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Author Topic: The Church, The Body of Christ  (Read 2530 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 05, 2011, 04:26:24 PM »

I`m opening this thread in this section because I want non-Orthodox (Catholics,Protestants, etc) to participate in this discussion also.So here goes:

What is the Church, the Body of Christ?Christ said that the gates of hell(hades) shall not prevail against the Church.. What did he mean?What is the Church that shall not be prevailed against?
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2011, 05:30:17 PM »

St. Ignatius refers to the Church as the body of Christ, united in faith, hope and charity, gathered about their bishops, presbyters, and deacons.

This also works:

Quote
The Orthodox see the description of the Church (Ecclessia) as the "Body of Christ" as being inextricably connected to Holy Communion. According to St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 35-107), the unity of the Church is expressed in Eucharistic terms. Just as there are many offerings made throughout the world on any given day, and yet all partake of one and the same Body of Christ, so the Church, though existing in many separate localities, is only one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_of_Christ

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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2011, 06:23:02 PM »

The church are the people of God. Those made alive to Christ through the Spirit via the revelation of who Christ is...."Who do you say that i am?" is the all important question. Flesh and blood cannot reveal this to us, only the Spirit of God can open our eyes to who Christ is. Those who can answer this, evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit in their lives (love, peace, joy, etc...), are the church.

Death has no sting for those who are in Christ and the gates of hell will not prevail because Christ is risen and is victorious.
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2011, 03:13:27 AM »

And of course this question naturally leads to the critically important question of how; how do we experience Christ and how are we incorporated into his Body? Through the Church and through her mysteries; above all through baptism and the eucharist.

I believe this is the point where we will find the most contradiction between the Orthodox and the Protestant position.

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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2011, 12:38:07 PM »

The Church is the Body of Christ established on Pentecost. The apostles were given the Holy Spirit sent by Christ Himself from the Father, they preached the faith, baptized people into Christ, established local communities of believers, and ordained leadership in those communities. The Church is the historical continuation of that organized body of believers. One becomes a member of Christ by baptism, is sealed by the gift of the Holy Spirit given by the laying on of hands, continues in that unity in Communion, and if that sacramental unity is disrupted we are told to be reconciled to our brother and to confess our faults so that they may be healed, all of which is conducted as a body and presided over by the proper authority given through ordination of the bishop and the presbyters by bishops ordained by bishops... ordained by the apostles ordained by Christ Himself.
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2011, 12:56:26 PM »

The church are the people of God. Those made alive to Christ through the Spirit via the revelation of who Christ is...."Who do you say that i am?" is the all important question. Flesh and blood cannot reveal this to us, only the Spirit of God can open our eyes to who Christ is. Those who can answer this, evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit in their lives (love, peace, joy, etc...), are the church.

Death has no sting for those who are in Christ and the gates of hell will not prevail because Christ is risen and is victorious.

And what of the visible element of the church, that which is the pillar and foundation of the truth?
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2011, 03:00:03 PM »

The church are the people of God. Those made alive to Christ through the Spirit via the revelation of who Christ is...."Who do you say that i am?" is the all important question. Flesh and blood cannot reveal this to us, only the Spirit of God can open our eyes to who Christ is. Those who can answer this, evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit in their lives (love, peace, joy, etc...), are the church.

Death has no sting for those who are in Christ and the gates of hell will not prevail because Christ is risen and is victorious.

And what of the visible element of the church, that which is the pillar and foundation of the truth?

I've often thought, if there was no visible Church and authority had no meaning, why would the Apostles go thorugh all the trouble of annointing bishops and priests? Why would the letters to these churches be stressing the importance of their collective faith if there was no visible Church?

PP
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2011, 04:25:50 PM »

I agree on a small scale, there has to be some visible church structure (at least) for accountability to each other and organisation. We all have different gifts and abilities so would be suited to different roles that would benefit the whole body.
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2011, 05:21:58 PM »

From a Catholic perspective.  The simplified or catechetical version:

http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/chura1.htm

The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ

by Fr. William G. Most

Speaking of full membership in the Church, Pius XII, in his Encyclical on the Mystical Body, said it is the society of those who have been baptized, and who profess the faith of Christ, and who are governed by their bishops under the visible head, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome.

