The Bible, The Church, Tradition, Authority, and the Canon - Page 7 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-06-2011, 03:06 PM
 
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This system damages the believers by annulling their function, by focusing on doctrine and not Christ, and by causing believers to have to choose which division to affiliate with.   I don't know how to word it differently for you to see the big picture.  I am sure that most believers could worship side by side.  The problem is that believers, or maybe I should say the leaders, are focusing on their differences rather than their common faith in Christ.

Yeah, I don't see what you are seeing. I don't think there is any more division or unity now than there was in the early days of the church. And for the most part I don't see it as a tribal, us vs. them thing, but rather honest differences in interpretation. In other words, it's not that Baptists are being forced to reject that nasty Anglican church up the road, rather that someone who attends a Baptist church simply prefers the Baptist doctrine and style of worship over Anglican doctrine and style of worship. They can still focus on Christ in equal measure.

 

I attended various churches regularly for 30+ years, and only very rarely heard criticism of other denominations or doctrines in the teaching (there was one very fundamentalist group that believed that the Catholic church was bad, but I didn't stay with them long).Other than that, the focus was always on Christ.

 

Naturally there are always some groups that will emphasize differences while others emphasize ecumenicism, and I'm with you that emphasizing similarities is better. But any human enterprise, as soon as it grows to a certain size, is bound to be beset by different opinions/traditions/preferences. I don't see it as degradation, just diversity. shrug.gif

 

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There are times when I am so convinced that what Ive recieved is the truth, on certain subjects, lets say like origins theories and such, that I will simply respectfully disagree and still love them and fellowship with them.

Do you ever wonder why the other person got a different answer from you when they prayed and studied? Did the Holy Spirit give them a different answer? Or were they somehow not seeking correctly? Remember that I am asking about people that you respect and recognize have a good relationship with God, not people who clearly are behaving badly like the pastor you describe.

Christ was not divided and He wasn't into diversity, meaning every one can express their self.  Christ also didn't encourage every one to follow their preferences.  This is all the 'self'.  The big fat ego that wants every thing 'my' way.  This is why the system is the way it is.  The 'self'.  Christ said to deny our soul life.  There is only one Christ, one expression.  If I instruct you to go and tell my neighbor that I am low on sugar and please may I have a cup of sugar.  Instead of expressing my will, you prefer splenda and you bring me splenda.  Now my neighbor thinks that I use splenda and you've brought me the wrong product and I can't make my cake, my most wonderful masterpiece of a cake.  God isn't satisfied with us dividing Christ's body.  This is such a serious thing that is completely over looked because of our preferences.
 

1 Corinthians

10 Now I beseech you, brothers, through the 1aname of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all 2bspeak the same thing and that there be no 3cdivisions among you, but that you be 4attuned in the dsame mind and in the same 5eopinion.

11 For it has been made clear to me concerning you, my brothers, by those of the household of 1Chloe, that there are astrifes among you.

12 Now I mean this, that each of you says, 1aI am of bPaul, and I of cApollos, and I of dCephas , and I of 2Christ.

13 Is 1Christ adivided? Was Paul 2crucified for you? Or were you bbaptized into the name of Paul?

14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except aCrispus and bGaius,

15 That no one may say that you were baptized into my name.

16 And I did baptize the household of aStephanas also; beyond that I do not know if I baptized any other.

17 For Christ did not 1send me to baptize but to announce the gospel, not in 2awisdom of speech that the 3bcross of Christ may not be made void.

 

Why do believers get different interpretations?

They don't know the Bible well.

And they aren't using the proper organ, their spirit.

It's like trying to eat cake with your ear.  It's the wrong organ.

If you just read the Bible with your mind as the leading part, you cannot receive the revelation from the Holy Spirit.  Then what you have is your own logical interpretation with out the Holy Spirit.

If you read the Bible with your spirit, then the Holy Spirit can reveal the Truth.

To read the Bible with your spirit you have to first make sure you've been born anew with the Holy Spirit dwelling in your spirit.  I know this is where people will disagree.  But I will keep bringing it up because receiving the divine revelation requires you to worship in spirit (your spirit is the organ that you have to use).. 

If I let my preferences take first place, I will have my own interpretation.


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Old 01-06-2011, 04:14 PM
 
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Oh yeah and Sage... I didnt realise I answered your question.. Soz... which question is that? I didnt want you to think I was ignoring you...

 

loves you!

gen



Such a long thread, it does get confusing as to who asked what.  lol.gif  Anyway, your post 161 answered my question on how you interpret scripture.  I didn't want you to think that I was ignoring you!

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Old 01-06-2011, 09:23 PM
 
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Shami....This VIDEO explains it really well.  I am not certain but I am pretty sure it is Molly Sabourin speaking and who wrote it.  She has an amazing gift at explaining the faith.

 

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Anyway, so if a person dies who has not become part of the One True Church, what happens to them.  I would have thought that they would be considered a non believer and perish.

well, yellow isn't really what I was going for there but I am still getting used to the new format...It will have to do.

 

What happens to someone outside the church is not my business.  I want people to know about and embrace the church because it contains the fullness of the faith. God bestows his Grace through the sacraments and that is not small thing.  We can use all the help we can get. I want them to really know God and really be able to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. I also believe he has mercy and compassion and is all powerful and can save whomever he pleases and will do so without any input from me. I believe there are righteous people outside the church and people inside the church who haven't got a clue.  What he will do with each of us is His business alone.


The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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Old 01-06-2011, 09:25 PM
 
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Oh look...its a spoiler.  that was supposed to be a quote but I can't figure out how to fix it....sorry.


The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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Old 01-06-2011, 10:59 PM
 
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Maybe we can go through this chronologically.  BTW do you see degradation in the church?  Just trying to understand you view a little more.

 

I don't see degradation or the history of the church the way you see it.  When you say that the Apostles' teachings were to be held on to steadfastly, I agree wholeheartedly.  The difference is that I don't think there was this tremendous degradation starting in the first century or shortly thereafter and now there remains only a remnant of true Apostolic teaching left which must be recovered.  I believe that the Church through the years has maintained and preserved the faith and continues to do so today, despite the many denominations that have emerged. 

 

That's why I keep asking on what basis Witness Lee says what he says about all of this.  When he makes a claim like the RCC was fully formed in the sixth century, I'd like to know what he's basing that on because, as far as I know, his knowledge of history is way off base.   Here's part of a book that gives an overview of the history I'm talking about.  I have this book and didn't realize it was online until recently. 

 

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This quote really surprised me:

 

" We do not believe you are doomed to hell just because you are not baptized or part of the One True Church.  God is big enough to save whomever he pleases.  You can get a job done with poor tools and lacking instructions but it is much wiser to seek out good intructions and good tools."

 

Do you mean that God can save you at any time quickly and you can be saved from eternal perdition?

 

This article is actually what got me interested in Orthodoxy.  I was just beginning to explore Christianity again after years of rejecting it, and this view of the afterlife made so much sense to me and is a big part of the reason I'm a Christian today.  It's very long and doesn't quite answer your question directly, but you might find it helpful nonetheless. 

