The Simplicity of the Gospel


#1

Paul talked about the “simplicity of the gospel”. How, in the kaleidoscope of everybody’s ideas on “The Church”, is it simple anymore? What IS the simplicity of the Gospel? I know some will say it is “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”, but why then such elaborate ideas about ritual, Church structure and the Eucharist/Lord’s Table?

When Jesus met the woman at the well, she told him:
Joh 4:20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

Jesus replied:
Joh 4:22-24 Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Much to-do is made over intellectually proofing what we ought to believe and how we ought to worship. But God does not make His home in our intellect. He makes His home in our hearts. This will probably get into the corporate vs. individual aspects.

I ask all this because I wish to see outside of my own bubble. I think we all look at things from a bubble. I left all organized churches some time ago, and so far it has been the most deeply transforming lifestyle–a natural and organic way of knowing God and being in some measure of unity with a greater part of His Body. The best part of it is that real fellowship is part of everyday life as opposed to an hour and a half on Sundays.

That does not mean there are never problems in this walk, though. It does take a lot out of me at times, but it spoils me in other ways as I don’t have to put up with infighting. So I am interested in hearing thoughtful and reflective ideas others have on the topic with a view to how we can achieve unity in Christ and still be faithful to His revealed truth.


#2

That may have been the problem. It is supposed to be part of everyday life in Catholicism anyway. It really does seem like most objections to the Church are based on distortions or misunderstandings of what the Church even stands for… :frowning:


#3

The question is not how we end up defining “church” but how Jesus defined it. He did say He came to establish His Church. It was given to the apostles and passed down through their successors. It was established on the throne of Moses and passed down through the new throne of Peter.

If we refuse to investigate “church” as Christ established it, we are rejecting Him, and, “He who rejects you rejects me and the One who sent me”.


#4

The limitations are that not many people live like this, but I have located a few. But you bring up a point–“What is Church?” Is it the building, the meeting, the people? Most would say it is the people if pressed for an answer. But the people rarely have much to do with each other after they leave a service/mass.

After posting the new thread, I talked to an elderly Lutheran lady and we talked about how church forms were tied to community in the old days. People lived, worked and worshiped together with less division to their lives. Maybe that’s part of it.

If you get a chance sometime, watch the movie, “Fried Green Tomatoes”. It has nothing to do with “Church” on the surface–it’s just two women sharing the ups and downs of life and taking up for one another. But if you have two people with the life of Christ doing the same thing, He is infused into all their experiences. It’s really wonderful to get a taste of.

The priest factor of the Catholic Church would tend to modify how some people view this. I don’t know whether it’s possible to have this kind of horizontal fellowship in a priest system. Does anyone know? And do priests only have horizontal fellowship with other priests but not with laypeople (what is THAT?). And do laypeople never see their priests horizontally as people who also need compassion and horizontal help? (Or is that “vertical”?) God, I’m confused about now. There’s a strong cultural thing here that throws me totally off.


#5

I know what you mean as I have been down that road and I felt the same way. Born and raised Catholic I drifted away and began reading the bible on my own. It was great! But the more I read the more I realized that I had left HIS church! Now I was at the mercy of the wolves, those who claim that their beliefs are true because they “are guided by the Holy Spirit”. Everyone I met had a different belief, yet they all claimed to be led by the Holy Spirit. Brother!

I left that mess and went back to the Church. It’s fine to have that good feeling and living in fellowship. But do you have the Holy Spirit leading you? Only way to know for sure is to ask the Church.


#6

You bring up an interesting point. Every group you meet with (almost) will tell you to come check out your private revelations with themselves as they are “the Church” So there again, it comes down to “What is the Church?”


#7

The Church of today is very different from the Church founded by Christ.

That should come as no surprise. It has survived 2000 years of persecution. It is vastly larger than that early community. No doubt even the Blessed Apostles dared not believe how big ‘The’ Church would be 2000 into the future!

The Church as the Bride of Christ. It is a body and it has life. In that sense it is organic. Anything organic grows and gets larger [or shinks and dies, but we know that wont happen because Christ promised to be with her until the end of time].

It it also mystical, it comprizes not only humankind but also 'the Church at rest including the Saints. No doubt the Angelic realms associate with her. No doubt they too pay homage and bow before the Blessed Sacrament at every Mass.

For me, ‘the Church on earth’ is something very visible yet paradoxically beyond human comprehension. It is awesome. In fact, the older I get, the more I understand but the more I am humbled at Mass.

But to return to the point, it seems to me that all the Lord ever taught about was God’s love for His creation and His desire that ‘not one should be lost’. I think our solumn commission is to try to love as much as He loved. I also think that is the measure by which we will be judged: the extent to which I love God and my neighbour.


#8

Scripture tells us to let the weeds and wheat grow together.

That tells us that there will be “weeds” around us if we are in Christ’s authentic Church. If our bubble does not contain any weeds, can we really be in His church worshiping as He knew we would be as attested to by Scripture?

God Bless,
Maria


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