Quote from Mamabadger:
"The NT is full of references like this, a few direct, but many indirect. Start with the existence of an epistle "to the church at ______." When the epistle was written, there was already a church in place. It was already holding services, apparently on the first day of the week, providing Eucharist to its members, keeping prescribed fasts, baptizing, ordaining clergy as needed. Where did this local church learn the correct way to do all these things, and more? Not from Scripture; it contains no such information. The content of the NT only makes real sense in the context of the Church itself."
My view is that none of the programmed, scripted, services make any sense according to NT scripture. I believe that the reason that there aren't very clear ways to 'hold' a service is because it wasn't supposed to be so programmed. In the beginning it was simple. The Lord asked them to remember Him by taking the cup and the bread every week. He said that He would lead the praises to the Father. Now what we see in both rcc, eo, protestant gatherings is a huge manufactured production. Paul encouraged the church to do this: speaking to one another with hymns, psalms, spiritual songs. Paul also said that prophesying builds the church. There wasn't any ordaining clergy because there was no clergy laity system. It wasn't so complicated. Keeping prescribed fasts? They did fast and pray, but it was due to a need and not an arbitrary, fast on this day until that day. I am speaking of the NT, not OT.
Examine the cases in the NT. How did Saul get saved and become Paul. What happened at his conversion? It was simple. He believed in the Lord. Therefore, he became a member of the body of Christ. No one ordained him, he didn't take classes, and wear special clothing so that he would stand out. He did all that as a Jew, but not as a Christian. It's not in the NT because it wasn't meant to develop into what it is now. And just so you know, I feel the same about the ways of the Protestant gatherings. And what about the Ethiopian who saw water and said, what prevents me from being baptized? This supports Mark 16:16 believe and be baptized. The early church was simple in their worship and focused on Christ and being filled with the Holy Spirit. All the Tradition (rcc, eo, protestant) is not in the NT and why is that? If it was so important then why didn't the Lord make sure it got in there?
To be part of the invisible church, or the universal church, all one has to do is receive the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Tradition (protestant, eo, and rcc) requires a person to jump through hoops, take this class, prove yourself, prove you will be a good religious person, etc. Some places won't let you get baptized unless you have had a class. That is so unscriptural. Not to mention the potential stumbling block it places in front of a new believer, who just wants to go on, but instead must be proven to be worthy. All the disciples had to do was receive the Holy Spriit (John 22). The Lord asked Peter to feed my sheep, shepherd my sheep...not make sure all the sheep have had classes in order to be worthy to be in the C-hurch.
The cases in the scripture do not match what Tradition teaches. I think it is a reasonable requirement that Tradition should match scripture and when it doesn't, which is the better source?
Quote from Mamabadger:
"The idea of the invisible Church, as opposed to the more clearly defined membership of the Church is another major division between Protestant and RC/EO theology. For us, the Ecclesia has fairly clear, visible boundaries, just as in OT times it was clear who was an Israelite and who was not.
The uncomfortable aspect of this doctrine is that there must, therefore, be people who identify themselves as Christian yet are not members of the Church. This idea existed in the earliest days of Christianity, when opposing doctrines were already circulating, and Christians were warned to treat anyone who taught an alternate Gospel as "anathema." (Galatians 1:8-9) In fact, the Gospel account of Christ speaking to the Samaritan woman could be taken as an example of the same belief. The Samaritans had doctrines which differed from those of the Hebrews only slightly, by modern "fellowship" standards, yet the woman at the well was not told "we believe basically the same thing, no big deal." Because of their alterations in worship, the Samaritans were outside the Ecclesia, and she was told not only that she was mistaken, but "you do not know what you worship."
I have a completely different view of the same passage. My comments in blue, the scripture in black.
This whole passage is the Gospel to this woman. First, He goes to the well and speaks to her in public. He offers her the living water, which is Himself. He's not offended to take water from her. He is Jesus, who reclines with the sinners and tax collectors. Then He tells her of her sinfulness because she needs to confess that she has had five husbands and now she is with one who isn't her husband, which she does confess. Since He is God, He already knows her sinful condition. Then He tells her to worship in spirit and truthfulness, not on a mountain or in Jerusalem, because the Father seeks true worshippers.
Here is a history footnote:
" Samaria was the leading region of the northern kingdom of Israel and was the site of its capital (1 Kings 16:24, 29). Around 700 B.C., the Assyrians captured Samaria and brought people from Babylon and other heathen countries to the cities of Samaria (2 Kings 17:6, 24). From that time the Samaritans became a people of mixed heathen and Jewish blood. History tells us that they had the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses) and worshipped God according to that part of the Old Testament. But they were never recognized by the Jews as being part of the Jewish people."
She was saying why would you, a Jew, have anything to do with me, a Samaritan. It didn't have to do with Christian doctrines. The Lord hadn't gone to the cross yet. He was still on earth ministering to people, which is what He did to her. He ministered to her. He offered her the living water, which was Himself.
Then the part about worship:
20 1aOur fathers worshipped bin this mountain, yet you say that cin Jerusalem is the place where men must worship.
21 Jesus said to her, Woman, believe Me, aan hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
Jesus letting her know that you won't need to worship in a particular place in order to worship properly. This was a requirement of the Jews, and seems to be a requirement of rcc, eo.
22 aYou worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is of the Jews.
She was considered a heathen because of where she was from and Jesus let her know that she does not know what she is worshipping. He was saving her from it by telling her that.
23 But aan hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshippers will worship the Father bin spirit and truthfulness, for the Father also seeks such to worship Him.
Here, this is KEY, the true worshippers will worship in spirit and truthfulness, not necessarily on a mountain or in Jerusalem, but IN spirit.
24 1God is 2Spirit, and those who 3worship Him must worship ain 4spirit and 5truthfulness.
Just in case we didn't catch it the first time, He repeats that we must worship in spirit and truthfulness, which is in contrast to on a mountain or in Jerusalem.
This also means that as long as I am worshipping in spirit and truthfulness then my worship counts and I am not to be considered as 'anathema' according to the NT scripture. Again, it does not match Tradition. In addition, the Samaritan woman didn't need to take any classes, just believe and confess in the Lord Jesus, and voila! You are now a member of the body of Christ, the church.