Ephesians 5 and Landmarkism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Southern, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. Southern

    Southern
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    This is an exegetical question for my Landmark brethren who argue that it is wrong to refer to all the redeemed as a 'church'. Let me state ahead that I am not interested in debating but rather to hear and think through your responses. So thanks ahead of time.

    Ephesians 5 appears to speak of those Christ died for as the 'church' (vs. 25). This appears to teach that all of the redeemed that Christ died for in some sense could be referred to as a 'church'.

    Some, such as B.H. Carroll, have argued that this will be a 'church' on the last day as all the redeemed will in fact assemble literally.
    However, the use of 'church' in Ephesians 5 cannot be viewed as simply something that will exist in the future. Notice the use of present tense verbs used in reference to that church (ie 'is' subject; vs. 24)). So whatever this 'church' is exists presently and cannot be pushed into the distant future. Your thoughts? (BTW, don't feel that you have to be guarded with your statements as I am only looking for general responses and not interested in debating this)
     
  2. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    I wondered when somebody would bring up this scripture passage.

    In the other thread on Landmarkism, I pointed put that we can speak generic and/or terms about, say, the family, but it takes concrete expression only in a real family. We simply know nothing about "the family" unless we observe a real family.

    Similarly, when Paul speaks of the husband being the head of the wife, he means a real husband is the head of a real wife. Not some universal wife. Not some invisible wife. A living, breathing husband and a living, breathing wife.

    So then, Christ is head of the church. But actually he's the head of a real live church.

    Aha, I can hear you saying, Gotcha! Christ is head of THE church. THE church can only be the universal church. Butler, you are hoist by your own petard.

    Well, let's see. First, to whom is Paul writing? Why, to a local congregation, the one at Ephesus.

    Stick with me here, because this gets interesting. Go to Acts 20 and start with v. 17

    I'll not quote it just yet, but summarize for a moment. Paul is at Miletus, and sends for the elders of the congregation at Ephesus. He's heading home and this is his farewell.

    Now to v.28
    I'll jump in here to make sure we understand that the Holy Spirit had made these elders overseers of the flock at Ephesus. A local church, remember?
    Let's continue:
    Pardon the interruption, just wanna make sure that he has just called the elders at Ephesus overseers, then shepherds (pastors) of THE church of God. Where? At Ephesus.
    Okay, the last part of the verse:
    Who bought what with what? Jesus bought THE church with his own blood.

    And which one is that? The flock over which the Holy Spirit had made them overseers and shepherds.

    And which flock is that, Tom?

    The one at Ephesus. A local congregation. By the way, he purchased my home church, East Baptist of Paducah, with his own blood. You see, East Baptist is THE church of God. Just like the one at Ephesus.

    So, if one wants wants to use Ephesians 5:25-27 as a proof text for the universal church, sorry, no cigar.
     
    #2 Tom Butler, Feb 18, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2011
  3. Southern

    Southern
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    Bro. Tom,

    Your answer was that the church being spoken of is:

    Would this include the lost and saved in this local church? Or just the saved (in your view)?
     
  4. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    It's a fair question, but opens another can of worms that we ought not to explore here. That is, did Jesus purchase lost people with his blood? There are other threads which deal with the question of the extent of the atonement.

    The answer here is that since they are not saved, they are not actually members (sheep), but are wolves which have crept in. Only the saved are covered by the blood in this instance, and have had it applied to their sins.
     
  5. J.D.

    J.D.
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    If they are not actual members, what are they not actual members of?
     

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