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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: The offence of defining the Church
GreyFace
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This One True Church thing is interesting, particularly given some of the Catholic-related threads going on at the moment.

I have difficulty understanding why people get so upset at the suggestion from Catholic or Orthodox quarters that perhaps this person's church isn't fully part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

We all, I think (correct me if I'm wrong) draw boundaries according to some minimum standard of doctrine. Ask yourself how many of this unordered list of groups you would place within the One True Church (aside from questions of which individuals God will save - that's another issue), and answer honestly...

1. Roman Catholics
2. Orthodox
3. Anglicans
4. (Other) Protestants
5. (Other) Trinitarian Christians
6. Unitarians
7. Jehovah's Witnesses
8. Mormons
9. Muslims
10. Jews
11. Hindus
12. Buddhists
13. Gnostics
14. Baal-worshippers
15. Atheists
16. Satanists

Did you have them all in? If you did, you can leave this thought experiment because when I accuse some of hypocrisy in a moment, you're not in the firing line [Biased]

Now, if you've excluded someone definitionally from the Church on the basis of doctrine, what right have you to whine if the Roman Catholics or the Orthodox or the fire-and-brimstone hyperprotestants do the same thing?

I'd rather have it straight. If the Orthodox think I'm outside the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church by view of the fact that +Tom Wright (my Ordinary, for those who don't pay attention) isn't a canonical Orthodox bishop by their terms, I'd rather know that than receive a pat on the head in public and private prayers for conversion to the One True Faith.

If the Roman Catholics think I'm outside of the Church because +Tom Wright isn't in communion with the bishop of Rome, I'd rather take it between the eyes than be lied to.

If extreme Protestants think I'm a hopeless apostate because I believe in the Real Presence, have been known to ask for the prayers of the Saints, pray for the departed, and think the Pope is an honest bishop and not the anti-Christ, don't beat around the bush - tell me what you think.

You can't make decisions without data. It's not offensive to me if another person tells me I'm not in the Church. It's offensive if he lies about what he thinks, or if he follows up the statement of belief with discrimination or violence.

Why would I rather have the data? Because those making claims, and I suspect we're all making that claim in some way with different boundaries, about where the Church exists might be right. Is this approach I'm trying feebly to challenge, actually Postmodernist Christianity For Dummies - that any belief about the boundaries of the Church is okay as long as it's wide enough to include what everyone believes?

Discuss...

[ 08. January 2006, 22:01: Message edited by: Erin ]

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Alaric the Goth
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I believe that it is possible to find Christians in all of your first five categories, and probably even No. 6 (Unitarians which I am reading as including New Church -see Freddy!). I believe that it is only God who can know who is 'in ' and who is 'out'. In that sense the True Church is 'invisible'.

I believe that in some 'churches' (denominations) it is easier to make a committment to Christ and maintain/develpop it than in others. I would say that (generally) the best way(s) on offer is Trintarian and 'protestant' (but can be Anglican, Baptist, Pentecostal, URC, 'house church' or one or two others).

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by Alaric the Goth:
I believe that it is possible to find Christians in all of your first five categories, and probably even No. 6 (Unitarians which I am reading as including New Church -see Freddy!).

Can I conclude from this that, as organisations, you exclude all the others then - whether or not you believe that individual Jews, Muslims, Mormons etc can be saved?

Would you then get upset if a Roman Catholic said (and I'm aware that not all would, but this seems to me to be RC doctrine) that as a Baptist you're not in the Church, although they hope you'll be saved anyway?

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Alaric the Goth
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
quote:
Originally posted by Alaric the Goth:
I believe that it is possible to find Christians in all of your first five categories, and probably even No. 6 (Unitarians which I am reading as including New Church -see Freddy!).

Can I conclude from this that, as organisations, you exclude all the others then - whether or not you believe that individual Jews, Muslims, Mormons etc can be saved?

Would you then get upset if a Roman Catholic said (and I'm aware that not all would, but this seems to me to be RC doctrine) that as a Baptist you're not in the Church, although they hope you'll be saved anyway?

Yes, you can conclude that, from my POV the other categories- as organisations - are excluded.

No, I would not get 'upset' that an RC might regard me as being not 'in the Church' - I at one stage thought that about Roman Catholics as a whole. I was, I believe, wrong. I would try to argue with the RC that he/she was wrong, but wouldn't be angered by their assumption - I can see how it would follow from (some) Catholic doctrine.

