13138Being vs Well Being
- Jul 1, 2005Hello all,
My name is Shawn Anderson and I am a communicant member of the RPNA,
currently attending the Albany Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian
I am thankful that there is a forum that we can discuss these
pertinent issues. Thank you Jerry! I am also grateful that for the
most part this has not been an argument where name calling takes
place more than keeping to the facts. The unity of the Body of
Christ could very well be the most important contemporary issue the
Church faces today in America and Europe where we see the most
denominationalism and therefore schism.
As I read the posts, it seems that from my humble perspective we are
speaking past each other. I think it is important that we AGREE in
definitions of terms before we just throw them out there and confuse
what the discussion at hand is.
Maybe we could begin by seeing if we agree with some Church history
in relationship to an essential vs. faithful distinction of the
Visible Church. (I will be summarizing)
The "Church Fathers" sought to define the ESSENTIAL distinction of
the Church. What defines the ESSENCE of the Visible Church, as
opposed to Paganism. In other words, either you are in the Visible
Church, or you are in the Satanic institution Christ Jesus
calls "the World", and your religion then is Satanic. (John 17)
My understanding is that their answer was "The visible Church, which
is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one
nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout
the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and
is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of
God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation."
"ALL THOSE THROUGHOUT THE WOLRD THAT PROFESS THE TRUE RELIGION; AND
OF THEIR CHILDREN"
And how did they seek to define the TRUE RELIGION? By the Universal
Creeds (Apostle's, Athanasian, Nicene) And so you will see that
many, many denominations will fit into this category: Presbyterians,
Reformed, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Baptists, Episcopalians,
Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, Lutherans, (most) Pentecostals, African
Methodist Episcopal, etc. And they fit because they uphold the
When the RPNA says "the BEING" of the Church, we mean the same thing
as the Early Church Fathers meant as to the ESSENTIAL distinction of
the Visible Church. We have never sought to take people out of the
Now a problem arises when we begin to deal with the FAITHFUL
distinction of the Visible Church. The Reformers found themselves
having to come out of what they believed to be part of the Visible
Church in ESSENCE (i.e. the Roman Catholic Church), however, their
justification for doing so was that Rome departed NOT FROM THE
ESSENCE, but from the FAITHFULNESS of the Visible Church.
How did they understand the FAITHFULNESS distinction? Well is it
possible that they understood the nature of it, but did not develop
the doctrine of it until after they had left? We see that there was
a development as the Reformation progressed.
Right preaching and sacraments
Right preaching, sacraments and church discipline
Right doctrine, sacraments, and church discipline
Right Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government
And these all mean the same thing, but we see a greater
clarification as time and reformation progress. These became the
Marks of the True Church, and many have refered to them as the
ancient landmarks (Prov. 22:28).
Now when they say TRUE Church vs. FALSE Church, one must discern
whether they speak of:
TRUE is CHRISTIAN as to FALSE is PAGAN or
TRUE is FAITHFUL CHURCH as to FALSE is UNFAITHFUL CHURCH
In other words, they would use terms to mean something in one
context, and turn around and use the same term differently in
another. They do this with other terms as well, and so if we are not
careful, we too could be guilty of not being clear enough, and this
could easily lead to offense; which I hope none have been thus far
in my post.
The Reformation was not about departing or leaving, but rather
RETURNING to the FAITHFUL Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and
Government that had already been established prior in Church
history. And because of the size of Reformation and ability to
settle many matters in a high court they then sought to establish a
greater faithfulness than had been established prior. For this is
nothing less than confirming the Great Commission given to the Bride
of Christ, through the Ministry of the Word.
When the RPNA uses the term "WELL BEING" They refer to the
FAITHFULNESS distinction of the Visible Church.
You have the ESSENTIAL Visible Church and the FAITHFUL ESSENTIAL VC
You have the BEING, and the WELL BEING.
Until we agree to the definition of these terms and historical
testimony of the Reformations, then we will not be able to move on
in the discussion.
Thanks for your time in reading my simple comments, I will add as
Yours in Christ, our Priestly King,
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