Another “one body in Christ” thread


#1

Can a member of the body of Christ not recognize another member as a member?

I see and read much of the invisible body of Christ in that what seems to be much of Christendom (non-Catholics) considering themselves as part of an invisible body of believers. In trying to understand this concept I am continually perplexed with the notion that within this body, there are members who would not consider those as part of the body while there are others that would consider those same, in fact, parts of this body. How can this be? Can the elbow tell if the knee is infected? Can the foot decide if the ear belongs?

It is very possible I will not find any Christians here on CAF that would consider Catholics as non-Christian or not within the body of Christ but I guess it is possible as I do run across it quite often. However, the point of this thread is to see what the other parts of the body say or do when the foot does not consider the ear as part of the body but yet the elbow does. What does the foot tell the elbow or what does the elbow tell the foot?

I don’t want this to turn into a “that’s why we need a pope” thread as I’m sure there are plenty threads expressing this. I would like to stay on task to explore the Protestant vision of one body or the invisible body and its effects if a body part becomes infected.

I hope I have explained my concern and formulated the questions well enough to insure sincere responses.

Peace to all!!!


#2

[quote="adf417, post:1, topic:312256"]
Can a member of the body of Christ not recognize another member as a member?

I see and read much of the invisible body of Christ in that what seems to be much of Christendom (non-Catholics) considering themselves as part of an invisible body of believers. In trying to understand this concept I am continually perplexed with the notion that within this body, there are members who would not consider those as part of the body while there are others that would consider those same, in fact, parts of this body. How can this be? Can the elbow tell if the knee is infected? Can the foot decide if the ear belongs?

It is very possible I will not find any Christians here on CAF that would consider Catholics as non-Christian or not within the body of Christ but I guess it is possible as I do run across it quite often. However, the point of this thread is to see what the other parts of the body say or do when the foot does not consider the ear as part of the body but yet the elbow does. What does the foot tell the elbow or what does the elbow tell the foot?

I don’t want this to turn into a “that’s why we need a pope” thread as I’m sure there are plenty threads expressing this. I would like to stay on task to explore the Protestant vision of one body or the invisible body and its effects if a body part becomes infected.

I hope I have explained my concern and formulated the questions well enough to insure sincere responses.

Peace to all!!!

[/quote]

If you're Baptized, you are a member of the Body of Christ. Period. Right now Christ's body has a lot of ailments and a lot of wounds. We all need to pray for healing.


#3

[quote="adf417, post:1, topic:312256"]
Can a member of the body of Christ not recognize another member as a member?

I see and read much of the invisible body of Christ in that what seems to be much of Christendom (non-Catholics) considering themselves as part of an invisible body of believers. In trying to understand this concept I am continually perplexed with the notion that within this body, there are members who would not consider those as part of the body while there are others that would consider those same, in fact, parts of this body. How can this be? Can the elbow tell if the knee is infected? Can the foot decide if the ear belongs?

It is very possible I will not find any Christians here on CAF that would consider Catholics as non-Christian or not within the body of Christ but I guess it is possible as I do run across it quite often. However, the point of this thread is to see what the other parts of the body say or do when the foot does not consider the ear as part of the body but yet the elbow does. What does the foot tell the elbow or what does the elbow tell the foot?

I don’t want this to turn into a “that’s why we need a pope” thread as I’m sure there are plenty threads expressing this. I would like to stay on task to explore the Protestant vision of one body or the invisible body and its effects if a body part becomes infected.

I hope I have explained my concern and formulated the questions well enough to insure sincere responses.

Peace to all!!!

[/quote]

Hey adf :)

The concept of an invisible body owes much to the thinking of Augustine of Hippo, who I believe first coined the phrase for the visible/invisible body of Christ and distinctions thereof. However, it basically comes down to Christ's usage of the wheat and the tares. Both grow together in the same place and time but will be separated at the Parousia.

So, we have a visible church which gathers, that is, those we can visibly see. Of those, there are them that are truly regenerate and those which aren't. This, objectively, is known only to God. The regenerate members together form the true and lasting body of Christ.

There are, however, numerous places stated by Christ and the apostles on how we can generally know the difference.


