Imperfect Church? For jpete and others


#1

On another thread jpete wrote:

Christ is the head of the Church and whoever believes in Him are the adopted sons of God. God’s household is the Church. Now, if this is true the Church is made of sinners, therefore the Church still contains imperfections and will not be made perfect until it is presented as a Bride to Christ.

I thought a new thread should be started so discussion about this topic wouldn’t derail the other thread or get ignored.

I can’t agree with this assessment of the Church, jpete. You are claiming the Church is imperfect while calling Christ it’s head. So, how can the Body of Christ be imperfect if it’s head is divine?

The Church is not merely a human institution that men set up for the sake of convenience, I think you would agree with me there. So, what is the Church? You call it the household of God and in another thread you called it the Body of Christ.

It is both of these things, of course. But, what we have to understand here is–what is the nature of the Church. The Church, just like her Head, is both human and divine. In its divinity it is perfect. It is only it’s human side that needs further perfection.

So, how does this definition fit into a Protestant understanding of the Church? Or doesn’t it?


#2

Nobody want to discuss the holiness of the Church or lack of it and what that means to Catholics and to Protestants?

Considering that Protestants have a wide range of ideas about what makes up the Church and how it is holy and how it isn’t, I expected at least a few to be interested in talking about it.


#3

[quote=Della]Nobody want to discuss the holiness of the Church or lack of it and what that means to Catholics and to Protestants?

Considering that Protestants have a wide range of ideas about what makes up the Church and how it is holy and how it isn’t, I expected at least a few to be interested in talking about it.
[/quote]

Interests me also. It is also one of the key differences in how Catholics and Protestants view things. The Catholic Church, through Scripture (and Tradition, but honestly we could discuss this just on scripture!) has spelled out more exactly what the Church is.

So when we say, Salvation alone comes through the Church or we can say salvation is from Christ alone. We can say yes to both and both are equally true since it it through Christ alone we are saved, and Christ is the Church.

To then say the Church is imperfect is for a Catholic, to say Christ is imperfect.

Good topic Della, sorry no one has bit.

God Bless,
Maria


#4

This is such an important topic regarding how we understand what the Church is, its purpose, and how it affects how we come to know Christ and our relationship with Him!

One of the very best Scriptural passages regarding how we are to understand Church is from Ephesians 5: 22-33. I will quote a bit here:

“Wives should be submissive to their husbands as if to the Lord because the husband is the head of his wife just as Christ is head of his body the church, as well as its savior. . .Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church. He gave himself up for her to make her holy, purifying her in the bath of water by the power fo the word, to present to himself a glorious church, holy and immaculate without stain or wrinkle or anything of that sort.”

Christ is our savior. He saves us from our sins. He washes them away. Each Christian has a personal experience of how Jesus’ loving mercy works in our lives. This personal experience of forgiveness and mercy gives us a glimpse into his abundant love for his Church, his Bride, his Body.

Just as he takes away our sins on a personal level, would we presume that he can not do the same in a collective sense? And because Scripture places so much emphasis on the importance of the Church, can we not fathom that Christ’s saving grace would be even that much more abundant when it comes to his Bride?

From Holy Scripture, we have a very good picture of how Christ sees his Bride. She is “glorious. . .holy and immaculate without stain or wrinkle or anything of that sort.”

Now, how in the world could this claim be made of a Church which is so filled with sinners? So imperfect? Individuals who we see as so UN-holy?

The answer lies in the very same promise that we depend on for our own personal salvation. . .

By grace.


#5

As an outsider to the Protestant church(es), it just seems to me that due to the deep effects of the reformation, non-Catholic Christians really do not have a complete understanding of holiness. With most of the Sacramental institutions banished from these denominations, no wonder there isn’t this understanding or “sense” of holiness - thus they can’t really consolidate the errancy of humanity with the divinity of the institutions established by Christ. It’s really hard for them to do so.

By down-playing the divine in the Church (which is what they would do in regards to Eph 5: 22-23 and call it a general body of believers), non-Catholics have done themselves a disservice in denying that the institution of the Church that Christ established is suppose to be a visible body of Christian unity. It would take a lot from a non-Catholic to really see the “big picture” and understand that the church CAN be both inperfect (humanity) and divine (Body of Christ) as God wills it to be.


#6

Liturgical Christians or Apostolic Christians have pretty much the same image of what the Church is as Catholics, except they don’t look to Rome but to Canterbury or their Synods, etc. for their leadership.

With Evangelical Christians, who don’t have but a rudimentary form of liturgy or leadership and who see themselves primarily as individual followers of Christ who just happen to meet together (which is why the feel free to church hop, even between on sect and another without a twinge of concern). They see the Church as merely individuals who all happen to have a personal relationship with Christ.

These two ways of looking at the Church are also based on the difference between a Sola Scriptura understanding of Sacred Tradition and the Catholic in which Sacred Scripture is but a part, a very large part, but a part of Sacred Tradition. This is why it is so hard to get Evangelicals to see that the Body of Christ is not, as they think, only an invisible body, but does have a visible body of one belief, one confession, and one purpose established by Christ with real human beings, in a real location, and for all time.


#7

Hey, jpete! I was hoping you’d respond since we are essentially discussing your comments. How about it? :slight_smile:


#8

I think you are going to end up with “It’s just one of those Mysteries” how the church is made of us sinners, yet Herself is sinless!


#9

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