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BACK TO THE BEGINNING

Posted on 03/01/2010 9:24:59 AM PST by Ken4TA

The following article, written by a friend of mine, Gene McCoy, is an unpublished paper. He gave me permission to use it as I saw fit. He Titled it, Back to the Beginning: Restoring the Church to the New Testament Pattern. I think it very worthy of consideration and discussion. Here it is.

It was in Junior High School that I began to notice changes in my vision and first began wearing eyeglasses. Over the years, my vision gradually worsened, making stronger prescriptions necessary. When I was thirty-nine years old, the eye doctor told me to prepare for more drastic changes that would come more quickly as I approached middle age. He was right.

How is your vision? As many people look at a snapshot of church, they see a blurred picture. There is nothing wrong with their vision. The picture itself is distorted. Focusing on it gives many people a headache. Others, having looked at it, react in anegative way (if you’ll excuse the pun) and refuse to have anything to do with it.

Just as my eye doctor prescribed corrective lenses for my failing eyes to restore 20/20 vision, there is something we can do to correct the blurred and distorted picture we see in the religious world: Except the correction is not going to be to our eyes, but rather to the picture. Experts can take valuable paintings and other works of art that have deteriorated through the years and restore them to what they looked like originally. This is what we must continually do in connection with the church. Just as art restorers are not satisfied merely to touch up only the worst parts of a painting but rather to restore it to its original condition, so we should not be satisfied with anything less than returning the church to the original pattern, as described in the book of Acts.

When the apostles of Jesus established the church on the Day of Pentecost, there was no division like there is today – no Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics, etc. There was only one form of baptism – immersion of adults placing their faith in Jesus. There was one statement of faith – one creed: specifically, “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”

Several years after the death of the last apostle, men began to depart from the New Testament pattern, specifically as it pertained to the governing structure of the church. Using the government of Rome as the pattern instead of the Bible, one elder was elevated over others and ruled over numerous congregations instead of just one. And from those so promoted, one was selected to be chief over all, usurping the headship over the church that belongs to Jesus Christ. Later, the baptism prescribed by Jesus and the apostles (immersion) was replaced by other forms that men considered to be just as effective and acceptable (sprinkling, pouring). Whereas only believing adults were baptized in the church established by the apostles, men began the practice of “infant baptism.”

What may have seemed at the time to be slight and insignificant departures from the Biblical pattern eventually resulted in a picture that was obviously a perversion of the original. Consider the illusion created by railroad tracks as an illustration of how minute changes become massive with the passage of time. On the horizon, railroad tracks appear to converge. Our eyes see the two lines gradually separating further and further apart. Even a baby step away from the Bible will eventually result in major discrepancies, with the effect being the development of a picture that does not resemble the original.

Departures that began gradually pick up momentum and accelerate over time. Reformers of the eighteenth century were disturbed by the departures of the Roman Catholic Church from the Bible. The reforms for which they contended were certainly needed. But what they did was similar to merely touching up some of the painting to make the picture somewhat more like the original. What was needed was restoration, not merely reformation. What they should have done was to remove all that didn’t correspond to the original, not to improve (i.e., touch up) a distorted picture.

The reformers began with the distortion and tried to improve it. Restorers begin with the original and work to remove all that has caused the distortion. Perhaps you have seen programs on TV that show how an old house has been restored. It isn’t merely a remodeling project, in which modern fixtures are used. No, restoration projects research the architecture and furnishings of the era and duplicate them right down to the glass doorknobs and wallpaper of the period.

Restoring old automobiles demands that the original color of paint be used and that the seats be covered with the same kind of material that was on them when the car was manufactured. Restoring something is to return it to its original form and design. Whether or not you do this with a house or a car will mean only the difference in its value on the market. But the church is radically different, because something more important than monetary value is at stake. The salvation of men’s souls depends upon it! It must adhere to the divine blueprint and satisfy divine specifications.

Distressed by the division in their day, the nineteenth century restorers pleaded with people in the denominations to unite upon the simple proposition that the Bible is the sole authority to determine what should be taught and practiced, and that Jesus is the divine Son of God. Their plea must be renewed and resounded yet today to discard all denominational designations and distinctions and unite upon the foundation of the Bible alone; and to be known only as were the first converts – “Christians.”

The reformers were known as “Protestants.” They protested the perversions of the Roman Catholic Church. “Protestant” is derived from those who were opposed to certain parts of church teachings, resulting in the establishment of new denominations. The Restoration Movement is not about breaking with any particular group in at attempt to protest or “reform.” Reforming a particular denomination and establishing another denomination is not the goal of restorers. The goal is to go back to the original pattern and picture, as described in the New Testament. The restorers wanted to be known, not as Catholics or Protestants, but rather as Christians.

The restorers were not interested in establishing a new denomination, which would only add to the division among God’s people. What they began and we continue is not a denomination, but a movement. There are no denominational trappings (earthly headquarters, hierarchy, distinctive names, human creeds, etc.). Instead, it is a free fellowship among like-minded individuals and congregations that are bound together, not by human organization, but by a common conviction that the Bible is the sole authority in matters pertaining to salvation.

This free fellowship is characterized by principles that are codified in slogans that express the key ideas that drive this movement:
• The Bible only produces Christians only
• We are Christians only but not the only Christians.
• Where the Bible speaks, we speak; where it is silent, we are silent.
• Call Bible things by Bible names.
• No creed but Christ; No book but the Bible; No name but the Divine.
• In Faith Unity, in Opinions Liberty, and in All Things Love.

How can you tell if you are in a restored congregation? There are various characteristics that mark the identity of a restored church:
• No denominational designation
• Weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper
• Baptism of adults by immersion for the purposes of washing sin away
• No distinctive title for preachers (e.g., Pastor, Reverend, Father, Brother, etc.)
• No “clergy” / “laity” distinction
• No vestments or special garb (e.g., robes)
• No extra-congregational organization (hierarchy, delegate convention, etc.)

There is one sure way you can know you are in a restored congregation. When the appeal is made to respond to the Gospel invitation in a restored congregation, you will hear the very same words that were spoken by the apostles on the Day of Pentecost when they were asked what must be done in order to be saved from their sin. The answer that must be restored is this: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

These words are ignored, disregarded, or not seen by those in churches that have been merely reformed. The picture they paint is still fraught with the impurities of human creeds, dogmas and tradition. The problem is not with the original, but with the eyes of those viewing it. Many religious groups simply do not want to see this picture that is in clear focus in the Word of God.

