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DaveW

A clear verse teaching a universal understanding of the word "church".

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So now we are going to deliberately confuse the definition of baptism IN THIS PASSAGE for the purposes of justifying the confusion of the term "Church"?

I just give up - you do what you want.

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12 hours ago, DaveW said:

So now we are going to deliberately confuse the definition of baptism IN THIS PASSAGE for the purposes of justifying the confusion of the term "Church"?

I just give up - you do what you want.

Dave is correct.

This is one of the reasons why I bowed out of this conversation long time ago.

 

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13 hours ago, DaveW said:

So now we are going to deliberately confuse the definition of baptism IN THIS PASSAGE for the purposes of justifying the confusion of the term "Church"?

I just give up - you do what you want.

1 hour ago, Alan said:

Dave is correct.

This is one of the reasons why I bowed out of this conversation long time ago.

I am not exactly certain that I understand Brother Dave's and Brother Alan's level of frustration here; however, I am sorry for that level of frustration, since I certainly consider both of them to be beloved friends through our forum relationship.

On the other hand, I am compelled to study the Scriptures as best as I know, and to follow the doctrinal position that I find therein.  As I have presented earlier in this thread discussion, Hebrews 12:22-24 is that specific passage which compelled me just a few years ago to adjust my doctrinal position on this subject.  Do I believe that there are related passages throughout the New Testament that teach related truths?  I certainly do.  However, to me Hebrews 12:22-24 is the foundational and (thus far) indisputable passage on the matter.

1.  Does Hebrews 12:22-24 speaks about a church, using the very word itself?  Yes -- "the general assembly and church of the firstborn"
2.  Does Hebrews 12:22-24 emphasize the "assembly" aspect of the word "church"?  Yes -- "the general assembly and . . ."
3.  Does Hebrews 12:22-24 provide a definition for the membership of this church?  Yes -- "which are written in heaven"
4.  Does Hebrews 12:22-24 reveal the location for the assemblage of this church?  Yes -- "unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem"
5.  Does Hebrews 12:22-24 indicate a time marker for the assemblage of this church?  Yes -- "Ye are come [present tense]"
6.  Does Hebrews 12:22-24 indicate that New Testament believers on the earth are a part of this church?  Yes -- "Ye are come . . ."

So then, some implicational questions and thoughts:

1.  When is an individual "written in heaven"?  Best answer I know -- At the very moment when that individual places faith in Christ for eternal salvation from sin.
2.  Is such a new believer, from that very moment, a member of "the general assembly and church of the firstborn"?  Best answer I know -- It sure appears to be so.
3.  Is it necessary to be baptized with water into the membership of a Biblically faithful, local church on the earth in order to be a member of "the general assembly and church of the firstborn"?  Best answer I know -- It does not appear to be so.
4.  How can all New Testament believers, including all who are now in heaven as well as all who are scattered over the whole earth, be viewed as assembled in a singular place at this very present moment?  Best answer I know -- Ephesians 2:5-6.

Now, maybe a part of the frustration concerns the definition for the word "universal."  Maybe the difficulty is that we are using a different definition-application for the word "universal" from each other, and thus are "talking past" each other.  I do not know, but again I say that I am sorry for Brother Dave's and Brother Alan's level of frustration with the position that I presently follow and have presented.  Indeed, again I repeat that I consider them beloved friends on this forum.

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On 12/19/2017 at 4:41 PM, Alan said:

Dave is correct.

Hebrews 12:22 and 23 is used by all, or most all, of the denominations, primarily the Roman Catholic and the Charismatics,  to force the interpretation that the church is a universal church. These false brethren will not recognize the local church. I am also of the persuasion that  even referring the "... general assembly and the church of the firstborn..." Hebrews 12:23 as being "a Universal Church," is not a biblical designation. To use "Universal Church" as a designation to Hebrews 12:23 is not what the writer of Hebrews is trying to convey and is a forced interpretation.

As far as I am concerned, Hebrews 12:22 and 23 is clearly talking about all of the saints gathered in heaven as a "general assembly" in heaven and not as a local congregation on the earth. The churches in the New Testament are clearly independent and local. Therefore, it depends on the context of the word "church' that determines its meaning. All of the churches in the New Testament were local congregations and independent (no denominational headquarters), of each other.

