Pristine Grace
Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: The "True Church" Syndrome

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Heaven
    Posts
    2,655
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    The "True Church" Syndrome

    Please read the following article and share your comments here:

    http://www.soundofgrace.com/v6n9/syndrome-jgr.htm
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    A stranger and pilgrim
    Posts
    12
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    I had a chance to read the article this PM. There were quite a number of things which I have realized also, but it also poses a number of questions with regard to church discipline.

    I will be meditating on this for a while.

    COG

  3. #3
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Hawaiian Islands
    Posts
    3,669
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    73
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    116
    Thanked in
    62 Posts

    Wonderful!

    My view is that it is wonderful and a giant step toward new reformation. Many of us who believed such ideas for years in the past thought that we were 'lone ducks,' condemned by all historic churchmen. When God starts putting these ideas in many minds, only great things can be on the way!
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    289
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    I have to disagree with a few things about the article. First, I think that the new testament does set out guidelines for proper church practice. It doesn't give us commandments, so to speak, but it does show us examples that I believe we should try and follow. Now, the differences in the way we interpret the implications of these examples will separate us. That's not good, but I don't see how anyone could just go to worship, ignoring practices he feels to be unbiblical, forthe sake of unity.

    I also disagree with his assumption, that now I must feel that I am the only one with the truth. I don't feel this way at all. I fully realize that my understanding of scripture is limited, and encourage others to worship in the way that they feel is scriptural.
    Hmmm. WHo would've figured?

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Middleville, MI
    Posts
    3,577
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    I think the main problem is that the church fails to note the differences between the apostolic age and our own age. Christ Himself appointed the Apostles and sent them out. The use of the book of Acts to speak of the normal practice of the church as Reisinger suggests if carried out to its logical terminus would lead one to conclude that the charismatic gifts are also the normal practice of the church today and that we should all sell our possessions and live communally.

    God now sends His missionaries and ordains ministers through the local church.

    Romans 10:14-15 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?

    The article also fails to deal with doctrinal which state what a true church is which are derived from the Scriptures.

    Article 29 of the Belgic Confession states:

    We believe, that we ought diligently and circumspectly to discern from the Word of God which is the true Church, since all sects which are in the world assume to themselves the name of the Church. But we speak not here of hypocrites, who are mixed in the Church with the good, yet are not of the Church, though externally in it; but we say that the body and communion of the true Church must be distinguished from all sects, who call themselves the Church. The marks, by which the true Church is known, are these: if the pure doctrine of the gospel is preached therein; if she maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as instituted by Christ; if church discipline is exercised in punishing of sin: in short, if all things are managed according to the pure Word of God, all things contrary thereto rejected, and Jesus Christ acknowledged as the only Head of the Church. Hereby the true Church may certainly be known, from which no man has a right to separate himself. With respect to those, who are members of the Church, they may be known by the marks of Christians: namely, by faith; and when they have received Jesus Christ the only Savior, they avoid sin, follow after righteousness, love the true God and their neighbor, neither turn aside to the right or left, and crucify the flesh with the works thereof. But this is not to be understood, as if there did not remain in them great infirmities; but they fight against them through the Spirit, all the days of their life, continually taking their refuge in the blood, death, passion and obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ, "in whom they have remission of sins, through faith in him." As for the false Church, she ascribes more power and authority to herself and her ordinances than to the Word of God, and will not submit herself to the yoke of Christ. Neither does she administer the sacraments as appointed by Christ in his Word, but adds to and takes from them, as she thinks proper; she relieth more upon men than upon Christ; and persecutes those, who live holily according to the Word of God, and rebuke her for her errors, covetousness, and idolatry. These two Churches are easily known and distinguished from each other.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Heaven
    Posts
    2,655
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Originally posted by jhamrick
    I have to disagree with a few things about the article. First, I think that the new testament does set out guidelines for proper church practice. It doesn't give us commandments, so to speak, but it does show us examples that I believe we should try and follow. Now, the differences in the way we interpret the implications of these examples will separate us. That's not good, but I don't see how anyone could just go to worship, ignoring practices he feels to be unbiblical, forthe sake of unity.

