BFM and Ecclesiology

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by StefanM, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. StefanM

    StefanM
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    From the Baptist Faith and Message, Article VI:

    "The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation." [emphasis mine]

    -------

    I've looked through the accompanying scripture references, and I can't see how any of them justifies the statement in bold. I can see the justification for the rest of the sentence, but I just can't find support for the statement in bold. Maybe I'm missing something.

    Is there any scripture that would indicate that OT saints were members of the church/Body of Christ?
     
  2. OldRegular

    OldRegular
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    Some scripture passages that teach that God has only one people are:

    Galatians 3:29, KJV
    29. And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    Romans 2:28,29, KJV
    28. For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
    29. But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.


    Colossians 2:11, KJV
    11. In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

    John P.Newport in The Lion and The Lamb [page 196] says of these passages:

    “If believers are the true sons of Abraham, the true circumcision, then we must conclude that the Church is the true spiritual Israel, even though the word itself may not be used of the Church. This I believe to be confirmed by the expression, ‘the Israel of God’ in Galatians 6:16

    Galatians 6:16, KJV
    16. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace [be] on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
    Jesus Christ told the Jewish doubters in John 8:56: Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw [it], and was glad. The Apostle Paul, in his epistle to the church at Galatia, wrote:

    Galatians 3:8-9, KJV
    8. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, [saying], In thee shall all nations be blessed.
    9. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.


    The 11th chapter of Hebrews tells us that the Old Testament Saints considered themselves strangers and pilgrims on earth and vividly portrays their longing to see that city whose builder and maker is God. That city is the the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn [Hebrews 12:22-24], and.the chaste virgin bride of Jesus Christ [2 Corinthians 11:2].
     
  3. gb93433

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    There are many others who have problems with the BF&M in the same area.
     
  4. StefanM

    StefanM
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    I see no problem with having "one people of God." However, I've not found a scriptural justification for calling OT saints part of the church.

    This is the verse that I see going against that interpretation.

    Matt. 16:18 "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

    It seems to me that the future tense in this verse precludes any idea of the OT saints being a part of the church. Admittedly, this evidence isn't rock solid (pun intended [​IMG] ), but the silence of the text when it comes to classifying OT saints as part of the church is deafening.
     
  5. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    And I am one of them.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. StefanM

    StefanM
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    Is there anyone who can defend the BFM on this matter?
     
  7. OldRegular

    OldRegular
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    John Gill’s remarks concerning the Church as the total number of the redeemed. [From The Body of Divinity. Gill also wrote a commentary on every verse of Scripture in the Bible in the 18th century.]

    Secondly, the word ekklhsia, always used for church, signifies an assembly called and met together , and sometimes it is used for an assembly, whether lawfully or unlawfully convened; so the people who got together, upon the uproar made by the craftsmen at Ephesus, is called, a confused assembly, and suggested to be an unlawful one; since the town clerk told them the matter should be determined in a lawful assembly; and when he had thus spoken, dismissed the assembly [Acts 19:32,39,41] in which passages the same word is used which commonly is for a "church"; and which may be considered either as a general, or as a particular assembly of persons.

    First, as a general assembly, called, The general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, [Hebrews 12:23] and which include all the elect of God, that have been, are, or shall be in the world; and who will form the pure, holy, and undefiled Jerusalem church state, in which none will be but those who are written in the Lamb's book of life; and this consists of the redeemed of the Lamb, and is the church which Christ has purchased with his blood; and who make up his spouse, the church he has loved, and given himself for, to wash, and cleanse, and present to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle; this is the body, the church, of which Christ is the head; and in which he is the sole officer, being Prophet, Priest, and King of it; it being, not the seat of human government, as a particular church is: and this church is but one, though particular churches are many: to this may be applied the words of Christ; My dove, my undefiled, is but one [Song of Solomon 6:9], and this is what sometimes is called by divines, the invisible church; not but that the whole number of God's elect is visible to him, and known by him; The Lord knows them that are his; and the election of particular persons may be known by themselves, by the grace be stowed upon them; and, in a judgment of charity, may be concluded of others, that they are the chosen of God, and written in the book of life: but all the particular persons, and the number of them, were never yet seen and known; John had a sight of them in a visionary way, and they will be all really and actually seen, when the new Jerusalem shall descend from God out of heaven, as a bride adorned for her husband; which will be at the second coming of Christ, and not before; till that time comes, this church will be invisible. It is sometimes distinguished into the church "triumphant and militant", the whole family named of God in heaven and earth. The church triumphant consists of the saints in glory, whom Christ has taken to himself, to be with him where he is; and this is continually increasing. The church militant consists of persons in the present state, which is said to be, as an army with banners [Song of Solomon 6:4], this is made up of such who become volunteers in the day of Christ's power; who put on the whole armour of God, and fight the good fight of faith; and in this state it will continue to the end of the world.

    Ref: http://www.gracesermons.com/hisbygrace/pbk2-ch1.html
     
  8. OldRegular

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    An unbiased reading of Ephesians 2:11-22 shows that the believers of the New Covenant were one with the believers of the Old Covenant.
     
  9. StefanM

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    Thanks, OldRegular.

    John Gill's analysis was too heavily laden with Song of Solomon allegory for me to accept it.

    I had forgotten to consult my trust Grudem theology book. It answered my questions.
     
  10. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy
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    What is the answer?
     
  11. StefanM

    StefanM
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    Basically, what answered my objections was from Eph. 5:25, "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" with Grudem's rationale that Christ's sacrifice applied both to NT and OT believers.

    Also, OldRegular's reference to Hebrews 12:22-24 was helpful.

    Of course, it's not rock solid, but it was enough to give creedence to the other side.
     

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