What Is The True Church - Believers OR An Organization?

Hi to all my Forum Friends,

On the TimesDaily Religion Forum, a Roman Catholic Friend began a discussion titled "Four Marks Of The True Church" -- offering a URL link to the Catholic Answers Apologetics web site.  Visiting this web site, it tells us:


Among the Christian churches, only the (Roman) Catholic Church has existed since the time of Jesus.  Every other Christian church is an offshoot of the (Roman) Catholic Church.

Jesus established only one Church, not a collection of differing churches (Lutheran, Baptist, Anglican, and so on).  The Bible says the Church is the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:23–32).  Jesus can have but one spouse, and his spouse is the (Roman) Catholic Church.

 

In my Religion Forum Friend's contention that the Roman Catholic Church is the only church which can trace its origins back to the days of Christ's earthly ministry, he tells us, "The (Roman) Catholic Church has existed for nearly 2,000 years, despite constant opposition from the world.  This is testimony to the (Roman) Church's divine origin."

And, of course, he is speaking of the church organization we know as the Roman Catholic Church.

Note:  Where the writers speak of the Church (with a capital C) it is understood that he/she is implying the Roman Catholic Church.   That is why I have added the parenthetical (Roman) before each Church, to avoid confusion.   Others refer to the church (no capital C) as the body of believers.

And, an agnostic Forum Friend justifiably suggests to him, "What I meant by both sides of the mouth is (you) saying the (Roman) Catholic church is the one true church, but then saying you don't have to be (Roman) Catholic to get to Heaven.  If it is the one true church, you can't get to Heaven by attending other churches."

At this point, let's first clarify a few issues in the statements shown above, both in the Catholic Answers web site and the statement made by my Roman Catholic Forum Friend.

First, Catholic Answers tells us, "Jesus can have but one spouse, and his spouse is the (Roman) Catholic Church."

So, is the church organization called the Roman Catholic Church the bride of Christ?  Or, is there another Biblical meaning for the bride of Christ?   What does it mean that the church is the bride of Christ?

The Bible uses the New Testament Jewish image of the Bridegroom and His bride, and that symbolism of marriage is applied to Christ and the body of believers known as the church.  Who is the church?  The church is all those people, worldwide, who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, have a personal saving relationship with Him, and have received His promise of eternal life.  In the New Testament, Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the church, the body of believers, to be His bride (Ephesians 5:25-27).

When I was married to my wife, I did not marry a car, a house, or an organization -- I married a living, breathing woman I loved and still love.  Jesus Christ did the same, He has betrothed Himself to a living, breathing bride -- the living, breathing body of believers.

And, my agnostic Forum Friend raises the other point, "If it (the Roman Catholic Church) is the one true church, you can't get to Heaven by attending other churches."

Jesus Christ alone, and not any church organization -- is the ONLY WAY to heaven (John 14:6), "Jesus said to him (Thomas), 'I am the WAY, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.' "

The ONLY true church is the one described in the Bible -- the worldwide body of Christian believers, the body of Christ.

Ephesians 1:22-23, "And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all."

1 Corinthians 12:13-14, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many."

 

And, when Paul was writing to the new church fellowship in Rome, he wrote, in Romans 1:7, "To all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

We read more of the saints, i.e., all Christian believers:

Acts 9:32, "Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda."

Matthew 27:52, "The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised."

Acts 9:13, "But Ananias answered, 'Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem."

 

This is the Christian church, i.e., the body of believers, the body of saints -- which was begun on the Day of Pentecost 33 AD, when the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 faithful who had followed the instructions of Christ and remained in the Upper Room until the promise of God, the Holy Spirit, came upon them.

Then, empowered by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit into each of them -- they went out and began to preach to the crowd gathered in street.  During the recorded sermon of Peter, and the teachings of the many disciples, over 3000 believed that day, and became a part of that initial body of believers, the church.

So, the True Church is the worldwide body of Christian believers.  It is not an organization, it is not a building, it is not a set of doctrines, sacraments, and theologies -- it is the collective body of believers, worldwide.

I don't believe anyone can explain the meaning of the true church -- better than the lyrics of this Gospel song:

 

IT'S NOT WHAT'S OVER THE DOOR


Chorus:  It's not what's over the door Of the church that you attend,
That makes you a child of God, And a heavenly citizen.
As the eyes of the Lord look this world o'er,

There’s just one thing He's lookin’ for
Can’t you see that’s what’s in your heart, And not what's over the door.

1.  Some people think today, If heaven you would see,
You must belong to their church, Or be lost eternally.
But according to God's word, What He's still looking for,
Is what He finds within your heart, And not what's over the door.

