Title & Purpose

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.


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Sunday, 26 December 2010

Thought for the day

Backsliders begin with dusty Bibles and end with filthy garments. ... C. H. Spurgeon

14 comments:

Witness said...

The apostate church has deviated from the Lord's word and become heretical. The reformed church, though recovered to the Lord's word to some extent, has denied the Lord's name by denominating herself, taking many other names, such as Lutherans, Wesleyan, Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc. ... To deviate from the Lord's word is apostasy, and to denominate the church by taking any name other than the Lord's is spiritual fornication.

Rev Brian McClung said...

Witness

Maybe you would care to support your reasoning with reference to the Word of God and demonstrate where the Scriptures teach these points that you make.

Brian McClung

Witness said...

Galatians 5, verses 19-21.

19 And the works of the flesh are manifest, which are such things as fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, asorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, divisions, sects,

21 Envyings, bouts of drunkenness, carousings, and things like these, of which I tell you beforehand, even as I have said before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

--

If the church is Christ's bride, He can only have one wife. There is the church, not many denominations.

In every denomination, including the Roman Catholic Church, there are real, saved Christians. They are God's people belonging to the Lord. But the organization of the denominations in which they are is not of God.

Rev Brian McClung said...

Witness

It is certainly true that God's people ought not to be necessarily divided. But is is not correct to argue that there should be no 'denominations'. This would argue against the Protestant Reformation when the Reformers like Luther and Calvin, etc. left the Church of Rome. It would mean that no believer was ever to leave a denomination that had departed from the faith and corrupted the gospel.

The word 'heresies', or 'sects' as you quote, in Gal 5:20, refers to those who break away to follow and practice error, hence the alternating use of the word 'heresies' or 'sects' in the Authorised Version to translate the same Greek word, see Acts 5:15, 15:5, 24:14; 26:5; 1 Cor 11:19; 2 Pet 2:1 .

This is evidently so as God commands His people to forsake those who have departed from the faith and to have no fellowship with them:
2 Corinthians ch 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2 Corinthians ch 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

Not being able to fellowship with them we must part company from them and join a Church that does hold to the faith once delivered to the saints. We are not to remain in fellowship with any who teach error.

This is the plain teaching of the New Testament therefore your basic premise is wrong. Not all denominations are sinful as you describe.

I don't accept Romanism as a Christian Church. While it is true that Roman Catholics can and do come to Christ, if truly converted the Spirit of God will lead them to leave the Roman Catholic Church and join with those who hold to the truth.

Rev Brian McClung

Witness said...

... and join a Church that does hold to the faith once delivered to the saints.

And that is what I am doing as a Christian. I'm aiming to be like the early brethren described in Acts - by that I mean, not taking labels, because Christ is not divided, there is only one church - we can have differences in the church, but provided that heresy doesn't arise, we are all one as a body with Christ as the Head.

Districally, we have churches, but beyond that if you begin putting labels in front of or after church - it is error. Or if you see the church as an organisation or building. The church is a body of people.

My foundation is the 66 books of the Bible, not confessions of faith or 'reformed doctrine'. The pure word of God is all that we need. The Lord is just gradually recovering old truths. From men like Luther to John Nelson Darby. I thank God for Luther, Tyndale and others - chances are that we'd all still be stuck in the rottenness of Rome if it wasn't for people like these. But we must continue to make progress and go back to Biblical fellowship and not insult Christ by dividing His body. Jesus Christ has only one bride - the church - a body of believers.

I still fellowship with Baptists, Anglicans and others - but don't consider it to be true fellowship.

Rev Brian McClung said...

Witness

Your simplistic approach does not account for the real world. Furthermore you fail to make a distinction between the sin of schism and the doctrine of Biblical separation. The first is forbidden by the Scriptures, the second is commanded.

