The Body of Christ

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by pinoybaptist, May 5, 2007.

  1. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
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    I have seen this term "body of Christ" referred to more than I can remember in several threads in the Baptist forums as well as in the Other Denominations forums.

    Now, I know that when this term is used it basically means "believers" of whatever church, denomination or belief set.

    And therein is my question.

    Paul can use this term confidently in his time because then there were just the Christians, and the pagans. but will someone explain to me how we can use this term confidently in our time given the different bodies of doctrine we hold to and the various kinds and colors of denominations we have all calling themselves Christians and "believers" ?

    No malice in this question, and no malice in the quotation marks for believers.
     
  2. DQuixote

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    I've often wondered the same thing. How can we go off on so many tangents and still call ourselves "the Body of Christ"? Surely some of us are involved in heretical organizations. Surely some of us are heretics. Do we demand that everyone bond together around a central core of beliefs, or do we endorse tolerance? That leads me to my oft-asked question in these forums: How can there be differences in beliefs when all scripture is spiritually discerned? All authentically born-again Believers are capable of accurate interpretation of scripture, spiritually. So I've come full circle: I've often wondered the same thing.

    Later Edit:
    Thread got me to thinking. Not that I have never thought before, OK? I've used John 14:6, John 3:16-17, and Romans 10:8-13 as the essentials for leading one to Christ. I've contended that those three take care of all questions about how to become a Christian. But then how about this: What about those who have some weird set of beliefs like Catholics, Mormons, Christian Science, JWs, Moonies? What if they believe and confess my oft-quoted scriptures before or after they become Christian? Does that mean their confession of Christ as Savior was bogus? Or just that they are confused and need help from the BB? (insert VERY BIG LAUGH here). I guess this could be another thread.
     
    #2 DQuixote, May 5, 2007
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  3. npetreley

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    Me too.

    If you lived here, you'd be home by now. (me too was too few letters)
     
  4. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    Every body has hangnails and such, eh?
     
  5. Helen

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    A couple of thoughts:

    1. When Barry and I have travelled to different countries to speak, we have become very aware that there is a real connection among believers, regardless of language barriers. "They will know we are Christians by our love" has become more than a catchy song phrase to us. Regardless of which denomination we speak at, there will be some who are immediately close and we cannot explain it any other way than to say it is the Holy Spirit. Conversely, we have attended churches here in the United States where we have wondered if there were any true believers in them -- and there are some where we become very aware, again, of the connection that is immediate among believers. It is my personal opinion that regardless of what people declare they believe, those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and belonging to Christ have a connection which can be explained no other way.

    2. I have wondered sometimes if some of those who insisted on arguing doctrine over and over again in strident and impatient communications are more interested in the arguments and being right than in belonging to Christ and following the Holy Spirit. Understand, please, I am not saying doctrine is not very, very important. But that being understood, there are those who again and again keep picking fights. I was listening to the recording of The King and I while doing dishes the other day and a line from one of the King's songs seems appropriate: "...and very quickly will he fight to prove that what he does not know is so."

    Personally, and that is the only view I have on this, I have never seen a person who loved fighting who also loved the Lord. Fighting is a last resort, not a first approach. There are some people who I have strong disagreements with on this board, but whose attitudes let me know that they are my brothers or sisters in Christ and I love them for that.

    I know we are all being conformed to the image of Christ, those of us who belong to Him, and that this being conformed is an ongoing, and sometimes slow, process. But there will come a time, probably beyond time as we know it, when we will all know and understand and the disagreements will have vanished. It is probably better to live and talk to each other with that in mind now.
     
  6. Amy.G

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    Helen:
    Although the word of God is called a Sword, I think some weild it as a weapon of mass destruction to attempt to strike down all those who disagree with them.
    You are right Helen, someday we will all know the 'truth' and we need to treat one another with love in the meantime.
     
  7. Brother Bob

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    Depends if the term is being "used", or whether you have really become a part of the "body of Christ".

    This world is full of religions who "use" the term for monetary gains, statue, power etc.

    The true believers may not agree on every thing written in the scriptures, word for word, but in the end, do believe "the body of Christ" to the saving of the soul, then they are true brothers and sisters. I put up a argument many times on here over scriptures, but I can honestly say, I do not hate, hold a grudge, or feel that I am holy than anyone else. I gave my whole body, heart and soul to the "Body of Christ" and believe He will never fail me. I am just trying to make it to Heaven. There were differences among the brethren when Jesus was here and have been ever since. We just have to trust that He will lead us in the ways of all truth.
     
    #7 Brother Bob, May 5, 2007
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  8. pinoybaptist

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    Actually, Helen, speaking of argumentativeness and impatience in argumentation, I believe this happens to those who one way or another got rubbed the wrong way, whether deliberately or not, by those who have a way of nicely and "Christianly" putting down another side's belief without appearing to be as nasty as the other one.

    And, therein is my point.

    Now what will you do with those who you may have strong disagreements with AND besides that display also an attitude that does not make you know that they are your brothers and sisters in Christ. Do they also, in your perspective, belong to this so-called "Body of Christ" ?

    Who is this Body of Christ ? What makes one a member of this Body of Christ ? How can I, for example, say that this argumentative, sarcastic, caustic tounged, brawling Arminian, Calvinist, Primitive Baptist, or "Biblicist" individual is one of those who belong to the Body of Christ ? What identifies him/her as such ?