    I also disagree with his assumption, that now I must feel that I am the only one with the truth. I don't feel this way at all. I fully realize that my understanding of scripture is limited, and encourage others to worship in the way that they feel is scriptural.
    i can see why someone would come away from this article thinking reisinger is saying that "it doesn't matter." i will hilight a couple of statements he made just to show you that this wasn't what he was saying:

    ASSUMPTION NUMBER ONE: Jesus established a church on this earth and promised that this church would prevail in all ages. That 'fact' proves that there is a physical local church organization in the New Testament Scriptures given to us as a clear role model to be followed today in all of its details...In their mind, to reject this assumption is to reject the Bible as our complete rule of faith and practice and believe that God has left us basically to 'do as we please' in church order. This assumption irrevocably commits you to a mind set toward the Scriptures that cannot avoid a sectarian and separatist attitude characterized by external legalism and tyrannical leadership.

    ASSUMPTION NUMBER TWO: We can only expect God's blessing when we organize and operate our local church exactly like this 'true New Testament role model church.' We must follow the 'clear apostolic example' in its total function, its method of organization and operation, its officers, its membership requirements, etc., as they are clearly set forth in the Scriptures in every essential detail.

    It is impossible to make the first assumption without also making the second one. You cannot believe that the N.T. Scriptures reveal an institutional role model for church order as clearly as it teaches justification by faith without being forced to believe that we have all of the essential details of that model in our particular local church.

    Likewise I am in no way opposed to a church having a doctrinal statement, constitution, order of worship, agreed procedures of operation, etc. Every group of people needs rules of order for the group's activities and there must be agreement on those rules. All I am insisting on is that Scripture does not give us all of those rules and we must therefore use our best judgment for the particular situation in which we find ourselves. We do not have, and we do not need, a proof text for everything in our constitution.

    Nor am I saying, "Away with all forms of organization." We must have church structure and some form of institutional organization. I wholeheartedly believe in pastors and elders as well as a clearly defined church order and procedure...However, we never claimed textual evidence for the manner in which we elected them, how long they should serve, and specifically what all of their duties were.

    I am talking about a mind set that must, because of its absolutist nature, find in the Scripture what is simply not there, namely, a full blown detailed church order and practice that covers all of church life and each individual work of God's kingdom.

    All I am pleading for is that we acknowledge that the N.T. Scriptures are not clear on church government. Let's admit that every system, including our own, is made up of much logic and some Bible texts. Once we admit that, we can then live comfortably with what we believe to be the best system and not accuse those who disagree with our system of either ignorance or rebellion.
    i hope it is clear from what i highlighted above that he's talking about a belief that thinks that every particular of their church polity is delineated in Scripture. also notice the examples he uses don't deal with stuff that we believe is clear in Scripture (e.g., whether or not we should even have elders/pastors) but the examples do deal with the particulars of how you do it. i believe John Reisinger advocates what he believes is the best form of church polity based on his understanding of the Scriptures, but his point is that this is not as clear as the doctrine of salvation and should not be treated as if it were. many insist that the two are equally clearly revealed and that to not follow the conclusion that they themselves have come to is to be either ignorant or rebellious.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Heaven
    Posts
    2,655
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Originally posted by wildboar
    The article also fails to deal with doctrinal which state what a true church is which are derived from the Scriptures.
    but that is not the point of the article. he's not writing to deal with every particular of what a true church is, etc. he's writing to dismantle the idea that the way i've decided to do church in every particular is the 'right and only way'. he makes a good argument that this is no different from romanism.

    what i've noticed happens very often is that many people look for or expect something from reading an article that it wasn't intended to address. the thesis of the article is clear and the title bears this out. he's writing to deal with The 'True Church' Syndrome' and not to delineate what a true church is and isn't. he's writing to deal with a prevailing attitude among churches that says that the way my church does it is the only way to do it...and indeed was the way Paul did it. this is a syndrome which is all-too-common. and i think it is the cause of all of the factionism and mudslinging that goes on. if we can get past ourselves and our pride, we will be much further on our way to true Scriptural unity.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

  8. #8
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Hawaiian Islands
    Posts
    3,669
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    73
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    116
    Thanked in
    62 Posts

    Article Not Exhaustive

    The article does not deal with church polity issues in detail, nor do I see that as the point of the article.

