Church of Christ Library for Logos Bible Software

Page 11 of 12 (225 items) « First ... < Previous 8 9 10 11 12 Next >
This post has 224 Replies | 6 Followers

Posts 1264
xnman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 11:31 AM

David Thomas:

xnman:
In the Bible....  all the congregations (local churches or such) were autonomous of each other.

Having grown up INDEPENDENT Fundamental Baptist, I used to believe this too (as promoted in James Carroll's booklet "The Trail of Blood").  But further study has convinced me that there was SOME FORM of mutual accountability When the Gentiles reported back to Jerusalem (Acts 15) and Paul's appointing of Elders (Timothy in Ephesus, Titus in Crete) and Paul's instructions to these pastors on who is an acceptable Elder or Deacon.

Fortunately, Logos allows me to consider both the Primary Source (Scripture) and Secondary sources (historians, authors, preachers, commentators) who attempt to describe the early church.

Acts 15 is a great and interesting study!  Acts 15 was really a time of transition in the church. Some Jews thought and taught that one could be do the things needed to become a Christian... but if you were not circumcised you were not saved. That teaching was from some of the Jewish brethren that seemed to want to hang on to the Law of Moses.  The transition was that since the death of Jesus... the Law of Moses had been fulfilled.... completed, done. Proof that is as simple as looking at when they worshipped.... The Law of Moses.... worship was on the Sabbath... Christians worshipped on the 1st day of the week.... Sunday...

But all this discussion in Act 15... was because of making a tradition into a Christian law... I.e. circumcism, or Law of Moses, Act 15:5 shows this.  Notice something else that shows the transition in the church then.... Paul was an Apostle.... an inspired man! And yet the people decided to go back to Jerusalem to the elders and apostles there... in other words... elders were becoming more prominent and apostles were becoming less prominent...I find that interesting... 

Final thought.... The Jerusalem Council.. as it is called... didn't degree anything that wasn't already in the word spoken by the Apostles....They just confirmed it. Eph 2:20... the church was built on the inspired words of the Apostles and prophets... as they were taught by Jesus and caused to remember by the Holy Spirit....

xn = Christan  man=man -- Acts 11:26 "....and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch".

Barney Fife is my hero!

Posts 1188
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 12:00 PM

David Thomas:

... I ask if it is possible to be a church of Christ and not believe that calling upon the name of the Lord involves: "Hear the gospel; Believe; Repent; Confess; Be Baptized into Christ for remission of sins; and Live a faithful Christian life". I am not trying to pick an argument, but if these 6 constitute what is required for the remission of sins, then this is a creed or doctrine. If those who hold this view can view another church of Christ as valid which does not hold this view, then it is NOT a defining creed. I have little experience, but EVERY church of Christ I have been exposed to accepts this summary of the teaching of Scripture as true and necessary.

David, that's a great question. The doctrine you're describing is certainly characteristic of churches of Christ, and has been for well over a hundred years. I would argue, though, that there's a difference between a doctrine - even an important doctrine - and a formal creed or statement of faith.

The "five finger exercise," as it's sometimes called, originated as an evangelistic tool. It was a bit of shorthand, much like the alliterative outlines that are so popular today, and the original form (as I recall) was "Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, Be Baptized." When I was a kid, I remember some people questioning whether leading with "Hear" made any sense, because if someone was listening to you then they'd already crossed that bridge. Those who dropped the "Hear" usually added "Live a Faithful Life" to get the number back up to five.

If there is a church of Christ creed, that's probably the closest thing we have to it. But it was never formalized in quite the same way as something like the Nicene Creed. It seems to me to be more parallel to the TULIP of Calvinism (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints) than the Nicene Creed. Denying one of the five steps of the plan of salvation would be considered as serious in the churches of Christ as denying one of the classic five points of Calvinism would be in some other traditions. But churches of Christ have never formally adopted a common confession of faith that would articulate those five steps of salvation.

David Thomas:

If there are no commonly accepted beliefs, how would one determine if a book should or should not be included in a Collection or Library as in the heading of this Thread.

