Skip to comments.THE TRUE CHURCH
Posted on 11/03/2003 9:42:20 PM PST by RnMomof7
Where is this one true Church? What is this one true Church like? What are the marks by which this one true Church may be known? You may well ask such questions. Give me your attention, and I will provide you with some answers.
1. The one true Church IS COMPOSED OF ALL BELIEVERS IN THE LORD JESUS. It is made up of all God's elect - of all converted men and women - of all true Christians. In whomsoever we can discern the election of God the Father, the sprinkling of the blood of God the Son, the sanctifying work of God the Spirit, in that person we see a member of Christ's true Church.
2. It is a Church OF WHICH ALL THE MEMBERS HAVE THE SAME MARKS. They are all born again of the Spirit; they all possess "repentance towards God, faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ," and holiness of life and conversation. They all hate sin, and they all love Christ. (They worship differently, and after various fashions; some worship with a form of prayer, and some with none; some worship kneeling, and some standing; but they all worship with one heart.) They are all led by one Spirit; they all build upon one foundation; they all draw their religion from one single book - that is the Bible. They are all joined to one great center - that is Jesus Christ. They all even now can say with one heart, "Hallelujah;" and they can all respond with one heart and voice, Amen and Amen.
3. It is a Church WHICH IS DEPENDENT UPON NO MINISTERS UPON EARTH, however much it values those who preach the gospel to its members. The life of its members does not hang upon Church-membership, or baptism, or the Lord's Supper - although they highly value these things when they are to be had. But it has only one Great Head - one Shepherd, one chief Bishop - and that is Jesus Christ. He alone, By His Spirit, admits the members of this Church, though ministers may show the door. Till He opens the door no man on earth can open it - neither bishops, nor presbyters, nor convocations, nor synods. Once let a man repent and believe the gospel, and that moment he becomes a member of this Church. Like the penitent thief, he may have no opportunity of being baptized; but he has that which is far better than any water-baptism - the baptism of the Spirit. He may not be able to receive the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper;but he eats Christ's body and drinks Christ's blood by faith every day he lives, and no minister on earth can prevent him. He may be ex-communicated by ordained men, and cut off from the outward ordinances of the professing Church; but all the ordained men in the world cannot shut him out of the true Church.
It is a Church whose existence does not depend on forms, ceremonies, cathedrals, churches, chapels, pulpits, fonts, vestments, organs, endowments, money, kings, governments, magistrates or any act of favor whatsoever from the hand of man. It has often lived on and continued when all these things have been taken from it. It has often been driven into the wilderness, or into dens and caves of the earth, by those who ought to have been its friends. Its existence depends on nothing but the presence of Christ and His Spirit; and they being ever with it, the Church cannot die.
4. This is the Church TO WHICH THE SCRIPTURAL TITLES OF PRESENT HONOR AND PRIVILEGE, AND THE PROMISES OF FUTURE GLORY ESPECIALLY BELONG; this is the Body of Christ; this is the flock of Christ; this is the household of faith and the family of God; this is God's building, God's foundation, and the temple of the Holy Ghost. This is the Church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven; this is the royal priesthood, the chosen generation, the peculiar people, the purchased possession, the habitation of God, the light of the world, the salt and the wheat of the earth; this is the "Holy Catholic Church" of the Apostles' Creed; this is the "One Catholic and Apostolic Church" of the Nicene Creed; this is that Church to which the Lord Jesus promises "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," and to which He says, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world"(Matt.16:18; 28:2).
5. This is the only Church WHICH POSSESSES TRUE UNITY. Its members are entirely agreed on all the weightier matters of religion, for they are all taught by one Spirit. About God, and Christ, and the Spirit, and sin, and their own hearts, and faith, and repentance, and necessity of holiness, and the value of the Bible, and the importance of prayer, and the resurrection, and judgment to come - about all these points they are of one mind. Take three or four of them, strangers to one another, from the remotest corners of the earth; examine them separately on these points: you will find them all one judgment.