    The issue is whether the traditional ecclesiology of Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism is biblical or unbiblical.

    Protestantism has followed the ecclesiology of the 'early fathers,' Augustine, and the Constantinian era. It is sectarian. The question is whether a new reformation will ever occur if this sectarianism continues to be cherished. It won't.

    Once we unite on the gospel of the reformation and drop the sectarian tradition of Protestantism, we can begin to discuss what the polity of the ekklesia should be.

    It is true that we use of the book of Acts to speak of the normal practice of the church as Reisinger suggests if carried out to its logical terminus would lead one to conclude that the charismatic gifts are also the normal practice of the church today and that we should all sell our possessions and live communally

    1. Only the Jerusalem church lived communally (in its infancy), before it knew the fullness of the gospel later revealed to Paul and Peter. None of the Pauline assemblies ever lived communally. So I find this to be moot point.

    2. Although some charismatic gifts have ceased (i.e., apostleship) and others have changed or lessened, the assembly is crippled near death without the prophetic testimony (I'm not talking about direct revelation). Reformed theology limits this testimony to the gift of pastor/teacher, which is clearly contrary to the New Testament. Without prophecy the ekklesia will never fulfill its God-appointed destiny.

    3. The NT is the norm in terms of the nature and function of the ekklesia, even if not all details of indicative practice recorded there are mandatory on us today. If practices from the Constantinian era are condemned by the spirit and teaching of the NT gospel, we must run away from them. All things in today's 'churchianity' must be judged by the spirit of the gospel.

    I believe that #3 above is the real point of Reisinger's article.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    A stranger and pilgrim
    Posts
    12
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Re: Article Not Exhaustive


    The NT is the norm in terms of the nature and function of the ekklesia, even if not all details of indicative practice recorded there are mandatory on us today. If practices from the Constantinian era are condemned by the spirit and teaching of the NT gospel, we must run away from them. All things in today's 'churchianity' must be judged by the spirit of the gospel.

    I believe that #3 above is the real point of Mr. Reisinger's article.
    All things in today's 'churchianity' must be judged by the spirit of the gospel.

    This I agree is the crux of Reisinger's article. The Reformation did not go far enough. This is our challenge today. How far are we willing to go? Or, will we take a compromised view?

    In presenting the scriptures in our particular locale, I have faced quite a resistance from the general 'church' public. Confronting both Dispensational and CT views by expounding on the scripture has gotten quite a bit of criticism and backlash. God's Word will always correct and confront false assumptions and vain traditions!

    I am looking forward to reading further on the subject as Mr. Reisinger continues.

    So far, our church has taken a position that goes more toward the scripture than other Reformed Baptist church constitutions and by laws (LBC 1646 vs 1689). I do find though that I have to periodically revisit the issue as the traditional veil gets further lifted from my eyes.

    Presuppositions can be very tenuous and troublesome things.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Warrington, UK
    Posts
    488
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Definition of prophecy sought

    Bill,

    I would be grateful if you could explain what you mean by "prophetic testimony" that is not "direct revelation".

  11. #11
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Hawaiian Islands
    Posts
    3,669
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    73
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    116
    Thanked in
    62 Posts

    Prophecy to Remain

    According to Paul in 1 Cor. 13, three things certain to remain until the consummation are prophecy, language, and knowledge. He also exalts prophecy as more important than languages (including the 'heavenly language') in chapter 14.

