What makes a church Scriptural?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by AVL1984, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. AVL1984

    AVL1984
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    I have also posted this in the Fundamental Baptist Forum, but I would appreciate imput from ministers of all denominations, or those well versed in their religions.

    I am facing several situations right now that involve what makes a church scriptural and which churches are scriptural churches/denominations.

    Please, tell me, are these denominations scriptural churches/denominations or not. Please use scripture if you can. I believe I know where I stand on it, but I've asked several ministers for guidance on the subject, consulted my doctrines books and the Bible and am still wanting more imput.

    Methodists/Weslyan? Why or why not?
    Evangelical Free? Why or why not?
    Lutheran? Why or why not?
    Mennonite? Why or why not?
    Church of Christ? Why or why not?
    Church of God? Why or why not?
    AOG/Pentecostal? Why or why not?
    Nazarene? Why or why not?
    Episcopal? Why or why not?
    Greek Orthodox? Why or why not?
    Independent Baptists?
    Baptists?
    Southern Baptists?

    I know it may take some time, but I do appreciate the imput.

    Thank you all in advance. And please, let's not turn this into an argument session insulting each other. If you are offended by someones post, please, email them or PM them and keep it off the thread. I'm more interested in serious responses/reasoning from God's word.

    Bro. T
     
  2. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    Is this even the correct or only question to ask?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  3. ascund

    ascund
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    Greetings

    There are two basic doctrines that must not be compromised: the Trinity and Justification. Bible verses are any verse that links the passive voice of justification with faith - apart from works.

    Most western churches keep the Trinity straight. Most of the trouble comes with the doctrine of justification.

    The two major views of justification are: Catholic and Reformed. The Catholic view holds to an initial justification by faith in which God infuses His Spirit into the believer to produce works of righteousness which in turn allows Him to reward the faithful saint with final justification. Justification depends on sanctification.

    The Reformed view holds that both justification and sanctification are complete in full at the moment of faith. The believer is declared (imputed) righteous (historic justification) securing eternal destiny (not rewards). The believer is adopted into God's family (historic sanctification) securing intimate relationships. God's Spirit provides inner guidance to produce works of righteousness. Good works lead to rewards (not destiny). Sanctification depends on justification.

    Now to your list.

    Methodists/Weslyan? NO! While they preach faith in Jesus Christ, they make sanctification primal. The OSAS test reveals that a person can be lost once they are saved. It is a good thing that the gospel of Christ is more powerful than a corrupted doctrine of justification. There are many saved Methodists who yet cower in fear not knowing whether or not they are saved.

    Evangelical Free? Yes. They adhere to the Trinity and a correct doctrine of justification by faith in Jesus Christ. They pass the OSAS test. Their optional infant baptism is not salvific. It is a sign that they were born to parents in covenantal relationship with Jesus.

    Lutheran? NO! This may be a surprise since Luther was so accurate. His followers quickly fell into the human-based sanctification trap. Infant baptism that is confirmed at the age of 12 is the sign that they have put sanctification above justification. They fail the OSAS test.

    Mennonites? YES! Their strange cultural values and views on government are not related to justification. They adhere to both major doctrines.

    Church of Christ and Nazarene? ABSOLUTELY NOT! While they hold to the Trinity, they are a blatant works oriented Church. While they deny works save, they make justification depend on obedience, especially water baptism. They also fail the OSAS test showing that sanctification takes precedence over justification. This is a VERY near kin to the Catholic Church.

    Church of God and AOG/Pentecostal? NO! The doctrine of God's Spirit is not the deciding factor. In these churches, sanctification takes precedence over justification. Thus, they fail the OSAS test.

    Episcopal? NO
    While they preach Christ and hence some are saved, they put sanctification ahead of justification. Their members fail the OSAS test.


    Greek Orthodox? I don't know much about this group.

    Independent Baptists, Baptists, and Southern Baptists? YES! In spite of differences over predestination and premillennialism, they preach Christ and keep justification primal. They pass the OSAS test.


    NOTE 1 While I've passed negative judgment on several denominations, members of any denomination are still able to access the gospel message of Jesus Christ and can nevertheless be saved by simple PASSIVE faith. Thank God that salvation does not depend upon passing a theology test! I have relatives in the Lutheran Church who are heaven bound in spite of their grave doubts and denials of Jesus' sufficiency.