 

 

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For you, Purple Sage, do you have believers in real life to fellowship with?  If not, you have to start somewhere. It seems like you are leaning toward the EO, then maybe you can find a group of women to study with weekly.  What is most important is to get nourished by the word and as you grow, the Holy Spirit will teach you all you need to know.  I think of myself as a child, I don't know a lot, but I know some.  I have to eat to grow to learn.  The Bible is good for food, for you to grow, and the learning will come spontaneously.  It's okay to not know and don't worry if you make a mistake in choosing where to start.  Sorry if I am being to presumptuous to advise you.  I sense a seeking spirit in you and that's a good thing.

 

Thanks, I appreciate you asking about me.  I'm kind of in a weird position right now since my husband is not a Christian and has been very vocally opposed to Christianity for as long as I've known him (as I was also until just over a year ago).  He's not comfortable with me taking the children (we have four, ranging in age from a toddler to a teen) to church, and he works terrible hours for me to go on my own.  So, yeah, it's not an easy road at this point, but I have tremendous faith that things will change.  Nothing is impossible.  smile.gif

 

At this point, I feel like it's important that I keep my family life peaceful, so I don't push the issue with going to church or Bible study or any of that.  I'm just quietly studying and praying and letting God do the work in me and in our family. 

I am totally with you on keeping peace with your dh and your family.  Pushing is usually detrimental in any relationship.  I pray for the best for you all. 

 

In the top of this post you gave me a book link, which I've been reading.  Thank you for all of the links.  Your efforts have not been in vain because I am reading.  I didn't know that my beliefs were so close to orthodox beliefs.  Especially the there is not heaven or hell article.  It was amazing and disappointing to see how the translation of the Bible has perpetuated this belief in heaven and hell as places.  I was glad to see that my study Bible had those words translated properly.   I have never found another Christian irl who believed this (except the believers I meet with).  It must be my region. 

 

But back to the book link.  You wanted to know where Lee came to his conclusions about the degradation.  I don't have specific sources to give you that he used.  I have been considering if I should even continue on the degradation topic especially because I don't want to seem like I am beating up other groups.  Please remember that I believe that the degradation runs so deep that we are not exempt either.  Since you asked... I tell you what I have found.

Here I will address the system of hierarchy that began to be establish by the end of the first century.  Anyone who might be hurt to hear negative things about the hierarchical system should tune out now.

Anyway in your book link, the book says that Ignatius was very strong in declaring a bishop and that nothing should be done without the bishop.  By that time there were bishops, priests or presbyters, and deacons.  The bishop was to be as God to the congregation.  The bishop would be at the center with all those gathered around the bishop (around end of first century).
 

But if you look in the New Testament, there are only elders and deacons.   NT also mentions overseers, but Lee points out the elders and overseers are the same person.  The term elder denotes the person and the term overseer denotes the function of the elder.  Lee also warns elders not to be so proud to be an elder and that there should be no titles in the body of Christ, only functions.  You may function as an elder, but you don't have a title of elder to be proud and lord it over the believers.  An elder is an overseer and a slave of Christ.   Lee points out that Ignatius wrongly interpreted these terms and thus you have bishops, priests.  Eventually the hierarchy grows into archbishops...can't remember how high the EO goes, but RCC has cardinals and the Pope.  Trying to be brief.

 

Why does this matter? and Why does this hierarchy annul the function of the members?

 

Rev 2

14 But I have a few things aagainst you, that you have some there who hold the 1bteaching of 2cBalaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat 3didol sacrifices and to commit 3efornication.

15 In the same way you also have some who hold in like manner the 1ateaching of the 2bNicolaitans.

 

The word Nicolaitan means this: Nico=conquer and laitan= lay people. Click on the footnote for 'teaching' to see what Lee says.

 

The Lord said I will build my church... in Math 16.  Then in Corinthians,

 

Paul said this:

1 Corinthians 14:3

3 But he who prophesies speaks 1abuilding up and encouragement and consolation to men.

1 Corinthians 14:4

4 He who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but he who prophesies 1abuilds up the bchurch.

1 Corinthians 14:5

5 I desire that you all speak in tongues, but especially that you would aprophesy; and bgreater is he who prophesies than he who speaks in tongues, unless he cinterprets, that the church may receive building up.

 

So we can gather that prophesying builds the church.  I don't mean foretelling the future this is only one aspect of this word.  The other meanings for this word are to speak Christ, to speak forth Christ, and to speak for Christ.  When we speak to others about something we enjoyed in the word, we are building them up and encouraging them and being built up with them.  When we speak something from Christ, from the Word, we are speaking words of life.  The Lord says my words are Spirit and are life.  This is the divine, zoe life.  God is building His masterpiece, the church, by ALL of the members speaking to one another.  We are vessels taking in and giving the words of the divine life.  Peter says we are being made into a royal priesthood.  Revelation says that we will be priests and kings.  A priest is someone who brings God to man and man to God.  We can all do that.  We all should do that to participate in the building up of the body of Christ, the church, to produce a bride.  It says that the bride is making herself ready.  How is that?  It's by the members functioning to speak Christ into one another.  This is how we maintain our union with the Lord by functioning in a normal way. 

 

Now can the average, typical believer speak on Sunday in church or mass?  Who is doing all of the speaking?  What is everyone else doing?  More than that, this belief that only the ordained priests, reverends, pastors can pray or speak produces a laymen mindset.  This laymen mindset causes believers to come, sit, listen, pray, maybe sing, and leave to go back to their life which involves very little of God.  There isn't an opportunity for them to function so they end up in a rut.  This why you hear so many believers say, I can't hear God, or I can't feel God, or I don't know how to pray, or I don't know how to contact God, etc.  Their function has been killed, because someone else is doing it.   If somebody else is going to say the prayer for me and all I have to do is say Amen, then I will become a withered believer.  Not every one, but many believer's will lose their function.   There are a few believers who will overcome this hierarchical system, but guess what?  They become the priest, the pastor, the Bible study leader, etc.  Most cannot overcome this type of clergy laity system.   Look at these verses:

Eph. 4

11 And He Himself gave 1some as aapostles and some as bprophets and some as cevangelists and some as 2shepherds and dteachers,

12 For the 1aperfecting of the saints 2unto the work of the 3bministry, 2unto the 4cbuilding up of the dBody of Christ,

13 Until we all 1arrive at the 2aoneness of the bfaith and of the full cknowledge of the 3dSon of God, at a 4efull-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the 5ffullness of 3Christ,

14 That we may be no longer 1alittle children tossed by 2waves and carried about by every 3wind of bteaching in the 4sleight of men, in ccraftiness with a view to a 5system of error,

 

Notice in v. 11 all of those believers have a speaking function, but v.12 says that those believers are FOR the perfecting of the saints, resulting in the work of the ministry, resulting in the BUILDING up of the Body of Christ

until what?

v. 13 we all arrive at the oneness...full knowledge....full grown.....fullness of Christ.

Hallelujah the body can function to perfect one another for the building up of the body of Christ.  This is God's eternal purpose and plan: to dispense Himself into His chosen people, for the building up of the Body of Christ, which will consummate in the New Jerusalem.    Let all things be done for the building up.  Every believer should fall into one of those categories of apostle, prophet, evangalist, shepherds, teachers.  Whatever function the Lord has given me, I should be perfecting other believers around me to do the same thing.  Paul said for me, to you.

 

Forgive me, I have written another novel.  I do appreciate any one who has made it through my post. ( I was planning to describe what our meeting life looks like, but that would be another novel...). Where's that little embarrassed smilie.