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Adeodatus
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Greyface,

I'm coming from pretty much the same angle as you here - if a member of another church thinks I'm not a member of the "One True", I'd rather they said so than pretend I am. This is one reason why, if it's offered, I don't receive communion at a Catholic Mass. I recognise them, but they (officially) don't recognise me as part of that eucharistic community. Similarly, I often describe myself as a "heretic" to Fr Gregory and, bless him, he seems more uncomfortable with that than I am! But to the Orthodox I am a heretic - I'm fine with that, as long as they don't damn me as a consequence (and I know they wouldn't).

I think discussions like this are fine and need cause no offence as long as they don't head off in the direction of identifying the Church with the Kingdom, and thence to Heaven or Hell!

For myself, I think the Church needs something about catholicity and apostolicity in its definition - a faith all-encompassing and open to all, which has been held in continuity from the time of the apostles. Of course, any Church will have to turn a few historical blind eyes here and there if it's to fit this definition. But it gives me something to work with.

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Marvin the Martian

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I don't have a problem with Catholics telling me I'm not part of the Catholic Church, or Orthodox telling me I'm not a member of the Orthodox Church. These are facts - I'm not a member of those Churches.

My problem comes when it is said or implied that by not being in those Churches (or any others which make sweeping "in-or-out" comments) I am not Saved, not Christian, or in any way of lesser standing in the Kingdom. Sadly this attitude is more than implied on too many occasions, by too many denominations.

"One True Church" implies that the rest are false. Members of the "heretical schismatic" Churches may get a tad aggrieved at that.

Oh, and I would call anyone who calls on the name of Jesus a Christian, and thus a member of The Church. I honestly don't think the minutae matter, beyond which style each person feels comfortable worshipping in.

[ 24. August 2004, 11:07: Message edited by: Marvin the Martian ]

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Hail Gallaxhar

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
"One True Church" implies that the rest are false.

Yes, it does, doesn't it? That's my point. What if they're right? You think they're wrong and therefore take offence at any suggestion that you're wrong.

Given that you say

quote:
Oh, and I would call anyone who calls on the name of Jesus a Christian, and thus a member of The Church.
This presumably means you rule out a large portion of my list. Given that you are therefore defining the Church exclusively, why get upset if the RCs or others do so in a way that excludes you? Either you're right, or they are. I presume you wouldn't get excited if a Moslem told you you were an apostate for worshipping a man who is, to him, at the most the second-ranking prophet?
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Custard
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Yes, I draw a line, though try not to presume to know the heart of any individual.

I accept that some other people may draw their lines to exclude me. I defend their right to be wrong.

[ 24. August 2004, 11:57: Message edited by: Custard. ]

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blog
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Stamp thine image in its place.


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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
I'm fine with that, as long as they don't damn me as a consequence

Aye, that's the rub.

I'd have no problem agreeing with a Buddhist that I'm not part of whatever Buddhist organisation or institution he or she belongs to, which means nothing to me, and they're not part of my church which means nothing to them. Neither of us is claiming to be one-up on the other.

If a Catholic friend observes that I was baptised into the Anglican church and he was baptised into the Catholic church (big-C Catholic small-c church) then that's a perfectly acceptable observation.

It's ill-concealed playground taunts of "my church is better than your church, I'm in and you're nowhere, nah nah nah-NAH nah" that get people's backs up.

And the strange belief that such behaviour is morally and socially perfectly OK provided that it's consistent with one's professed theology which I find baffling. As if any form of bad manners is fine if it follows by logic from a religious axiom...

Russ

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
This presumably means you rule out a large portion of my list. Given that you are therefore defining the Church exclusively, why get upset if the RCs or others do so in a way that excludes you? Either you're right, or they are. I presume you wouldn't get excited if a Moslem told you you were an apostate for worshipping a man who is, to him, at the most the second-ranking prophet?

As I said on the Hell thread, there's a very big difference between different denominations of the same religion on one hand, and different religions on the other.

Or, to put it another way, you can tell me I'm going to hell for worshipping the wrong God. Just don't tell me I'm going there for worshipping the right God in the wrong Way.

Many Muslims I know would be more offended if I told them they would be Saved than if I told them they were going to Hell. That my live and let live policy of religious interaction means I wouldn't actually tell them either does make that slightly irrelevant though.

ISTM that the greatest bickering about who has access to The Truth™ happens between denominations, not religions. I guess the closer someone is to your beliefs, the greater the threat they pose.

[ 24. August 2004, 12:11: Message edited by: Marvin the Martian ]

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Spawn
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
Did you have them all in? If you did, you can leave this thought experiment because when I accuse some of hypocrisy in a moment, you're not in the firing line [Biased]

Now, if you've excluded someone definitionally from the Church on the basis of doctrine, what right have you to whine if the Roman Catholics or the Orthodox or the fire-and-brimstone hyperprotestants do the same thing?

