I Corinthians; Defining the church

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posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 05:02 PM
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Among the writings of Paul, 1 Corinthians is the letter which teaches the church what it means to be a Christian community.
The opening verses have the effect of defining where the church comes from and what it’s based on, and I will want to show how the rest of the teaching follows on from that.
But the starting-point is the definition itself (ch1 vv1-9).

In this opening passage, Paul is greeting the church in Corinth.
But in greeting the church, he’s also describing the church, and the description adds up to a working definition of what it means to be “the church”.

v1 He begins by announcing himself as an apostle of Christ Jesus “called by the will of God”.
Which makes the word “called” (KLETOS) the second word in the Greek text.
I mention that, because we’re going to find different forms of the same word running through this passage like a thread.
It will be one of the key themes.

v2 Then he describes his readers in Corinth as the local EKKLESIA.
This is another version of “called”, because the root meaning of that word is that a group has been “called out”.
In secular Greek, in fact, it was one of the normal words for an assembly.
In that warmer climate (I’m writing in England) political meetings were held in the open air.
The image would be that people had been “called out” of their homes in order to attend them.
That makes it a natural word to use for a “gathering”.
But this is the gathering which “belongs to God”.
In the Christian case there’s also the sense that Christians have been “called out” of the world to become part of the new community.

He calls them “sanctified”.
That is, they’ve been set apart as God’s property, like the vessels in the Temple.
He also says they were “called to be saints” (KLETOIS HAGIOIS), which means the same thing.
He says they were called in company with everybody else who “calls upon” the name of the Lord Jesus.
That is, they are part of a larger community which accepts him as Lord.
In other words, the calling is reciprocal, moving in both directions.
God “calls them out” of the world and they “call upon” Christ.

It’s also worth noting that they were sanctified “in Christ Jesus”.
One of my commentators maintains that the “in” should be taken as “instrumental”; it means they were sanctified as the effect of what Christ did for them.
But since the basic thought is “set apart”, I don’t think we can exclude the idea that Christ is the location where they are sanctified; they were brought into Christ, and by that means taken away from the world.

v4 He wishes them grace and peace- a very important combination, a Pauline theme in itself.
Then he gives thanks for what God has given them, which involves describing what God has given them.
It’s all summed up in the word CHARIS- or “grace”.
The grace has been given to them “in Christ Jesus”, which opens up the same question as before, namely-; is this “means” or “location”?
The two options are that the grace was “in Christ Jesus” when it was given to them, or that they were “in Christ” when they received it.
It might be best to use both understandings of the phrase; either way, the “grace” (the gift of God) is what they receive through the connection with Christ.

v5 This verse explains what Paul meant by “grace” in the previous verse.
It means that they are “enriched with all speech and all knowledge.”
Once again, they are enriched “in him”, with the same two possibilities.
I still think there’s a good case for “you are in Christ and therefore enriched”.

v6 The evidence(“even as”) for the enrichment is the way that the testimony about Christ was “established” amongst them.
What does he mean by “among you”?
If he means “in your hearts”, then the point will be that the “grace” has given strength to their own faith.
If he means “in the place where you are”, then the point would be the spread of the gospel message in Corinth.
At least that would follow on from and explain the reference to “speech and knowledge”, because “all knowledge” would be the knowledge of the gospel, and “all speech” would be the ability to proclaim the gospel.

v7 In short, they are not lacking in any of the “gifts”, and these gifts are what they have while they are waiting “for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
So the gifts are meeting a need which exists during the waiting period, because the “revealing” of Christ would bring about a different set of circumstances.

v8 What Paul means by the “revealing” of Christ is that he expects Christ to come as a judge for the world at large.
He uses the phrase “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”, as an equivalent of the Old Testament phrase “the day of the Lord”.
As this verse shows, the popular theory that the God of the New Testament is not a God of judgement is simply untrue.
But the key difference between Old Testament judgement and New Testament judgement is that Christ is brought into the scene.

He gives the assurance that Christ will “establish” them, keep them firm in the faith, to the very end of the waiting period.
Therefore when the judgement arrives, they will be found “guiltless”- which evidently follows from being firmly “established”.
Although it’s not obvious in English, the word “guiltless” is yet another variant on the word “call”.
The Greek word is ANEGKLETOUS, which means “not-to-be-called-to-account”.

v9 As a final assurance on this point, he adds that God is “faithful”, in the sense of “someone who can be trusted”.
This is relevant, because it was God who called them (that word again) into fellowship with Christ (and therefore brought them into that state of waiting for Christ to be revealed).
If God is faithful, that means he will not cause them to wait in vain.

