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« on: December 27, 2011, 10:41:29 AM »

The reason i can't accept the orthodox position on many issues is simply because i don't accept the visible church. It colours everything i read and makes it impossible to view certain topics any other way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It seems to me that only the overview of Orthodoxy is different to Protestantism -- the external dogmatic shell. The internal mess seems remarkably similar to how the rest of Christendom claim to be guided by the Spirit and believe a multitude of different things backed up with the odd patristic quote or two from various denominations jurisdictions.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 10:45:24 AM by FountainPen » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2011, 11:28:34 AM »

I don't want to start shooting out scirpture bullets but:
1 Timothy 3:15
"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."


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

I am from the Slavic tradition, when I'm in a Greek church, be it Antiochian or Greek, it is still an Orthodox church.. only the small traditions are different.
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2011, 12:37:59 PM »

If there was no structured Church being formed, then why did Paul and company go out and annoint ministers? Why did the disciples of the Apostoles themselves teach and speak of an established, physical Church? Why did these churches answer to the apostoles? If there was no physical church with no structure, then half of the New Tesatament would not exist as there would be no need for the epistles. There is no way anyone can not read the epistles and clearly see that St. Paul is speaking from an authoratative role. There would be no need for authority if there were not a physical church.

Jesus Himself spoke about the church in a physical aspect.

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

Just a cursory review of christianity right after Jesus shows, pretty strongly, of a unified hierarchial body of believers.
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2011, 12:54:25 PM »

If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

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

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

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

It is apparent in the history, the architecture, the hymnography; it is all there.
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2011, 01:11:53 PM »

If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

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

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

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

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

A physical church structure, is important for many reasons but pentecost didn't happen in a temple, it happened in a casual gathering of people for a reason. "Where two or three are gathered, there i am in the midst" Matthew 18:20. The bride that is The Church, is spiritual and is invisible for the reasons i gave in my OP.
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2011, 01:22:00 PM »

If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

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

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

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

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

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

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

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

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

PP
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2011, 01:31:27 PM »

If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

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

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

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

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

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

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

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

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

PP

Most of us also grow up in family units pp but our eternal family (the one that matters) is the family of God. So we have an earthly family and a spiritual family, both are important but not equally so.
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2011, 01:35:30 PM »

If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

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

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

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

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

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

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

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

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

PP

Most of us also grow up in family units pp but our eternal family (the one that matters) is the family of God. So we have an earthly family and a spiritual family, both are important but not equally so.
As I said before, Im not saying that there are not members of the body that we do not know about.
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2011, 01:39:08 PM »

If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

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

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

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

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

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

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

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

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

PP

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

Just a few million more than you'd want to acknowledge?
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2011, 01:43:31 PM »

If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

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

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

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

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

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

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

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

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

PP

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

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

PP
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2011, 01:52:52 PM »

If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

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

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

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

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

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

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

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

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

PP

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

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

PP

A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd
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« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2011, 04:11:25 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2011, 04:24:20 PM »

Like the human person, the Church is made up of a mixture of the spiritual and material; and for both Christ is the head.
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« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2011, 06:48:08 PM »

It must be a misery being in an invisible Church.  Lonely and isolated.  Just you and nobody else.

And I suppose that if you discover another member of the invisible church, then there are two of you and it is not invisible anymore.
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« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2011, 08:59:53 PM »

It must be a misery being in an invisible Church.  Lonely and isolated.  Just you and nobody else.

And I suppose that if you discover another member of the invisible church, then there are two of you and it is not invisible anymore.
Don't worry we have cloaks like Harry Potter.
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« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2011, 09:55:30 PM »

It must be a misery being in an invisible Church.  Lonely and isolated.  Just you and nobody else.

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

But really, is it not lonely being an invisible church of one?  I cannot imagine that Christ wishes that for you.
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« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2011, 11:15:54 PM »

The reason i can't accept the orthodox position on many issues is simply because i don't accept the visible church. It colours everything i read and makes it impossible to view certain topics any other way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2011, 12:08:19 AM »

I can't think that the Church would be invisible, when Christ said, "On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." That sounds too emphatic to be a metaphor.
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« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2011, 01:28:39 AM »

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

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

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

And in Orthodoxy, Jesus is still the visible head of the Church, He's there in the Flesh every Sunday  Wink
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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2011, 05:18:12 AM »

If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

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

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

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

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

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

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

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

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

PP

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

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

PP

A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd




What on earth possessed you to think that Christ isn't physical?  Do you not know that He ascended to Heaven in His resurrected BODY?
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« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2011, 05:33:10 AM »

If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

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

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

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

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

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

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

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

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

PP

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

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

PP

A spiritual head of a physical body? Odd




What on earth possessed you to think that Christ isn't physical?  Do you not know that He ascended to Heaven in His resurrected BODY?
I'm quite sure that's not what she meant. Most people think in these sort of pseudo-Platonic terms without meaning to. I know I do.
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« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2011, 10:27:35 AM »

The Church, Like HIm whose body we are, makes visible what was previous to the incarnation, invisible.  The form given to us by God was filled with living visible content.  To say there is visible and invisible is a false division because the fullness of what was hidden has been made visible (manifest) to us in the birth of the Lord.  The degree to which any one individual adheres to what is plainly manifest in the worship of the church is part of this great mystery because it is only the freedom to do so which enables us to do so.  This is not an "invisible" church but only many sinners working out there salvation with fear and trembling through fidelity to the fullness of what has been revealed plainly for all to see.
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« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2011, 11:40:45 AM »

If there was no physical Church, then why did they anoint Deacons in the Book of Acts? Why did the First Council in Jerusalem take place in the Book of Acts? Why were any of the Epistles written?

