Church Invisible

Seafra

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wasamwillbe said:
Seafra said:
wasamwillbe said:
HabteSelassie said:
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

FormerReformer said:
Montanists, Novatianists, Donatists, Cathari- not exactly the company I'd like to keep.
I agree a lot of folks living the victor's history have come to see Protestantism as this innocent victim of Catholic and European corruption where as the early "Protestants" as you quoted were in fact quite violent and dangerous.  The violence of the Inquisition was a direct reaction to violence sparked by Protestant radicals who burned parishes and even assassinated clergy.  Interesting how "proto-Protestantism" evolved as the logical replacement for Apostolic Succession to explain validity and legitimacy, even though Protestantism is a broken chain of history and further, who would want to be associated with all the historical heresiarchs ;)

stay blessed,
habte selassie
Could you direct me to some references to this "violence sparked by Protestant radicals who burned parishes and even assassinated clergy" please, I have not heard this before and would like to read further on this. Thanks.
ummm read Irish history much? how about early American History? there has almost always been great animosity between protestants and Catholics. The Brits used to call the Irish polytheistic heretics.. Not to mention KKK targeting Catholics and Orthodox which were led by many protestant leaders...
my misunderstanding, I thought he was referring to Montanists, Novatianists, Donatists, Cathari.
Im unsure but i know that the Protestant church has a very dark history to it, especially toward its sister churches
 

FountainPen

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Marc1152 said:
FountainPen said:
Volnutt said:
To expand upon what jnorm said, Penny, you've basically got a false dichotomy going and you're also desacralizing matter. God doesn't act spiritually, He came in the flesh, eating, sleeping, dying on a wooden beam, rising in a body. He ministers to us with a book, pen and ink, and people's vocal chords and water and wine and bread (metaphorical or not, makes no difference in this context). Why are the elders commanded to anoint with oil? Why make a big deal about leadership passing through the laying on of hands? There's physical space and action right there, visible things being used as part of our salvation whether we meet in a building with icons and altars and incense or not.

The big problem I have with your view is it leaves no substantial meaning for the meeting together. If Jesus was preaching your view, I don't think He would have said, "Wherever two or three are gathered, there am I in the midst of them," He should have said, "Wherever at least one is gathered in my name..." One might as well just post on a website all there life and call that "Church." Your view doesn't just reject Orthodoxy, it rejects 90% of Protestantism and winds up with Harold Camping and Otis Q. Sellers. The corporate worship and Eucharist basically becomes a nonessential coffee klatsch because you're swapping the Catholicity (wholeness and completeness) of the local Church for the Catholicity of the individual. We're physical beings as well as spiritual and we're saved that way, in our bodies and in a community.

On the other side of the token, to say that the Church is visible is not of course to say she is only visible. Your point about being able to tell who is and is not in thus misses the point. He who is in the visible Church, might not be in it invisibly as well- he needs both. Just because the question of whether this works the other way around is a contested one does not invalidate the importance of the visible.

And in Orthodoxy, Jesus is still the visible head of the Church, He's there in the Flesh every Sunday  ;)
I do accept that the visible side to the church is important because the church is a body of people who all need to fellowship with each other for support, edification, for accountability, to glorify God and to collectively "shine". Of course i recognise the physical elements of church such as anointing with oil and laying on of hands. I've felt like laying a hand on, or two, on the odd occasion during service.

I believe that everything we do and are is sacred in a way because of who we are in Christ and our new redeemed nature. I don't believe the Spirit shows up when certain acts are performed in a service because i believe He is always with us and will never leave us. When believers assemble together and glorify God collectively it's not an act of worship that's performed but an overflow of a worshipping heart being expressed. That corporate expression of worship and adoration from a repentant heart (and i don't mean someone who has simply confessed recently but someone who is constantly lives in an attitude of repentance) is like a sweet smelling incense that is pleasing to God.

I would call that the church because there are church members there but i would equally point to other point to other places and say the church is there also. It seems as though orthodoxy doesn't do that even though it recognises that some of the church body are not known to the church, it still sees them as being outside of the church. Have i got that right? And if Orthodoxy recognises one who is in the visible church might not be in the invisible church then how can it anoint and baptise those when it believes baptism and the Eucharist to be sacred and salvific?
Not exactly. You may have heard this before, we say "We know where the Church is but we can't say with certainty where it is not".
We account for God's mercy outside the path to salvation that he set for all of us. The path he set has only one vehicle, The Church. You should not count too much on being an exception.

We are the exact same Church founded on the day of Pentecost. Not an idea thought of on Pentecost. We are the exact same organization chronicled in the Book of Acts. We did not disband, we did not go away, we did not fall from the faith. We still exist. You can take a bus or drive a car and get to where we are and join us in Worship. We are not just a set of Principles. We have always existed physically since the day the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles who founded us ..

We are  Catholic meaning when we come together in a particular place the whole of the Church is there.

The Heterodox have a high view of Scripture and a low view of the Church.The Orthodox have a high view of scripture and a high view of The Church..

Questions?
None for you. I think i'll wait for Vol's response, thanks.
 

Volnutt

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Habte is talking about the Cathari (otherwise known as Albigensians), thirteenth century Gnostics who, with the backing of some local princes burned down Churches and assassinated clergy in the south of France leading to a Papal Crusade against them. The third century Donatists of North Africa also had a radical faction called the Circumcelians who roamed the countryside in gangs, attacking people with clubs hoping to be "martyred" when their victims defended themselves.