 

 

On 12/26/2017 at 5:30 PM, Alan said:

Dave,

Thank you for your whole post; especially the last sentence quoted above. The Lord Jesus clearly said, "my church," or the called out assembly of the saints (not unregenerate sinners in some church roll).

1. This excludes all of the false churches throughout the ages.

2. The writer in Hebrews is very clear when he states, ""To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect." Hebrews 12:23 The writer in Hebrews is clearly speaking of all of the firstborn, the redeemed saints, whose names are written in heaven (not on some Roman Catholic church roll, or other church roll), of the spirits of just men made perfect. There is no universal church here on this earth that the writer of Hebrews is speaking of. It is an assembly of believers in heaven.

Alan

 

On 1/1/2018 at 7:05 PM, Alan said:

Brethren,

With great hesitancy I entered this conversation, and, quite frankly, I want to depart from this conversation, as I dearly respect all of the brethren in this conversation and do not want to cause any disrespect to any body in this conversation. So, this may be the last of my comments.

The definition of "oxymoron" is: "A rhetorical figure in which incongruous or contradictory terms are combined, as in a deafening silence."  I feel that when David used the term "oxymoron" in his post he used it correctly in the issue of the word "universal" as it is commonly accepted.

Starting from the Roman Catholic Church, to almost, not all, of the religious denominations, para-church organizations, "Bible Teacher", espouses Hebrews 12:22-23 to prove that the "church" is universal and not a local church. These groups use the word 'universal' to try and force it into their own definition.

I am of the persuasion that the notion, or idea, or thought, that the Roman Catholic Church, or the other religious denominations, or the para-church organization, will sincerely learn, or accept, or be compelled to study and understand, the concept of a local church, is not realistic. These groups of people that I named have already, I must re-emphasize the word 'already,' determined to reject the concept of the local church and are adamantly against the local church and will continue to be adamantly against the concept of the local church.

Hebrews 12:22-23 clearly teaches that the church of the redeemed is gathered in heaven and has nothing to do with the concept of a universal church on this earth as the Roman Catholic Church, the other religious denominations, and every para-church organization teaches.

Alan

The above comments by me speak for themselves.

The term "universal church" is  Roman Catholic  terminology that is an erroneousness term to use for all of the assembled saints in heaven, or on earth, for that matter.

I do not care for the usage of the word "frustration" to describe mine, or David's comments. The usage of the word "frustration" to me, or to Dave, in my opinion, is to try and give the notion that we are angry, or not speaking rationally, or to belittle our thoughts so others can ignore us. I, nor Dave, is frustrated and to continue to use such terminology is detrimental to any conversation.

 

Edited by Alan
punctuation

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3 hours ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

. . . however, I am sorry for that level of frustration, since I certainly consider both of them to be beloved friends through our forum relationship.

Indeed, again I repeat that I consider them beloved friends on this forum. (emboldening added by Pastor Scott Markle)

3 hours ago, Alan said:

I do not care for the usage of the word "frustration" to describe mine, or David's comments. The usage of the word "frustration" to me, or to Dave, in my opinion, is to try and give the notion that we are angry, or not speaking rationally, or to belittle our thoughts so others can ignore us. I, nor Dave, is frustrated and to continue to use such terminology is detrimental to any conversation.

Well, belittling my fellow brethren and beloved friends was certainly the farthest thing from my heart and mind when I posted above.  NO such motivation existed.

Edited by Pastor Scott Markle
spelling

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If we as Baptists would stop being so reactionary and just follow and study the Bible we would be far better off. What is happening in this thread is people reacting to the false system of Roman Catholicism and more than likely people repeating “local church only” doctrine.

Pastor Markle has made it pretty clear from Hebrews that the Bible does in fact teach a type of “universal” church, while at the same time clarifying he does not hold to a Roman Catholic type of universal church.

the fact of the matter is all believers are part of the bride of Christ and by one spirit we are all baptized into the body of Christ. His body is never spoken of as plural. This tells me there is one body. This one body manifests itself on the earth with several local assemblies.

the earth has multitudes of churches but at the same time there is only one “my church” (Matthew 16) 

Jesus said I will build my church (singular) and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. He did not say churches.(plural) 

the grammar of that statement and the fact that the Bible does speak of churches (plural) should be enough to convince anyone that there is both 1. A singular universal church and 2. plural local churches that are local expressions of the one singular church. 