A woman had her eyes examined, only to discover that the prescription in her eyeglasses did not match what the previous doctor had prescribed. For over a year she wore eyeglasses that were not prepared according to the prescription. She was sincere enough. And she was diligent and faithful to wear the glasses every day. They did assist her vision, but she was not seeing clearly. She didn’t have any problem or hesitation getting the correct lenses once she discovered the discrepancy, for she wanted to bring vision into line with the standard.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Ecumenism; Evangelical Christian; Theology
KEYWORDS: baptism; church; creeds; restoration
I've known Gene for over 10 years. We've had many discussions, and all for growing in the knowledge of Christ Jesus. I'll probably post some more if I can get him to write more - he is very good at writing and getting his point across.
1 posted on 03/01/2010 9:24:59 AM PST by Ken4TA
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To: Ken4TA; Religion Moderator

No source given?

Is this a vanity?


2 posted on 03/01/2010 9:29:40 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Ken4TA

Interesting.

I’m curious if this “back to the original” idea includes going all the way back. In other words, reading the books of the Bible in their original language.

Otherwise, I don’t see how one can claim or believe to be any more original than any other Christian sect because you have to rely on the good intentions, and ability, of a translator. Doubly so if you believe, as the author asserts, that the Bible is the sole authority.


3 posted on 03/01/2010 9:43:08 AM PST by chrisser (Starve the Monkeys!)
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To: Salvation; Religion Moderator
No source given?
Is this a vanity?

I gave the source in the introduction of the thread: didn't you read it, or were you fraught with what the thread said?

All is vanity, as I've said before, regardless of who it is that writes what they think and/or believes.

4 posted on 03/01/2010 9:55:10 AM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: chrisser
I’m curious if this “back to the original” idea includes going all the way back. In other words, reading the books of the Bible in their original language.

Hmm...that's part of it. But history is also required, I believe, in trying to restore things as they were at a certain time period.

Otherwise, I don’t see how one can claim or believe to be any more original than any other Christian sect because you have to rely on the good intentions, and ability, of a translator. Doubly so if you believe, as the author asserts, that the Bible is the sole authority.

Yes, you're statement has some merit. One has to rely on scholarship, and that scholarship must include the idea that the Bible is worthy of following, along with what history records. Trying to restore the "church" to what it was in the beginning is to be applauded, IMHO, just as restoring a car to its original creation is: reading the specifications, and using the same materials. I don't think that's to hard to follow in restoring anything to its original shape - church included.

5 posted on 03/01/2010 10:05:02 AM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: Ken4TA

Thanks for posting.

I am in the middle of doing research for my new book and, along with Dean Arthur Stanley, I would like to know just how in the heck “Christianity” in the New Testament became the monstrosity known as today’s “Christianity.”


6 posted on 03/01/2010 10:07:17 AM PST by Overwatcher
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To: Ken4TA
There is one sure way you can know you are in a restored congregation. When the appeal is made to respond to the Gospel invitation in a restored congregation, you will hear the very same words that were spoken by the apostles on the Day of Pentecost when they were asked what must be done in order to be saved from their sin.

Is that all the Apostles did?

7 posted on 03/01/2010 10:14:54 AM PST by the_conscience (We ought to obey God, rather than men. (Acts 5:29b))
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To: Overwatcher
I am in the middle of doing research for my new book and, along with Dean Arthur Stanley, I would like to know just how in the heck “Christianity” in the New Testament became the monstrosity known as today’s “Christianity.”

You're not alone in that need! That was my complaint 40 years ago. Even at that time (I was a Catholic) I was interested in finding out what the early church looked and acted like. So, along with a library card and a notebook, I visited the local library - a lost cause if one doesn't quite know what to look for. My next journey was to read all the writings of the first few centuries and ended up reading Augustine's many books (got blurry eyes from that!). Putting all my notes together, I then proceeded to read whatever history books I could get a hold of, both secular and religious. If you want a career, try what I tried :-) I don't recommend it unless you can get someone to back you up! It's a lot of research...

If you find out how Christianity became the monstrosity it is today, make sure you post the title of your book so I can read it. BTW, this media is one of the poorest ways to do that :-)

8 posted on 03/01/2010 10:22:44 AM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: the_conscience
"There is one sure way you can know you are in a restored congregation. When the appeal is made to respond to the Gospel invitation in a restored congregation, you will hear the very same words that were spoken by the apostles on the Day of Pentecost when they were asked what must be done in order to be saved from their sin."

Is that all the Apostles did?

I don't believe so. First they preached the Good news, and when those hearing believed, I imagine the first thing they thought to ask was that question - I know I would have.

Again, once one becomes a Christian, and saved, they are like babies who need nourishment - and that's what the Apostles fed them. None of the letters in the NT were written to unbelievers, just believers. Non-believers had to have the Gospel proclaimed to them, not nourishment, for they had to have belief first.

9 posted on 03/01/2010 10:30:07 AM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: Ken4TA

Well, here’s the problem, as I see it.

Who among us has the time to devote to learning all the original languages of the Bible (I’m presuming that those alive during Acts were able to read the Old Testament and that understanding it is necessary to understand the NT)? Out of practicality, one, or maybe a handful of people, will actually have this ability in a given congregation.

Whether it is wanted or not, this will lead to a group that is “clergy” vs those who don’t have this knowledge; “laity” (or whatever terms arise).

At some point, whether intentional or not, some name will be applied to “restored congregations”.

At some point, there will be disagreements, and some sort of hierarchy or convention, or schism, regardless what you call it, will be needed. Some will arise as being more knowledgeable than others, whether that is formalized or not doesn’t change the reality.

As the congregation grows, the confusion of not knowing who is managing this group of people (something necessary at least at some level) will require some sort of identification of the leadership. Maybe vestements, maybe something else.

I guess what I’m saying is that the “characteristics of a reformed church” will start to fall almost from the beginning, and probably all will be gone in some fashion after about 5 years unless the congregation size stays at some small level (my guess is maybe 25 people). Well, other than baptism of adults by immersion. That seems clear enough

None of that necessarily makes the congregation any less original - I would be surprised if the exact same practical trappings did not arise in the early church, even if the writers had no reason to put them down for posterity. That doesn’t necessarily infer that “human creeds, dogmas and tradition” are impurities that need to be purged. Surely the apostles and their followers had plenty of their own, and there is plenty of evidence that dissent and splintering were common in the early church.


