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Is there one true Christian church?
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debeguiled Offline
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Post: #26
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
(10-02-2019 02:14 PM)Aboulia Wrote:  
(10-02-2019 12:08 PM)debeguiled Wrote:  
(10-01-2019 07:38 PM)MichaelWitcoff Wrote:  I also believe God is all-powerful, all-merciful, all-just, and absolutely perfect in all His ways and judgments, able to save or destroy anyone He sees fit for any reason He sees fit, and that it’s not for man to judge the salvation, or lack thereof, of any other person (or even ourselves).

Can I say Orthodoxy is the truth? Yes. Can I say everyone outside Orthodoxy is automatically condemned? No.

If you believe the first paragraph, then, based on the puniness of man's spiritual understanding, you can't really say that Orthodoxy is the truth, but only that you believe it to be the truth to the best of your understanding at this moment.

I don't think God is as concerned with intellectual theological consistency as man is.

If God doesn't care for consistency theologically, why would he care about behavioural consistency? If God doesn't care how we think and order the universe, why did Christ say in Matthew 5:27-28 if you have looked on a woman with lust you have committed adultery in your heart? God deeply cares about the organization of your mind, for one sin lead to the fall of man. (CS Lewis's Space Trilogy and Dostoevsky's Dream of a Ridiculous Man illustrate this well.)

If anyone wants to better understand an Orthodox view of reality, I suggest you watch this.

Jonathan Pageau - The Garden of Eden as Cosmic Structure - St-Ephrem the Syrian
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXGdaJFIB8M

You understand when you are talking to a child that he doesn't have to make sense in the same way an adult does. You don't care if he has followed all the logical paths of his hypotheses to their ultimate consequences because he is a child and you don't expect him to have the ability or the patience to figure things out on the level you do. So you judge him by lower standards and by his intentions.

God's view of behavior and reality is infinitely more complex than ours and so he is not judging us by the childlike theology we have developed. The sorts of allowances we make for children, he makes a billion-fold for us.

Think of what formal logic and Orthodox theology must look like from his vantage point. Like a kid finger painting.

Humans are blinded by the fact that we are not, that we know of, in the presence of any animals that exist on a higher plane than we do, and as a result we get full of ourselves and think that our meager knowledge base, and even more infantile skill set are as high as it goes, from the perspective of absolute truth.

If you really imagined what our inane babblings must look like from God's point of view, it would magnify your comprehension of God's ability to love us. Just think of all the information that we don't have, and yet we blunder forwards making hypotheses, coming to conclusions, all the while seeing only a tiny sliver of reality.

And on top of it, we think that our over matched schema are somehow as good as it gets, and truth with a capital t.

It's finger painting. So God is less concerned with our finger painting than we are.

This seems a reasonable way of looking at it.

We are Dufflepuds.



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“That sig BTW is a very asinine anti-family anti-parent quote. You live in a country where 40% of children grow up without a biological father, yet somehow “the greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents”? Sorry but this is fruity Boomer nonsense.”

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10-02-2019 04:09 PM
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Wutang Offline
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Post: #27
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
I actually made another post in another thread about this very topic. Here it is again:

Can the true church be spread out among different denominations? That's something I thought about myself. I heard a guy and a woman talking about their faiths one time at a cafe. The guy I'm guessing was Presbyterian since he was talking about how the Westminster Confession spells out his faith for him while the woman was a Catholic. The guy was big into his faith/denomination but even he said he thought there's lots of monks and nuns out that are more holy and in communion with God then he is.

There was a video that was posted in the God Pill thread where the minister talks about how even among 'carnal' churches there's still usually a small group of people who desire Christ and are on the right path. Are all these people across different churches part of the same true church even if they are in different buildings and perhaps even different denominations?



10-02-2019 05:26 PM
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Emperor Constantine Offline
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Post: #28
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
(10-01-2019 07:38 PM)MichaelWitcoff Wrote:  I believe that the Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church referenced in the Bible and the Nicene Creed.

The difficult part is when schisms happen. When we say we believe in one Church, we mean something different than a Roman Catholic does. Our unity isn't dependent on a specific hierarchy, which is what Catholics mean when they say "one true church."

The First Council of Constantinople, where the "one, holy, catholic, apostolic" part was added to the creed, was presided over by St. Meletius the Bishop of Antioch, who was not in communion with the Bishop of Rome. So the Fathers used the terms somewhat differently than they are often used now.

For us, divisions in the Church are how we preserve unity - if one Church is acting up, the other Churches began cutting off communion. And this helps to keep each of the Churches from going off the deep end. But some schisms seem to be quite complete without either side ceasing to be the Church.

Two good examples of our complicated ecclesiology are St. John of San Francisco and St. Isaac the Syrian. St. John was not in communion with my hierarchy during his lifetime, yet we venerate him as a saint. And St. Isaac's Church had been separated from Orthodoxy since the Theotokos controversy, but he is venerated by both his own Church and ours.

Clear denominational lines seem to be an invention of the Protestant reformation. Even centuries after the Great Schism the Orthodox Churches and Roman Church tried to find a way to return to Eucharistic communion, showing that they saw each other as errant Churches rather than not being Churches at all.