The Church came into being when Christ died on the Cross, but it was formally inaugurated on Pentecost, when He sent the Holy Spirit as He had promised. St. Paul speaks of all Christians as members of Christ, so that with Him, they form one Mystical Body (Cf. 1 Cor 12:12-31; Col 1:18; 2:18-20; Eph. 1:22-23; 3:19; 4:13). St. Paul did not use the word Mystical. It was developed more recently to bring out the fact that this union is unique, there is no parallel to it. It is not the same as the union of a physical body, nor that of a business corporation.

The Church, the Mystical Body, exists on this earth, and is called the Church militant, because its members struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil. The Church suffering means the souls in Purgatory. The Church triumphant is the Church in heaven. The unity and cooperation of the members of the Church on earth, in Purgatory, in Heaven is also called the Communion of Saints. When St. Paul uses the word "Saints" in opening an Epistle, he does not mean they are morally perfect. He has in mind Hebrew qadosh, which means set aside for God, or coming under the covenant. Being such means of course they are called to moral perfection. But of course, not all have reached it in this world.

The word "Saint" in the modern sense means someone who has been canonized by the Church in recent times, or was accepted as such by the Church in earlier times. If a person is shown to have practiced heroic virtue--beyond what people in general do - in all virtues, the title "Venerable" is given; with two miracles by that one's intercession, the title is "Blessed"; two more miracles can lead to canonization and the title of Saint.

Taken from The Basic Catholic Catechism
PART FIVE: The Apostles' Creed IX-XII
Ninth Article: "The Holy Catholic Church; the Communion of Saints"

By William G. Most. (c) Copyright 1990 by William G. Most
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2011, 05:25:17 PM »

Another Catholic perspective.  A shade more complex.  Continues at the site:

http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Mystical_Body/Mystical_Body_004.htm

The Church as the Mystical Body of Christ

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

The historical origins of the adjective “Mystical” to describe the Church as the Body of Christ may be traced to the first Apostles Peter and Paul. In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle of the Gentiles urges them to “preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit,” and to the Philippians he describes the Christian community as “a fellowship in the Spirit.” St. Peter is somewhat more explicit when he calls the Church “a spiritual home.”

Gradually the concept of the Church as a spiritual society became so common that practically all the Fathers favored the name and went a step beyond the Pauline phrase by combining two ideas that were found separated in the Scriptures, namely, Body and Spirit. Clement of Alexandria in the early third century spoke of “the spiritual Body which is the holy Church,” and Tertullian clearly distinguished between “the spiritual Body of Christ” and the Church, and the “carnal body of Christ” as a man.

A new note was added to the idea of spirit when the Church came to be looked upon as a mystery, in the sacramental sense of mysterion or a visible entity that symbolizes the invisible grace it confers. Warrant for this appellation was found in St. Paul, where he compares the union of man and wife in marriage with the union of Christ and the Church, and describes both alliances as a mystery. Thus St. Augustine could write that even the wicked members of the Church are subject to “the Sacrament of the Body of Christ,” i.e., to ecclesiastical authority. And Pope Leo I crystallized the “mystery-concept” of the Church when he declared that “those who are outside the unity of the Christian name” are “outside the Sacrament of the Body of Christ.” In England, Bede the Venerable described the faithful as “belonging to the mystery of the Catholic Church.”

There is no evidence however, that the three elements of spirit, Mystery and the Body of Christ were combined into a single term before the Middle Ages. It appears that William of Auxerre (died 1231) was the first to distinguish “the natural Body of Christ” and “the Mystical and gratuitous Body of Christ,” where the word “gratuitous” refers to the grace of God. Within less than a century, the title found its way into a solemn definition, the famous Bull Unam Sanctam of Boniface VIII, who declared: “There is only one Catholic Church, and that one apostolic ... Thus the spouse proclaims in the Canticle, ‘One is my dove: my perfect one is but one. She is the only one of her mother, the chosen one of her that bore her.’ Now this chosen one represents the one Mystical Body whose Head is Christ, and Christ’s head is God.” Meanwhile St. Thomas followed the usage of William of Auxerre and clarified the difference between the natural body of Christ and His Mystical Body of which we are the members. As a result the terminology entered the stream of theological thought, to reach its highest point of development in the Mystici Corporis Christi of Pope Pius XII.
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2011, 05:32:15 PM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystici_Corporis_Christi

Papal Encyclical on the Mystical Body of Christ.  Link to the full document at Wiki site. 
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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2011, 03:04:44 PM »

If it is an organizational Church than what does it mean "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" ?
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2011, 08:21:27 PM »

If it is an organizational Church than what does it mean "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" ?