 

ETA: forgot a very important verse.

1 Corinthians 14:26

26 What then, brothers? Whenever you acome together, each one 1has a bpsalm, has a cteaching, has a drevelation, has a etongue, has an finterpretation. Let all things be done for 2gbuilding up.


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Old 01-06-2011, 11:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lilyka View Post

Shami....This VIDEO explains it really well.  I am not certain but I am pretty sure it is Molly Sabourin speaking and who wrote it.  She has an amazing gift at explaining the faith.

 

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Anyway, so if a person dies who has not become part of the One True Church, what happens to them.  I would have thought that they would be considered a non believer and perish.

well, yellow isn't really what I was going for there but I am still getting used to the new format...It will have to do.

 

What happens to someone outside the church is not my business.  I want people to know about and embrace the church because it contains the fullness of the faith. God bestows his Grace through the sacraments and that is not small thing.  We can use all the help we can get. I want them to really know God and really be able to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. I also believe he has mercy and compassion and is all powerful and can save whomever he pleases and will do so without any input from me. I believe there are righteous people outside the church and people inside the church who haven't got a clue.  What he will do with each of us is His business alone.

Aw, thanks for sharing your family photos and thoughts.  That was really sweet.   

I couldn't get the video. For some reason it just bumped me up to the top of the page on mdc.
 


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Old 01-07-2011, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What a nice blog!  I love her photographs.

 

I couldn't watch the video either.  Stupid format-thingy.


 I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt.
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:11 AM
 
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The word Nicolaitan means this: Nico=conquer and laitan= lay people. Click on the footnote for 'teaching' to see what Lee says.

 

 

My Bible's footnote on Rev. 2:6 says, "Most scholars believe the Nicolaitans to be an early gnostic sect that tolerated idolatry and encouraged fornication.  Some of the Church Fathers held the founder of this sect to be an apostate Nicolas, one of the original seven deacons (Acts 6:5)."

 

So if the Nicolaitans were follows of Nicolas, then the name simply means they followed a man named Nicolas.   I would presume that Nicolas was given this name at birth with its meaning already intact.  Nicolas the name means "victory of the people" or "victorious people" so to say that Nicolaitans are named that because they conquered the laity of the church is giving the title a meaning that seems to serve a purpose not meant in the verses.  KWIM? 

 

 

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Now can the average, typical believer speak on Sunday in church or mass?  Who is doing all of the speaking?  What is everyone else doing?  More than that, this belief that only the ordained priests, reverends, pastors can pray or speak produces a laymen mindset.  This laymen mindset causes believers to come, sit, listen, pray, maybe sing, and leave to go back to their life which involves very little of God.  There isn't an opportunity for them to function so they end up in a rut.  This why you hear so many believers say, I can't hear God, or I can't feel God, or I don't know how to pray, or I don't know how to contact God, etc.  Their function has been killed, because someone else is doing it.   If somebody else is going to say the prayer for me and all I have to do is say Amen, then I will become a withered believer.  Not every one, but many believer's will lose their function.   There are a few believers who will overcome this hierarchical system, but guess what?  They become the priest, the pastor, the Bible study leader, etc.  Most cannot overcome this type of clergy laity system.  

 

I appreciate that this is how you feel, but I don't feel this way at all.  I don't think the Orthodox Church is set up this way, especially the part about praying.  I think the Orthodox church experience is something you have to see first-hand to understand.

 

I have not been to an Orthodox divine liturgy yet, but I have been to vespers a number of times, and it is something I can't really describe.  I mean, if there is any place where I have felt God, it was in that church.  In fact, this thread is showing me that I really need to go back there, and now that my oldest dd is 14 and has some more experience babysitting, I think I'm going to have her sit with the other kids for a couple of hours this Sunday so I can go to divine liturgy.  Anyway, sorry to talk about myself like that, but I'm just so grateful for this discussion because it's really helping me clarify my thoughts and I thank you so much for that.  smile.gif

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Old 01-07-2011, 09:34 AM
 
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Christ was not divided and He wasn't into diversity, meaning every one can express their self.  Christ also didn't encourage every one to follow their preferences.

I think you are misunderstanding me, I didn't mean everyone just doing what they want. But there is plenty of room for diversity WITHIN the scriptural framework. For example, the Bible doesn't say much about worship music - that's why some churches sing old hymns, some have rock bands, and others have no instruments at all. I don't understand why everyone should have to worship in exactly the same way in the name of "unity", that seems counterproductive not to mention just downright impossible on a large scale over diverse cultures. God created us with immense diversity: some of us really feel a connection with one style of worship and others with another style. You feel the presence of God in your church, and Purple Sage feels the presence of God in the EO liturgy. Clearly the two can't merge, they are radically different. But as long as they both connect the worshiper to Christ, where is the problem?

 

Same thing with doctrine, there are multiple interpretations possible for many Scriptural passages.

 

Quote:

Why do believers get different interpretations?

They don't know the Bible well.

And they aren't using the proper organ, their spirit.

If you go back and re-read my post to Genifer, I specifically was talking about people who are born again, serious in their faith, who study the scriptures with prayer and openness to the spirit. People who do precisely what you say above. And who come to conflicting conclusions about, say, women's roles, or predestination, or authority, or worship style, or... the list goes on and on. We may debate the logic of certain doctrines on this thread because it is a Religious Studies forum, but do you really think the posters here haven't prayed about them as well? What it seems you are saying here is that any believer who disagrees with your church's interpretation of the Scriptures either doesn't know the Bible well or isn't listening to the Holy Spirit. Forgive me for saying so, but it seems to me a pretty divisive belief to say that all the millions of believers in the EO, the Catholic church, the Anglicans, Baptists, Presbyterians, Calvinists, etc etc... they don't know the Bible or aren't using the proper organ when they read it. My guess is that if you learn more about other denominations - from the perspective of the followers of that denomination, not from Witness Lee's perspective - you may find this belief challenged.

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Old 01-07-2011, 11:17 AM
 
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Thao, I think we are talking across each other and not hearing each other.  Many times I have said that I and the believers I meet with are prone to falling into the same system, both individually and corporately.  I am speaking in principles.  Sometimes I have to point out something practical which may seem like I am picking on a group, but the examples help make my point.  Personally, I have a desire for hierarchy in me.  I would like to sit and listen and go home to 'my' life.  Do my duty to show up  on Sunday, try to touch God, and that's that.  Some places have a choir so you don't have to sing if you don't want to.  You can sit and enjoy their talented singing.  There were no choirs in the early church.  All believers sang, praised and prayed.  Some places have a program and the prayer is read by one person and every one says Amen.  How can the Holy Spirit have a free way to flow (I am not saying the Spirit isn't there, but He is stifled by organization) among the  believers if the Holy Spirit is limited to a program and a few clergy.  I am saying that the hierarchy helps to perpetuate that in all believers. I never said that people cannot feel God in their denomination.  I am sure they can.  But is there opportunity for the FULL function of EVERY member to come out?   Some from EVERY denomination will overcome the clergy laity system  and be rewarded by the Lord.  In Rev. 2-3 the Lord tells us to overcome certain things.  This is just one of them.  Another is the church in Laodicia.  This is about believers having the riches, but becoming luke warm.  Another is regarding the worldly church. 