Calling the Albigensians and Circumcelians "proto-Protestants" is misleading because they would be considered heretical by today's Protestant churches anyway. I was referring to what are essentially arguments from silence I've seen that posit some kind of "Bible believing" church in the caves of medieval Europe that we no evidence for.
 

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FountainPen said:
I do accept that the visible side to the church is important because the church is a body of people who all need to fellowship with each other for support, edification, for accountability, to glorify God and to collectively "shine". Of course i recognise the physical elements of church such as anointing with oil and laying on of hands. I've felt like laying a hand on, or two, on the odd occasion during service.
How important to you can it possibly be if it isn't "part of" the Bride?
FountainPen said:
I believe that everything we do and are is sacred in a way because of who we are in Christ and our new redeemed nature.
Agreed.
FountainPen said:
I don't believe the Spirit shows up when certain acts are performed in a service because i believe He is always with us and will never leave us.
You quoted Jesus as saying, "Wherever two or three are gathered in My name..." does this mean when a believer is alone in a room, Jesus isn't there? God was present always with the Hebrews and yet He asked for a Tabernacle and later a Temple (Solomon even said at the dedication that the heavens themselves cannot contain God). And when the priests entered, God manifested in power, in a way He wasn't doing all the all the other moments of the day. God is with us always, yes. But there are times and places where He makes Himself known to us in a particular way and intensity.

The Orthodox epiklesis does not ask the Spirit to come down as if He were not already present, it simply asks Him to act upon the bread and wine and make Jesus present in a particular and physical way.
FountainPen said:
When believers assemble together and glorify God collectively it's not an act of worship that's performed but an overflow of a worshipping heart being expressed. That corporate expression of worship and adoration from a repentant heart (and i don't mean someone who has simply confessed recently but someone who is constantly lives in an attitude of repentance) is like a sweet smelling incense that is pleasing to God.
Eh, that's kind of six of one and a half dozen of the other. An overflow is still an act.
FountainPen said:
I would call that the church because there are church members there but i would equally point to other point to other places and say the church is there also. It seems as though orthodoxy doesn't do that even though it recognises that some of the church body are not known to the church, it still sees them as being outside of the church. Have i got that right?
I think it is more accurate to say they are part of the one Church though unawares. That's the rationale behind bishops who receive ex-RCs and Protestants with only Chrismation instead of a full-on baptism. It's recognize that the baptism, though incorrect was still performed with a sincere heart and so God is kind "filling it out" in response to the person's seeking after Him. They were already saved eternally (or not depending on whether they apostatized) and God is bringing into the visible church temporally. That's the way I understand it anyway, taking into account God's foreknowledge and such.
FountainPen said:
And if Orthodoxy recognises one who is in the visible church might not be in the invisible church then how can it anoint and baptise those when it believes baptism and the Eucharist to be sacred and salvific?
The same way a Protestant minister might baptize someone even they could be insincere in their confession of faith, they do it in hope that the person is really saved.
 

Marc1152

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Okay, then I have a question. In what year did the Church disappear and become invisible?

We know it existed. It got itself organized and then spread out, had a structure and ways to solve internal disagreements.

When did it change from actually existing physically to simply a shared idea? When was that exactly?

Thanks 
 

Marc1152

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There are two types of Religion. The first is "Religion in Principle". It is based on merits and virtues bundled up together that you shoot for. Everything is symbolic. The Eucharist, if needed at all, is a mere symbol. "The Church" is a shared idea. The human body is a husk covering the real you, your soul ( or if you're Gnostic, God inside of you). Worship  is centered around Preaching so we can be filled up with information and more and more idea's.

The other type of Religion is based on "Actual Manifestation", that is to say, concrete existence. The Eucharist is Actually the Body  blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. The Church is factually and in reality joined to Christ.   Both body and soul need to be saved.

It's not that we don't need good information or correct understanding, but we focus on emptying ourselves of passions and sin and gain humility rather than filling ourselves up with factoids. We try to actually practice the full art of salvation.

It's like the person who says they have read all the books about Zen Meditation. They agree Zen Meditation is good and they know all about it........... but they don't actually meditate.

 

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Marc1152 said:
Okay, then I have a question. In what year did the Church disappear and become invisible?

We know it existed. It got itself organized and then spread out, had a structure and ways to solve internal disagreements.

When did it change from actually existing physically to simply a shared idea? When was that exactly?

Thanks 
Love it! You're my hero! ;D
 

FountainPen

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Volnutt said:
FountainPen said:
I do accept that the visible side to the church is important because the church is a body of people who all need to fellowship with each other for support, edification, for accountability, to glorify God and to collectively "shine". Of course i recognise the physical elements of church such as anointing with oil and laying on of hands. I've felt like laying a hand on, or two, on the odd occasion during service.
How important to you can it possibly be if it isn't "part of" the Bride?
It's as important as works is to faith. We are saved by faith through grace and the evidence of that faith will be works, or the faith is dead. So we are saved through Christ and the outworking of that salvation is done through a flesh and blood body. The emphasis being though, that the church isn't the entry point for salvation because faith is the entry point for salvation.

