This topic seems to have escalated, spilled over into other areas, and brought people who rarely have anything to offer out of the woodwork, including those who see this as an opportunity to promote their anti- women agenda. So I’m jumping back to the fray to address some things that have been said after I indicated that I was done.
As my record bears me out, I have spoken against divorce, lenient modern-day child-rearing practices, homosexuality, women pastors , etc. and as most of you who been here for awhile know, I have spoken against catholic doctrine and leadership (false prophets who come with another gospel) many times. Also, without prior objections, I (and others) have previously taken the stance that we should judge behavior, doctrine and those who bring them, but when it comes to condemning the soul of another, that goes beyong what we are instructed to do. Rather we should allow God's Word -- which is a doubled-edged sword, either condemn or save.
Moreover, in this thread I have asked to be shown how I may have misinterpreted the passages upon which my views are based. Saying those Scriptures don’t apply without addressing them straight-on and without making any attempt at reconciliation is not an answer.
Secondly, some seem to be equating the ‘corporate’ (perhaps a poor choice of word on my part) church, with God’s true church. Many here have long spoken of the “corporate” church versus the true church comprised of only the elect. Some have referred to it as the “visible” versus the indivisible church, or the “external” church versus the internal church, or the earthly representation of the church versus the spiritual church. I have always used the term “corporate” church to include all denominations that have arisen out of the original 7 churches of the NT. We know from accounts in Rev 1-2 that all but two of the seven were already in trouble with God. We also know that most if not all earthly representations of the NT church will fall by the wayside before Christ returns -- just as OT national Israel did.
So I was taken aback by the outrage that arose – as though the “corporate” church conveyed God’s true church. I did not realize that for some the “corporate” church only included traditional protestant denominations, and confess my ignorance of this. Even if I were to assume the same definition, that would still include a good many protestant churches who believe in free will and in works doctrines (as the catholic church does). The bottom line is that this division by denomination is in itself unbiblical regardless of how one defines it, because in God’s eyes there is only one church against whom the gates of hell shall not prevail, and that is the true/spiritual church comprised of the elect.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
When God returns to separate the wheat from the tares (which He said he would do, and we are not to do), it would not surprise me if a great many will have had no association with any church at all, given the hypocrisy and self-righteous pride regardless of denomination.
The term “believer” also seems to mean different things to different people. I have always made a distinction between “believer” and “true believer”. Some say, if you’re a catholic, you can’t be a believer, much less a true believer. Furthermore, if they are saved, they would no longer associate themselves with the catholic church. I tend to agree with the latter, but even so, we then get into games of probability and time-limits, then a progression occurs into making condemning statements against all individuals within any given denomination.
Perhaps one cannot realistically view an individual separate from the denomination he/she is associated with. As Tony has said “by definition” (meaning catholic doctrines I assume?) the doctrines of the church that one is associated with, defines the person, and therefore all catholic are unsaved. I understand the logic, yet the miracle of salvation occurs at the individual level, and each and everyone is dead in trespasses and sin (regardless of denomination or lack thereof) before they are saved. I remind you good Methodist/ Lutherans/ Presbyterians/Baptist (me before I left over 10 years ago), that it’s a miracle that any one of us is saved, and that the parable of the “rich man” and “publican” can be applied to anyone, even a lowly catholic who despite all, still has the Scriptures.
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
My stance has nothing to do with sentimentality. I have always said and believe that when it comes to making judgments concerns the soul condition of another, that that’s between that person and God alone, based on Scriptures previously sited by me and a few others, which have yet to be addressed head-on and reconciled.
I recognize I could be wrong, but until/unless those passages are addressed, I cannot in good conscience say otherwise.
I value this web site and its forums because of its uncompromising adherence to sound biblical doctrine. But when it comes to how we treat each other when a different viewpoint is given with supporting Scriptures, this forum has much to be desired. When emotional ranting, ridicule and dishonest representation of what another has said is attributed to godly “zeal”, then something is wrong. When opportunistic anti-women sentiments are encouraged, something is wrong.
True Christianity extends beyond doctrine which could be limited to a few core/basic principles and beliefs concerning Christ. Doctrine is important, and is where this site excels above others, but according to the Bible the way we treat each other is just as important . Kindness is not equated to weakness nor sentimentality, and can be extended without expense to sound doctrine.
1 Corintians 13
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.