#4

Are you asking more specifically if we think Catholics are Christians, adf? Or are you just speaking more Christians generally?


#5

I would agree with SteveVH... If you're baptised, you're part of the Body of Christ. We can get hung up on our differences, some might even throw out insults to people who believe differently. But at the end of the day, we're all part of the Mystical Body of Christ. :)


#6

[quote="Gaelic_Bard, post:4, topic:312256"]
Are you asking more specifically if we think Catholics are Christians, adf? Or are you just speaking more Christians generally?

[/quote]

Both, any, all.

Can this “body of Christ” recognize itself as the body and all its parts recognize the other parts as viable parts? If so, what does one part say to the other part?

For instance, the Catholic Church declares all religions that baptize in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit are Christians and through the magisterium can correct any false teachings to the contrary. If say a Baptist person or organization states I (Catholic) am not a Christian but the Presbyterians consider me to be, what does this say about the body? Wouldn’t this mean the Presbyterians are also non-Christians? Or maybe conversely?

Peace to all!!!


#7

[quote="gnosisofthomas, post:5, topic:312256"]
I would agree with SteveVH... If you're baptised, you're part of the Body of Christ. We can get hung up on our differences, some might even throw out insults to people who believe differently. But at the end of the day, we're all part of the Mystical Body of Christ. :)

[/quote]

I agree completely but if one part of the body considers you to be non-Christian then what implications does that have on the rest of the body?

Peace bro!


#8

Dicey question, adf and one in which I hope my comments on will not be taken as inflammatory in any way or as a personal attack against you or any other Catholic/EO member here. I do not intend it as such.

Ultimately, visible bodies that gather together will either teach doctrine which is true or doctrine which is mixed with false doctrine and true doctrine. The measure of whether the severity of that false doctrine is enough to make that gathering cut off from being considered to be part of a valid Christian communion is the issue. For example, the apostle John says that those who would deny that Christ has come in the flesh are anti-Christ. So, if a church proclaims that, they are not a Christian church.

In Galatians 1:8, Paul states that those who preach a different gospel are anathema…severed from grace…cut off from Christ. Why does he say that? Because the Judaizers were teaching that in addition to the atonement of Christ, works of the law needed to be done for justification. Traditionally speaking, Protestants have not considered the Latin church to be a valid Christian communion - because it was believed that the apostolic gospel was subverted and overthrown - especially at the Council of Trent. That is to say, believing in the plan of salvation according to Catholic theology, is not in any sense salvific. This sentiment varies from church to church, of course. All of that applies to the institution itself.

That is not to say, though, that individual Catholics within the communion are not part of the Body. Salvation is not de facto something which is gained or lost by being affiliated with an institution or hierarchy. Like every other professing Christian, Protestants and Catholics must be taken on an individual basis. Doctrine is only part of the equation. A Christian must also be taken on their actions. If the I’s or dotted and t’s crossed but there is no love…well, by their fruits you shall know them. I’m in no position to judge you based on an internet forum. That much I know for sure. I generally treat professed Christians as Christians until proven otherwise.

As for other non-Catholic Christians…well, case by case. We don’t have official fellowship with them (by we I mean my church), unless we are agreed. If they are not baptized as professing Christians, we do not admit them to the Lord’s Supper.

Again, I hope the above will not be taken in a spirit of rancor, just an honest answer to some of the questions you posed. You can beat me up now :wink:

Blessings


#9

[quote="Gaelic_Bard, post:8, topic:312256"]
Dicey question, adf and one in which I hope my comments on will not be taken as inflammatory in any way or as a personal attack against you or any other Catholic/EO member here. I do not intend it as such.

Ultimately, visible bodies that gather together will either teach doctrine which is true or doctrine which is mixed with false doctrine and true doctrine. The measure of whether the severity of that false doctrine is enough to make that gathering cut off from being considered to be part of a valid Christian communion is the issue. For example, the apostle John says that those who would deny that Christ has come in the flesh are anti-Christ. So, if a church proclaims that, they are not a Christian church.

