Church Heirarchy



Q. I am a member of the true church of Christ. The Church of Christ. We are made up of tens of thousands of congregations world wide, each of which are completely independent from and yet one with the others,


BFHU:
Do you believe this is good or attractive when Jesus said, “that all of them may be one?” Jn 17:21 Independent from is not one with the others. A married couple who act completely independently from each other are not unified or one with each other.

Q. …and with a structure according to the Scriptures.


BFHU:
We also are organized according to the Scriptures Where is the Heirarchy in Scripture? but are not confined to them since our organization began and evolved for 400 years before the NT was canonized. Popes and Bishops in the Early Church
Q. We are able to speak the same things and be of the same mind because the New Testament is our only authority. We do not use creed books or “church traditions”.


BFHU:
“Church Traditions” I will say again are NOT the mere tradtions of men, but the very teaching of the apostles received from Christ. You have no way of actually KNOWING that you are of the same mind as the authors of the NT because Protestantism came along 1500 years after Christ. You are only of the same mind as your own mind or the mind of your pastor or some other Protestant teacher you trust. But Protestant theology is unhinged from many of the ancient teachings of Apostolic Christianity and the only authority, ultimately is yourself. Every Protestant is his own pope. That is why it is NOT ONE as desired by Christ in John 17 but fractured into thousands of denominations.

We do not follow the Law of Moses. Jesus is the head, and there is only one head.


BFHU:
We totally agree that Jesus is the head of His body the Church.

Q. As the Scriptures commands us to speak as the oracles of God, we speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent.


BFHU:
This is a delusion, because you believe in the doctrine of sola scriptura and yet it is nowhere to be found in the pages of scripture. It is a tradition of men and therefore condemned by St. Paul.

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6 Responses

  1. Perhaps I was not clear, my mistake. If you will double check, you will see that I did say we are one. However, we do not bow to a hierarchy of men as Catholics do. Above a particular congregation’s Elders is the Word of God and God Himself, not a hierarchy of men. The Apostle commanded that elders (bishops in plural) be ordained in each congregation. There was not just one bishop over a congregation. Furthermore, he said to pastor the flock among you, not in the next congregation. So the picture God paints by His Word is one in which each congregation had more than one bishop, and none of those bishops had authority to lead a congregation they themselves were not a member of.

    The Apostles had authority over the churches of Christ because they were the ones who received the promise that the Holy Spirit would bring to their remembrance all things that Jesus had said to them, and that He would guide them into all truth. The Elders did not have this same authority. It is also worth remembering that only a witness of Jesus’ Earthly sojourn could fill Judas’ office as an Apostle. There are no Apostles today, seeing as how none of the witnesses of Jesus’ Earthly sojourn remain unto this present. The notion that the Apostles had successors is simply a fabrication. They were a part of the foundation, which no other foundation can be laid than that which has been laid.

    Therefore, each congregation has their own Elders, and above that is God. Yes, we are one by Christ Jesus through His Holy Spirit, but if one congregation goes astray, the others are not directly affected. In a hierarchy, with all power concentrated with a few men, if the leaders go astray, they are all done-in, as has happened with the Catholic Church. I understand that it is difficult for you to see this, but do you really expect the ones who fell away in fulfillment of Paul’s warning to make it obvious, or does it make more sense that they would take great pains to devise crafty schemes?

  2. You said- “The Apostles had authority over the churches of Christ because they were the ones who received the promise that the Holy Spirit would bring to their remembrance all things that Jesus had said to them, and that He would guide them into all truth. The Elders did not have this same authority.”

    Response: Check Acts – The Apostles replaced Judas, empowering him with the Holy Spirit in a REAL sense. Other Churches feel the Holy Spirit, this may be true, BUT only Catholics know that the Holy Spirit they have received is from Jesus Himself. Holy Spirit passed on from the Apostles, to the Bishops, to the Priests, to us. It never died when Jesus died on the Cross and rose to heaven! If Jesus wanted scripture alone, aside what an independent Pastor wanted to do, He would have told the Apostles, “Scribe this”, did He?

    Why would Jesus want His Church to die when the Apostles died? He didn’t, that is why he gave them the Holy Spirit to carry His Church forward and the Apostles ordained men to carry the Truth forward, having Bishops, guided by the Apostles with Peter as the Pope. Only when the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit, instituted by Christ, and passed to men to tell us the truth can we hear the ONE true word.