    It is the same as the phrase "the Church". When you put that word "the" before church one is referring to a particular church as distinghuished from the many churches in abundance today.

    It denotes identifiability.

    And from the uses I saw of these phrases on this board -"Body of Christ" and "the Church"- I ask myself "Which church" ? What does this speaker mean "the Church". What characteristics identify a certain church as "the" Church that does not identify others ?

    Again, I think that Paul can confidently use that term in his time, but what about our time ?
     
  9. Tom Butler

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    Paul referred to the church at Corinth as "the body of Christ." Not "a" body, but "the body." I Cor 12:27

    In Acts 20, he told the elders of the church at Ephesus to shepherd the flock. He urged them to feed the church over which he had made them overseers. It is this same congregation at Ephesus which Paul described as the "Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." Not "a" church of God, but "the" church of God.

    We wouldn't be having these discussions about people in false churches who may, may be a member of the body of Christ anyway, if we could come to understand that the body of Christ is the local church, not some nebulous, useless "Universal Church."

    We wouldn't be talking about various "branches" of the church, either. Some of these "branches" aren't true churches at all.

    My church--"the" church purchased with Jesus blod--is unified. Most local churches are reasonably harmonious. The so-called Universal Church is the most fractured, divided entity ever thought up in somebody's mind. Add to that, the fact that some"branches" are riddled with heresies and false teachings, including a false gospel. When you have works salvation, some Gnostic teachings, you have something any true believer ought to be embarrassed to claim a connection to.

    DQuixote asked
    The answer is, you can't because you aren't.
     
    #9 Tom Butler, May 5, 2007
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  10. pinoybaptist

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    Thank you, Brother Tom. We are almost home with what you said.

    However, in this board, when the "Body of Christ" is mentioned, I get the impression of something, I don't know, for lack of a better word, I'll use...abstract.

    Something not visible, not fixed, no identity other than the vague reference to being "saved", or being "believers", or "children of God", or something along that line.


    I understand your reference to a local church, and understand completely what you are saying, and I am also a firm believer in the local church, but then again, while Paul may have been referring to the local Corinthian church, the specific Corinthian church, he was the one who started that church, and we know that differences of doctrine among ourselves in our time being considered, his doctrine is true doctrine which he learned from Christ Himself, which is what makes him an apostle, someone personally discipled and sent out by the Head of the body Himself.

    Question: How do we know our doctrine is apostolic, correct, and truly Scriptural.

    That also has become subject to vanity in our time.

    If so, then, and as some say, the Body and the Church are practically interchangeable terms, where and who and what is the Body of Christ ?
     
  11. Brother Bob

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    Maybe you do not care what I think, I don't know, but if we could answer that question and be sure without a doubt, then we would be able to identify ever child of God.

    God never gave us that kind of knowledge and kept it to himself.

    Rom 14:4Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

    The body of Christ is spoken of in different ways.

    Ro 7:4 - Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

    The above scripture is talking of Christ Himself and His Body and we had no part of it in this scripture. We became a part when we were saved.

    Ro 8:10 - And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

    The above scripture is not talking about the body of Christ but our own bodies and Christ being in the inner man.

    Ro 12:5 - So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

    The scripture above is talking about the church of which Christ is the head of the Church and we are member in particular.


    1Co 10:16 - The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

    The above scripture again is talking about the body of Christ itself and not the believers or Church but only that we partake in the rememberance of His broken Body.



    1Co 12:12 - For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

    The above scripture is talking about Christ being the head of the church and the believers being members in particular and they all are one as in Marriage.

    1Co 12:27 - Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular

    Same.

    Because someone is argumentative does not mean he is not a part of the body, or Paul himself would of been out.

    Just my belief.
     
    #11 Brother Bob, May 5, 2007
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  12. Tom Butler

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    Pinoybaptist, I think we can, in fact, use such terms as church, body, even bride, interchangeably.

    There is room, I think for using "church" in a generic sense, such as we use "family." But the generic takes concrete expression only through a specific family or church.

    I also think that there is confusion between the Church and the Kingdom. I think they are different. I think that what some call the Universal Church is actually describing the Kingdom. The kingdom is made up of all subjects of the King, all believers. Churches are individual bodies of baptized believers.

    Inevitably, we have to conclude that that all believers are in the Kingdom, but not all believers are members of a church. Some believers are not scripturally baptized, because the "churches" which baptized them are not true churches, or they were sprinkled or poured. Wet, that is damp, but not baptized.

    You asked
    Excellent question. I believe that we Christians are involved in a life-long search for Biblical truth. Much of what I believe about Baptist doctrine is settled. I believe it is true and Scriptural. But in the last ten years I have changed my beliefs in some areas of eschatology and ecclesiology. So much so, that in some areas, the best I can say is "this is where I am today. I may not be here tomorrow. I'm open to more light on the subject.

    Paul counseled Timothy to study so he could rightly divide the word of truth. So the truth is knowable. Jesus told us the Holy Spirit would guide us to the truth as well. Paul said spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

    I, too, an perplexed by the fact that so many of us see things differently, while appealing to the Scripture, and to the Holy Spirit as unfailing guides.

    I simply don't have an explanation why people can look at the same passages, and not come to the correct conclusions I have.
     
    #12 Tom Butler, May 5, 2007
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