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Author Topic: Why do you want me in your church?  (Read 1622 times) Average Rating: 0
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trifecta
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« on: January 23, 2008, 06:29:01 AM »

Ebor in another thread (that was going off topic) asked me the question in the subject line.
So, I thought I would continue it in a new thread.

My answer was that, yes, I want everyone to join my church.  With Orthodoxy the answer goes deeper than that.  The church is, we believe, the one established by Jesus Christ and remains his mystical Body.  What can compare with that? 

The Protestant answer is usually the same.*  Go to the church that feels right to you.  After years as a Protestant, I find that answer less than satisfying.  That answer not only places too much discretion on the individual, it is bound to lead to divisions, since we are all different.  Furthermore, this answer tacitly admits that no church has the truth.  If one is just as good as the next even though there are doctrinal differences, how certain are these denominations about what they believe?


I am not saying I do not have respect for Protestants.  My best friend is an Anglican and have great respect for him as a Christian, but Protestants don't want to deal with this issue of the church.
What irks me is when they deflect it by accusing us of creating disunity by claiming a single undivided church.

 
trifecta


*The other possible answer is our dinky denomination established late in history is the only one that is true.  That answer is much worse than what is described above.
 
   
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2008, 04:28:07 PM »

I don't want everyone in my Church.  I'm simply not that charitable.  There are a lot of people I want in my Church, because I do really believe it is the Pearl of Great Price.  It is so real, so right, there is no way for me to adequately describe it.

I only pray that I will learn enough charity to want more people than I do to join the Orthodox Church, even if I never grow enough to want everyone.
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2008, 09:16:53 AM »

I don't want everyone in my Church.  I'm simply not that charitable.  There are a lot of people I want in my Church, because I do really believe it is the Pearl of Great Price.  It is so real, so right, there is no way for me to adequately describe it.

I only pray that I will learn enough charity to want more people than I do to join the Orthodox Church, even if I never grow enough to want everyone.

Post of the month nominee, for the sheer honesty.
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2008, 10:48:06 AM »

I don't want everyone in my Church.  I'm simply not that charitable.  There are a lot of people I want in my Church, because I do really believe it is the Pearl of Great Price.  It is so real, so right, there is no way for me to adequately describe it.

I only pray that I will learn enough charity to want more people than I do to join the Orthodox Church, even if I never grow enough to want everyone.

AF:  You just pegged the practical meaning of repentance and Theosis.  I bet there isn't one person on this board who can say they feel brotherly or sisterly love for absolutely everyone in their church or daily life.  Most of us just hide it; we avoid that person at coffee hour because they are weird, obnoxious, old, arrogant, or they aren't meeting our expectations of what an Orthodox Christian should be - not churchy enough.  It would be the same thing if some drunk or mentally ill street person showed up on Sunday morning.  As long as we're being frank here, that's something I struggle with because I feel uncomfortable and a little scared of encounters like this. 

So good, you admit you don't want everyone in church with you, and even better that you realize this is something to work on.  I agree with Veniamin.  That is honest and noble.
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2014, 05:07:32 PM »

I don't want everyone in my Church.  I'm simply not that charitable.  There are a lot of people I want in my Church, because I do really believe it is the Pearl of Great Price.  It is so real, so right, there is no way for me to adequately describe it.

I only pray that I will learn enough charity to want more people than I do to join the Orthodox Church, even if I never grow enough to want everyone.

Post of the month nominee, for the sheer honesty.

We had posts of the month all the way back in 2008? Huh, learn something every day. Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2014, 05:47:05 PM »

resurrecting threads from 2008?
time to get off computer and speak to a 'real human being'...
 Wink

seriously, go pray for 5 minutes, then call someone or walk the neighbour's dog, or go shopping or wash up your plates or something.

(ok, if you are really, really bored, you can send a personal message instead. even though i am only a cyber borg, i am more interesting than resurrecting old threads)
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Ersaia
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2014, 12:40:54 AM »

resurrecting threads from 2008?
time to get off computer and speak to a 'real human being'...
 Wink


the previous topic I just read was from 2004
 Embarrassed


someone needs new topics
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David Young
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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2014, 05:24:37 PM »

Protestants don't want to deal with this issue of the church.

I suspect you are right about a lot of churchgoers who love the Lord, seek to know and serve him, but think little about ecclesiology; but I do not believe that we have no ecclesiology, or that none of us thinks through these issues. I have had long debates on this forum on the matter, and I think I now understand your position. But I (and I do not think I am unique in this) have pondered long and hard and have emerged intellectually persuaded of the Baptist position, though I am not from a Baptist family or background, nor was I brought to faith in a Baptist context. You are more than welcome to say I am mistaken, but you would be wrong to say I, and doubtless many others like me, "don't want to deal with this issue of the church."
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2014, 05:30:31 PM »

But I (and I do not think I am unique in this) have pondered long and hard and have emerged intellectually persuaded of the Baptist position, though I am not from a Baptist family or background, nor was I brought to faith in a Baptist context.

What is the "Baptist position"? 
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« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2014, 01:57:21 AM »

But I (and I do not think I am unique in this) have pondered long and hard and have emerged intellectually persuaded of the Baptist position, though I am not from a Baptist family or background, nor was I brought to faith in a Baptist context.

What is the "Baptist position"? 