I'd rather have it straight. If the Orthodox think I'm outside the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church by view of the fact that +Tom Wright (my Ordinary, for those who don't pay attention) isn't a canonical Orthodox bishop by their terms, I'd rather know that than receive a pat on the head in public and private prayers for conversion to the One True Faith.


I largely agree with your sentiments here. Inevitably, as an Anglican I'm going to regard churches which don't have the signs of catholicity as inferior - although I'd never say they weren't part of the Church - for that is not mine to define. I'm quite prepared to accept that the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches regard Anglican orders etc as being inferior - I don't think they are saying that Anglicanism is not part of the Church, but that the fullness of the Church doesn't reside with us.

Offence is caused when they repeat it ad nauseam. Furthermore confusion is caused by the fact that they don't behave as if it were true. Long ecumenical dialogue with both Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, as well as a huge amount of networking on the ground, has caused many of us in the past to deceive ourselves and believe that we were closer than we actually were. The Roman Catholic Church in its public statements can sometimes behave as though these conversations were not taking place, in their disdain for others. I speak as someone who is saddened by disunity among Trinitarian churches and as an Evangelical who would ultimately be prepared to accept the Petrine primacy if it would bring Christians into closer unity. But the hurdles we have to jump at the current time are too great and I think the onus is on the Roman Catholic Church to relax what it demands from other churches to be in full communion.

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Callan
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Originally posted by Greyface:

quote:
You can't make decisions without data. It's not offensive to me if another person tells me I'm not in the Church. It's offensive if he lies about what he thinks, or if he follows up the statement of belief with discrimination or violence.

Why would I rather have the data? Because those making claims, and I suspect we're all making that claim in some way with different boundaries, about where the Church exists might be right. Is this approach I'm trying feebly to challenge, actually Postmodernist Christianity For Dummies - that any belief about the boundaries of the Church is okay as long as it's wide enough to include what everyone believes?

Of course, you have to have boundaries, but you can take the view that the boundaries are quiet clearly drawn and we can say with certainty who is in and who is out or we can take a wider view. St Paul wrote somewhere that no-one can confess that Jesus is Lord, except through the work of the Holy Spirit, so if I come across a group of people who confess that Jesus is Lord then I think it is reasonable to assume, at first sight, that the Holy Spirit is working in some sense in that community, even though I may think that their views are eccentric, wrong or heretical.

The arguments will always be about where the boundaries are drawn. Pope John XXIII (for whose canonisation we all pray fervently) described those Christian communities not in communion with the Bishop of Rome as 'sister churches'. Cardinal Ratzinger sternly told Catholics that they were to cease from this usage forthwith. Now an argument can be had about which of the two was right and, whilst I am with Pope John on this one, I don't think that Ratzinger's position is self-evidently stupid or contradictory. There is a debate to be had. But I don't think that those of us who take the wide view are necessarily being inconsistent merely because we would exclude diabolists from our definition of members of the Church.

Claims about boundaries are about truth but they are also about power. The Catholic church, the Orthodox church (Eastern and Oriental) and a number of other churches claim to be the one true church. They cannot all be right. What each of them effectively claim is a monopoly of grace within the framework of an institution. However it is not immediately apparent that this is the case. Christian communities outside the institution manifest the fruits of the spirit in some instances, in some instances the institution manifestly fails to do so. The classical arguments for one church within an institutional boundary subordinate Holiness to organisational continuity which seems an odd thing for a Christian to do.

Why should one believe that a given institution is the One True Church of God? Because it is the teaching of the Church. This seems to me to be a circular argument. What validation can those inside the institution give to the institution's claims aside from those claims themself?

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Trisagion
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quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
I don't think they are saying that Anglicanism is not part of the Church, but that the fullness of the Church doesn't reside with us.

