ,
My Lord and my God.
As Thou didst not repulse her
When she drew near from her heart,
Neither, O Word, abominate me,
But grant me Thy feet
To clasp and kiss,
And with a flood of tears
As with most precious myrrh
Dare to anoint them.
Wash me with my tears
And purify me with them, O Word.
Forgive my sins
And grant me pardon.
Thou knowest the multitude of my evil-doings,
Thou knowest also my wounds,
And Thou seest my bruises.
But also Thou knowest my faith,
And Thou beholdest my willingness,
And Thou hearest my sighs.
Nothing escapes Thee, my God,
My Maker, my Redeemer,
Not even a tear-drop,
Nor part of a drop.
Thine eyes know
What I have not achieved,
And in Thy book
Things not yet done
Are written by Thee.
See my depression,
See how great is my trouble,
And all my sins
Take from me, O God of all,
That with a clean heart,
Trembling mind
And contrite spirit
I may partake of Thy pure
And all-holy Mysteries
By which all who eat and drink Thee
With sincerity of heart
Are quickened and deified.
For Thou, my Lord, hast said:
"Whoever eats My Flesh
And drinks My Blood
Abides in Me
And I in Him."
Wholly true is the word
Of my Lord and God.
For whoever partakes of Thy divine
And deifying Gifts
Certainly is not alone,
But is with Thee, my Christ,
Light of the Triune Sun
Which illumines the world.
And that I may not remain alone
Without Thee, the Giver of Life,
My Breath, my Life,
My Joy,
The Salvation of the world,
Therefore I have drawn near to Thee
As Thou seest, with tears
And with a contrite spirit.
Ransom of my offences,
I beseech Thee to receive me,
And that I may partake without condemnation
Of Thy life-giving and perfect Mysteries,
That Thou mayest remain as Thou hast said
With me, thrice-wretched as I am,
Lest the tempter may find me
Without Thy grace
And craftily seize me,
And having deceived me, may seduce me,
From Thy deifying words.
Therefore I fall at Thy feet
And fervently cry to Thee:
As Thou receivedst the Prodigal
And the Harlot who drew near to Thee,
So have compassion and receive me,
The profligate and the prodigal,
As with contrite spirit
I now draw near to Thee.
I know, O Saviour, that no other
Has sinned against Thee as I,
Nor has done the deeds
That I have committed.
But this again I know
That not the greatness of my offences
Nor the multitude of my sins
Surpasses the great patience
Of my God,
And His extreme love for men.
But with the oil of compassion
Those who fervently repent
Thou dost purify and enlighten
And makest them children of the light,
Sharers of Thy Divine Nature.
And Thou dost act most generously,
For what is strange to Angels
And to the minds of men
Often Thou tellest to them
As to Thy true friends.
These things make me bold, my Christ,
These things give me wings,
And I take courage from the wealth
Of Thy goodness to us.
And rejoicing and trembling at once,
I who am straw partake of fire,
And, strange wonder!
I am ineffably bedewed,
Like the bush of old
Which burnt without being consumed.
Therefore with thankful mind,
And with thankful heart,
And with thankfulness in all the members
Of my soul and body,
I worship and magnify
And glorify Thee, my God,
For Thou art blessed,
Now and throughout the ages.

Second Prayer
of St. John Chrysostom

I am not worthy, O Lord and Master, that Thou shouldest enter under the roof of my soul; but since Thou in Thy love for men dost will to dwell in me, I take courage and approach. Thou commandest: I will open wide the doors which Thou alone didst create, that Thou mayest enter with love as is Thy nature, enter and enlighten my darkened thought. I believe that Thou wilt do this, for Thou didst not banish the Harlot who approached Thee with tears, nor didst Thou reject the Publican who repented, nor didst Thou drive away the Thief who acknowledged Thy Kingdom, nor didst Thou leave the repentant persecutor (Paul) to himself; but all who had been brought to Thee by repentance Thou didst set in the company of Thy friends, O Thou Who alone art blessed always, now and to endless ages. Amen.