That those who accept Christ and have been born again and who accept the essential doctrines (e.g. the Trinity) of Christianity are part of the invisible Church and that it is not necessary to have visible unity or agree on the non-essentials to be part of the invisible Church.
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« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2014, 02:07:40 AM »

But I (and I do not think I am unique in this) have pondered long and hard and have emerged intellectually persuaded of the Baptist position, though I am not from a Baptist family or background, nor was I brought to faith in a Baptist context.

What is the "Baptist position"? 

That those who accept Christ and have been born again and who accept the essential doctrines (e.g. the Trinity) of Christianity are part of the invisible Church and that it is not necessary to have visible unity or agree on the non-essentials to be part of the invisible Church.

Assuming this is what David had in mind when he spoke of the "Baptist position", I would still like to hear from him (and others?) about how they were "intellectually persuaded" of the truth of this position.  How does one square an invisible Church with a visible Christ? 
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David Young
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« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2014, 04:42:28 AM »

But I (and I do not think I am unique in this) have pondered long and hard and have emerged intellectually persuaded of the Baptist position, though I am not from a Baptist family or background, nor was I brought to faith in a Baptist context.

What is the "Baptist position"? 

That those who accept Christ and have been born again and who accept the essential doctrines (e.g. the Trinity) of Christianity are part of the invisible Church and that it is not necessary to have visible unity or agree on the non-essentials to be part of the invisible Church.

Hmmm... I think you are mingling different themes. I assumed the thread is only about ecclesiology, but your reply seems wider, reaching out into soteriology, and what doctrines might be deemed particularly characteristic of Evangelicalism. Forgive me if I have misunderstood you.

In re the church, we hold that each congregation is autonomous, that is, runs its own affairs subject to the Headship of Christ. Thus we have no wider authority, such as bishops. This is not the same as isolationist, as we believe in voluntary association, fellowship and cooperation between local churches. But no external authority wields power over the local church. This, of course, is not uniquely Baptist, as it is held also by Congregational churches, by (I believe) the Assemblies of God, and many unaffiliated independent congregations. Membership of a local church is through baptism, which of course means of believers: but I do not think that is unique to us either. So a church is a body of baptised believers who meet regularly for fellowship, prayer, teaching, and the Lord's Supper.

Yes, we hold "the essential doctrines of Christianity" such as the Nicene Creed, though we give a different interpretation to the Greek pronoun 'eis' regarding baptism 'for' the remission of sins: more like a wedding ring, which does not efect the marriage, but is an important element for it.

What characterises Evangelicals (among which we are) is usually agreed to be four matters: a strong view of the authority of scripture; an active, expansionist commitment to evangelism; the centrality of the Cross; the need for the new birth which takes place when a person believes and is justified before God. I would add the doctrine of assurance: the witness of the Spirit that one is a child of God.

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« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2014, 04:51:19 AM »

the "Baptist position", I would still like to hear from him (and others?) about how they were "intellectually persuaded" of the truth of this position.

It probably doesn't become personally important, and therefore command a great deal of attention and thought, until one wishes to go into the ministry. As Christians in ordinary day to day life, people tend to be content to worship where the Evangelical faith is preached and practised (I speak of England: I am not familiar with America), and so one would find oneself worshipping in the Church of England, a Baptist church, an independent, or wherever one found that faith practised. You must remember that this is in a country where may 2% of the population are in church on Sundays, and one cannot perhaps find any Evangelical church within reasonable distance. In fact even here in Wrexham we have people coming from say 16 miles away (further on our winding rounds than on American ones!). If however one wishes to move on into the ministry, then one needs to consider what form of church government seems closest to the biblical pattern, and in the absence of apostles, autonomy with links of fellowship seems to fit the bill. We believe of course that the Greek word translated bishop in the New Testament referrerd to ministers of local chruches, not to the present episcopal pattern.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 04:53:13 AM by David Young » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2014, 10:45:27 AM »

David, thank you for your posts and openness to civilised discussion.

We believe of course that the Greek word translated bishop in the New Testament referrerd to ministers of local chruches, not to the present episcopal pattern.
In the NT area and in the pre-Constantinian period, a bishop was indeed the leader of the congregation in one city. But the principle was one bishop per city, so once there were several congregations per city, the bishop appointed presbyters to lead the other ones.

Now I do agree it's a misdevelopment that nowadays dioceses span whole countries. On the other hand, unity in Orthodoxy is visible unity, and also unity hypostasised in one person. So whereas it seems possible, if I understand you correctly, that there are several bishops, each presiding their congregation, in one city, this remains impossible for us (at least in theory...). In the NT, we also see there are the Christians of Ephesus, of Corinth or wherever. It's just not a possibility to have two separate structures in one city.
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« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2014, 08:48:01 PM »

But I (and I do not think I am unique in this) have pondered long and hard and have emerged intellectually persuaded of the Baptist position, though I am not from a Baptist family or background, nor was I brought to faith in a Baptist context.

What is the "Baptist position"? 

That those who accept Christ and have been born again and who accept the essential doctrines (e.g. the Trinity) of Christianity are part of the invisible Church and that it is not necessary to have visible unity or agree on the non-essentials to be part of the invisible Church.

Hmmm... I think you are mingling different themes. I assumed the thread is only about ecclesiology, but your reply seems wider, reaching out into soteriology, and what doctrines might be deemed particularly characteristic of Evangelicalism. Forgive me if I have misunderstood you.


Sorry, you're right. I was going off on a bunny trail....
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