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Author Topic: Daniel Wallace: The Problem With Protestant Ecclesiology  (Read 1433 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 26, 2012, 03:59:01 PM »

Interesting article by Protestant scholar Daniel Wallace  http://danielbwallace.com/2012/03/18/the-problem-with-protestant-ecclesiology/

Quote from: Daniel B. Wallace
Several evangelical scholars have noted that the problem with Protestant ecclesiology is that there is no Protestant ecclesiology. In many denominations—and especially in non-denominational churches—there is no hierarchy of churches responsible to a central head, no accountability beyond the local congregation, no fellowship beyond the local assembly, no missional emphasis that gains support from hundreds of congregations, and no superiors to whom a local pastor must submit for doctrinal or ethical fidelity.

Three events have especially caused me to reflect on my own ecclesiological situation and long for something different...
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 04:03:40 PM »

sounds like he's on his way...
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 04:17:06 PM »

These sound like famous last words. Every ex-protestant convert to the EO or CC I have ever heard speak, or whose words I have read, begins their journey just like this.
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 04:36:16 PM »

Sounds like we have a convert coming in. I thought these exact same words before my conversion.
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 06:28:32 PM »

my issue with this is that your normal, run-of-the-mill protestant doesn't care that he has no ecclesiology, he just cares about what he knows about the scriptures.  other than dropping verses on them, why should they care about ecclesiology?  (I say "other" here b/c even when you drop verses, they just don't care). 
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2012, 10:15:58 PM »

my issue with this is that your normal, run-of-the-mill protestant doesn't care that he has no ecclesiology, he just cares about what he knows about the scriptures. 

This is very Ironic.  The Scriptures are packed full of verses concerning the Church, and the relationship/union of Christ Jesus and His Body.  Am I wrong to see ecclesiology basically being a study on Christ Jesus?



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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 12:48:11 AM »

my issue with this is that your normal, run-of-the-mill protestant doesn't care that he has no ecclesiology, he just cares about what he knows about the scriptures. 

This is very Ironic.  The Scriptures are packed full of verses concerning the Church, and the relationship/union of Christ Jesus and His Body.  Am I wrong to see ecclesiology basically being a study on Christ Jesus?
No, since we believe the Church to be the Body of Christ.
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2012, 12:54:19 AM »

my issue with this is that your normal, run-of-the-mill protestant doesn't care that he has no ecclesiology, he just cares about what he knows about the scriptures.  other than dropping verses on them, why should they care about ecclesiology?  (I say "other" here b/c even when you drop verses, they just don't care). 
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2012, 01:43:13 PM »

my issue with this is that your normal, run-of-the-mill protestant doesn't care that he has no ecclesiology, he just cares about what he knows about the scriptures. 

This is very Ironic.  The Scriptures are packed full of verses concerning the Church, and the relationship/union of Christ Jesus and His Body.  Am I wrong to see ecclesiology basically being a study on Christ Jesus?





It's a matter of perspective. I wouldn't say that the average Protestant doesn't care about ecclesiololgy out of reckless disregard for it (though that may be the case for some, who knows), rather that he doesn't care because he has no concept of it. It's totally foreign to the Protestant thought process. At least it was for me. And when it comes to Scripture reading, I'd read it through Protestant-colored glasses. Now, for sure I "see" the verses about the Church that I didn't "see" before... Like when you read a new book, suddenly you see it everywhere.... Or learn a new word, and notice that all of a sudden everyone's using it. If that makes sense...
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2012, 01:57:25 PM »

my issue with this is that your normal, run-of-the-mill protestant doesn't care that he has no ecclesiology, he just cares about what he knows about the scriptures. 

This is very Ironic.  The Scriptures are packed full of verses concerning the Church, and the relationship/union of Christ Jesus and His Body.  Am I wrong to see ecclesiology basically being a study on Christ Jesus.

It's a matter of perspective. I wouldn't say that the average Protestant doesn't care about ecclesiololgy out of reckless disregard for it (though that may be the case for some, who knows), rather that he doesn't care because he has no concept of it. It's totally foreign to the Protestant thought process. At least it was for me. And when it comes to Scripture reading, I'd read it through Protestant-colored glasses. Now, for sure I "see" the verses about the Church that I didn't "see" before... Like when you read a new book, suddenly you see it everywhere.... Or learn a new word, and notice that all of a sudden everyone's using it. If that makes sense...

Indeed.  It isn't, usually, that there is no ecclesiology of any sort, or a complete lack of concern for it.  Rather, at least in my experience as a Protestant, the concept of ecclesiology was usually quickly written off by saying that there is an invisible body of Christ, and the only real question was whether or not Catholics counted.  Of course, that eventually stopped being satisfactory for me...
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2012, 02:49:32 PM »

so for the purpose of this thread, we are using ecclesiology to mean the study of the church; the order, structure, and origins of it? (am i missing something?)
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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2012, 04:27:14 PM »

Here are a few problems that I don't think are being addressed here:

1) Wallace is approaching this issue not via Scripture, but via his beliefs. We all bring beliefs to Scriptural interpretation (I'll get to that), thus quoting Scripture rarely does any good because we rarely approach Scripture so openly as to let it question our beliefs.

