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Bobby Cole

True Church?

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Recently I observed an argument in another discussion group of an ongoing arguement regarding the First Church. Now, this isn't my first rodeo in a discussion such as this but this time I waited to see what would happen between two friends discussing the doctrinal differences and the validity between the two. As nearly always is the case, it became an unsolvable debate because both sides lost sight of Jesus and concentrated on "I could be as wrong as you are or you can be as right as I am" sort of a situation.

 

If Matthew 16:18 is to be interpreted the way some do then possibly yes, Peter might have started the 1st church. And yes, if indeed we acknowledge the missionary travels of Paul we see churches being planted well before the foundation of the other. It's an ongoing argument and does very little to strengthen Christianity in general.

 

The TRUE church is the New Testament church built upon Jesus Christ, not any man, and the one described in the Acts of the Apostles and later verified and refined by Paul AND Peter. (not to mention the rest of course)

 

All that said, what I am curious about is what are some things YOU would like to change in YOUR sect or denomination in order to bring the focus back to the original New Testament Church?

Would you like to add something or subtract something that might allow folks to focus better on the really important things like...uh....Jesus Christ for instance? Or, perhaps you are happy with the growth of your denomination since the original. I think we would be happy to hear, or rather read about that also. A couple of examples might be the legalistic values of your church, the manner of Baptism, or even, dare I say......snake handling. The necessity or lack of a choir perhaps, or how tithes should be received or given. Dunno....you decide.

 

Note: I am asking about your relationship with your denomination and what you believe might improve that denomination. NOT what you believe someone else's denomination needs. ugh.....too much tension there!

 

God Bless and Have some Fun.........Bobby

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All that said, what I am curious about is what are some things YOU would like to change in YOUR sect or denomination in order to bring the focus back to the original New Testament Church?

 

Hi Pastor Bobby,

 

I haven't any complaints or suggestions towards the Orthodox Presbyterian Church or branch of the Presbyterian denomination. Though I might add to someone's curiosity by stating not all Israel is Israel. Concerning typology the Church began in the OT, as seen through the types and shadows only known to us in national Israel. Furthermore as a quick example, Israel, Jeremiah 3:20 ... . regarding the bride/groom imagery does Jehovah have a bride (national Israel) in the OT different from that of the bride (Church) of the Son Jesus Christ in the NT? Are they not one bride? Are they not one and the same consisting of True Israel/Church that has always been one body the "faithful remnant" that God preserved throughout the OT to the NT? The trunk of the Olive Tree in Romans 11 is wide and planted to extend across both sides of the covenantal divide... There are members of the True Church that live in national Israel today, a small geographical area OF the True Church that goes beyond and covers the entire globe, and is not limited by any geographical lines - Soli Deo Gloria!

 

God bless,

William

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Adding to what William is saying- the "True Church" is not visible with human eyes on earth. It is God's faithful elect, known only to Him throughout all ages.

 

As for "visible" Churches, there are orthodox and heterodox Churches. We are commanded to seek out orthodox churches who teach the word in truth and purity and administer the sacraments according to His institution and command. Therefore any diligent Christian should seek out, find and believe his or her church is the true visible church on earth, otherwise they need to move on!

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Yes, there is much truth in what you have written @RevT but here is some of the feedback I get when I lectured and taught in different church communities and colleges. Some of them are kind of funny, some are fairly good observations, and others are downright tragic.

 

No church gatherings like picnics, potluck dinners etc. (yeah, but believe me it comes up a lot)

Communions are sporadic

Its hard to get an appointment with the pastor

No adult classes dealing with adult situations

No child care center

No missions (foreign or domestic) initiative

No hospital or prison ministry

The church doors are only open from 8:00 A.M. til 1:00 P.M. on Sunday. No night or midweek services, Bible studies, or Prayer services.

And of course there is the thing about "where does the money go?"

Praise and worship service sounds like a rock and roll concert

Praise and worship service is boring

And last but certainly not least is my pet peave: The babes in Christ are not being brought up as babes but as full blown all knowing Christians.

 

 

Now, except for the last detail, I know very few of these small complaints have a whole lot to do with the markings of a good, true, New Testament church.......or.........do they?

 

God Bless and .......have a little fun today! Bobby

 

 

 

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Yes, there is much truth in what you have written @RevT but here is some of the feedback I get when I lectured and taught in different church communities and colleges. Some of them are kind of funny, some are fairly good observations, and others are downright tragic.

 

No church gatherings like picnics, potluck dinners etc. (yeah, but believe me it comes up a lot)

Communions are sporadic

Its hard to get an appointment with the pastor

No adult classes dealing with adult situations

No child care center

No missions (foreign or domestic) initiative

No hospital or prison ministry

The church doors are only open from 8:00 A.M. til 1:00 P.M. on Sunday. No night or midweek services, Bible studies, or Prayer services.

