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Teke
Dec 12th 2008, 09:29 PM
We were not called to become complacent in peace without truth.

The Lord prayed for His disciples "that they may be one". This of course means that His Church as well, is not to be divided.

In my own church we pray, "for the union of all" (Gr." hyper tes ton panton henoseos"). The word "all" is not in reference to "churches". Greek "panton" is a masculine adjective and refers to "all the faithful". If it referred to all churches the Greek adjective would be "pason".

The true church would not be drawn to "flattering words" which come from the world. Words which seek to lull us into a false peace and unity. Such as the world conferences of churches or the papal synods. These things debate the truth. And Christ did not ask for debaters but confessors.

Are we to be filled with zeal for the transmission of the truth to this world that needs it so much, or are we to weigh things which separate or unite Christians.

I do not pray for the world, but for those whom Thou has given Me" (John 9:17).

In our time as much as any, both the world of politics and culture seek to "unite Christianity". So we see that even those never previously interested in matters of religion become interested in an ethical sense. They don't want a Christ as He is, but rather want a Christ who will submit to them. They want a Christ that will talk about this life and not the other. The Jews, as well as others, reject Him because of this. They want their earthly ruler.

Catholicism brought the thought that God speaks through the mouths of sinful men. ie. popes . The western church steeped their Christian thought in rationalism and pagan dispositions of the Greeks. Along with the Renaissance and humanism, the western church turned to idolatry. Humanism becoming the religion of this age. Which is why, even on this board, you'll hear terms like "Hellenic Christian" civilization. In essence, meaning drawn from Platonic thought.

Now we see Protestantism, which didn't see holiness and truth in the church of the west, and threw out all tradition leaving believers with no criteria of true or false. The distance from there to atheism and materialism isn't far. The result being not only the union of Christian churches, but of all religions.

Is this what Jesus was about. I say nay. Such is comparable to those who asked Jesus to turn stones into bread. He did not come to provide material things of this world.

The saying, "we must look to things which unite us and overlook those which separate us" is delusional.



I will follow up with a glance from the past in this thread.

mikebr
Dec 12th 2008, 09:37 PM
I listened to a youth pastor last night who told his kids that if they were asking for anything other than God Himself then they wanted less than he wanted to offer. We've asked for everything but Him. If we would focus on Him as the Prize that was set before us then unity would be a reality.

I always enjoy your posts Teke.

Ascender
Dec 12th 2008, 09:52 PM
I think we err when we fail to understand that in Christ, we are already united! We are already joined together. We many not always see it and we may not always feel it, but all who are truly of God are united.

When I worship with pentecostals, charismatics, baptists and methodists and even generic believers as well as many other disciples and followers of Jesus and we are gathered together, the Holy Spirit does some amazong things! We can pray together and worship together and witness together in a powerful unity that withstands all the powers of the wicked one.

sometimes we think to much on the division and not enough on the unity!

at the same time there is a push for a false "one accord" that seems to mandate agreement in all things. Sorry, that won't happen completely until we are together in heaven. We are all one body in Christ, but we are differing parts of the body, eyes and ears, feet and hands, etc. That very difference can and has been used to divide and conquer. We are too short with others, too unwilling to listen, too biased, too...something.

But what I do experience with believers regardless of background or essence of belief is a witness of the Spirit. We ARE one in Christ Jesus.

Dani H
Dec 12th 2008, 10:09 PM
I don't think it's possible to overlook the things that separate us or try and pretend that they don't exist, when they very clearly do. That's preaching tolerance, which isn't a Biblical concept. It also very often ends up driving people to unscriptural compromise, which is regrettable. One can walk in purity without fellowshipping with darkness and still attain unity in the spirit with someone of a different mindset, under the lordship of Jesus, because soul and spirit are separate.


Unity has nothing to do with overlooking our differences, I think. We all have different personalities and giftings and callings, and we ought to learn to appreciate them instead of boxing ourselves and others in and judging one another based on them. We're made how we're made for a reason. We have the personalities and strenghts and giftings we have for a reason.

I think the crux is to focus on Jesus Himself, as God has culminated everything into His Son. If we do so, then unity is possible and the Body can work together as intended, submitted to the Head. If we pick on one another's parts and forget about the Head, then no, unity will never happen because we will try and base it on the wrong things. We're either united in the Son, or not at all. We either have fellowship with Him, and as a result, fellowship with one another, or we don't.