6. This is the only Church WHICH POSSESSES TRUE SANCTITY. Its members are all holy. They are not merely holy by profession, holy in name, and holy in the judgment of charity; they are all holy in act, and deed, and reality, and life, and truth. They are all more or less conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. No unholy man belongs to this Church.
7. This is the only Church WHICH IS TRULY CATHOLIC. It is not the Church of any one nation or people; its members are to be found in every part of the world where the gospel is received and believed. It is not confined within the limits of any one country, or pent up within the pale of any particular forms of outward government. In it there is no difference between Jew and Greek, black man and white, Episcopalian and Presbyterian - but faith in Christ is all. Its members will be gathered from north, and south, and east, and west, and will be of every name and tongue - but all one in Jesus Christ.
8. This is the only Church WHICH IS TRULY APOSTOLIC. It is built on the foundation laid by the Apostles, and holds the doctrines which they preached. The two grand objects at which its members aim are apostolic faith and apostolic practice; and they consider the man who talks of following the Apostles without possessing these two things to be no better than sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.
9. This is the only Church WHICH IS CERTAIN TO ENDURE UNTO THE END. Nothing can altogether overthrow and destroy it. Its members may be persecuted, oppressed, imprisoned, beaten, beheaded, burned; but the true Chruch is never altogether extinguished; it rises again from its afflictions; it lives on through fire and water. When crushed in one land it springs up in another. The Pharaohs, the Herods, the Neros, the Bloody Marys, have labored in vain to put down this Church; they slay their thousands, and then pass away and go to their own place. The true Church outlives them all, and sees them buried each in his turn. It is an anvil that has broken many a hammer in this world, and will break many a hammer still; it is a bush which is often burning, and yet it's not consumed.
10. This is the only Church OF WHICH NO ONE MEMBER CAN PERISH. Once enrolled in the lists of this Church, sinners are safe for eternity; they are never cast away. The election of God the Father, the continual intercession of God the Son, the daily renewing and sanctifying power of God the Holy Ghost, surround and fence them in like a garden enclosed. Not one bone of Christ's mystical Body shall ever be broken; not one lamb of Christ's flock shall ever be plucked out of His hand.
11. This is the Church WHICH DOES THE WORK OF CHRIST UPON EARTH. Its members are a little flock, and few in numbers, compared with the children of the world; one or two here, and two or three there - a few in this place and few in that. But these are they who shake the universe; these are they who change the fortunes of kingdoms by their prayers; these are they who are the active workers for spreading the knowledge of pure religion and undefiled; these are the life-blood of a country, the shield, the defence, the stay, and the support of any nation to which they belong.
12. This is the Church WHICH SHALL BE TRULY GLORIOUS AT THE END. When all earthly glory is passsed away then shall this Church be presented without spot before God the Father's throne. Thrones, principalities, and powers upon earth shall come to nothing; dignities, and offices, and endowments shall all pass away; but the Church of the first-born shall shine as the stars at the last, and be presented with joy before the Father's throne, in the day of Christ's appearing. When the Lord's jewels are made up, and manifestation of the sons of God takes place, Episcopacy, and Presbyterianism, and Congregationalism will not be mentioned; one Church only will be named, and that is the Church of the elect.
13. Reader, THIS IS THE TRUE CHURCH TO WHICH A MAN MUST BELONG, IF HE WOULD BE SAVED. Till you belong to this, you are nothing better than a lost soul. You may have the form, the husk, the skin, and the shell of religion, but you have not got the substance and the life. Yes, you may have countless outward privileges; you may enjoy great light, and knowledge - but if you do not belong to the Body of Christ, your light and knowledge and privileges will not save your soul. Alas, for the ignorance that prevails on this point! Men fancy if they join this church or that church, and become communicants, and go through certain forms, that all must be right in their souls. It is an utter delusion, it is a gross mistake. All were not Israel who were called Israel, and all are not members of Christ's Body who profess themselves Christian. TAKE NOTICE; you may be a staunch Episcopalian, or Presbyterian, or Independent, or Baptist, or Wesleyan, or Plymouth Brother - and yet not belong to the true Church. And if you do not, it will be better at last if you had never been born.