In the last century there was even some intercommunion in the US between the Episcopalians and the Orthodox, and although it was short-lived due to their Protestant theology, it shows that the Orthodox (or at least St. Raphael of Brooklyn) did not tie Church membership to a specific hierarchy.

I suppose it would be right to say there is no "one true Church" the way it's used in modern Christian apologetics, but there is one true Church. The book Eucharist, Bishop, Church makes some sense of this ecclesiology.
10-02-2019 08:16 PM
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Post: #29
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
@Wutang
Indeed. There is the true church in many institutions of such. However God saw fit to not make it so obvious as an institution. Else there would be a single recognizable institution that never divides.
10-02-2019 08:40 PM
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Kid Twist Offline
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Post: #30
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
Yes, that's what is now known as the communion of eastern orthodox churches. All historical, recognizable, and unchanged in doctrine and practice from the beginning. No one else can say that, and only the oriental orthodox churches are equivalent; economia could easily reduce chalcedon to being a doctrinal misunderstanding, which most agree on at this point but for historical or current political reasons, isn't pressing for either of the groups.

Get your passport ready!
10-02-2019 09:58 PM
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Aboulia Offline
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Post: #31
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
(10-02-2019 04:09 PM)debeguiled Wrote:  
(10-02-2019 02:14 PM)Aboulia Wrote:  
(10-02-2019 12:08 PM)debeguiled Wrote:  
(10-01-2019 07:38 PM)MichaelWitcoff Wrote:  I also believe God is all-powerful, all-merciful, all-just, and absolutely perfect in all His ways and judgments, able to save or destroy anyone He sees fit for any reason He sees fit, and that it’s not for man to judge the salvation, or lack thereof, of any other person (or even ourselves).

Can I say Orthodoxy is the truth? Yes. Can I say everyone outside Orthodoxy is automatically condemned? No.

If you believe the first paragraph, then, based on the puniness of man's spiritual understanding, you can't really say that Orthodoxy is the truth, but only that you believe it to be the truth to the best of your understanding at this moment.

I don't think God is as concerned with intellectual theological consistency as man is.

If God doesn't care for consistency theologically, why would he care about behavioural consistency? If God doesn't care how we think and order the universe, why did Christ say in Matthew 5:27-28 if you have looked on a woman with lust you have committed adultery in your heart? God deeply cares about the organization of your mind, for one sin lead to the fall of man. (CS Lewis's Space Trilogy and Dostoevsky's Dream of a Ridiculous Man illustrate this well.)

If anyone wants to better understand an Orthodox view of reality, I suggest you watch this.

Jonathan Pageau - The Garden of Eden as Cosmic Structure - St-Ephrem the Syrian
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXGdaJFIB8M

You understand when you are talking to a child that he doesn't have to make sense in the same way an adult does. You don't care if he has followed all the logical paths of his hypotheses to their ultimate consequences because he is a child and you don't expect him to have the ability or the patience to figure things out on the level you do. So you judge him by lower standards and by his intentions.

God's view of behavior and reality is infinitely more complex than ours and so he is not judging us by the childlike theology we have developed. The sorts of allowances we make for children, he makes a billion-fold for us.

Think of what formal logic and Orthodox theology must look like from his vantage point. Like a kid finger painting.

Humans are blinded by the fact that we are not, that we know of, in the presence of any animals that exist on a higher plane than we do, and as a result we get full of ourselves and think that our meager knowledge base, and even more infantile skill set are as high as it goes, from the perspective of absolute truth.

If you really imagined what our inane babblings must look like from God's point of view, it would magnify your comprehension of God's ability to love us. Just think of all the information that we don't have, and yet we blunder forwards making hypotheses, coming to conclusions, all the while seeing only a tiny sliver of reality.

And on top of it, we think that our over matched schema are somehow as good as it gets, and truth with a capital t.

It's finger painting. So God is less concerned with our finger painting than we are.

This seems a reasonable way of looking at it.

Yes, God will take into account our weakness, and feebleness of mind, and if we don't come to the truth due to no fault of our own, it won't be held against us, No Orthodox Christian would ever dispute this. We are held accountable for what we could change, but chose not to.

You' would only be right, IF, theology had no effect on how we act. Our understanding of God is of utmost importance in how we act in relation to him, and in relation to others, for it is as Christ said, "if you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to me". You cannot create arbitrary separations between things, in the Orthodox view, everything is connected.





To reject this would eventually lead to nihilism.

Theology without practice is the theology of demons - St Maximus the Confessor

But judging by your post, what we can agree on, is that the struggle to improve, and to come closer to embodying Christ(provided your conception of him is correct) is more important than what we write on paper. And that simply "belonging" to one congregation or another doesn't mean you belong to the true church. Christ says this explicitly when he says to those that there will be some that say to him "Lord Lord have we not done X and Y in your name" and he'll reply "Depart from me, for I never knew you".
10-03-2019 08:49 PM
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scorpion Offline
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Post: #32
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
The one true church is the totality of faithful believers in Jesus Christ as Messiah. That is the church. Any earthly organization claiming to be the "one true church" to the exclusion of the many others that proclaim the faithful and true gospel of Jesus Christ is in error. The Catholic and Orthodox churches essentially proclaim themselves as earthly clubs that have a monopoly on salvation. They will protest this simplification, but if you read between the lines that's basically what they both say: if you are outside the church you are not a real Christian.