You're right, that is exactly what the Catholic Church says. By virtue of your Baptism you are incorporated into Christ and His Church. Your fullness of communion might well be impaired - to the extent that we can't share eucharistic communion - but that is not to imply that you are outside of the Body of Christ.

quote:
Offence is caused when they repeat it ad nauseam.
Does that really happen? On these Boards it is sometimes used to explain why we take a particular position but I hope not in a "na, na, na-na, na" sort of way.

quote:
Furthermore confusion is caused by the fact that they don't behave as if it were true. Long ecumenical dialogue with both Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, as well as a huge amount of networking on the ground, has caused many of us in the past to deceive ourselves and believe that we were closer than we actually were. The Roman Catholic Church in its public statements can sometimes behave as though these conversations were not taking place, in their disdain for others.
I guess that you are talking about documents like Dominus Iesus. I don't think there was any disdain there, but in Catholic terminology "Church" means something very specific and, from that perspective, Anglicanism doesn't fall within that terminology, i.e. not a "Church" in the sense that Catholic theology uses that term.

quote:
I speak as someone who is saddened by disunity among Trinitarian churches and as an Evangelical who would ultimately be prepared to accept the Petrine primacy if it would bring Christians into closer unity. But the hurdles we have to jump at the current time are too great and I think the onus is on the Roman Catholic Church to relax what it demands from other churches to be in full communion.
That's a discussion for another thread. Perhaps you could start one answering the question, "Such as what?"

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Trisagion
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quote:
Originally posted by Callan.:
What each of them effectively claim is a monopoly of grace within the framework of an institution.

Sorry to double post, but Callan's post crossed with mine.

The Catholic Church does not claim such a monopoly of grace. Indeed she teaches that God's grace is not confined, either by institutional boundaries, theological opinion, sacramental practice or anything. Indeed, the Catholic Church teaches that Creation itself is a channel of God's grace. What we do claim is a certainty that God's grace is guaranteed, by Him, to the Catholic Church and her Sacraments. That is not the same as denying it elsewhere.

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Ruudy
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quote:
I have difficulty understanding why people get so upset at the suggestion from Catholic or Orthodox quarters that perhaps this person's church isn't fully part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

We all, I think (correct me if I'm wrong) draw boundaries according to some minimum standard of doctrine.

I initially had trouble even considering Orthodox and RC claims of "One True Church".

Coming out of an evangelical background, however, I believed that Christ made certain bold claims of exclusivity to which I had to respond. Why shouldn't the Body of Christ also make certain bold claims of exclusivity to which I should respond?

Much of my confusion came from an evangelical ecclesiology that defined the Church as an atemporal body consisting of "the souls of all who are saved". I also thought of salvation in a binary sense. IN or OUT. It has been important for me to acknowledge that those who are in the One True Church and those who are on a path of salvation may be two separately defined sets. These sets overlap but are not one in the same. (Ven diagram please!)

The evangelical phenomenon of para-church organizations has helped me accept the idea of the One True Church. Para-church organizations such as Campus Crusade for Christ developed to carry the gospel and have exhibited strong efficacy at evangelisation. Para-church groups are not Church, nor do they claim to be Church, but I accept that God uses some para-church organizations to work kingdom purposes and bring seep closer to the fold outside the traditional evangelical institutional church framework. So, perhaps I can accept that God uses some "non-One True churches" in a similar manner - as a type of para-church.
quote:
"One True Church" implies that the rest are false.

I do not represent the views of any One True Church organization, but I do not see the One True Church claim to necessarily mean others are "false". I look at One True ChurchÚª as a branding tool used to ensure quality consistency. A parish or congregation branded with the One True Churchª logo, gets the good housekeeping seal of approval of being One (ie. in union, comm-union) with the others, and True (ie guaranteed) Church.

One Orthodox with whom I raised this topic said that for him, One True Church, means "we can be confident we're Church, but we just don't know about others". It's not as if The One True Church claims to have a monopoly on God's grace.

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The shipmate formerly known as Goar.

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Martin60
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Will God find faith at His return? Even in the little flock?

[ 24. August 2004, 13:38: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
I presume you wouldn't get excited if a Moslem told you you were an apostate for worshipping a man who is, to him, at the most the second-ranking prophet?

A Muslim would tell you you are an apostate for worshipping any man, because worhsip is for God alone. Though many of them would say Jesus was more than a second-ranking prophet, none of them would say he was God. (Obviously because if they did they'd be Christians, not Muslims)


And yes, I'd say 1-5 & 7 were Christian churches (though the last is very heretical)

Though of course individual non-Christians can be found in the churches, and individual Christians outside them.

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by Ruudyy:
It has been important for me to acknowledge that those who are in the One True Church and those who are on a path of salvation may be two separately defined sets.

That's the key here, I'm beginning to understand.

If you believe the two sets are a unity then it would be deeply offensive to be declared outside the former.

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FCB

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I'm thinking of retiring from these boards since Trisagion is beating me to the punch in everything I want to say.