 

Doctrinal differences as I said earlier are always going to occur, but is that what the Lord asked of us?  According to Paul we are to think the same things and speak the same things, even have the same opinion.    I am pointing out that we fall waaaaay short of what God's standard is, and what are we going to do about it? Make excuses?  Or shoot the messenger? 

 

I also will make mistakes in interpreting what I hear, but my attitude is that I need to stay open to hear the Lord and receive a fresh revelation.  The problem with Tradition is that it's a closed door.

 

Purple Sage, I hope you find a great group of believers in the EO that will feed you the spiritual food that you need to grow in Christ, and that your dh will join you some day real soon!  The most important thing for any believer is to make God's Word your food for spiritual nourishment and to find others that will encourage that effort. 

 


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Personally, I have a desire for hierarchy in me.  I would like to sit and listen and go home to 'my' life.  Do my duty to show up  on Sunday, try to touch God, and that's that.  Some places have a choir so you don't have to sing if you don't want to.  You can sit and enjoy their talented singing.  There were no choirs in the early church.  All believers sang, praised and prayed.  Some places have a program and the prayer is read by one person and every one says Amen.  How can the Holy Spirit have a free way to flow (I am not saying the Spirit isn't there, but He is stifled by organization) among the  believers if the Holy Spirit is limited to a program and a few clergy.  I am saying that the hierarchy helps to perpetuate that in all believers. I never said that people cannot feel God in their denomination.  I am sure they can.  But is there opportunity for the FULL function of EVERY member to come out?

 

It's interesting that the hierarchy of the Church gets so much of the blame. 

 

I don't think it's the system of having bishops, priests, etc. that is the problem.  If someone feels they can just go to church on Sunday and then go back to their 'regular life' the rest of the time, then that is a problem within the heart of the individual.  Having a hierarchy over you does not mean that you don't have responsibilities of your own, and if you take your role as a lay member of the church to mean that you can be spiritually lazy, then that isn't necessarily the organizational system's fault, you know?  I hate to speak for the EO again, but there is much more to being in the Church than just going to liturgy on Sunday.

 

 

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Purple Sage, I hope you find a great group of believers in the EO that will feed you the spiritual food that you need to grow in Christ, and that your dh will join you some day real soon!  The most important thing for any believer is to make God's Word your food for spiritual nourishment and to find others that will encourage that effort.

 

Thank you smile.gif

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Old 01-07-2011, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But back to the book link.  You wanted to know where Lee came to his conclusions about the degradation.  I don't have specific sources to give you that he used.  I have been considering if I should even continue on the degradation topic especially because I don't want to seem like I am beating up other groups.  Please remember that I believe that the degradation runs so deep that we are not exempt either.  Since you asked... I tell you what I have found.

Here I will address the system of hierarchy that began to be establish by the end of the first century.  Anyone who might be hurt to hear negative things about the hierarchical system should tune out now.

Anyway in your book link, the book says that Ignatius was very strong in declaring a bishop and that nothing should be done without the bishop.  By that time there were bishops, priests or presbyters, and deacons.  The bishop was to be as God to the congregation.  The bishop would be at the center with all those gathered around the bishop (around end of first century).
 

But if you look in the New Testament, there are only elders and deacons.   NT also mentions overseers, but Lee points out the elders and overseers are the same person.  The term elder denotes the person and the term overseer denotes the function of the elder.  Lee also warns elders not to be so proud to be an elder and that there should be no titles in the body of Christ, only functions.  You may function as an elder, but you don't have a title of elder to be proud and lord it over the believers.  An elder is an overseer and a slave of Christ.   Lee points out that Ignatius wrongly interpreted these terms and thus you have bishops, priests.  Eventually the hierarchy grows into archbishops...can't remember how high the EO goes, but RCC has cardinals and the Pope.  Trying to be brief.

 

Why does this matter? and Why does this hierarchy annul the function of the members?

 

Rev 2

14 But I have a few things aagainst you, that you have some there who hold the 1bteaching of 2cBalaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat 3didol sacrifices and to commit 3efornication.

15 In the same way you also have some who hold in like manner the 1ateaching of the 2bNicolaitans.

 

The word Nicolaitan means this: Nico=conquer and laitan= lay people. Click on the footnote for 'teaching' to see what Lee says.

 

The Lord said I will build my church... in Math 16.  Then in Corinthians,

 

Paul said this:

1 Corinthians 14:3

3 But he who prophesies speaks 1abuilding up and encouragement and consolation to men.

1 Corinthians 14:4

4 He who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but he who prophesies 1abuilds up the bchurch.

1 Corinthians 14:5

5 I desire that you all speak in tongues, but especially that you would aprophesy; and bgreater is he who prophesies than he who speaks in tongues, unless he cinterprets, that the church may receive building up.

 

So we can gather that prophesying builds the church.  I don't mean foretelling the future this is only one aspect of this word.  The other meanings for this word are to speak Christ, to speak forth Christ, and to speak for Christ.  When we speak to others about something we enjoyed in the word, we are building them up and encouraging them and being built up with them.  When we speak something from Christ, from the Word, we are speaking words of life.  The Lord says my words are Spirit and are life.  This is the divine, zoe life.  God is building His masterpiece, the church, by ALL of the members speaking to one another.  We are vessels taking in and giving the words of the divine life.  Peter says we are being made into a royal priesthood.  Revelation says that we will be priests and kings.  A priest is someone who brings God to man and man to God.  We can all do that.  We all should do that to participate in the building up of the body of Christ, the church, to produce a bride.  It says that the bride is making herself ready.  How is that?  It's by the members functioning to speak Christ into one another.  This is how we maintain our union with the Lord by functioning in a normal way. 

 

Now can the average, typical believer speak on Sunday in church or mass?  Who is doing all of the speaking?  What is everyone else doing?  More than that, this belief that only the ordained priests, reverends, pastors can pray or speak produces a laymen mindset.  This laymen mindset causes believers to come, sit, listen, pray, maybe sing, and leave to go back to their life which involves very little of God.  There isn't an opportunity for them to function so they end up in a rut.  This why you hear so many believers say, I can't hear God, or I can't feel God, or I don't know how to pray, or I don't know how to contact God, etc.  Their function has been killed, because someone else is doing it.   If somebody else is going to say the prayer for me and all I have to do is say Amen, then I will become a withered believer.  Not every one, but many believer's will lose their function.   There are a few believers who will overcome this hierarchical system, but guess what?  They become the priest, the pastor, the Bible study leader, etc.  Most cannot overcome this type of clergy laity system.   Look at these verses:

Eph. 4

11 And He Himself gave 1some as aapostles and some as bprophets and some as cevangelists and some as 2shepherds and dteachers,

12 For the 1aperfecting of the saints 2unto the work of the 3bministry, 2unto the 4cbuilding up of the dBody of Christ,

13 Until we all 1arrive at the 2aoneness of the bfaith and of the full cknowledge of the 3dSon of God, at a 4efull-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the 5ffullness of 3Christ,

14 That we may be no longer 1alittle children tossed by 2waves and carried about by every 3wind of bteaching in the 4sleight of men, in ccraftiness with a view to a 5system of error,

 

Notice in v. 11 all of those believers have a speaking function, but v.12 says that those believers are FOR the perfecting of the saints, resulting in the work of the ministry, resulting in the BUILDING up of the Body of Christ

until what?

v. 13 we all arrive at the oneness...full knowledge....full grown.....fullness of Christ.