2) Wallace isn't necessarily approaching conversion, though the question he asks is one that many potential converts (and eventual converts) begin to ask. Rather, he may just seek a new way to establish ecclesiology within the Protestant church

3) Many SBC professors would disagree with him. They take εκκλησια (ekklesia: Church) to refer mostly to the local church. In other words, their belief paints their interpretation; it's hard to get the to move beyond this. Almost every scripture you point out to them they'll say, "That's in reference to the local church," completely ignoring how the early Church interpreted the passage.



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« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2012, 05:09:23 PM »

Here are a few problems that I don't think are being addressed here:

1) Wallace is approaching this issue not via Scripture, but via his beliefs. We all bring beliefs to Scriptural interpretation (I'll get to that), thus quoting Scripture rarely does any good because we rarely approach Scripture so openly as to let it question our beliefs.

2) Wallace isn't necessarily approaching conversion, though the question he asks is one that many potential converts (and eventual converts) begin to ask. Rather, he may just seek a new way to establish ecclesiology within the Protestant church

3) Many SBC professors would disagree with him. They take εκκλησια (ekklesia: Church) to refer mostly to the local church. In other words, their belief paints their interpretation; it's hard to get the to move beyond this. Almost every scripture you point out to them they'll say, "That's in reference to the local church," completely ignoring how the early Church interpreted the passage.





well the issue is that they're not even translating the WORD correctly.  "ek" "laon" means "of the people".  Seems pretty broad to me. 
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2012, 08:39:31 AM »

Here are a few problems that I don't think are being addressed here:

1) Wallace is approaching this issue not via Scripture, but via his beliefs. We all bring beliefs to Scriptural interpretation (I'll get to that), thus quoting Scripture rarely does any good because we rarely approach Scripture so openly as to let it question our beliefs.

2) Wallace isn't necessarily approaching conversion, though the question he asks is one that many potential converts (and eventual converts) begin to ask. Rather, he may just seek a new way to establish ecclesiology within the Protestant church

3) Many SBC professors would disagree with him. They take εκκλησια (ekklesia: Church) to refer mostly to the local church. In other words, their belief paints their interpretation; it's hard to get the to move beyond this. Almost every scripture you point out to them they'll say, "That's in reference to the local church," completely ignoring how the early Church interpreted the passage.





well the issue is that they're not even translating the WORD correctly.  "ek" "laon" means "of the people".  Seems pretty broad to me. 

The real problem is fear of RCism and its views of supremacy and the abuses of power they had in the west.  They in order to be separated from RCism had to go with a different understanding concerning the church.
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2012, 08:44:38 AM »

Ecclesiology is soteriology.
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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2012, 07:55:48 PM »

Ecclesiology is soteriology.

Could you explain this?  I think you're on to something interesting, that i've heard before, but an explanation would be great. 
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2012, 07:56:38 PM »

Here are a few problems that I don't think are being addressed here:

1) Wallace is approaching this issue not via Scripture, but via his beliefs. We all bring beliefs to Scriptural interpretation (I'll get to that), thus quoting Scripture rarely does any good because we rarely approach Scripture so openly as to let it question our beliefs.

2) Wallace isn't necessarily approaching conversion, though the question he asks is one that many potential converts (and eventual converts) begin to ask. Rather, he may just seek a new way to establish ecclesiology within the Protestant church

3) Many SBC professors would disagree with him. They take εκκλησια (ekklesia: Church) to refer mostly to the local church. In other words, their belief paints their interpretation; it's hard to get the to move beyond this. Almost every scripture you point out to them they'll say, "That's in reference to the local church," completely ignoring how the early Church interpreted the passage.





well the issue is that they're not even translating the WORD correctly.  "ek" "laon" means "of the people".  Seems pretty broad to me. 

The real problem is fear of RCism and its views of supremacy and the abuses of power they had in the west.  They in order to be separated from RCism had to go with a different understanding concerning the church.

Ok, then why when i've said "we're not the RC church & don't do things like the RC church, but are a continuation of the church Christ Himself established" do I just get eye rolls & scrambling to move on? 
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« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2012, 07:56:59 PM »

my issue with this is that your normal, run-of-the-mill protestant doesn't care that he has no ecclesiology, he just cares about what he knows about the scriptures. 

This is very Ironic.  The Scriptures are packed full of verses concerning the Church, and the relationship/union of Christ Jesus and His Body.  Am I wrong to see ecclesiology basically being a study on Christ Jesus?





It's a matter of perspective. I wouldn't say that the average Protestant doesn't care about ecclesiololgy out of reckless disregard for it (though that may be the case for some, who knows), rather that he doesn't care because he has no concept of it. It's totally foreign to the Protestant thought process. At least it was for me. And when it comes to Scripture reading, I'd read it through Protestant-colored glasses. Now, for sure I "see" the verses about the Church that I didn't "see" before... Like when you read a new book, suddenly you see it everywhere.... Or learn a new word, and notice that all of a sudden everyone's using it. If that makes sense...

This strikes me as true.
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« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2012, 09:19:38 PM »

Ecclesiology is soteriology.