The reality is that the church is a heavenly club, not an earthly one. The church is composed of those God predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son through faith (Eph. 1: 4-5). Membership in the heavenly club has nothing to do with one's affiliation with any particular earthly club. To insist otherwise I believe does insult to God, as if he somehow requires the work of men to achieve any part of the salvation he has delivered and which he has planned since before the foundation of the universe.

A true Christian is defined more than anything else by an overriding attitude of humility, a humility born out of a deep understanding of his inborn sin nature and his inability to save himself. The true Christian is literally set free by the gospel, the "good news": that Christ died an atoning death so that sinful man might be reconciled to God. Once fully understood and internalized, this truth overwhelms the soul. One can be filled with nothing but gratitude, love and awe for the infinite God who chose to adopt so many flawed human beings as sons and joint heirs of Christ. Thus overwhelmed by the good news of salvation, the true Christian is filled with joy and the desire to proclaim the glory of God to others, that they might also partake in the good news. That is what true Christians were busy doing since the resurrection. That is the work of the true church: proclaiming Jesus Christ to the world.

Many Catholic and Orthodox seem to have lost sight of this. They miss the forest for the trees. They get caught up in their church itself and its teachings rather than keeping the glory of God foremost in their minds. The church itself becomes almost an idol. This is not to say that I believe Catholic and Orthodox are not faithful Christians. I just think they injure their faith by placing such heavy emphasis on the earthly church rather than the heavenly church. Also, the insistence that one belongs to the "true church" is almost invariably coupled with a prideful attitude, which was exemplified by Aurini and Bosch, both of whom could barely contain their contempt for Protestants in their posts. I will be very frank: if there is even a trace of pride that comes out of your mouth when discussing spiritual matters, then there is something wrong with your doctrine or your faith. You are missing something fundamental in your understanding of Jesus Christ. This was God who took on human flesh, who washed the feet of his disciples and hung around with prostitutes, tax collectors and lepers, and who died ignominiously on a cross. Christ himself was the antithesis of pride, so anyone who pridefully sneers at the sincere faith of other Christians must seriously consider their conduct and their understanding, for their behavior is extremely unlike Christ.

And finally, at the end of the day, I think it should be obvious that God knows exactly what he is doing. He has clearly guided the history of the Christian faith. The schism was ordained by God, as was the Reformation. We know this because they happened. They are part of the plan that will bring the greatest glory to God when all is said and done. God's work is far greater than any single human organization can contain. No single collection of men in robes has a monopoly on the blood of Jesus Christ, which was shed for all who believe. That is no single organization's truth to own. It is the truth which exists outside of anything men have done through the ages. A truth born not of men, but of God.

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” - Romans 8:18
10-03-2019 09:51 PM
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Post: #33
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
(10-03-2019 09:51 PM)scorpion Wrote:  The one true church is the totality of faithful believers in Jesus Christ as Messiah. That is the church. Any earthly organization claiming to be the "one true church" to the exclusion of the many others that proclaim the faithful and true gospel of Jesus Christ is in error. The Catholic and Orthodox churches essentially proclaim themselves as earthly clubs that have a monopoly on salvation. They will protest this simplification, but if you read between the lines that's basically what they both say: if you are outside the church you are not a real Christian.

The reality is that the church is a heavenly club, not an earthly one. The church is composed of those God predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son through faith (Eph. 1: 4-5). Membership in the heavenly club has nothing to do with one's affiliation with any particular earthly club. To insist otherwise I believe does insult to God, as if he somehow requires the work of men to achieve any part of the salvation he has delivered and which he has planned since before the foundation of the universe.

A true Christian is defined more than anything else by an overriding attitude of humility, a humility born out of a deep understanding of his inborn sin nature and his inability to save himself. The true Christian is literally set free by the gospel, the "good news": that Christ died an atoning death so that sinful man might be reconciled to God. Once fully understood and internalized, this truth overwhelms the soul. One can be filled with nothing but gratitude, love and awe for the infinite God who chose to adopt so many flawed human beings as sons and joint heirs of Christ. Thus overwhelmed by the good news of salvation, the true Christian is filled with joy and the desire to proclaim the glory of God to others, that they might also partake in the good news. That is what true Christians were busy doing since the resurrection. That is the work of the true church: proclaiming Jesus Christ to the world.

Many Catholic and Orthodox seem to have lost sight of this. They miss the forest for the trees. They get caught up in their church itself and its teachings rather than keeping the glory of God foremost in their minds. The church itself becomes almost an idol. This is not to say that I believe Catholic and Orthodox are not faithful Christians. I just think they injure their faith by placing such heavy emphasis on the earthly church rather than the heavenly church. Also, the insistence that one belongs to the "true church" is almost invariably coupled with a prideful attitude, which was exemplified by Aurini and Bosch, both of whom could barely contain their contempt for Protestants in their posts. I will be very frank: if there is even a trace of pride that comes out of your mouth when discussing spiritual matters, then there is something wrong with your doctrine or your faith. You are missing something fundamental in your understanding of Jesus Christ. This was God who took on human flesh, who washed the feet of his disciples and hung around with prostitutes, tax collectors and lepers, and who died ignominiously on a cross. Christ himself was the antithesis of pride, so anyone who pridefully sneers at the sincere faith of other Christians must seriously consider their conduct and their understanding, for their behavior is extremely unlike Christ.

