Ecclesiology II - Gentlemen, please continue

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by J.D., Jun 3, 2011.

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  1. J.D.

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    I'm jumping in, taking Dr. Bob's advice to start a new thread so the debate on ecclesiology may continue.

    I think RUIZ brings an infallible proof to the table with "Logos", which is a theologically-rich term that cannot be properly defined merely as "word"; ecclesia being similar in nuanced complexity, and defying simplistic definition that DHK attempts to give it. ("simplistic" here intended as descriptive of the method, not a pejorative against DHK).

    Now Gentlemen, please carry on the discussion at your convenience!
     
    #1 J.D., Jun 3, 2011
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  2. DHK

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    You are comparing apples to oranges. Here is why. First take a look at the word logos.

    Logos is used a total of 330 times in the NT.
    223 times it is translated "word" only five of which refer to Christ.
    50 times it is translated as "saying."
    8 times it is translated as "account."
    8 times it is translated as "speech."
    And then there are 32 miscellaneous translations like: cause, communication, talk, reckon, matter question, fame, rumor, etc.
    --You see, this is a very versatile word which has many meanings. The context determines the meaning most of the time as you have so many meanings to choose from. One needs a good lexicon or at the very least a very good grasp of the Greek language (as one has of the English language) in order to grasp all the different nuances of the word.

    Now let's move on to the word ekklesia.
    It is used 115 times in the Bible.
    112 times it is translated "church."
    3 times it is translated "assembly."
    In Darby's translation all 115 times it is translated "assembly."
    --There is no variation in the meaning. It has only one meaning. You can use a synonym for that word, like congregation. But you cannot make up a word with an opposite meaning--universal as opposed to local. An assembly can gather. It is always local. Something that is universal can never assemble. To describe it as universal is to redefine the word and make it mean the very opposite of what it actually means. It is calling black, "white." That is totally hermeneutically wrong.
     
  3. Ruiz

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    First, let me note that I do not think your argument addresses sufficiently my premise in using pneuma. Let me note why. Pneuma is used in other places for breathe than just this one. Take, for instance Mark 15:37, 39; Luke 20:46, John 20:22, Acts 17:25 plus many others. Note, that they take on different tenses, but they are the same word pnuema. Often it is translated wind in places like Matthew 7:25, 27; Acts 27:13; Hebrews 1:7 etc... Look it up in the Greek, the same base word is used in each of these instances and I confirmed it tonight using a Greek New Testament.

    Thus, your premise that this word is not used very many times other than “Spirit” is wrong. While it takes different forms depending on the type of wind or grammar considerations, the base word or the exact word is all over the Bible.

    Part of your ekklesia discussion was a little hard to understand because, I think in your editing, you edited something wrong (which happens to every single person, but I want you to understand my assumption in answering you). You stated, “112 times it is translated "church" and 3 times it is translated "church."” I assume you meant the first church to be assembly. My answer is based upon this assumption, so if I am wrong you can excuse me.

    Next, you seem to make an argument that because something is mentioned a lot more in the Bible than others, means the other verses fail to carry any weight theologically. The fallacy is that God has to say it a number of times in order to be true. Rather, if he clearly says it once or says it a number of times means it is true. Christ, for instance mentions hell many more times than heaven, but that does not mean heaven is less important of a doctrine. Only James warns against certain sins and upholds certain types of doctrines, but they are still good and should be embraced. My premise, if the Universal Church is taught once in all the Bible, and I have tried to show from Scripture it has, then it should be believed.

    I am not certain why you are bringing Darby into the translation pile. To some degree, Darby was considered a radical in his time, Spurgeon practically viewed him as a heretic. Darby was definitely outside the mainstream of Christianity from all of history. Now, whether he was a heretic, I will let the Lord decide. Yet, let it be noted that if he was not a heretic he was on a very radical fringe of Christianity. His radical darbyism advanced a theology that was never before advanced, and his focus was to change the entire view of the Church. Tozer noted it was not taught prior and Walvaard said it was not taught prior. Personally, I normally fall into the category that if it is new it is not true and if it is true it is not new. There are Biblical reasons I reject Darby’s entire view of the church, but suffice to say that if Darby is right, then all Christianity before the 1820’s was wrong. That is a rather bold statement.