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

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

The Orthodox Church is Christ's Church.

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

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

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

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

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

PP

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

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

PP

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

PP
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« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2011, 06:31:14 PM »

Grace and Peace to all,

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

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

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

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

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

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

How does this invisible church resolve issues? How would a Council be received in modern Protestant Churches today? Would it be like they did in Acts 15? I think not.
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« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2011, 08:19:12 PM »

I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.
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« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2011, 08:25:38 PM »

I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

It seems to me that it'd be both spiritual and physical. When St. Paul addressed a letter to "the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord" (1 Cor. 1:2), he seemed to be both addressing specific people in a specific geographical location, and yet also addressing all Christians in all places who are united mystically/mysteriously/spiritually/etc.
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« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2011, 08:28:09 PM »

I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

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

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
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« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2011, 08:31:58 PM »

I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

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

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

Perhaps this is true compared to certain Protestant groups. But from a Catholic perspective Orthodoxy probably often looks like a disorganized mess--something in need of more structure, more visible authority, etc.  In that way Orthodoxy could be seen as somewhere in the middle of the continuum, trying to maintain a balance between the two.
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« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2011, 08:41:44 PM »

I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.
But Christ redeems and raises our bodies as well, a physical body is part of a physical church. One is not more important than the other in an eternal sense.
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« Reply #29 on: December 28, 2011, 08:47:51 PM »

I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.
But Christ redeems and raises our bodies as well, a physical body is part of a physical church. One is not more important than the other in an eternal sense.

The Kingdom of God is primarily about Spirit which you wiull find echoed all over the New Testament.
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« Reply #30 on: December 28, 2011, 09:27:14 PM »

If there were visible unity in protestantism, the idea of a visible church would be embraced. However, since this does not exist, one is forced to embrace the invisible church notion to rationalize and attempt to make sense of all the division.
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« Reply #31 on: December 28, 2011, 09:32:20 PM »


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

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

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

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jNaVgyqUD8
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« Reply #32 on: December 28, 2011, 10:06:08 PM »

If there were visible unity in protestantism, the idea of a visible church would be embraced. However, since this does not exist, one is forced to embrace the invisible church notion to rationalize and attempt to make sense of all the division.
The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't. I doubt they consider themselves part of the same church as you.
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« Reply #33 on: December 28, 2011, 10:30:49 PM »

If there were visible unity in protestantism, the idea of a visible church would be embraced. However, since this does not exist, one is forced to embrace the invisible church notion to rationalize and attempt to make sense of all the division.
The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't. I doubt they consider themselves part of the same church as you.

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

Until then, they are their own group.
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« Reply #34 on: December 28, 2011, 10:35:24 PM »

I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

Then what is the point of the general resurrection and St. Pauls strong defense of the Resurrection of Christ Jesus if our salvation involves only that what we cannot see with our eyes?
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« Reply #35 on: December 28, 2011, 10:37:24 PM »

If there were visible unity in protestantism, the idea of a visible church would be embraced. However, since this does not exist, one is forced to embrace the invisible church notion to rationalize and attempt to make sense of all the division.
The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't. I doubt they consider themselves part of the same church as you.

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

Until then, they are their own group.

Grace and Peace HandmaidenofGod,

Would it be fair to say that what they've kept still sanctifies, sister? What is common between us and the One True Church, Holy Tradition continues to sanctify because it has not been torn from that salvific root of Grace?
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« Reply #36 on: December 28, 2011, 11:17:34 PM »

I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

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

But Orthodoxy has the emphasis firmly placed on the physical visible church.
What makes you think this?
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« Reply #37 on: December 29, 2011, 12:17:15 AM »

If there were visible unity in protestantism, the idea of a visible church would be embraced. However, since this does not exist, one is forced to embrace the invisible church notion to rationalize and attempt to make sense of all the division.
The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't. I doubt they consider themselves part of the same church as you.

I won't say where the visible church isn't, but I will say where I believe the visible church to be.
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« Reply #38 on: December 29, 2011, 12:47:21 AM »

The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't.

See Message 7 at

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

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

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

http://pages.prodigy.net/frjohnwhiteford/RTOC.htm
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« Reply #39 on: December 29, 2011, 01:40:05 AM »

The problem there is that Orthodoxy is full of groups of very ambiguous standing. Is HOCNA in the visible church? The GTOC? The monks of Esphigmenou? I've not seen an Orthodox source that is willing to say they aren't.

See Message 7 at

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

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

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

http://pages.prodigy.net/frjohnwhiteford/RTOC.htm
Very well. I stand corrected. Thanks, folks.
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HandmaidenofGod
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« Reply #40 on: December 29, 2011, 01:50:36 AM »

Grace and Peace HandmaidenofGod,

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

That is for God and God alone to judge.

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

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

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

It is not for me to speak beyond that.
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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11
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« Reply #41 on: December 29, 2011, 04:52:43 AM »

I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

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

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

It just does and you know it does.
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« Reply #42 on: December 29, 2011, 05:14:23 AM »

Quote
It just does and you know it does.

That's not an answer, that's a copout. A fudge, as your countrymen would say.
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jnorm888
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« Reply #43 on: December 29, 2011, 07:28:06 AM »

I'm not for one moment suggesting that there is no need for a physical church or that the physical church is not important. I'm just suggesting that the physical church is not The Bride, but the spiritual church is.

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

Also, why don't you believe the physical church to be the bride too! If there is only one Body then you can't really have two churches.........one spiritual and the other physical for that would be two bodies.
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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #44 on: December 29, 2011, 09:09:53 AM »

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

That's because the apostles established a physically visible Church. We have to put emphasis on it because there are people teaching otherwise.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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