What is the Church for?

Johan

Well-known member
That may very well be true for Abraham personally but what of all the other Israelites following him?
Do you mean "following" in the sense that they accompanied him, or that he somehow was their spiritual teacher/leader? Because I have a hard time finding the latter in the Scriptures.
I don't think you can use exceptions to base the life of faith on.
Was Noah an exception? Enoch? The rest of the patriarchs? Rahab, who was not even an Israelite? Please select just anyone listed among the believers in Hebrews ch. 11 and show to me that they were guided to and in Christ by means of a hierarchical church.
To reiterate, we need the Church. Jesus established the Church because he knew it would be a means of grace for us as well as provide Christians with the orthodoxy and orthopraxy they need to live like him.
I cannot think of a single reason why I would need the church, apart from being the fellowship of believers. The church is not my savior—Christ is. And I certainly do not need the Catholic "church".
What you say is true - you can spread the Gospel, etc. - but your life as a Christian is totally parasitic (meant in the sense of "living off") on the Church. Everything you take for granted as a Christian: the doctrines, texts, ways of praying, etc. all came to you through the Church.
That was a good one. 😁 I have been called many things throughout the years, but this must be the first time anyone has claimed that my life is "parasitic on the church". I deviate from the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church in virtually every way. Off the top of my head, I reject:

Baptismal regeneration
Original guilt (and the idea that this guilt is removed in baptism)
Transubstantiation
That grace is somehow "communicated" through the "sacraments"
"Sanctifying grace"
The notion of a conscious intermediate state
Intercession of the saints
The notion of a subset of believers being "saints" (every child of God is holy before Him)
Purgatory
Inherent immortality of the soul
Hell (in the "traditional" notion of an eternal place of torture)
Everything related to clericalism, i.e., the idea that there is a priesthood separate from the "common" priesthood of the believers
Clerical celibacy
Apostolic succession
The papacy and all the accompanying claims related to that "office"
Conditional forgiveness and election
"Free will"
Synergism in salvation
Salvation being a "process"
Infused righteousness
Justification by works before God
The notion of meritorious works
The distinction between "mortal" and "venial" sins
Devotion to Mary
The immaculate conception
The perpetual virginity of Mary
The assumption of Mary

In my worship, I also do not pray the so-called "Lord's prayer" (our sins have been forgiven and removed once and for all) and certainly not any Hail Marys. I do not believe that the Roman Catholic "church" wrote any of the biblical texts—prophets and apostles called by God did. I probably forgot a few other Catholic doctrines that I wholeheartedly reject. So yeah, please explain to me again how I "parasitize" on the Catholic "church". ;)
 

mica

Well-known member
jonathan_hili said:
...
To reiterate, we need the Church.
no believer needs the RCC, it's a spiritual cancer.

Believers are His church, the RCC is not.

Jesus established the Church because he knew it would be a means of grace for us
He didn't 'establish' a false church and He has never needed the RCC to bestow grace on those who are His. His followers received grace long before the RCC existed. Whatever 'grace' you think you're 'receiving' isn't from Him.

as well as provide Christians with the orthodoxy and orthopraxy they need to live like him.

...
There's nothing provided by the RCC that anyone needs to follow Him. the RCC leads one away from Him.
 

RayneBeau

Well-known member
I'm curious to know what people on this forum think about the Church's purpose in the world. Clearly, establishing the Church - the called out community of God - was central to Christ's mission, but why? What is the Church for?
What "Church" are you referring to when you ask what the "Church's" purpose is in the world? It certainly can not be the Roman Catholic 'Church' which is nothing more than "a church" among many "church's."
 

mica

Well-known member
jonathan_hili said:
I'm curious to know what people on this forum think about the Church's purpose in the world. Clearly, establishing the Church - the called out community of God - was central to Christ's mission, but why? What is the Church for?
the RCC (your 'the Church') is not 'the called out community of God'.'

catholics are the called out people of the old men of the RCC. That is what catholics believe in and follow.
 

RayneBeau

Well-known member
The RCC makes up its own interpretations and is a source of confusion and disagreements. For example there is a major disagreement over whether the pope is real pope or a false pope. If we look at scripture and compare the requirements for leaders and elders in the church, your institution has false leaders, so maybe the RCs who think the pope is a false pope are right.
Within the Roman Catholic Church, every Roman Catholic family in every community throughout the world, is assigned and confined to a Roman Catholic parish, where the family's children receive their first Communion, undergo years of intensive Roman Catholic catechetical indoctrination, and where entire families must submit to the Roman Catholic sacraments. Children in their RCC parochial schools are taught to sing songs in a language totally foreign to them (usually Latin), inscribe JMJ on the upper right-hand corner of each school work paper, make the sign of the cross before taking a test, fast from meat on the days the Roman Catholic Church appoints, go to confession at least once a week, and to Mass every Sunday, as well as each and every Roman Catholic "holy day day of obligation." This and so much more is what the Roman Catholic Church is for, which is a far cry from, and totally foreign to what the true 'church' of God's "called out ones" is.
 