Third Prayer
of St. John Chrysostom

Lord Jesus Christ my God, remit, forgive, absolve and pardon the sins, offences and transgressions which I, Thy sinful, useless and unworthy servant have committed from my youth, up to the present day and hour, whether with knowledge or in ignorance, whether by words or deeds or intentions or thoughts, and whether by habit or through any of my senses. And through the intercession of her who conceived Thee without seed, the immaculate and ever-virgin Mary Thy Mother, my only sure hope and protection and salvation, make me worthy without condemnation to receive Thy pure, immortal, life-giving and dread Mysteries, for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life, for sanctification and enlightenment and strength and healing and health of soul and body, and for the blotting out and complete destruction of my evil reasonings and intentions and prejudices and nocturnal fantasies of dark evil spirits. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory and the honour and the worship, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Second Prayer
of St. John Damascene

I stand before the doors of Thy sanctuary, yet I do not put away my terrible thoughts. But O Christ our God, Who didst justify the Publican, and have mercy on the Canaanite woman, and didst open the gates of Paradise to the Thief, open to me the depths of Thy love for men, and as I approach and touch Thee, receive me like the Harlot and the woman with an issue of blood. For the one received healing easily by touching the hem of Thy garment, and the other by clasping Thy sacred feet obtained release from her sins. And I, in my pitiableness, dare to receive Thy whole Body. Let me not be burnt, but receive me even as these; enlighten the senses of my soul, and burn the stains of my sins: through the intercessions of her who bore Thee without seed, and of the Heavenly Powers, for Thou art blessed to the ages of ages. Amen.

Fourth Prayer
of St. John Chrysostom

I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief. And I believe that this is Thy pure Body and Thy own precious Blood. Therefore, I pray Thee, have mercy on me and forgive my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, in word and deed, known and unknown. And grant that I may partake of Thy Holy Mysteries without condemnation, for the remission of sins and for life eternal. Amen.

Lines of St. Symeon the Translator

Behold I approach for Divine Communion.
O Creator, let me not be burnt by communicating,
For Thou art Fire which burns the unworthy.
But purify me from every stain.

Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of the Mystery to Thy enemies; I will not give Thee a kiss like Judas; but like the Thief do I confess Thee. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.

And again these lines:

Tremble, O man, when you see the deifying Blood,
For it is a coal that burns the unworthy.
The Body of God both deifies and nourishes;
It deifies the spirit and wondrously nourishes the mind.

Thou hast ravished me with longing, O Christ, and with Thy divine love Thou hast changed me. But burn up with spiritual fire my sins and make me worthy to be filled with delight in Thee, that I may leap for joy, O gracious Lord, and magnify Thy two comings.

Into the splendor of Thy Saints how shall I who am unworthy enter? For if I dare to enter the bridechamber, my vesture betrays me, for it is not a wedding garment, and as a prisoner I shall be cast out by the Angels. Cleanse my soul from pollution and save me, O Lord, in Thy love for men.

Sovereign Lover of men, Lord Jesus my God, let not these Holy Things be to me for judgment through my being unworthy, but for the purification and sanctification of my soul and body, and as a pledge of the life and kingdom to come. For it is good for me to cling to God and to place in the Lord my hope of salvation.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: LBK on January 11, 2012, 11:43:10 PM
Some of the Prayers After Communion:

THANKSGIVING
AFTER HOLY COMMUNION

Glory to Thee, O God;
Glory to Thee, O God;
Glory to Thee, O God.