There absolutely are commonly accepted beliefs among churches of Christ. I hope nothing I've said has created the impression that there aren't.  Even something as amorphous as the "Evangelical Movement" has certain common beliefs and approaches to things.  The lack of a formal denominational infrastructure means that the way those common beliefs are developed and maintained among churches of Christ is less formal and more organic than what you might find in some other groups.  There's no conclave or assembly that votes.  It used to be that several prominent magazines, such as the Gospel Advocate played a key role in maintaining a doctrinal consensus.  Someone once said "the church of Christ doesn't have bishops, it has editors."  But those publications have lost much of their influence in the last few decades, and my sense is that the doctrinal consensus is beginning to dissolve.

My guess is that 50 years from now there will be little to distinguish most churches of Christ from any other vaguely evangelical, independent community Bible church.

I should add that the lack of any formal denominational infrastructure means that there may well be a church of Christ congregation out there that has formally adopted a creed. It would be atypical, but I wouldn't be surprised. 

Posts 2760
David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 12:27 PM

EastTN:
My guess is that 50 years from now there will be little to distinguish most churches of Christ from any other vaguely evangelical, independent community Bible church.

As pastor of a non-denominational Community Church, I think the role of water baptism in remission of sins will remain a sticking point for many who are outside of the churches of Christ or Independent Christian Churches movements. I know it keeps me from recommending some otherwise excellent colleges to our students. Our doctrinal statement was never the product of a council of bishops, but it is something we ask all potential "members" to affirm. However, we DO have people who worship regularly with us who do not affirm our Doctrinal Statement and are not included in our Membership Roster that votes as prescribed in our Articles of Incorporation filed with our state.

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim, Faithlife.com, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

Posts 1188
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 1:00 PM

David Thomas:

... I think the role of water baptism in remission of sins will remain a sticking point for many who are outside of the churches of Christ or Independent Christian Churches movements ...

That's doubtless true. It's an important issue. It seems to me that some Protestant churches unduly de-emphasize baptism, which is a personal sticking point for me. I do wonder how much these doctrinal questions resonate with the average person in the pew.  I suspect that if you polled either of our congregations on the nature of baptism, you'd find a variety of different opinions.  

Posts 9172
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 1:22 PM

EastTN:

...What that statement means, as it is typically used by thoughtful members of the churches of Christ, is that we don't have a formal statement of faith the way many other church traditions do. Period.  Full stop.

But we do have a formal statement of faith. Just because we haven’t written one, doesn’t mean we don’t have one.  Before getting hired, many churches of Christ ask a preacher what he believes, in writing, by filling out a questionnaire tailored specifically to churches of Christ beliefs.  Same for those who wish to place membership in any given local congregation.  They will not hire a preacher that doesn’t answer correctly and they will deny membership to one who was baptized in a denomination, even if that person believes he or she has already done what the Bible says in order to follow Christ.  They can claim that, but if is not the way the church of Christ interprets it, sorry, no job and no membership for you.

Other churches of Christ believe there are christians in denominations and give membership to those who decided to “switch.”

The point, we may not have a written formal statement of faith, but we do exercise one based on each congregation’s beliefs and many list it in their websites or use books or tracks to let people know what they “creed” if you would.

 I remember the track “Welcome to the Church of Christ” when you come to visit us you will notice we don’t have instrumental music, we don’t call the preacher “Pastor,” we do this and that, etc.

Maybe we haven’t been honest with ourselves because we too follow and repeat traditions without actually understanding what we’re saying as long as is what we’re used to hearing.  Like I mentioned in another thread, preachers with 20 and 35 years of preaching experience and they didn’t know what a creed is and just tried to explain it away as they were taught in their school; mainly, it’s a Catholic thing and other denominations use it too and that’s why we reject them (when in reality, each congregation has its own creed too).

When it comes to having creeds, the church of Christ is not different from other religious groups; the only difference is how they interpret and use their own creeds.

Anyway, let’s get back to the original intent of the thread.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope Logos gives us a Base Package based on what We Believe! 😁 Sounds ironic, doesn’t it?

DAL

Posts 1264
xnman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 1:28 PM

EastTN:

That's doubtless true. It's an important issue. It seems to me that some Protestant churches unduly de-emphasize baptism, which is a personal sticking point for me. I do wonder how much these doctrinal questions resonate with the average person in the pew.  I suspect that if you polled either of our congregations on the nature of baptism, you'd find a variety of different opinions.  