    Now, not wanting to commit the fallacy of attacking the person instead of the issue (and creating a red herring by making this the issue and not the issue the issue), I want to move to other arguments. Yet, let me note that Darby’s translation and notes are unique, as is much of his theology, from all of Christianity. I think it is safe to say that he lacks the authority in theology that other scholars rightfully hold.

    Let me note your statement about translators being very consistent in using the word “church” for ekklesia. I am not disputing this. Rather, that is why I mentioned the word sanctify/holy. Most all theologians from all over the spectrum understand sanctify has a variety of meanings (usually around 4) depending on the context and in each four cases normally translate the word sanctify. Because translators are consistent in translating this word, does not mean they are consistent in the definition.

    As well, there are times when words have multiple meanings and translators are inconsistent in translating the word, but it has a consistent meaning.

    Most of this discussion really goes back to the idea that the context determines the translation. This has always been the Literal Biblical Hermeneutic. There is nothing that even touches whether or not this should be done.

    I believe ekklesia is local but it is also universal. Thus making arguments for ekklesia being local, would get my agreement. Like we would agree that sanctification is present but also future. I don’t see that I have to choose one over the other in either case. In both instances they are true.

    Thus consistency does not mean there is only one definition that must be forced on every instance. By the time of King James, the word “Church” was well established. King James and the church in England believed in a Universal Church. As well, with the various creeds that were quoted in the churches in England, everyone in that day had an understanding of both a local and a universal church. Luther and Calvin as well as the authors of Geneva Bible (who were under the direction of Calvin) believed in a Universal Church. Thus, consistency was cultural in that time. They did nothing more or less than previous translators have done. It is my opinion that the translators of the King James Bible, being a part of the Church in England under King James, would have acknowledged the Biblical doctrine of the church in England which has always included the teaching of the Universal Church. If you disagree, I would love for a primary source to refute this. However, what you cannot refute is that most people were consistent in using the word “church” who held to both a local and Universal church. A quick consultation of the Geneva Bible would prove this point.

    As for Acts 12, I never made a case for this being a reference to the Universal Church. As well, commentaries of people I have read on Acts, by authors who agree with me on a Universal Church, never has alluded that this was the Universal Church. Thus, while I appreciate your appeal to Scripture, it is not an argument I have made nor would have made.
     
  4. Ruiz

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    Off subject just a little. I have enjoyed our discussion and my respect and admiration is extended to you in that you have debated vigorously, adamantly, but well focused on the issues.

    Thus, I respect this good discussion. :thumbs:
     
  5. J.D.

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    Well, I will not at this time engage in discussion about logos for as Ruiz says, it is getting of topic. So to bring it back to the OP, I think Ruiz has shown us that "assembly" does not convey the theological implications involved when we speak of God's called-out people. He nailed it when he spoke of those gathered are in covenant (his words), both with God and each other (my words). This gathering of people in covenant, we call "Church"; and the fact that all professed believers are in covenant with God provides the unifying factor, "One Lord, One Faith, etc. We are all one body in Christ, UNITED in one faith, one calling, and so on. Being in local assemblies in no way negates the universal aspect.

    Brother, I have found it quite liberating to accept other believers of other places and denominations as family members in full fellowship without regard to whether they are in "my" particular church or not, and I trust you do the same.

    But allow me to give an illustration of how this is all applied.

    I am sure that we agree that church discipline is a function of the local assembly. But what do we do when we observe a known professed christian defaming the name of Christ in some significant way? Is there no disciplinary recourse in such cases where the offender is not under your particular church's oversight? Oh, you might be so bold as to give the rascal a personal rebuke, but does that constitute church discipline?

    I trow not.

    No, but if we are ALL members of one another under the name of Christ, then you not only have the right but the responsibility to bring it before the church. You, being a member of the same body as all other professed believers, have the authority to bring the matter before that person's elders, by whatever channels may work to that end.