Anonymous

I thank Thee, O Lord my God, that Thou hast not rejected me, a sinner, but hast granted me to be a communicant of Thy holy Things. I thank Thee that Thou hast granted me, unworthy as I am, to partake of Thy pure and heavenly Gifts. But, O Lord, Lover of men, Who didst die for us and rise again and bestow upon us these Thy dread and life-giving Mysteries for the wellbeing and sanctification of our souls and bodies, grant that these may be even to me for the healing of my soul and body, for the averting of everything hostile, for the enlightenment of the eyes of my heart, for the peace of the powers of my soul, for unashamed faith, for sincere love, for the fullness of wisdom, for the keeping of Thy commandments, for an increase of Thy divine grace, and for familiarity with Thy Kingdom; that being kept by Them in Thy holiness I may ever remember Thy grace, and never live for myself but for Thee our Lord and Benefactor. And so when I have passed from existence here in the hope of eternal life, may I attain to everlasting rest, where the song is unceasing of those who keep festival and the joy is boundless of those who behold the ineffable beauty of Thy face. For Thou art the true desire and the unutterable gladness of those who love Thee, O Christ our God, and all creation sings of Thee throughout the ages.

Prayer of St. Basil the Great

Lord Christ our God, King of the ages and Creator of all, I thank Thee for all the blessings Thou hast granted me and for the communion of Thy pure and life-giving Mysteries. I pray Thee, therefore, good Lord and Lover of men, guard me under Thy protection and within the shadow of Thy wings; and grant me with a clear conscience till my last breath worthily to partake of Thy holy Things for forgiveness of sins and for life eternal. For Thou art the Bread of Life, the Source of Holiness, the Giver of all that is good, and to Thee we send up the glory, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer of St. Symeon the Translator

O Thou Who givest me willingly Thy Flesh for food,
Thou Who art fire, and burnest the unworthy,
Scorch me not, O my Maker,
But rather pass through me for the integration of my members,
Into all my joints, my affections, and my heart.
Burn up the thorns of all my sins.
Purify my soul, sanctify my mind;
Strengthen my knees and bones;
Enlighten the simplicity of my five senses.
Nail down the whole of me with Thy fear.
Ever protect, guard, and keep me
From every soul-destroying word and act.
Sanctify, purify, attune, and rule me.
Adorn me, give me understanding, and enlighten me.
Make me the habitation of Thy Spirit alone,
And no longer a habitation of sin,
That as Thy house from the entry of communion
Every evil spirit and passion may flee from me like fire.
I offer Thee as intercessors all the sanctified,
The Commanders of the Bodiless Hosts,
Thy Forerunner, the wise Apostles,
And Thy pure and immaculate Mother.
Receive their prayers, my compassionate Christ.
And make Thy slave a child of light.
For Thou alone art our sanctification, O Good One,
And the radiance of our souls,
And to Thee as our Lord and God as is right
We all give glory day and night.

Anonymous

May Thy Holy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, be to me for eternal life, and Thy Precious Blood for forgiveness of sins. And may this Eucharist be to me for joy, health, and gladness. And in Thy awful second coming, make me, a sinner, worthy to stand on the right hand of Thy glory, through the intercessions of Thy holy and most pure Mother and of all Thy Saints. Amen.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 11, 2012, 11:58:05 PM
What other biblical echoes are there that would suggest the bread and wine to be more than a symbolic memorial?

As far as the fathers of the church go, has any one of them written extensively on this that i would find useful to read?

A couple of things.

First, you may want to check out the following threads, "The Eucharist, representative or literally Christ?" (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,14613.0.html) and "This Food We Call the Eucharist" (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19850.0.html), as we've gone round and round that mulberry bush a few times. :)

In regards to Biblical evidence that the Eucharist is literally the Body and Blood of Christ, and that we are to partake of it to receive healing of soul and body, I point to the following verses:

"He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him" (John 6:55-57)

"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread." (1 Corinthians 10:16-17)

"For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body." (1 Corinthians 11:23-29)

Here are quotes from Early Church Fathers:

"Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox in regard to the grace of God which has come to us. They have no regard for charity, none for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, none for the man in prison, the hungry or the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead."

-St. Ignatius of Antioch "Letter to the Smyrnaeans", paragraph 6. circa 80-110 A.D.

"This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus."

St. Justin Martyr "First Apology", Ch. 66, inter A.D. 148-155.

