Discussion of Unity in the Churches

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Darron Steele, Oct 26, 2006.

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Opinions Upon Christian Unity

  1. Christian Unity Can ONLY Be Based Upon Worship-Time Agreement

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  2. Christian Unity Could Be or Is Based Upon Something Else

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  1. Darron Steele

    Darron Steele
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    It was to my disappointment that I realized this would probably turn into a debate thread. Therefore, I put this here. I wanted to put it in the fellowship forum.

    The gist: Hebrews 10:25 is often used in Christian circles to admonish or guilt-trip people into coming to church and never miss even under dire circumstances. What is often missed is the purpose of even meeting as churches explained in the previous verse – Hebrews 10:24. Let us read the two verses together:

    and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, |not giving up| our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (NASB|TNIV|NASB).

    The purpose of church meetings is for Christians to encourage each other to live Christian lives of love and doing good deeds, which are fruits of biblical faith. This purpose is stated before the command to not abandon church assembly, and the purpose is again mentioned afterward.

    My suggestion is that PURPOSE is the biblical basis of Christian unity -- not assembly-time doctrines. Because denominations formed due to differences in assembly-time doctrine and practice, it is easy for us to think that the reason for reunification must be on the same basis. However, I believe that the Bible gives us a different basis for church unity: purpose.

    The word translated “church” in the New Testament is εκκλησια. Its readers would have been Greek-reading Christians who also used the Greek Septuagint Old Testament translation for Scripture. Right now I will focus on the secular usage. In ancient Greek culture, the word was used similarly to discuss the community of followers of Pythagoras. This resembles how Christians are followers of Jesus Christ. At Acts 11:26, Christians were called “disciples,” in that “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (NASB). The Greek word translated “disciples” is translated “followers” in the ICB at Acts 11:26. Hence, in the basic biblical definition of “Christian,” the Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ.

    More of my thoughts can be accessed at www.geocities.com/steeledl/unity2.pdf . As of today, it is 95 pages.

    My proposition is that Christian unity between churches should not be based upon agreement during assembly worship time. I believe that Christian unity between churches that are different needs to be upon the Hebrews 10:24-5 purpose for churches even assembling: to further deeds of good service and love motivated by our servitude to Jesus Christ.

    Would anyone be willing to discuss your initial reactions to this proposition?
     
    #1 Darron Steele, Oct 26, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2006
  2. Eric B

    Eric B
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    The name of the problem is organization. What we call "church" today is basically a club whose theme is religious worship. It is even set up as a club, with all the regulations (501c3, mandatory "business meetings" with "minutes" recorded, "membership rolls", "payrolls", etc). The Church of the NT was a community (many even shared things in common, etc.) Afterwards, it began to set itself up as a government, which early leaders saw as being the best way to cope with persecution. Scriptures mentiong events on the first day of the week were interpreted as "weekly meetings" in celebration of the resurrectiion, or even a new sabbath. This eventually impressed the emperor, who then made it the state religion. This continued to grow, and got so corrupt, it split, and then continued the splinter. Eventually, mamy splnter groups decided "independant congregations" were the safest and/or most biblical way to organize. But they are still incorporated clubs, which have become compartmentalized into a secula western weekly schedule. We work Monday to Friday, housework and/or recreation Saturday, and "go to Church" Sunday. (The latter two days reversed for the sabbatarians. For those of us who have to work weekends, it is altogether difficult to go!)
    So in order to maintain its "membership", and hence financial survival as an institution, (and the sociopolitical power base it had become) they had to teach that way on "going to Church". At some points, it was a mandatory civic duty; coupled with basically rent paid for space on the pews. And while people did their duty, were they really fellowshipping in the Spirit? Often not, because that went against some mechanical duty type of obligation, which was really fleshy self-effort. Then, the Churches all wonder why the "Christan civilization" fell apart, and try to blame "secularism" or "atheism", "liberalism", or whatever scapegoat the group likes to focus on, including "breaking away fron the One Catholic Church" as people have been advocating here. But that was what started the problem in the fist place. Notice, people have tried to argue for "liturgical worship" on the basis of the Church initially worshipping in the synagogues. So it could be argued that that was where the "institutional" nature of the Church came from (and the apostles passed it down to the fathers). But that synagogue arrangement was temporary (and basically ended when Jews ostracized Christians, like at the council of Jamnia people keep mentioning). They were really in the synagogues to try to convert them to Christ anyway. But NT principle says that true worship is not about a plce or time, but "spirit and truth". The people could be a community of believers and fellowship together wherever they were, and whenever.
     
  3. Darron Steele

    Darron Steele
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    Eric B, you have hit upon part of the problem. Our individual congregations have become almost like worship clubs. Hence, all members are expected to be `good and faithful members' of their `worship club,' doing what the club leaders say -- which is Scriptural, Hebrews 13:17 -- and believing what the club leaders tell them to believe. Of course, any time you are in a club, that is to be your first loyalty among similar clubs.

    Hence, many Christians seem to have first loyalty to their club's party line. I believe that this has created too much of a partisan spirit of rivalry where work of the Lord gets neglected in the strife. Too many think `We cannot join in this effort to serve the Lord with them because they believe x-y-z and we have to make our disapproval known.' That tells me what their first love is.

    At 1 Timothy 6:3-4, those who are teaching things are focused away from “serve God” (ICB) and instead teach things centered on “disputes” (NKJV) are called “knowing nothing” (ASV) alongside “puffed up with conceit” (ESV).
     
  4. dispen4ever

    dispen4ever
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    Well said. Hebrews is a nice reference ~ bear in mind that this was a Christian witness to Jews who were hanging out in the synagogues, drifting in and out of Christianity. What were they being reminded of? What were they being asked to do?
     

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