    Otherwise, if we are not all members one of another in a universal sense, who are you to interfere with the business of another local body? Keep your mouth shut, I say, if it is none of your business.

    But if it be your business, then tend to it as a faithful steward of God, bound by a covenant of love to both God and his people.

    The local-church-only doctrine is an incomplete expression of Christ's will toward the visible body on earth. Yes, His body IS divided into local assemblies, but we are simultaneously universaly united.

    Okay, I have to stop and take a breath. Go ahead and know down my argument. :tonofbricks:

    [edit: I recognize that in my illustration one should follow the Mat 18 process before going to the Chruch with the matter, but the scenario stands as a usefull illustration of my point anyway.]
     
    #5 J.D., Jun 3, 2011
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  6. DHK

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    My comparative study was the only fair way of doing it. I looked up the word "pneuma," not every related word to it. If I did that then it would be very subjective. How far related would a word have to be in order to be related? For example you suggested John 20:22. I looked it up. The word "breathed" is [FONT=&quot]"emphusao," [/FONT]a word not even related to pveuma as you suggested it was. Thus my comparison was fair by using only the one word "pneuma." And only one time it is translated "wind," and all other times it is translated "spirit." The context tells whether it is speaking of spirit of man, Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ, Holy Spirit, etc. Perhaps that comparison wasn't a very good one, however. See my study on the word logos. It brings out my point much better.
    If the study is done objectively, it is not wrong. It is accurate.
    Yes.
    112 times, church; and 3 times assembly.
    I was not saying that. The English word church means assembly. There were no church buildings in that era. Assembly is the only meaning that ekklesia had. The Biblical meaning of the English word "church" is always "Local church." That is what we go to--an assembly of believers. The building is irrelevant. I used to go to a "church" (assembly of believers) that met in an SDA "church". Does that mean we are all Seventh Day Adventists, just because we meet in their building?? NO! the "church" is the people, the assembly of people. That has always been the meaning.
    I don't know what you are getting at. The word ekklesia is used only two ways: assembly, and church, and church means assembly. What fallacy is there. The fact that it was correctly translated assembly in Acts 19 only supports the premise that the word church should have been translated assembly also.
    We are talking of one word that has only one meaning.
    ekklesia means assembly. And that is all.
    In spite of his theology and whatever other baggage he may have carried he did come out with a good literal translation of the Bible. He consistently translated ekklesia as assembly. Not once did he translate ekklesia as church. He had no reason for that bias.

    And I commend you to Phebe our sister--being a ministrant of the assembly that is in Cenchrea-- (Romans 16:1)
    who for my life their own neck did lay down, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the assemblies of the nations-- and the assembly at their house; salute Epaenetus, my beloved, who is first-fruit of Achaia to Christ. (Romans 16:4-5) [Young's Literal Translation]
    --Darby wasn't the only one with a literal translation. As you can see, Young also translated ekklesia literally, as it should be: "assembly."
    He had a good literal translation of the Bible. And if you will not accept his then look at Young's Literal Translation. Young does the same thing. He translates ekklesia consistently as "assembly."
    Then use Young's translation. Both translate literally. Both come to the same conclusion. Both translate ekklesia as assembly. And if you need other translations, I am sure I can find them for you.
    I have no argument here.
     