And finally, at the end of the day, I think it should be obvious that God knows exactly what he is doing. He has clearly guided the history of the Christian faith. The schism was ordained by God, as was the Reformation. We know this because they happened. They are part of the plan that will bring the greatest glory to God when all is said and done. God's work is far greater than any single human organization can contain. No single collection of men in robes has a monopoly on the blood of Jesus Christ, which was shed for all who believe. That is no single organization's truth to own. It is the truth which exists outside of anything men have done through the ages. A truth born not of men, but of God.

Very interesting post, and I hope you're right, not that what I hope affects reality. I'm interested in your views on predestination, because I know very little about the idea: what precisely it means, what the scriptural basis for it is. Although that's probably a topic for another thread.

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10-03-2019 10:30 PM
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Kid Twist Offline
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Post: #34
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
Circular logic. How do you know the truth about God unless someone guides you, someone who is trustworthy? I'll channel my inner Ethiopian Eunuch, the one that protestants must be so displeased with for asking such an obvious question.

No one said any group had a monopoly on anything. You did.

We hold to what has been revealed to us so that we maintain the truth, as it is our responsiblity to do so with such a gift, and hopefully so that others don't fall into error.

Saying that errors were ordained by God is like saying he ordained my sins. That is an example of dangerous, erroneous teaching. Does he work through our errors to keep calling us towards himself? Of course. But if you don't have this understanding, worse things might befall you.

And by the way, what gives you the authority to speak about the "membership in the heavenly club"? Just wondering.
(This post was last modified: 10-03-2019 10:32 PM by Kid Twist.)
10-03-2019 10:31 PM
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Post: #35
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
(10-03-2019 10:31 PM)Kid Twist Wrote:  And by the way, what gives you the authority to speak about the "membership in the heavenly club"? Just wondering.

I have no authority, I'm simply relaying the message of the New Testament, which speaks with the full authority of God himself, and which is very clear: that the kingdom of God is not of this world (John 18:36), and that all who believe in Jesus Christ as Messiah will be the adopted sons of God and joint heirs of Christ in that kingdom (Romans 8:28-30), and that God predestined Christians to be called into the kingdom and adopted in this manner before he created the world itself (Eph. 1:4-5).

This is the fundamental error of this "one church" ideology: you think it's about you. You think it's about your church, as if your church has somehow pleased God and gained his favor. But it's not about you. It's not about how great your church is. It's not about us. Any of us. The world was not created for us. It was created for the glory of God. Your salvation was a gift of God, because in granting salvation to sinful creatures God puts his love and mercy on display. The entire point of everything - why does anything exist? - is to demonstrate the glory of God. We are simply the witnesses and the beneficiaries of his glory, now and in eternity to come. It's why we exist. We didn't do anything special to deserve this, nor can we ever. It was simply given to us, God having granted us this gift before the foundation of the world, before it was even possible for us to deserve it. Which is why overwhelming humility and gratitude are the unmistakable marks of true Christian faith.

Therefore the idea that a particular collection of men in robes has special claim to the eternal truth and glory of the most high God who created the universe from nothing is foolishness and utter hubris. It reveals a conception of God that is far too limited, as well as a lack of familiarity with the fundamental teachings of the Scriptures.

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” - Romans 8:18
(This post was last modified: 10-03-2019 11:05 PM by scorpion.)
10-03-2019 10:59 PM
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Post: #36
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
Quote:The Catholic and Orthodox churches essentially proclaim themselves as earthly clubs that have a monopoly on salvation.

I can't speak for the Catholics, but the Orthodox church does not come close to proclaiming this. They go out of their way to say that not only Orthodox will be saved, and the church does wish that ALL will be saved, meaning to also pray for non-Orthodox. When you go to an Orthodox monastery, there is a form you can fill out to list names of "non-Orthodox" for them to pray for. I could list your name and they would pray for your salvation.

The "one true church" meme often comes from excited converts to Orthodoxy.

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10-03-2019 11:10 PM
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Post: #37
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
(10-03-2019 11:10 PM)Roosh Wrote:  I can't speak for the Catholics, but the Orthodox church does not come close to proclaiming this. They go out of their way to say that not only Orthodox will be saved, and the church does wish that ALL will be saved, meaning to also pray for non-Orthodox. When you go to an Orthodox monastery, there is a form you can fill out to list names of "non-Orthodox" for them to pray for. I could list your name and they would pray for your salvation.

The "one true church" meme often comes from excited converts to Orthodoxy.

I agree this stems mostly from militant Catholics and recent Orthodox converts. I have seen that sort of arrogant tone from some posters popping up on the forum lately, essentially insinuating that Orthodox are the only true Christians. I think an actual devout Orthodox Christian not only understands this is not true, but knows that even if it were the correct attitude would be to attempt to shepherd other Christians into the flock of the Orthodox church in order that they might enjoy the benefits of a more complete earthly communion with Christ and his church.