In Galatians 1:8, Paul states that those who preach a different gospel are anathema..severed from grace..cut off from Christ. Why does he say that? Because the Judaizers were teaching that in addition to the atonement of Christ, works of the law needed to be done for justification. Traditionally speaking, Protestants have not considered the Latin church to be a valid Christian communion - because it was believed that the apostolic gospel was subverted and overthrown - especially at the Council of Trent. That is to say, believing in the plan of salvation according to Catholic theology, is not in any sense salvific. This sentiment varies from church to church, of course. All of that applies to the institution itself.

That is not to say, though, that individual Catholics within the communion are not part of the Body. Salvation is not de facto something which is gained or lost by being affiliated with an institution or hierarchy. Like every other professing Christian, Protestants and Catholics must be taken on an individual basis. Doctrine is only part of the equation. A Christian must also be taken on their actions. If the I's or dotted and t's crossed but there is no love..well, by their fruits you shall know them. I'm in no position to judge you based on an internet forum. That much I know for sure. I generally treat professed Christians as Christians until proven otherwise.

As for other non-Catholic Christians..well, case by case. We don't have official fellowship with them (by we I mean my church), unless we are agreed. If they are not baptized as professing Christians, we do not admit them to the Lord's Supper.

Again, I hope the above will not be taken in a spirit of rancor, just an honest answer to some of the questions you posed. You can beat me up now ;)

Blessings

[/quote]

Do you enjoy walking down dark alleys with $20.00 bills hanging out of your pockets? :D


#10

[quote="SteveVH, post:9, topic:312256"]
Do you enjoy walking down dark alleys with $20.00 bills hanging out of your pockets? :D

[/quote]

LOL!


#11

[quote="Gaelic_Bard, post:8, topic:312256"]
Dicey question, adf and one in which I hope my comments on will not be taken as inflammatory in any way or as a personal attack against you or any other Catholic/EO member here. I do not intend it as such.

[/quote]

Hi Gaelic and thanks for you reply. As long as I am truly searching for understanding I cannot take your remarks as a personal attack.

Ultimately, visible bodies that gather together will either teach doctrine which is true or doctrine which is mixed with false doctrine and true doctrine. The measure of whether the severity of that false doctrine is enough to make that gathering cut off from being considered to be part of a valid Christian communion is the issue. For example, the apostle John says that those who would deny that Christ has come in the flesh are anti-Christ. So, if a church proclaims that, they are not a Christian church.

In Galatians 1:8, Paul states that those who preach a different gospel are anathema..severed from grace..cut off from Christ. Why does he say that? Because the Judaizers were teaching that in addition to the atonement of Christ, works of the law needed to be done for justification. Traditionally speaking, Protestants have not considered the Latin church to be a valid Christian communion - because it was believed that the apostolic gospel was subverted and overthrown - especially at the Council of Trent. That is to say, believing in the plan of salvation according to Catholic theology, is not in any sense salvific. This sentiment varies from church to church, of course. All of that applies to the institution itself.

Understood...in concept.

That is not to say, though, that individual Catholics within the communion are not part of the Body. Salvation is not de facto something which is gained or lost by being affiliated with an institution or hierarchy. Like every other professing Christian, Protestants and Catholics must be taken on an individual basis. Doctrine is only part of the equation. A Christian must also be taken on their actions. If the I's or dotted and t's crossed but there is no love..well, by their fruits you shall know them. I'm in no position to judge you based on an internet forum. That much I know for sure. I generally treat professed Christians as Christians until proven otherwise.

Starting to disagree but still following...

As for other non-Catholic Christians..well, case by case. We don't have official fellowship with them (by we I mean my church), unless we are agreed. If they are not baptized as professing Christians, we do not admit them to the Lord's Supper.

This is where I begin to get confused and the purpose of the OP. If I am not a Christian wouldn't the whole body be able to notice, detect, and declare that? What I see is onle parts of the body declaring I am not a Christian while other parts acepting I am. What does this say to these two parts that declare differently?:confused:

Again, I hope the above will not be taken in a spirit of rancor, just an honest answer to some of the questions you posed. You can beat me up now

The only beating I will give is with my wet noodle or:manvspc:. Either would be done with a :D

Peace and blessings to you also.