Volnutt said:
FountainPen said:
When believers assemble together and glorify God collectively it's not an act of worship that's performed but an overflow of a worshipping heart being expressed. That corporate expression of worship and adoration from a repentant heart (and i don't mean someone who has simply confessed recently but someone who is constantly lives in an attitude of repentance) is like a sweet smelling incense that is pleasing to God.
Eh, that's kind of six of one and a half dozen of the other. An overflow is still an act.
Sorry, i possibly should have said "...merely an act" but i think you know what i am getting at. It's not something where we turn up and go through the motions just to check the church attendance box (i'm not suggesting you or anyone here is doing that).Worship is about a 'grafted-in' life saved from eternal death and the overflow of devotion due to God.


Volnutt said:
FountainPen said:
I would call that the church because there are church members there but i would equally point to other point to other places and say the church is there also. It seems as though orthodoxy doesn't do that even though it recognises that some of the church body are not known to the church, it still sees them as being outside of the church. Have i got that right?
I think it is more accurate to say they are part of the one Church though unawares. That's the rationale behind bishops who receive ex-RCs and Protestants with only Chrismation instead of a full-on baptism. It's recognize that the baptism, though incorrect was still performed with a sincere heart and so God is kind "filling it out" in response to the person's seeking after Him. They were already saved eternally (or not depending on whether they apostatized) and God is bringing into the visible church temporally. That's the way I understand it anyway, taking into account God's foreknowledge and such.
So potentially then and unbeknown to them at this time, millions of Protestants and Roman Catholics are already part of the one Church as she sees it?

Volnutt said:
FountainPen said:
And if Orthodoxy recognises one who is in the visible church might not be in the invisible church then how can it anoint and baptise those when it believes baptism and the Eucharist to be sacred and salvific?
The same way a Protestant minister might baptize someone even they could be insincere in their confession of faith, they do it in hope that the person is really saved.
No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
 

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Marc1152 said:
Okay, then I have a question. In what year did the Church disappear and become invisible?

We know it existed. It got itself organized and then spread out, had a structure and ways to solve internal disagreements.

When did it change from actually existing physically to simply a shared idea? When was that exactly?

Thanks  
You haven't read my responses so far or you wouldn't be asking silly questions.
I've never once said that the visible aspect of church was insignificant or didn't exist.
 

primuspilus

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I've never once said that the visible aspect of church was insignificant or didn't exist
But the problem is, if there is a visible church, that has authority and sanction from Christ, all of the folks that claim to be it, cant be. They believe completely different things.

PP
 

Marc1152

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primuspilus said:
I've never once said that the visible aspect of church was insignificant or didn't exist
But the problem is, if there is a visible church, that has authority and sanction from Christ, all of the folks that claim to be it, cant be. They believe completely different things.

PP
I agree with the point above. If you acknowledge that there is some sort of Church I dont think you are acknowledging what we understand as The Chruch. Since The Church has continued to exist and has retained it's authority you cant set up a counterpoint to that with some sort of lowest common denominator agreement and say that is "really" The Church. 

I think what you mean is that we need a nice warm place to meet and by golly that's important too. What we mean is that the arc of salvation is the Church. 

I still would like to stick to my contention. The Church clearly existed at the beginning. It had structure and a mission, membership, rules and a means to guard the Faith. What happened to that Organization? When did it disband? Why was it a physically existing entity with an address and then change to simple common agreement on the lowest common points of agreement?

I dont think that ever happened. The heresy of an Invisible Church is a rationalization by those ignorant of the History of The Christian Church.   
 

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primuspilus said:
I've never once said that the visible aspect of church was insignificant or didn't exist
But the problem is, if there is a visible church, that has authority and sanction from Christ, all of the folks that claim to be it, cant be. They believe completely different things.

PP
I accept that and because of the complexity of material that we all have to work with that's sadly always going to be the case, each part of the church believing that they have more of the truth than the others for various reasons.

I don't believe Christ would reject a heart that is sincerely trying to follow Him with the information they have at hand. I believe that it is the love and the outworking of that love in their lives will be the ultimate decider for those of us who are closer to the truth and for those who aren't but who've done their best with what they have had available to them.

The only church that Christ is coming back for without spot or wrinkle is invisible at present but visible to God. It's mixed in with the flesh and blood church on this earth and is one. The unity of which isn't centered around rituals and practices but on Christ. He is the unity that we share in, not whether we all agree on all issues. Can we agree on who He is and in his resurrection? If we can do that and love each other as we work out our salvation, then in doing so we will be closer to the truth than we all might suppose each other to be.

 

Marc1152

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FountainPen said:
primuspilus said:
I've never once said that the visible aspect of church was insignificant or didn't exist
But the problem is, if there is a visible church, that has authority and sanction from Christ, all of the folks that claim to be it, cant be. They believe completely different things.

PP
I accept that and because of the complexity of material that we all have to work with that's sadly always going to be the case, each part of the church believing that they have more of the truth than the others for various reasons.

I don't believe Christ would reject a heart that is sincerely trying to follow Him with the information they have at hand. I believe that it is the love and the outworking of that love in their lives will be the ultimate decider for those of us who are closer to the truth and for those who aren't but who've done their best with what they have had available to them.

The only church that Christ is coming back for without spot or wrinkle is invisible at present but visible to God. It's mixed in with the flesh and blood church on this earth and is one. The unity of which isn't centered around rituals and practices but on Christ. He is the unity that we share in, not whether we all agree on all issues. Can we agree on who He is and in his resurrection? If we can do that and love each other as we work out our salvation, then in doing so we will be closer to the truth than we all might suppose each other to be.
I think that's overly sentimental.

