Jean’s Gospel: Church As Faithful Witness

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25 Responses

  1. Josh the Baptist says:

    Good word. Some of this was Tozer-ish in tone.

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean,

    Nicely done… appreciated your conclusions.

  3. Jean says:

    Thanks Josh.

  4. Jean says:

    Thanks Duane. I finished this before your article from a couple weeks ago on the 4 marks of the Church, but thought it would make a suitable companion piece.

  5. Duane Arnold says:

    #4 Jean

    Indeed… and a great intro to something else coming up…

  6. Josh the Baptist says:

    The problem with this (because there has to be one, right?) is that almost all churches think they are recovering the “true” Christianity. Outside of following a hard regulative principle, and not doing anything except what is explicitly called for in the New Testament, finding the true locus of Apostolic Christianity seems impossible.

    But a good directive none the less.

  7. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    Could be wrong, but I think it has to be in the Creeds as a rule of faith.
    (By the way, just scored tickets for U2’s Joshua Tree tour… you can start be jealous now…)

  8. Xenia says:

    almost all churches think they are recovering the “true” Christianity. <<<<

    The Orthodox and the Roman Catholics do not believe we are recovering original (true) Christianity because we believe we have direct continuity with the original church and are in fact, the original church alive today.

  9. Jean says:

    Josh,

    You make a valid point. However, some of the largest Protestant denominations, the Roman Catholics, and even many independent evangelical churches have made a conscious decision to move away from apostolic teaching on a variety of issues.

    They use a variety of rationales: (1) additional revelation; (2) something was culture bound; (3) new and improved exegesis; and probably some other bases that I’m not currently recalling.

    I purposely limit myself in articles like this (and last week) to biblical principles, allowing the reader to ponder, discuss and apply them, if they agree with the principle I am proposing, which I hope they do.

  10. Josh the Baptist says:

    Xenia, as do some Independent Baptists. All can’t be the one true church.

  11. Josh the Baptist says:

    Dune – beyond jealous. Sinfully envious.

    I’ve seen them thrice. Last time was the Elevation tour…with Furtick..which is where he got his church name.

  12. Josh the Baptist says:

    @9 – Jean – no doubt this is true. #2 is the most common reason I hear. (May have used it myself. Hope not.)

    One other reason that I’ve heard is that the 1st century was the beginning of the church, but God intended for it to grow beyond that inot what is today.

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean,
    Good article – thanks.
    For clarification – Apostolic teaching – I know it is something we all read and nod our heads – but what is it, or better yet, what do you mean when you say Apostolic teaching.

    So many terms we have our own meanings and think we are agreeing.

  14. Jean says:

    Hi MLD,

    #13 is a great question.

    When Matthias was chosen to replace Judas I. as an apostle (to bring the number to 12), the qualification was “one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.”

    So, rather than just “a sent one”, we are talking about “apostle” in that narrow sense when we talk about the apostolic Church or apostolic teaching.

    From there we are saying that the teaching must be attributed originally to one of these apostles (Paul being the exception, because of his special revelation from Christ). But the early Church also played a role here. They sifted through many writings, including some allegedly bearing the names of the apostles, but under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, concluded which ones where authentic apostolic testimony and used these in worship. From there the canon developed, as well as the creeds.

    Does that help?

  15. Em says:

    It has been noted here previously that each member of this Body is tasked to spread the gospel, but these tasks vary, if I remember correctly … So? So, isnt it job one of the shepherds to take seriously our growth (we pew sitters), enabling our being open to the above noted Holy Spirit?
    Is there today a chain of command that is above shepherd? I guess the R.C.s would say “Pope” is the trump shepherd, but ???
    1st comment from my new Kindle … How do you folks manage so many cogent comments from these little gadgets? I’m impressed !and

  16. Jean says:

    Em,

    “So, isnt it job one of the shepherds to take seriously our growth (we pew sitters), enabling our being open to the above noted Holy Spirit?”

    Are you asking about “growth” as in our growth as Christians (i.e., discipleship), or are you talking about growing the total number of Christians?

  17. Em says:

    Jean, from my frame of reference, growth of the Body always refers to spiritual growth – never to numbers of influence – but, I suppose strong Christians should result in the latter two in one way or another, eh?
    Love my Kindle, but no more moments coming from it -I lose my that while typing ?

  18. Em says:

    Sigh… “Numbers OR…’ Not OF…

  19. Jean says:

    Whether it was Jesus speaking with Nicodemus or Paul speaking to the Greeks in Athens, the Gospel is not a set of “reasonable” propositions that appeal to the “wise” of this world. In both of those cases, they did not mince words. It offends our old nature.

    The minute the Gospel becomes something beautiful or appealing in the eyes of the world, you can be sure it’s not the apostolic Gospel. When that’s abandoned, then you no longer have the marks of the church. On the other hand, the Gospel is the most beautiful and appealing message to the one who is convicted that he/she is a sinner deserving of God’s wrath. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, working through the Word.

  20. em... again says:

    Jean, #19 – very important points IMHO
    1 Cor 1:21 and 1 Cor 3:19 … remind me of the truth – the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” for everyone – that said, IMV, it is so important to equip the Saints as it is the Holy Spirit that energizes both the Truth in us and the Gospel in this world…
    (i am avoiding the subject of Apostolic truth, i know)

    the old saying a person can be judged by the enemies he has can be applied to the Church and yet, how many times has that persecution card been played by wrong headed or motivated persons, too …
    i know that i’ve made the observation before, but it is so clear that we have leadership (some are among the saved, i think) who have lost this fear of His holiness
    from where i sit, the Church is stumbling along, never more indebted to grace than it is today…

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So, is the way apostolic teaching is developed?
    George Conger has been a long time Anglican reporters.

    Re-baptizing those in gender transition?

    http://anglican.ink/article/transgender-rebaptism-debate-general-synod-0

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I meant to say George Conger is one of my favorite Anglican reporters.

  23. Jean says:

    MLD,

    I will let our Anglican members comment specifically.

    Whenever the issue of baptism comes up, one must take into account, not only whether or not the teaching is apostolic, but the following confession in the Nicene Creed:

    “I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins”

  24. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean,

    Of course, you are correct. The craziness of what goes on, not only in the Episcopal Church, but now in the Church of England, cannot be defended, even when it is brought forward by someone whose intention in doing so (as this is so off topic), as to be suspect.

    My view of what is apostolic has been best defined, recently, by Pope Francis – Christ as the cornerstone, the apostles as the columns, and their teaching as the source of a river that has flowed through history to our own time.

    What we do here, and what you have done in your article, is to promote learning and respectful dialogue… not mere posturing.

  25. Jean says:

    Duane,

    Thank you. I love the Pope Francis definition. I read definite allusions to Revelation. To the river flowing from the throne of God, and to the apostles, whose names are on the 12 foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem. Very nice!

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