balshan

Well-known member
Within the Roman Catholic Church, every Roman Catholic family in every community throughout the world, is assigned and confined to a Roman Catholic parish, where the family's children receive their first Communion, undergo years of intensive Roman Catholic catechetical indoctrination, and where entire families must submit to the Roman Catholic sacraments. Children in their RCC parochial schools are taught to sing songs in a language totally foreign to them (usually Latin), inscribe JMJ on the upper right-hand corner of each school work paper, make the sign of the cross before taking a test, fast from meat on the days the Roman Catholic Church appoints, go to confession at least once a week, and to Mass every Sunday, as well as each and every Roman Catholic "holy day day of obligation." This and so much more is what the Roman Catholic Church is for, which is a far cry from, and totally foreign to what the true 'church' of God's "called out ones" is.
I not sure if modern RC schools are the same. I mean I did some casual teaching in a RC school. They did not start every lesson with a prayer or finish with a prayer and they did not write anything on the top of the page. We wrote AMDG on the top of our pages.

I still think it is not teaching them about Jesus, the catechism lessons were on Mary. But I only went a couple of times.
 

Mike McK

Well-known member
Just because someone says that they are born again, does not mean that it is true.
He says that born again believers cannot agree on the "fundamental doctrines" of Christianity. This is an illogical statement, as someone who does not hold to orthodoxy concerning the essential doctrines of the faith is disqualified from being a Christian.

It would be akin to saying vegetarianism cannot be a valid choice because some vegetarians eat meat.
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
I look forward to seeing your examples to back up this silly claim.
Okay. Would you like me to list examples of famous Protestants and evangelicals who claim to be born again but differ on issues such as hell, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, etc.?
 

Mike McK

Well-known member
Okay. Would you like me to list examples of famous Protestants and evangelicals who claim to be born again but differ on issues such as hell, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, etc.?
First of all, of the three of these, only Hell is an essential doctrine.

Second, as I said, if one does not hold to orthodoxy on the essentials, they are, by definition, not a Christian.
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
First of all, of the three of these, only Hell is an essential doctrine.

Second, as I said, if one does not hold to orthodoxy on the essentials, they are, by definition, not a Christian.
But isn't that the point in question: Who defines what the essentials are? People who believe they are born again have different views on what is essential and what isn't, as well as how to understand those essential beliefs. I know some famous evangelical pastors who are essentially universalists or deny the existence of hell in any real sense.
 

Mike McK

Well-known member
But isn't that the point in question: Who defines what the essentials are?
Scripture.
People who believe they are born again have different views on what is essential and what isn't, as well as how to understand those essential beliefs.
The Bible tells us which beliefs are essential. If a person disagrees with them, that's not our problem.
I know some famous evangelical pastors who are essentially universalists or deny the existence of hell in any real sense.
And, by definition, they would not be Christians.
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
Scripture.
But if people who are born again differ on what scripture defines as the essentials, where do you go from there?

I mean, which of these does scripture speak of as essential?
1) Belief in the resurrection (and must it be bodily/physical?).
2) Baptism.
3) Eucharist.
4) No divorce and remarriage.
5) Following the Ten Commandments.
6) Believing in the Trinity (and how might that be defined?).
7) That Creation occurred over six literal days.
8) That there literally was an historical Adam and Eve.
9) That Noah's Flood filled the entire earth and the story is to be taken literally.
10) Hell as a real place.

The Bible tells us which beliefs are essential. If a person disagrees with them, that's not our problem.
But if people who are born again disagree with one another on what the Bible teaches is essential, then it is your problem because how do you then maintain unity or have an authority that brings about agreement between born again people?
And, by definition, they would not be Christians.
By your definition - but not by theirs. And indeed, not by many, many other Christians' definitions either. One prominent example would be someone like Rob Bell. Is he not a Christian?
 

mica

Well-known member
But if people who are born again differ on what scripture defines as the essentials, where do you go from there?

I mean, which of these does scripture speak of as essential?
1) Belief in the resurrection (and must it be bodily/physical?).
2) Baptism.
3) Eucharist.
4) No divorce and remarriage.
5) Following the Ten Commandments.
6) Believing in the Trinity (and how might that be defined?).
7) That Creation occurred over six literal days.
8) That there literally was an historical Adam and Eve.
9) That Noah's Flood filled the entire earth and the story is to be taken literally.
10) Hell as a real place.
...
what is your source for this list of 'essentials' ?
 

Mike McK

Well-known member
But if people who are born again differ on what scripture defines as the essentials, where do you go from there?

I mean, which of these does scripture speak of as essential?
1) Belief in the resurrection (and must it be bodily/physical?).
2) Baptism.
3) Eucharist.
4) No divorce and remarriage.
5) Following the Ten Commandments.
6) Believing in the Trinity (and how might that be defined?).
7) That Creation occurred over six literal days.
8) That there literally was an historical Adam and Eve.
9) That Noah's Flood filled the entire earth and the story is to be taken literally.
10) Hell as a real place.
1, 6. 10 is not listed in scripture as an essential, but, logically speaking, there is no way to deny it without denying core tenets of the Gospel, which is an essential.
But if people who are born again disagree with one another on what the Bible teaches is essential, then it is your problem because how do you then maintain unity or have an authority that brings about agreement between born again people?
The Bible tells us what is essential. Either a person believes it or they don't.