But just to underscore his excellent points:
The Catholic Church IN NO WAY claims that non-Catholic Christians are not part of the Church. Indeed, in our theology the only way one can be a Christian is by being part of the Church. What we do claim is that the structures of the Roman Catholic Church (e.g. the Petrine office, the episcopacy and priesthood, the sacramental system, the teach office, etc.) are willed by God to be the structure of the Church, and any group of Christians that do not share fully in these structures do not share fully in the life of the Church.

As to GreyFace's interesting list, if we understaqnd Church as "the People of God," I'd probably go to #5 and then skip to #10, since I think that Jews, like Christians, are part of God's covenant people.

FCB

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by FCB:
But just to underscore his excellent points:
The Catholic Church IN NO WAY claims that non-Catholic Christians are not part of the Church. Indeed, in our theology the only way one can be a Christian is by being part of the Church. What we do claim is that the structures of the Roman Catholic Church (e.g. the Petrine office, the episcopacy and priesthood, the sacramental system, the teach office, etc.) are willed by God to be the structure of the Church, and any group of Christians that do not share fully in these structures do not share fully in the life of the Church.

Derailing my own thread a bit, but what does all this mean in soteriological terms, from a Catholic viewpoint?
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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Though many of them would say Jesus was more than a second-ranking prophet

Poor choice of words perhaps. Would any Moslem rank Jesus above, or equal with, Mohammed as a prophet? If not, then he was at best ranked second. I didn't mean to imply they thought he was second-rate. My first hand knowledge of Islam is nonexistent so I'm open to correction.

quote:
Though of course individual non-Christians can be found in the churches, and individual Christians outside them.
I'm interested to know how you view a church in the light of that. Is it something bigger than a group of people whose building has Christ's name or symbol on the door?
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dyfrig
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quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:

The Catholic Church does not claim such a monopoly of grace....What we do claim is a certainty that God's grace is guaranteed, by Him, to the Catholic Church and her Sacraments. That is not the same as denying it elsewhere.

I would tentatively suggest that stance is the result of the ecumenical processes of the last 80 odd years or so - it has not always been thus. Not only were Protestant or other non-Roman churches not-quite-full-versions-of-Church, they were not Church at all. There has clearly been a softening of that position.

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Trisagion
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Elfed, you are confusing two different things.

Baptised Christians have always been held to be part of the Church. But whether an ecclesial community is a "Church" or not depends in the technical language of Catholic theology on a whole different series of factors. It is clear that the Orthodox Churches, who have maintained apostolic succession and the sacraments are indeed "Churches"; it is equally clear that the Churches of the Protestant Reformation, who have not retained the apostolic succession and the sacraments are, in some sense, not "Churches" in the sense that Catholic theology gives to that word.

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Custard
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Will God find faith at His return? Even in the little flock?

An insightful post.

"sinners", not those who trust their own righteousness
people who accept the kingdom like little children
those whose treasure is in heaven not on earth

Not judging on individual cases, but I am sure that rules out many even from conservative evangelicals. And, I'd guess, likewise for RCs, ACs, Orthodox, charismatics, etc. Still leaves some though.

Certainly gives food for thought.

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Custard
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quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
Elfed, you are confusing two different things.

Baptised Christians have always been held to be part of the Church. But whether an ecclesial community is a "Church" or not depends in the technical language of Catholic theology on a whole different series of factors. It is clear that the Orthodox Churches, who have maintained apostolic succession and the sacraments are indeed "Churches"; it is equally clear that the Churches of the Protestant Reformation, who have not retained the apostolic succession and the sacraments are, in some sense, not "Churches" in the sense that Catholic theology gives to that word.

I disagree with the comma in bold above.

So do you count the C of E as a church, since we retained both the sacraments and the apostolic succession?

And if you or the Orthodox turn up to the church I go to, you are welcome to receive communion.

[ 24. August 2004, 16:49: Message edited by: Custard. ]

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Trisagion
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quote:
Originally posted by Custard.:
So do you count the C of E as a church, since we retained both the sacraments and the apostolic succession?

And if you or the Orthodox turn up to the church I go to, you are welcome to receive communion.

No, because I believe that Anglican's have not retained the Apostolic Succession (see threads passim now in Dead Horses territory) and have not kept to a view of the nature (or, for most Anglicans for most of Anglican history, the number) of the Sacraments that is consistent with Catholic and Orthodox faith.

We all know what Anglican eucharistic hospitality (since 1980) has been. In many ways it underlies the problem with Anglicanism as a whole for Catholics. If you had retained the Catholic Orders and Sacraments, you would understand the ecclesiological nonsense of inter-communion.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Custard.:
And if you or the Orthodox turn up to the church I go to, you are welcome to receive communion.

