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New member, searching for answers

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by David-64, Dec 8, 2018 at 9:55 AM.

  1. David-64

    David-64 New Member

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    Hi,
    I come from a very different faith group which really started in the US in the early 1800s, as part of the Restoration Movement. Some would call it Campbellism, or Stone-Campbellism, but we are now known as Church of Christ, which is also similar to Disciples of Christ or the simple Christian church. Although we claim to have no creeds, there is a well known expression, "Speak where the Bible speaks, remain silent where the Bible is silent." This faith group has been a part of my family for 5 generations, and I despite this, I have continued to search for truth, wondering what else draws so many people to different Christian beliefs.

    The Church of Christ believes in the accuracy and authority of Scripture. As I have grown older, I have been interested in early church history. While the Canon was essentially agreed upon within 300 years after Christ, these decisions were made by mortal men, and may have erred regarding the addition or deletion of books. Fortunately, many of the essentials of Christianity are redundant in the New Testament. This is what has appealed to me: the simplicity of Christianity. The other factor which has caused me to think includes the early writings of Justin Martyr, who wrote his Apologies to Caesar around 150 AD, and described his normal Sunday worship service, and his views on the purpose of baptism. Unfortunately, he did not discuss infant baptism, which I think became more common years later. But JM noted the eucharist, reading of Scripture, taking a collection for the poor, etc. Now change gears with me. It was not long after JM lived that the church hierarchy began. In churches of Christ, each church is autonomous, and organized with elders, deacons, and a minister according Scripture. After the apostles died, the notion of Apostolic Succession began, and single Bishops oversaw several churches, and the hierarchy grew from there to where the Bishop in Rome became preeminent, recognized eventually as Pope and head of the church. The only scripture I can find which might authorize a change in Scriptural "rules" is Matthew chapter 16, where whatever is bound on earth shall be bound in heaven, etc. Even the original Greek which says "whatever is bound on earth shall HAVE BEEN bound in heaven, it is clear that the Jesus was giving his apostles a special authority. So authority was in the person as well as in God's word. I don't know of any examples of where an original apostle "ordained" another man to take his place and carry on this authority, but I think this must be how Apostolic Succession started. So "binding and loosing" is a big deal which has allowed for so many Christian faith groups.

    There are other parts of Matthew 16 which have bothered me. When Christ said that the "gates of Hell" should not prevail against the church, this suggests to me that a reasonable person could easily trace the church from early times until now, and that suggests that the Reformation is more legitimate than the Restoration Movement.

    While I am not being judgmental except in regards to my own faith, if one looks at 1Timothy chapter 4, Paul warned that there would be a time when there would be those who forbade marriage and certain foods in their beliefs. With the current troubles within the Roman Catholic church, it appears that forbidding priests to marry has been a significant factor.

    One of the greatest problems within churches of Christ is the tendency to become legalistic, and falling into the same trap as the Pharisees of the NT. As one ages and worships in different parts of the world, one comes to recognize that Biblical "silence" can mean "freedom" and not something forbidden. Therefore, if one considers the principles of Matthew 16 and has a more liberal understanding of freedom in Christ, then we have many more options regarding faith groups acceptable to God.

    My personal bias is the importance of Eucharist, (or Communion, or the Lord's Supper), and as I have grown older I do not find that a weekly observance contributes to complacency. Instead, I appreciate the communion of fellow worshippers, as well as communion with our Savior, and it offers me the time to reflect upon the marvelous salvation we have been offered. It also reaffirms the promise of eternal life to those who "walk in the light". Thus far I have found that Campbellite churches and the Anglican church offer weekly communion besides the Roman Catholic and Orthodox faiths.

    I am currently looking at the Episcopal church, which offers an open communion and recognizes the importance of faith AND baptism, not equating the latter as a "work", except as the work of God. While I am troubled by open embracement of homosexuality, as I see that Scripture forbids acting upon these impulses, I also realize that the church at Corinth was far from perfect, yet it was regarded highly by Paul in his salutations in the beginning of each epistle. So the church is a work in progress, and I realize that not all Anglican groups espouse the acceptance of homosexual practice. So that you do not think I am bigoted, I had a fellow employee, my primary assistant, who is in a lifelong same sex civil union, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for her professionalism, and Christian life. I have known many wonderful people who are homosexual, and I don't understand why God's word condemns this behavior.

    I plan to visit the Episcopal church this Sunday, as we have recently undergone further division within my home church of Christ, and the demoralizing atmosphere is so sad.

    I have loved searching the scripture and studying church history, and after years of experience, I am convinced that Matthew chapter 25 is equally important to chapter 16. In chapter 25, Jesus describes the judgment, and indicates what separates an acceptable from unacceptable Christian walk, that is, putting our faith in action.

    If you made it this far, thank you for reading, and feel free to comment.
     