Hallelujah the body can function to perfect one another for the building up of the body of Christ.  This is God's eternal purpose and plan: to dispense Himself into His chosen people, for the building up of the Body of Christ, which will consummate in the New Jerusalem.    Let all things be done for the building up.  Every believer should fall into one of those categories of apostle, prophet, evangalist, shepherds, teachers.  Whatever function the Lord has given me, I should be perfecting other believers around me to do the same thing.  Paul said for me, to you.

 

Forgive me, I have written another novel.  I do appreciate any one who has made it through my post. ( I was planning to describe what our meeting life looks like, but that would be another novel...). Where's that little embarrassed smilie.

 

ETA: forgot a very important verse.

1 Corinthians 14:26

26 What then, brothers? Whenever you acome together, each one 1has a bpsalm, has a cteaching, has a drevelation, has a etongue, has an finterpretation. Let all things be done for 2gbuilding up.

 

The first bishops were the apostles.  Their successors largely continued that role.  How is that a "degradation" unless it was degraded for the apostles to be given that role and authority?  And this was at the same time Scripture was being written by these people, and before it was consolidated and canonized.  And why do you think there was no liturgy in the earliest days of the church?

 

(As far as orders - there are Bishops, priests, and deacons.  "Archbishops" are still bishops, it simply represents a particular administrative function.)

 

And Scripture seems quite clear to me that we can expect different roles for individuals within the Church - we are organs in a body, each with our own purpose and function.  I don't know why you think that the people in a liturgical service would not be involved at all, or just go home and do nothing in relation to their life with God.  That is just totally absurd.  First because although it may be that they are quiet during parts of the liturgy, they are certainly not doing "nothing".  The liturgy is not the only element of corporate life in the Church either.  And it is by no means the only element of an individual Christian life.  We need to pray individually, and with our families.  We need to love our neighbour, and follow God's commands, at all times.  This is just as true for Christians who worship liturgically as for others.  Of course there are people who struggle with this - that is true of every group of Christians.
 


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I have not been to an Orthodox divine liturgy yet, but I have been to vespers a number of times, and it is something I can't really describe.  I mean, if there is any place where I have felt God, it was in that church.  In fact, this thread is showing me that I really need to go back there, and now that my oldest dd is 14 and has some more experience babysitting, I think I'm going to have her sit with the other kids for a couple of hours this Sunday so I can go to divine liturgy.  Anyway, sorry to talk about myself like that, but I'm just so grateful for this discussion because it's really helping me clarify my thoughts and I thank you so much for that.  smile.gif



I've only been once to Divine Liturgy, but I became very emotional and wept, which is not the norm for me at all - I am not inclined to emotionalism.  I hope you will be able to tell us what you think. 


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Old 01-07-2011, 08:11 PM
 
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Bluegoat, can you clarify for me what liturgy means.  My google efforts have me confused and I want to make sure we are talking about the same thing.  thx


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Old 01-07-2011, 09:24 PM
 
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Quote from Bluegoat

 

"The first bishops were the apostles.  Their successors largely continued that role.  How is that a "degradation" unless it was degraded for the apostles to be given that role and authority?  And this was at the same time Scripture was being written by these people, and before it was consolidated and canonized.  And why do you think there was no liturgy in the earliest days of the church?

 

(As far as orders - there are Bishops, priests, and deacons.  "Archbishops" are still bishops, it simply represents a particular administrative function.)

 

And Scripture seems quite clear to me that we can expect different roles for individuals within the Church - we are organs in a body, each with our own purpose and function.  I don't know why you think that the people in a liturgical service would not be involved at all, or just go home and do nothing in relation to their life with God.  That is just totally absurd.  First because although it may be that they are quiet during parts of the liturgy, they are certainly not doing "nothing".  The liturgy is not the only element of corporate life in the Church either.  And it is by no means the only element of an individual Christian life.  We need to pray individually, and with our families.  We need to love our neighbour, and follow God's commands, at all times.  This is just as true for Christians who worship liturgically as for others.  Of course there are people who struggle with this - that is true of every group of Christians." unquote
 

 

Yes we are organs in one body each with a function, not a title to be held up in great honor so that all the people give more respect to those with the titles.  When Paul said, And He Himself gave 1some as aapostles and some as bprophets and some as cevangelists and some as 2shepherds and dteachers, those were all functions meant for the perfecting or equipping of the whole body.  This is because the body needs to be built up.  This is God's goal to build up the body.  

 

If it was so crucial to have this hierarchical order, maybe Paul should have said the Lord gave some as deacons, deaconesses, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and one Pope for the building up of the body.   I promise I am not being sarcastic.  This is how my logic is playing out in my mind.

Look at these verses in Acts 20

17 And from Miletus he sent word to Ephesus and called for the aelders of the bchurch.

28 aTake heed to yourselves and to all the 1bflock, among whom the Holy 2cSpirit has dplaced you as 3eoverseers to 4fshepherd the gchurch of God, which He hobtained through 5His own iblood.

You can see, unless our translations are different, that he called for the elders (the person) of the church and then he told them that they were placed as overseer (the function).  Also in Acts, they appointed elders in every city as they were raising up churches.  There is absolutely nothing in Scripture that supports a hierarchy of clergy.  This is where Ignatius, who was well known for defending the truth and a good brother, made a mistake in asserting that bishops were over the elders.  Eventually the archbishops and the Pope became established.

 

I was thinking about this matter of interpretation and who's got it right and who's wrong....

I remembered that even Paul was not clear about circumcision at one point and they got together and decided that the gentiles did not need to be circumcised.  In Romans 14 Paul was really broad about doctrinal issues, such as, eating and drinking practices.  The Jews had all kinds of  eating requirements as a major part of their observance, not to mention they had to be careful not to eat anything sacrificed to idols.  Not sure where, but at one point he told the believers, just don't ask if it was sacrificed to idols and eat what is given to you!   It was in Romans 16 that Paul spoke about divisive ones and the need to mark them out and turn away from them. But Paul seems to be saying that a little doctrinal difference about eating isn't a crime, and by the way, don't stumble your brother with your eating and drinking doctrines.  BUT a person who is being divisive, mark them out, and turn away.  Makes me wonder, what does it looks like to be divisive?

 

Furthermore, in Acts it says they continued breaking bread from house to house and going to the temple.  Since they were Jews they were still practicing some Jewish traditions.  Dare I say that they, the early apostles,  were not clear that the God had forsaken Judaism with all of its' practices.  There are so many cases in the gospels where the Lord rebukes the Pharisees for keeping the traditions and laws and not coming to the Lord Jesus.  Then there's Galatians which seems to emphasize Judaism is verses Christ in an extremely negative way.

 

I know I'm gonna get it for saying the Apostle's themselves were sometimes unclear! lol  But that's what it says!

If the Apostles were sometimes unclear, then how about the early church fathers?  What about Ignatius making a simple little translation error resulting in the hierarchical system?   They were not infallible and could have made some misinterpretations.  Bluegoat, do you believe the early church fathers were infallible?

 

Another passage about the old covenant being done away with in Christ.

 

2 Cor 3

14 But their 1athoughts were bhardened; for until the present day the same veil remains at the creading of the old covenant, 2it not being unveiled to them that the veil is being done away with in Christ.