It's really not a matter of too much complicated material to wade through. It's a matter of having an incorrect view of The Church in God's plan. The Church is ONE, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

The bet you are trying to make is that sincerity trumps Christianity as long as it dove tales Christianity in some part or another. The best we can say is maybe. But you are taking a terrible risk and for no good reason.

The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is not a derivative of something else. It is actually The Church, the same organization with the same attributes existing continually since Pentecost. It's not a matter based on Faith, it's something that can be empirically demonstrated via historical record.

Once you can come to grips with Church History you are then faced with only one additional question. Did the Historical Church lose it's Faith or become heretical? We can then look at those issues and see if there really is any heresy. If not, then you are looking at The Church founded by the Apostles existing in an unbroken succession.   I  think you would have some obligation to at least make your peace with it and dump custom made concepts like the Church is  invisible.    
 
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Hi, I'm new to this thread, I've just spent the last hour browsing through the posts.

I noticed early on in the thread somebody used the verse in 1 Timothy 3:15 ("But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth",) to suggest that the church is visible. This entire chapter from Paul to Timothy more than confirms that the church itself is a visible entity and that there are ways one needs to conduct themselves in the 'house of God'.

It would be impossible for the church to be 'invisible' only.. It must be, and it is visible. Are we as individual believers not visible? When we gather together in the name of Jesus together, are we not visible? Does Jesus not say where 2 or more are gathered together in my name He is there?

But surely we can better understand what Paul is saying to Timothy here when we look at what he says to the Corinthian church in chapter 3:16.. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” – 1 Cor 3:16..

The temple of God.. Is it not within us as believers? When we gather together as believers, is this not a church? Is it not visible?

Paul also exhorts the Ephesian elders to ‘feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). More evidence that the church is visible.

1 Corinthians 6:19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

I don't by any means doubt that the church is invisible. However, there are many members of the Body of Christ, which makes up the church today. So when many members of the church get together, wherever they are, whether it be in a house, a garage, a hall, a park or a dedicated building, that assembly or congregation of saints is also called a church.

When a group of saints gets together to worship God by studying His word, building each other up or edifying one another, does not the Bible call them a church? For example, Paul writes to the ‘church at Ephesus’, and the ‘church of Galatia’, and the ‘church at Corinth’. These are congregations made up of those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour are they not?

Do not each one of us become a part of the church as we are placed into the Body of Christ by believing in Jesus Christ? Is not the Body of Christ the church?

Do we really have an idea here that we must be part of the 'orthodox church', or the 'catholic church', or the 'baptist church', or the 'pentecostal church' in order to be a part of the church? If we wish to think this way do we not confuse and divide ourselves and others? I understand that the orthodox church will say they are not divided, at least within themselves, other than a few so called so called 'minor' issues, i.e ecumenism, freemasonry etc. but the same can be said about the 'pentecostal' church, or the 'catholic' church. They will also claim they aren't divided and that they themselves are in the truth.  

Let us not divide ourselves by arguing about which building is the true church.. Biblically speaking, the true church is made up of those who believe that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Saviour, and that He died on that stake to pay for our sin. Wherever these people gather is wherever you will find the church.
 

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and that He died on that stake to pay for our sin.
Christ died on a cross, not a stake.  :police:
 

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FountainPen said:
Marc1152 said:
Okay, then I have a question. In what year did the Church disappear and become invisible?

We know it existed. It got itself organized and then spread out, had a structure and ways to solve internal disagreements.

When did it change from actually existing physically to simply a shared idea? When was that exactly?

Thanks  
You haven't read my responses so far or you wouldn't be asking silly questions.
I've never once said that the visible aspect of church was insignificant or didn't exist.
No, you just believe that the visible Church is merely a byproduct of individuals living out their individualized faiths in Christ, while we believe that the visible Church, no less than the invisible, is the very means by which Christ intends for us to work out our salvation: in community.

It's impossible to love your neighbor if you have no neighbor.
 

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Recommended reading:

Christianity or the Church?, by Saint Ilarion (Troitsky), the Holy New Martyr. This is a modern classic about the essential interrelatedness between Christianity and the Church. His main premise: "Without the Church there is no Christianity."

excerpts:

The Church was designed to reflect the perfect unity of the Three-One God

Here is what Saint Cyril of Alexandria writes: "Christ, having taken as an example and image of that indivisible love, accord and unity which is conceivable only in unanimity, the unity of essence which the Father has with Him and which He, in turn, has with His Father, desires that we too should unite with each other; evidently in the same way as the consubstantial, Holy Trinity is united so that the whole body of the Church is conceived of as one, ascending in Christ through the fusion and union of two people into the composition of the new perfect whole. The image of Divine unity and the consubstantial nature of the Holy Trinity as a most perfect interpenetration must be reflected in the unity of the believers who are of one heart and mind." Saint Cyril also points out "the natural unity by which we are all bound together, and all of us to God, cannot exist without bodily unity."

All the earthly works of Christ, therefore, must not be thought of as teaching alone. Christ did not come to earth to announce some novel theoretical propositions to mankind. No! He came in order to create a completely new life for mankind, that is, the Church. Christ Himself said that He would build the Church (cf. Matt. 16:18).