Ultimately, I think there is far too much interdenominational squabbling and fights over specific interpretation of doctrine, as if God somehow expects every layman to have a profound knowledge of spiritual matters. In reality, all he asks is faith in Christ. That's the only ticket that ultimately matters. Is your faith in Christ genuine? If it is, everything else will fall into place. Doctrinal differences and differing interpretations of Scripture pale in comparison to the importance of uniting in the proclamation of Christ as Lord. God is working actively and effectively through all of the various denominations, from the globohomo converged Catholics to the humble Orthodox to the Zionist-shill Protestants. There are true Christians in ALL of these churches to a greater or lesser extent, Christians God is working through and whom God will raise up on the last day. To deny this is to deny the power of God to accomplish his sovereign plan of delivering salvation by faith to all who believe, a plan which is so important and all-encompassing that it pre-dates creation itself.

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” - Romans 8:18
10-04-2019 08:23 AM
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Post: #38
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
The Protestant/Lutheran Church was created because Martin Luther wanted to go back to the "original" Christian teachings and only use the words of the Bible. He thought that the Catholic Church had become corrupted along the way and its teachings had strayed too far from those of Jesus Christ.

But as has already been said, most churches believe their church to be the true church. Personally I don't care. I follow God in my own way and I take teachings from Christians, Buddhists, philosophers and scientists alike. Take what I agree with and disregard the rest.

A church with a specific set of principles and hard rules is a good tool to keep the people educated on a certain set of values. It is a great way to keep people together as one people with a shared culture and belief system. It'd say it's even crucial for the survival of that nation or group of people. A shared set of beliefs is what's best for a society. What is right for you as a free thinking individual however, may not be the same. You should seek truth wherever you may find it in the world. But at the same time understand that this isn't a feasible strategy to impose on the majority of the population.
(This post was last modified: 10-04-2019 09:24 AM by Pinkman.)
10-04-2019 09:06 AM
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Post: #39
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
Quote:Ultimately, I think there is far too much interdenominational squabbling and fights over specific interpretation of doctrine

There will be an update in the rules around November 1 to address this on the forum.

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10-04-2019 12:09 PM
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RE: Is there one true Christian church?
(10-03-2019 10:59 PM)scorpion Wrote:  
(10-03-2019 10:31 PM)Kid Twist Wrote:  And by the way, what gives you the authority to speak about the "membership in the heavenly club"? Just wondering.

I have no authority, I'm simply relaying the message of the New Testament

And so am I. And the Nicene Creed. And what is clear about history and just pure logic or simple understanding.

Quote:This is the fundamental error of this "one church" ideology: you think it's about you. You think it's about your church, as if your church has somehow pleased God and gained his favor. But it's not about you. It's not about how great your church is. It's not about us. Any of us. The world was not created for us. It was created for the glory of God. Your salvation was a gift of God, because in granting salvation to sinful creatures God puts his love and mercy on display. The entire point of everything - why does anything exist? - is to demonstrate the glory of God. We are simply the witnesses and the beneficiaries of his glory, now and in eternity to come. It's why we exist. We didn't do anything special to deserve this, nor can we ever.

No, you think we think it's about us. I agree with everything else you are saying here, because it is the teaching of the church, and is true. But something I've noticed with protestants, apart from anti-scriptural teachings regarding what the (ethereal) church is (due to hangups with the RC church), is that they constantly are also hung up with what others say about salvation --- everything is simplified to the super complex point that we have no say over, ultimately. Every single theological inquiry or statement about truth or dogma necessarily goes to salvation statements for them. It's this way too with people who are nonbelievers, those who also don't have as good of an understanding or can't be disciplined enough to listen to what we are saying. They are obsessed with it, this salvation stuff; it's literally an emotional reaction. Let me tell you once again, we are to be faithful, HE makes the final judgment. Can you finally confirm that you understand what we are saying here? Thank you.

I keep noticing that you continue to talk about "what it takes" to be saved, which is fine on one level, but as Aboulia states, what you believe about God and the world is profoundly important to how you behave. If you simplify the "what it takes" approach too much, you end up creating a check box or rules based approach that keeps asking (this is what humans are prone to do), "Oh, I need to do that? Oh ok. Am I good now?"

Not having the proper focus about life and God will lead to asking the wrong questions and approaching with a mindset that does not lead to healthy outcomes.
(This post was last modified: 10-04-2019 08:47 PM by Kid Twist.)
10-04-2019 08:44 PM
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Post: #41
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
I'm going to preface this all, saying yes, Scorpion, you're correct on some accounts, humility is lacking on some posts, mine included; but I do completely agree with the basic content of Kid Twist's latest post, not the tone. I do understand the frustration in having always to go back to the foundations of the faith. Like when you posted this,
(10-04-2019 08:23 AM)scorpion Wrote:  Ultimately, I think there is far too much interdenominational squabbling and fights over specific interpretation of doctrine, as if God somehow expects every layman to have a profound knowledge of spiritual matters. In reality, all he asks is faith in Christ. That's the only ticket that ultimately matters. Is your faith in Christ genuine? If it is, everything else will fall into place. Doctrinal differences and differing interpretations of Scripture pale in comparison to the importance of uniting in the proclamation of Christ as Lord.