Return to Rich's Home Page of Reformed Theology
It is a body of believers
1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.
Hank's point was that as long as we agree on the core doctrinal issues the rest (liturgics, ecclesiology) doesn't impair the body of Christ. And I can understand that position because Catholics have similar views on non-dogmatic issues: if it hasn't been dogmatically defined we are free to debate without hurling anathemas. And the Eastern Rites can express things like purgatory differently than we do in the Latin Rite: also no problem as regards unity.
But where I believe Hank's position is flawed, and maybe some of you can answer this, is how do we ultimately know what's a core issue or not? What is worthy of utter repudiation as heresy and what is tolerable debate? We can lay out a series of "you-must-believe-this-to-be-a-Christian", but what divine authority does it have? There is no clear delineation in Scripture and in the end it seems to be just a personal opinion.
Praise God for Free Republic and the Catholic/Calvinist/ahadams2 forum where all can find how screwed up their churches and their Bibles are, and be saved. Thank You, Jesus!
How dare you question Hank Hanegraaff on this forum--you're goin' burn baby burn [/sarcasm]!
You make some solid points, but you will be answered to how heretical you are, and will provide entertainment for the chosen ones to enjoy, should you choose to remain. God bless you.
That song resonated through our family's heart when we left a legalistic church and had only ourselves and the Lord each Sunday morning. My husband recaptured his position in our family as spiritual lead and the Lord showed up in our worship time--whatever day or time it was. That children's song became a truth in our hearts rather than simply in our minds. It was not by choice but by His divine intervention that we were what seemed to be 'alone' when really we were left alone,for a season, with Him. Our family grew together in a unity that I could go on for days writing about all because the Lord showed us that He is our sufficiency.
...Catholics have similar views on non-dogmatic issues: if it hasn't been dogmatically defined we are free to debate without hurling anathemas.
What are the non-dogmatic issues of the RC church? Papal infallibility? The perpetual virginity of Mary or the celibacy of Joseph? Our obligation to pray to Mary? Transubstantiation? Purgatory? A celibate priesthood? I don't know which of these are dogmatic and which are non-dogmatic as far as Catholics are concerned, but I do know that none are supported by Scripture.
Why not try a second glance?
This is an attack on no one.
Perhaps if you are interested in "attack" threads you will read the one posted by a Catholic a few weeks ago that found general agreement among your fellow that Protestants worship a different god than Catholics..and are doomed. While Islam worships the same god as Catholics..I will not comment on my thoughts on that ,
History is not a marker of truth, after all Hitler and Stalin were also historic. The measure of truth is Jesus
Priestly celibacy is not a dogma. It is merely a practice. It is not somethign we believe is revealed as a truth which all must ascribe to. Rather, it is merely our way of doing things.
You may be unaware, but there exist entire branches of the One Catholic Church which have priests who are married. Not in this country, but in the East. We couldn't very well do that if it was a dogmatic belief that priests must be celibate, right?
As for the rest, your wording about Mary aside (who considers having someone to pray with you an "obligation"? Do you feel "obliged" to pray with your fellow Christians? Is it a burden?), the rest are indeed dogmatic beliefs.
An example of an open area that is not dogmatic is the question of what happens to infants who die prior to being baptised.
You're mixing apples with oranges. The article you cite was of a hard line Catholic. It stated nothing about Muslims. Anyone who believes Protestants are in error would not embrace Muslims.
Just wanted to comment on this Jobim.