This new human community, according to the conception of the Creator Himself, differs vitally from all other associations of people into various societies. Christ Himself often referred to His Church as the Kingdom of God and said that this Kingdom is not of the world, that is, its nature is not of the world, not temporal; it is not comparable with earthly kingdoms (cf. John 14:27; 15:19; 17:14-16; 18:36).

The idea of the Church as a new, perfect community as distinct from a community of the state organization is profoundly and beautifully expressed in the kontakion for the feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, when the Church recalls and celebrates its beginning. "When the Most High came down and confused the tongues, He divided the nations, but when He distributed the tongues of fire, He called all into unity. Therefore, with one accord we glorify the All-holy Spirit." Here the creation of the Church is placed into opposition to the Tower of Babel and the "confusing of tongues," at which time God, the Most High, came down, confused the tongues and divided the nations.

In our times we hear many various answers such as: "To be a Christian means to recognize Christ's teaching, to try to fulfill His commandments." This, of course, is the best of such answers. The first Christians, however, answered the question in a completely different way. From the very first pages of its history, Christianity appears before us in the form of a harmonious and unanimous community. Outside of this community there were no Christians. To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14). Each new believer was like a branch grafted to the tree of Church life.

To be Christian means to belong to the Church

"On the Unity of the Catholic Church," we read the famous words, "He who does not have the Church as his mother cannot have God as his Father." Saint Cyprian completely refuses the name "Christian" to all those who stand outside the Church,

Only one who has come to believe in the Church, who is guided by the concept of the Church in the appraisal of the phenomena of life and the direction of his personal life, one who has felt a Church life within himself, he and only he is on the correct path. Much that earlier seemed indefinite and vague will become obvious and clear. It is especially precious that in times of general vacillation, of wandering from side to side, from the right to the left and from the left to the right, every Church-conscious person feels himself standing on a steadfast, centuries-old rock; how firm it feels under his feet.

The Spirit of God lives in the Church. This is not a dry and dogmatic thesis, preserved only through respect for what is old. No, this is truth; truth which can be experienced and known by everyone who has been penetrated by Church consciousness. This Grace-filled Church life cannot be the subject of dry scholastic research, for it is accessible for study only through experience. Human language is capable of speaking only vaguely and unclearly about this Grace-filled life.

Saint Hilary of Poitiers spoke correctly when he said, "This is the characteristic virtue of the Church - that it becomes comprehensible when you adopt it."

Only he who has Church life knows about Church life, he requires no proofs; but for one who does not have it, it is something which cannot be proved.

For a member of the Church the object of all his life must be constantly to unite more and more with the life of the Church, and, at the same time, preach to others about the Church, not substituting it with Christianity, not substituting life with dry and abstract teaching.

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/sthilarion_church.aspx

 

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I think most protestants agree that the church is partly visible and partly invisible.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
No, you just believe that the visible Church is merely a byproduct of individuals living out their individualized faiths in Christ, while we believe that the visible Church, no less than the invisible, is the very means by which Christ intends for us to work out our salvation: in community.

It's impossible to love your neighbor if you have no neighbor.
What i actually did was compare its importance to faith and works. I wouldn't have though you believe your deeds to be merely a byproduct of your faith Peter.
 

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FountainPen said:
Fotina02 said:
ByGracethroughFaith said:
It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.
Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).
We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.
Read the Acts passage again. It's clear that one could proclaim all day "I am saved" but of no effect outside the Church.

Again from St Ilarion quoted before:

Here is a more distinctive example, an illustration of precisely this joining to the Church. The persecutor Saul who had breathed threatening and murderous desires against the Lord's disciples, underwent a miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus, and became a follower of Christ. Here before us is a special revelation of God to man. In Damascus, the Lord sent Ananias to baptize Saul. Saul then travelled to Jerusalem in order to join himself to the disciples there. After Barnabas had informed the Apostles about him, "he abode as one among them." Thus, even the future great Apostle whom, in the vision of Ananias, the Lord calls a chosen instrument (Acts 9:15), immediately after conversion became united with the Church which was a visible community. Here is graphic evidence that the Lord does not want to know His servants outside of the Church.

It is easy to understand why the holy Apostle Paul speaks so persistently about the Church in his epistles: he is not creating a teaching about the Church, for during his very conversion Paul knew precisely this Church and not something else, for he recalls subsequently: "For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jew's religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the Church of God, and wasted it" (Gal. 1:13). Saul did not persecute followers of some kind of teaching, but, specifically, the Church, as a defined value, perceivable even to "outsiders."

According to the witness of the compiler of the Acts, the first Christian community was the almost complete realization of this concept of the Church. The company of the faithful, we read in the Acts of the Apostles were "of one heart and of one soul" (Acts 4:32). It is remarkable that during the fourth century, while the dogma concerning the Holy Trinity was being explained, certain of the holy fathers used the analogy of the early Christians to describe the unity of the Holy Trinity.

How sharply the first Christian community was defined is beautifully demonstrated in one verse from Acts which has somehow been passed over unnoticed. "And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them" (Acts 5:13).

Thus, on the one hand, conversion to Christianity is conceived of as uniting with the Church, and on the other hand, "none of those who were not of their number dared join them." Is it not clear, then, that from the very beginning when the direct disciples of Christ were still alive, Christianity was a visible society - the Church, because it was not then a theory; it was life itself.
 