15 Indeed unto this day, whenever 1Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart;

16 But whenever 1their heart turns to the Lord, the aveil is taken away.

17 1And the 2Lord is the 3aSpirit; and where the 4bSpirit of the Lord is, there is 5cfreedom.

18 1But 2we all with 3unveiled face, 4abeholding and reflecting like a 5bmirror the 6cglory of the Lord, are 7being dtransformed into the 8same eimage 9from glory to fglory, even as 10from the 11Lord Spirit.


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Old 01-08-2011, 06:01 AM
 
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Sorry, But I must say this....Did "Jesus fosaken Judism w/all of its' practise"? I don't think that is true. Jewish people are the roots of the tree. Yes Jesus finished the LAW but I don't think that anyone was telling jewish believers to become more like the gentiles!!!!! If anything the Paul was saying to have Jesus "fit" into your cultral backround. (This is what most people DO)

 

Jesus finished the LAW to make a new covenant in His blood. This was not so people would just stop being jewish but so that the gentilies could be under the same covenant. Romans 10:12-13 That means that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-Adonai is the same for everyone, rich toward everyone who calls on him, since everyone who calls on the name of Adonai will be delivered.

 

Paul was a jew of jews. He was killing people in the Name of Adonai because he really believed that Jesus was not the Messiah. But it was Jesus Himself that came to save him. I think that the Lord chose him because it had a great knowledge of the Torah and Tanakh to help the Gentiles to understand the New Covenant. To understand how Jesus completed the Law you must understand the law. BUT for the Gentiles it is hard to understand this. I know that it hard for the Jewish people that I witness to to understand too. Jewish law and practises today are different NOW.

 

Sorry for the interuption!! Please forgive me

 

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Old 01-08-2011, 07:00 AM
 
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Nazsmum, glad you chimed in!  You don't need to worry about interupting.  We can move onto another topic or have two going at the same time!  lol


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Old 01-08-2011, 07:33 AM
 
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Shami, I think we're coming full circle again. 

 

 

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If it was so crucial to have this hierarchical order, maybe Paul should have said the Lord gave some as deacons, deaconesses, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and one Pope for the building up of the body.   I promise I am not being sarcastic.  This is how my logic is playing out in my mind.

 

You seem to be saying that the structure of the Church should be spelled out in the Bible and that the Bible should be the basis upon which the Church is built.  That's getting things backwards, IMO.  The Bible came from the Church, the Church did not come from the Bible.  This is a short explanation: Where did the Bible come from?

 

If you read all the pages in that link (they're not long at all), then I think you'll understand what I've been saying.  To understand the Bible, you need to understand the history of the Church correctly.  What I'm still not understanding is how anyone can trust the Bible as being inspired by God and not trust the Church which produced it.

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Old 01-08-2011, 07:34 AM
 
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I have not been to an Orthodox divine liturgy yet, but I have been to vespers a number of times, and it is something I can't really describe.  I mean, if there is any place where I have felt God, it was in that church.  In fact, this thread is showing me that I really need to go back there, and now that my oldest dd is 14 and has some more experience babysitting, I think I'm going to have her sit with the other kids for a couple of hours this Sunday so I can go to divine liturgy.  Anyway, sorry to talk about myself like that, but I'm just so grateful for this discussion because it's really helping me clarify my thoughts and I thank you so much for that.  smile.gif



I've only been once to Divine Liturgy, but I became very emotional and wept, which is not the norm for me at all - I am not inclined to emotionalism.  I hope you will be able to tell us what you think. 


I'll definitely tell you what I think.  I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow.

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Old 01-08-2011, 10:23 AM
 
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In one respect Sage, I agree with you...

 

 

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If someone feels they can just go to church on Sunday and then go back to their 'regular life' the rest of the time, then that is a problem within the heart of the individual.  Having a hierarchy over you does not mean that you don't have responsibilities of your own, and if you take your role as a lay member of the church to mean that you can be spiritually lazy, then that isn't necessarily the organizational system's fault, you know?  I hate to speak for the EO again, but there is much more to being in the Church than just going to liturgy on Sunday.

 

 

That is a fair point. Personally I see what Shami is saying, and I agree with a lot, if not most or all of what she's saying. An individual needs to be careful who they are listening to and that they dont put too much responsibility for their own spiritual growth upon the leaders of the church. Thats what I see happening all over the church body, and like Shami, I find it disturbing. Thats why *I* feel it is so important that *I* understand the Word of God and that *I* feel I dont need someone else to help me interpret it. But I do feel it can be the church organization's fault, absolutely! They have a responsibility to teach that each individual has a responsibility to take their own faith seriously, to study the scriptures to discover whether what they are teaching is true and right and I dont see that happening an awful lot. Not enough. I see a LOT of spiritually lazy christians, Ive known them personally. Not lazy in the sense that they arent busy in the church, or are neglecting those kind of responsibilities but they are playing a passive role as far as their own spiritual growth and 'education' is concerned. I just dont see the need for that kind of structure and according to my own understanding of scripture the structure of the churches are not what was laid out in scripture.

 

Saying that, I think is possible for a believer to be a true believer within an organised church institution like RCC or EO church. We share many many of the basics as far as foundational issues/doctrines as truth, its when things like new age practices and other unbiblical teachings seep into the church that sends me running in the other direction. Ill tell you what I do believe. I do believe that the Church as we 'know' it, the church institution (any and all denominations included here) are either swiftly heading in the direction of biblical apostacy, or are even already there to the point of no return. I am one of those people who believe that. Far too much stuff has seeped into the church that is so unbiblical its unreal. That just might send this thread spinning into another direction altogether but its what I firmly believe.

 

The following part I disagree with...

 

Quote:

You seem to be saying that the structure of the Church should be spelled out in the Bible and that the Bible should be the basis upon which the Church is built.  That's getting things backwards, IMO.  The Bible came from the Church, the Church did not come from the Bible. 
 

I dont have time to go into it right now, and Im sorry for that. I used all my brain juice to come up with the explanation for the other thing, that combined with the fact that now my kids are throwing things and climbing the walls... and Im hungry. (my kids just wont leave me alone!!! lol). Will come back when I get a chance and talk more about why I disagree.

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Old 01-08-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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Bluegoat, can you clarify for me what liturgy means.  My google efforts have me confused and I want to make sure we are talking about the same thing.  thx



Loosely, liturgy is a system of rites for public worship.

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Quote:

The following part I disagree with...

 

Quote:

You seem to be saying that the structure of the Church should be spelled out in the Bible and that the Bible should be the basis upon which the Church is built.  That's getting things backwards, IMO.  The Bible came from the Church, the Church did not come from the Bible. 
 

I dont have time to go into it right now, and Im sorry for that. I used all my brain juice to come up with the explanation for the other thing, that combined with the fact that now my kids are throwing things and climbing the walls... and Im hungry. (my kids just wont leave me alone!!! lol). Will come back when I get a chance and talk more about why I disagree.

 

I look forward to your thoughts.  Where do you think the Bible came from, historically speaking?

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http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=16a_1285963583

 

try that :)  I don't know why that one did not work.  I still need to find the baptismal pictures.  That wasn't my blog.  

 

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Shami....This VIDEO explains it really well.  I am not certain but I am pretty sure it is Molly Sabourin speaking and who wrote it.  She has an amazing gift at explaining the faith.

