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Author Topic: Church Invisible  (Read 11811 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #135 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.
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« Reply #136 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
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« Reply #137 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.
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« Reply #138 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.
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« Reply #139 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.
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« Reply #140 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.  Smiley

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.
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« Reply #141 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.
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« Reply #142 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.
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« Reply #143 on: January 02, 2012, 07:19:04 PM »

either a ma'am or a sir Wink 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.
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« Reply #144 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.  Smiley

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.



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« Reply #145 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).
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« Reply #146 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). 
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« Reply #147 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.
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« Reply #148 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.
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« Reply #149 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 Wink

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« Reply #150 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  Wink
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?
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« Reply #151 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'.
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« Reply #152 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?
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« Reply #153 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/
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« Reply #154 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.
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« Reply #155 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  Wink
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?
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« Reply #156 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..
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 10:11:28 PM by Marc1152 » Logged

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« Reply #157 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 Wink

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.
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« Reply #158 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 Wink

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...
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« Reply #159 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 Wink

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.
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« Reply #160 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 Wink

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
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« Reply #161 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  Wink
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.
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« Reply #162 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.
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« Reply #163 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.
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« Reply #164 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 
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« Reply #165 on: January 05, 2012, 04:17:27 AM »

lol when the protestants felt left out
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« Reply #166 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.
 Wink
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« Reply #167 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.
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Why are we wondering? Go to the source:



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« Reply #168 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.

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« Reply #169 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! Grin
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« Reply #170 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.
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« Reply #171 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.
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« Reply #172 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
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« Reply #173 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.   
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« Reply #174 on: January 05, 2012, 06:41:13 PM »

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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.

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« Reply #175 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.    
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« Reply #176 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.
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« Reply #177 on: January 06, 2012, 12:04:26 AM »

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and that He died on that stake to pay for our sin.

Christ died on a cross, not a stake.  police
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« Reply #178 on: January 06, 2012, 12:32:06 AM »

Agreed..
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« Reply #179 on: January 06, 2012, 12:37:34 AM »

we can go so far as to call it a tree, but a stake...nay. Wink
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