John 6 is the great predestination chapter..It might be very good if you really read it:>))
The Catholic Church hid scripture..even from its priests before Luther. Some early Catholic Theologians did not even read it. The people only "heard it" in a foreign language (latin)
Nor was this attitude toward the Bible essentially different among the theologians. Even though the Bible remained the source book of theology during the Middle Ages, it was seldom studied directly by the theologians. Luther complains that both in the monasteries and the universities the Bible was seldom read directly, and when it was, it was understood according to the categories of Aristotle. Those seeking "real" theology were instead directed to study the scholastic theologians, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, and others. As a typical example of this, Luther mentions his fellow professor Andreas Karlstadt, who did not even own a Bible when he earned his doctor of theology degree, nor did he until many years later (e.g., WA TR 1, no. 174).
You toss these accusations around. You act like there was no Scripture to be found in any of the works of the great theologians. This is pitiful.
As for the poor people being forced to listen in a foreign language, it never fails to amuse. Anyone who could read or write at that time could read and write Latin. Duh.
Hi Claud, gee it has been a long time since we "talked".
I can not speak for Hank, but I would say the core issues that he is talking about is the nature of God and the work of the persons in the trinity . We agree with the Apostles creed and the Nicene creed . I do believe that He would call that the essentials to be a part of the "visible (professing) church".
Obviously neither of us consider the other to hold correct doctrine on Salvation.
For you it is salvation by faith and works, for us it is faith alone (with the works of the saved appointed to us by God )
These are not "minor" differences by any means , and should not be painted over
"Rich" is a famous Theologian and no they do not conflict a bit.
. 3) But it has only one Great Head - one Shepherd, one chief Bishop - and that is Jesus Christ. He alone, By His Spirit, admits the members of this Church, though ministers may show the door. Till He opens the door no man on earth can open it - neither bishops, nor presbyters, nor convocations, nor synods.
8.) This is the only Church WHICH IS TRULY APOSTOLIC. It is built on the foundation laid by the Apostles, and holds the doctrines which they preached.
The apostles preached repent and believe and salvation by faith not rituals
PS Ryle was an Anglican Bishop
I believe you rush to judgment .Ryle was an Anglican Bishop and I believe he was addressing a doctrinal change in his own church..;but if the shoe fits wear it.:>)
You need to read the entire thread..it was a part of the conversation..
No one who thinks "Protestants" worship a different God thinks Muslims worship the same God. You imply the article said so, when it didn't. And I hardly think any poster would hold such ideas in his head.
Maybe two different Catholics would hold these two different ideas. Or mean two different things by the term. But no one person or article would say what you say they said. That's dishonest of you to state it that way.
What about those that could not"read and write"?
Dave I do not believe the majority of the populous in 1600 could read and write Latin
So only those that spoke Latin could understand the gospel.
Dave do you know how pathetic that sounds?
Dave why do you think the church kept the Bible from almost everyone?
I'll take the words spoken by Jesus any day over that of Martin Luther or "Rich".
Where was the body of Christ when He said that ? Did they bite His arm?
I rather like the quote from John 6 myself
Jhn 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Jhn 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Jhn 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Jhn 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Jhn 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
Jhn 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.
Jhn 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
Soothing Dave handled it nicely. Check out his response.
Those who would put the Scriptures indiscriminately into the hands of the people are the believers always in private interpretationa fallacy both absurd in itself and pregnant with disastrous consequences. These counterfeit champions of the inspired book hold the Bible to be the sole source of Divine Revelation and cover with abuse and trite sarcasm the Catholic and Roman Church. Foreword, Index of Prohibited Books, revised and published by order of Pope Pius XI, Vatican Polyglot Press, 1930, x-xi, quoted in Facts of Faith, 10-11.