Partly, that it never disappeared, it never "went apostate," it never fell into complete error.  I don't know your background, but before coming to the Orthodox church,  I'd had a vague understanding -- if I thought about it at all, which I very rarely did -- that after the time of the apostles (within the first couple of centuries), the church somehow fell away from a true faith and was in darkness for numerous years. Finally, with the Reformation, things started getting straightened out again and in the last 100 years or so, the church was given back the fullness of the Holy Spirit through Pentecostalism/ the charismatic church.  

In Orthodoxy, we're saying that this is all posh, and that the church was one, united, strong, growing and FULL from the time of the apostles on -- and that that very same church still exists today (the Orthodox Church), with an unbroken line through history.   Here's a timeline for you to consider:  http://www.antiochian.org/orthodox-church-history
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2011, 08:52:33 PM »

If it is an organizational Church than what does it mean "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" ?

There will at least be one bishop out there who has not lost the faith that was once delivered.
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2011, 08:56:24 PM »

the church is present in its fullness wherever the local body gathers around their bishop (or his priests) to celebrate the eucharist.
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« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2011, 12:48:21 AM »

If it is an organizational Church than what does it mean "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" ?

It's a spiritual church and that's the reason why the gates of hell shall not prevail because of the cross and the finished work of the cross.

Not at all by any efforts man himself can achieve over the centuries.
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« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2011, 02:19:42 AM »

If it is an organizational Church than what does it mean "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" ?

Partly, that it never disappeared, it never "went apostate," it never fell into complete error.  I don't know your background, but before coming to the Orthodox church,  I'd had a vague understanding -- if I thought about it at all, which I very rarely did -- that after the time of the apostles (within the first couple of centuries), the church somehow fell away from a true faith and was in darkness for numerous years. Finally, with the Reformation, things started getting straightened out again and in the last 100 years or so, the church was given back the fullness of the Holy Spirit through Pentecostalism/ the charismatic church.  

In Orthodoxy, we're saying that this is all posh, and that the church was one, united, strong, growing and FULL from the time of the apostles on -- and that that very same church still exists today (the Orthodox Church), with an unbroken line through history.   Here's a timeline for you to consider:  http://www.antiochian.org/orthodox-church-history

Precisely. That which is true, if it is true, must be true 2000 years ago up to now. That which was handed down by the apostles had to be continously handed down until this very day in a clear and unbroken line for us to possess the truth now as it was then; otherwise the gates of Hades would had overcome the Church, something which we know by faith will not happen. If the bishops had entirely 'lost their way' some time after the 1st century, as some would claim, then they are admitting that the gates of hell prevailed over the church. That "pillar and foundation of the truth" must have remained from Pentecost until the present day.
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« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2011, 05:49:58 AM »

If it is an organizational Church than what does it mean "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" ?
It's a spiritual church and that's the reason why the gates of hell shall not prevail because of the cross and the finished work of the cross.

Not at all by any efforts man himself can achieve over the centuries.

Because it's impossible that God could have anything to do with establishing, guiding, and preserving the community that He founded on the day of Pentecost. The Church is sacramental, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and the sacraments are rooted in our participation in what Christ accomplished once for all on the cross. We are baptized into HIs death and raised up in the newness of His life, we are sealed with His Holy Spirit at chrismation, we proclaim His death until He returns when we celebrate the Eucharist, we seek Christ's forgiveness and reconciliation to His Church in confession, a man and woman become "what God has joined together" in the sacrament of marriage, it is God that we seek healing from in the anointing of the sick, and the authority to preside over and serve within the Church as a bishop, priest , or deacon is a gift from God given and sealed by God in ordination.

And finally, and most important, this statement denies our responisibility, and even worse, the capability granted by God for us to be obedient to His grace, and His faithfulness and ability to preserve us as long as we seek to be conformed to Him under His authority.
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« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2011, 06:50:12 AM »

How does it deny our responsibility? Just because our efforts aren't salvific it still means we need to be obedient.
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« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2011, 09:29:48 AM »

How does it deny our responsibility?

Our role in our salvation becomes purely passive instead of that of active participation in what Christ has accomplished for us.

Quote
Just because our efforts aren't salvific it still means we need to be obedient.

They are when we turn to God for the strength that we put into our effort and our purpose is to draw near to Him in response to His calling.
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« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2011, 12:36:09 PM »

How does it deny our responsibility?

Our role in our salvation becomes purely passive instead of that of active participation in what Christ has accomplished for us.