    I’ve been to MANY other congregations and depending on where you go, just as you pointed out, the Word is different. Is this oneness in Christ? I don’t think so.

    It is my belief that true Catholics have an understanding of the Holy Spirit in a real sense. When we receive the Holy Spirit in the Sacraments beginning with Baptism, we understand that this is the true Holy Spirit from God Himself. Protestants on the other hand, do not believe as much as we do of a real presence of the Holy Spirit, doubting that God could ordain men to deliver the true Holy Spirit. According to the Catholic Church, we recognize the Sacrament of Baptism when it is carried out according to His instructions (belief in the true trinity, with water). But it stops there, because to be truly confirmed in Christ, you must receive the true Holy Spirit that comes from the true Church that ultimately was from the Apostles who received it from Christ.

    Doubters of the Holy Spirit continue such as when Jesus, at the Last Supper simply instructed them, “Do this in memory of me”. Most Protestants believe that the bread and wine are just symbols now, considering He was already on the Cross. Does the principal behind the Eucharist just die after Christ died on the Cross? Or is the Catholic Church doing as instructed. I can’t believe that the Eucharist isn’t as good as the Eucharist the Apostles received. I believe this because God is alive! God no longer literally in the Eucharist? This is denying the power of the Holy Spirit. Catholics are criticized for their personal relationship with God and that we look up to “men” and not God. My understanding of my relationship with God is glorified when I receive His Body in the Eucharist and His Holy Spirit in the other Sacraments. This is delivered to me literally by men who have been ordained in the Holy Spirit, just like the Apostles were, just like the Bishops. Doubting that God could ordain men to carry out His instructions…. that person does not have a real understanding of the Holy Spirit in my opinion.

    • Hi Mr. Cunningham,

      Thank you for your insights and the explanation of your understanding of the Catholic position on this important issue. From reading what you have said I believe that we both understand that God can do whatever He wishes, so long as it does not contradict His very nature. We also agree that the Holy Spirit did not die. I am sorry if I gave you the impression that I believed that He did.

      In Acts 5: 3-4 Peter said to Ananias, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 “While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sod, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” So the Holy Spirit is God and therefore He can never die. Jesus is God also and therefore can never die, His body was destroyed yet His Spirit lived. Please do not think that I do not know that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and working.

      Another thing we agree on is that the Apostles replaced Judas with a real Apostle in Acts 1: 15-26. This is actually a place that I would like to point out to you. They pointed to the SCRIPTURES that prophesied of the events of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and someone taking his office among the Apostles. This is because THE SCRIPTURE CANNOT BE BROKEN (John 10: 35); however, the word of men can be.

      Notice also that they had to choose from among those whom walked with Jesus throughout His entire ministry. Furthermore, the one who replaced Judas was numbered with the eleven. There were only twelve total. The only real exception is Paul and we have a biblical explanation of how and why Paul was chosen by Jesus directly to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.

      Concerning the Eucharist of the Last Supper, there is absolutely no reason to believe that the Holy Spirit was indwelling those elements. We are told that it is to be done in remembrance of Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 11:18-34 Paul gives an explanation of the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist) in which he condemns them for the manner in which they were observing it. He explains their error and reminds them of what it is for and warns them of the fact that by being unloving toward one another they were not discerning the Lord’s body whose body they were. They claimed to love the Lord but were not loving their brother who was a member of the Lord’s body! He does not indicate the Holy Spirit is actually indwelling the bread or fruit of the vine. The Holy Spirit indwells Christians. (See also: Eph. 1: 22-23; 2: 21; 4: 4-16, 5: 23-30; Rom. 8: 9-11; 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17; 6: 17; 10: 15-17; 2 Cor. 6: 16; Eph. 2: 21)

      At the Last Supper when the Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper he said the bread was His body which is given for you. Yet His body had not been given and there His body was handling the bread so his body was not the bread literally and He clearly called it bread. Of the cup He said this is my blood of the New Covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Clearly it had not yet been shed and therefore was still flowing through His veins. There is not indication that He was speaking in any other way but in a figurative sense. Nevertheless, He commanded that we observe the Lord’s Supper until He returns. If He commands that we do a thing, we do it. We are Christians, He is our Head, we are His body, nuff said.