I promised that we would find in this passage a definition of the church.
It seems to me that the church has been defined in three ways;
by their experience in the past
by their condition in the present
by their expectation for the future.

They are defined by their experience in the past.
That is, God called them into fellowship with Christ, called them to be saints, and sanctified them.

They are defined by their condition in the present.
That is, they are in fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ, calling upon his name, and they enjoy the grace and spiritual gifts which God has provided.

They are defined by their expectation for the future.
That is, they are the ones who are waiting and hoping for Christ to be revealed.

They are also defined by three different relationships.
We’ve already seen how the Father relates to them, because he called them and sanctified them.
We’ve already seen how the Son relates to them, because they are “in Christ Jesus”, in fellowship with him, and being sustained by him while they’re waiting for him to be revealed.
A third relationship is not explicit in this passage, but implied by the word “gifts”- CHARISMATA.
For these “gifts”, in the rest of the letter, are associated with the Holy Spirit.

So if we want a very brief definition of the church, it can be summed up as follows;
The church is the body of those(in any denomination) who are
Called by the Father
Gathered by the Son, and also (while waiting for him)
Gifted by the Spirit.




posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 05:07 PM
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Church is where ever believers gather in his name.

where two friends sit and talk about the bible, thats church.

it happens every day in the walk of a christian, and has little to do with that building they go to every sunday.



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 05:12 PM
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reply to post by benrl
 

Yes indeed.
That sums up the passage very succintly.



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 05:38 PM
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Forget it. It's not worth my time. Sayonara.
edit on 16-9-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 05:42 PM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 

If one is building a case for a conclusion (which is found here in the last couple of paragraphs), then one includes all the evidence.
No copying involved. All my own work. "In my own rite", as John Lennon put it.



posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 10:57 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 

Dear DISRAELI,

Thanks very much for the invitation to a very impressive thread. I like your presentation and analysis. You managed to keep it scholarly enough to be meaningful and significant, yet it is easy to read and understand. I wish I could find some flaw in it so I could get into a debate with you, but if it's there, I don't see it.

May I drift a little from the topic? If it's not appropriate feel free to ignore it.

I'm greatly saddened by the disunity among Christians. Could the cause have been that after the Church was formed as you define it, there were questions about authority? Who could declare something as true and something else as heresy?

I don't know, but I suspect that at one extreme are those groups that basically say "Here's the Bible. Do with it what seems right to you." And at the other extreme there may be groups that say "Your understanding of the Bible is entirely worthless, you must memorize what we say.

If that is true, I wonder what happened to "You are Peter .... Feed My sheep." Did he fall down on the job, or did some rebel against him, or is there some other explanation.

Again, I'm not trying to pick a fight. I really like your definition of Church as a body of believers, etc.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 12:27 AM
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The Catholic Church is the only church that can claim to have been founded by Christ personally. Every other church traces its lineage back to a mere human person such as Martin Luther or John Wesley. The Catholic Church can trace its lineage back to Jesus Christ who appointed St. Peter as the first pope. This line of popes has continued unbroken for almost 2,000 years.



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 09:00 AM
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charles1952
I don't know, but I suspect that at one extreme are those groups that basically say "Here's the Bible. Do with it what seems right to you." And at the other extreme there may be groups that say "Your understanding of the Bible is entirely worthless, you must memorize what we say.

I agree, and both extremes see the other as being completely out of touch with what the exact same Bible has to say.

Good OP, Disraeli, as always.

My personal perspective is that our spiritual life has three components, faith, religion and theology, in descending order of importance, and each is a check against the other. "Church", in both the specific and generic terms, fit into the last two -- a person who has faith, but nothing else, may well be completely incorrect in what they have faith in, while a church that teaches something that has no basis in theology may well be completely incorrect in what they teach. Thus, I believe that a person of faith needs the church, and the church needs theology, and I reject the "Just me and my Bible" way of thinking (at least for the vast, vast majority of people.)