And no doubt that most would de-emphasize baptism.  Many times I have heard and read the proposal that "one is saved and then they are baptized because it is a command of Jesus"....  which I  don't understand .... 

One of the things that got me started studying different denominations.... was that I had a friend named Butch.  Butch wanted to "get saved" and the Reverend in the church where I was at the time (I was 16 years old) took Butch's confession of Christ and told Butch he was saved.... then 3 weeks later... Butch was baptized.... which was the custom of that church. The deacons of that church (my step-dad being one) voted on whether to accept Butch's baptism.... which they did not. I argued how can the church not accept a person that is saved?  My step-dad said they didn't think Butch was sincere........   Yet the Reverend pronounced Butch saved.  I didn't understand....  and that started me searching.... I know the Lords adds the ones that are being saved.... Acts 2:47...

xn = Christan  man=man -- Acts 11:26 "....and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch".

Barney Fife is my hero!

Posts 1188
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 1:59 PM

DAL,

First, thank you for a stimulating discussion. I get the point you're trying to make - I just think you're going about it the wrong way.

DAL:

But we do have a formal statement of faith. Just because we haven’t written one, doesn’t mean we don’t have one...

An unwritten statement of faith is by it's very nature informal - not formal.

DAL:

The point, we may not have a written formal statement of faith, but we do exercise one based on each congregation’s beliefs and many list it in their websites or use books or tracks to let people know what they “creed” if you would.

I never said we don't have anything written down - of course we do. I also never said that we don't have a consensus on doctrine, or that congregations don't enforce a degree of doctrinal conformity.  Honestly, while critics sometimes assert that that churches of Christ believe in "salvation by works," in my experience it would be much more accurate to say that the typical church of Christ believes in "salvation by doctrinal correctness." That's a problem.

So I get it - we can be as pigheaded as anyone else. But, in my judgement, blurring the distinctions between a tract like “Welcome to the Church of Christ” and classic credal statements like the Nicene Creed or the Westminster Confession of Faith is simply not helpful. It doesn't help us understand the Catholics or Presbyterians better, and it doesn't help them understand us better.

DAL:

When it comes to having creeds, the church of Christ is not different from other religious groups; the only difference is how they interpret and use their own creeds.

Saying that we develop and maintain a doctrinal consensus in a much less formal way than other groups is not dishonest, and it's not an attack on anyone else. Noting that we don't have a written, formal statement of faith isn't dishonest either. I think we can do that without mischaracterizing the role that creeds play in the Catholic or Eastern Orthodox traditions, for example.

DAL:

Anyway, let’s get back to the original intent of the thread.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope Logos gives us a Base Package based on what We Believe! ...

Amen to that!

Posts 1264
xnman | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 2:47 PM

EastTN:

DAL:

Anyway, let’s get back to the original intent of the thread.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope Logos gives us a Base Package based on what We Believe! ...

Amen to that!

Amen and Amen!! 

xn = Christan  man=man -- Acts 11:26 "....and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch".

Barney Fife is my hero!

Posts 9172
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 2:52 PM

Thanks, EastTN, for your mature response! May the Lord help up us mature in the faith and in the treatment of others! I’ll definitely try to see other ways to go about my book on this topic and hopefully it will accomplish what I intend without coming across the wrong way 👍😁👌

DAL

Posts 36343
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 3:05 PM

EastTN:
classic credal statements like the Nicene Creed or the Westminster Confession of Faith is simply not helpful.

May I point you to a surprising source for the difference between a creed and a confession of faith? Creeds and Confessions: What’s the Difference? (thegospelcoalition.org)

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 9172
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 3:45 PM

MJ. Smith:

EastTN:
classic credal statements like the Nicene Creed or the Westminster Confession of Faith is simply not helpful.

May I point you to a surprising source for the difference between a creed and a confession of faith? Creeds and Confessions: What’s the Difference? (thegospelcoalition.org)

Super, MJ! Thanks 🙏 I’ll add it to my research 🔬 🔍

Posts 1188
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 4:24 PM

MJ. Smith:

EastTN:
classic credal statements like the Nicene Creed or the Westminster Confession of Faith is simply not helpful.

