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NTS All one in Christ Jesus

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posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 05:02 PM
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“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”- (Galatians ch3 v28)
“Thou dost assure us… that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people”.- Anglican liturgy for Holy Communion

The teaching of the New Testament centres upon what Jesus achieved when he died on the Cross, was raised from the dead, and was established as Lord and future judge.
But the believer takes part in this achievement. We are taught that the believer belongs to Christ through faith. Dying together with Christ, and raised together with Christ, he has been brought into everything Christ has done.

Paul keeps using the phrase “in Christ Jesus”, and this expression is the key to a sense of unity among Christians.
The New Testament teaches that each believer is “in Christ”.
But if each believer is in Christ, it necessarily follows that all believers are in Christ.
The ”lost sheep” have become a “little flock”.
And a mass of people cannot come close to a central figure, without, at the same time, coming closer to each other. (This could be demonstrated by experiment.)
Thus the individual bond with Christ, when multiplied, creates the corporate bond.

Therefore Christ himself is the bond of unity among the believers.
That is implied in the image “I am the vine, you are the branches” (John ch15 v5)
This leads into the concept of “the body of Christ”.
If we are all “in Christ”, then we are all, in a sense, part of his body.
“The church is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians ch1 v23)
“Now you are the body of Christ, and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians ch12 v27).
Christ is placed as the head of the body, “from which the whole body, joined and knot together by every joint with which it is supplied,… makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love” (Ephesians ch4 v16).

At the same time, the Holy Spirit of God is the bond of unity among the believers.
This means the same thing, because the Holy Spirit is known as the Spirit of Christ, connecting us with Christ and also connecting us with one another.
“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit” (1 John ch4 v13).
The presence of the same Spirit in each member of the body is the objective, spiritual, bond between us.
That is why Paul says “by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body”.
Baptism is the symbolic act which acknowledges that we have received the Spirit and have become part of this community.

And the “partaking of the same bread” (in the communion of the Lord’s Supper) is another act expressing the continuing unity of the fellowship in the presence of Christ..
The real fault of the Corinthians in the behaviour being criticised in 1 Corinthians ch11 was that they were failing to discern and recognise the corporate body of Christ in the community.

That is why there is a sense of community from the earliest days of the church in Acts.
“Day by day, attending the Temple together, and breaking bread in their homes…” (ch2 v46).
They think of themselves as “brethren”, members of one family, one household.
The “household” image was probably the inspiration of the metaphor comparing the church to a building;
“Christ was faithful over God’s house as a Son” (Hebrews ch3 v6).
“Like living stones, be yourselves built into a spiritual house (1 Peter ch2 v5).
“You are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians ch3 v9), and as a metaphorical building occupied by God himself, by the Spirit of God, the community can be called “God’s temple” (v16).

One advantage of living in fellowship is that we find encouragement in times of difficulty.
So that when Peter and John were released from arrest (Acts ch4), they were able to go back amongst their friends.
Another is that we may find good teaching, which helps to keep our understanding on the right track.
“They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship…” (Acts ch2 v42)
“My, brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back…” (James ch5 v19).
People ask “Why do we need to take part in church life? Isn’t it possible for someone to be a Christian on their own?”
Yes, it is possible, but the detached Christian makes himself vulnerable.
He is vulnerable to discouragement in isolation, and he is vulnerable to “wandering from the truth”.
Hence the advice in Hebrews; “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews ch10 vv24-25).

But the unity of the body, its corporate nature, depends entirely on the connection with Christ.
He is the builder of the house in Hebrews, the cornerstone of the building in 1 Peter, and the foundation of the building in Paul’s explanation.
Therefore any disunity in the church is a visible sign that people been moving away from Christ.
As John puts it; “Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child” (1 John ch5v1).
Conversely, “he who hates his brother is in the darkness [that is, not in God]” (ch2v11).