    NOTE 2 OSAS is not a doctrine by itself. It is just a sure fired test that quickly determines how a particular theology relates justification to sanctification. If justification is primal, then OSAS is affirmed. If justification is equal with or subordinate to sanctification, then OSAS is denied. It is a very reliable test for justification.

    Lloyd
     
  4. StefanM

    StefanM
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    I don't think it's so much of a biblical/unbiblical divide.

    I see it as more of a continuum.
     
  5. ascund

    ascund
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    Greetings

    A continuum? This can only happen with sanctification. You and I are progressing towards conformity with Jesus Christ at different paces and with different successes and victories. While we compare ourselves to each other, we are categorically short of perfection.

    The divide between our pathetic faithfulness and Jesus Christ's perfect righteousness is enormous. It is an insult to God's character and Jesus' Cross to imply that any degree of human compliance through obedience could have any impact on justification.

    Hence, your comment must be directed to sanctification. If your view does not alter justification, then I'm in 100% agreement with you.

    If your view makes justification depend on our fickle feeble foibles, then I'm in 100% DISagreement with you.

    You have to learn to articulate more precisely what it is you are trying to say. Both groups of contrasting views on justification could say "amen" to your posting.

    So which is it?
    Lloyd
     
  6. StefanM

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    I'm saying that I can't say that one group is "biblical" while others are "unbiblical".

    Some denominations are more biblical than others, but I can't give a solid yes or no to that question.

    I never said anything about justification or sanctification.
     
  7. Chemnitz

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    I would disagree with ascund there are four major views of justification.
    Catholic = faith + works
    Reformed = salvation for a predetermined few
    Arminian = works(a decision) + faith + works
    Lutheran = Faith alone
    OSAS is not a scriptural belief otherwise there would not be the warnings against falling out of faith.

    But what makes for a scriptural church

    profession of the Trinity
    proper teaching of the two natures of Christ
    salvation by faith alone.
    Teaching that God has chosen to work through means.
    We are living in the end times
    there is no pre-trib rapture
    and last but certainly not least that all scripture is God breathed and inerrant.
     
  8. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    I can't PM you as my PM function is disabled for some reason. But what I mean by this is that there is more than one way to skin a cat: is the correct question to ask whether a modern 21st century church/ denomination can base its doctrines and practices on the Scriptures (and then one has to ask which Scriptures (OT and NT or just NT)? which/ whose interpretation of those Scriptures? who is qualified to decide which Scriptures to use and who is qualified to intepret them and why? etc), or whether a modern 21st century church can trace its doctrines and practices back to the Apostolic Age?

    To give another example, that of infant baptism and whether that is a 'correct practice', part of the miscommunication here is that we have one group of people looking at the NT and saying, "We must decide from this set of books whether or not to baptise infants."

    The other set of people baptises infants because their spiritual ancestors did, who do so because their spiritual ancestors did, and so forth back into the misty depths of time which didn't get recorded anywhere. To this set of people, looking at the NT to decide whether or not to baptise infants doesn't even arise as a possibility. That's not what the NT is for, for them.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  9. Link

    Link
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    What do you mean by a church being scriptural?
    1.Do you mean that it is a church, by scriptures standards?
    2. Do you mean that the church does everything scripturally.

    My answer to your list would be 'no' for both questions. For number 1, the answer is 'no' because a 'church' in scripture does not refer to a denomination or a movement of churches of a certain theological persuasion. There is no 'Weslyan church'.

    There are three types of Biblical uses of 'church' in the New Testament, aside from references to the OT congregation of Israel and secular assemblies.

    1. A church in a house.
    2. The saints in a city, who presumably regularly meet together.
    3. The heavenly assembly.

    The division that said "I am of Cephas" was not a church in and of itself (unless this happened in one church in a house.) Instead, these were brethren within the Corinthian church.

    The denominations you wrote about are organizations. An individual congregation may be a church, scripturally.

    What about in the second sense? Do the churches in these denominations function as the Bible teaches? Generally, no. In face, a lot of churches in the Bible were not completely 'scriptural' in this sense. The Corinthians were disobeying a lot of scriptural principles, that would be written down in response to their error. The apostles were often correcting 'unscriptural' errors, like teaching false doctrine, conflicts in the congregation, etc. It is likely that neither your church or mine is completely 'scriptural' in this sense. The Bible teaches us not to sin. Is anyone in your church in unrepentant sin?