  7. DHK

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    Usually that is true. But what do you do when a word has only one meaning. The only difference in context here is if the assembly is political as in Acts 19 or in religious as in the churches that Paul writes to. Either way they are all assemblies. Ekklesia always means assembly.
    It can't mean universal. If it is local how can it be universal. You have assigned the word that gives it a total opposite meaning that is contrary to the Greek meaning. It has no similarity whatsoever. This is why it is so absurd. Local and universal are opposites like black and white. A local assembly assembles, in one place, at one time, has organization, purpose, a speaker, a congregation for the speaker, etc. If it is universal where does the assembly assemble? How do you have an "unassembled assembly? Who is the speaker (pastor)? What about the deacons? Who are they? Where does this assembly meet? Really, I want to know the place where all the believers of the world can (on this earth) meet together? Who takes up the offering? The entire "universal" church is a ruse. It cannot assemble. Why call it an assembly (church) it it can't assemble. It is like promulgating a lie.
    That is because in the word sanctification both are true. Most words do have more than one meaning. But ekklesia does not.
    That is right. It was a well established word already that had more than one meaning. It meant: assembly, church building, church denomination as Catholic Church, etc. It already had a number of meanings. Whereas the Greek word ekklesia had but one meaning--assembly.
    I am not a KJVO (and trust you are not either) that believes the English corrects the Greek and Hebrew. But this is the logic you are taking. The English word for church may take that meaning. But the Greek word ekklesia has no such meaning.
    There are many reliable translations such as I have given you that consistently translate ekklesia as assembly. All ancient Greek literature: Biblical and Classical translate the word as assembly. There are no first century MSS of any kind that would translate it otherwise. The concept of a universal church is relatively recent.
     
  8. Ruiz

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    DHK

    I am not ignoring you, but I am extremely busy today finishing tomorrow's work, putting final touches on organizing about 24 meetings, and I still have a speech to give on July 6, that I have yet to write or research. I hope to be back later tonight, but I am not ignoring you.
     
  9. Jerome

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    Patiently waiting for an answer:

    When exactly does someone supposedly become part of this "universal church" outside of which there is no salvation?

    Is it at salvation, or at baptism, or when the Presbyters approve of you, or what?
     
  10. DHK

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    When you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior.
     
  11. Ruiz

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    I just got home from meetings, I will get to this tomorrow because I have to run through my lesson for tomorrow and pray with my wife.
     
  12. convicted1

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    Okay, it's MY turn!! LOL

    Okay, the debate continues on "Is their a universal church". Let me chime in with my $0.02 worth!!

    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.

    Now, I know that y'all know the word "ekkelsia" is used in this verse. But according to Thayer, here is one use of this word.

    the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth

    Here's the link to it if y'all don't believe me:
    http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1577&t=KJV

    Now, those who have been saved, have been placed into Christ. What is Christ the Head of? The CHURCH.

    Gal. 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

    1 Cor. 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

    Eph. 4:4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

    5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

    6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.


    Now, you must be added to this CHURCH by God...it's the only way to be placed into this church. Now to join a local church, all you have to do is give a "confession", even if it's false(they don't know if your confession is "real" or not, but they must take you at your word), then they take you, and "dunk you in the H2O, and "voila", you're an OH-fficial church member!! The "local assemblies" are chocked full of hypocrites, but THE CHURCH doesn't have even one.

    Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.


    Now, I do not believe that God adds you to the local assembly, but He does add you to THE CHURCH through the blood of His Son!! We are added to His Body, of which He is Head. Again, what is Jesus the Head of??

    Col. 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

    People, if there isn't a universal church(I mean all of His TRUE CHILDREN corporately), I am the worst fooled 40 year old man in the world....DON"T SAY IT!!! LOL :laugh::laugh::laugh:

    i am I AM's!!

    Willis
     
  13. Jerome

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    So which one (local church or THE CHURCH) is Ruiz's various Catholic and Reformed statements about "no salvation outside the church" (remember that's the OP topic) referring to?

    He claims:

     
    #13 Jerome, Jun 6, 2011
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  14. convicted1

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    I must have overlooked this statement, because I do not remember seeing it. Just because you have been baptized in the water does not guarantee you a home in heaven. This is the "local church" which anyone can join. You can give a false testimony, and be baptized in the water, and you are a "church member" of the "local church". There is no way this gets you to heaven!!

    Now, if you have been baptized in the blood, and been giving that drink of LIVING WATER, you are in THE CHURCH, which IS the BODY OF CHRIST!! This will GUARANTEE you a home in heaven, and a knowledge of being saved from the wrath to come.



    IOW, the "local church" is open to anyone, saint or sinner. I am not saying they take in a sinner knowingly, but how many have been taken in as members, only to find out later, there really wasn't a change made in their lives. If someone gives me a good testimony, I'll take them and baptize them thisquick, and if they're out sleeping around with multiple partners a few days later, then I realize they didn't have salvation to start with. No one like this is in THE CHURCH. THE CHURCH is open to BELIEVERS only!!
     