The individual bond and the corporate bond are firmly interlinked.
So as long as believers are “in Christ” at all, it ought to be possible to find them all “one in Christ Jesus”.

edit on 18-1-2019 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 05:04 PM
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The Lord’s Supper

I was brought up in a church which only acknowledges two sacraments (the “outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace”).
Baptism is the sacrament of the believer’s union with Christ (through the Holy Spirit).
The Lord’s Supper (to use Paul’s term in 1 Corinthians ch11) ought to be the sacrament of corporate union with Christ, in which believers should be conscious, at the same time, of their union with Christ and their union with one another.
On the one hand, it is ”the table of the Lord”, the meal in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, as on the night before the crucifixion.
On the other hand, it is also the meal of corporate fellowship, or KOINONIA.
The central features of the Supper, the cup of the blessing and the bread, bring about a KOINONIA in the body and blood of Christ.
Fortunately, there is no need for us to get into the heated controversies about how this works, though my own preference is to understand Christ as present through the Holy Spirit..
The real point of interest is that “we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”(1 Corinthians ch10 vv16-21)
In short, the Lord’s Supper is a meal illustrating the point made above, that people cannot come close to a central figure without at the same time coming closer to each other.

This understanding is confirmed by Paul’s approach in the next chapter. His case is that the conduct of some of the participants in the Supper is undermining the required sense of unity. They are supposed to be coming together to eat a common meal. Instead, they are eating as detached individuals. “It is not the Lord’s Supper that you eat”, merely your own.
Commentators puzzle themselves to work out exactly what is happening here. One popular theory is that people who can arrive early are not waiting for the others before starting on the food which has been laid out for them, like a buffet (and which nobody is bothering to protect).
To my mind, it makes more sense to suppose that these meals were arranged on a “bring and share” basis. That is, members of the fellowship bring their own food from home and are expected to make it available for the communal meal which will be eaten at the appropriate time.
Paul is complaining about those people who bring their food, keep it by them, and consume it themselves when they feel ready. Thus there is no reason to assume that anyone “arrives early”, which Paul does not mention.
As a by-product of this behaviour, those who can bring little from home are going hungry because they are getting no share in what the others have brought.
Thus the impatient ones are ”not discerning the body”. That is, they are failing to recognise the meeting as a true corporate fellowship, “the body of Christ”.

At some stage in early church history, the celebration of bread and wine was detached from this evening meeting and became part of a morning service. This may have been done to remove these elements from the kind of scene that Paul is describing in1 Corinthians. In effect, apparently, the Lord’s Supper broke apart into a morning eucharist and an evening “AGAPE meal”.
Once the AGAPE meals had been separated from the “sacred elements”, they seem to have gone further downhill. They were already notorious when the epistle of Jude was written; “These people are blemishes on your love-feasts, as they boldly carouse together, looking after themselves” (Jude v12). In the end, the church gave up holding them.
As for the bread and wine, any sense that they formed part of a communal meal has almost disappeared from consciousness. One could read many solemn discussions about the nature of the “sacred elements” without guessing this important point.
That is one reason why the celebration is not fully understood as a sacrament of unity.

[N.B. Yes, this thread does have more supplementary posts than usual. There was no help for it, really. The supplements are part of the theme and they connect with each other, so presenting them separately would not have worked.
In mitigation, I could point out that reading all of them is not compulsory. One can focus on the main post and ignore the rest.
Just let nobody say that my threads don’t have enough content, that’s all.]



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 05:05 PM
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The notorious king Antiochus Epiphanes was responsible for the first “abomination of desolation”.
He established an idolatrous image in the Temple of Jerusalem. That was the abomination.
The consequence of this decision was the suspension of the traditional sacrifice to the God of Israel, which was a primary point of contact between the people and their God. As a result, the people had a sense of isolation from their God. That was the desolation.
Daniel and Matthew ch24 foresee a future “abomination of desolation”.
The Lord’s Supper is not a sacrifice, of course, but it serves in the same way as a primary point of contact between God’s people and their God.
Paul calls it a proclamation of the Lord’s death, “until he comes” (1 Corinthians ch11 v26).
It seems to me, then, that a future antichrist, claiming to be the returned Christ, would have a natural and almost inevitable reason for wanting the Lord’s Supper to be abandoned.
The continuation of the ceremony would be an implicit proclamation that his claim was false.
His attitude would be “I’m here now, so you don’t need that anymore. It must be replaced by a celebration of my presence among you”.
So at least in the visible church, if that was under his control, an idolatrous worship would be established, and a primary means of contact between the people and their God would have been interrupted.
Those two effects, between them, would be an “abomination of desolation”.
The remaining faithful believers would contrive to meet in private, and would be persecuted accordingly.