And I will quibble, slightly, with my friend Colbe -- the Eastern Orthodox churches are also successors of Christ's church, and I would argue that the Anglican Church (at least the Church of England) is, as well. I believe that the Methodist church also lays some claim to having an unbroken Apostolic succession, though I'm not sure about that one.



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 10:03 AM
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reply to post by charles1952
 
Hi ..I believe the answer to your question may lie in the kingdom cults ..Paul taught about it and our Lord in Matt. ch.13 as well ..I had always wrestled with the same issue and it was only after finding Walter Martin's work on the Kingdom cults I could let go of my confusion ....peace



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 12:51 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 

Unity is an important theme in this letter and will get its own thread based on ch3 vv16-17.
We can anticipate, though.
The implied message of those verses is that the Holy Spirit is the bond which unifies the church, so where unity fails, that suggests the Spirit is being ignored, not allowed to operate, or absent.

The pendulum is always swinging between authority and rebellion, and I think the key point is that both are capable of going to unacceptable exteremes, and so we need them both to provide a check on each other.
So at the beginning of Genesis, the authority of Babel is an alternative to the "violence" of Cain and his successors, but the later symbolism of "Babylon" shows how authority can be just as oppressive as violence.
Therefore in human life we need both restraints- authority to restrain the excesses of violence, and violence to restrain the escesses of quthority.
So in church life, we need authority as a check on rebellious individualism, and we need rebellious individualism as a check on abuse of authority.
The problem with the "authority is always right" position is that it embraces and endorses the abusive authority as well as the well-ruling kind.

Later in chapter 1 there will be a chance to compare the false wisdom of the Greeks and the Jews, and the parties of "I belong to Apollos" and "I belong to Peter".



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 01:12 PM
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reply to post by colbe
 

Yes, Christ founded the church.
But the Roman Catholic community is NOT the church Christ founded.
The Roman Catholic community is a fragment of the church which Christ founded.
The Orthodox community is a fragment of the church which Christ founded.
The Lutheran community is a fragment of the church which Christ founded.
The Anglican community is a fragment of the church which Christ founded.
The Methodist community is a fragment of the church which Christ founded.
The Baptist community is a fragment of the church which Christ founded.
All these fragments, taken together, are the church which Christ founded, and not one of them can make that claim in isolation from the others.

Your argument is based on equating two different entities with different definitions.
One entity is "the community of believers under God which Christ founded".
The other entity is "the community of those Christians who are willing to accept the authority and teaching of the Pope".
You apply the name "the Church" to both those two entities, and then claim that they must be the same thing because they are covered by the same word.
In other words, it's verbal juggling.
However, I acknowledge that it's verbal juggling which is endorsed by the highest authorities within your communion, so it's not your fault.

Look at the kind of definition Paul is using. He doesn't ask them "How do you relate to the Pope of Rome, who doesn't exist yet?" He is concerned with how they relate to the Father, how they relate to the Son, how they relate to the Holy Spirit. Those are the relationships that matter, the only relationships that matter.

I think we need to go back to Paul's defintion and make a fresh start.

edit on 17-9-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 01:18 PM
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adjensen
and each is a check against the other.

Yes, I think this is one of the key ideas that we need to remember.
I've just made a similar point with respect to the balance between "authority" and "rebellion".



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 01:20 PM
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reply to post by the2ofusr1
 

Hi there.
I haven't seen much of you since Revelation days.
I hope you enjoy this series just as much.
(It won't be systematic, this time. Just selected passages)



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 01:31 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 
Hey thanks D ..I had to get off the site for a spell and rethink a few things ..I have been reading your thoughts and am enjoying them. You are a brave man in my books ,because of the birds that come in to take shade but I guess our Lord has something for each one of us ...peace and keep up the good work



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 05:09 PM
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I do not intend to go through the whole of 1 Corinthians systematically.
It will only be a selection of passages.
This series has been inspired, indirectly, by the commentary written by Hans Conzellman.
In his comments on the first verse in ch6 (a passage which I do not intend to cover) he remarks that “The criterion of conduct is accordingly found in the nature of the community”.
In effect, I have taken this dictum and made it a guideline for a major part of the epistle.
The premise is that Paul’s teaching here is largely about getting the church to live up to the description of itself which he supplies in the opening verses.
The way this works will become evident in the different stages.

(It has to be said, though, that I increasingly find Robertson and Plummer more reliable on points of detail).



