Saturday, April 08, 2006


"When we hold to a strict ‘one true church’ principle some inconsistencies arise. We are forced to draw up detailed lists of what is acceptable doctrine and practice and what is not. Obviously some things are clearly un-Biblical and should not be tolerated in the Lord’s house. But many things are not so clear. For example: how do we determine that feet washing is optional and acapella singing is not. How do we decide when to declare non-fellowship with a group of churches and then some time later drop the bars and receive each other again. If we are true to the ‘one true church’ principle many ordinations, constitutions, and baptisms would have to be re-examined..."

I found the above thought-provoking comments on another blog, and am posting here for you all to think on.

I'm posting a link, but I hoping for comments on the part posted above rather than the entire blog:


clinch64 said...

We will never measure up to God's standards. If we did, then we would be an equal to Him. We should always strive to reach that level however. What is a straight line? It cannot be defined.

Neil Vaught

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if we wouldn't be more faithful if we realized that the truth of the matter is that our congregration, denomination, etc. is almost necessarily 'one of many false churches,' and our goal/job is santification rather than perfection.

I'm put in mind of Jesus's parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee was thankful he was a member of the one true church. "But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:9-14).

Anonymous said...

I suppose when one's own most conscientious understanding of the Bible will not allow fellowship, that's when. We do have to set standards. Our standards will never be 100% correct because we are sinners, but they do have to be as close to our understanding of scripture as we can make them. Saying "Well, no one is 100% right" should never be a cover for admitting patently unscriptural practices and lifestyles. Doesn't the Bible say in one place that for matters which are not explicitly covered in scripture that we are responsible for being true to our own consciences?

Anonymous said...

When you belong to a baptistic church, you have many options. If you don't like what happens in your church, there is another one down the street.

In the Anglican Church, we do not have so many options. Because of this, we tend to get along with those with varying degrees of practice and even belief systems. In my diocese, most ministers are evangelical, but we do have a few liberals. They are made to feel welcome at our monthly meetings and not to be attacked on every point. Frankly, we stand the better chance of reaching them with the truth than does the Bible thumper down the way..and believe me, we do discuss variants in theology when we meet.

I think the same applies with our orders of common service. Just which order of service is correct, and just how would we behave accordingly if we had to worship in sewers or on rooftops?



R. L. Vaughn said...

I think that ultimately we will all follow our consciences, so to speak. But how much our consciences are informed by the Word of God might be an issue as well.

When Donnie asked how do we determine that feet washing is optional and a cappella singing is not, here is what I read into it. In the case of feet washing, we have something that is commanded by the Lord -- "do as I have done to you; wash one another's feet" (depending on how one interprets it, of course) -- but with a cappella singing we have something that is determined by inference and lack of command to use instruments. Seems what he was thinking is that most of his group draw a line of fellowship against those who transgress the latter (inference against using instruments), but do not with those don't wash feet (which is commanded). [At least this is how I took what he wrote.]

Again in my own experience I have seen and heard of churches who declare non-fellowship with a church or group of churches, saying they no longer recognize them as a true church/churches. But at some later time they drop the bars of fellowship and receive those churches into fellowship again. But it seems to me if they really were no longer a true church, then their ordinations, baptisms, etc. would not be valid and they could not be received without "re-baptism", "re-ordination", etc. This is what seems inconsistent to me. Were they really no longer a "true church", or were we just saying that for the time being until we get them to line up with our way of thinking (or we accept theirs)? If so, we ought to just say that and not play games with the "true church" concept.

Finally, I have for a long time considered that proving we're inconsistent proves just that -- that we are inconsistent -- and not what is right or wrong.