I think the absence of true fellowship and unity with one another speaks volumes of the absence of our fellowship with the Lord Jesus. If we look at the example of Pentecost, we see that those in the upper room were focused on the Lord alone and were worshipping in one accord because He was the focus, not the work, not the world, not doctrines, not teachings, not preachings, not anything, except Jesus Himself, and their undivided attention was on Him alone. And the Spirit came in power.

keck553
Dec 12th 2008, 10:34 PM
As unifying as Messiah is, walls are raised by religious dogma. By that I mean human traditions, additions, deletions and excuses not to obey what God says is righteous.

we're the problem.

Teke
Dec 12th 2008, 11:26 PM
Let's not spiritualize this subject by saying we are all one in Christ, in spirit only. If there was true unity then all Christians could go to any Christian church and partake of His body and blood together. That would be true unity.

To those who say we are united in Christ, would you partake of communion with anyone who confesses Christ, such as Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses for instance? If not, why?

Would you or could you partake of communion from Catholics? If not, why?

Dani H
Dec 12th 2008, 11:58 PM
Why not?

Anything God does begins in the spirit and works outwardly.

How else would we find unity except understanding by our spirit and from there with our minds and the rest of our being, the reality of everything having been placed in Christ and abiding in Him and making Him our focus?

It's not a pie in the sky ooga booga thing, it's reality. Well, to me, anyway. :)

And no, not any Christian could go to any "Christian" church and partake, because there are many who profess outwardly without any kind of inward reality or proof of Jesus actually living within them. We have to be discerning and know by the intuition of our spirit who is His and who is not, and go by that. The Lord knows who are His, the Shepherd knows His sheep and knows how to bring us together and help us find one another and have fellowship with one another. A building and denominational stamp does not the Church make. We're a spiritual Body that belongs to a spiritual Kingdom, are we not? There are born-again people in the Catholic Church that I would absolutely have communion with.

I probably don't understand where you're heading with this, or where exactly you're coming from, so pardon me ... :confused

kingdom-heir
Dec 13th 2008, 12:04 AM
As unifying as Messiah is, walls are raised by religious dogma. By that I mean human traditions, additions, deletions and excuses not to obey what God says is righteous.

we're the problem.

You are right on brother! People value their own opinion more than they hunger for truth. Pride builds walls.

Teke
Dec 13th 2008, 01:38 AM
Why not?

Anything God does begins in the spirit and works outwardly.

I absolutely agree. :)


How else would we find unity except understanding by our spirit and from there with our minds and the rest of our being, the reality of everything having been placed in Christ and abiding in Him and making Him our focus?

It's not a pie in the sky ooga booga thing, it's reality. Well, to me, anyway. :)

With our whole being, I agree.


And no, not any Christian could go to any "Christian" church and partake, because there are many who profess outwardly without any kind of inward reality or proof of Jesus actually living within them. We have to be discerning and know by the intuition of our spirit who is His and who is not, and go by that. The Lord knows who are His, the Shepherd knows His sheep and knows how to bring us together and help us find one another and have fellowship with one another. A building and denominational stamp does not the Church make. We're a spiritual Body that belongs to a spiritual Kingdom, are we not? There are born-again people in the Catholic Church that I would absolutely have communion with.

This is the real deal. See if you say to the world that the church is united, then the world should clearly see that. Wouldn't you agree that the church should be responsible in how they present themselves before the face of all mankind as well as God.

We'll explore this more in this thread looking at how historically the church has performed. Maybe we'll all learn something, if only not to make the same mistakes.


I probably don't understand where you're heading with this, or where exactly you're coming from, so pardon me ... :confused

It's just a discussion. You've made some great points! :)

In Peace
Eve

Walstib
Dec 13th 2008, 03:36 AM
All this talk of tradition and cultural influence confuses me.

I grew up without a care for what any "schools of thought" were. I was to busy playing in the barn and chasing girls. My physics professor at college told me he thought Jesus was cool and suggested I read the bible. So I spent two weeks locked up in an apartment alone reading the bible. I believe I saw the truth and the Truth set me free.

So what does Plato and whatever early church father, cultural lenses, whatever really mean when looking at the heart of being one in Jesus?

Should I send a library full of this information with the bible I send to rural China? Do they need to know any of this to know what it means to be One in Jesus or is the bible alone not enough. Sort of sarcastic question really. I just don't get it. Why should I care or consider how millions of people before I was born twisted the scriptures or interpreted them. My personal relationship with Jesus is what matters to me. I can't control a bunch of people who want to start their own new denomination but I can know all those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit are my family and I am one with them in Jesus. Sort of a theme in the bible I think.