10 posted on 03/01/2010 10:41:48 AM PST by chrisser (Starve the Monkeys!)
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To: Ken4TA

Sorry, this is just another example of reinventing the wheel. It is, in a sense, the opposite side of the problem of another exemplar of visible Christianity, one not to be mentioned for fear of inciting emotionally based outrage.

Christians who lived before us were neither stupid nor ignorant, at least no more so than we. Neither were they more or less corrupt than we. They, like we, had their flaws and operated under the influence of the fads, trends, and delusions of their age. There is nothing at all new under the sun.

To restore the church is to say that it lies in ruins. It does not. It cannot. That is the promise. (Matthew 16:18) The chief problem of the church is that it is entirely populated with sinners, all of whom have fallen short of the glory of God and continue to do so. In other words, there is corruption in the church. There always has been and there always will be. Some of the corruption is very visible: the fracturing of the church into denominations. Some of the corruption is less visible: the failure of so many in their various groups or denominations to live up to whatever good their respective group managed either to preserve or repristinate. Some of the corruption is known only to God: the actual state of any individual’s heart and soul.

The duty of the church is to confess clearly in its teaching and worship the one, true, Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and all that He has revealed to mankind about itself, the dangerous problem that threatens it, and the solution He has put forth to solve that problem. The church, which is only the sum total of all those whom God knows to be His own, has the task, as does any individual, of examining itself in the light of God’s truth, the truth that shines brightly and directly from God’s own revealed will, the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and is reflected indirectly through the words and actions of the church through its long and complicated history. In examining itself, the church will always find itself wanting, always find itself in need of a merciful, long-suffering God of grace, the very God who most clearly revealed Himself in the person of the crucified Jesus Christ.

That denomination or faction that fails either to examine itself, repent, and earnestly seek to reestablish what is wanting - and something always will be - or that claims to have restored everything as all those before failed to do is the denomination or faction to be avoided. In either case, glory is given to man, whether knowingly or not.

In the faithful, struggling church all glory is God’s and His alone, just as it is in the faithful, struggling, individual disciple of Christ.


11 posted on 03/01/2010 11:07:53 AM PST by Belteshazzar
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To: chrisser
Well, here’s the problem, as I see it.

Very good, it's the same thoughts that I had when I started my research, and heard all the time by others. There was not "clergy" nor "laity" in the early church. The leaders where chosen from among the assembly, i.e, the "church". I don't doubt that the Elders chosen to fulfill the role of Bishop were probably among the most knowledgeable in the assembly. But, by the same token, look at the Apostles: were they the most knowledgeable among the population of Israel during the time Jesus was alive? I sort of doubt it. Most Israelites at that time were able to read the OT, or at least the male population was; for they had to be able to read from it at the age of 12 or 13 - they were not illiterate, history shows us that.

At some point, whether intentional or not, some name will be applied to “restored congregations”.

Most assuredly! Either by themselves or by their opponents. That's how the "Ana-baptists" got their name. In fact, most of the early churches started by men who were denounced for stating their beliefs and influenced others to join them were called by their names - by their opponents. Again, that is history. However, those trying to take the church of today back to its original beliefs and practices, for the most part, chose names that the Bible attributed to various assemblies of Christians - the Church of God, the Church of Christ or Christian Church, just to name a few. Then comes the opponents and all types of names are applied to those groups of Christians, regardless of what they put forth that they believe in.

As the congregation grows, the confusion of not knowing who is managing this group of people (something necessary at least at some level) will require some sort of identification of the leadership. Maybe vestements, maybe something else.

Not necessarily. I would say it depends upon the members of the assembly being knowledgeable in the faith and practices.

That doesn’t necessarily infer that “human creeds, dogmas and tradition” are impurities that need to be purged. Surely the apostles and their followers had plenty of their own, and there is plenty of evidence that dissent and splintering were common in the early church.

To get the church back to its original shape, any "creed" that would contradict Scriptures would and should, IMHO, be purged. What's wrong in saying that one's "Creed" (I believe) is what is written in the Scriptures?

Hmmm...I don't see any of the Apostles or writers of the NT Scriptures mentioning their creed(s). If anything, their creed was the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.

As for dissent and splintering were common, most definitely. All one has to do is read the Letters written by the Scriptures and letters of the earliest writers after them. History is replete with dissident and splintering groups arising within the ranks of Christian groups.

Very interesting conversation. You're remarks are very pertinant. Thanks.

12 posted on 03/01/2010 11:35:03 AM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: Ken4TA

Thanks for sharing. I too was a Catholic and did a lot of reading, which led to my becoming a non-Catholic.

In discussing “Christianity,” I reluctantly use the word “church,” because I do not believe that Jesus ever founded any churches, nor did Paul. Everywhere Jesus went He proclaimed the kingdom of God, and the people heard Him gladly. The ones who believed became part of His “ekklesia,” his outcalled ones (not His church). On the day of Pentecost, the “120” were Jews who believed, and they
didn’t cease being Jews. Jesus never ceased being a Jew, and I don’t think Mary converted to Catholicism. The 3000 added that day also were Jews who believed.

I know that the term “Christian” was first applied at Antioch, and was sort of a nickname for these people, these believers. But, how “Christianity” of the New Testament suddenly emerged intertwined with the world’s political system is what I am trying to figure out.

I better stop now because I’m rambling (while at work). Hope to talk with you further about this question.


13 posted on 03/01/2010 11:46:18 AM PST by Overwatcher
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To: Belteshazzar
Christians who lived before us were neither stupid nor ignorant, at least no more so than we. Neither were they more or less corrupt than we. They, like we, had their flaws and operated under the influence of the fads, trends, and delusions of their age. There is nothing at all new under the sun.

Yes, there is nothing new under the sun :-)

To restore the church is to say that it lies in ruins. It does not. It cannot. That is the promise. (Matthew 16:18)

Negative. Restoring doesn't state that the church lies in ruins. I will speak to your "It does not. It cannot. That is the promise." I take it you are refering to the statement Jesus made about "the gates of the grave will not prevail against it"? I most certainly believe what Jesus said, but that statement does not refer to the idea that the church will err in what it teaches and practices, for it does! It refers to the fact that His church will survive even the death of its members. Don't forget that all those who die in Christ, if they truly have "put on Christ", will be resurrected and really be the "body of Christ" at His return. The "church" is made up of believers and unbelievers, saved and unsaved, redeemed and unredeemed; it was alway so, and will be until Jesus returns.