    Also, most of the churches in those denominations are set up with leadership structures that do not truly come from scripture. They usually have a clergy-laity distinction that shows up in their meetings and do not have meetings as described in scripture. What I mean is that they generally have one-man pastorates rather than a plurality of elders. They also have meetings in which one man preaches a Sunday sermon week after week, instead of all the saints taking turns exhorting one another with their spiritual gifts as the Bible teaches us should be done in church meetings. (I Corinthians 14:26, Hebrews 10:24-25.)
     
  10. ascund

    ascund
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    Greetings

    Wow. You make Catholic and Arminian as two different categories yet describe them the same way. Salvation for Reformed types may be thought of as the result of God's election, but the kernel is that it is by faith alone. You've arbitrarly split up the fundamental two groups of justification by works and justification by faith into a confusing cluster of four. Although you may have a point in naming denominations, the underlying two views of justification are clouded by this foray into denominational names.


    Only a faulty view of justification views the biblical warnings as being associated with justification. Hence OSAS is a viable test of theology. Botching OSAS is the same as botching justification.


    Certainly your reference to the authority of God's Word is important. But only non-Christian religions denounce the Bible. However, any reference to a right understanding of justification an alarming omission from your list. This is primal. How does one get saved?

    Escahtology is a non issue. Although there is only one true future, it has no impact on justification. One can hold to many eschatological views and still be saved. Eschatology is nugatory.

    Lloyd
     
  11. Andy T.

    Andy T.
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    Ascund/Lloyd,

    I like your analysis. I posted my thoughts on the other post in the Fundy forum.

    One question - don't most Mennonites believe you can lose your salvation? I thought that was the case, but maybe I am wrong.
     
  12. ascund

    ascund
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    Greetings


    Ah, eerr, uhum . . . I'm not a Mennonite. I make my statement strictly on the basis of my Amish grandfather's discussions of them. I have never read the works of Menno. I most certainly have thin grounds for my audacious declarative sentence.

    Lloyd
     
  13. Chemnitz

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    Actually the distinction is not arbitrary. Catholics believe that faith must come first and then be supplemented by works. Whereas, Arminians teach that a work, namely a decision for Christ, comes first and is then followed by faith and more works.

    As for OSAS, in Matthew 24 Christ clearly warns the disciples about those who will lead astray the ones who stand amongst the elect.
     
  14. ascund

    ascund
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    Greetings

    Yes, you are right in this. However, it is important to see that these are just two variations of making justification depend on sanctification. Catholics make justification two stages where the final justification depends on sanctification. Arminians just have justification depend on sanctification.

    So what? How does this affect justification? Wrong doctrine is an issue of sanctification - not justification. Keep your eyes on justification and these other nit noids will take care of themselves.

    Lloyd
     
  15. Lifter

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    One point about ascund's list.I don't think you can group Church of Christ and Nazarene. Nazarene is a Weslyan group, more like Congregational Methodist, Free Methodist or Methodist Prodestant.
     
  16. Chemnitz

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  17. ascund

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    Greetings

    Way wrong - unless you mean that sound doctrine is strictly justification. The Bible has several gospel messages that focus only on believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. None of these takes time to delineate aspects of sanctification first so that the hearers would know justification better.

    You are a sinner facing eternal damnation in judgment. Believe in the Lord. If you go beyond this, you corrupt the gospel message of faith in Jesus Christ.

    Teach about good deeds if you like, but don't do it the unsaved. Restrict that message to only the saved. When you confuse sanctification and justification, then the unsaved really will get a warped view of salvific faith.

    The blending of justification with sanctification is one of the two worst mistakes a theologian can make.
    Lloyd
     
  18. billwald

    billwald
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    Does it matter? After 30 years of worrying about inconsequentials I have decided that a church should be in walking distance (close), accept the ecumenical creeds, and have good potlucks.

    Thank God for the various forms of "church." If I had to worship at my Daughter's church I would stay home. Not going ANY place I need ear plugs unless I am paid union scale.
     
  19. ascund

    ascund
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    Greetings

    Yes indeed!

    The difference between theory and practice can be quite large. The thing that makes the difference is the Historic Unary Moral And Noetic Subjects (HUMANS) who live in a Finite Latticed Ergonometric Synthesized Habitat (FLESH) corrupted by the Sub-sequential Internal Non-morality (SIN) defect.

    Anytime humans get involved, things go downhill. Yes! Even I myself, strong on theology and who can smell corruption a mile away, compromise my robust theology and worship with wife in "her" Arminian church.

    Lloyd
     

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