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 03:05 AM
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DISRAELI
reply to post by colbe
 

Yes, Christ founded the church.
But the Roman Catholic community is NOT the church Christ founded.
The Roman Catholic community is a fragment of the church which Christ founded.
The Orthodox community is a fragment of the church which Christ founded.
The Lutheran community is a fragment of the church which Christ founded.
The Anglican community is a fragment of the church which Christ founded.
The Methodist community is a fragment of the church which Christ founded.
The Baptist community is a fragment of the church which Christ founded.
All these fragments, taken together, are the church which Christ founded, and not one of them can make that claim in isolation from the others.

Your argument is based on equating two different entities with different definitions.
One entity is "the community of believers under God which Christ founded".
The other entity is "the community of those Christians who are willing to accept the authority and teaching of the Pope".
You apply the name "the Church" to both those two entities, and then claim that they must be the same thing because they are covered by the same word.
In other words, it's verbal juggling.
However, I acknowledge that it's verbal juggling which is endorsed by the highest authorities within your communion, so it's not your fault.

Look at the kind of definition Paul is using. He doesn't ask them "How do you relate to the Pope of Rome, who doesn't exist yet?" He is concerned with how they relate to the Father, how they relate to the Son, how they relate to the Holy Spirit. Those are the relationships that matter, the only relationships that matter.

I think we need to go back to Paul's defintion and make a fresh start.

edit on 17-9-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)


This is no "argument" or my opinion, this is history, the Orthodox broke away from the faith over the authority of the Pope. All the the "fragments" listed as you call them, the Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, etc, are part of the Protestant revolt from the faith beginning in 1517 on up until today. It has been tallied, one new denomination (non-denomination) started every week since the revolt.

Paul said it, unless you discern this is the "body" of Our Lord you bring judgment on yourself (1 Cor 11:29). Paul was speaking of Jesus' presence in the Eucharist. In the Gospel, the first reference to the Eucharist is "break bread" or "breaking bread." The term Eucharist came later, Ignatius, 3rd Bishop of Antioch used the word Eucharist for the first time.

Paul speaks powerfully to the first Christians about denying the Eucharist. Why? The Eucharist is Jesus Christ our God and Savior, His risen body, blood, soul and divinity! You have to believe with total faith, you do not see a change in the consecrated host. God can do anything Disraeli, this is supernatural (spirit and life). You have to believe with total faith. I repeat and repeat I know, for the Great Tribulation is not far off. The anti-Christ is going to attempt to ABOLISH the Eucharist. This is prophesied in Daniel (the A.O.D.). To help you, why would the anti-Christ do this if the Eucharist isn't true?

There are two (2) priesthoods in the New Covenant, the priesthood of believers and a ministerial priesthood as in the Old but important, like all of the New Covenant, the priesthood is made greater in the New. In the Old Covenant, only the priest offers sacrifice. Paul was/is a ministerial priest, same as the Apostles, Paul was one of them, he was a Roman Catholic priest. Look up the meaning of oblation (King James, his fellas changed the word oblation to offering in the KJV).

OBLATION - Merriam Webster
1. the act of making a religious offering; specifically capitalized : the act of offering the eucharistic elements to God

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the "continual sacrifice" prophesied in Daniel, offered every day, every hour all around the world.

Keep this all on your heart for when God enlightens you personally, every person during the worldwide Warning, "awakening", you will recall. Oh joy, say yes when He shows you. I am serious friend, very difficult to change people's belief but God can. Here's something all Christians agree on, remember Our Lord's prayer to the Father that we all be one, meaning of one belief. This prayer is going to answered in your life time and maybe soon as next year if the Warning takes place in 2014.


May the Two Hearts J+M keep you safe,



Romans 15:16
That I should be the minister of Christ Jesus among the Gentiles; sanctifying the gospel of God, that the oblation of the Gentiles may be made acceptable and sanctified in the Holy Ghost. www.drbo.org...
www.biblegateway.com...



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 05:38 PM
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colbe this is history, the Orthodox broke away from the faith over the authority of the Pope.

That is not history, because that did not happen.
You need to improve your knowledge of history before you start making pronouncements on it.

The truth is the other way round. It was the Papal side which broke away from the Orthodox communion.
The key event of 1054 was that the papal legates took the initiative in deciding to excommunicate the Orthodox Patriarch, without any just cause or authority.
In fact, then, it was the Pope who broke away from the main body of the church, and thus technically became guilty of schism.
Like Robinson Crusoe on his desert island, the Pope became "monarch of all he surveyed" by virtue of the fact that he was in a state of isolation (self-induced, in the Pope's case) from everybody else.