 

 

Edited by Jordan Kurecki

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8 minutes ago, Jordan Kurecki said:

the grammar of that statement and the fact that the Bible does speak of churches (plural) should be enough to convince anyone that there is both 1. A singular universal church and 2. plural local churches that are local expressions of the one singular church. 

Bro. Jordan, as I said previously I don't want to contribute to any confusion in this thread. But i would like to address this that I quoted from you. I will do it in another thread that will include and reference this Scripture that I posted before:  Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 
 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 

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47 minutes ago, Jim_Alaska said:

Bro. Jordan, as I said previously I don't want to contribute to any confusion in this thread. But i would like to address this that I quoted from you. I will do it in another thread that will include and reference this Scripture that I posted before:  Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 
 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 

I already quoted John the Baptist in response to you. There is a baptism with water and a baptism with the Holy Ghost, as well as a baptism with fire. 

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On ‎12‎/‎17‎/‎2017 at 4:55 AM, DaveW said:

I would be interested if someone could quote a verse that clearly teaches a universal understanding of the word "Church".

For it to be legitimate, the verse MUST NOT MAKE SENSE in the local setting.

The reason I say this, is that if a verse can be understood to be teaching local understanding of church, then it is not NECESSARY for it to be understood in a universal sense.

I have not found a single verse that clearly teaches a universal understanding of the word "Church".

As a result, I see no biblical justification for accepting any sort of universal understanding of the word "church."

Above is the opening post of this thread.

1. Brother Dave said, "I would be interested if someone could quote a verse that clearly teaches a universal understanding of the word 'church'."

Answering this request requires three elements: (1) a verse or passage of Scripture, (2) the inclusion of the word "church" in that verse or passage of Scripture, (3) a usage of the word "church" in that verse or passage with a "universal understanding."  In answer I proposed Hebrews 12:22-24.  This is certainly a passage of Scripture, and it  certainly does use the word "church."  So then, does it also meet the third requirement?  Does it use the word "church" with a "universal understanding?"  In truth, to answer that question we must have a clear definition for the word "universal."  One of the dictionary definitions for the word "universal" is "of, for, affecting, or including all or the whole of something specified; not limited or restricted."  Now, the New Testament church has to do with membership, with inclusion.  Furthermore, the New Testament church has to do with the inclusion of New Testament believers.  Thus from my perspective a usage of the word "church" with a "universal understanding" would be one wherein ALL New Testament believers, whether in heaven or on earth, are INCLUDED as a part of the membership thereof.  Does Hebrews 12:22-24 fulfill this requirement for the usage of the word "church"?  Does Hebrews 12:22-24 include all New Testament believers, all whose names are written in heaven, whether in heaven or on earth, within the membership of "the general assembly and church of the first born;" and does Hebrews 12:22-24 present that church as existing in the present moment?

2.  Brother Dave said, "For it to be legitimate, the verse MUST NOT MAKE SENSE in the local setting."

This, I believe, is where the conflict has arisen for this thread discussion.  This requirement places an exclusion between a "universal understanding" and a "local setting."  Now, is a single locale necessary for the understanding of the word "church"?  Certainly it is, because the word "church" (as per the Greek word) includes the idea of ASSEMBLY.  However, I would contend that Hebrews 12:22-24 presents a usage of the word church that fulfills BOTH a "local setting" and a "universal understanding."  Hebrews 12:22-24 presents an assemblage in a single location -- "the heavenly Jerusalem."  Hebrews 12:22-24 also presents an assemblage that includes a "universal" membership of ALL New Testament believers (whether in heaven or on earth at the present time) -- "which are written in heaven."

Now, if the conflict is simply the usage of the term "universal," because that term has been used among various false belief systems, I am willing to change the terminology.  The phrase "universal church" is NOT a phrase that is used in Scripture itself.  Thus I could comfortably change to use the phrase "heavenly church," as long as it is understood that I mean to include ALL New Testament believer who are in heaven or anywhere throughout earth at this very present time.