Your argument only stands if the professing church never departs from the faith. This does not happen in the real world, and therefore there are going to be denominations. That is not error but an obedience to God’s command as I indicated in the last response. It is simply impossible to stand apart from false teaching without taking some name to distinguish yourself from other denominations that have departed from the faith.

Saying that your 'foundation is the 66 books of the Bible not confessions of faith or reformed doctrine' is again somewhat simplistic. The Roman Catholic Church says the same, the deniers of Christ’s deity down through the years have done so as well.

Near to where I live you can go and see the grave of John Knox’s grandson. Beside him in that graveyard lies a minister who was a Arian and a member of the non-subscribing Presbyterian Church. On his tombstone there is a long memorial of his professed adherence to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, etc and how he wouldn’t sign any man made creeds. If you didn’t know he was a Arian in the past you would be forgiven for thinking that he was a faithful minister of the gospel when he wasn’t.

Confessions and creeds are necessary to plainly declare what you believe the Bible teaches.

From your mention of J N Darby I take it that you are from a Brethren persuasion. How many different groups are they among the Brethren - Open, Closed, Exclusive? Around where I live there are Brethren assemblies which don’t associate with other Brethren assemblies. I remember hearing that there are at least 14 different Brethren groupings in the UK. Are these not denominations in all but name?

I personally don’t believe that the Lord used J N Darby to recover old truths. J N Darby didn’t return to old truths he propagated something entirely unheard of within Christian doctrine.

Brian McClung

Witness said...

Show me one place in the Bible where the saints refer to the church with any other name that its locality.

Rev Brian McClung said...

Just because the New Testament doesn't give any examples doesn't mean it is wrong to do so. It can equally be turned around and asked of you where is it expressly forbidden to do so in the New Testament?

There was no need that early in the New Testament Church to separate from apostasy as there later was therefore the issue of different denominations never arose.

There is not a religious group existing that doesn't define who they are in some form or other, be that Church, Gospel Hall, etc., etc.

Brian McClung

PS It would be best to give your proper name if you intend to continue this discussion. Speaking to people who stand in the shadows in not profitable in my opinion.

Witness said...

How can the body of Christ be divided? It is like saying, there's a leg here, an arm over there, etc.. It doesn't make any sense to say Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican, etc

The saints in the old testament recognised only the local church and universally the catholic church.

I don't think Protestantism relies as much on tradition as Romanism does, we should do away with all labels and live by the Bible only. Statements of faith are fine actually, it is more when you start saying arminian Christian or calvinistic/reformed Christian - there is only one type of Christian.

Even within denominations there can be heresy, look at the Church of England - I spent a while within that organisation and I can tell you, it is almost impossible to know what to expect when walking into a chapel, the infamous Bishop Spong considers himself to be an evangelical. So your idea of separation by using names doesn't stand.

Rev Brian McClung said...

Witness [It is time to give your name!!]

The body of Christ supersedes denominations. You are mixing up the visible Church and the invisible Church. I believe that this is where you are making a mistake.

The visible Church is made up of all who profess to follow Jesus Christ. But within the visible Church there are the sheep and the goats, those who are truly the Lord’s and those who are false professors, the wheat and the tares as the Saviour taught in Matthew ch 13. Denominations fall within this category. Sadly, not every member of every visible Church is truly the Lord’s.

The invisible Church, which is the body of Christ, is made up of those who are truly the Lord’s. Only the Lord himself knows who these individuals are. It is sin to bring division into the body of Christ. But it is the express command of Scripture to separate from those who have departed from the faith. This is not dividing the body of Christ. The Word of God would not command us to separate as it does, see Rom 16:17, Eph 5:11, Titus 3:10, 2 Cor 6:14,17, if separating from those who preach error was a sin.

Separation should be carefully considered and not the response to pride or failure to get our own way. Separation is only commanded when serious error is being tolerated and preached.

We should not be bringing division in among those who are truly the Lord by our sin, compromise and worldliness. That would apply to unnecessary separation and commencement of different denominations.