  15. Bro. James

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    No salvation outside The Church...

    Is a notion which has kept the coffers of the Vatican filled with gold--much of which was given by the religously oppressed. While some archdioceses may be bankrupt from hushmoney expenses, Vatican City would probably still be considered opulent at least.

    The universal church error is evident early in the history of "That Way". The error gets government sanction in Rome in the 4th century through Emperor Constantine the Great and his mother Helena. Paganism was replaced by a Christo-paganism which became known as Catholicism. This is the so-called universal church--visible. Today we still have a form of neo-paganism.

    Constantine, the great one, moved his government and his religion to Constantinople. Then there were two: East and West. They are still here--as pagan as ever. Then what?

    Sixteenth century: tired of the excesses of current state religion, several theologians stood up and tried unsucessfully to reform the Holy See. They then started their own state religions--unsanctioned by the Vatican of course; in fact they may still be excommunicated. Surfing topic: is M. Luther still excommunicated?

    Sorry, Henry VIII, you are there too. You got excommunicated for starting your own state church in England, not to mention marital improprieties. Canterbury is still alive and well(not sure about well).

    Going back to those excommunicated reformers in the 16th century--they modified the universal church, visible to universal church, invisible. They also modified the metamorphic wafer, aka: transubstantiation to con-substantiation. It is not clear what the nuance of difference might be.
    The reformers retained a fatal error: infant baptism, which is kin to salvation by works, an early error which is recorded in scripture. Remember in the early churches some were teaching the Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved? Yep, the Apostle Peter was rebuked in public for such error by the Apostle Paul.

    Back on track: is it possible there is no such thing as a universal church?

    How many times is error reformed, revised and restored before it becomes truth?

    The Lord knows them that are His. His sheep hear His voice and do not follow another.

    Then there is the Bride, the Lamb's wife.

    Another thread.

    Peace,

    Bro. James
     
    #15 Bro. James, Jun 6, 2011
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  16. Ruiz

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    First, I apologize but I have been very busy this past weekend and when I got home last night, storms knocked out our internet.

    Onto the debate

    First, if I was wrong on John 20:22, I am sorry and I tried to carefully screan these, looking up each case personally. Thus, I made a mistake on this one verse by either copying down the wrong verse or reading the wrong verse. However, other verses seemed to be accurate. Others were still forms of the word.

    The main point, the word pnuema must be defined by context. Whether it is used once theologically or non-theologically, the context must be king.

    I do not think anyone is arguing that a building is the church. I would most definitely not argue that.

    On the other hand, to say it only means assembly is a presupposition posed on the text. We can argue translation philosophy on why Wycliffe, down through modern translators have almost always translated ekklesia as "church" when translating this word. Yet, no one is denying a normal definition of the word as being assembly. My point has not to attack the lexicon gloss of the word as completely wrong, my point has been consistent when I say that words used theologically must be defined theologically. Just like I will never deny eugalion means "good news", I believe the theological definition is more significant.

    As noted before, the word ekklesia was defined as a local church, it was used regionally, and in a Universal sense. I cited previous verses. Church from the German and Scottish heritage was not defined as a local body. Again, I think all this is significant in that a number of people throughout history rejected the simple definition of "assembly." They do so for theological purposes. While certain people have demanded assembly for most of the translation of ekklesia, they were the exception and not the rule.


    Again, the vast majority of translators throughout human history have chosen to reject the simple definition of "assembly." You bring up one person of questionable scholarship, but the people I cite, no matter your theological bent, is unquestioned in their scholarship by all groups of people. Are you going to doubt the scholarship of Wycliffe? Or the Geneva translators? Or even Luther? How about the King James translators?

    Rather, you pick one out of many scholars to try to prove your point. The one where many scholars question much of his work. Yet, you ignore any scholar who disagrees with you, scholars that no one disputes their impressive work.