The main problem is one of mindset, and language. Would you not agree that you define "faith in Christ", and how you manifest that in the world matters? To highlight other distinctions, when you said the "kingdom of God is not of this world (John 18:36)". How do you define this world? Could it possibly be that "this world" was referring to the fallen state of man, of worldly power over the spirit, of mammon over god, the material over the spiritual? Can you reconcile that view with the prayer that Christ taught men "Our Father, who art in heaven.......thy kingdom come, thy will be done..."? Are we to tell him, "no, Your kingdom hasn't come yet, heaven isn't of this world." or are we to answer "Thy kingdom isn't here because of my own failure to manifest your will."?

(10-03-2019 10:59 PM)scorpion Wrote:  I have no authority, I'm simply relaying the message of the New Testament, which speaks with the full authority of God himself, and which is very clear: that the kingdom of God is not of this world (John 18:36), and that all who believe in Jesus Christ as Messiah will be the adopted sons of God and joint heirs of Christ in that kingdom (Romans 8:28-30), and that God predestined Christians to be called into the kingdom and adopted in this manner before he created the world itself (Eph. 1:4-5).

What constitutes the New Testament? Do you accept the Gospel of Thomas as a valid Gospel? On what grounds? How about the book of Enoch, I know one of the prophets referenced it (Jeremiah, I think), but it was still excluded by those who compiled the "bible", Why? Is the interpretation of the scriptures of "LBGT Christians" correct? If not, why do you reject them?

Those books and many others you're referring to were collected, and evaluated and they interpreted them in a specific way by many men. Those that fit properly with the conception of God were included, those that were not, were discarded , and when contentions came up that were threatening to break the unity of the church, the king called an ecumenical synod to resolve the main issues. To reject this, is in essence, taking centuries of collected knowledge about the nature of the world, which people fought and died to maintain, and throwing it to the wayside, because people feel they can interpret a book how they see fit.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not doing this to be a jackass, I'm not saying I can answer all your questions. I'm trying to get you to question the foundations of your knowledge. Unanswerable questions is part of how I grew out of Protestantism.

(10-03-2019 10:59 PM)scorpion Wrote:  Therefore the idea that a particular collection of men in robes has special claim to the eternal truth and glory of the most high God who created the universe from nothing is foolishness and utter hubris. It reveals a conception of God that is far too limited, as well as a lack of familiarity with the fundamental teachings of the Scriptures.

I hope you're not making the claim that people cannot make universal claims(Which is what eternal truth is) I don't think you mean to, I think you do have a desire to do good, seeing how you're concerned with the unity of the forum, otherwise I wouldn't have written a post this long

The garments people wear do not make them worthy to declare what is and what is not true, they have no jurisdiction over it, they can only point to where it lies. The narrow path doesn't become easy by becoming Orthodox, it's just choosing to have the lights on with some guideposts to make the path a little less treacherous along the way.

This podcast I'm linking, goes deeper into the right to claims of truth, the author is an Orthodox priest, and a former professor who was fired multiple times (he was kicked out for not falling in line). Also the person who was speaking in that video I linked last.
https://www.radioaryan.com/2017/05/the-o...ction.html

From the link

My father was a very good man and he wanted the best for me. Not once did he come into my room and say “the handbook says I have to beat you now since you've misbehaved. Sorry, my hands are tied.” No. He was a free man who realized that we all misbehave. God is not subject to the bishops in Talmudic fashion. The Apostles cut and ran at the first sign of trouble. Women (and St. John) alone were at the cross. This is in Scripture precisely to give us a lesson about bishops (it also proves the Scriptures true, since they would never say this about themselves). They are no different from us and they have no special “powers” like the Severus Snapes that they would love us to believe they are.

The greatest of saints said that they were the worst of sinners. Were they lying? No. What they were saying is that our life in a corrupt world is inherently sinful. All action is self-regarding and hence a sin. Sin was built into the world, and is now defended and enforced by our modern one. If we are judged by our actions, then no one will be saved. Rather, we are judged by who we are: how we have organized our mind and life to best reflect the doctrines of Truth. Here, we do have the chance to be perfect. Thus, a saint can be the worst of sinners and he can also be perfect.
10-04-2019 09:33 PM
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Athanasius Offline
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Post: #42
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
I like the Westminster Confession of Faith's distinction between the visible and invisible church, which is reflected in Scripture. The invisible church is Christ's sheep, the true believers, those who believe the Gospel. There is much overlap with the visible church, which is the place you go each week, but as we see throughout the New and Old Testament, intermingled there are sheep and goats, wheat and tares, false teachers and faithful pastors. And there are varying degrees of corruption in these churches, not surprising given the corruption of our own hearts.