Sorry, have to close - will get back at you later.

14 posted on 03/01/2010 11:51:41 AM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: Ken4TA; Religion Moderator
The source and the link have certain places in the posting format. That's where I look. And they were both missing

Maybe you can fix that the next time you post something.

15 posted on 03/01/2010 2:12:40 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Belteshazzar
To continue... Got my business done that interupted me :-)

The chief problem of the church is that it is entirely populated with sinners, all of whom have fallen short of the glory of God and continue to do so. In other words, there is corruption in the church. There always has been and there always will be. Some of the corruption is very visible: the fracturing of the church into denominations. Some of the corruption is less visible: the failure of so many in their various groups or denominations to live up to whatever good their respective group managed either to preserve or repristinate. Some of the corruption is known only to God: the actual state of any individual’s heart and soul.

That is very true. The only one who can control these things is God's spirit working in the spirits of men. As the church has both believers and unbelievers in it, it will always be a field needing harvest. It is up to those true believers to convert those who are not knowledgeable of the "whole counsel of God".

That denomination or faction that fails either to examine itself, repent, and earnestly seek to reestablish what is wanting - and something always will be - or that claims to have restored everything as all those before failed to do is the denomination or faction to be avoided. In either case, glory is given to man, whether knowingly or not.

Again, that's true. What more to say? Restoring the church to its original purpose is a constant fight against the principalities in high places - those who set themselves up as "infallible" teachers in the church. However, in no case do I know of the churches I'm affiliated with do they do thing for their own glory - it's all given to God.

In the faithful, struggling church all glory is God’s and His alone, just as it is in the faithful, struggling, individual disciple of Christ.

Exactly!

16 posted on 03/01/2010 2:23:18 PM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: Overwatcher
In discussing “Christianity,” I reluctantly use the word “church,” because I do not believe that Jesus ever founded any churches, nor did Paul. Everywhere Jesus went He proclaimed the kingdom of God, and the people heard Him gladly. The ones who believed became part of His “ekklesia,” his outcalled ones (not His church).

You got it! Read This

I know that the term “Christian” was first applied at Antioch, and was sort of a nickname for these people, these believers. But, how “Christianity” of the New Testament suddenly emerged intertwined with the world’s political system is what I am trying to figure out.

Read some of the posts I made, and the early writings along with some early History of the chuch. You can't help but pick up some hints as to how it was corrupted by incorporating politics as part of its make-up.

Type at you later...

17 posted on 03/01/2010 2:30:43 PM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: Salvation
The source and the link have certain places in the posting format. That's where I look. And they were both missing
Maybe you can fix that the next time you post something.

And how do you do that - look at the source I spoke of in the first paragraph of the thread. If you post something someone else wrote for an exercise, and it is not something that is published for the public, how do you put a link in? I think you are too picky :-)

If that's all you have to say about the threads topic, why even comment on something so vaporous? Or is that the only way you get exercise? :-)

18 posted on 03/01/2010 2:36:11 PM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: Ken4TA

Two things in which you are a bit off, one serious, the other less so. First, there is no such thing as an unbeliever in the church, not at least under the definition I clearly gave. The church is the sum total of the followers of Christ, whether those in the church militant, here on earth, or the church triumphant, in heaven. There are no unbelievers here. You may have in mind the visible church, that is to say, that which we can all see, those who for whatever reason associate themselves with the church of Jesus Christ. Or to put it in another way, in the visible church are wheat and tares both. But only the wheat is that which belongs to Christ, the rest will be burned up. Christ knows which is which, we as we look at the visible church do not. To sum up, the visible church and the true church are not the same thing, and they are distinguished in the Scriptures the one from the other.

Second, your expressed (an maybe you misstated yourself) understanding of Matthew 16:18 is not right. It is saying the same as, for example, Matthew 28:18-20. And there are many other passages as well. The church that Christ has established will never be absent from the earth until Christ Himself brings the earth to an end. Nor, conversely, will Christ absent Himself from His church on earth. He will not, as John quoted Him saying, leave His disciples orphans. That is why one should be cautioned in using, for example, the term “restoration.” That is the language of Joseph Smith, not of the Holy, Christian Church throughout her history.

It is important to define terms and agree on what Scripture does and does not say at every point, or the danger you point out will surely be realized, that is, the lines of error and true which start out so close together will diverge enormously.


19 posted on 03/01/2010 2:37:49 PM PST by Belteshazzar
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To: Belteshazzar
Two things in which you are a bit off, one serious, the other less so. First, there is no such thing as an unbeliever in the church, not at least under the definition I clearly gave.

Hmmm...I didn't see that in what you wrote. Maybe you should be a little more clear.

The church is the sum total of the followers of Christ, whether those in the church militant, here on earth, or the church triumphant, in heaven. There are no unbelievers here. You may have in mind the visible church, that is to say, that which we can all see, those who for whatever reason associate themselves with the church of Jesus Christ.

I don't worry about the makeup of the invisible church, the church whose members only God knows. What I do have in mind is the church that is plainly visible in front of your eyes. This "visible" church contains both the members of the "invisible" church and the "visible" church. They both grow together until the return of Jesus the Christ of God.

Second, your expressed (an maybe you misstated yourself) understanding of Matthew 16:18 is not right.

It isn't? Then how about you correcting it? I'm anxious to see how you defend your position.

The church that Christ has established will never be absent from the earth until Christ Himself brings the earth to an end.

Whose is denying that?

Nor, conversely, will Christ absent Himself from His church on earth. He will not, as John quoted Him saying, leave His disciples orphans. That is why one should be cautioned in using, for example, the term “restoration.” That is the language of Joseph Smith, not of the Holy, Christian Church throughout her history.

And then you said: "It is important to define terms," which you seem to do with the term "restoration" - equating it with a well-known religion designed somewhat like the one you belong to. What a divisive statement: " That is the language of Joseph Smith." Actually, I should have ignored that definition you attempted to lay on those who would like to restore originality to the church.

20 posted on 03/01/2010 2:58:08 PM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: Ken4TA

You said,
“...equating it with a well-known religion designed somewhat like the one you belong to.”

Which one do I belong to, since you indicate that you know?