These plain words from such an authentic source need no comment. Ever since the first Index of Prohibited Books was issued by Pope Paul IV in 1559, the Bible has had a prominent place in these lists of forbidden books. And before the invention of printing it was comparatively easy for the Roman Church to control what the people should, or should not, read; but shortly before the Reformation started the Lord prepared the way for its rapid progress by the discovery of the art of printing. The name of Laurence Coster, of Holland, is often mentioned in connection with the story of the first production in Europe, in 1423, of movable type. In 1450 to 1455 John Gutenberg printed the Latin Bible at Mentz (Mainz), Germany. He endeavored for a time to keep his invention a secret, but Samuel Smiles relates:
In the meanwhile, the printing establishments of Gutenberg and Schoeffer were for a time broken up by the sack and plunder of Mentz by the Archbishop Adolphus in 1462, when, their workmen becoming dispersed, and being no longer bound to secrecy, they shortly after carried with them the invention of the new art into nearly every country in Europe. The Huguenots, London: John Murray, 1868, 7, quoted in ibid., 11
There being so few books to print, and there being a ready sale for Bibles, the printers risked hazards from the opposition of the Church, and printed Bibles in Latin, Italian, Bohemian, Dutch, French, Spanish, and German. While these were so expensive that only the wealthy could afford to buy them, and their language was not adapted to the minds of the common people, yet they
seriously alarmed the Church; and in 1486 the Archbishop of Mentz placed the printers of that city, which had been the cradle of the printing press, under strict censorship. Twenty-five years later, Pope Alexander VI issued a bull prohibiting the printers of Cologne, Mentz, Treves, and Magdeburg, from publishing any books without the express license of their archbishops. Although these measures were directed against the printing of religious works generally, they were more particularly directed against the publication of the Scriptures in the vulgar [common] tongue. Ibid., 8, quoted in ibid., 12
After Martin Luther had spent much time in the homes and company of the people that he might acquire their language, he, with his co-workers, translated the Bible into a language that, while it was dignified and beautiful, was so natural and easy to be understood by the ordinary mind that it made the Bible at once "the peoples book." The New Testament was translated in 1521, and fifty-eight editions of it were printed between 1522 and 1533: seventeen editions at Wittenberg, thirteen at Augsberg, twelve at Basel, one at Erfurt, one at Grimma, one at Leipzig, and thirteen at Strassburg. The Old Testament was first printed in four parts, 1523 to 1533, and finally the entire Bible was published in one volume in 1534.
In 1522 Jacques Lefevre translated the New Testament into French, and Collin, at Meaux, printed it in 1524. In 1525 William Tyndale translated the New Testament into English. All these New Testaments were translated from the original Greek, and not from the imperfect Latin Vulgate used by the papal church.
Printing presses were kept busy printing the Scriptures, while colporteurs and booksellers sold them to the eager public. The effect was tremendous.
Every honest intellect was at once struck with the strange discrepancy between the teaching of the Sacred Volume and that of the Church of Rome. Eugene Lawrence, Historical Studies, New York: Harper Brothers, 1876, 255
Rome was awake to the inevitable result of allowing the common people to read the Bible, and the vicar of Croydon declared in a speech at St. Pauls Cross, London:
We must destroy the printing press, or it will destroy us. Quoted in E.R.Palmer, The Printing Press and the Gospel, 24, quoted in ibid., 14
To the Bible the popes at once declared a deathless hostility. To read the Scriptures was in their eyes the grossest of crimes. . . . The Inquisition was invested with new terrors, and was forced upon France and Holland by papal armies. The Jesuits were everywhere distinguished by their hatred for the Bible. In the Netherlands they led the persecutions of Alva and Philip II; they rejoiced with a dreadful joy when Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent, the fairest cities of the workingmen, were reduced to pauperism and ruin by the Spanish arms; for the Bible had perished with its defenders. . . . quoted in ibid., 15
To burn Bibles was the favorite employment of zealous Catholics. Wherever they were found the heretical volumes were destroyed by active Inquisitors, and thousands of Bibles and Testaments perished in every part of France. Lawrence, op. cit. 254-257, quoted in ibid., 15