Most protestants I know don't consider their church the "one true church." Rather, Baptists, Presbyterians, non-denoms, charismatics, Lutherans, etc. all recognize and rejoice in those who believe the Gospel in the US and all the world, even if for a time we unite denominationally with the entity that we believe more closely aligns to Scriptural teachings. And no in-the-know person in these denoms considers mainline churches to be Christian, although even in those you can still surprisingly find individual believers even though most of the faithful ones left or split into more conservative entities long ago. The war against corruption will continue to the end.
(This post was last modified: 10-04-2019 09:59 PM by Athanasius.)
10-04-2019 09:57 PM
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Post: #43
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
(10-04-2019 08:23 AM)scorpion Wrote:  
(10-03-2019 11:10 PM)Roosh Wrote:  I can't speak for the Catholics, but the Orthodox church does not come close to proclaiming this. They go out of their way to say that not only Orthodox will be saved, and the church does wish that ALL will be saved, meaning to also pray for non-Orthodox. When you go to an Orthodox monastery, there is a form you can fill out to list names of "non-Orthodox" for them to pray for. I could list your name and they would pray for your salvation.

The "one true church" meme often comes from excited converts to Orthodoxy.

Ultimately, I think there is far too much interdenominational squabbling and fights over specific interpretation of doctrine, as if God somehow expects every layman to have a profound knowledge of spiritual matters. In reality, all he asks is faith in Christ. That's the only ticket that ultimately matters. Is your faith in Christ genuine? If it is, everything else will fall into place. Doctrinal differences and differing interpretations of Scripture pale in comparison to the importance of uniting in the proclamation of Christ as Lord. God is working actively and effectively through all of the various denominations, from the globohomo converged Catholics to the humble Orthodox to the Zionist-shill Protestants. There are true Christians in ALL of these churches to a greater or lesser extent, Christians God is working through and whom God will raise up on the last day. To deny this is to deny the power of God to accomplish his sovereign plan of delivering salvation by faith to all who believe, a plan which is so important and all-encompassing that it pre-dates creation itself.

In Eric Metaxas book on Luther he touches on this a bit. Metaxas points out there's people in the Scriptures like the thief on the cross that received salvation without having any idea what the Trinity is or having an inkling about any sort of doctrinal issue. Theology is important but at the same time I can't imagine the Day of Judgement being a sort of theological classroom final where salvation is contingent on passing an exam. Jesus talking about the sheep and goats at the judgement didn't involve him separating them based on their level of doctrinal understanding.
10-04-2019 11:12 PM
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Post: #44
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
(10-04-2019 11:12 PM)Wutang Wrote:  Theology is important but at the same time I can't imagine the Day of Judgement being a sort of theological classroom final where salvation is contingent on passing an exam. Jesus talking about the sheep and goats at the judgement didn't involve him separating them based on their level of doctrinal understanding.

This anonymous Desert Father had the right idea (The Desert Fathers were the anchorites who lived in the Egyptian desert in the early centuries after Christ's birth. Their sayings were passed down by word of mouth, and the first text was written in the 4th century):

The Anonymous Sayings of the Desert Fathers

Quote:N.307/15.84 One day some people of the Thebaid came to an elder bringing with them a person in the grips of a demon so he might heal him. Seriously entreated, the elder said to the demon: "Come out of that which God has made," and the demon said to the elder" "I am coming out, but I ask you one question. Tell me: who are the goats and who are the sheep?" [cf Mt 25:32-3] Said the elder: "The goats, it is I; God knows who the sheep are." On hearing this, the demon cried out with a loud voice: "Look, through your humility, I am coming out!" and out he came at that very hour.

You do not reach this level of spiritual attainment through theology. It is hard won over many years of prayer, practice, and experience.

(Found a copy of their sayings free for download on archive.org. https://archive.org/details/TheAnonymous...eyJohn5090)

“That sig BTW is a very asinine anti-family anti-parent quote. You live in a country where 40% of children grow up without a biological father, yet somehow “the greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents”? Sorry but this is fruity Boomer nonsense.”

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10-05-2019 12:10 PM
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Post: #45
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
(10-04-2019 09:33 PM)Aboulia Wrote:  What constitutes the New Testament? Do you accept the Gospel of Thomas as a valid Gospel? On what grounds? How about the book of Enoch, I know one of the prophets referenced it (Jeremiah, I think), but it was still excluded by those who compiled the "bible", Why? Is the interpretation of the scriptures of "LBGT Christians" correct? If not, why do you reject them?

Those books and many others you're referring to were collected, and evaluated and they interpreted them in a specific way by many men. Those that fit properly with the conception of God were included, those that were not, were discarded , and when contentions came up that were threatening to break the unity of the church, the king called an ecumenical synod to resolve the main issues. To reject this, is in essence, taking centuries of collected knowledge about the nature of the world, which people fought and died to maintain, and throwing it to the wayside, because people feel they can interpret a book how they see fit.

I think this is a good example of the Orthodox tendency to elevate the church itself and especially the great saints and patriarchs to a higher level than they deserve. Because what you're asserting here is that it was MEN who decided what would be in the Bible. This is completely antithetical to my understanding and belief not only in God himself, but particularly in the method in which he chose to reveal himself to the great majority of those who would believe in him (the written scriptures).