By your definition - but not by theirs.
Don't care about their definition. My only concern is the Bible's authority and definition. If they don't agree with what the Bible says, then that only further goes to alienate them from Christianity.
And indeed, not by many, many other Christians' definitions either.
Don't care. It doesn't matter how many people believe or don't believe something. The Bible is still the authority.
One prominent example would be someone like Rob Bell. Is he not a Christian?
No. Rob Bell denies several essential doctrines and preaches a false gospel. You'd like him, though.
 
Last edited:

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
1, 6. 10 is not listed in scripture as an essential, but, logically speaking, there is no way to deny it without denying core tenets of the Gospel, which is an essential.
So, you'd argue only 1 and 6 (and possibly 10) are essential to being a Christian. So, baptism, getting divorced and remarried and following the Ten Commandments are just "optional" to the faith, even though Jesus speaks pretty clearly about them as necessary for salvation?

Do you think that others who are Christian might have a more expanded list than yours? And if so, would they be legitimate in holding to that list?
The Bible tells us what is essential. Either a person believes it or they don't.
However, since it is the precise definition of what is essential in the Bible that is disagreed about, it is rather pointless in continuing to repeat that the Bible tells us what is essential.
Don't care about their definition. My only concern is the Bible's authority and definition. If they don't agree with what the Bible says, then that only further goes to alienate them from Christianity.
Exactly. And they don't care about yours. Hence, there is no way to maintain unity.
No. Rob Bell denies several essential doctrines and preaches a false gospel. You'd like him, though.
A lot of Christians believe he is Christian and he seems to think so. I actually disagree with him on many points and, since he is a Protestant, even more so.
 

Mike McK

Well-known member
So, you'd argue only 1 and 6 (and possibly 10) are essential to being a Christian.
No, I said they're the only doctrines on your list that the Bible defines as essential doctrines.
So, baptism, getting divorced and remarried and following the Ten Commandments are just "optional" to the faith, even though Jesus speaks pretty clearly about them as necessary for salvation?
Jesus never says baptism or getting divorced and remarried are necessary for salvation.

There is nothing in scripture that says one has to hold to a particular view of baptism or divorce and remarriage.
Do you think that others who are Christian might have a more expanded list than yours?
Maybe. But that's irrelevant, as we go by what the Bible says and not by "other Christians'" opinins.
And if so, would they be legitimate in holding to that list?
They're welcome to their opinion, but since scripture is the authority, they would be wrong.
However, since it is the precise definition of what is essential in the Bible that is disagreed about, it is rather pointless in continuing to repeat that the Bible tells us what is essential.
Right. You think it's "pointless" to look to the Bible as the authority because your cult teaches you that it's not the authority. We believe it is.
Exactly. And they don't care about yours. Hence, there is no way to maintain unity.
Why would we want to be unified with somebody who is outside the faith?
A lot of Christians believe he is Christian and he seems to think so.
And they're wrong. They don't get to define who is and is not a Christian. The Bible is our authority, not their opinion.
I actually disagree with him on many points and, since he is a Protestant, even more so.
Well, you two will have an eternity in Hell together to work out your disagreements.
 

jonathan_hili

Well-known member
No, I said they're the only doctrines on your list that the Bible defines as essential doctrines.

Jesus never says baptism or getting divorced and remarried are necessary for salvation.
So, if you divorced and remarried and lived basically in a state of adultery, then your salvation is not in peril?
There is nothing in scripture that says one has to hold to a particular view of baptism or divorce and remarriage.
But Jesus makes it quite clear - and this is substantiated by Paul - what our view of divorce and remarriage should be.
Maybe. But that's irrelevant, as we go by what the Bible says and not by "other Christians'" opinins.
However, it's your understanding of the Bible that you're going with; other Christians have different ideas of what is essential and what is not.
They're welcome to their opinion, but since scripture is the authority, they would be wrong.

Right. You think it's "pointless" to look to the Bible as the authority because your cult teaches you that it's not the authority. We believe it is.
How can the Bible be a final authority when Christians have different understandings of what are essential doctrines? You've given the very minimal doctrines you think are essential but other Christians think otherwise. Does that make you right and them wrong, or you wrong and them right, or both of you wrong?
Why would we want to be unified with somebody who is outside the faith?
Sure. If the faith is the faith of "me".
And they're wrong. They don't get to define who is and is not a Christian. The Bible is our authority, not their opinion.
Why are they wrong when they might think that you are wrong for precisely the same reason?
Well, you two will have an eternity in Hell together to work out your disagreements.
Charming. Nice to know we can discuss a topic and consign one another to hell.

Thanks, Mike, but I think I've had enough of this conversation. I enjoy discussing theological matters but I don't enjoy making or receiving judgements about who is going to hell and who is. Neither one of us is God. I don't know Rob Bell at all and I disagree with many of his beliefs but it's not my place to say whether he is damned or not.

Have a nice day.
 
Top