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Fotina02 said:
FountainPen said:
Fotina02 said:
ByGracethroughFaith said:
It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.
Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).
We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.
Read the Acts passage again. It's clear that one could proclaim all day "I am saved" but of no effect outside the Church.
Fotina, there is no such thing as outside the church. The moment you are saved you are the church.

Again from St Ilarion quoted before:

Here is a more distinctive example, an illustration of precisely this joining to the Church. The persecutor Saul who had breathed threatening and murderous desires against the Lord's disciples, underwent a miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus, and became a follower of Christ. Here before us is a special revelation of God to man. In Damascus, the Lord sent Ananias to baptize Saul. Saul then travelled to Jerusalem in order to join himself to the disciples there. After Barnabas had informed the Apostles about him, "he abode as one among them." Thus, even the future great Apostle whom, in the vision of Ananias, the Lord calls a chosen instrument (Acts 9:15), immediately after conversion became united with the Church which was a visible community. Here is graphic evidence that the Lord does not want to know His servants outside of the Church.
Yep, immediately after conversion he went to gather. That's precicely what i was saying, thanks.

It is easy to understand why the holy Apostle Paul speaks so persistently about the Church in his epistles: he is not creating a teaching about the Church, for during his very conversion Paul knew precisely this Church and not something else, for he recalls subsequently: "For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jew's religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the Church of God, and wasted it" (Gal. 1:13). Saul did not persecute followers of some kind of teaching, but, specifically, the Church, as a defined value, perceivable even to "outsiders."
The followers/disciples are the church.

According to the witness of the compiler of the Acts, the first Christian community was the almost complete realization of this concept of the Church. The company of the faithful, we read in the Acts of the Apostles were "of one heart and of one soul" (Acts 4:32). It is remarkable that during the fourth century, while the dogma concerning the Holy Trinity was being explained, certain of the holy fathers used the analogy of the early Christians to describe the unity of the Holy Trinity.

How sharply the first Christian community was defined is beautifully demonstrated in one verse from Acts which has somehow been passed over unnoticed. "And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them" (Acts 5:13).

Thus, on the one hand, conversion to Christianity is conceived of as uniting with the Church, and on the other hand, "none of those who were not of their number dared join them." Is it not clear, then, that from the very beginning when the direct disciples of Christ were still alive, Christianity was a visible society - the Church, because it was not then a theory; it was life itself.
Christianity is a visible society i would agree.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
FountainPen said:
PeterTheAleut said:
FountainPen said:
Fotina02 said:
ByGracethroughFaith said:
It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.
Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).
We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.
How do you define saved?
I don't. The word defines it accurately enough but i daren't provide a source or i'll get accused of proof texting or firing bible bullits. ;)
You do realize I didn't ask you. ;)

Actually, you just showed me that you DO define saved. How do you know, though, that your definition is a complete, biblical understanding of salvation? How do we know if you won't tell us?
Well if we can cut to the chase i suppose we're back to Vol's question suggesting none of us can know if we truly believe or not. I would say that to answer the question is that what we truly believe will be evidenced by the outworking of our faith.
 

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FountainPen said:
PeterTheAleut said:
FountainPen said:
PeterTheAleut said:
FountainPen said:
Fotina02 said:
ByGracethroughFaith said:
It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.
Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).
We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.
How do you define saved?
I don't. The word defines it accurately enough but i daren't provide a source or i'll get accused of proof texting or firing bible bullits. ;)
You do realize I didn't ask you. ;)

Actually, you just showed me that you DO define saved. How do you know, though, that your definition is a complete, biblical understanding of salvation? How do we know if you won't tell us?
Well if we can cut to the chase i suppose we're back to Vol's question suggesting none of us can know if we truly believe or not. I would say that to answer the question is that what we truly believe will be evidenced by the outworking of our faith.
Nope, even atheists can do good works. You won't ever know if your works were done truly for the love of God and neighbor or out of pride (except in that relative sense I was talking about).

Working on your other post.
 

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FountainPen said:
It's as important as works is to faith. We are saved by faith through grace and the evidence of that faith will be works, or the faith is dead. So we are saved through Christ and the outworking of that salvation is done through a flesh and blood body. The emphasis being though, that the church isn't the entry point for salvation because faith is the entry point for salvation.
I don't draw as sharp a distinction as you do. Faith is faithfulness. There is no magic moment during which one is a true believer and yet not following Christ, which means obeying the commandments you can according to the grace you've been given at the time. To not take advantage of the visible church when it is available is to fail to keep the faith. As such, whatever invisible components there are peripheral and in response to human frailties it would seem.
[quote author=FountainPen]
Sorry, i possibly should have said "...merely an act" but i think you know what i am getting at. It's not something where we turn up and go through the motions just to check the church attendance box (i'm not suggesting you or anyone here is doing that).Worship is about a 'grafted-in' life saved from eternal death and the overflow of devotion due to God.[/quote]Indeed, and normally grace will lead a soul to being grafted in by joining a visible body. In cases where this is not possible, God has other means of uniting one to Himself but this is the exception not the rule just like someone who perseveres to the end without a life dwelling in the Scriptures.