"[Christ] has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own Blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own Body, from which he gives increase to our bodies."

Source: St. Irenaeus of Lyons,

"So then, if the mixed cup and the manufactured bread receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, that is to say, the Blood and Body of Christ, which fortify and build up the substance of our flesh, how can these people claim that the flesh is incapable of receiving God's gift of eternal life, when it is nourished by Christ's Blood and Body and is His member? As the blessed apostle says in his letter to the Ephesians, 'For we are members of His Body, of His flesh and of His bones' (Eph. 5:30). He is not talking about some kind of 'spiritual' and 'invisible' man, 'for a spirit does not have flesh an bones' (Lk. 24:39). No, he is talking of the organism possessed by a real human being, composed of flesh and nerves and bones. It is this which is nourished by the cup which is His Blood, and is fortified by the bread which is His Body. The stem of the vine takes root in the earth and eventually bears fruit, and 'the grain of wheat falls into the earth' (Jn. 12:24), dissolves, rises again, multiplied by the all-containing Spirit of God, and finally after skilled processing, is put to human use. These two then receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, which is the Body and Blood of Christ."

-ST. IRENAEUS OF LYONS, Against Heresies, 180 A.D.

"For just as the bread which comes from the earth, having received the invocation of God, is no longer ordinary bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly, so our bodies, having received the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, because they have the hope of the resurrection."

-ST. IRENAEUS OF LYONS "Five Books on the Unmasking and Refutation of the Falsely named Gnosis". Book 4:18 4-5, circa 180 A.D.

"Therefore with fullest assurance let us partake as of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure of Bread is given to thee His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that thou by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, mightest be made of the same body and the same blood with Him. For thus we come to bear Christ in us, because His Body and Blood are diffused through our members; thus it is that, according to the blessed Peter, (we become partaker of the divine nature.) [2 Peter 1:4]"

-ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM, 348-378 A.D. -"Catechetical Lectures [22 (Mystagogic 4), 1]

"When we speak of the reality of Christ's nature being in us, we would be speaking foolishly and impiously - had we not learned it from Him. For He Himself says: 'My Flesh is truly Food, and My Blood is truly Drink. He that eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood will remain in Me and I in him.' As to the reality of His Flesh and Blood, there is no room left for doubt, because now, both by the declaration of the Lord Himself and by our own faith, it is truly the Flesh and it is truly Blood. And These Elements bring it about, when taken and consumed, that we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Is this not true? Let those who deny that Jesus Christ is true God be free to find these things untrue. But He Himself is in us through the flesh and we are in Him, while that which we are with Him is in God."

-ST. HILARY OF POITERS -"The Trinity" [8,14] inter 356-359 A.D.

"When the word says, 'This is My Body,' be convinced of it and believe it, and look at it with the eyes of the mind. For Christ did not give us something tangible, but even in His tangible things all is intellectual. So too with Baptism: the gift is bestowed through what is a tangible thing, water; but what is accomplished is intellectually perceived: the birth and the renewal. If you were incorporeal He would have given you those incorporeal gifts naked; but since the soul is intertwined with the body, He hands over to you in tangible things that which is perceived intellectually. How many now say, 'I wish I could see His shape, His appearance, His garments, His sandals.' Only look! You see Him! You touch Him! You eat Him!"

-ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM -"Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew" [82,4] 370 A.D.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 12, 2012, 12:34:32 AM
Thread locked temporarily for maintenance
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 12, 2012, 01:13:06 AM
The off-topic chatter has been moved to Orthodox-Protestant Discussion (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?board=34).

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=42247.0 (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=42247.0)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 12, 2012, 01:14:28 AM
Thread now unlocked
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 12, 2012, 01:18:23 AM
Thread now unlocked

Hooray!!!!