      I will have to write more in the future to explain a little about why they wrote the New Testament. Suffice it to say for now that the Apostles, to all of whom Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, and the Keys of the Kingdom, and the authority to loose and bind that which HAD ALREADY BEEN loosed and bound in Heaven, and that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth, found it necessary to write the things they wrote because men were already going astray and some of the false teachers were from amongst the bishops themselves. The Scriptures give us something by which we may test all things and hold fast to that which we know for sure is good. It does not make any sense to believe that men today have the authority to contradict the Scriptures as Paul clearly indicates that The Apostles themselves did not have the authority to do so. Angels from Heaven do not have such authority (Galatians 1: 6-9). Yet the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church do just that and claim to have authority to do so.

      I would also submit to you that modern American Catholics do not hold to the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church of a century ago or especially several centuries ago. They never believed that Protestants had any hope of going to Heaven. For many centuries the leaders of that religion taught that without the Sacraments that could only come through Roman Catholic priests and Bishops, no one could approach God, and no one could have any hope of Heaven.

      I am sorry I could not give a more thorough reply. I will try to do so soon. Thank you again Mr. Cunningham for your interest in this most important issue.

  3. Stan ,
    Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I especially agree with:

    Protestants on the other hand, do not believe as much as we do of a real presence of the Holy Spirit, doubting that God could ordain men to deliver the true Holy Spirit.

    This is so true! Protestants have so much doubt. But I just want to say something about your following comment:

    According to the Catholic Church, we recognize the Sacrament of Baptism when it is carried out according to His instructions (belief in the true trinity, with water). But it stops there, because to be truly confirmed in Christ, you must receive the true Holy Spirit that comes from the true Church that ultimately was from the Apostles who received it from Christ

    .

    I may be mistaken in your meaning above. But for the sake of readers I want to clarify that all Baptism, with water in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in any other denomination by any other person, is considered to be just as valid as baptism by a Catholic Priest or deacon.

    Before I was received into the Catholic Church I had been baptized three times. I was looking forward to being baptized in the Catholic Church. I was firemly told that it was not necessary since I had already received the sacrament of baptism at the age of 12. On the one had I was disappointed but on the other I admired the security of the Catholic Church’s solid understanding of what was and wasn’t baptism even when done by separated brethren.

    • Hello (is it Pam?),

      Please see the above comment. I am not sure of how much of the Roman Catholic Church history you are familiar with, but by the authority of the Pope and other Bishops the Roman Church raised an army to iradicate the Protestant Scourge and managed to “blot out” said scourge in at least one country. For many centuries they did not believe that Protestanst were alright in God’s eyes. For many centuries they believed that no one could get to Heaven apart from the Sacraments that they taught could only come from ordained Catholic clergy.

      This was one of the most powerful tools the Pope wielded to control even Kings who did not believe! He would simply command the bishops of the region to refuse to offer the sacraments and the people would pressure the King to fall into subjection to the Pope’s desire. They would rise up against their own king because they believed they needed those sacraments in order to go to Heaven.

  4. Figuratively, symbolically, metaphorically, but what Jesus said was “truly”.

    John 6:53-57
    So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.
    =================

    I think it takes more faith, to believe that Jesus meant it literally, and I think since he was not speaking in parables, he must have meant it that way.

    and if he meant it literally, then Paul warning is a literally warning and not just a figurative,

    To answer for the body and blood” of someone meant to be guilty of a crime as serious as homicide. How could eating mere bread and wine “unworthily” be so serious? Paul’s comment makes sense only if the bread and wine became the real body and blood of Christ.”…

    1 Corinthians 11:27 >>
    Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.
    =============

    Participating in the Lord’s Supper is the spiritual process for our own sanctification process.

    1 Cor. 10:16)
    The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”

    ===============
    Lucky we can go back in history and look at what the early Christians believed, the same people who were thought bye the apostles or there disciples.

    Ignatius of Antioch, who had been a disciple of the apostle John and who wrote a letter to the Smyrnaeans about A.D. 110, said, referring to “those who hold heterodox opinions,” that “they abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again”

    St. Justin Martyr (writing about 150 AD, only about 55 years after the last New Testament books,)
    We do not consume the eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Savior became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving

    St. Irenaeus of Lyons Written about 185 AD
    When the chalice we mix and the bread we bake receive the word of God, the eucharistic elements become the body and blood of Christ, by which our bodies live and grow

    ===============

    Finally if Jesus is God, why could he not be holding his own body and blood in his hands at the last supper,
    and why not believe what he says,

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