This speaks to a fundamental difference between the conception of God between the Reformed Protestant and the Catholic/Orthodox Christian. The C/O Christians essentially see God as being active through the church. The church functions as something between a tool and partner for God to accomplish his work in the world. Thus it is that Aboulia can say something about how it was that "men compiled and selected the books of the Bible". The Reformed Protestant view, on the other hand, sees God as completely sovereign over and independent from the church (which is the body of believers in the world). In this view, God is not just the creator of the universe but the author of history, and his will is invariably done in all things. In other words, everything that has happened in the history of the world has happened because God either made it happen directly, or he allowed it to happen because it would serve his plan in some way.

With this understanding you can see how the question of the compilation of the Bible being done by men becomes ludicrous. As if the men were exercising their free will undirected by the Holy Spirit!? In other words, the Bible could not have ended up any other way than it did. God's will was done. So when you ask, "What is the New Testament?" I answer flatly: it is the New Testament. The New Testament that God wanted us to have and which we have today. He directed the authorship of the original epistles/gospels through inspiration by the Holy Spirit, he directed their early distribution and preservation, and he directed their ultimate selection and compilation into the New Testament we have today. This was done by the power and the will of God and is just one example of how God directs history toward his desired purposes. This is the concept of Divine Providence.

I don't really understand what you are trying to get at in the rest of your post so I won't respond to any of it. I will just say though that I think with many of these theological disagreements we often start talking past each other, even though we are actually in agreement on the vast majority of issues, which is unfortunate. I think a lot of the disagreements stem more from cultural differences in the Eastern vs. Western traditions (such as heavy emphasis on the interpretation of the Patriarchs) and in the specific theological terminology employed (i.e. the concept of theosis). But speaking as a Reformed Protestant, I can say that I find little to criticize from the Orthodox position and don't feel the need to attack it. I simply request the same courtesy in return.

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” - Romans 8:18
10-05-2019 01:13 PM
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Post: #46
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
It is clear that scorpion is a determinist. So be it.

I'll leave it at this: The denial of a real, tangible and historical church, that is one, denies the sacramental realities of the church. Protestants, again and again, make this clear. It's curious how this is also a denial of the very scriptures they constantly reference in arguments.
10-05-2019 01:43 PM
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Post: #47
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
It seems like you guys have taken the standard "tradition vs. bible alone' debate and turned it into a 'God vs. men' debate.

“That sig BTW is a very asinine anti-family anti-parent quote. You live in a country where 40% of children grow up without a biological father, yet somehow “the greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents”? Sorry but this is fruity Boomer nonsense.”

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10-05-2019 01:43 PM
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Post: #48
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
(10-05-2019 01:43 PM)Kid Twist Wrote:  It is clear that scorpion is a determinist. So be it.

I'll leave it at this: The denial of a real, tangible and historical church, that is one, denies the sacramental realities of the church. Protestants, again and again, make this clear. It's curious how this is also a denial of the very scriptures they constantly reference in arguments.

What exactly do you mean by this?

And yes I am largely a determinist - although I leave some room for free will (at least from the human perspective). I think that the seemingly unbridgeable gap between free will and determinism, especially in regards to salvation, is largely a product of the human mind's inability to comprehend a god who exists outside of time and space. Our perception of causality will be much different than God's as a result. That's all I'll say about that for now, although a Free Will vs. Determinism thread could be a good one.

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” - Romans 8:18
10-05-2019 02:13 PM
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Post: #49
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
(10-05-2019 01:43 PM)debeguiled Wrote:  It seems like you guys have taken the standard "tradition vs. bible alone' debate and turned it into a 'God vs. men' debate.

A thread on sola scriptura would also be good, although I imagine it would get pretty contentious.

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10-05-2019 05:33 PM
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Post: #50
RE: Is there one true Christian church?
(10-05-2019 01:13 PM)scorpion Wrote:  In this view, God is not just the creator of the universe but the author of history, and his will is invariably done in all things. In other words, everything that has happened in the history of the world has happened because God either made it happen directly, or he allowed it to happen because it would serve his plan in some way.

With this understanding you can see how the question of the compilation of the Bible being done by men becomes ludicrous. As if the men were exercising their free will undirected by the Holy Spirit!? In other words, the Bible could not have ended up any other way than it did. God's will was done. So when you ask, "What is the New Testament?" I answer flatly: it is the New Testament. The New Testament that God wanted us to have and which we have today. He directed the authorship of the original epistles/gospels through inspiration by the Holy Spirit, he directed their early distribution and preservation, and he directed their ultimate selection and compilation into the New Testament we have today. This was done by the power and the will of God and is just one example of how God directs history toward his desired purposes. This is the concept of Divine Providence.

For my conversion God provided me with a literal translation of the Textus Receptus. One thing I was very concerned about especially before conversion was that I actually have a non-corrupted and complete version of God's word. I didn't want to read some happy daisy advertising flyer depicting Christianity in the best light possible while leaving out or euphemizing the parts I might not like, one which tries to convince me to join and pay for some happy megachurch (you see I didn't really intend to convert at first...)

After a discussion in church yesterday I brought this issue up with the Lord again and He reminded me of my own research two years ago and asked me: Do you think God makes mistakes? Do you seriously believe He is unable to provide you with the exact Bible translation you need(ed)?
10-05-2019 10:19 PM
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