Maybe this is the heart of what you are saying Eve, I sort of hope so... but am still a bit confused with all the denominational history talk.

Peace,
Joe

watchinginawe
Dec 13th 2008, 04:47 AM
Now we see Protestantism, which didn't see holiness and truth in the church of the west, and threw out all tradition leaving believers with no criteria of true or false.Teke, "No criteria" would not be a fair characterization. Perhaps you view Protestantism as having an inneffecive criteria, but of course we Protestants would disagree. It is the doing away of the Protestant's criteria that make us Protestants. ;) If fact, it would seem that Protestantism is based on the only unchanging criteria for true or false.

God Bless!

mikebr
Dec 13th 2008, 04:47 AM
All this talk of tradition and cultural influence confuses me.

I grew up without a care for what any "schools of thought" were. I was to busy playing in the barn and chasing girls. My physics professor at college told me he thought Jesus was cool and suggested I read the bible. So I spent two weeks locked up in an apartment alone reading the bible. I believe I saw the truth and the Truth set me free.

So what does Plato and whatever early church father, cultural lenses, whatever really mean when looking at the heart of being one in Jesus?

Should I send a library full of this information with the bible I send to rural China? Do they need to know any of this to know what it means to be One in Jesus or is the bible alone not enough. Sort of sarcastic question really. I just don't get it. Why should I care or consider how millions of people before I was born twisted the scriptures or interpreted them. My personal relationship with Jesus is what matters to me. I can't control a bunch of people who want to start their own new denomination but I can know all those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit are my family and I am one with them in Jesus. Sort of a theme in the bible I think.

Maybe this is the heart of what you are saying Eve, I sort of hope so... but am still a bit confused with all the denominational history talk.

Peace,
Joe

The getting there is always easy. Its when we get there that the stuff starts to pile on.

crossnote
Dec 13th 2008, 07:21 AM
If we look at the example of Pentecost, we see that those in the upper room were focused on the Lord alone and were worshipping in one accord because He was the focus, not the work, not the world, not doctrines, not teachings, not preachings, not anything, except Jesus Himself, and their undivided attention was on Him alone. And the Spirit came in power.

Without the work of Jesus, without the teachings of and about Jesus (including His Person and work), without sound doctrine,...what kind of 'a Jesus' would we have left to look to?

Dani H
Dec 13th 2008, 07:47 AM
Without the work of Jesus, without the teachings of and about Jesus (including His Person and work), without sound doctrine,...what kind of 'a Jesus' would we have left to look to?

These were all people who knew Jesus personally in flesh and blood. Not through a book or from a sermon. They witnessed His death and resurrection and they personally were there, with Him. That's some powerful stuff, don't you think?

It is possible, for us today, by His Spirit, to know Him, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. He can be just as real to us as He was to those in the upper room back then. I firmly believe this because that is reality in my life. I don't need to see Him in a physical body to know He is real and my Savior and Friend and Lord and Master and always right here, with me. He is more real to me than any flesh-and-blood person I know. And because of that, I am able to sense Him in others and have fellowship with them, based on that, without strife or problems or dissention or bickerings or arguments. Those who recognize the Lord in one another as they recognize Him in their own lives, will have unity.

I'm not negating the importance of His teachings or His works or His example. What I'm saying is that ultimately, those things without the Person of Jesus, are dead. Inspirational, sure. Profitable for learning from, absolutely. Life-giving? Not so much. Not without Him. We know this to be true because there are many who view Him as a prophet or teacher or good example, yet their spirits remain without life. So it's not enough to know His teachings and what is written about Him. We must know the Lord Jesus, in Person, for ourselves, who is risen from the dead and able to save to the uttermost, who is real, today. When we have such fellowship with the Lord, then we can have fellowship with one another, based on that.

Teke
Dec 15th 2008, 07:00 PM
Teke, "No criteria" would not be a fair characterization. Perhaps you view Protestantism as having an inneffecive criteria, but of course we Protestants would disagree. It is the doing away of the Protestant's criteria that make us Protestants. ;) If fact, it would seem that Protestantism is based on the only unchanging criteria for true or false.

God Bless!

Watching, I am not singling out Protestantism. Every denomination has the same problem. It is not a matter of the churches being independent, it is a matter of WHY they choose to do so. That is the crux of the matter. I choose to take the approach that Christ did to such matters as concern the church.

