Jez.......I can see where you are coming from, but the fact remains that I do not make up what I know, ....it's 2,000 year old teachings from the
And this fact holds truth from the Apostles time and not some new fabricated truths that are just come out!
Jesus Christ being the Head of the Church as a start, then the Apostles succession to the end of the world!
The Church has in her foundation the atoning sacrifice of Christ that allows us, by faith and through new birth, become partakers of the divine nature
(2 Peter 1:4). That is why the life of the Church is supernatural in essence, although it flows in quite ordinary circumstances and visible forms.
It is also explanatory of the Savior's words (so confusing for non-believers) about the position of the faithful in worldly life: "... and the
world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:14).
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the
world hateth you" (John 15:19).
These words of the Savior demonstrate the incompatibility of righteous life with sinful and out-of-Church customs of the secular world. "My kingdom
is not of this world" (John 18:36).
Church. "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath
called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God" (1 Peter 2:9:10).
Through reading the Gospel and the Apostolic Epistles it becomes obvious that, in the Savior's plan, people were called to save their souls not as
separate individualities, but jointly, in order to establish an indivisible, graceful Kingdom of the Good. Even the kingdom of the evil, headed by the
prince of darkness, is rallied for the war against the Church. Christ reminded about it saying, "And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against
himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?" (Matthew 12:26).
Jez , I was not brought up to beleive in whatever the Church said, Yes, I went to church when young because it was what I had to do, but then when I
got older(let's say 17) I did not understand the meaning of what was said in church because I did not find it necessary to learn about what it meant,
as so many other people my age(not all).
In fact, I went because I had to go, and that is how I brought up.
Things are different now, in a sense that I have read many books that tell me that the Church is ''life'' it is what Jeus Christ set
up......''the Church was created, the Church was instructed not by the Scripture, but by the oral preaching that the Apostles called the tradition
(1 Corinthians 11:16 and 15:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:15 and 3:6, 1 Timothy 6:20). The Tradition is a unified custom of instruction in faith.
''Thus, the oneness and unity of the Church was not questioned in the early centuries of Christianity: the Church is one spiritual family, which has
been holding the true doctrine, Sacraments and unbroken succession of grace, transferred from bishop to bishop since the Apostolic age. The Apostles'
successors never had doubts in that the Church is absolutely necessary for salvation. She keeps and proclaims the pure teaching of Christ, she
sanctifies the believers and leads them to salvation. We can use the images of the Scriptures and say that, in the first centuries of Christianity,
the Church was viewed as a fenced sheepfold where the Good Shepherd, Christ, secures His sheep from the wolf, the devil. ''
In the first centuries of Christianity believing in Christ meant believing that what He had done on earth, and the means that He had given the
believers for salvation, cannot be lost or taken away through efforts of enemies of the Church.
The Old Testament prophets, the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles definitely taught that the Church would exist until the last times of the world:
"And in the days of these (pagan) kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed... it shall break in pieces and
consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever," — predicted an Angel to the prophet Daniel (Daniel 2:44).
The Lord made a promise to the Apostle Paul, "Upon this rock (of faith) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it"
In this way, if only we believe the promise of the Savior, we should acknowledge that His Church exists in our time and until the end of the world. We
have not pointed out where she is yet, but only posed a principal assumption: she should exist in her holy, indivisibly whole, real essence.
Fractured, damaged, evaporated — she will not be the Church.
First, the true Church must maintain the Christian doctrine, proclaimed by the Apostles, in its intactness and purity.
The Son of God came to the earth with the goal of bringing the truth to people, as He said before His suffering on the Cross, "To this end was I
born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice" (John
The Apostle Paul, instructing his disciple Timothy on how to fulfill the bishop's office, concluded, "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" (1 Timothy 3:15).
Pastors and Teachers
"And He (God) gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for
the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-12).
It is not the goal of our life to mechanically move the soul to the paradise; the primary goal is interior, spiritual renewal. In its turn it requires
knowledge, experience, guidance, assistance, cleansing and sanctification. And for this the Church is needed, as the spiritual treaty of the
I myself dont go to Church every Sunday, I guess, because I'm lazy (and I know it's wrong... .there's no excuse for this) ...
Orthodoxy also has 'vespers' on the Sabbath...saturday...sabbato in Greek....we honour that day!
Nothing in the traditions of the Old Testament have been changed, only that Christ has Resurrected and His Church ...Savior's clear words, "I will
build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).
Unity of the Church was the subject of the High-Priest prayer of our Savior: "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee,
that they also may be one in us" (John 17:21).
The Church of Christ, although it exists in the world that lies in evil, has nothing in common with it. She has Her fence, or boundaries, that
separate the sheep of Christ from the bad-tempered sheep and from the wolves. This is told in the parable of the Good Shepherd.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own
sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow,
but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers... I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and
out, and find pasture... As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one
shepherd" (John 10:1-5; 9, 15, 16).
Clarity of Apostolic teaching, legislation, lineage of the apostolic succession, and the entire order of Church life comprise the obvious fence
separating the Church from various religious groups.
The door of the parable is the Sacrament of Baptism, by the means of which the faithful become members of the Church.
But there is also a door for the shepherds, which is the legitimate election and ordination. Usurpers of the shepherd's functions, who "climb up
some other way" as it is put down in the parable, are thieves and robbers.
The parable of the Good Shepherd stresses the idea of obedience for the sheep and self-sacrifice for the shepherds. Obedience is expressed through
acceptance of the teaching of the Church, without critique and private opinion, and living Christian lives under the guidance of good shepherds.
The sin of sectarians is, first of all, in their disobedience to the Church, their insubordination and riot. Protestantism is a very characteristic
generic term for sectarians.
The parable of the vine discloses the mysterious communion of the faithful with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Source of gifts of grace and spiritual
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman... Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the
vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much
fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:1, 4-5).
Whosoever arrogantly alienates oneself from the Church, becomes similar to a cut branch: not only it remains fruitless, but also it will undoubtedly
dry up. The consciousness of unity with Christ in the Sacrament of communion should fill us with sense of utter gratitude. We draw our better
intentions and powers from Him. He is the source of our spiritual life!
Ok, I think I said a bit too much....
There is so much more to learn ......even for myself!
But for this reason the Church still exists because in the end of days, when the Antichrist comes, he will want all worship for himself and try to
break up the true Church of Christ......but because this cannot happen, he will try to say that he is God come down and set up his kingdom on
earth.......Jesus Christ did not try to set up an ''earthly kingdom'' He said that ''His kingdom is not of this world''......
It is not the goal of our life to mechanically move the soul to the paradise; the primary goal is interior, spiritual renewal. In its turn it
requires knowledge, experience, guidance, assistance, cleansing and sanctification. And for this the Church is needed, as the spiritual treaty of the
In a normal, healthy family there should not be a conflict between parents and kids, the elder and the younger; so in the Church, the ministries can
be different but all of them are needed for the common good.
"The elders which are among you I exhort," writes St. Peter, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by
constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock...
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder" (1 Peter 5:1-5).
The Holy Apostle Paul comforted his compatriots, Judean Christian persecuted by non-believing Jews, by reminding them about this genuine glory of the
heavenly-and-worldly Church, "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable
company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits
of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant" (Hebrews 12:22-24). And yet in another place he compared the Church to a
great building and inspired the faithful with the following words, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with
the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner
stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord" (Ephesians 2:19-21).