And of course there is the thing about "where does the money go?"

Praise and worship service sounds like a rock and roll concert

Praise and worship service is boring

And last but certainly not least is my pet peave: The babes in Christ are not being brought up as babes but as full blown all knowing Christians.

 

 

Now, except for the last detail, I know very few of these small complaints have a whole lot to do with the markings of a good, true, New Testament church.......or.........do they?

 

God Bless and .......have a little fun today! Bobby

 

 

 

Yep...not to mention that there is an element in our society of those who are perpetually dissatisfied. They usually drag up those kind of first world problems.

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Yes, I suppose that is a problem indeed, but let's get to the quick of things shall we? The supposition entangled with this discussion group is that there just might be someone who is looking on trying to figure out how to grow their congregation.

Merely stating that if someone doesn't like it get out or they're just complainers doesn't really build a congregation nor does it earn the trust of someone who might feel like a wing nut among hex heads. The one person we decide we do not wish to listen to might have been the one person we should have listened to at least once. (hmmm....I like that..Sermon bound!)

 

The list I threw out there were just some things that I have heard in the past from persons in different types of congregations but a couple of those complaints I have heard from those in leadership positions but their hands were tied.

 

If a congregation doesn't feel comfortable with homeless people from missions coming in or makes the "bus people" sit in a classroom with a closed circuit TV there is something wrong.

If the doors of a church are only open one day a week in order for everyone to take their "I love you Jesus" aspirin and then collect their tithes, there is something wrong.

If a pastor (or associates) cannot be seen except for a couple of sermons, weddings, and funerals......need I say it again?

Back to the missions again: If a church has a service at a mission and there are lives changed and Jesus Christ received then why, on why do they only shake their hand, give them a hug and move on. Invite that person to the church, make sure they can get there, and help that baby in Christ grow!!!

If the pastor cannot speak of the social, economic, and political issues of the day to a *should be* concerned adult congregation then there is something wrong.

 

I'm extremely passionate about what I do to help spread the Good News to others and how I do it so forgive me if I seem a tad zealous. I'm a pretty easy going preacher / teacher and dearly love to see and experience good growth within each and every child of God and the congregation they espouse. That's what I do.

 

God Bless.............Rev. R.C.L. or just plain.......Bobby

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Many of us have followed what our denominations direct us to follow. We have even separated ourselves and made groups according to our denominations. Many people seem not to be knowing about the true church. I think that it starts from our hearts and then we can know about the true church. We should not be looking at the buildings but focus on the purpose of such buildings.

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All the above are good points. What I have learned over the years is that every congregation has its own situation. One congregation I served was in a middle class neighbourhood, and there was almost no opportunity for mission. We took what little we were given with gusto. That doesn't mean we were failing at being church. The Lord used that church to build the faith of believers. My next church was the exact opposite. A congregation worn out by its mission. Five years later I was worn out too. My current congregation is entirely mission focused, as it is a new church plant. Each congregation had and has its own challenges. I have always believed the church must be prepared for mission and in particular evangelism. At present, I see my job as preparing people to receive those the Lord will send. It's not as easy as it sounds.

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Yep...not to mention that there is an element in our society of those who are perpetually dissatisfied. They usually drag up those kind of first world problems.

 

That might be me ..... but I constantly search my heart in the hope that, as a result of being so 'non-mainstream', I do not fall into that category.

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Yes, there is much truth in what you have written @RevT but here is some of the feedback I get when I lectured and taught in different church communities and colleges. Some of them are kind of funny, some are fairly good observations, and others are downright tragic.

 

Communions are sporadic

The church doors are only open from 8:00 A.M. til 1:00 P.M. on Sunday. No night or midweek services, Bible studies, or Prayer services.

And of course there is the thing about "where does the money go?"

Praise and worship service sounds like a rock and roll concert

Praise and worship service is boring

I empathise with the above selection that I have picked out.

Being very old (81) and having developed my faith in a particular chapel from the Sunday school at age of 5, through to lay ministry in my 20's, I now belong to the "things ain't what they used to be" grumpy old man brigade.

No longer can I find a church that simply fellowships and worships "with reverence and Godly awe".

I just can't get away from the craze to repeat phrases ad infinitum from modern and trite 'worship songs' in an attempt to whip up trance-like glossolalia and, as for the Benny Hinn style 'slain in the spirit' stuff, I put a brown paper bag over my head and walk out in the hope that no outsider will recognise me.

Where, oh where, is the "faith first delivered to the saints"?

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I empathise with the above selection that I have picked out.