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 05:06 PM
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The problem of definition- The church

The question of what we mean by “church unity” is complicated by the question of what we mean by “church”.
I have seen at least six different ways of using the word. In roughly chronological order of appearance;

[1] The overall body of Christians in general- “the blessed company of all faithful people”, in the words of Cranmer’s prayer.
[2] A local body of Christians meeting together.
[3] A building in which Christians worship.
[4] The corporate body of those professionally engaged in the service of God.
[5] The Christian aspect of a local or regional society.
[6] A society of Christians under a distinct organised structure, sometimes called a ”denomination”.

The first two meanings are the only ones found in the New Testament. “The church”, in the Acts and the Epistles, means Definition[1] except when Paul is using expressions like “the church in Corinth”.

Definition [4] is familiar to anyone who reads the history of the Middle Ages. The jealously guarded privileges of “the church” were the privileges of the hierarchy, the priesthood in general, and the communities of monks and friars. The laity might be Christians, but they were not “the church”.
This understanding of the church survives to the present day, as when “going into the church” means training for the ministry.

Definition [5] is Hooker’s definition.
“We say that the care of religion being common to all societies politic [i.e. independent states], such societies as do embrace the true religion have the name Church given unto every one of them for distinction from the rest…”
In other words, the national church is simply the religious aspect of the national society;
“We hold that there is not any man of the Church of England, but the same is also a member of the commonwealth; nor any man a member of the commonwealth, which is not also of the Church of England…” Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity Book VIII ch1 section 2
That is why the monarch, as head of the nation, is also the ”Supreme Governor” of the church.
This definition worked for the first century of the Reformation, when the Protestant communities were organised geographically. It became more problematic as time passed and independent groups multiplied.
The nineteenth-century “Oxford Movement”, at a time when this definition was coming under threat, was a deliberate attempt to supplement it or replace it with a revived Definition [4]
Yet it survived in the modified form that the Church of England was the “default” church for anyone who was otherwise unattached and in this form lasted deep into the twentieth century..
This “default” status gave rise to a joke at the church’s expense, which is at least as old as the First World War;
Recruiting sergeant; “What’s your religion, lad?”
Recruit; “Sorry, Sarge, I haven’t got any religion.”
Sergeant; “No religion? Then I’ll put you down as C. of E.”

Definition [6] evolved from previous definitions when the organisation of church life was getting detached from the political units of society.
Every “church” under this definition, including the Roman Catholic church, is one of the fragments of the Definition [1] church founded by Christ.
This is the most pernicious of the non-Biblical definitions, because it gives rise to confusion of terms and false arguments. In fact I came to the conclusion that it’s better to drop the word altogether, when it has this meaning, and substitute the word “community”.

A good example of confusion of terms is the argument sometimes presented by Catholics who have appeared on my threads.
1) The church was founded by Christ [Definition 1]
2) But [our community] is the church [Definition 6, probably combined with Definition 4]
3) Therefore our community, and only our community, was founded by Christ.
This is a false argument, because the definition of “church” changes, without acknowledgement, halfway through. I believe this is what logicians call the fallacy of Equivocation.
Only by confusing the terms in this way is it possible to gloss over the fact that ALL the “churches” have the same claim to have descended from the original church in its fragmentation.
That is why it is important to have a clear understanding of our definitions.



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 05:07 PM
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The problem of definitions- The unity of the church

Of course our understanding of church unity depends on our understanding of the church.
The various definitions of the church fall into two types.
We can follow the Biblical definitions and find unity in Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Or we can follow the post-Biblical definitions and find unity in some aspect of human organisation.

If we’re thinking in human terms, the church was united when a single organisation contained the entire fellowship under a common structure of authority.
Unfortunately, that state of early church life is largely mythical.
There was no central organisation of the church before the Nicene Council, though it seems that Antioch had been tacitly recognised as the “mother church” of Gentile Christianity. That is implied by the Nicene canon which acknowledges (for the first time?) the autonomy of Rome and Alexandria and their local authority in Italy and Africa, alongside the authority of Antioch elsewhere.
Local organisation was shadowing the secular administration; the bishop of the chief city in a Roman province would be the leading clergyman of the province, as a matter of course. The bishops of Rome and Alexandria had become important bishops, because Rome and Alexandria were important cities in the Roman world.

The only visible bond of unity in the New Testament is the practice of mutual acceptance and co-operation, based on Christians recognising each other as belonging to Christ and therefore members of the church of Christ.