Could you explain this?  I think you're on to something interesting, that i've heard before, but an explanation would be great. 
How you think salvation occurs, will affect how you think Christians should live (communally, individually, etc.). If salvation includes the interplay of priest and layperson, centered on the bodily presence of Christ as the Eucharist, then that will shape ecclesiology in a particular way, such that Church is not merely a voluntary society of inherently separate individuals, but a Temple where the communal communion with the Trinity is visibly entered into.
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« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2012, 12:55:30 AM »

Here are a few problems that I don't think are being addressed here:

1) Wallace is approaching this issue not via Scripture, but via his beliefs. We all bring beliefs to Scriptural interpretation (I'll get to that), thus quoting Scripture rarely does any good because we rarely approach Scripture so openly as to let it question our beliefs.

2) Wallace isn't necessarily approaching conversion, though the question he asks is one that many potential converts (and eventual converts) begin to ask. Rather, he may just seek a new way to establish ecclesiology within the Protestant church

3) Many SBC professors would disagree with him. They take εκκλησια (ekklesia: Church) to refer mostly to the local church. In other words, their belief paints their interpretation; it's hard to get the to move beyond this. Almost every scripture you point out to them they'll say, "That's in reference to the local church," completely ignoring how the early Church interpreted the passage.





well the issue is that they're not even translating the WORD correctly.  "ek" "laon" means "of the people".  Seems pretty broad to me. 

The real problem is fear of RCism and its views of supremacy and the abuses of power they had in the west.  They in order to be separated from RCism had to go with a different understanding concerning the church.

I think this response sums it up quite well.

Many Protestant beliefs are an overreaction to the abuses of Catholicism. A quick read of Luther - kept in his historical context - sees that much of what he says is an overreaction to what he saw. The Protestants simply never corrected these overreactions. If they did, they'd probably be Orthodox (or go back to Catholicism, since the form they're "Protesting" no longer exists; everything they fear is pre-Council of Trent).
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« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2012, 03:42:18 PM »

Ecclesiology is soteriology.

Could you explain this?  I think you're on to something interesting, that i've heard before, but an explanation would be great. 
How you think salvation occurs, will affect how you think Christians should live (communally, individually, etc.). If salvation includes the interplay of priest and layperson, centered on the bodily presence of Christ as the Eucharist, then that will shape ecclesiology in a particular way, such that Church is not merely a voluntary society of inherently separate individuals, but a Temple where the communal communion with the Trinity is visibly entered into.

Could this be looked at the other way around?  Like:  because the ecclesiology is shaped a particular way, a voluntary society of inherently separate individuals, this means that salvation is a culmination of individuation...?  Or is that a stretch?
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« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2012, 04:17:46 PM »

Ecclesiology is soteriology.

Could you explain this?  I think you're on to something interesting, that i've heard before, but an explanation would be great. 
How you think salvation occurs, will affect how you think Christians should live (communally, individually, etc.). If salvation includes the interplay of priest and layperson, centered on the bodily presence of Christ as the Eucharist, then that will shape ecclesiology in a particular way, such that Church is not merely a voluntary society of inherently separate individuals, but a Temple where the communal communion with the Trinity is visibly entered into.

Could this be looked at the other way around?  Like:  because the ecclesiology is shaped a particular way, a voluntary society of inherently separate individuals, this means that salvation is a culmination of individuation...?  Or is that a stretch?
That could work too. Participating in an "individualistic" church would lead one to see salvation as individualistic; whereas participation in a "communal" Church would lead one to understand salvation as a process of community.
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« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2012, 10:50:15 PM »

Ok, then why when i've said "we're not the RC church & don't do things like the RC church, but are a continuation of the church Christ Himself established" do I just get eye rolls & scrambling to move on? 

Despite what you say you look too Roman Catholic to them. Remember they don't have the same understanding of the early church you do. In their minds the early Christians sat around in groups in peoples homes strumming their guitars harps, singing choruses, and praying with the occasional sermon thrown in for good measure.
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« Reply #23 on: March 30, 2012, 12:21:40 AM »

Ok, then why when i've said "we're not the RC church & don't do things like the RC church, but are a continuation of the church Christ Himself established" do I just get eye rolls & scrambling to move on? 

Despite what you say you look too Roman Catholic to them. Remember they don't have the same understanding of the early church you do. In their minds the early Christians sat around in groups in peoples homes strumming their guitars harps, singing choruses, and praying with the occasional sermon thrown in for good measure.

there are many times I wonder if even that is going through their head.  I just always get the impression that the Bible has become their idol.  it becomes the thing that is worshiped.  Anyway, thank you all for your help, i'm sure there's no "one answer" to any of this. 
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« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2012, 05:19:37 PM »

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« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2012, 10:52:18 PM »

I just always get the impression that the Bible has become their idol.  it becomes the thing that is worshiped.

I just had to reply to this part because it's something I've come to the conclusion of as well. It seems that many Protestants, especially of the Evangelical/Reformed sorts, have a similar view of the Bible that Islam has of the Qu'ran. Their glorification of the Bible, like the Muslims with the Qu'ran, is almost to deific levels.
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