This certainly proves that you don't have the same view of communion that we do.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Custard.:
And if you or the Orthodox turn up to the church I go to, you are welcome to receive communion.

This certainly proves that you don't have the same view of communion that we do.
Was that ever in doubt?

All you have to do is say that our way is no better or worse than yours, merely different, and we are in agreement.

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
No, because I believe that Anglican's have not retained the Apostolic Succession (see threads passim now in Dead Horses territory) and have not kept to a view of the nature (or, for most Anglicans for most of Anglican history, the number) of the Sacraments that is consistent with Catholic and Orthodox faith.

That last is interesting (and the only part that doesn't smell like a glue factory), since in +Ware's book, he says that the accepted number of sacraments in Orthodoxy has varied considerably over the centuries.
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Custard
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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Custard.:
And if you or the Orthodox turn up to the church I go to, you are welcome to receive communion.

This certainly proves that you don't have the same view of communion that we do.
Just wanting to be clear.

So does this mean that you (Orthodox, RC , closed Baptist, etc) knowingly exclude those whom you acknowledge that Christ has included?

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
We all know what Anglican eucharistic hospitality (since 1980) has been. In many ways it underlies the problem with Anglicanism as a whole for Catholics. If you had retained the Catholic Orders and Sacraments, you would understand the ecclesiological nonsense of inter-communion.

This is exactly the sort of comment that gets people like me annoyed, and which this thread is all about.

Oh, and I missed this earlier:

quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
"One True Church" implies that the rest are false.

Yes, it does, doesn't it? That's my point. What if they're right? You think they're wrong and therefore take offence at any suggestion that you're wrong.
If they're right, I will accept my error and get on with praising God.

I take offense at the presumption and arrogance inherent in such a position, rather than being offended because I believe it to be wrong.

For all I know the Baal worshippers could be right. I choose to believe they aren't, but I don't presume to give my beliefs, or those of my Church, the status of unassailable inerrancy. I'm far too cynical about the human ability to get things wrong for that, and ever since Christ left the planet it's been humans running the show all the way.

[edited coz I took so long typing it wasn't a DP]

[ 24. August 2004, 17:48: Message edited by: Marvin the Martian ]

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Custard.:
And if you or the Orthodox turn up to the church I go to, you are welcome to receive communion.

This certainly proves that you don't have the same view of communion that we do.
In what way? It proves that we have a different view of ecclesiology. You cannot infer anything from the fact that an Orthodox is welcome at an Anglican Eucharist about the nature of it.
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Alt Wally

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I don't think that's true GreyFace. The fact that an Anglican would accept at communion someone baptized outside of that church would tell someone in Orthodoxy immediately that they have a different view of the sacrament.
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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I take offense at the presumption and arrogance inherent in such a position

But don't you think it likely that you believe it to be presumptious and arrogant because you don't share the belief?

It's a reasoned position of Trisagion that the Catholic Church is what he claims it to be. From that position, it is neither presumption nor arrogance to state publicly what he believes.

It might be wrong but that's another story.

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Wood
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I'm surprised that no one has yet pointed out that what groups one to five have in common - namely Nicene, Trinitarian doctrine - actually makes them substantively different from groups 6 and following, given that none of the others hold to the credal basis that has over the last 1700 years come to define what makes a Christian (and what doesn't).

Ther's actually two questions here: one which applies within the trinitarian sphere, and one which actually applies between those who are Trinitarian and those who aren't.

Now the first of these questions is frankly one I'm not prepared to go into, but I don't see why we can't draw the line as far as the other question goes at the point of the Trinity. It's how Christianity has been defined for many hundreds of years, and frankly if it's good enough for Christians throughout history, why isn't it good enough for us?

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by Alt Wally:
I don't think that's true GreyFace. The fact that an Anglican would accept at communion someone baptized outside of that church would tell someone in Orthodoxy immediately that they have a different view of the sacrament.

And all Orthodox converts are baptised, are they? I know for a fact they are not.

But that's not the point. The point is that, in the specific point of admission of Orthodox to an Anglican Eucharist, you're seeing an ecclesiological view - that Orthodoxy is, in Anglican eyes, not a different Church but part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church too. You can stretch that, in the view of some beyond breaking point, by admitting any baptised Christian, but that's not what Custard said.

So we have a difference of ecclesiology, not of eucharistology (if there is such a thing) that can be deduced from Mousethief's welcome.