If we’re thinking in human terms, again, the church lost its unity once Christians were becoming organised in various distinct associations.
From the New Testament viewpoint, though, unity or disunity among Christians is determined not by their structures of organisation but by their attitudes.
The church was not divided by the fact that “X church” and “Y church” came into existence as distinct organised bodies.
The church was divided by the fact that “X church” and “Y church” chose to regard their separate existence as a reason for hostility. They were refusing to accept one another as Christians and refusing to co-operate. THAT was their state of disunity.

I came across the Roman Catholic definition of schism (that is, the offence of dividing the church), as embedded in canon law.

Schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.

The second half of that definition is legitimate but incomplete, because the principle works both ways. A better wording would have been “refusal of communion with another body of members of the church”. Then it would have been evident that if the Roman church and the XYZ church refuse communion with each other, the attitude of the Roman church is just as schismatic as the attitude of the other body.
Obviously the wording in the text is based on the false assumption that the Roman Catholic community IS the church, in an exclusive sense.

But the first half of the definition is decidedly not legitimate. “Did the Pope die for your sins?”, as Paul might have asked. We know from the New Testament that our membership of the body of Christ is governed by our relationship with Christ, and not (therefore) by our relationship with the Pope. It is quite wrong to substitute one for the other.
Whenever the Roman Catholic community rejects other Christians on those grounds (namely, that the other parties are refusing submission to the Supreme Pontiff), they are separating themselves from those Christians on a false basis, and therefore separating themselves unjustly. In other words, they are acting schismatically.
So the canon law’s definition of schism has the effect of prompting and justifying schismatic behaviour.
That is to say, the Roman Catholic definition of schism is itself schismatic, and a major cause in its own right of continuing schism in the church.
Thus the RCC must be counted as a schismatic community, in its very essence, and a serious obstacle to the unity of the church, until that definition has been purged of the words “submission to the Supreme Pontiff”. There is a need for humility and repentance on that point.

In human terms, again, the church regains unity when the entire membership is covered by a single structure of organisation.
As part of a course in Church History, I was once obliged to study a report from ARCIC, the joint Anglican and Roman Catholic commission established to explore the possibility of bringing the two bodies closer together.
I could not help noticing these words in the introduction;

Full visible communion between our two churches cannot be achieved without mutual recognition of sacraments and ministry, together with the common acceptance of a universal primacy. [Italics are mine]

That is what happens when you try to establish unity by combining human organisations or by bringing them together under a single umbrella.
You get one large human organisation, with a human individual at the centre of it (and I think we can guess who that human individual might be).

Is it really necessary to have “visible unity” in the sense of bringing everybody into one common human structure?
If the church of the New Testament could be in unity through mutual acceptance and co-operation, then the church may be reunited by mutual acceptance and co-operation.
Thus I am in unity with X and Y of the Methodist church, and Major Z (retired) of the Salvation Army, because we accept each other as Christians and therefore as members of the church, and are willing to work together on that basis.
We are already enrolled in “the blessed company of all faithful people”.

One further consideration needs to be borne in mind.
If the church comes to experience what is described in Revelation ch13, it will be very difficult to maintain ANY form of human organisation, apart from those forms which are already under the control of the Beast.
In those circumstances, it will be to the advantage of the church if human organisation has already been discounted.



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 05:08 PM
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I have been advocating mutual acceptance and co-operation, but I will be the first to admit that human nature frequently makes this difficult.

There was a time in my life when I was chairman of Penge Council of Churches.
(Penge is a district in south London. Not everybody takes the name seriously. “You’re the first person I’ve met, living in Penge”, somebody said, “who owned up to it. Everyone else claims to live in Beckenham.”)

I was the Council’s first lay chairman, and their last chairman; I was elected in the first place only because none of the ministers wanted the job.
I was the obvious candidate, in fact, because I had accepted the post of vice-chairman in a similar crisis the previous year.

During my first year in office, I visited one of the services of each of the member bodies, and had personal interviews with each of the member ministers. Even the leader of Penge Christian Fellowship, which originated as a charismatic breakaway from my own church and normally held aloof from these things.
I learned that many of them were suspicious of the national Council of Churches, and were reluctant to get involved in the forthcoming transition to the “Churches Together” format. We were expected to play our part in the transition by amending the “affiliation” clause in the Council’s constitution.
I thought of getting round their distaste by floating the idea of detaching ourselves from affiliation altogether and standing alone as a local autonomous body.