Quote
Just because our efforts aren't salvific it still means we need to be obedient.

They are when we turn to God for the strength that we put into our effort and our purpose is to draw near to Him in response to His calling.

We don't have a role in salvation other than to accept what Christ has done, by faith, and be thankful.

I won't pull up several scriptures because you're probably familiar with them and i suspect you'd have responses to them that i'd not agree with.
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« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2011, 12:43:15 PM »

How does it deny our responsibility?

Our role in our salvation becomes purely passive instead of that of active participation in what Christ has accomplished for us.

Quote
Just because our efforts aren't salvific it still means we need to be obedient.

They are when we turn to God for the strength that we put into our effort and our purpose is to draw near to Him in response to His calling.

We don't have a role in salvation other than to accept what Christ has done, by faith, and be thankful.

I won't pull up several scriptures because you're probably familiar with them and i suspect you'd have responses to them that i'd not agree with.
And we'll not pull up the entire book of James and Christ's words Himself for the same reason.

PP
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« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2011, 12:59:30 PM »

How does it deny our responsibility?

Our role in our salvation becomes purely passive instead of that of active participation in what Christ has accomplished for us.

Quote
Just because our efforts aren't salvific it still means we need to be obedient.

They are when we turn to God for the strength that we put into our effort and our purpose is to draw near to Him in response to His calling.

We don't have a role in salvation other than to accept what Christ has done, by faith, and be thankful.

I won't pull up several scriptures because you're probably familiar with them and i suspect you'd have responses to them that i'd not agree with.
And we'll not pull up the entire book of James and Christ's words Himself for the same reason.

PP

That's the difficulty and it's so frustrating. You're saying that there is no room in Orthodoxy for eisegesis?

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« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2011, 01:12:33 PM »

How does it deny our responsibility?

Our role in our salvation becomes purely passive instead of that of active participation in what Christ has accomplished for us.

Quote
Just because our efforts aren't salvific it still means we need to be obedient.

They are when we turn to God for the strength that we put into our effort and our purpose is to draw near to Him in response to His calling.

We don't have a role in salvation other than to accept what Christ has done, by faith, and be thankful.

I won't pull up several scriptures because you're probably familiar with them and i suspect you'd have responses to them that i'd not agree with.
And we'll not pull up the entire book of James and Christ's words Himself for the same reason.

PP

That's the difficulty and it's so frustrating. You're saying that there is no room in Orthodoxy for eisegesis?


No, since eisegesis is the misinterpretation of scripture by its very definition. I believe that any interpretation must be done in the context of the Church. The Church brought together what is canon, and I trust the faith and beliefs of the Fathers and to whom they passed their authority down. The specific reason why St. Peter warned against any one person interpreting the scriptures, or the  teachings of the apostles of any kind, and running with it on their own is exactly why we have the problem we have today. We have 25,000 denominations stating they are guided by the Holy Spirit and that they're right and everybody else is wrong (who also contrarily, those accused of such say about everyone else). It is also the reason that I and I Corinthians and Galatio were written in the first place.

The Church gathered the Canon.It said what is canon and what is not by the Tradition and teaching of the Church. Therefore, one should only interpret the scriptures in the context of the Church.

How nonsensical is it to accept the canon that the Church put together, but reject their faith and doctrine, which was the main component of their foundation  to discern what is canon?

PP
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« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2011, 01:53:06 PM »

What say you of other Orthodox churches who are not in communion with us, even the Roman Catholics , who all claim apostolic succesion and doctrinal purity?
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« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2011, 01:53:41 PM »

What say you of other Orthodox churches who are not in communion with us, even the Roman Catholics , who all claim apostolic succesion and doctrinal purity?


They are wrong.
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« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2011, 01:59:17 PM »

What say you of other Orthodox churches who are not in communion with us, even the Roman Catholics , who all claim apostolic succesion and doctrinal purity?


Not sure what you mean by the "other Orthodox churches" but we believe that the fullness of the faith is present in Orthodoxy and that we have most faithfully preserved that which was handed down by the apostles. We encourage others to investigate these claims for themselves and draw their own conclusions.
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« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2011, 02:09:27 PM »

What say you of other Orthodox churches who are not in communion with us, even the Roman Catholics , who all claim apostolic succesion and doctrinal purity?

Despite their claims to the contrary, if they are not in communion with the canonical Orthodox Church, then their claim to be Orthodox is incorrect; as Orthodoxy requires communion with the Church, and adherence to the dictates and the decisions the Church comes to.