(http://www.marthastewart.com/sites/files/marthastewart.com/images/content/pub/ms_living/2001Q4/ka98981_hol01_partyhat_xl.jpg)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FatherGiryus on January 12, 2012, 02:08:42 AM
Well, here's a big problem: the concept of 'symbolic' or 'symbolically' is a modern translation (when appearing in modern English translation of Scripture) of the Greek work for 'spiritually' (c.f. various translations of Re 11:7-9).  There really isn't such a category: 'symbol' as we now understand it as 'other' is not a Christian concept: we are made in the Image and Likeness of God, which is 'symbolic' in the strictest sense of the concept and yet we do not think of it that way.  Rather, a symbol is a means of connecting with the subject of the symbol.

In the case of the Eucharist, remember what Jesus Christ says:

Then Jesus said unto them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.  This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever." (John 6:53-58)

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body."  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (Matthew 26:26-28)

And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, "Take, eat: this is my body."  And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.  And he said unto them, "This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many." (Mark 14:22-24)

And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me."  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:19-20)


Notice all of these quotes use the term 'this is...'  We take that seriously.

Here is St. Paul...

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.  Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (1 Corinthians 11:23-30)

Do you think the Corinthians were dying and getting sick from a 'symbol' as you understand it?

I will have to do a little research to find an accessible reading list for you.

Anyway, I hope you see where we are coming from on this.


Oh, dear!  Not in 'some ways,' but as its primary!

This is what Orthodoxy is about: the spiritual experience of Christ within our neighbor and ourselves.  Everywhere there is the Image and Likeness of God there is an opportunity to encounter God through this Image and Likeness, just as we encounter the Father through the Son.

When we live according to love for others, we discover the love of God, which in turn provides us with love for others.  Yes, it is circular, but it is also hopeful!  God gives us the love to love others, which in turn allows us to experience His love.


I've never quite looked at this like that before -- a mystical encounter with Christ. I suppose this is how you all see the Eucharist as well in some ways.

What other biblical echoes are there that would suggest the bread and wine to be more than a symbolic memorial?

As far as the fathers of the church go, has any one of them written extensively on this that i would find useful to read?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Fotina02 on January 12, 2012, 10:32:35 AM
Fountain Pen,

Thank you for responding to my post and for clarifying your position on a number of issues. I apologize if my tone was curt.

While I understand getting to an Orthodox parish may be difficult, I would highly recommend ordering Timothy Ware's "The Orthodox Church." It is available on http://www.amazon.co.uk/ in both paperback and kindle format.

Timothy Ware (now +Metropolitan Kallistos Ware) does an excellent job explaining the history of the Orthodox Church, what we believe, and why. Admittedly, it can be a little dry at times. (He is after all, an Oxford scholar.) However, it has become a standard in most Orthodox catechism, and is a tried and true resource for information on the Church.

I am not trying to dismiss your questions or to stop you from asking them on the forum, but I think this will help you dive deeper into your inquiry of Orthodoxy and be able to ask more focused questions.

On a seperate note, I'd like to address one item you listed in your post to me:

If i can explain -- when people feed the poor and it isn't a mission headed up with a preacher making a big fuss about saving the lost and telling them about Jesus, unless there is activity of people preaching and teaching the gospel, such as there is when our church has sent a group out to do a homeless soup run, then i am thinking it's purely (and rightly) humanitarian. We do all need to care for those less fortunate than ourselves and sometimes we are the less fortunate and need others to help.

I should have asked a clear question, I'm sorry.

I'm not saying the way our church did it was correct, i don't think it was and it doesn't matter anyway. I was simply trying to establish what happened in these activities and whether any preaching or witnessing happened.

Obviously, I cannot address how every humanitarian action carried out by the Orthodox Church worldwide is done, but I would like to say this: sometimes, what seems like a humanitarian action on the outside is exactly what is needed to save souls. Let me give you a personal example:

A friend of mine has a mother who is a Russian Jew and a father who is an Egyptian Muslim. As a child, she attended Catholic school and had been exposed to Protestant Christianity through friends. Although she believed in a god, she didn't follow any particular faith tradition.

Two years ago, she started to date a man who happened to be Russian Orthodox. He brought her to Church with him and introduced her to some of his friends and the priest at coffee hour.