 

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Anyway, so if a person dies who has not become part of the One True Church, what happens to them.  I would have thought that they would be considered a non believer and perish.

well, yellow isn't really what I was going for there but I am still getting used to the new format...It will have to do.

 

What happens to someone outside the church is not my business.  I want people to know about and embrace the church because it contains the fullness of the faith. God bestows his Grace through the sacraments and that is not small thing.  We can use all the help we can get. I want them to really know God and really be able to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. I also believe he has mercy and compassion and is all powerful and can save whomever he pleases and will do so without any input from me. I believe there are righteous people outside the church and people inside the church who haven't got a clue.  What he will do with each of us is His business alone.

Aw, thanks for sharing your family photos and thoughts.  That was really sweet.   

I couldn't get the video. For some reason it just bumped me up to the top of the page on mdc.
 




The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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Where do you think the Bible came from, historically speaking?

 

 

Just popping in for a mo...This is my personal conviction. The bible was written by men and completely inspired and woven together by God. Its a deep seated personal conviction, from my personal experiences combined with the study of it. Written by so many different authors but the deeper you search it the more see and the more of the mystery is revealed. Thats what I believe.

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Old 01-08-2011, 06:13 PM
 
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You seem to be saying that the structure of the Church should be spelled out in the Bible and that the Bible should be the basis upon which the Church is built.  That's getting things backwards, IMO.  The Bible came from the Church, the Church did not come from the Bible. 
 

 

 

Ok, juat popped back to see what was said a few posts ago, and so along the lines of what I just said, the bible came from God and I believe that the 'structure' for the Church is absolutely laid out in the bible. Its just so much simpler then what organised religion has made it to be. There are 'offices' or responsibilites, deacons and so forth, but its less rigid, less structured and we all, all believers in Christ, have a very special role, imho, we arent just the layity(spelling) and they are the priests. We are all equals, but there are some believers who have more experience, have more knowledge and wisdom and if Im reading Shami right, it seems that what she might be saying is that it becomes evident who those people are when a group or collection of believers are seeking God and waiting upon His leading. All believers are called priests, we all have access to the throne of God, and yes, we have all been given the right to understand God thru direct contact with Him and *I* believe the Bible, the Word of God, is the main way with which He's chosen to communicate or instruct us. So all of our personal 'divine' revelation, imho, will be backed up by scripture. The bible is meant to be pivitol in our faith.

 

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Old 01-08-2011, 07:42 PM
 
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This is where Ignatius, who was well known for defending the truth and a good brother, made a mistake in asserting that bishops were over the elders.  Eventually the archbishops and the Pope became established.

 

I just wanted to say something about this point.  St. Ignatius of Antioch is considered an Apostolic Father of the Church.  He was an early Church martyr and knew the Apostles John and Peter, and I'm just finding it hard to believe that he got this wrong.  What does Witness Lee (I read the footnote which asserts what you're saying) base this on?  I really wish he'd site sources because I wouldn't hesitate to look them up and try to see for myself where he's getting his information.  It's just when I start researching some of his claims, I find information that doesn't support what he's saying instead of finding things that do support his claims. 

 

Another thought:  If St. Ignatius is wrong about bishops in his letters written so early on in Church history, before the Bible was ever fully formed, then how on earth can we trust anything the Church decided in the councils - including the canon of Scripture?  It was the bishops who decided the NT canon and the bishops who wrote the creeds which we all believe.  Do you think they believed what you and WL are saying about the structure of the Church, that the Apostles were not bishops?

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Old 01-08-2011, 07:58 PM
 
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You seem to be saying that the structure of the Church should be spelled out in the Bible and that the Bible should be the basis upon which the Church is built.  That's getting things backwards, IMO.  The Bible came from the Church, the Church did not come from the Bible. 
 

 

 

Ok, juat popped back to see what was said a few posts ago, and so along the lines of what I just said, the bible came from God and I believe that the 'structure' for the Church is absolutely laid out in the bible. Its just so much simpler then what organised religion has made it to be. There are 'offices' or responsibilites, deacons and so forth, but its less rigid, less structured and we all, all believers in Christ, have a very special role, imho, we arent just the layity(spelling) and they are the priests. We are all equals, but there are some believers who have more experience, have more knowledge and wisdom and if Im reading Shami right, it seems that what she might be saying is that it becomes evident who those people are when a group or collection of believers are seeking God and waiting upon His leading. All believers are called priests, we all have access to the throne of God, and yes, we have all been given the right to understand God thru direct contact with Him and *I* believe the Bible, the Word of God, is the main way with which He's chosen to communicate or instruct us. So all of our personal 'divine' revelation, imho, will be backed up by scripture. The bible is meant to be pivitol in our faith.

 


Well, yes the Bible came from God, but I'm asking you for history.  Who decided on which books comprise the NT?  How did they decide it?  When? And with what authority did they have to do so?  Because history shows us that the Church was in existence with its structure intact long before we had the Bible as we know it.  The early Church did not have the Bible to tell them how to organize themselves.  They had the Apostles' teachings which were passed on orally and through letters, and the Church was built up through those teachings.  Then the Church, through the meetings of the bishops (councils), decided on which books were to become the Bible.  Do you think they canonized Scriptures which were in conflict with what they were doing and the hierarchy they had?

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Old 01-08-2011, 11:13 PM
 
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This is where Ignatius, who was well known for defending the truth and a good brother, made a mistake in asserting that bishops were over the elders.  Eventually the archbishops and the Pope became established.

 

I just wanted to say something about this point.  St. Ignatius of Antioch is considered an Apostolic Father of the Church.  He was an early Church martyr and knew the Apostles John and Peter, and I'm just finding it hard to believe that he got this wrong.  What does Witness Lee (I read the footnote which asserts what you're saying) base this on?  I really wish he'd site sources because I wouldn't hesitate to look them up and try to see for myself where he's getting his information.  It's just when I start researching some of his claims, I find information that doesn't support what he's saying instead of finding things that do support his claims. 

 

Another thought:  If St. Ignatius is wrong about bishops in his letters written so early on in Church history, before the Bible was ever fully formed, then how on earth can we trust anything the Church decided in the councils - including the canon of Scripture?  It was the bishops who decided the NT canon and the bishops who wrote the creeds which we all believe.  Do you think they believed what you and WL are saying about the structure of the Church, that the Apostles were not bishops?

Purple Sage, I hope I don't over step my bounds by saying this to you.  The last thing I want, is to cause you to doubt the Bible in any way.  If I were you, I would read more of just the Bible and less of our commentary or footnotes.  If you feel this is shaking your faith at all, please don't listen to us or to me.  Focus on Christ, and all He has accomplished.  The more you read the Scriptures over and over the more the Lord can reveal. As you grow in the Lord you will begin to grow a spiritual discernment.   It's like we have layers and layers that He removes over time.  I have read the same passage many times and then one time He shines so much light on the same passage and I get a revelation of the deeper meaning. 

If you really want sources, I can email some brothers who knew Witness Lee personally and try to find out some of his sources, but it will take some days to do that and without guarantee that I can be successful in my search.  One thing I do know is that the view of the churches (Rev. 2-3) being representative of different types of degradation in the church came from a book entitled, ******'s Church History  by Andrew ******.  I also know that Lee got a lot from the Brethren especially the typology in the OT.  What I am wondering is this:  Will it matter what Lee's source is if it comes from an author who is a part of the Reformation.  It seems that Church Tradition frowns on individual believers' writing about what they have seen in the Word, especially if they are Protestant.  In a way, I feel like the sources won't matter, because it's almost certain that it didn't come from the CC or EO.