2.  Does Jesus live in your heart, And have you been born again,
Has the blood of calvary's Lamb, Washed away all your sins?
Are you fully trusting in, The crucified risen Lord,
Can't you see that it's what's in your heart,

And not what's over the door.


That song is the best sermon I have ever heard.

So, just to set the record straight, the True Church is the one Jesus Christ began on the Day of Pentecost 33 AD, the church, or group of believers/saints -- and this is how they worshiped and had fellowship:  "They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer"  (Acts 2:42).

Anyone who tells you his/her church is the ONLY, or True Church, or that their church is the church which Christ began on that 33 AD Day of Pentecost -- unless they are speaking of the worldwide body of believers; they are lying to you, or they are very confused over Christ's meaning of His church.

The church began that Day of Pentecost 33 AD -- and, later began to split into factions.  One of those factions is the Roman Catholic church, another is the Baptist church, and there are thousands more.   All are factions, dividing the body of Christ.

To regain the true church begun in 33 AD, we should just concentrate on "devoting ourselves to the apostles' (pastors, elders, teachers) teaching, and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer" (Acts 2:42).

We need to lay aside all the traditions, rituals, special garments, and multiple man-made sacraments, rules, and regulations -- and just concentrate of studying, and sharing, God's Word, all 66 books of the Bible, and to being obedient to the two ordinances Christ left for us to do in remembrance of Him until He returns:  Baptism and Communion (the Lord's Supper).

If we want to find the True Church, one has to look within all those fellowship walls and find all the people who, by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross -- have believed and received Him as their personal Lord and Savior -- and who walk in daily fellowship with Him and all other believers.    That is the TRUE CHURCH!

God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,

Bill

 

Acts 2-42 - CICF Church

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Original Post
Originally Posted by Bill Gray:

Hi to all my Forum Friends,


<snip> same story over and over....

 

When I was married to my wife, I did not marry a car, a house, or an organization -- I married a living, breathing woman I loved and still love. ...

------------------------------------------

Billie boy, just for clarification, are we speaking of your first wife here, or a subsequent one?

Just curious - no pun intended.

 

 

The divorce he tried to get from his first wife "wasn't worth the paper it was written on" (and those are Billy's words) so actually he's still married to her. According to the Bible, the divorce wouldn't be recognized anyway unless said wife committed adultery.

 

With having two wives, one legal/one not, & just recently coming out of the closet, ole Billy Bob doesn't seem to be doing to well. Bless his little bitty old heart!

quote:  Originally Posted by Dove of Peace:
quote:  Originally Posted by Bill Gray:
The Bible uses the New Testament Jewish image of the Bridegroom and His bride, and that symbolism of marriage is applied to Christ and the body of believers known as the church
Who is the church?  The church is all those people, worldwide, who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, have a personal saving relationship with Him, and have received His promise of eternal life.  In the New Testament, Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the church, the body of believers, to be His bride (Ephesians 5:25-27).

When I was married to my wife, I did not marry a car, a house, or an organization -- I married a living, breathing woman I loved and still love.  Jesus Christ did the same, He has betrothed Himself to a living, breathing bride -- the living, breathing body of believers.

Billie boy, just for clarification, are we speaking of your first wife here, or a subsequent one?   Just curious - no pun intended.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Hi Dove,

 

Thank you for asking.  I am speaking of my wife with whom I will celebrate our 36th Wedding Anniversary this coming September 2.

 

So, this is my 26-36-76 YEAR!

 

This year I celebrate being a Christian believer for 26 years (1987).  I celebrate 36 wonderful years married to my young bride (1977).  And, I celebrate being 76 years young (1937).  Seems like 7 is my number!

 

Most folks familiar with Scripture, knows that In Scripture, the number seven (7) symbolizes completeness or perfection.

 

So, by George, it seems that God has led me to a triune set of 7s:  1977 - 1987 - 1937.

 

I am truly a blessed man for all these reasons. 

 

God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,

 

Bill

1 - Will Work For Jesus_Outline

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Originally Posted by Bilsnip page

<snip>

 

Thank you for asking.  I am speaking of my wife with whom I will celebrate our 36th Wedding Anniversary this coming September 2.

 

<snip>

---------------------------------

Thank you for your response...

I assume your first marriage was not so successful?

 

quote:   Originally Posted by INVICTUS:

 So, this is my 26-36-76 YEAR!    Looks like six is your number, all three of them. 

Vic, my Friend,

 

I realize you are easily confused.   You prove that with almost all your posts.  But, let me try to explain this slowly so that you might be able to understand:

 

My 26-36-76 YEAR! represents my ages:

 

26 years - a born again Christian believer!