EXAMPLE:
I am Western Rite. If the Church holds a pan-Orthodox conference and the product of that conference is the declaration that the Western Rite is non-Orthodox, I would, even though I would be saddened and I would disagree, abandon it immidately. This is because the lord put the Bishop in a place of authority and it is my responsibility to honor that authority. The Lord will hold the bishops accountable for their part, just as He will hold me accountable for my part.

Stating that they're wrong and Im right and breaking off is no different than the 25,000 protestant denominations have done, nor any different than Rome did (IMHO of course Wink ).

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« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2011, 07:58:48 PM »

What say you of other Orthodox churches who are not in communion with us, even the Roman Catholics , who all claim apostolic succesion and doctrinal purity?


They are wrong.

says who?

what about breaking the canons of the pan-orthodox councils and orthodox post schism fathers concerning the change of the calendar and being anathema over that?

that sure isn`t canonical purity, so?

which one is it?

Also, the Papacy is atleast historically accurate.
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« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2011, 08:00:14 PM »

says who?

The Church.

Quote
what about breaking the canons of the pan-orthodox councils and orthodox post schism fathers concerning the change of the calendar and being anathema over that?

Such as...

Quote
Also, the Papacy is atleast historically accurate.

Yes, but not in the way it's performed now.
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No-one bound by fleshly pleasures is worthy ...


« Reply #30 on: December 08, 2011, 08:37:10 PM »

The church are the people of God. Those made alive to Christ through the Spirit via the revelation of who Christ is...."Who do you say that i am?" is the all important question. Flesh and blood cannot reveal this to us, only the Spirit of God can open our eyes to who Christ is. Those who can answer this, evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit in their lives (love, peace, joy, etc...), are the church.

Death has no sting for those who are in Christ and the gates of hell will not prevail because Christ is risen and is victorious.

And what of the visible element of the church, that which is the pillar and foundation of the truth?

I've often thought, if there was no visible Church and authority had no meaning, why would the Apostles go thorugh all the trouble of annointing bishops and priests? Why would the letters to these churches be stressing the importance of their collective faith if there was no visible Church?

PP

I would be grateful for your views here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,41329.0.html

I have had the same thoughts many times, but they seem not to occur to many others. There must be some obvious counter-argument I am missing.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2011, 08:39:33 PM by akimori makoto » Logged

The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.
puppyshoes
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I asked God for the Truth, it was there all along!


« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2012, 11:44:28 PM »

Shocked
The Church in the west did change, and by the time Martin Luther came along I doubt anyone from the 1st century would have even recognized Her.  These days everyone must be "nice" and never say anything that might offend people in another "branch" of the Church.  There are no "branches" in the Church our Lord established!  There's only ONE CHURCH.  Jesus made that point very clear.  I think that the problem lies in people getting the 1st amendment of the US constitution mixed up with the truths of the Bible and Holy Church  Tradition.  The US constitution is an imperfect document, while the Church is Apostolic, and will be with out spot or wrinkle when Christ returns for Her.  Martin Luther was a well educated man and was well aware of the Eastern Church, which contained none of the flaws listed in the paper he nailed to the church door.  He choose to start his own church.  As a result of ego or something else, the western side of the church has splintered to a point where it's hard to conceive of protestants ever agreeing with each other on doctrine, so they certainly wouldn't be able to look "East" for the true Church.
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JamesR
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« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2012, 11:59:44 PM »

The Church is the Body of Christ. And just as Jesus Christ our Savior was fully God and fully Human, the Church is both spiritual and physical. Humans are amphibians, both spiritual and organic creatures. And both the spiritual and organic natures have been redeemed because of the Incarnation. Organic matter without spirit is useless and bound to fail, but in the same way, spirit without flesh is non-existent. You cannot 'become spiritual' or worship God 'through the spirit' unless you employ your physical side as well. Humans are physical creatures, we become spiritual and practice our spirituality through our physical actions. Both the spirit and flesh working together is something beautiful. The biggest delusions in Christianity come when one group tries to overemphasise one part and downplay the other. For example, Roman Catholics who over-emphasize works and turn worship into a legalistic matter, and the Protestants who entirely ignore the flesh and turn God into a mere abstract feeling and thought. The Church without the spirit is a Church of demons and the Church without the flesh is non-existent because without flesh humans cannot be spiritual.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 12:00:44 AM by JamesR » Logged

Quote
You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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James, you have problemz.
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