21 posted on 03/01/2010 3:05:10 PM PST by Belteshazzar
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To: Belteshazzar
Which one do I belong to, since you indicate that you know?

I should have probably said "like the one you SEEM to belong to." When you mentioned "church triumphant and church militant" you are using the words of the Catholic church - I guess that why I said what I did :-)

If I'm wrong, I apologize.

22 posted on 03/01/2010 3:13:22 PM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: Ken4TA

You are wrong.

Now why do you see the need to defend the term “restoration,” and seem so upset that I should associate it with Joseph Smith, which historically speaking, is a well known connection?


23 posted on 03/01/2010 3:16:11 PM PST by Belteshazzar
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To: Ken4TA
• Baptism of adults by immersion for the purposes of washing sin away

I disagree with this, but overall a good article.

I believe once a hierarchy began to emerge it was inevitable there would be a desire to merge with the state. It seems pretty common that the people at the top, or near the top, of a hierarchy are motivated by power and control. Also, the possibility that the persecutions would be ended had to be attractive.

24 posted on 03/01/2010 4:11:12 PM PST by wmfights (If you want change support SenateConservatives.com)
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To: Belteshazzar
You are wrong.

Then is my indication not true? You are not Catholic?

Now why do you see the need to defend the term “restoration,” and seem so upset that I should associate it with Joseph Smith, which historically speaking, is a well known connection?

I didn't really have to defend it, the thread thesis already did that. That association is vaporous, to say the least. Churches were using that term in its true meaning way before Joseph Smith used it - it is opponents of the groups that used the term in a derogatory way and associated it in a false sense. A shameful action, IMHO.

25 posted on 03/01/2010 6:07:20 PM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: wmfights
"• Baptism of adults by immersion for the purposes of washing sin away."

I disagree with this, but overall a good article.

Baptism was originally "immersion" of the whole person. Peter's sermon on Pentecost used it the same way it was used in the thread thesis - argue with Peter, not me or the writer of the thesis. BTW, immersion was the normal mode of "baptism" for many centuries after Pentecost. In the third century Tertullian rebuked a woman who wanted her little child immersed, telling her to let the child grow up first and get to know Christ.

Thanks for the rating :-)

I believe once a hierarchy began to emerge it was inevitable there would be a desire to merge with the state. It seems pretty common that the people at the top, or near the top, of a hierarchy are motivated by power and control. Also, the possibility that the persecutions would be ended had to be attractive. As for the "possibility that persecution would be ended", well, history tells us that persecution was ended before the growing "hierarchy" had a heavy foothold on the Church. That was a sad day for Christians who were trying to live according to the "way" Jesus and the Apostles preached.

26 posted on 03/01/2010 6:21:43 PM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: Ken4TA

“Then is my indication not true? You are not Catholic?”’

For the second time, but more clearly, no, I am not.

Restoration as a term is not a particularly useful one. That is what I am trying to point out to you. The church does not need restoration. It is still here, because Christ the Lord promised that it would not fail to stand against the very gates of hell. It is still here for no other reason. Soli Deo Gloria. However, that being said, the church is in constant need of repentance, reformation, and repristination, as is every individual Christian. My only point is that every church body, denomination, faction - call it what you will - is in need of the same.


27 posted on 03/01/2010 6:56:58 PM PST by Belteshazzar
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To: Ken4TA
Baptism was originally "immersion" of the whole person.

You will never get me to disagree with you on that. The Biblical model though was Repentance/Belief then Baptism. The Baptism did not wash away any sins. It was the for the purposes of washing sin away." that I disagreed with.

As for the "possibility that persecution would be ended", well, history tells us that persecution was ended before the growing "hierarchy" had a heavy foothold on the Church.

I think you can see the pressures for a hierarchy in the early to mid 2nd century and I believe the last persecution was in the early 3rd century under Diocletian. No question the hierarchy really kicked in with Constantine and flexed it's new "muscle" with persecuting the Donatists. I think the persecution under Diocletian would have still been fresh in the memories of Christians.

28 posted on 03/01/2010 7:11:31 PM PST by wmfights (If you want change support SenateConservatives.com)
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To: Belteshazzar
For the second time, but more clearly, no, I am not.

Thank you, and I apologize.

Restoration as a term is not a particularly useful one. That is what I am trying to point out to you. The church does not need restoration. It is still here, because Christ the Lord promised that it would not fail to stand against the very gates of hell. It is still here for no other reason. Soli Deo Gloria. However, that being said, the church is in constant need of repentance, reformation, and repristination, as is every individual Christian. My only point is that every church body, denomination, faction - call it what you will - is in need of the same.

Okay, I get you. My remarks on the "gates of hell" still stand firm. I believe that I also agreed that the church will remain until Jesus' return - so there is no disagreement here. As for the need of "restoration", well, trying to get the church to believe and practice what it was before the "hierarchy" became established is a noble guesture in my mind. If the early Christians were saved without any intervention (after the Apostles were gone) of a heavy "hierarchy", why do we really need that method now? The fellowship I'm affiliated with is an international fellowship that has no "hierarchy", no conventions, voters on what to believe, etc., in other words FREE from the heavy hand of dogmatism from the top down.

Thanks for you input - it was appreciated.

29 posted on 03/02/2010 6:49:40 AM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: wmfights
"Baptism was originally "immersion" of the whole person."

You will never get me to disagree with you on that. The Biblical model though was Repentance/Belief then Baptism. The Baptism did not wash away any sins. It was the for the purposes of washing sin away." that I disagreed with.

Okay, that's fine. I'd change your "repentance/belief then Baptism" a little: belief, repentance, then immersion into Jesus' death, - just as the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans, chapter 6:1-7; which is a "form of teaching", and Paul enforced that in verses 17-18. Peter seems to refer to another form of teaching in his first letter - 3:21. Baptism, i.e, immersion into Christ's death and resurrection from the water to walk in a new life in Christ, and also has many other aspects; I can count quite a few of them: to fulfill all righteousness, obedience, washing away sin, a clear conscience, etc. - can you add to these? My mind goes blank after awhile thinking on just these few :-)

I think you can see the pressures for a hierarchy in the early to mid 2nd century and I believe the last persecution was in the early 3rd century under Diocletian. No question the hierarchy really kicked in with Constantine and flexed it's new "muscle" with persecuting the Donatists. I think the persecution under Diocletian would have still been fresh in the memories of Christians.