    This cannot be direct revelation. It is prophetic utterance, which to me includes:

    1. Expounding the true meaning of the Word,
    2. Rebuking sin which others ignore,
    3. Encouragement to the persecuted,
    4. Rebuking ignorance of the Word,
    5. Prediction.

    A person may be gifted in prophecy, evangelism, and teaching all three. Or just two of these. Or only one.

    Traditional Reformed theology dislikes the notion of continuing prophecy because it limits the gifts of #1-#5 above to the ordained pastor/teacher. Others are denied the opportunity. If a prophetic gift is possible today, the pastor/teacher must submit to it.

    I know this is only an introduction.

    Grace to you all over the holidays; I hope to return as soon as possible to this forum. May Christ immerse you in the joy of salvation at this time!
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Warrington, UK
    Posts
    488
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Re: Prophecy to Remain

    Quote Originally Posted by BillTwisse
    According to Paul in 1 Cor. 13, three things certain to remain until the consummation are prophecy, language, and knowledge. He also exalts prophecy as more important than languages (including the 'heavenly language') in chapter 14.

    This cannot be direct revelation.
    What is "direct revelation"? Is there, by implication, such a thing as "indirect revelation"?


    Quote Originally Posted by BillTwisse
    It is prophetic utterance, which to me includes:
    Since my original question was:
    Quote Originally Posted by skeuos eleos
    I would be grateful if you could explain what you mean by "prophetic testimony" that is not "direct revelation".
    I don't think you have really answered the question since you seem to be saying, in effect, prophecy <> direct revelation and prophecy = prophetic utterance - - unless your intention was that your list of what it includes (below) is actually your definition of "prophetic utterance"?
    Quote Originally Posted by BillTwisse
    1. Expounding the true meaning of the Word,
    2. Rebuking sin which others ignore,
    3. Encouragement to the persecuted,
    4. Rebuking ignorance of the Word,
    5. Prediction.
    What is your basis for this list?

    What is the difference between #5 "Prediction" and "direct revelation"?


    Quote Originally Posted by BillTwisse
    Traditional Reformed theology dislikes the notion of continuing prophecy because it limits the gifts of #1-#5 above to the ordained pastor/teacher. Others are denied the opportunity. If a prophetic gift is possible today, the pastor/teacher must submit to it.
    So, is your contention that in Church meetings an opportunity should be afforded to those with the gift of prophecy to speak - presumably governed by the rules of 1 Cor 14:26-33?

    Looking specifically at 1 Cor 14:26 and 30 - what do you think the word "revelation" is referring to here?


    Quote Originally Posted by BillTwisse
    I know this is only an introduction.
    And that's why I have lots of questions - sorry it took so long to get round to them!


    Earnestly seeking to know the truth together in Christ,
    Martin

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    351
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Re: The "True Church" Syndrome

    "It is a total waste of time to discuss any kind of organization or cooperation in the work of God's kingdom with a man committed to these two basic assumptions unless the particular work begins and ends with his specific 'local church.' It is 'all or nothing' with him. One of his favorite expressions will be, "We cannot open the door to even the slightest exception to God's true church order." This person sees only two possible positions. (1) Admit that God's truth (his creed) cannot be violated by any exceptions, or else (2) admit that the Word of God is insufficient as a rule of practice for church order. The creed may be Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, or even the 'no creed' creed of the Brethren, but the mentality and attitude toward other Christians will always be the same."

    This statement coupled with the admonition to run away from Augustinianism is just double talk. Reisinger does not run too far, after all, his brother Ernie is a covenant theologian, and I don't think he would condemn his brother for staying a covenant theologian. Also, Reisinger teaches that the law convicts, and he probably teaches eternal generation, so he is not running at all far from Augustinianism. His foundation is law, not gospel, so I view his profession as being Papal and not a manifestation of the true church. It is a matter of faith.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Warrington, UK
    Posts
    488
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Re: The "True Church" Syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by bgamall
    Reisinger does not run too far, after all, his brother Ernie is a covenant theologian, and I don't think he would condemn his brother for staying a covenant theologian ... and he probably teaches eternal generation
    What kind of argument is this? It looks like guilty by birth and supposition to me. I think you should stick to what he has stated.