#12

[quote="adf417, post:11, topic:312256"]

This is where I begin to get confused and the purpose of the OP. If I am not a Christian wouldn't the whole body be able to notice, detect, and declare that? What I see is onle parts of the body declaring I am not a Christian while other parts acepting I am. What does this say to these two parts that declare differently?:confused:

[/quote]

Because no one can infallibly determine whether you are or not. Even if you say the right things and do the right things, in your heart, you could be dead as a doornail. A lot of church bodies also define who is and isn't a Christian in a way as to incorporate almost anyone. Look at liberal denominations, for example. Their standard of who is a Christian is pretty much anyone who breathes. Heck, even within church bodies you have differences. The vast majority of Catholics will say "if they're baptized and are faithful" they are Christians. Some Catholics, especially uber traditionalists, will only include Catholics in the fold. I would be considered by the CC to be a Christian now, but if I was around at the Council of Florence, I would have been a schismatic, outside of any hope of salvation.

All we can do is best try to formulate, around the word of God, if someone has a credible profession of faith.

The only beating I will give is with my wet noodle or:manvspc:. Either would be done with a :D

Peace and blessings to you also.

I blame Steve for giving you the wet noodle.


#13

Thanks for your reply Gaelic,

[quote="Gaelic_Bard, post:12, topic:312256"]
Because no one can infallibly determine whether you are or not. Even if you say the right things and do the right things, in your heart, you could be dead as a doornail.

[/quote]

Wow! I will have to go back and ask all those Protestants who told me "I'm sure I'm saved" and "you should'nt worry, If you have Jesus in your heart you will be there too". They all convensed me they knew beyond and doubt. Is this reading more into your statment above?

All we can do is best try to formulate, around the word of God, if someone has a credible profession of faith.

In your paradigm, is there any good in trying to formulate this? You have already stated above there is no way for us to know. How could a formula ever be complete as to not include true non-Christians (I will insert Jahovah Witness as example) but include the arbitrary Christain that truly should be included or is it good enough to not officially exclude JW's but seceretly teach our children that the example of JW's is not Christian?

Peace!!!


#14

[quote="adf417, post:13, topic:312256"]
Thanks for your reply Gaelic,

Wow! I will have to go back and ask all those Protestants who told me "I'm sure I'm saved" and "you should'nt worry, If you have Jesus in your heart you will be there too". They all convensed me they knew beyond and doubt. Is this reading more into your statment above?

[/quote]

Whichever Protestant told you that was not telling you what the apostles tell you about that. That should probably raise red flags. Revivalistic niceties about having Jesus in your heart compared with what Scripture teaches, is roughly equivalent to listening to the Carpenters in an elevator vs. Mozart in a concert hall.

In your paradigm, is there any good in trying to formulate this? You have already stated above there is no way for us to know. How could a formula ever be complete as to not include true non-Christians (I will insert Jahovah Witness as example) but include the arbitrary Christain that truly should be included or is it good enough to not officially exclude JW's but seceretly teach our children that the example of JW's is not Christian?

Peace!!!

Absolutely there is value to it. We already approach the issue knowing that we cannot know infallibly. So, in that sense, we go by what they profess. The JW you mention would profess that Christ is a created angelic being. Do regenerate Christians profess this? No. Therefore the JW professing this is not regenerate. We can't say 10 years from now he or she won't be. But for now we say,; according to apostolic teaching you are an unbeliever


#15

Greetings Gaelic, I feel like we may be talking over each other. These flags have been raised for a long time hence the reason for this thread and the others in the past. Sorry if I am not being clear.

In talking to a friend the other day I asked him to spell out the basics in which he thought a Christian would ascribe to. He very carefully spelled out bits and pieces of the Nicene or Apostle creeds, careful to stay away from the OHCAC wording. In talking with a different friend his explanation was not much different but much less restrictive. Granted if they had time to formulate this, it probably would have been more concise and complete from their perspectives.

The funny part is one of these guys consider Catholics, in general, to be within the mystical body and the other does not. Me, being Catholic, don’t care what they think about me but it does concerns me that the body itself can’t tell what parts are in and what parts are not so as to know what truth is and what should or should not be taught.