To illustrate, I will use my own denom, for one reason to show that I'm not being prejudice, and another reason being it is of the ancient faith. Please do not take this as me proselytizing on the board.

Do Christians ever ask themselves why their churches aren't united. Even churches within their own denominational arena. IOW is there a good reason.
Bad doctrines aren't necessarily a good reason. Bad doctrine is something that happens, it has happened since the beginning of the church. That can be worked out within the Body of the Church proper.

The eastern church could be in union with the western church if it were just a matter of doctrine. But it isn't just a matter of doctrine. The western church, in this instance I am speaking of the Roman church as that is where western Christianity began, joined the government.

The church was never meant to be an earthly government. The church is to be spiritually governed. That cannot be accomplished with earthly government. The first schism in the church occurred because of the Roman church aligning themselves with government/politics.

Eastern churches don't claim to have the corner on truth, but they do claim to have not left the original teachings of Jesus and Apostles. I know Rome claims as much, but they went astray when they aligned with earthly government to make it easier on themselves.

There is now disunity in the eastern churches, because the tribulations it experiences in the east were sought to be comforted by the worldly system of government. Eastern Christians don't align themselves under one head like the Roman church does. It's against the original canons to do so. However, some of them have, such as those aligned with the patriarch of Constantinople (a church which has faced much persecution, almost to the point of being obliterated). We, the Christian church, are not to buckle under such persecution.

That is not what the church is about. So the reason I say Protestantism doesn't have criteria, is because it doesn't hold to those original teachings, but as many churches have done, has disjointed itself by earthly disillusion.
See if the churches disconnect themselves from the worldly things that separate them, they would be united. What could keep them from being united.

I'm not being partial when I say that the church sold itself out to worldly things over the course of history. This is not to say that it has become unrecognizable, but it has made it quite hard for mankind to recognize. I don't believe this is what the Lord intended for His Church.

HisLeast
Dec 15th 2008, 07:23 PM
So what's the solution?

Walstib
Dec 16th 2008, 01:31 PM
but am still a bit confused with all the denominational history talk.
HI Eve,

I was hoping we would have chance to talk about this and you would not take my little rant as being all directed at you Eve. There was a mishmash of stuff in the conversation you were having that started this thread that was I was confused by. That and I wanted to say I started praying before I started reading the bible, and canít really say I know the moment of my salvation. I trust it happened around that time and without knowing to much.

Iíve been thinking a lot about trust the last few days, especially in contents of the bible thread. Trusting counsels and decisions made by men with faith Godís hand is behind them. I was thinking this is the kind of thing you mean when speaking of tradition. Something I see a place for and something there is great danger in as well. Leads to unity and is the cause of discord. Iím up for a conversation about this, my little rant was just that many people, and points in history, are twisted about in an attempt to prove something when I think the topic itself can be discussed without all that baggage.

Peace :)
Joe

Teke
Dec 16th 2008, 04:58 PM
HI Eve,

I was hoping we would have chance to talk about this and you would not take my little rant as being all directed at you Eve.
There was a mishmash of stuff in the conversation you were having that started this thread that was I was confused by.

Hi Walstib :)

Sure we can talk. I am fine. Since I've been on this board for some time, I understand how posts can not be understood in the beginnings of a thread.


That and I wanted to say I started praying before I started reading the bible, and canít really say I know the moment of my salvation. I trust it happened around that time and without knowing to much.


I don't understand what you mean, perhaps your thinking out loud in the post. I believe our salvation began at the foundation of all creation. We just don't realize it without God's revelation to us.


Iíve been thinking a lot about trust the last few days, especially in contents of the bible thread. Trusting counsels and decisions made by men with faith Godís hand is behind them. I was thinking this is the kind of thing you mean when speaking of tradition. Something I see a place for and something there is great danger in as well. Leads to unity and is the cause of discord. Iím up for a conversation about this, my little rant was just that many people, and points in history, are twisted about in an attempt to prove something when I think the topic itself can be discussed without all that baggage.

Peace :)
Joe

I agree, things can be shaken up and become a confusing mix. But "that baggage" is part of how the church discerns things, spiritual vs worldly. So it is essential. At least in my salvific understanding, which is that of a synergism between God and mankind. For me, scripture exemplifies this concept in it's 'one another' wording. Whether that be 'one another' applied to God and man, or 'one another' applied to each of us and to others. <did that sound confusing>

There was not always complete agreement at the early church councils. They did the same as all faithful do in comparing opinions, albeit they had a higher understanding than we do, as their dedication was to nothing else. We in comparison are preoccupied with things they were not.