Yes, I can see that. By 313 freedom to worship was commanded by the Emperor of the Roman Empire. Then a few years later we see a "council" called by the Emperor to settle a dispute among the various church "leaders" - the bishop/elders/presbyters - which the members of each church had chosen. There was starting to be a single "bishop" over other bishops in other churches, which, in certain churches had already switched from many bishops in each local church to a single bishop leading them: The Apostle John wrote a letter about a local bishop seizing control by pre-eminence, i.e., highest office. That should have been a warning to the churches, but was ignored. That's my take.

30 posted on 03/02/2010 7:29:36 AM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: Ken4TA

You said,

“The fellowship I’m affiliated with is an international fellowship that has no ‘hierarchy’, no conventions, voters on what to believe, etc., in other words FREE from the heavy hand of dogmatism from the top down.”

This all sounds nice. It is, unfortunately, utopian, a term derived from Greek that colloquially translated means, “Nowheresville.” What you propose will in the end sink into chaos and schism. How do I know? It’s been tried before; and it always ends the same way. There is nothing new under the sun.

Whether the church is governed from the top down or the bottom up is really not so critical. And in fact whatever course is chosen there will have to be a certain amount of both. The bigger question is: What, or better, who is the center of all things? Who is the head of the church, even now? The next question is: Where is teaching authority derived from? If the answers to those two questions are, respectively, Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures, whatever visible manifestation of the church you belong to has a fighting chance of both survival and continuing faithfulness.

Now, in your original piece, in which you tried to make the case for a so-called “restored” church, you gave these points as that which is to be looked for in order to know that you have found such a restored church:

• No denominational designation
• Weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper
• Baptism of adults by immersion for the purposes of washing sin away
• No distinctive title for preachers (e.g., Pastor, Reverend, Father, Brother, etc.)
• No “clergy” / “laity” distinction
• No vestments or special garb (e.g., robes)
• No extra-congregational organization (hierarchy, delegate convention, etc.)

Again, this is all very nice, but ...

No denominational designation: So, the assumption is that something can be “restored” that has not been since the time of the apostles. Just think about how prideful this thinking really is, and how disrespectful to those who have gone before us, whose example we are to follow. (And, yes, I know that we are to obey God rather than men.) Well, enough said ... at least for now.

Weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper: So, you are going to make rules where the Bible doesn’t? What if the observance is more frequent? Or less? Is either to be rejected as unfaithful? Unscriptural? I quite agree that weekly observance of the Supper would be good, but can we really say more than that on the basis of Scripture alone? I don’t think so.

Baptism of adults by immersion for the purposes of washing sin away: Here you are somewhat limiting and misstating what baptism is, as someone already pointed out on this thread. Does it really wash away sin? Or is it the answer of a clean conscience to God? And is it only that? As far as immersion goes, you are simply wrong on this. Immersion is fine. So too is application by other means. All have been done from earliest times, depending on the real circumstances. What is absolutely required is water and the word. (Matthew 28:18-20) No more, and certainly no less. The better question is this: Is baptism a) something we do to identify ourselves as God’s children, or b) something God does to identify us as His children. I will go with b).

No distinctive title for preachers: What? Such titles already existed in the time of the New Testament itself, and are referred to in many places. Elder, Greek presbyteros, was the usual Jewish term for the one who preached and taught, Overseer/Bishop, Greek episkopos, was the usual Greek term for the same, and Pastor/Shepherd, Greek poimen, was the term tied uniquely to Christ, the Good Shepherd. The terms are used interchangeably in the NT.

No “clergy”/”laity” distinction: Again, what? See above. Also, for example (and there are other places to go) Ephesians 4:11. Who appointed them such? Here remember, this is not about class or hierarchy, as is mistaught by so many, it is about who is called by Christ to do what. There is no difference in holiness or righteousness between clergy and laity, both are finally only sinners, but sinners accounted righteous before God for the sake of Jesus Christ.

No vestments or special garb: I guess. What is the big problem with this? If you are arguing that such things are used to exalt the man who wears them, I will agree with you. If, however, the purpose is to obscure the man who wears them and to point to Christ alone as Chief Shepherd, the only true and Good Shepherd, and all the rest merely as His undershepherds, what is the beef? Anything can be misunderstood, especially if its purpose is not clearly and regularly taught. Let all things be done for edification ... right?

No extra-congregational organization: What? This was already in existence in the book of Acts. This is not the problem, though it can certainly be twisted into a problem, as nearly anything can.


31 posted on 03/02/2010 8:44:08 AM PST by Belteshazzar
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To: Ken4TA

You said,

“The fellowship I’m affiliated with is an international fellowship that has no ‘hierarchy’, no conventions, voters on what to believe, etc., in other words FREE from the heavy hand of dogmatism from the top down.”

This all sounds nice. It is, unfortunately, utopian, a term derived from Greek that colloquially translated means, “Nowheresville.” What you propose will in the end sink into chaos and schism. How do I know? It’s been tried before; and it always ends the same way. There is nothing new under the sun.

Whether the church is governed from the top down or the bottom up is really not so critical. And in fact whatever course is chosen there will have to be a certain amount of both. The bigger question is: What, or better, who is the center of all things? Who is the head of the church, even now? The next question is: Where is teaching authority derived from? If the answers to those two questions are, respectively, Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures, whatever visible manifestation of the church you belong to has a fighting chance of both survival and continuing faithfulness.

Now, in your original piece, in which you tried to make the case for a so-called “restored” church, you gave these points as that which is to be looked for in order to know that you have found such a restored church:

• No denominational designation
• Weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper
• Baptism of adults by immersion for the purposes of washing sin away
• No distinctive title for preachers (e.g., Pastor, Reverend, Father, Brother, etc.)
• No “clergy” / “laity” distinction
• No vestments or special garb (e.g., robes)
• No extra-congregational organization (hierarchy, delegate convention, etc.)

Again, this is all very nice, but ...

No denominational designation: So, the assumption is that something can be “restored” that has not been since the time of the apostles. Just think about how prideful this thinking really is, and how disrespectful to those who have gone before us, whose example we are to follow. (And, yes, I know that we are to obey God rather than men.) Well, enough said ... at least for now.

Weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper: So, you are going to make rules where the Bible doesn’t? What if the observance is more frequent? Or less? Is either to be rejected as unfaithful? Unscriptural? I quite agree that weekly observance of the Supper would be good, but can we really say more than that on the basis of Scripture alone? I don’t think so.