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Hebrews 12:22-23, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and the church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the

Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” The Holy Spirit called the  church of the living God in heaven, "... the general assembly..." There is no "universal church" assembled in heaven. The Roman Catholic Church started the erroneous

naming of the church in heaven the, "Universal Church."

The churches in the New Testament were not "Universal" churches. They were individual "assemblies" independent of one another, or non-denominational, nor "universal, " and "local" in scope, size and authority. The church in heaven is the

"general" assembly and not a "universal" assembly."

Pastor Markle stated that he wanted to change the definition of the term "universal" and comfortably use the phrase "heavenly church." I for one, do not care for new personal definitions. Nor, am I of the persuasion that a lot of other brethren in

IFB churches are comfortable to change the definition to accommodate the Roman Catholic Church, denominations, para-church organizations, and the world in general. The Holy Spirit already gave us the definition of the "...church of the

firstborn.." the definition is "the general assembly."

Edited by Alan
formatting (2) caps added para church organizations

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7 hours ago, Alan said:

Hebrews 12:22-23, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and the church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the

Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” The Holy Spirit called the  church of the living God in heaven, "... the general assembly..." There is no "universal church" assembled in heaven. The Roman Catholic Church started the erroneous

naming of the church in heaven the, "Universal Church."

The churches in the New Testament were not "Universal" churches. They were individual "assemblies" independent of one another, or non-denominational, nor "universal, " and "local" in scope, size and authority. The church in heaven is the

"general" assembly and not a "universal" assembly."

Pastor Markle stated that he wanted to change the definition of the term "universal" and comfortably use the phrase "heavenly church." I for one, do not care for new personal definitions. Nor, am I of the persuasion that a lot of other brethren in

IFB churches are comfortable to change the definition to accommodate the Roman Catholic Church, denominations, para-church organizations, and the world in general. The Holy Spirit already gave us the definition of the "...church of the

firstborn.." the definition is "the general assembly."

Ok, that is fine.  If we have a significant adversity to the word "universal" because it has been mishandled by false belief systems, I can comfortably use the phrase, "The Heavenly, General Assembly."  It may be noted that each word of this phrase is found in the Scriptural text itself -- "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven . . . ."  However, I would remind that my position for this "Heavenly, General Assembly" includes the following aspects:

1.  It is a SINGULAR church assembly.
2.  It is assembled (gathered) in HEAVEN.
3.  It is PRESENTLY in existence as a church assembly.
4.  It includes ALL New Testament believers in its assembly, BOTH those in heaven AND those still on the earth at the present time.

As far as the continuing reference unto the Roman Catholic organization, denominational hierarchical organizations, ecumenical organizations, para-church organizations, etc. in relation to the position that I have presented from Hebrews 12:22-24, I have clearly declared that any such man-made organization on the earth is falsehood, specifically because the "Heavenly, General Assembly" is a church assemblage IN HEAVEN, not on the earth.  

On 12/20/2017 at 4:54 PM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Absolutely, the Roman Catholic sense of "universal church" is utterly unbiblical; for that concept attempts to MANufacture on the earth, what the Lord our God has already ordained and designed in the heavenly Jerusalem.  As I understand the teaching of the New Testament, the Biblical concept of the "universal" church is such that we all as New Testament believers are gathered together SPIRITUALLY IN CHRIST, as we are seated together SPIRITUALLY in heavenly places IN CHRIST.  As such, while some of its members may exist throughout this earth, this "church's" existence (gathering) is STRICTLY and SPIRITUALLY in heaven, not on the earthIt has NO organizational structure on the earth at all whatsoeverThat which the Lord our God has ordained as His "organization" on the earth itself is the local New Testament church.  (emboldening added by Pastor Scott Markle)

Thus ANY attempt to relate my doctrinal position on this matter with some man-made organization upon the earth (or any claim that it is an accommodation thereof) is both contradictory and offensive to my doctrinal position.  Yet sadly I expect it to be likely that it will happen again.

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In my estimation, my previous posts (all four of them), on Hebrews 12:22-23 are correct. I do not sense the necessity of changing one word, nor in continuing this discussion.

Also, as I indicated beforehand, after amicably stating my position, and following the lead of brother Dave, I bid my brethren a, hopefully, fond farewell.

Alan

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