The Eucharist will be the subject of a separate thread when we come to that part of 1 Corinthians. For the moment, though, it is beside the point.

We are currently discussing what it is that defines the church and membership of the church.
My point is that Paul does not define membership of the church in terms of whether a person agrees with the Pope on this, that, or the other (especially not the other).
The question is; has the Father called that person into fellowship with his Son? Does he has the Spirit-given faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ?
As I said, the only relationship that matters, in defining our place in the church, is our relation with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
If the Father has called me into fellowship with his Son, that makes me a member of the church.
You have no right to tell me that I am not.


edit on 18-9-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 09:39 PM
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DISRAELI

colbe this is history, the Orthodox broke away from the faith over the authority of the Pope.

That is not history, because that did not happen.
You need to improve your knowledge of history before you start making pronouncements on it.

The truth is the other way round. It was the Papal side which broke away from the Orthodox communion.
The key event of 1054 was that the papal legates took the initiative in deciding to excommunicate the Orthodox Patriarch, without any just cause or authority.
In fact, then, it was the Pope who broke away from the main body of the church, and thus technically became guilty of schism.
Like Robinson Crusoe on his desert island, the Pope became "monarch of all he surveyed" by virtue of the fact that he was in a state of isolation (self-induced, in the Pope's case) from everybody else.

The Eucharist will be the subject of a separate thread when we come to that part of 1 Corinthians. For the moment, though, it is beside the point.

We are currently discussing what it is that defines the church and membership of the church.
My point is that Paul does not define membership of the church in terms of whether a person agrees with the Pope on this, that, or the other (especially not the other).
The question is; has the Father called that person into fellowship with his Son? Does he has the Spirit-given faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ?
As I said, the only relationship that matters, in defining our place in the church, is our relation with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
If the Father has called me into fellowship with his Son, that makes me a member of the church.
You have no right to tell me that I am not.


edit on 18-9-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)


Peter went to Rome, the authority is in Rome. The Orthodox broke away. Why would God change?
God named spiritual leaders on earth in the Old Covenant, same in the New Covenant. Christ named
Peter (Matt 16:18). Where is your list of Orthodox Popes (Christ's Orthodox leader)...from the beginning, list since 33 A.D.? Shall I post the unbroken line of Popes?

The Eucharist is the summit, you believe in Christ's presence in the Eucharist or you don't. Imagine, making the choice for bread and wine, (sometimes juice and crackers) OR receiving God Himself, Jesus Christ. See how immature to go with the Protestant choice.

There is a visible Church, has been for 2000 years, you can't deny it forever brother. Jesus wants
you to become Catholic so you can receive Him too. It is going happen, the worldwide Warning.

By whose authority do you believe what you do? You can't have 10,000 Protestant sects, God did not
make everyone their own pope. Seeee.....


God bless you,


colbe

p.s. The first Christians were being persecuted. Peter leader of the first Christians used a code word
for Rome, Babylon. For Sola Scriptura followers...


1 Peter 5:13
The church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you: and so doth my son Mark.


www.drbo.org...



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 07:56 AM
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DISRAELI
Yes, Christ founded the church.
But the Roman Catholic community is NOT the church Christ founded.


TECHNICALLY ...

Christ founded ONE Church. The Catholic (universal) Church. He placed Peter in charge.
All the fragments that you brought up are break offs because of man .. not God.
Christ didn't make the baptist fragment. Christ didn't make the Lutheran fragment.
Christ made ONE CHURCH.

Where Peter is ... there is the Church.

Christ's church is broken. In order for it to be fixed, all the fragments that broke off
need to come back together. I don't see that happening until Christ Himself comes back.



edit on 9/19/2013 by FlyersFan because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 19 2013 @ 09:15 AM
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FlyersFan
Where Peter is ... there is the church

I would say the church is where Christ is.
The history of the way the church divided (such as the fact that the Papacy separated off from the East rather than the other way round) shows that the Roman Cathoilc communion is another fragment of no more than equal status with the rest.

If I belong to Christ, then I belong to the church, because that is the only true definition of membership of the church.


edit on 19-9-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)





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