Baptism of adults by immersion for the purposes of washing sin away: Here you are somewhat limiting and misstating what baptism is, as someone already pointed out on this thread. Does it really wash away sin? Or is it the answer of a clean conscience to God? And is it only that? As far as immersion goes, you are simply wrong on this. Immersion is fine. So too is application by other means. All have been done from earliest times, depending on the real circumstances. What is absolutely required is water and the word. (Matthew 28:18-20) No more, and certainly no less. The better question is this: Is baptism a) something we do to identify ourselves as God’s children, or b) something God does to identify us as His children. I will go with b).

No distinctive title for preachers: What? Such titles already existed in the time of the New Testament itself, and are referred to in many places. Elder, Greek presbyteros, was the usual Jewish term for the one who preached and taught, Overseer/Bishop, Greek episkopos, was the usual Greek term for the same, and Pastor/Shepherd, Greek poimen, was the term tied uniquely to Christ, the Good Shepherd. The terms are used interchangeably in the NT.

No “clergy”/”laity” distinction: Again, what? See above. Also, for example (and there are other places to go) Ephesians 4:11. Who appointed them such? Here remember, this is not about class or hierarchy, as is mistaught by so many, it is about who is called by Christ to do what. There is no difference in holiness or righteousness between clergy and laity, both are finally only sinners, but sinners accounted righteous before God for the sake of Jesus Christ.

No vestments or special garb: I guess. What is the big problem with this? If you are arguing that such things are used to exalt the man who wears them, I will agree with you. If, however, the purpose is to obscure the man who wears them and to point to Christ alone as Chief Shepherd, the only true and Good Shepherd, and all the rest merely as His undershepherds, what is the beef? Anything can be misunderstood, especially if its purpose is not clearly and regularly taught. Let all things be done for edification ... right?

No extra-congregational organization: What? This was already in existence in the book of Acts. This is not the problem, though it can certainly be twisted into a problem, as nearly anything can.


32 posted on 03/02/2010 8:44:42 AM PST by Belteshazzar
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To: Belteshazzar

Sorry, my bad. I hit the button twice.


33 posted on 03/02/2010 8:45:32 AM PST by Belteshazzar
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To: Belteshazzar
“The fellowship I’m affiliated with is an international fellowship that has no ‘hierarchy’, no conventions, voters on what to believe, etc., in other words FREE from the heavy hand of dogmatism from the top down.”

This all sounds nice. It is, unfortunately, utopian, a term derived from Greek that colloquially translated means, “Nowheresville.” What you propose will in the end sink into chaos and schism. How do I know? It’s been tried before; and it always ends the same way. There is nothing new under the sun.

This fellowship I affilate with is not a "church"; it is simply a very large bunch of people who preach and proclaim the Gospel of Christ around the world, and specifically His resurrection and ours at the end of the ages. Those in this fellowship happen to be in many different "churches", and are not a "church" in any organized meaning of the term. It is very independent, and so are those in it; and all have opinions of their own - but not about the Gospel that saves people. Does that make clear what I'm talking about? If you took it that I was talking about a "church", I'm sorry. I never made any reference to what "church" I attend, and that shouldn't make any difference anyhow.

The bigger question is: What, or better, who is the center of all things? Who is the head of the church, even now? The next question is: Where is teaching authority derived from? If the answers to those two questions are, respectively, Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures, whatever visible manifestation of the church you belong to has a fighting chance of both survival and continuing faithfulness.

Exactly! The answers you gave is what the church I attend agree to 100%

Now, in your original piece, in which you tried to make the case for a so-called “restored” church, you gave these points as that which is to be looked for in order to know that you have found such a restored church:

The thesis posted is not mine, and I made that quite clear - it was written by a friend of mine, and as I said, I believe it is worthy of discussion. I agree with a lot of what he wrote, not all. I'd phrase some things differently.

Again, this is all very nice, but ...

Yes, what you say is all very nice also. And I agree with a lot of it. But I do think you may be reading somethings into it that are not really there.

For example - No denominational designation: I don't believe that a person or group can get away without a designation. If a group were to choose as their name a Biblical name such as "Church of Christ" or "Church of God", what would be wrong with that, other than those organizations who also wear those names and have distanced their selves from the beliefs and practices of the NT Scriptural churches? Why would using Biblical names for a church be disrespectful and prideful, i.e., arrogant?

Again an example: Weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper: So, you are going to make rules where the Bible doesn’t? I don't think the author of that thesis was making a rule, seeing as how whenever two or three gather in Jesus' name, He is there; and the supper can be had - which he teaches and practices! But I get your point :-)

Baptism of adults by immersion for the purposes of washing sin away: Here you are somewhat limiting and misstating what baptism is, as someone already pointed out on this thread. Does it really wash away sin? Or is it the answer of a clean conscience to God? And is it only that? As far as immersion goes, you are simply wrong on this. Immersion is fine. So too is application by other means. All have been done from earliest times, depending on the real circumstances.

Here I disagree with you, and we can discuss it. On my side, I stick to what the Scriptures have to say about it, using exegesis and etymology to help my understanding. Your side is to accept traditions, which are certuries late in arriving on the scene (or at least I think you do). How you can make any other method of "baptizo" and its derivatives mean something other than "immersion" is not only unscriptural but unhistorical. There is so much evidence available that I don't really see how anyone can come to the conclusion that the original practice was not the immersion of believers only. As for the purpose, well, it has quite a few, among which is for washing away sin. Read some of my other posts on that.

The better question is this: Is baptism a) something we do to identify ourselves as God’s children, or b) something God does to identify us as His children. I will go with b).

Okay, but I'll go for both.

No distinctive title for preachers:

In the assembly I go to, the preacher is called by his first name, and identified as "preacher" to others. Everyone is equal, yet there are "elders/presbyters/overseers" and "deacons", which also we call by their first or last name, and identify them to other by the above words - sometimes as "bishops" and "ministers". Basically, I have no problem with what you say.

As to your statements on Clergy/laity and vestments/special garb, the church I go to has no rules on these at all, and Gene's church doesn't either. Maybe that's why I like him :-) I have no problem with what anyone wears, just that it's clean. Can you imagine a preacher dressed in blue-jeans and sweat shirt while preaching a sermon? Well, Gene does that quite often. Does anyone in attendance care, absolutely not. I applaud that!