Being very old (81) and having developed my faith in a particular chapel from the Sunday school at age of 5, through to lay ministry in my 20's, I now belong to the "things ain't what they used to be" grumpy old man brigade.

No longer can I find a church that simply fellowships and worships "with reverence and Godly awe".

I just can't get away from the craze to repeat phrases ad infinitum from modern and trite 'worship songs' in an attempt to whip up trance-like glossolalia and, as for the Benny Hinn style 'slain in the spirit' stuff, I put a brown paper bag over my head and walk out in the hope that no outsider will recognise me.

Where, oh where, is the "faith first delivered to the saints"?

 

Hi Mike,

 

I kinda feel sorry for young people in my church, especially young single people. Generally, those mainstream churches have mega churches and the singles groups are huge. Way more people and opportunity to find a spouse. Most OPC churches seem elderly, or ones that share your sentiments exactly. Dress a young person up from the OPC in a white or grey wig and you'd never notice the age difference theologically.

 

You say, simply "fellowship and worship with reverence and Godly awe", and I say if it doesn't end in Soli Deo Gloria! it is needlessly said or doesn't belong in church.

 

God bless,

William

 

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I kinda feel sorry for young people in my church, especially young single people. Generally, those mainstream churches have mega churches and the singles groups are huge. Way more people and opportunity to find a spouse.

If God wants someone to marry he will bring him into contact with the person he should marry. It won't matter whether they are part of a church singles group or not.

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If God wants someone to marry he will bring him into contact with the person he should marry. It won't matter whether they are part of a church singles group or not.

 

Very true. God is not limited by a person's fatalistic (why try?) view.

 

God bless,

William

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I am truly sorry that I have been gone for so long. Until recently I have been pretty tied up in other matters and only this week have I found time to get serious about posting in a discussion group of this kind.

 

Now to the matter at hand. Building a church, both in body and mission development is very similar to building a home.

When we build a house we pre-plan the actual building as to what we need to have in order to meet our direct needs. Naturally we want a good foundation, then the walls, and eventually the roof. Along with the utilities, everything so far mentioned are the key factors. Nothing else really matters. Where we put the doors and windows or what kind and color of paint are just lace and are choices we must make but are not critical in the total picture.

Now that we have a house that is fully functional, are we going to be good stewards and take care of this wonderful gift that God has led us to build? I hope so.

 

Now, as a little time passes we want a lawn, some flowers, maybe even a small garden in the back. An above ground pool perhaps for those hot summer days and nights. How much could that cost and really, how much work do we have to do to watch some plants grow? Seems simple!! So, we sew the grass seeds, plow some furrows for the garden, plant the seeds for the tomatoes, squashes and even some cucumbers and plant some flowers all around the fence we put in to separate the back from the front.

 

Uh oh, we forgot that everything has to be watered at a special time each day, and the pool has to be cleaned everyday, and there's a bunch of weeds just lollygagging all over the garden and lawn! Gosh, we've spread ourselves so thin that we cannot get everything done and it's all, including the house, looking as though no one really cares about how everything is going to really turn out. The concentration on Volume, over taking care of the details wins again.

 

Once a church has been established it is the job of the good people of that church to be good stewards and take care of each and every aspect that goes into that church. Few are the pastors who can lead a congregation into a true spiritual personal growth because their hands are tied by a board that merely looks at the collection plate way before looking at how to water the needy seeds that have been planted.

No matter which church group we wish to be a part of if God and Jesus Christ Crucified and Resurrected is not the center focus it is NOT the true church. If a dance or the color of the walls or the lighting or what have you is more important than hands on ministry then it is not the true church. If everything is going so large that the one missing sheep isn't even noticed then it is not the true church. If the congregation has no time to dry the tears and pray WITH someone who is sick or hurting, no time to physically and spiritually feed those who are hungry, or no time to water the seeds that have been sewn then yep...........you got it.

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If God wants someone to marry he will bring him into contact with the person he should marry. It won't matter whether they are part of a church singles group or not.

 

True. A while back a dating couple came to me for counsel on their relationship. They were unsure whether or not God was in their r'ship. I simply asked "are you both Christian?". "Yes" they both replied. "Have you been praying for a marriage partner?". "Yes". "Then God is in it- work with Him". Of course, being modern Evangelicals, they broke up, waiting instead for God to give them a bolt of lightning or an angelic visitation to confirm their relationship. Now they are both single are pretty much over the hill. I hate bad theology.

 

 

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Of course, being modern Evangelicals, they broke up, waiting instead for God to give them a bolt of lightning or an angelic visitation to confirm their relationship.