 

36 years - of being blessed with the best wife a man could want!

 

76 years - the age of my wandering, so far, on God's good earth!

 

My Triune Ages: 1977 - 1987 - 1937 -- when it all happened!

 

But, no matter how one looks at it -- I am a very blessed man! 

 

I have been married to a world class wife since 1977. 

 

I have walked with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ since 1987. 

 

And, beginning in 1937, I began my journey on God's earth. 

 

For many years I followed the secular world; for many years I wandered in the Roman Catholic void -- but, after 50 years of wandering in the wilderness; praise God, I became a child of God, joint heir with Jesus Christ, and have His assurance and promise that I will spend eternity in His presence.

 

How could anyone be more blessed?


God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,

 

Bill

1 - Will Work For Jesus_Outline

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Bookies are giving odds that Bill didn't leave the Catholic Church on his own accord, but was "asked" to leave due to .... marital incongruities.  He certainly wouldn't have been allowed to marry Dory in the Catholic Church since he was completely out of line with Paul's teaching on the matter.  This fact in itself suggests Bill was never saved, and surely didn't properly repent. 

 

quote:  Originally Posted by Nathan Evans:
If there was a void, Bill, while you claimed to be Catholic, the void was in you, not the Catholic Church, the Bride of Christ!  The fact that you voluntarily left behind the fullness of truth speaks volumes!  Praised be Jesus forever!

Hi Nathan,

 

I never claimed to be Roman Catholic, only that I attended the Roman Catholic church for about twenty years, took Catechism classes, had my children in Roman Catholic schools, had my obligatory Roman Catholic Missal is lieu of a Bible, and even had a rosary on which I prayed, not that it did any good.  I was just following the example of that church and praying by rote.

 

But, I do have one request of you.  Please show me in the Bible where it tells us that the Roman Catholic church is the Bride of Christ.  If you will be honest, that can only be found in Vatican writings.

 

What does the Bible truly say about the bride of Christ, the body of believers, the church?


Question: "What does it mean that the church is the bride of Christ?"
http://www.gotquestions.org/bride-of-Christ.html

Answer: 
The imagery and symbolism of marriage is applied to Christ and the body of believers known as the church.  These are those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal savior and have received eternal life.  In the New Testament, Christ, the Bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the church to be His bride (Ephesians 5:25-27).
 
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Answer:
Many people today understand the church as a building.  This is not a biblical understanding of the church.  The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia which is defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.”  The root meaning of “church” is not that of a building, but of people.  It is ironic that when you ask people what church they attend, they usually identify a building. Romans 16:5 says “… greet the church that is in their house.”  Paul refers to the church in their house—not a church building, but a body of believers.

The church is the body of Christ, of which He is the head.  Ephesians 1:22-23 says, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”  The body of Christ is made up of all believers in Jesus Christ from the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) until Christ’s return.  The body of Christ is comprised of two aspects:

1) The universal church consists of all those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:13). This verse says that anyone who believes is part of the body of Christ and has received the Spirit of Christ as evidence. The universal church of God is all those who have received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

2) The local church is described in Galatians 1:1-2: “Paul, an apostle … and all the brothers with me, to the churches in Galatia.” Here we see that in the province of Galatia there were many churches—what we call local churches. A Baptist church, Lutheran church, Catholic church, etc., is not the church, as in the universal church—but rather is a local church, a local body of believers.

God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,

 

Bill

 

Acts 2_1-4 - Glory of God

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I don't know, myself, but I do believe that the Roman Catholic faith is well represented here on the forum.  I've been to many different and diverse Churches and worship environments and have learned from each different and various things.  I've found things I believe are strengths and weaknesses found in all faiths but then that's because all faiths, and the Churches, are made up of imperfect humans and humans have faults and fallacies.   I also believe it's unfortunate when one faith or denomination chooses to openly criticize another that they disagree with.  I believe that Christians need to remember Paul's instructions in Romans Chapter 14 when it comes to a lot of doctrinal differences.  Yes, there are some issues of dogma that are not to be compromised but then, unfortunately, many disputes are over very minor and small issues. 

Like politics, I'm more independent in my faith as well.  I, personally, choose to worship more in the Baptist and Methodist Churches, as a choice but have also enjoyed many nondenominational services locally.  

Recratican posted:

Some very good points here. I've read 10% of Alabamians are Catholic. Wonder how many on this forum?

I'm the only one but my contract runs out this year. As a free
agent I might sign with the Salvation Army, there's gold in them
red kettle's....

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