Part of the problem, though, was that the local ministers themselves were not a united group.
I’m afraid this was largely due to the attitude of some of the more evangelical ministers, including a couple of evangelical Anglicans.
One of these was John, my own minister. On the subject of the annual “pulpit exchanges”, for example, he told me “There are some of them I wouldn’t even trust in my pulpit”, and he normally arranged a direct exchange with his Anglican friend Bob.
So the real obstacle to unity was the reluctance of these people to associate their churches with non-evangelicals.

At the end of that first year, there came the next Annual General Meeting.
Bob had once told John (who gleefully passed it on) that he ruled his own church’s A.G.M. “with a rod of iron”.
He and the ministers who supported him now announced that they wanted the Council to vote on a motion which would abolish it, on the spot.
I resemble Paul in one respect, at least- being more formidable in my letters than I am face-to-face- and they were probably expecting a walkover.
Fortunately John, being a talkative man with a boastful streak, had already given away what they were planning, and I came prepared.
When I held them off by pointing out that abolishing the Council was undeniably a constitutional amendment, and a constitutional amendment would need six months’ notice, their frustration and annoyance was almost palpable.
Six months later, the Council passed the motion to dissolve itself, together with my own amendment that the dissolution would not take effect before the inauguration of the substitute arrangement which had been promised.
(“If you pass this amendment”, said Bob in the debate, “it will be a sign that you don’t trust your ministers.”)
Three months after that, they met this demand by claiming that the regular ministers’ meetings, which had always been happening, would be the required substitute. So that was the end of that story.

Yet in the long-term, I discovered from the internet, local ministers seem to have been successful in reviving a “Churches Together in Penge”, with a membership of five churches.
(There was also a sixth church, the Methodists of Anerley, still claiming to belong to “Penge Council of churches”. I don’t quite see how to understand this, unless their website had not been updated in the previous twenty years)
The apparent moral is that the path of “mutual acceptance and co-operation” requires patience and persistence.



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 05:09 PM
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”Avoid Jehovah’s Witnesses- set you trap”

Once when I was a student (and still an atheist), I was intercepted outside the gates of the college by an amateur prophet who used the name “Individualist” on his literature. He pressed upon me a couple of sheets which had been run off on a duplicating machine (ask your grandfather about duplicators). He told me, more than once, that he had written to the Foreign Office and the Foreign Office had replied, though he did not tell me what they said. One of the sheets, indeed, carried the hand-written comment “The F.O. answered this!”, and also “Avoid Jehovah’s Witnesses- set you trap!” He certainly wasn’t an infallible prophet. He was expecting the Russians to invade Israel in force in 1973, and we now know this did not happen. I suspect that the Foreign Office response was more polite than enthusiastic.

Having said that, it may be worth considering if there might be value in the other observation. In what sense might the Jehovah’s Witnesses be walking into a trap and providing a trap for others?

Maintaining a separation from the rest of the Christian community is a trap, especially if the separators are treating the rest of God’s people with hostility, because it goes against God’s purpose for his people. To a degree, it amounts to a separation from God himself.
Many Christian groups have been guilty of this fault. The Roman Catholic community separating themselves from those who don’t accept the authority of the Pope (and always the first to accuse other groups of schism). Believers in adult baptism, believers in the seventh-day Sabbath, and so on, separating themselves from those who don’t.
But at least the separation is normally the result, though it may be an unwarranted result, of genuine doctrinal differences.

Looking over the progress of the Jehovah’s Witness community, it’s difficult to avoid the impression that their leadership, over the decades, has been doing things the other way round.
That is, their differences from the rest of the Christian world have been consciously created as a result of their desire to make themselves distinct.
Almost as though an announcement had been made at some conference in the past;
“Our big selling point is going to be ‘uniqueness”. In order to be unique, we must make a point of establishing differences from all the other Christian groups, in every way that we can think of. We must develop a terminology that nobody else uses, we must develop new doctrines that nobody else has thought of. If all the other Christians call the sky ‘blue’, that will be our cue to call the sky ‘turquoise’.
Once we are different from all other Christian groups, we will be in a position to reject the other groups on the ground that they are all different from us.”
(Like the proud parents at the military parade; ‘All those hundreds of soldiers! But look at our Johnnie- he’s the only one marching in step!’)
At least their teaching has been evolving in just the way it would have been evolving if this had been the conscious plan. For example, illustrations of a cross-shaped Cross (which they now deny) did not disappear from their literature until the middle of the twentieth century.
If the distinctive features of this community really are deliberate and artificial, then their stance of hostility to other Christian groups is even more culpable.