 

I keep waiting to win the lottery, though I don't buy a ticket. Nothing is too much for God, right? Just to clarify what I meant by a fatalistic view. :rolleyes:

 

God bless,

William

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Once a church has been established it is the job of the good people of that church to be good stewards and take care of each and every aspect that goes into that church. Few are the pastors who can lead a congregation into a true spiritual personal growth because their hands are tied by a board that merely looks at the collection plate way before looking at how to water the needy seeds that have been planted.

No matter which church group we wish to be a part of if God and Jesus Christ Crucified and Resurrected is not the center focus it is NOT the true church. If a dance or the color of the walls or the lighting or what have you is more important than hands on ministry then it is not the true church. If everything is going so large that the one missing sheep isn't even noticed then it is not the true church. If the congregation has no time to dry the tears and pray WITH someone who is sick or hurting, no time to physically and spiritually feed those who are hungry, or no time to water the seeds that have been sewn then yep...........you got it.

I find the body has far too many cheer leaders and far too few worker ants. I was once placed in charge of the children's ministry at our 200 person church. It made sense, since my daughter was one of the children that needed to learn about God. The greatest surprise to me, was the discovery that my primary function as 'head' of the ministry was to politely listen to all of the suggestions about what we should be doing from people who had no intention of doing any of the work and to find some polite, spiritual way to say "thank you for the advice, but I really don't care." Anyone who is prepared to exert a personal effort, I will be happy to listen and match your effort with an equal measure of my own. On the other hand, if God has sent you to tell me how other people need to be doing more work because you think it would be a good idea ... Well, my job is to defend my workers from that sort of nonsense.

 

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Has anyone read Pages Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna?

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Pagan not pages

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I haven't. The book is called, Pagan Christianity? What's the basic premise?

 

Thanks!

 

--David

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Greetings Ilcherilcher, I should have first said, WELCOME TO CF :) Sorry about that.

 

Yours and His,

David

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I haven't. The book is called, Pagan Christianity? What's the basic premise?

 

Thanks!

 

--David

 

From Dallas Theological Seminary:

 

"Viola and Barna argue that a large number of church practices today are unbiblical, for they were unwittingly borrowed from pagan culture and rituals. They say this has been occurring ever since the fourth century. Those who have propagated these practices include many church fathers (Ignatius, Chrysostom, Cyprian, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria), Constantine, and many modern-day leaders (e.g., Billy Sunday, D. L. Moody, and Billy Graham). According to the authors, practices promulgated by these leaders fail to emulate first-century church practices recorded in the New Testament, much of what is practiced in local churches today developed in several centuries after the apostles, and first-century practices are the only truly biblical ones for the church."

 

Complete Review Here: http://www.dts.edu/reviews/frank-viola-pagan-christianity

 

 

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Interesting! Thanks :)

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Yes, I do agree that many, many changes have taken place since the birth of the Christ based church but here lies another almost philosophical question:

Has the church formed God to conform to the image of our expectations? Or are we asking God to recreate us to conform to the image of Jesus Christ?

If the primary is true, then we are no longer worshipping the Father but a mere distorted reflection of Him. If the second is true, then no matter the methodology of seeing and climbing the mountain, the mountain still remains as it always was.

 

God Bless...........Bobby

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Just placing this additional information to help with a major distinction:

 

The Regulative principle of worship in Christian theology teaches that the public worship of God should include those and only those elements that are instituted, commanded, or appointed by command or example in the Bible. In other words, it is the belief that God institutes in Scripture whatever he requires for worship in the Church, and everything else should be avoided.

 

The "regulative principle" is often contrasted with the normative principle of worship, which teaches that whatever is not prohibited in Scripture is permitted in worship, so long as it is agreeable to the peace and unity of the Church. In other words, there must be agreement with the general practice of the Church and no prohibition in Scripture for whatever is done in worship.

 

The regulative principle of worship is generally practiced by the conservative Reformed churches and in other conservative Protestant denominations, and it finds expression in confessional documents such as the Westminster Confession of Faith and the London Baptist Confession of Faith. The normative principle of worship is the generally accepted approach to worship outside of Reformed circles as practiced by Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, and independent Bible Churches.

 

Some of the "regulative principle" groups reject the use of musical instruments in worship on this ground [1]. Such groups may argue that there is no example of musical instruments for worship in the New Testament, and/or that the Old Testament uses of instruments in worship were specifically tied to the ceremonial laws of the Temple in Jerusalem (like the Old Testament sacrificial system), and are not applicable in the church. Many early Calvinists eschewed musical instruments in worship, and this practice typified Presbyterians, and other Reformed and Calvinist churches. In recent times, since the 1800s, most of these churches no longer exclude instruments.

 

Some Scripture that supports the Regulative principle would be Leviticus 10:1-2: Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.

 

 

God bless,

William

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