 

I have been thinking about instances in the Bible where the disciples got something wrong and were corrected.  My point in doing this is to show that even Apostolic Church Fathers can get something wrong.  However, I do believe they got so much right, and  I am very thankful for that.

Here are just 6 instances of the disciples' mistakes.

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1. Peter didn't want the Lord to be crucified.  Even though in the section right above this passage Peter saw that Jesus was The Christ, Son of the Living God, Peter didn't want the Lord to go to the cross.  Peter was wrong here and the Lord rebuked Peter.  The Lord said to Peter, get behind me Satan.  Was Peter actually Satan?  No, but it is Satan who didn't want the Lord to go to the cross because that is where Satan is defeated by the Lord.  Peter was one with Satan's desire in that instance because Peter was setting his mind on the things of men.

Matt. 16

21 aFrom that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He 1must go to bJerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes and be ckilled and on the third day be raised.

22 And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, God be merciful to You, Lord! This shall by 1no means happen to You!

23 But He turned and said to Peter, Get behind Me, 1aSatan! 2You are a stumbling block to Me, for you are 3not setting your bmind on the things of God, but on the things of men.

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him 1deny 2himself and take up his 3across and 4follow Me.

25 For whoever wants to save his asoul-life shall 1lose it; but whoever 2loses his soul-life for My sake shall find it.

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2.  James and John messed up here.

Luke 9

54 And seeing this, the disciples James and John said, Lord, do You want us to 1command afire to come down from heaven and consume 2them?

55 But turning, He rebuked them 1and said, 2You do not know of what kind of spirit you are.

56 1The Son of Man has not come to destroy men's 2lives but to save them. And they went into another village.

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3. I mentioned earlier that Paul wasn't clear about circumcision for the Gentile believers.  I cannot find the passage.

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4. Ambition

Matt 18

1 aIn that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Who then is bgreatest 1in the kingdom of the heavens?

2 And He called a little child to Him and stood him in their midst

3 And said, Truly I say to you, Unless you turn and become like alittle children, you shall by no means benter into the kingdom of the heavens.

 

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5.Here is another biggie from Peter. Denying the Lord THREE times. You gotta love Peter.  He has more mistakes that are recorded in the Bible than any of the rest!  I would hate it if all my major blunders were recorded for the public.  It's all for our learning.  Thanks, Peter!

Matt 26

75 And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, Before a arooster crows, you will deny Me three times. And he went out and wept bitterly.

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6. They didn't believe He had resurrected.  Thomas had to put his finger in the nail prints in order to believe it was really the Lord Jesus.

Mark 16

 

9 1Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He aappeared first to Mary the bMagdalene, from whom He had 2cast out cseven demons.

10 She went and areported to those who had been with Him, who were mourning and bweeping.

11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did anot believe.

12 And after these things, He aappeared in a different form to btwo of them as they were walking on their way into the countryside.

13 And they went away and reported to the rest, but they did not believe them either.

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The Apostolic Church Fathers were humans led by the Holy Spirit.  Still, they had sin nature in them and were capable of failures and unbelief.   There is not evidence in the Bible that certain believers are infallible.  Certainly the disciples made mistakes.   At that time, kings and rulers of the land had a lot of influence over what would happen to the church.  Of course God is sovereign and is the King of Kings allowing whatever to happen.  When Constantine declared Christianity the religion of the land, many unbelievers with their pagan practices came into the church.  I am not blaming anyone, but it is a well known fact.

One of the links on a previous post sent me to an EO site, which talked about the battle over whether or not to allow icons.  It said that the empress at that time decided to allow icons.  The battle kept going and a succeeding empress, again, allowed icons in the church.  Doesn't it kind of shock you (general you) that the empress had so much authority to determine the allowance of icons in the church?  I don't blame the church fathers for everything, but Satan did find a way into the church through the world, politics, money, etc.   I am not playing the blame game here.  Rather, it's an observation of what has occurred and what is occurring to the church.  This is my history, too. 

 

I can sort of see how one would say that the Bible came out, or was produced by the Church and the Tradition, but really scripture doesn't say that.  It says that the prophecy (or Scripture) was produced from God through men, who were born by the Holy Spirit. It's a slight difference in wording, but a great difference in meaning.   I do completely trust the Bible. 

2 Peter

21 1For no prophecy was ever 2borne by the will of man, but men spoke from God while being 2borne by the Holy aSpirit.


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Old 01-08-2011, 11:30 PM
 
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You seem to be saying that the structure of the Church should be spelled out in the Bible and that the Bible should be the basis upon which the Church is built.  That's getting things backwards, IMO.  The Bible came from the Church, the Church did not come from the Bible. 
 

 

 

Ok, juat popped back to see what was said a few posts ago, and so along the lines of what I just said, the bible came from God and I believe that the 'structure' for the Church is absolutely laid out in the bible. Its just so much simpler then what organised religion has made it to be. There are 'offices' or responsibilites, deacons and so forth, but its less rigid, less structured and we all, all believers in Christ, have a very special role, imho, we arent just the layity(spelling) and they are the priests. We are all equals, but there are some believers who have more experience, have more knowledge and wisdom and if Im reading Shami right, it seems that what she might be saying is that it becomes evident who those people are when a group or collection of believers are seeking God and waiting upon His leading. All believers are called priests, we all have access to the throne of God, and yes, we have all been given the right to understand God thru direct contact with Him and *I* believe the Bible, the Word of God, is the main way with which He's chosen to communicate or instruct us. So all of our personal 'divine' revelation, imho, will be backed up by scripture. The bible is meant to be pivitol in our faith.

 


Well, yes the Bible came from God, but I'm asking you for history.  Who decided on which books comprise the NT?  How did they decide it?  When? And with what authority did they have to do so?  Because history shows us that the Church was in existence with its structure intact long before we had the Bible as we know it.  The early Church did not have the Bible to tell them how to organize themselves.  They had the Apostles' teachings which were passed on orally and through letters, and the Church was built up through those teachings.  Then the Church, through the meetings of the bishops (councils), decided on which books were to become the Bible.  Do you think they canonized Scriptures which were in conflict with what they were doing and the hierarchy they had?

It seems that way.  They got some things right and some things wrong. As you know, those letters  and the gospels were centuries before the canonization of the Bible, so things had changed quite a bit, but they only put in writings from that time period, the early church.  They didn't include later writings from bishops in the 2nd and 3rd century.   This is why I am so inclined to 'need' to see it in the NT.  It's the closest to the early church.
 


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Old 01-09-2011, 01:52 AM
 
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Well, yes the Bible came from God, but I'm asking you for history.  Who decided on which books comprise the NT?  How did they decide it?  When? And with what authority did they have to do so?  Because history shows us that the Church was in existence with its structure intact long before we had the Bible as we know it.

 

 

The books that were included in the canon were decided long before they were actually bound together in book form. They were trusted by believers and studied in scroll form for centuries before books (as we know them) were even invented. Ill have to do some research to come up with difinitive answers you might be looking for. Ive done some research but I cant, off the top of my head, give the answers you want. Ill do my best in the coming days.

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