There is a more speculative possibility.
Revelation ch13 predicts a “Beast” figure, who will make it his business to destroy the community by eliminating those loyal to God.
He may also be a “false Christ”, of the kind that Jesus warned us about.
Now, Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught to expect the visible rule of Christ on earth.
How are they being trained to tell the difference between the true Christ and the false Christ?
If they cannot tell the difference, is it possible that they might find themselves unwittingly accepting the false Christ instead?
They are also being taught to regard “Christendom”, the rest of the Christian world, as alien to God.
So if they accept the false Christ, and he asks them to help him round up the other Christians for imprisonment, why should they refuse?
Thus they could find themselves walking into the ultimate trap of unconsciously taking the badge of the Beast and entering his service.

And of course a similar wrong choice is open to any other group adopting the attitude of “the enemies of God are that lot over there”.
That is another reason why it is important to recognise fellow-believers as part of the “blessed company of all faithful people”.



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 06:47 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI




I have been advocating mutual acceptance and co-operation, but I will be the first to admit that human nature frequently makes this difficult.

As a Christian who recognizes your superior learning in the matter, I once wrote you a note with a question and received no response.

I personally have tried to find true Christians in various organizations and have failed to find them so we are left without that fellowship and have prayed to find a place if it is indeed God's will.



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 06:50 PM
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a reply to: SeaWorthy
I do apologise. Was it a P.M..? I don't remember the occasion, and perhaps it escaped my attention.



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 07:03 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: SeaWorthy
I do apologise. Was it a P.M..? I don't remember the occasion, and perhaps it escaped my attention.



Thanks good to know, you have had my deepest respect. I have read my bible in many versions uncountable times and yet i always learn from your threads and always as far as i can remember have agreed with what you have to say.



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 07:27 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Boy....Boyes

Outdone yourself......the most poetic or just plain beautiful read man........

Special the way the words flowed with each other....or something poetic almist.....

Subject matter a plus.....but your second post read like Scripture ...I swear....felt Spirit

I really got a lot outta that, thank you sir....old buddy who knows I might be 90.....hehe...
edit on 18-1-2019 by GBP/JPY because: IN THE FINE TEXAS TRADITION



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 07:37 PM
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originally posted by: SeaWorthy
a reply to: DISRAELI




I have been advocating mutual acceptance and co-operation, but I will be the first to admit that human nature frequently makes this difficult.

As a Christian who recognizes your superior learning in the matter, I once wrote you a note with a question and received no response.

I personally have tried to find true Christians in various organizations and have failed to find them so we are left without that fellowship and have prayed to find a place if it is indeed God's will.


I think the problem is too much legalism. People need external standards to measure by. We need to feel safe and secure inside a pack that all looks, thinks, and acts exactly as we do. We cannot find the spirit in others, only read the outward seeming.

So everyone acts a good game, but it's all a show. The good people are there, but they aren't the whole of a fellowship.



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 07:38 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

That was an interesting discussion. I could add to it but I prefer instead to go with your intention to promote unity among the different groups. I have had many rewarding conversations with people of different denominations here on ATS. Sometimes a different perspective provides real insight for me.



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 08:27 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI



Originally posted by DISRAELI
Maintaining a separation from the rest of the Christian community is a trap, especially if the separators are treating the rest of God’s people with hostility, because it goes against God’s purpose for his people. To a degree, it amounts to a separation from God himself.

Many Christian groups have been guilty of this fault. The Roman Catholic community separating themselves from those who don’t accept the authority of the Pope (and always the first to accuse other groups of schism). Believers in adult baptism, believers in the seventh-day Sabbath, and so on, separating themselves from those who don’t.



But those differences that separate believers, are caused by their differing denominational perspectives and beliefs…They are no more trying to be different/unique from one another than your own denomination is…

All those differing denominational Christian groups are not trying to be deliberately unique from one another. They have become that way because of their many different interpretations of the scriptures.

Those differences will always drive a wedge of separation between those groups…imo…because each group always tries to take the higher ground…

The sooner people realize that God is not interested in you converting to Doctrine X or Y Religion or whether you think you have the true/correct and best theological viewpoint… the better…

God is more concerned about each individuals heart condition and how they treat others…The sooner people realize that…the better place this world will become.