May I point you to a surprising source for the difference between a creed and a confession of faith? Creeds and Confessions: What’s the Difference? (thegospelcoalition.org)

Thank you, MJ! That's very helpful. For what it's worth, my understanding of the early history of the Restoration Movement is that while "creeds" and "confessions" were lumped together, the primary issue early leaders of the movement had was with the detailed, theology laden confessions of the time. They were seen as a barrier to working across existing denominational boundaries.

Posts 1188
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 4:25 PM

DAL:

Thanks, EastTN, for your mature response! May the Lord help up us mature in the faith and in the treatment of others! I’ll definitely try to see other ways to go about my book on this topic and hopefully it will accomplish what I intend without coming across the wrong way 👍😁👌

DAL

Good luck with it, DAL! I do think what you're trying to do is important.

Posts 36343
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 4:38 PM

EastTN:
the primary issue early leaders of the movement had was with the detailed, theology laden confessions of the time

It is my understanding that for hermeneutics-exegesis confessional exegesis is a separate category. I have yet to be comfortable that I've wrapped my head around what confessional interpretation means for Lutherans, my go to denomination for traditional Protestantism/Middle Way.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 1188
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 5:08 PM

MJ. Smith:

It is my understanding that for hermeneutics-exegesis confessional exegesis is a separate category ...

You're probably right about that. I picked up an online degree at a Reformed seminary a few years ago, and several of the professors used the Westminster Confession as a teaching tool or point of reference, but it wasn't a primary focus of any of the classes I took. My understanding is that it was a much more significant part of the ordination process.

Posts 9172
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 1 2022 5:18 PM

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy looks interesting and many people agree with it, others don’t.  I recommend Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy audio lectures on sale for $10.99

1. Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy: https://www.etsjets.org/files/documents/Chicago_Statement.pdf 

2.  Five Views: https://audio.faithlife.com/product/208829/five-views-on-biblical-inerrancy-audio-lectures-28-lessons-on-the-spectrum-of-evangelical-positions 

Easier to listen than to read 👍😁👌

DAL

Posts 2760
David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jun 2 2022 7:28 AM

DAL:
1. Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy: https://www.etsjets.org/files/documents/Chicago_Statement.pdf 

Since this discussion has centered on Creeds, Statements & Doctrine, how do we handle revisions?

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/updating-chicago-statement/ 

I am ordained in the EFCA and sit on the examining board for credentials in our area. We allow a candidate to defend the 1950 SOF, the 2018 SOF or the 2021 SOF. New credentials are asked to defend the current statement, but restored credentials can be based upon the initial SOF that was defended.

I've noticed in Baptist circles some ascribe the BF&M (various dates) and other ascribe to the London Confession.

These revisions are testament to the HUMAN nature of our statements.

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim, Faithlife.com, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

Posts 36343
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jun 2 2022 3:03 PM

David Thomas:
how do we handle revisions?

I may not have the answer but I know what NOT to do ... see Eastern and Western Christianity on the adding of filioque to the creed circa 1014 and the unnecessary schism that followed.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 1486
David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 5 2022 6:07 AM

MJ. Smith:

David Thomas:
how do we handle revisions?

I may not have the answer but I know what NOT to do ... see Eastern and Western Christianity on the adding of filioque to the creed circa 1014 and the unnecessary schism that followed.

I would have thought that the Photian Schism of the 9th century highlighted the fact that problems between the Latin West and Greek East ran much deeper and longer than that.

WIN 11 i7 9750H, RTX 2060, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD | iPad Air 3
Verbum 9 Ultimate

Posts 984
Bill Anderson | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 5 2022 7:01 AM

EastTN:

My understanding is that it was a much more significant part of the ordination process.

In the Presbyterian Church of America and Orthodox Presbyterian Church, two denominations in which I pastored, in our ordination exams we were required to subscribe to the Westminister Standards state any exceptions we had.

Page 11 of 12 (225 items) « First ... < Previous 8 9 10 11 12 Next > | RSS