    [quote
    And I commend you to Phebe our sister--being a ministrant of the assembly that is in Cenchrea-- (Romans 16:1)
    who for my life their own neck did lay down, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the assemblies of the nations-- and the assembly at their house; salute Epaenetus, my beloved, who is first-fruit of Achaia to Christ. (Romans 16:4-5) [Young's Literal Translation]
    --Darby wasn't the only one with a literal translation. As you can see, Young also translated ekklesia literally, as it should be: "assembly."
    He had a good literal translation of the Bible. And if you will not accept his then look at Young's Literal Translation. Young does the same thing. He translates ekklesia consistently as "assembly." [/quote]

    Young is a great scholar, but it is a literal/wooden translation and while does serve a purpose in scholarship, no theologian would agree that this should be a common translation. Let me give you an example of how failure to take into consideration theology and using a "literal" translation harms the meaning of the verse. In Genesis 1:1 Young's says:

    "In the beginning of God's preparing the heavens and the earth"

    First, the grammar in English is horrible. Yet, the major problem is the word "preparing." This is technically accurate, but theologically inaccurate. God did not prepare the heavens and earth, but created the heavens and earth. While a literal translation could make an argument that "preparing" is accurate, no orthodox theologian believes this should be the translation. All believe God created everything ex nihilo, out of nothing. Young would agree, but his translation philosophy was to keep such literal grammatical and lexiconical (if that is a word) distinctions intact.

    Thus, using Young as a defense for his pure lexicon use of ekklesia is not evidence that Young believed this is the best translation, but that this is a most literal, though maybe not the most theological or accurate, definition in this context.

    In Genesis 1, we define the word used for create by the context, not the lexicon. When we use the word ekklesia theologically we must define it within the context not within lexicon.
     
  17. Ruiz

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    A word can have multiple meanings.

    Most of your questions meant as objections are not really objections. I will address them in a second. However, local and universal are not opposite because the definition of the church is not centered upon assembly, but a theological definition meaning people who are called out by God. The local church defines this as people who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, Baptised believers, who covenant together with each other. The Universal Church says it is because called out by God from all time. Thus, we are only talking about the scope of people. I may not be a member of your local church, but a member of another local church and the Universal Church. As well, because there are tares, some may be a member of a local church but not a member of the Universal Church.

    The Universal Church will meet at Christ's second coming and they are to meet weekly in local bodies. Pastors and Deacons were specifically assigned to the local church, not given to the Universal. All Christians are called to be in the local church, but are still members of the Universal. In accordance with what I wrote in the previous post, it is highly abnormal for a true Christian to be a member of the Universal Church and not the local church. Rather, God called them into the local church to grow and not belonging to a local church is disobedience to God.


    I am not taking the idea that English words take on the meaning of Greek. Rather, I explained what the English word mean and it's history to show that some Episcopal Bishop didn't implant the word "church" into the text instead of assembly. Rather, that the word church was a common and acceptable word long before. However, I do not believe a lexicon definition is always accurate either.

    My main point has been that theological words must be defined theologically by the text of Scripture.

    BTW, sanctification does have some slight definitions for their "gloss" but theologically there are many more definitions than merely the "gloss."

    This is interesting to me. I am assuming you are referring to the Latin translations of the Greek (as there was no English translation at this time). Wycliffe's was the first English translation (and he used "church" as noted before). Thus, I am unsure what was meant by this statement.
     
  18. Ruiz

    Ruiz
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    Brother James, i love your thoughts on history and strongly disagree with them, since the notion of the Universal church and Salvation linked to the church predated the Catholic Church as I noted before. As well, everyone here will condemn the Roman Catholic view of the church and what those phrases meant. Yet, we do not always reject those phrases.
     
  19. Ruiz

    Ruiz
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    Correct, I am not saying membership guarantees salvation, but if you are not in a local church you have no security as a Christian. You are, as they say, outside of the body of Christ.
     
  20. Ruiz

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    The Universal Church membership is at salvation. You are then brought into the church universally. Baptism, traditionally, is the natural next step that it was seen as intrinsic in our salvation (though not salvitic). Baptism, as well, is a Church ordinance that brought you into the local church.
     
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