Again, sorry if I am rambling or if I am being unclear. I think I am failing once again to explain my concerns and that is my problem.

Peace be with you always!!!


#16

[quote="adf417, post:15, topic:312256"]
Greetings Gaelic, I feel like we may be talking over each other. These flags have been raised for a long time hence the reason for this thread and the others in the past. Sorry if I am not being clear.

In talking to a friend the other day I asked him to spell out the basics in which he thought a Christian would ascribe to. He very carefully spelled out bits and pieces of the Nicene or Apostle creeds, careful to stay away from the OHCAC wording. In talking with a different friend his explanation was not much different but much less restrictive. Granted if they had time to formulate this, it probably would have been more concise and complete from their perspectives.

The funny part is one of these guys consider Catholics, in general, to be within the mystical body and the other does not. Me, being Catholic, don’t care what they think about me but it does concerns me that the body itself can’t tell what parts are in and what parts are not so as to know what truth is and what should or should not be taught.

Again, sorry if I am rambling or if I am being unclear. I think I am failing once again to explain my concerns and that is my problem.

Peace be with you always!!!

[/quote]

I get what you're saying, adf. First, I think such definitions are rather arbitrary and meaningless. By that, I mean things like parts of the Nicene Creed or what have you. Almost any traditional church body is going to affirm that. In setting that up as some kind of factor is not going to say much, except that they are not Mormons or JW's or maybe gnostics.

Here's the problem with that, though. Is it the standard that the apostles used? When Paul confronts the Judaizers in Galatia, they believed in the Trinity; they believed Jesus is God, died for sins, was virgin born, etc; all things orthodox except they mixed law with gospel and that was enough to condemn them.

Ultimately, the definition is going to change. There isn't a standard that is uniform across the Christian world. My advice would be to not let it trouble you much. The job of the church is to enforce whatever standards they hold to, submit to them and know that God knows His people. Give other professing Christians a charitable eye, yet be discerning in what they say and how they act. Christ knows his sheep and his sheep know him. The sheep dont always recognize each other and sometimes they miss the wolves.


#17

[quote="Gaelic_Bard, post:16, topic:312256"]
Ultimately, the definition is going to change. There isn't a standard that is uniform across the Christian world. My advice would be to not let it trouble you much. The job of the church is to enforce whatever standards they hold to, submit to them and know that God knows His people. Give other professing Christians a charitable eye, yet be discerning in what they say and how they act. Christ knows his sheep and his sheep know him. The sheep dont always recognize each other and sometimes they miss the wolves.

[/quote]

This seems extremely contradictory to Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20 but maybe it just me.:shrug:

Thanks for your input,
Peace and the love of God be with you always!!!


#18

[quote="adf417, post:17, topic:312256"]
This seems extremely contradictory to Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20 but maybe it just me.:shrug:

Thanks for your input,
Peace and the love of God be with you always!!!

[/quote]

All regenerate Christians are one, mystically. It is, however, an unfortunate fact of history that in a visible sense, the church has never been unified. We refer to the church prior to the great schism as the undivided church. Thats only because they hadnt issued formal excommunications yet. Theological and doctrinal divisions have always been a reality, even among orthodox theologians. If the church under the guidance of the apostles was still a wreck, how can we expect to do better? Its a consequence of living in a fallen creation. We live in the tension of the already/not yet. It is frustrating. Its supposed to frustrate you.


#19

[quote="Gaelic_Bard, post:18, topic:312256"]
All regenerate Christians are one, mystically. It is, however, an unfortunate fact of history that in a visible sense, the church has never been unified. We refer to the church prior to the great schism as the undivided church. Thats only because they hadnt issued formal excommunications yet. Theological and doctrinal divisions have always been a reality, even among orthodox theologians. If the church under the guidance of the apostles was still a wreck, how can we expect to do better? Its a consequence of living in a fallen creation. We live in the tension of the already/not yet. It is frustrating. Its supposed to frustrate you.

[/quote]

This is definitely not the way I read John 20:17 much less the rest of John 20.:shrug:

God Bless!!!


#20

Galatia? Corinth? Laodicea?

Blessings!


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