The reason I stand behind such decisions (to make myself clear, I agree with the first seven ecumenical councils, I am a Trinitarian Christian to the core), is that if you study the actual councils and history behind the opinions brought forth, you will find they are the same ones we talk about to date, just dressed differently. The devil is a deceiver, but not a new deceiver, he's that same old dragon looking for new ways to deceive the faithful.

And just so you know I'm not just talking about reading some words written. I have tested the decisions of those councils both against scripture and against false doctrines. And I have found them sound dogmatic statements that are tried and true from the beginning to now. IOW there is not contradiction within the Trinitarian faith we receive. From the experience of those studies, I have found that any false doctrinal statements can be defeated with such as Trinity theology.

This is to let you know better where I stand on the matter.

In Peace,
Eve

Teke
Dec 16th 2008, 04:59 PM
So what's the solution?

Let's see if we can make some feeble attempt at figuring that out. :)

Walstib
Dec 19th 2008, 01:45 PM
Sure we can talk. I am fine. Since I've been on this board for some time, I understand how posts can not be understood in the beginnings of a thread. Iím often amazed "we" ever understand each other. ;)
I don't understand what you mean, perhaps your thinking out loud in the post. I believe our salvation began at the foundation of all creation. We just don't realize it without God's revelation to us. Yes I was speaking out loud, reading the first post you see what I was clarifying.
I agree, things can be shaken up and become a confusing mix. But "that baggage" is part of how the church discerns things, spiritual vs worldly. So it is essential. At least in my salvific understanding, which is that of a synergism between God and mankind. For me, scripture exemplifies this concept in it's 'one another' wording. Whether that be 'one another' applied to God and man, or 'one another' applied to each of us and to others. <did that sound confusing>I think I get you. Learn from our mistakes considering the baggage. And if I got anything out of looking into Greek words for love the last few days it would be the friendship ďphelioĒ love for the "one another" context
The reason I stand behind such decisions (to make myself clear, I agree with the first seven ecumenical councils, I am a Trinitarian Christian to the core), is that if you study the actual councils and history behind the opinions brought forth, you will find they are the same ones we talk about to date, just dressed differently. The devil is a deceiver, but not a new deceiver, he's that same old dragon looking for new ways to deceive the faithful. You are all good with me Eve. I donít have many hang-ups on where the regenerate hang out. A western or eastern church. I was hanging out with some rough bikers the other day. I think of how we can ourselves judge if the councils made sound decisions from our own studies. To me this is were the unity is found across all time and culture. I can start with the decisions of the counsils and then see if they are in the bible or I can see whatís in the bible and then check the different councils decisions. If we have never heard of a council, we can still be in earthly unity with the regenerate we hang out with because of Whom it is that unites us. That point is one I am wondering if you disagree with.
And just so you know I'm not just talking about reading some words written. I have tested the decisions of those councils both against scripture and against false doctrines. And I have found them sound dogmatic statements that are tried and true from the beginning to now. IOW there is not contradiction within the Trinitarian faith we receive. From the experience of those studies, I have found that any false doctrinal statements can be defeated with such as Trinity theology. Iíll just wait here and ask what you mean by the ďfaith we receiveĒ and where it comes from.

Peace,
Joe

Teke
Dec 20th 2008, 03:24 PM
If we have never heard of a council, we can still be in earthly unity with the regenerate we hang out with because of Whom it is that unites us. That point is one I am wondering if you disagree with.

Sure I agree with the earthly unity. We're all human and part of humanity as a whole. I'd also agree we are united in spirit as Christians. Or are we if we don't show that in action. That is a question in this thread. We must admit that our earthly bodies of the church, meaning the differing denominations, aren't relating that concept by showing disunity among themselves. That is evident to anyone Christian or not.


I’ll just wait here and ask what you mean by the “faith we receive” and where it comes from.

I'm not going to go into an indepth study on the word 'faith' and it's meaning. I'll just state that faith is associated with faithfulness. So, the 'faith we receive' is from the faithful. While we may not know who all the faithful are, Christians have accepted that Jesus and His Apostles are "the" faithful. Therefore any speculations I have are going to center around finding out if they come from that root or something else. Such would be inclusive of both written documentation as well as oral transmission (both aka tradition).

2Th 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

2Th 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

2Th 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.