Here is something to think upon, and maybe discuss: "God's clergy are the laity!" And that can be backed up from the Scriptures. I've written articles on it and had them published. Responses, yes, both pro and con. And interesting to say the least. :-)

Thanks for the interesting conversation - hope others think about what we say to each other. God bless you.

34 posted on 03/02/2010 10:03:41 AM PST by Ken4TA (The truth sometimes hurts - but is truth nonetheless!)
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To: Ken4TA

OK, here’s a part of the previous dialog, my points, your responses, first:

Mine: “Baptism of adults by immersion for the purposes of washing sin away: Here you are somewhat limiting and misstating what baptism is, as someone already pointed out on this thread. Does it really wash away sin? Or is it the answer of a clean conscience to God? And is it only that? As far as immersion goes, you are simply wrong on this. Immersion is fine. So too is application by other means. All have been done from earliest times, depending on the real circumstances.”

Yours: “Here I disagree with you, and we can discuss it. On my side, I stick to what the Scriptures have to say about it, using exegesis and etymology to help my understanding. Your side is to accept traditions, which are certuries late in arriving on the scene (or at least I think you do). How you can make any other method of “baptizo” and its derivatives mean something other than “immersion” is not only unscriptural but unhistorical. There is so much evidence available that I don’t really see how anyone can come to the conclusion that the original practice was not the immersion of believers only. As for the purpose, well, it has quite a few, among which is for washing away sin. Read some of my other posts on that.”

Well, you may disagree, but you are not right. The verb “baptizo” clearly does not mean immersion in Luke 11:38. The verb “nipto”, wash, is used of parallel accounts . Also, Paul uses “baptismos,” which means ritual ablution, i.e., washing, in Colossians 2:12 as a synonym of “baptisma.” From these two alone, one should be very cautious to insist that baptism means only and always “to immerse.” However, there is more. The Didache, a widely respected Christian document from the 2nd Century A.D., while it does indeed express a preference for immersion (whether whole or partial), allows sprinkling as valid. Early artistic renderings (e.g. catacomb paintings et al.) depict the same. This tended to be the case when as the Christian church moved north into more “immersion unfriendly” climes. And there is quite a lot more.

Immersion has always been seen as more desirable in terms of its symbolism vis-a-vis “buried with Christ,” etc. But it was never seen as absolutely necessary. As I said earlier, necessary is water and the word, i.e., baptism “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

I didn’t pick on you at first for your “of adults” qualifier. I guess I will now. Baptism has, from earliest times, been administered to all of whatever age. You can choose to disagree, and we can get into the historical details. I leave that to you. If the person is an adult the teaching comes first then the baptism. If the person is a child, and therefore under the authority of father and mother, the baptism comes first and then the teaching. In all cases, both are required as per the command of Matthew 28:18-20. Circumcision in the Old Testament was done similarly, as you must know.

Second:

Mine: “The better question is this: Is baptism a) something we do to identify ourselves as God’s children, or b) something God does to identify us as His children. I will go with b).”

Yours: “Okay, but I’ll go for both.”

Let me restate slightly, because I will not call you wrong for saying both. Clearly, it is both. But which is primary? Baptism is something God does to and for us to apply Christ’s vicarious atonement to us, and hence, all of the benefits and promises that flow from it. If you would like to get into this, we can do that too.

That was quick and off the cuff, but I must run.

Mine: “The better question is this: Is baptism a) something we do to identify ourselves as God’s children, or b) something God does to identify us as His children. I will go with b).”

Yours: “Okay, but I’ll go for both.”

Let me restate slightly, because I will not call you wrong for saying both. Clearly, it is both. But which is primary? Baptism is something God does to and for us to apply Christ’s vicarious atonement to us, and hence, all of the benefits and promises that flow from it. If you would like to get into this, we can do that too.

That was quick and off the cuff, and there may be some typos, but I must run.


35 posted on 03/02/2010 4:44:49 PM PST by Belteshazzar
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To: Belteshazzar
Circumcision in the Old Testament was done similarly, as you must know.

I also find it telling that New Testament baptism was similar to that of Old Testament baptism. In 1 Cor 10:2 Paul alludes to crossing the Jordan as a baptism into Moses. Just as whole families were baptized when the head of a household converted in Acts, entire families (infants included) were baptized when the Israelites crossed the waters; a reality that I believe lends itself to a pattern of infant inclusion. At the very least, it was the default mindset of everyone converting in the New Testament Church. If this mindset changed, it would seem to me that we need a "infants should not be baptized" statement from the New Testament.

36 posted on 03/03/2010 7:14:28 AM PST by ajr276
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To: ajr276

I have no basic disagreement with what you have said.

In fact, one is struck with the absolute silence of those sent out from the Jewish church authorities in Jerusalem to investigate John regarding the “what” of his activities. The interest is exclusively in the “who” and the “by what authority.” And really when one considers the first quoted words of the New Testament out of the mouths of both John and Jesus (they are, interestingly, identical), this was to be expected. Both called on Israel to “repent,” that is, to turn, to turn around, to turn back. To what? Well, clearly, to the way of Moses. This corresponds perfectly with Moses’ long valediction in Deuteronomy, and his prediction of what was coming.

This in turn goes a long way toward explaining the initial hesitancy of both the priests, scribes, and elders, whether of the party of the Pharisees or of the Sadducees, to condemn either John or Jesus. Both were only calling Israel to be faithful to what Moses taught. How could either argue with that? But when they were informed that Moses and all the prophets taught that salvation could come only through faith in the Messiah, who was now here, then they balked. Each undoubtedly held the opinion that Moses was a protopharisee or protosadducee. When Jesus said, no, he believed, taught, and confessed Me, their hesitancy turned to rejection and hatred.

John, rather than leading Israel as a whole nation through the waters to their meeting with God at Sinai, as Moses did, was now leading Israel as individuals and families through the waters to their meeting with God in the person of His chosen Messiah. This connection, it seems to me, would be clear enough on its own. But we have the direct and explicit connection of the two by no less than Paul in 1 Corinthians 10. Thus, we are on solid scriptural ground here.


37 posted on 03/03/2010 7:49:12 AM PST by Belteshazzar
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To: Belteshazzar

Great thoughts. There’s much to chew on in what you said and I’ll have to explore that angle a bit more. Thanks for sharing.


38 posted on 03/03/2010 7:51:40 AM PST by ajr276
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