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ORGANMEISTER
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I have no intention on trying to turn this thread into a protracted discussion on intercommunion. However, the fact that I, as a Lutheran, may not receive the Eucharist in a RC church, is very offensive. It says to me that somehow I am outside the "one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church" which I weekly confess that I believe in. I note, however, that many, many (not all!)RC's seem to have no problem receiving the sacrament in my parish. At a recent funeral service one of the RC guests, a prominent member of the K of C, received the Eucharist. I'd better keep quiet about that or he'll be tossed outside the Holy Catholic and Apostolic church, too.
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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
Now the first of these questions is frankly one I'm not prepared to go into, but I don't see why we can't draw the line as far as the other question goes at the point of the Trinity. It's how Christianity has been defined for many hundreds of years, and frankly if it's good enough for Christians throughout history, why isn't it good enough for us?

It's good enough for me, actually, although we can get into arguments about organisational unity and the fullest form of the Church until the cows come home.

But that's not really the point of the OP. The point is, you've set the bar at Trinitarian belief, or even adherence to the Nicene Creed. You would therefore be a hypocrite (and I should know, I'm an expert) if you found it arrogant for any particular church to set the bar differently. From those of your posts I've read, I doubt you would take offence - you would, rather, disagree and debate the issue.

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Alt Wally

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GreyFace

quote:
And all Orthodox converts are baptised, are they? I know for a fact they are not.
Yes, absolutely correct. When receiving by chrismation only though, it is believed this fills in any cracks or anything that might have been deficient in the previous baptism.

quote:
So we have a difference of ecclesiology, not of eucharistology (if there is such a thing) that can be deduced from Mousethief's welcome.
To an extent, but to the Orthodox the sacraments are what makes the church, so the line is not that distinct. There are also internal requirements for Orthodox to receive the Eucharist that have nothing to do with anybody outside of its canonical borders. There has also been maintained in Orthodoxy a distinction between the Eucharist and the Agape meal. I think the disconnect often revolves around the collapsing of these two into one thing.
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Custard
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I'll rephrase my question from above:

Do you exclude from sharing communion those whom Christ has included in his sacrifice of which and in which communion is a participation and remembrance, and who will share with you in the great Wedding Feast of the Lamb?

And if so, on whose authority?

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Trisagion:
If you had retained the Catholic Orders and Sacraments, you would understand the ecclesiological nonsense of inter-communion.

And you will realise why that is at lest as offensive as me saying to you:

"if you understood the grace of God you would have retained intercommunion"

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L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Trisagion
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Yes, I do understand that it is offensive and causes pain and that is a real and deeply felt cause of regret. However, it is what the Catholic Church teaches and what I believe.

If I thought that Communion was what you imply it to be and ignore the ecclesiological aspects of it, that I believe it to have, then I would find exclusion of people from communion deeply offensive too.

By the way "retained intercommunion" implies that it ever existed. Is that what you really mean?

This is definitely heading to the knackers' yard.

[ 24. August 2004, 20:35: Message edited by: Trisagion ]

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood:
I'm surprised that no one has yet pointed out that what groups one to five have in common - namely Nicene, Trinitarian doctrine - actually makes them substantively different from groups 6 and following, given that none of the others hold to the credal basis that has over the last 1700 years come to define what makes a Christian (and what doesn't).

Oh, pish posh, that creed didn't come along until 300 years after Christ's death and resurrection -- it can't possibly be as correct as something whipped up 25 years ago but using the original Scriptures as a guideline, can it?

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RuthW

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Such as what, Mousethief?
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HenryT

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...
I'd have no problem agreeing with a Buddhist that I'm not part of whatever Buddhist organisation or institution he or she belongs to, which means nothing to me, and they're not part of my church which means nothing to them. Neither of us is claiming to be one-up on the other.

...

There's little incompatibility between Buddhism and Christianity. Many people claim to practice both.

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
But that's not really the point of the OP. The point is, you've set the bar at Trinitarian belief, or even adherence to the Nicene Creed. You would therefore be a hypocrite (and I should know, I'm an expert) if you found it arrogant for any particular church to set the bar differently. From those of your posts I've read, I doubt you would take offence - you would, rather, disagree and debate the issue.

Thanks. You're right, actually (and I agree with the OP). It would be hypocritical of me.

I long ago stopped taking offence, after I actually started to get into why the different groups think they do.