[quote author=FountainPen]So potentially then and unbeknown to them at this time, millions of Protestants and Roman Catholics are already part of the one Church as she sees it?[/quote]
That would seem to be the idea. It's something I still have difficulties with myself to be honest. I do believe though that since God is outside time, He can draw us and keep us in Him in ways we can't understand and we need to recognize that there comes a point where arguing about the ordo salutis breaks down do the limitations of human language. Most Orthodox believe prayer can somehow effect the past so perhaps baptism does as well? Seems kind of plausible to me.

Then again, I might be transcending "Orthodoxy vs. Protestantism" here and just talking out of my own hat.

[quote author=FountainPen]
No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
[/quote]It really shouldn't imo. If baptism is only a symbol, it's still a declaration before the people of God and the entire world that one has died with Christ to rise with Him. To knowingly baptist someone who did not believe would be to make a mockery of God.

Again, given that old relative knowledge I keep harping on, we have to do what we can.
 

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ByGracethroughFaith and FountainPen--First, I do commend you for taking the Word of God seriously for we are called to do so. The core question is indeed what is the highest authority for understanding the Word of God. The Holy Scriptures themselves are not the highest authority because they are written words that are not accompanied by explanations and definitions--they are understood by the reader according to his own filters and abilities. Thus, sola scriptura ends up being "I believe in what I believe" multiplied by the number of believers. Granted that there is congruence and the number of Holy Scriptures do not number in millions but,  at least in the Protestant world, there seem to thousands of sects and thus Holy Scriptures. Even in any given sect, folks shop around for congregations and preachers with whom they agree. I think the problem here is an overemphasis on individuals over the Body of Christ. When trying to understand, the first thing is to pray for understanding, that is quite true. But, you just cannot stop there; one must defer to what the Body believed since 33 AD. It is true that there is a an order to interpretive authority: I will accord greater authority to those writers/interpreters of the salvific story and message of Christ and His Holy Apostles, that is, the early Church Fathers, whose writings and practice have been preserved in and by the Church--the visible one. My opinion must be the least authoritative, not the most authoritative. I must be guided by those who came before me (see Apostle Paul in particular) and those who have received special grace by virtue of their ordination. This does not make me a blind follower but an informed one.
 

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Volnutt said:
FountainPen said:
PeterTheAleut said:
FountainPen said:
PeterTheAleut said:
FountainPen said:
Fotina02 said:
ByGracethroughFaith said:
It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.
Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).
We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.
How do you define saved?
I don't. The word defines it accurately enough but i daren't provide a source or i'll get accused of proof texting or firing bible bullits. ;)
You do realize I didn't ask you. ;)

Actually, you just showed me that you DO define saved. How do you know, though, that your definition is a complete, biblical understanding of salvation? How do we know if you won't tell us?
Well if we can cut to the chase i suppose we're back to Vol's question suggesting none of us can know if we truly believe or not. I would say that to answer the question is that what we truly believe will be evidenced by the outworking of our faith.
Nope, even atheists can do good works. You won't ever know if your works were done truly for the love of God and neighbor or out of pride (except in that relative sense I was talking about).

Working on your other post.
Since we're talking about those who acton faith, i don't think Atheists are a good example as they would never have faith in Christ to act upon. Separately however, demons also believe and yes, humanists produce good deeds. The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see though so for those with an emphasis on salvation through the visible church, i doubt that would be an acceptable definition.

 

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FountainPen said:
PeterTheAleut said:
FountainPen said:
PeterTheAleut said:
FountainPen said:
Fotina02 said:
ByGracethroughFaith said:
It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.
Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).
We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.
How do you define saved?
I don't. The word defines it accurately enough but i daren't provide a source or i'll get accused of proof texting or firing bible bullits. ;)
You do realize I didn't ask you. ;)

Actually, you just showed me that you DO define saved. How do you know, though, that your definition is a complete, biblical understanding of salvation? How do we know if you won't tell us?
Well if we can cut to the chase i suppose we're back to Vol's question suggesting none of us can know if we truly believe or not. I would say that to answer the question is that what we truly believe will be evidenced by the outworking of our faith.
OK. :-\ I don't see how that defines what it means to be saved. Is it possible that you may be thinking of salvation purely according to its juridical, "right legal standing before God" sense and that you may be missing how salvation, according to the Orthodox sense, entails also the entire process of theosis--entire sanctification, if you will? Before we take this conversation on salvation any further, we will probably want to define our terms so we are no longer talking past each other.
 

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Volnutt said:
[quote author=FountainPen]
No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
It really shouldn't imo. If baptism is only a symbol, it's still a declaration before the people of God and the entire world that one has died with Christ to rise with Him. To knowingly baptist someone who did not believe would be to make a mockery of God.

Again, given that old relative knowledge I keep harping on, we have to do what we can.
[/quote]

It really shouldn't but it does in the OC, which is why it's not the same at all. So my original question is still outstanding.
 

