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13138Being vs Well Being

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  • Shawn Anderson
    Jul 1, 2005
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      Hello all,

      My name is Shawn Anderson and I am a communicant member of the RPNA,
      currently attending the Albany Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian
      Church. (www.albanycrpc.org)

      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."
      (WCF XXV.2)

      "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
      Universal Creeds.

      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
      Visible Church.

      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
      time permits.
      Yours in Christ, our Priestly King,
      -Shawn Anderson
      Albany, NY
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