I may feel very strongly that Trisagion (f'rexample - no particular emphasis meant, he just came to mind) is wrong, but his beliefs do not come from any sort of arrogance - they come, as he himself has said, from the teachings of his Church. It would be arrogant if he'd made it all up himself (an accusation which gets - usually but not always unjustly - chucked at us Protestants), but he didn't. It's been his Church's deal for a long, long time, and it's madness to accuse someone of arrogance when all they're doing is sticking to a long-held party line.

quote:
Posted by Mousethief:
Oh, pish posh, that creed didn't come along until 300 years after Christ's death and resurrection -- it can't possibly be as correct as something whipped up 25 years ago but using the original Scriptures as a guideline, can it?

Not fair and not at all helpful.

Look, I know that there has been a lot of hurt lately, much of it stemming from discussions about Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and I understand that there's a great deal of anger and frustration on both sides.

But swipes like this don't help, nor do they really offer anything constructive, any more than knee-jerk catholic-bashing does.

Yes, there are churches which are really like that and do exactly what you said, but not a single person on this thread is in support of churches that do that, and, more importantly, they're still (mostly) trinitarian and, believe it or not, Nicene. There are some of the "prosperity" types who have odd ideas of the Holy Spirit, but you could argue that they're not really Trinitarian* any more.

_____________
*Incidentally, by "Trinitarian" and "Nicene" I do mean both versions of the Nicene creed, both with and without the "f" word.

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wombat
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quote:
Originally posted by Henry Troup:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...
I'd have no problem agreeing with a Buddhist that I'm not part of whatever Buddhist organisation or institution he or she belongs to, which means nothing to me, and they're not part of my church which means nothing to them. Neither of us is claiming to be one-up on the other.

...

There's little incompatibility between Buddhism and Christianity. Many people claim to practice both.
Buddhism, as a belief and practice system is not very compatible with Christianity because it operates off certain major points which are not particularly compatible with the teachings of most Christian groups. It is possible to bend both of them to some degree and thus make them more or less syncretized, but this involves doing damage to both belief systems.

Christianity makes exclusive claims about the importance of Jesus which do not fit either into the 'escape suffering by the eight-fold path, you don't need a god or a savior' model taught by Buddha himself, or into the plethora of Boddhisatvas of the Mahayana Buddhist sects. Christianity has traditionally denied the idea of reincarnation which is critical to all the branches of Buddhism that I am aware of. Etc, etc.

I wouldn't call Christianity and Buddhism 100% incompatible, but I think you have to bend and twist both to get them to work together.

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wombat
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quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:


Now, if you've excluded someone definitionally from the Church on the basis of doctrine, what right have you to whine if the Roman Catholics or the Orthodox or the fire-and-brimstone hyperprotestants do the same thing?


This assumes that one definition by doctrine is as good as another, and therefore, if you define at all by doctrine, you must accept the right of others to do so. If one presumes some definitions of the membership of the Church by doctrine have more value than others, then your central thesis collapses.

That being said, I tend to prefer a broader definition of Church, because I don't think it can be reasonably confined to a single denomination. God's grace is bigger than me (and we're all very lucky his grace is bigger than me.)

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Custard
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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
Oh, pish posh, that creed didn't come along until 300 years after Christ's death and resurrection -- it can't possibly be as correct as something whipped up 25 years ago but using the original Scriptures as a guideline, can it?

The kind of groups who say that sort of thing still stick to the Nicene Creed. Not because it is the Nicene Creed, not because it was agreed by the whole Church, but because it is a pretty good summary of what the Bible teaches. When it was agreed is by and large irrelevant.

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GreyFace
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quote:
Originally posted by wombat:
quote:
Originally posted by GreyFace:
Now, if you've excluded someone definitionally from the Church on the basis of doctrine, what right have you to whine if the Roman Catholics or the Orthodox or the fire-and-brimstone hyperprotestants do the same thing?


This assumes that one definition by doctrine is as good as another, and therefore, if you define at all by doctrine, you must accept the right of others to do so. If one presumes some definitions of the membership of the Church by doctrine have more value than others, then your central thesis collapses.

No, it doesn't assume that one definition of doctrine is as good as another, at all. The reason you must accept the right of others to define by doctrine is that, as you're doing it yourself without demonstrable certainty, you'd be a hypocrite if you got upset at others doing the same.

The question of the accuracy of the doctrine in question is separate from your emotional response to a competing truth claim. I'm thoroughly modernist in that I believe in the knowability of truth (whether or not my feeble brain is able to grasp it) - I'm not arguing for a pluralist understanding here. I'm arguing against this (to me) strange reaction some people have to being placed outside the boundary by a group whose doctrines they don't agree with anyway, when they (and I) do the same thing - that reaction being to throw around accusations of arrogance.

Who's right is up for grabs.

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