- JC



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 10:18 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko




People need external standards to measure by. We need to feel safe and secure inside a pack that all looks, thinks, and acts exactly as we do.


The problem is there are many who start or join for money or friendship but who are not true believers.

There are many references that show we cannot abide in the midst of those. Not to judge not to be in the middle of false churches all very difficult to work out while still looking for fellowship of other Christians. I know none of the first congregations were perfect but when they openly teach falsely you can't stay and when they abide evil in their midst.
Example
2 Corinthians 6:17


English Standard Version Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,



posted on Jan, 18 2019 @ 10:38 PM
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a reply to: SeaWorthy


The problem is there are many who start or join for money or friendship but who are not true believers.


But if those are not allowed in, how do you lead them to Christ? I'm not saying you allow those who come without being true believers who will never ever become true believers, but at the same time, those who are lost can't be found if you never make the effort too. A "good" person may yet come round with time and attention, and if his or her behavior is otherwise not going to lead people astray, is it harmful to allow them to continue to fellowship?

I know we are not to abide the wicked, but there are some who have some very interesting ideas of what constitutes wickedness at the same time. For some, it's simple matter of differing on doctrinal points and interpretation. "Joan didn't marry a good Baptist who believes in full immersion baptism, and we cannot allow her sprinkle only baptism husband!"

How do you also judge true belief, too? Can we ever truly know outside ourselves who is and is not fully in the Spirit? Only through the fruits can we know, and if a person fellowships, and acts correctly, what more is there that can be done to discern?

I guess it's hard for me because I just don't like the company of large groups of people. It makes me uneasy and always has no matter who they are. I hope God will forgive me for that, but He made me and has to know the fear and upset I feel when surrounded by people I don't know and know somewhat well. I honestly have a hard time with an extended family grouping for long periods, so church with strangers is very hard.



posted on Jan, 19 2019 @ 02:03 AM
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a reply to: ketsuko

Seek and ye shall find...
(Seems like you’re seeking, so don’t give up.)



I just had a long chat with someone I never would’ve guessed I’d chat on this subject with. (Was a couple hour text conversation)

I had at least multiple reasons to text him, an old buddy:
1. I just read Jesus’ Parable of the Talents, Matt 25:14-30, and didn’t wanna be the servant who buried his Master’s money for no gain.

2. I was reading the Bible, by myself, but I had also just read Matt 18:20 -“For where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
So I felt compelled to reach out to at least one other person...

3. I’m learning to love my neighbors as I love myself, and since I’m glad I’ve found faith, I want others to, also.

(I didn’t realize it when I started typing this response, but I did extra research into Matt 18:20 tonight. Was the first time I had underlined ANYTHING in any of my bibles. This Bible is one that has Jesus’ words in red, but for some reason, this verse is in black. I had to cross reference it against three other bibles, all of which have it in red. I take this as a mysterious work, if for nothing other than I could respond to you, thus investing another talent.)



edit on 1/19/2019 by japhrimu because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 19 2019 @ 02:24 AM
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originally posted by: Joecroft
But those differences that separate believers, are caused by their differing denominational perspectives and beliefs…They are no more trying to be different/unique from one another than your own denomination is…

All those differing denominational Christian groups are not trying to be deliberately unique from one another. They have become that way because of their many different interpretations of the scriptures.

On the whole, I agree with you. The sense of separation from other groups is the reaction to having developed different understandings. I said so in the sentence immediately following the passage you quoted;

But at least the separation is normally the result, though it may be an unwarranted result, of genuine doctrinal differences.

The suspicion of deliberately planning differences was directed towards one group alone.

edit on 19-1-2019 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 19 2019 @ 10:21 AM
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Loved the read and agree unity is what the “church” was built for. It’s a symbol of the loaf of bread.

Imo..
Christ is not a person, Christ for me is within each of us, an actual energy presence some call a Holy Spirit. It’s actually a living TRUTH within. That’s what a TRUE Christian imo is.



posted on Jan, 19 2019 @ 10:37 AM
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a reply to: japhrimu

Heh, I do fine in small groups. A Bible Study would be ideal. Four or five people who can sit in a quiet space and really chat and discuss a topic in depth.

But to go to a church congregation is very hard -- a whole bunch of strangers all acting like they're my best friend when I don't even really know their names. It's much more difficult than even just going into a crowded stadium where everyone is cheering, but it's impersonal.




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