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FountainPen said:
Volnutt said:
FountainPen said:
PeterTheAleut said:
FountainPen said:
PeterTheAleut said:
FountainPen said:
Fotina02 said:
ByGracethroughFaith said:
It has everything to do with the church - and whether it is visible or invisible. Salvation is personal. No one attains salvation by being a part of a certain or particular 'group'. Many would have us all believe this but it is not so. Salvation is personal. We then commune with other believers all of the time.. Anywhere and everywhere.. Members of the Body of Christ. 24 hr/day, 7 day a week church.
Saint Ilarion (Troitsky) quoted earlier points out:
To come to believe in Christ, to become a Christian - this meant uniting with the Church. This is repeatedly expressed in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, where we read that the Lord daily added the saved to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47; 5:13-14).
We don't gather in the visible church to be saved but becuase we are already saved.
How do you define saved?
I don't. The word defines it accurately enough but i daren't provide a source or i'll get accused of proof texting or firing bible bullits. ;)
You do realize I didn't ask you. ;)

Actually, you just showed me that you DO define saved. How do you know, though, that your definition is a complete, biblical understanding of salvation? How do we know if you won't tell us?
Well if we can cut to the chase i suppose we're back to Vol's question suggesting none of us can know if we truly believe or not. I would say that to answer the question is that what we truly believe will be evidenced by the outworking of our faith.
Nope, even atheists can do good works. You won't ever know if your works were done truly for the love of God and neighbor or out of pride (except in that relative sense I was talking about).

Working on your other post.
Since we're talking about those who acton faith, i don't think Atheists are a good example as they would never have faith in Christ to act upon. Separately however, demons also believe and yes, humanists produce good deeds. The ultimate definition of a saved person would be one who has been sealed by the Spirit of God. That's not something you can see though so for those with an emphasis on salvation through the visible church, i doubt that would be an acceptable definition.
Sounds fine to me. One is never saved just by being in the visible church. Without the Spirit it's all just empty ritual. But for someone who is sealed by the Spirit, membership in the visible church will coincide with this. Working out your own salvation is not possible outside the company of believers (again, barring people who simply can't for some reason).
 

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FountainPen said:
Volnutt said:
[quote author=FountainPen]
No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
It really shouldn't imo. If baptism is only a symbol, it's still a declaration before the people of God and the entire world that one has died with Christ to rise with Him. To knowingly baptist someone who did not believe would be to make a mockery of God.

Again, given that old relative knowledge I keep harping on, we have to do what we can.
It really shouldn't but it does in the OC, which is why it's not the same at all. So my original question is still outstanding.
[/quote]No, I meant that to Protestants symbolic-only baptism should not be considered less weighty than salvivic baptism is to the Orthodox, to do otherwise would be to abuse the nature of a symbol.
 

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most protestants seem to have some err in understanding orthodox soteriology as well.. i actually spent 4 hours with a Calvinist repeating the same 6 lines over and over... Where protestants see the assurance of our salvation to be insurance in Orthodoxy its not some ticket that you hold onto to get into heaven. To the Orthodox it we have assurance of our salvation but not insurance its a continual process... so no orthodox will ever admit they ARE SAVED.
 

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Volnutt said:
FountainPen said:
Volnutt said:
[quote author=FountainPen]
No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
It really shouldn't imo. If baptism is only a symbol, it's still a declaration before the people of God and the entire world that one has died with Christ to rise with Him. To knowingly baptist someone who did not believe would be to make a mockery of God.

Again, given that old relative knowledge I keep harping on, we have to do what we can.
It really shouldn't but it does in the OC, which is why it's not the same at all. So my original question is still outstanding.
No, I meant that to Protestants symbolic-only baptism should not be considered less weighty than salvivic baptism is to the Orthodox, to do otherwise would be to abuse the nature of a symbol.
[/quote]

I wasn't meaning it didn't carry weight but that it doesn't change someone's eternal destination in the Protestant church like it does for Orthodoxy.
 

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FountainPen said:
Volnutt said:
FountainPen said:
Volnutt said:
[quote author=FountainPen]
No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
It really shouldn't imo. If baptism is only a symbol, it's still a declaration before the people of God and the entire world that one has died with Christ to rise with Him. To knowingly baptist someone who did not believe would be to make a mockery of God.

Again, given that old relative knowledge I keep harping on, we have to do what we can.
It really shouldn't but it does in the OC, which is why it's not the same at all. So my original question is still outstanding.
No, I meant that to Protestants symbolic-only baptism should not be considered less weighty than salvivic baptism is to the Orthodox, to do otherwise would be to abuse the nature of a symbol.
I wasn't meaning it didn't carry weight but that it doesn't change someone's eternal destination in the Protestant church like it does for Orthodoxy.
[/quote]
So how does one legitimize the multiple references of baptism effecting eternal destination?

PP
 

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FountainPen said:
Volnutt said:
FountainPen said:
Volnutt said:
[quote author=FountainPen]
No i don't accept that answer because symbolic baptism carries much less weight than salvific baptism which is why i asked.
It really shouldn't imo. If baptism is only a symbol, it's still a declaration before the people of God and the entire world that one has died with Christ to rise with Him. To knowingly baptist someone who did not believe would be to make a mockery of God.

Again, given that old relative knowledge I keep harping on, we have to do what we can.
It really shouldn't but it does in the OC, which is why it's not the same at all. So my original question is still outstanding.
No, I meant that to Protestants symbolic-only baptism should not be considered less weighty than salvivic baptism is to the Orthodox, to do otherwise would be to abuse the nature of a symbol.
I wasn't meaning it didn't carry weight but that it doesn't change someone's eternal destination in the Protestant church like it does for Orthodoxy.
[/quote]In most cases in my experience it does since if you're not baptized after a reasonable amount of time people tend to query your faith. And that's how it should be imo, again that tight relationship between faith and works.
 
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