I will reply to your other points later

Brian McClung

Anonymous said...

Matthew 18:20 - the meetings of believers are initiated by the Lord, who calls the believers out of all persons, matters and things that occupy them and gathers them together into His name to enjoy the riches of His presence. Such a gathering of a few people of two or three, implies one of the ways for the church to meet locally. Such meetings of a few people must have been held in the believers' homes, as mentioned in Acts 2:46 and 5:42.

Many such meetings may be held separately in the same locality, yet they are still the unique church in that locality. Otherwise, they are not separate meetings but divisions, and they become sects (Gal 5:20).

1 Corinthians 1:2 - the church is constituted of the universal God, but it exists on earth in many localities one of which was Corinth.

Acts 8:1 - this was the first church established in a locality within the jurisdiction of a city, the city of Jerusalem. It was a local church in its locality, as indicated by the Lord in Matt. 18:17. It was not the universal church, as revealed by the Lord in Matt. 16:18, but only a part of the universal church, which is the Body of Christ.

The record concerning this matter is consistent throughout the New Testament.

Acts 14:23 (church) + Titus 1:5 (city) = Rev 1.11 (7 cities).

This book's being sent to the seven churches equals its being sent to the seven cities. This shows clearly that the practice of the church life in the early days was the practice of having one church for one city, one city with one church. In no city was there more than one church. This is the local church, with the city, not the street or area, as the unit. The jurisdiction of a local church should cover the whole city in which the church is located; it should not be greater or lesser than the boundary of the city. All the believers within that boundary should constitute the one unique local church within that city.

Rev Brian McClung said...

Anonymous

Sorry for the delay in uploading your post.

You state: 'The jurisdiction of a local church should cover the whole city in which the church is located; it should not be greater or lesser than the boundary of the city. All the believers within that boundary should constitute the one unique local church within that city.'

This is an unwarranted conclusion which fails to take account of the points made about the command to separate. Obedience to this command will invariably leave more than one professing Church in a locality.

Brian McClung

Gerry said...

Witness mentions the locality of the Church and Blogger the separation of the Church,

One thing that has always puzzle me, one main thing that is in respect of Christ's Church, For instance the Mark, Luke and John dont seem to think the Church important enough to mention it, but the main thing that puzzles me, is when Christ first mentions Church in Matthew 16:18, No one, at the immediate or any time thereafter says words like Master or Rabbi What is a Church. How could they possibly have known what it meant, when no one in History before that time, that instant had ever used a word like Church?

So without an explanation from Christ as to what is defined by Church as He spoke of it, are we all not right purely by our own interpretations

Regards

Gerry

Rev Brian McClung said...

Gerry

No one asked what the Church is because they were familiar with the concept. Stephen spoke to the Jewish leaders of his day about the 'church in the wilderness', Acts 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers. He was referring to the days in the wilderness after the exodus out of Egypt.

Stephen is clearly stating that the Church existed in the Old Testament era. The Church did not begin at Pentecost. The church has always existed from the dawn of time to the present.

None of the Pharisees, etc challenged Stephen as to what he meant by the use of the term because they understood what he was referring to.

It is not strictly true to say as you do that 'no one in History before that time, that instant had ever used a word like Church'. The word 'church' comes from two Greek words which literally mean 'the called out ones'.

Being a Greek word you would not expect it to appear in the Old Testament. However the O.T. has is equivalents - 'congregation' being the chief of them. The same principles that characterise the 'congregation of Israel' in the Old Testament are to characterise the 'Church' in the New Testament.

This is why there is no new definition of the church in the New Testament. The concept is carried over from the OLd Testament. There is a very close correlation between how the Old Testament worship was ordered in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah and the church in the days of the apostles.

Neither are we left purely to our own interpretations. Nothing of Bible religion is left to our own interpretation. That is the different false religion and true religion.

Brian McClung