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  2. YeshuaFan

    YeshuaFan Well-Known Member

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    I would recommend seeking out a Baptist church in your area, as think that the Baptist viewpoint in regards to doctrines and how to set up the church is very much in line with the scriptures!
     
  3. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

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    This covers everything, so nothing is silent:

    Matthew 7:12
    “So whatever you wish that others would do to you,
    do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
     
  4. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    I was in the Church of Christ for years myself, left over the issue of water salvation. Anyway, welcome to the boards, hope you enjoy your stay. I'm sure if you bring this up in the General Theology discussion forum you will get a lot of interest.

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
  5. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid ...time and time again! Supporter

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    Welcome to CF, David-64! I read your post, and surprisingly, your personal story sounds somewhat like mine, especially since a portion of my Christian life has been spent in the Christian Church (Instrumental). However, I too have had many, many questions over the years that eventually drove me to expand upon, and beyond, what even the brotherhood of the Christian Church has supposedly provided.

    Again, welcome to CF!

    2PhiloVoid :cool:
     
  6. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Welcome to CF!

    I would say you're coming along in assembling the pieces from history. Except there was a degree of hierarchy present from the beginning (bishops, presbyters, and deacons are all mentioned by ordination in Scripture). And your overall history reads as somewhat of a Catholic bias - only in Rome did she imagine to be the "head" of the Church in the way the Catholic Pope is head of Catholicism - this was rejected by the others as Rome was to be the "first among equals" ... it is a place of honor, not ultimate authority. Thus eventually the schism.

    If you wish to understand the teaching against acting on same-sex attraction, it would be best to maybe ask among the ancient Churches. It's not a matter of some heinous sin that is separate from all other sins making one worse than everyone else as some modern groups might view it (too much temptation to say "thank God I'm not like that sinner" implied there!). But rather it is a disorder of a natural desire, as there are all kinds of such disorders among mankind. All can harm us though to varying degrees and in various ways, and all are to be resisted as we are able by the grace of God.

    And that's already a bit much for an intro thread, but you've offered us a lot. God be with you in your search. Feel free to visit the congregational forums of any of the groups you are interested in - I think they will all welcome you in fellowship and to ask questions. :)



     
  7. Chris V++

    Chris V++ Free in Christ Supporter

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    Greetings. After I first became a Christian I ended up almost joining a Church of Christ . What put me off was that the pastor wouldn't allow me to join unless he was able to re-baptize me. His claim was that my recent 'born again' experience inspired baptism was a 'baptism unto repentance' like the baptism of John, and not a 'baptism unto salvation,' as required by God. He pointed out the verses where 1st Century believers who were baptized by John or his followers had to be re baptized themselves. This was such a stumbling block I almost started denying my salvation. This set me back a few years probably, since I had so much respect for this pastor, having listened to his radio debate forum for months and months. Later I was told similar things about my salvation from pastors of other denominations, like your not saved unless you speak in tongues, or unless you do this, or that. He never mentioned the word 'Campbellism' and claimed the Church of Christ was the same 1st century church, as evidenced by the words 'Churches of Christ' appearing in Acts. Anyway, thanks for your story. What has been reinforced for me here on this forum is that every self- professing Christian here would fit someone else's definition of a heretic. :) But it has been great fun and very educational nonetheless.
     
  8. mnorian

    mnorian Oldbie--Eternal Optimist Staff Member Administrator Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Mod hat on
    [​IMG]
    This thread has been move from
    Introduce Yourself
    to
    Christian Advice.
    For a better fit and responses.
    Carry on.
     
  9. David-64

    David-64 New Member

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    Thanks to each one who has replied. I have learned from the responses thus far, and feel welcome here. Since there is a wide diversity of backgrounds on this site, please let me ask, which faith groups offer the Lord's Supper (Eucharist, Communion) every Sunday? This part of worship is so meaningful and important to me. I realize that a faith group may offer Eucharist less frequently in an attempt to prevent complacency, or perhaps for other reasons. Thanks again.
     
  10. andy b

    andy b Newbie

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    That's a hell o an intro
     
  11. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    The Eastern Orthodox Church offers the Eucharist at every Divine Liturgy - which in many communities is every Sunday and additionally on special feast days.

    I think you can usually find at least weekly communion in Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Episcopalian, Presbyterian communities as well, and I've seen it in some Methodist ones. I may be forgetting some.


    As for baptism, some will vary. But the most common understanding of baptism is that we are validly baptized only once. If we are baptized in a Trinitarian formula by those who have a proper understanding of the Trinity (not denying the divinity of Christ, for example) and where the intention was to baptize - bring one into fellowship in the Body - then that is generally accepted as baptism by most. There have been historical disagreements - mostly when those who want to rebaptize are rejecting the validity or theology of those who initially baptized the person.
     
  12. sunshine100

    sunshine100 Well-Known Member

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    Hello and welcome
     
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