The body of Christ, the Church of Christ

A friend is suddenly not a catholic, she never really was, just by title. But we have been talking about religion and church…

She says only those who do God’s will are part of the body. Not every single human. Is this true? Also, I know the body of Christ is also somehow the Church of Christ. Hut um confused with being his church and being IN his church.

Can someone kinda clarify those points for me?

She says if we are doing His will we are in His Church.
She has a problem with religion and doctrine. She doesn’t want to say what 'church she goes to. But she said if she had to choose a denomination, she would choose Christian. I of course told her Catholics are Christians. Anyway, I’m confused on the points above. Help?

Depending on what she means by God’s “will,” she is correct in the sense that those who are formally and practicing Catholics are part of the body, the Church. And also are those who are invincibly ignorant of the truth part of the body because they are disposed to receive the truth but have not been granted due opportunity to embrace the Catholic faith formally. See CCC#846-848.

Also, I know the body of Christ is also somehow the Church of Christ. Hut um confused with being his church and being IN his church.

I think to be in the Church and to be the Church are more or less the same. It’s just a semantic perspective.

She has a problem with religion and doctrine.

Here, she is mistaken. On what basis does she declare that religion and doctrine are NOT God’s will? St. Paul explicitly said to adhere to sound doctrine (e.g. 1 Tim. 1:10, Tit. 2:1) and James taught about the truth in pure religion (James 1:26-27) On this point, as the one making the assertion, she must substantiate this “doctrine” of hers. I presume by “religion” she limits the definition of the term to formalities or rites as do several Christian denominations? I would need more information, but perhaps this post Christianity is a religion will help. :wink:

Also, can someone shed light on 1 cor. 12:22 and 23. What are the weaker parts of the body and why do they need more honor?

St. Paul used the body as a metaphor to stress the need for unity. Can one body part say to another, I do not need you? A human body is completely united for the single purpose of sustaining each of us.

It is troubling to see this metaphor used in the exact opposite manner intended by Paul - to say that disunity is OK as long as we share some vague common purpose (a concept not found in the plain reading of Holy Scripture). We are somehow “united” in this vague shared purpose (whatever it is - nobody can really say what it is), but we are divided in every other way, and that’s supposed to be OK - *that’s *what Paul was talking about. Really???

TRUE unity means we recognize a common doctrine, a common authority, a common purpose, and we worship together. THAT is the unity that St. Paul was talking about.

Perhaps the poor, homeless, aged, lonely, or infirm, whom Jesus commanded us to help, and children too.

So since she asks me if I believe the body of Christ is the same as the church of Christ… How should I answer?

So what about atheists? Are they part of the body? Or maybe just anyone who does believe in God but isn’t really a practicing Christian… (Not doing God’s will) are they part of the body?

We can’t know with certainty who might be incorporated to the body but is invincibly ignorant of the truth of the Church. It would have to be someone whose heart was disposed to the truth if they were so presented it in a worthy manner.

If your friend asks you if the body of Christ is the same as the Church of Christ, you can agree to that. The Church is his body (Eph. 1:22-23’ Col. 1:24)

However, it sounds like your friend is resistent to any formal incorporation to the Church or to embrace Church doctrines, etc… She is relying on it being God’s will that she so resist. I would submit her act is itself a resistence to God’s will.

I wasn’t quite sure, so I looked it up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Searching for all occurrences of the phrase “Body of Christ,” I see that it almost always refers to the Church.

That is Church with a capital C, meaning it is not merely an earthly organization of people who love each other and do good works. It is both earthly and divine, The Church is given life by the Holy Spirit. It consists not only of members of the Church who are presently alive, but also those who have died and live eternally in God’s presence, together with Christ (“through Him, with Him, and in Him”).

In several places, the Catechism says we become members of the Body of Christ through Baptism and by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. This comes perhaps from 1 Corinthians 12:13:
For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
(though I think Jesus may have said it first, for example, in the Gospel of John).

Not only baptism, but all of the sacraments build up and strengthen the Body of Christ.

The Catechism does not say that every human is a member of the Body of Christ, but in paragraph 776 it says that God desires it:
… God desires “that the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one temple of the Holy Spirit.”
Those who do not follow Christ (are not joined to Christ) are not members of the Body of Christ, though someday they may be.

Another essential point is that the members of the Body of Christ serve each other, collaborating with God in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church.

There is much more. Let me cut and paste several more passages from the Catechism:

II. The Church—Body of Christ

The Church is communion with Jesus

787 From the beginning, Jesus associated his disciples with his own life, revealed the mystery of the Kingdom to them, and gave them a share in his mission, joy, and sufferings. Jesus spoke of a still more intimate communion between him and those who would follow him: “Abide in me, and I in you… I am the vine, you are the branches.” And he proclaimed a mysterious and real communion between his own body and ours: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”

788 When his visible presence was taken from them, Jesus did not leave his disciples orphans. He promised to remain with them until the end of time; he sent them his Spirit. As a result communion with Jesus has become, in a way, more intense: “By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from every nation.”

789 The comparison of the Church with the body casts light on the intimate bond between Christ and his Church. Not only is she gathered around him; she is united in him, in his body. Three aspects of the Church as the Body of Christ are to be more specifically noted: the unity of all her members with each other as a result of their union with Christ; Christ as head of the Body; and the Church as bride of Christ.

III. The Church Is the Temple of the Holy Spirit

797 “What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church.” “To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members.” The Holy Spirit makes the Church “the temple of the living God”:
Indeed, it is to the Church herself that the “Gift of God” has been entrusted… It is in her that communion with Christ has been deposited, that is to say: the Holy Spirit, the pledge of incorruptibility, the strengthening of our faith and the ladder of our ascent to God… For where the Church is, there also is God’s Spirit; where God’s Spirit is, there is the Church and every grace.

798 The Holy Spirit is “the principle of every vital and truly saving action in each part of the Body.” He works in many ways to build up the whole Body in charity: by God’s Word “which is able to build you up”; by Baptism, through which he forms Christ’s Body; by the sacraments, which give growth and healing to Christ’s members; by “the grace of the apostles, which holds first place among his gifts”; by the virtues, which make us act according to what is good; finally, by the many special graces (called “charisms”), by which he makes the faithful “fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church.”

953 Communion in charity. In the sanctorum communio, “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.” “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” “Charity does not insist on its own way.” In this solidarity with all men, living or dead, which is founded on the communion of saints, the least of our acts done in charity redounds to the profit of all. Every sin harms this communion.

2003 Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church.

thank you!!! that was very helpful

so how do I go about telling her that she cant rely only on ‘gods will’ ans her reading scripture?

she says she left her job because ‘god told her’ and she needed to focus on reading scripture…
she also told me she has a gun and her boyfriend has many guns… to be prepared for th end and they are stocking up on water and supplies… ??? :confused:

We are baptized into Christ’s body. The Bible is crystal clear…

*For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27)*

When we are baptized into the Body of Christ we become members of His Body which is the Church.


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