Now, my friend is a very open individual and will basically tell you her life story the first time you meet her.

During introductions, she mentioned she was going to be having surgery, and would be laid up for a few weeks, but would have no one to take care of her.

The people she had just met for the first time at Church set about making a schedule so that each of them would take turns bringing her meals, taking care of her animals, and making sure she was okay. Even the priest volunteered!

They did so without obligation that she ever return to the Church.

My friend was so impressed by the hospitality demonstrated by these individuals over the coming weeks that she did return. She began meeting with the priest and asking questions. Ultimately, a little over a year later, she was baptized and chrismated into the Church.

So what started out as a humanitarian mission turned out to be just what she needed to come to know Christ.

Hope this helps,

HofG

That is an incredibly impressive account and a wonderful testimony of their faithfulness and love which resulted in salvation. That, to me, is a far more effective way of 'evangelising' than the leaflet distributing, event driven, hard sell, that i've experienced.

I'm glad we've come to an understanding as i really appreciate your posts and always try not to miss any.

And -- i'll get the book  ::)  ;D

You can read it online:

http://www.intratext.com/x/eng0804.htm

http://www.synaxis.org/catechist/Orthodox_Church.html
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Fotina02 on January 12, 2012, 10:47:27 AM
A resource for the UK

http://www.theorthodoxchurch.co.uk/orthodox/Welcome.html
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 12, 2012, 02:00:52 PM

Do you think the Corinthians were dying and getting sick from a 'symbol' as you understand it?


I would have said that given the scriptures make it clear that it's what comes out of a man that makes him unclean, not what goes into him (Mark 7: Matthew 15) that it is his heart attitude which brings condemnation upon himself.

As i think about that now, i can see it's lacking.

I'll have to think about it.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: FountainPen on January 12, 2012, 02:03:42 PM
Thanks for the resources all of you.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 13, 2012, 01:27:46 PM
The tangent on the Eucharist has been moved here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,42247.msg693147.html#msg693147 (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,42247.msg693147.html#msg693147). BGTF, please do try to keep our threads on topic. Thank you.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: tangentdi on January 13, 2012, 05:11:41 PM
Just a quick request for the sake of keeping my mind un cluttered on the topic. Do you think you could summarize your view on the church invisible fountain pen? I've so far very much enjoyed reading your posts. And have developed a good respect for you.

God bless!

Td Andreis.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: tweety234 on January 02, 2013, 03:12:00 PM


Luke 6:45
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh".





I was once talking with my psychotherapist about that one. In her terms, indeed what is in heart (thoughts), affects the behaviour. So basically whatever we do. We are motivated by something we feel in our hearts.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: tweety234 on January 02, 2013, 03:15:41 PM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.


you may be right.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: biro on January 02, 2013, 03:20:34 PM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.


you may be right.

No, she wasn't.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 02, 2013, 03:22:01 PM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.


you may be right.

No, she wasn't.
She also hasn't posted here since May of last year.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: Cyrillic on January 02, 2013, 03:24:47 PM
If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

If the presence of a physical Church was not important, then why did the Apostles go to the Temple daily after Pentecost to worship God? (Acts 2:46) They could have stayed in the Upper Room and prayed, but they went to the Temple as well.

God outlined how Temple worship was to be conducted and how the Temple was to be decorated in the Old Testament. The Orthodox Church took what was given to us in the Old, and completed it with God's covenant from the New.

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.


you may be right.

No, she wasn't.
She also hasn't posted here since May of last year.

With " Is not wasting any more of her ink" above her avatar.
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: mike on January 02, 2013, 03:44:15 PM
Invisible church? I've found one.

(https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/p206x206/28738_402225216514113_1443103677_n.jpg)
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: JamesR on January 03, 2013, 08:59:31 PM
All right who necro-bumped this thread?
Title: Re: Church Invisible
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 04, 2013, 03:53:35 AM
All right who necro-bumped this thread?
The Necromancer