    Quote Originally Posted by bgamall
    His foundation is law, not gospel, so I view his profession as being Papal and not a manifestation of the true church.
    Whoa! That's a bit of a leap! I think you need to offer some evidence for that charge.
    Quote Originally Posted by bgamall
    It is a matter of faith.
    You keep saying this but what do you really mean by it?

    Soli Deo Gloria,
    Martin

  15. #15
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Hawaiian Islands
    Posts
    3,669
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    73
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    116
    Thanked in
    62 Posts

    Prophecy

    Responses to Skeuos

    First of all, let me state that I believe this issue is a problem for today's Christianity only because the rise of the one-bishop rule after the apostles. The heretical bishops destroyed the perspective of the apostolic era. In the early assemblies, they had no more of a problem with the presence of prophecy than we have with the presence of teachers and preachers.

    What is "direct revelation"? Is there, by implication, such a thing as "indirect revelation"?

    Direct revelation is what happened to Paul:
    For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

    The same type of direct revelation happened to other apostles and prophets. God spoke words directly to certain human beings.

    I would call any other teaching from God 'illumination' by the Word and Holy Spirit; if someone wants to call this 'indirect revelation'--that is fine with me.

    I don't think you have really answered the question since you seem to be saying, in effect, prophecy <> direct revelation


    NT prophecy (as discussed in 1 Cor. 13 & 14) may be based on either direct revelation or illumination by the Word and Spirit; it matters not which. Both sources constitute a message to be something that must be reckoned with by those who hear it.

    1. Expounding the true meaning of the Word,
    2. Rebuking sin which others ignore,
    3. Encouragement to the persecuted,
    4. Rebuking ignorance of the Word,
    5. Prediction.
    What is your basis for this list?

    It is not exhaustive. All of these things and more result from illumination by the Word and Holy Spirit.

    What is the difference between #5 "Prediction" and "direct revelation"?

    Explicit prediction with large degree of detail would only occur as a result of a direct word from God. But one with the Spirit of prophecy might predict a lot of future events in general based on illumination alone.

    So, is your contention that in Church meetings an opportunity should be afforded to those with the gift of prophecy to speak - presumably governed by the rules of 1 Cor 14:26-33?

    Well, not after the order of today's charismania! But meetings should certainly give a person with an illumination from God the opportunity to speak it forth.

    Looking specifically at 1 Cor 14:26 and 30 - what do you think the word "revelation" is referring to here?

    I believe it could be either a direct word from God or an illumination from the Word and Holy Spirit. The 'direct word' became very rare after the death of the apostles and we certainly have a right to doubt someone who claims such revelation today.

    I hope these answers help out at least a little.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    351
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Re: The "True Church" Syndrome

    "Protestantism has followed the ecclesiology of the 'early fathers,' Augustine, and the Constantinian era. It is sectarian. The question is whether a new reformation will ever occur if this sectarianism continues to be cherished. It won't.

    Once we unite on the gospel of the reformation and drop the sectarian tradition of Protestantism, we can begin to discuss what the polity of the ekklesia should be."

    But it is Constantinian theology, which became Augustinian theology, which became Protestant theology that is the evil here. No true church can exist that rests upon this legalistic, Christ subordinating, law preaching, sacralist, covenant theology. This theology is the falling away and apostate "church".

Similar Threads

  1. Christ's Humanity, Christ's Diety
    By Dans la Musique in forum General Discussion Archive
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-23-06, 08:39 PM
  2. question on 1 peter 2:12
    By InChristAlways in forum General Discussion Archive
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 12-09-05, 12:38 AM
  3. I'll be back on Friday...
    By Brandan in forum News & Announcements Archive
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-22-05, 07:08 AM
  4. The 5 Solas: Solo Christo!
    By Christ__Alone in forum Old Miscellaneous Archive
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-06-01, 07:05 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •