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Friday, May 11, 2007

Why do you believe...?

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16

In the above verse Jesus referred to Simon Barjona as Peter, meaning “small stone”. He then went on to say that Peter’s confession of faith in Jesus as Christ and the Son of God was the "large stone" on which He would build His Church. If Peter's confession is the foundation on which Christ builds His Church then what more confession or creed should be required of believers in order to fellowship together. What further agreement should we make before joining together in praise, prayer and practice?

Why do you believe any further affirmation is necessary for fellowship?

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38 Comments:

Anonymous rrbj said...

KC I don't believe we need any more confession or creed required of believers in order to fellowship together? Once someone has accepted Jesus and professes his faith everything should be done with brotherly love ! Why do you believe any futher affirmation is necessary for fellowshipping ! I believe you should because when you accept Jesus in your Heart and profess your faith it is human nature to let your faith grow " stale " and by continueing your studying and fellowshipping make it easier to maintain your profession of faith and not let it slip ? It also makes Gods Grace grow stronger in your heart ! I hope you can cypher out what I am saying? Blessings. Ron.

5/11/2007 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

Kc, you and your trick questions...

If Jesus thought it sufficient to "stone" Peter, then that's good enough for me.

Everybody must get "stoned."

hehehehe

5/11/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Hi KC,
I like what Dorsey said on the other post... but... I'm trying to pick up the conversation here...

The problem I have with what many of you are saying is twofold. The first is that you are using creeds to divide by saying you only believe in certain simple creeds, which is my second point. Too many of the creeds that are posted here are reductionistic in nature.

For instance, if we just say Love Jesus, Love our neighbor, as our only creed, well, what about the resurrection, what about the ministry of Christ, what about the person of Christ and God proper. What about the Trinity, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. What about how it is that we are saved? Who does what in our salvation. What about non believers, what happens to them. What about the believer who falls away? What about the church, what do we believe about the church. What about the second coming and the resurrection? Is it just spiritual in nature or physical? What about hell??? Jesus spoke of hell more than anyone else in the Bible, so what do we believe about it?

See my problem with such statements. The one who makes them has told me nothing about what they believe. In fact, a Mormon could get away with saying "Love Jesus, love your neighbor." And any honest look at their theology, and what is found in Scripture, would reveal to us that their theology is damning to those who follow it because of what the believe ABOUT Jesus.

This is why I'm a strong advocate of the Westminster Confession of Faith. You can look at it and know what I believe, as well my church. There is nothing hidden to it.

No, we don't place it above Scripture. Scripture informs our beliefs. But the WCF helps us grow in what we believe to be orthodox. (BTW, that is not a bad word). The WCF is like our filing cabinet to help organize what it is we believe. Therefore, as I mentioned, there is nothing hidden there as there are with so many of the cults.

To say that we just believe the Bible, is a bit misleading. What is it that we believe about it? After all, Mormons, JW's and Christian Scientist all "believe" the Bible. But the creed helps us identify and grow in our understanding of the Bible.

BTW, for those of you who have never read the WCF, I challenge you to do so. You might actually learn something from the elders and pastors who put it together.
Blessings

5/11/2007 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Here is a link to the WCF on line...
You might go there and just look at the topics that it covers...

http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/
Blessings

5/11/2007 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Bro. Timothy first let me say I love Jesus and I love my neighbors, and fellow believers whatever religeon they choose , because that is their choice ? It is my understanding we are saved by hearing the true word of God as Jesus commanded in MATT.28 Verses 19&20 . By hearing the word taught whether by a preacher on Sundays or bible study is where we make a decision to accept Christ in our hearts ! That is when a believer learns to trust in God by being taught about the ministry of Christ , the Resurrection Of Christ , and that the Holy Spirit then Dwells in us to guide us in our daily lives ? In my thinking the Bible is not a creed , It is a book with all the knowledge that God has given us to study and get a better understanding of what He offers us in His plan of Salvation ? You said we should read the WCF and that we might actually learn something from the Elders and Pastors that put it together ? Is this their word and creed or is it Gods word ? You can lead a thirsty mule to water but you can't make him drink ? He has to satisfy his own cravens just as people do ? I am and will not make a judgement against any other religeon that judgement is for God to make on judgement day ? You said that to say we believe in the Bible is misleading ? Sure it is if you ain't following Gods Commandments ? There is a lot important things that go with the " LOVE JESUS AND LOVE THY NEIGHBOR " saying and if taught from the Bible it is not bad theology and condemning to a believer or non believer ! Blessings. Ron. PS. I'm a good old Southern Baptist ?

5/11/2007 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

rrbj,
But you still haven't addressed the issue. I'm not saying we are not to love our neighbors... but this is not the totality of our belief. You are reducing God's word to one sentence and that cannot be done. Jesus didn't even do that. He merely summed up the Law in that sentence, but He was not looking for reductionism as you have presented it.

I think we are talking around the issue. The issue is the use and need for creeds, of which, the Baptist even had a creed when they were first formed, styled after the WCF, but differed on the issue of Baptism.

Again, have you looked at the WCF? It is worth looking at, and yes it is Scriptural, otherwise I would not follow it. I don't think you made your point that creeds are unnecessary, in fact, it seems as though you have only strengthened my point because I still don't know what you belief. Are you a heretic on some other point? Are you off in a way that would lead others astray? I don't know, nor am I accusing you of any of that. But what is it that you believe about the Bible? Your one sentence answer does nothing but put you in the camp with Liberals, heretics and cultist. You haven't even addressed the fundamentals of the faith...

One of the reasons the church is in such a sad state of affairs is because it is so wishy washy on what it believes. Don't fall for the simplistic approach. Jesus wants us to love Him with all our mind as well, and that means understanding theology.
Blessings

5/11/2007 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Timothy do you believe that a person should know, understand and affirm the WCF in order to have fellowship with other believers?

5/11/2007 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Hi KC,
No, not really. I think the problem I have is that there is a constant drum beat against creeds, but in doing so, we have missed a vital aspect of Christianity: confession. All the word creed means is: "I believe." But no one is willing to write down what they believe. The creeds have played a vital roll in the life of the church, and this age is far to quick to dismiss the creeds. My hope is that you and others will actually sit down and read these creeds before dismissing them outright. The creeds are helpful. As I pointed out earlier, it is like sitting at the feet of elders who, WERE ACTUALLY IN AGREEMENT... before the festation of schisms entered upon the church.

The creeds really did help serve a purpose and were used as sources of unity in the body of Christ... yet today, to say creed is anathema.

Or worse, the creed of today are: No creed! Which in itself is a creed.

Upon further though, to answer you question KC, I might answer yes if they refused say, the Apostles's Creed. If they were to refuse that creed, and disagree upon it, what then would we have in common as far as our beliefs? The Apostle's Creed is quite central to the Christian faith. So yes, maybe to that one I might refuse fellowship because to refuse that creed is to refuse the fundamentals of the faith. What is there to disagree over the apostles creed? (Yes, I hold to little "c" with catholic.).

But even then, I would have to think about it. Yet my point is: what is it that you believe about the Trinity, Justification, Salvation, the Resurrection, the wicked, the backslider, etc. Apart from the creeds we have to wade through the theology never knowing for sure what we believe. I can't see that being part of Christ's will for His bride.
Ok, back tomorrow. Have a good evening.

5/11/2007 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pastor I have no aversion to anyone who holds to a creed, if indeed it is his or her own beliefs. Even the Apostle’s Creed is a theologically deep instrument which, to be believed in any manner other than blind faith, would require much study and understanding of the scripture. I would though caution against developing a stagnant relationship with God and the scripture.

My primary concern is the use of creeds to create and maintain divisions in the body of Christ. How could we, in good conscience, impose such a weighty instrument on all believers? You mentioned once that creeds and catechisms were guides for instructing and I say well, let them be, but to make fellowship contingent on agreement with these instruments is to force division and is clearly unscriptural.

With respect to the WCF, I have read a substantial portion of the original version and, as you well know, I vigorously disagree with the writer’s interpretations on many points. I’m not sure which version your link refers to but if we use the historic version (1646) there are several articles that I know you disagree with as well. While I have not completed the full instrument I have studied the origin of the various versions somewhat and it seems to primarily have been created as a political document to secure the help of the Scots against the King of England. Each revision to the original was also made in order to accommodate the political climate. I do not find any scriptural reason for imposing such an agreement or for that matter, such an understanding on a person though I respect that each of us is responsible to prepare to receive what portion of understanding that God would have for us.

5/11/2007 05:02:00 PM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Bro. Timonthy you said my one sentence answer put me in the same camp as Liberals , heretics , and cults ? I asure you that it does not and why are you placing judgement on me when you make it sound like the WCF is the only way to live by ? You see I am just a servant of God with no seminary training or studied no Theology courses just with a 12th grade education ? You should consider how you have voiced your opinion because I blog because I'm always open to maybe learning things to add to what I have been taught since I was a little boy ! I had the pleasure of learning from the Old Timey Baptist Preachers because there were 3 in my family and I know they taught from the word of God. I believe in the virgin birth and the teachings of Jesus when He walked the earth and that jesus was resurrected on the third day and that God, the Son the Holy Spirit forms the Trinity! I also believe that God is the author of the Bible! I believe and do the best I can to live by the Ten Commandments as Jesus instructed us to do and I believe in The Sourthern Baptist Doctrine ? Did I explain enough of fundamentals that I believe in IF SO I SEND YOU SOME OF JESUS'S LOVE THAT HE COMMANDED AND SHARE IT WITH YOU MY NEIGHBOR IN CHRIST ? Blessings. Ron.

5/11/2007 10:01:00 PM  
Anonymous danny said...

Hi KC, you may have seen my comments at Antonio's blog and at Unashamed of Grace.

As you pointed out, Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, is the rock on which the Church is built. But believing this is more than just simply affirming that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. Believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God entails understanding that He freely gives you irrevocable eternal life apart from works. If anyone believes obedience in good works is necessary for eternal life, then that person does not believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

Notice what Jesus says to Martha in John 11:25-26. Jesus tells Martha that as the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in Him, though he dies, he will live, and whoever believes in Him will never die. After asking Martha if she believes this, she responds, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God who is to come into the world." (11:27).

Obviously, Martha's response shows that believing Jesus to be the Christ and the Son of God means believing that as such, Jesus freely gives you eternal life. Works don't enter the equation in any way, shape, or form. And if you believe that Jesus freely gives you eternal life, as Martha believed, then that means you understand that this life cannot be lost. One drink of the water of life, and the thrist for eternal life is forever quenched (John 4:10-14).

John 20:31 also makes the connection between Jesus' title as Christ, Son of God with the gift of eternal life. "These things are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."

Bottom line, if someone believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, then they believe that they have life in His name.

So what are the conditions for fellowship? Here is my list.

1. Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for the sins of the world in full, and arose on the Third day.

2. Because of who He is (the Christ, the Son of God) and what He has done (paid the sin penalty in full and arose from the dead), Jesus freely gives eternal life to those who believe that He indeed gives them this life freely apart from works.

3. Believing the preceding points means that one must understand that eternal life CANNOT be lost. If it could, then John 4:10-14, 6:35-40, and many other passages would be rendered null and void. 1 John 5:11-12 is clear that the person who believes in the Son of God has this witness in Himself: that God has freely given him eternal life through His Son.

That's all that is necessary for fellowship. But not too many people in Christendom believe these truths.

RRBJ, asking Jesus into your heart is not saving faith. Plenty of people have asked Jesus into their hearts who have no understanding of justification by Grace through faith. To have eternal life, one must believe that Jesus freely gives them irrevocable eternal life apart from works. Matthew 28:19,20 are discipleship truths for those who have believed in Jesus for the absolutely free gift of eternal life.

5/11/2007 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Danny welcome! Yes, I have read several of your comments and appreciate them very much. I also know we share an appreciation for Antonio’s work both here in the blogosphere and especially his ministry. I plan to blog on his upcoming trip soon and I pray God will bless it to be another fruitful endeavor!

I would deduce from your response that you consider an agreement in soteriology prerequisite, not only for fellowship, but also as the means for dividing the “tares from the wheat”, so to speak. I have to admit I have a few problems with that perspective.

First it requires we acknowledge a systematic theology, or at least certain classifications of it, as the rule for faith and practice rather than the scripture. Second it requires that faith be accompanied by an understanding beyond the revelation of Jesus Christ for salvation and that we judge the eternal standing of others as well, based solely on this one thing, our own understanding of the grace of God.

With respect to the specific soteriology you mentioned I think you may find this article of interest.
http://justsoyouallknow.blogspot.com/2006/11/in-reply-is-eternal-security-optional.html
I would welcome and appreciate your critique.

I hope you’ll always feel welcome to offer your thoughts and understanding here and especially so when we disagree! ;-)

5/12/2007 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

KC, I'm sneaking in a little blogging before I surprise my Mom. Good conversation here, as usual!

My problem with a creed is not that I can't agree with it, as there are many good statements of faith that I very much live in agreement with. My problem is that a creed or statement of faith is so often used to define whom one SHOULD NOT have fellowship with. The authors are really trying to define what makes them DIFFERENT than other believers - drawing the line in the sand, so to speak. I know that this is not always the intended purpose, but it seems to me that it is almost always the conclusion.

I think I work hard at trying to define and live the doctrines I am convinced of, but I become nervous about defining someone's convictions for them. Who am I to criticize another man's servant? I have trouble being told I should not have fellowship with a Mormon - or consider them to be a true believer - when I really disagree with much of their beliefs, except the foundational points I also believed when I professed Jesus as Lord.

(I must admit I am extremely rebellious, and this character flaw may have a large effect on these thoughts!)

5/12/2007 08:21:00 AM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Bro. Timonthy you said that Jesus wants us to love him with all of our mind [ I agree] and that means understanding Theology ? What you are saying that I'm doomed because I don't understand enough about theology ! My Bros. God didn't give everyone the same abilities because God would not have had to write John 3 verses 16 thru 19 telling us about His wonderful Grace and how to be saved? He made it simple enough that a child could understand ! Danny you said that asking Jesus into your heart is not saving Faith ? Danny I know that I'm not as smart as some others but I do believe that Hope - Faith - Charity will help to get you to heaven and I know that works alone will not get you there but Faith with works will? I agree with what Missy said "The problem I have with a creed or statement of Faith is the Authors are trying to define what makes them different from other believers ? I do however believe that no matter what religeon you are you must believe the Truths in the Bible ? I believe that in your life that you apply what Jesus says " love thy neighbor as thyself " means that you do the same as Jesus siad in Matt. 28 verses 19 & 20 ? Blessings. Ron.

5/12/2007 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Uhg! I hate this. So much to respond to and so very little time to do so...
Loving the challenge, and I will try to get back next week.

All, have a wonderful Lord's day!

But I will say to RRBJ, not saying you are WITH or ARE Liberal, but when that is the only statement you give, you have said nothing MORE THAN a liberal would say... Does that clear up the point I was trying to make? What I'm saying is that you haven't given me enough to conclude anything about your faith. If it is liberal, than we probably cannot fellowship because libs don't see Christ as God in the flesh, etc.
Blessings

5/12/2007 04:04:00 PM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Bro. Timonthy what you are saying is that your belief of the W C F is the only way for me to have hopes of receiving Eternal Life with my Lord and Savoir when my toes are turned up ? John 3-verse 16 thru 19 says it all . I am using the KJV. I believe those verses with all of my heart and trying to live my life that would be pleasing to God !!! I fully believe the Promises of God ? I will Pray for You and in my Prayers I will ask My God to give you understanding of what I'm saying in my comments because you evidently ain't listening ? Inyour comments You keep hammering away at the one sentence statement and saying that I still have not answered the question? Blessings. Ron.

5/12/2007 05:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Gordon Cloud said...

KC, you do have a way of stirring the pot at times. :-) Good for you!

As one who has the privilege of being the pastor of Bro. Ron, (aka RRBJ) let me say that I will take a church full of people who love God and their neighbor and are still seeking the truth over those whose knowledge causes them to push others away any day of the week (and twice on Sunday).

I realize that this practice of blogging sometimes leaves something to be desired in the way of full communication. Let me assure Pastor Timothy and any others who may be concerned that Bro. Ron loves the Lord and shows that love to those around him. He is growing in his understanding of the Word and God's grace is evident in His life.

From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Gal. 6:17

Creeds and systems of theology are useful as far as they will take you, but when they start becoming the defining points of our evaluation of another's salvation we are treading on dangerous ground.

KC, I hope you will excuse my long-windedness. I appreciate you and your spirit. God bless.

5/12/2007 09:02:00 PM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Bro. Gordon I appreciate your kind words and thanks ! Blessing to all and see you in Church in the morning Bro. Gordon. Ron.

5/12/2007 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

"Creeds and systems of theology are useful as far as they will take you, but when they start becoming the defining points of our evaluation of another's salvation we are treading on dangerous ground."

AMEN


Another great post, KC.

I have another question though. What is fellowship compared to non-fellowship?

5/12/2007 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

The girls and Karel and I want to wish April(& Corry) :) but especially April, a wonderful first Mothers Day.

5/12/2007 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Brethren please forgive me my slow response. I hope you’re all having a blessed day!

Missy I hope you and your Mother are having a wonderful Mother's day! Thanks for sneaking by. ;-)

We agree in our perspective. As I stated previously I don’t know anyone who actually holds to all the points of any label they lay claim to. This being the case I don’t assume anything based on a person’s stated denomination or theology. If they first agree with Peter’s confession I next seek their conviction concerning the scripture. If they accept the scripture as true we then have a basis for further discussion and I find no reason whatsoever to limit that discussion in any way. I’m not interested in the least in what your opinion is concerning what Mormons or Catholics or Baptist believe. I’m only interested in what you believe.

If you affirm what Peter affirmed in these verses then I am content to pray with you, to praise God with you and to serve alongside you as God would lead. If you agree the scripture is true then I will study it with you no matter how sharp our contention may be concerning our understanding of it. I will not press you to believe what I do or to act against your conscience and I will not allow you to do so to me. I will do all that I can to find agreement between us but our fellowship is not contingent upon our success in doing so.

Bro. Ron I really appreciate you and your heart in this. Your love for God and the brethren is always so clear in your comments on here and other sites in the Blogosphere.

I fear you may have fallen into the middle of a somewhat passionate debate between Pastor Timothy and myself similar to walking up on two brothers having a wrestling match. I think you know what I mean. ;-) They’re very comfortable with the match and the way they’re behaving toward each other because they each know how much they love one another. Neither would do anything to hurt the other but to anyone else it might seem they’re out for blood! (hehe) In the end both are made stronger for the effort and there are few that are closer to one another in this life. ;-)

Timothy has been a dear friend here in the blogosphere and we’re hoping one day to be able to visit with him and his wonderful family and Church (as well as you, the Preacher and your Church). He has shown me to be a devoted servant of God with a passion for the truth and I know that, given time, he’ll show you as well. I can all but promise you that he’s listening. ;-)

Pastor I know you’re chomping at the bit! (hehe) You know I love our discussions too but we have to remember to take care so as not to cause Sis. Beth to have to step in! ;-) Please pass along our wish that she have a wonderful Mother’s day! I know you three guys will do all you can to insure that. ;-)

Preacher I really hope to avoid conflict but I know at times it’s unavoidable if we’re going to discuss such important issues. My confidence in the love we all share in Christ gives me the courage to continue to pursue these discussions here. ;-)

I have a picture in my mind of us all gathered around the throne in the glory and fullness of our God and I wonder if we might remember these times and chuckle at our struggle over these things. ;-)

I really appreciate your support and encouragement and I know Pastor Timothy will appreciate you recommending Bro. Ron.

Please wish Sis. Amy a very happy Mother’s Day from the two of us here in the delta! ;-)

Kris that’s an excellent question! I think we should all consider how it is we exclude others and isolate ourselves simply because of a disagreement in our understanding.

As for myself, my adherence to denominational division resulted in years of ignorance compounded by an irrational fear of the family of God as a whole. It meant my refusal to even consider that anyone outside my denomination and association could possibly have a valid perception of God and His will and that all were in need of much correction. How could God possibly accept their prayers, praise and service given the fact they were so filled with error? How could I possibly join with them without being spotted? Indeed.

Thank you so much for the well wishes. April’s response to having told her your wishes was simply, “I love those people. They are so good.” I always love it when she and I agree. ;-)

Please accept our heartfelt appreciation for you all and give Karel our warmest wishes for wonderful Mother’s day!

5/13/2007 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

RRBJ,
No, brother I'm not saying you are NOT a believer. But Christianity is a confessional religion and we, because we are fallen, are in need of confessions in order to help us understand what we believe.

So many want to distance themselves from theology, but you cannot do that and love Jesus. Remember the road to Emmaus? He wasn't just saying: "Look guys, just love me..." He took great pains to explain truth to people and even said we would have more truth to come. Confessions are written with this in mind. It's not that we just believe, but what we believe that counts and makes a difference. There was a time when you would not have been considered a Christian apart from confession of the Apostles' Creed (long before Roman Catholicism). The truth there is what is essential for belief as a Christian. So why do we punt that?

I have a Mormon coming by my blog wanting me to accept his position because there are now Mormons who have a so called "born-again" experience. Born to what? They have a different god, a different Christ, a different gospel all together. I bet some of them even say they love Jesus. Yet they still hold to their heresy. So, I'm supposed to accept them to the Lord's Table? May it never be. They have a different Christ, and a different god, therefore I cannot.

I know, many here would be repulsed that I would reject someone from the table. I feel compelled. Why? Because they would be drinking judgment upon themselves to partake in an unworthy manner (BTW, the Lord's table is ultimate fellowship). It would be better to offend them, than to knowingly allow them to drink judgment upon them.

My point is that the confessions and creeds are essential tools of the church to help us understand who is a believer. Would I reject someone who didn't adhere to the WCF, no, not at all. I wouldn't let them be an officer in my church, but they could come worship with us and participate in the table if they believed in the Triune God, rested in Christ for their salvation alone, and they were not living in gross and heinous sin.

Again, creeds are vital. What is your creed? What do you believe? That is what a creed answers and everyone has one... Mine happens to be the WCF.
Blessings

5/15/2007 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pastor I know you’re in the minority of those commenting here so I greatly appreciate your input. It may not seem so at times but I really am open to discussion on these issues.

The Apostles Creed is a very deep theological instrument and as such requires a great deal of scriptural knowledge to comprehend. This type of understanding should be gained within the assembly, not apart from it. We are only fooling ourselves if we think anyone understands it consequential to conversion. When we ask someone to agree to the theological constructs of this confession without understanding it aren’t we inviting them to forego this effort? If the strength of our understanding is based on the word of men and not consequential to much prayer and study in the scripture then I fear it will fail when the winds blow.

I’m not opposed to the use of creeds, confessions or catechisms as a means for relating the understanding of a given theology. I am opposed to the belief that we must all hold to the same understanding and theology in order to have fellowship (prayer, praise and practice) when in truth no one does! Our theology and philosophy are as individual as our morals and character and neither is formed without a struggle. Isn’t it better to struggle through these things within the assembly than without it?

If agreement with the WCF is prerequisite for holding an office in the assembly then who decides which version must be agreed to? Must a person agree on each and every point and if not, then who decides which points are critical and which aren’t? I’m afraid when we peel back the wrapper we’ll find that none of us agree on enough points to develop a creed or confession that would suffice for that purpose beyond the one that Peter made concerning Jesus. While some are closer in agreement than others, the reality is we simply agree to label our beliefs the same in order to be in “good standing”. We can argue and disagree on all points but we’re still accepted as long as we claim the label and refuse anyone who doesn’t. Isn’t it more important to actually study, prayerfully consider and work these things out together than to just pretend that we have?

I’m persuaded that most people are happy to study theology, even when they don’t use the term. I’m concerned that the problem lies in the fact that our assemblies refuse to allow any theological discourse outside of a seminary for fear someone might actually see the error of their system and grow beyond it.

5/15/2007 04:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Gordon Cloud said...

KC, that last paragraph of your last comment was a mouthful, brother! That was well-said and right on target.

5/15/2007 09:27:00 PM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Bro. Timonthy , I mentioned in my other comments that I believed in the Sothern Baptist Doctrine , but to be more specific Baptist Faith and Message adopted in year 2000 . I also wrote in my comments that I believe in the Trinity [ Father- Son- and Holy Spirit ] which I interpret as the Triune God ! What I couldn't understand in your comments why would you say that I'm not a beliver , because the way you threw your comment at me that you were saying that I was a Liberal -Heritic - or cultist ? Bro. Timonthy I asure you that I AIN'T ? Your hair would stand up on your head if I called you that ? I know that if I was not saved the way that your comments came across to me I would probably would have told you exactly what to do with them ? I love God and I truly know and pray every day that I can live the life that is pleasing to God ? I am not ashamed to stand up and say That I love Jesus ! My prayer is for you to know that I'm just as saved as you are ? Blessings My Brother ? Ron.

5/15/2007 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Preacher I thought we might share in our perspective on that. ;-)

Bro. Ron I’m a little dense at times and it took me a while to catch on to what you were talking about. After reading your last comment I finally understood why you were so concerned with what Pastor Timothy had said to you. I think it might help if you know that his words were not intended for you personally but that he was using “you” as a way of saying. ;-)

Sometimes when we’re talking in person someone might say something like, “If you don’t want to work then why do you expect to eat?” That’s a way of saying, “If any man won’t work then he should not expect to eat".

If you read the Pastor’s comments again and whenever he used “you”, then replace it with “any person” and I think you’ll have a better understanding of what he was saying.

I hope that helps some Brother. ;-)

Pastor I neglected to mention this previously and I’m sorry for that.

You said, “My point is that the confessions and creeds are essential tools of the church to help us understand who is a believer. Would I reject someone who didn't adhere to the WCF, no, not at all. I wouldn't let them be an officer in my church, but they could come worship with us and participate in the table if they believed in the Triune God, rested in Christ for their salvation alone, and they were not living in gross and heinous sin.”

I seized on that portion pertaining to being an officer but I can really appreciate you for holding this position in your Church. I think it likely there are some who would use this to have your job and I consider your courage in this reflects the strength of your faith and convictions.

5/16/2007 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

I'm really having a hard time with this.

I have read the WCF (in the WC, appropriately). A confession written by someone other than the confessor is a dangerous shortcut to belief. That allegiance to such a document would be requisite to a "VIP membership" in the body of Christ is vile to me (but then, I don't subscribe to the "officer" thing to begin with).

I don't understand the Trinity. I was raised to believe it, but the mystery of God being three, but still one, just never gelled with me (I mean, the end result was the same, so who cares?). And scripture did little to illuminate the mystery. Despite years of study and even formal theological training, I just couldn't work myself up to consider it as crucial a matter as do so many. So, while I don't oppose it, I don't sign on to the doctrine of the Trinity. Timothy, you have indicated twice in this thread that you wouldn't break bread with me because of my belief (or lack of). Maybe if I was a drunk or a prostitute...

Scripture says elemental things, like "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved," and "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." These things are so simple, a child could understand them (come to think of it, there's mention of understanding like a child, too).

I don't disparage going deeper in scripture, but when a "leader" comes along and says, "Oh, no. That's not enough. You have to understand it THIS way. And if you don't, you can't be part of this club," please don't insult me by suggesting that this is about anything but control.

Dorsist point #4: Man's tradition may be a cannon, but it's not a canon.

5/16/2007 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Ron,
Please, I'm not saying that you are not a believer. Please forgive me for that. That is not what I meant in the least, nor did I ever consider you not to be a believer. It was more from the stand point... well, forget the excuse.

Please forgive me.
Blessings

5/16/2007 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

KC,
As for the officers of the church, the way the officers go, is the way the church goes. So yes, they are expected to know more, understand more, be more spiritually mature and hold to the body of doctrine that any particular church holds to. You would not want one of your church officers holding to infant baptism if that church holds to believer's baptism only, and teaching what he believes in Sunday school. One of the qualifications of the elder is that they are able to teach, therefore, we need to know what it is that they are going to teach.

Therefore, we hold to the WCF as approved by our denomination. That is our constitution, along with the Book of Church Order. (The Bible is not our constitution because you cannot change the Bible. We need to be able to change our constitution if need be... but so far). :)

An officer can differ on some points of the WCF. In the process of examining officers, those points will come to light and it is up to the leadership of each church to decide whether or not those exceptions warrant disqualifying a man from office (same is true for pastors on a Presbytery level). For example... the Trinity... if he doesn't hold to it, no way!

If he takes exceptions to "what" can be done on the Lord's day, that is usually acceptable. We even have those who do not hold to a 6 day creation in our denomination, which is accepted. But I would not accept an officer in my church with such a position... if possible. Yes, there are grey areas... I'm not suggesting that you follow me lock step, or at all. But to be an officer in my church, I need you to hold to the system of doctrine that we think best represents the truths of Scripture and what is important.

As for a new born believer, no I don't expect them to know much. To come to the table (which is more important than the things you listed) he needs to profess Christ as savior and rest in Him alone for salvation. No, he doesn't need to know justification by faith alone, in Christ alone, although I hope he learns it soon! :)

Blessings

5/16/2007 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Hi Dorsey,
Well, I'm not sure what to say. I'm taking it that the drunk prostitute comment was hyperbole...

AS for the Trinity, no, I don't understand it well either, but that is how God has revealed Himself to us. Therefore to deny it is to deny God Himself. And yes, this would be a major doctrine to hold to...

How were you baptized??? What was said?

That is important because of what Christ told us... baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Therefore if you are baptized apart from that, are you truly baptized (all the questioning not an attack on you, but trying to think through the issue)...

Another thought, if we wait until we understand every doctrine perfectly before we believe it, then I think... with humility, that we are exalting ourselves to a level that we should not. We believe in the Trinity because the Scripture lends itself to that position, not because we understand it, but because God has revealed Himself to us in that way.

If the Scripture is authoritative, then we are to hold to is, try to understand it, be clear where it is clear, and hold loosely where it is not clear...

So, given that you don't oppose it.. well, Dorsey, that is pretty gray for me... I would have to pray about it before allowing you to come to the table and consult with others more gifted than myself in these areas.

However, if you would like to get together for a beer and burger... then I'm definitely open to that.
Blessings
BTW, I don't consider beer a sin, nor having one with someone on the same par as communion.

5/16/2007 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

KC, maybe an interesting question would be whether one can believe what they do not have at least a basic understanding of?

5/16/2007 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Bro. Timonthy , Jesus commanded us to love your neighbor as thyself ! I appreciate the apology and I must say that we must continue to hoe on down the row and work together for the good of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ! You said to Dorsey " However if you would like to get together for a beer and a burger " I'm definitely open to that . I'm interested in knowing would you permit that fellowship with a beer and burger in the fellowship hall of your church ? Blessings. Ron.

5/16/2007 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Hi Ron,
I know that we would definitely accept the burgers... but not likely to accept the beer, as we do recognize that there are those who object to alcohol on matters of conscience. We do use real wine in communion, but we also offer grape juice for those who object out of matters of conscience.

We also don't want to get into the trouble of causing lesser brothers to stumble with the use of alcohol... But I have never really discussed the issue with my elders to see what their stance is...

I think the best place for burgers and beer is my back yard. :)
Blessings

5/16/2007 04:21:00 PM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Thanks Bro. Timonthy for your honest answer! The reason that I object to serveing any beer or alcoholic beverage even in backyard is the concern for little children and teenagers is where the dangers lie and you know Satan is always lurking to snatch one up even some of the lesser brothers as you said ? Blessings to you in your ministry ! Ron.

5/16/2007 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy, that’s an excellent question and I think one that cuts to the very core of our faith. I would understand any question pertaining to epistemology to be easily addressed by the scripture but since my understanding, in itself, is a rationalization I have to remain open to a better understanding. I was torn between pursuing the doctrine of the Trinity or attempting to discuss faith. Thanks to your question it seems clear we should the foundation of faith first. At present I suspect that to add understanding to faith for salvation might be as grievous and error as adding works to faith for the same.

To address this specific question I think we would all have to agree that understanding is not requisite to faith. Do you believe that the blood of Christ was His sacrifice for our sin? Do you understand why God requires a blood sacrifice for atonement? This belief is not founded on your understanding but on your faith in the veracity of the scripture.

5/17/2007 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Ron,
I would have to disagree with you there... I don't think that would be a valid reason not to have a beer... but OK.

I believe the reason that Baptists have such a problem with drinking is because they never teach that alcohol is a gift from God to be used, and how to use it. this is why there is so many young baptist that go off to college and abuse alcohol. You are teaching your children that it is evil, or has the potential for evil because of Satan.

Are you going to do the same for sex? Even sex within marriage (and no, I don't suggest that we have sex with our wives out in the backyard... :) ) But my point is that every good gift from God can be taken by Satan, and more than likely, our own sin, and abused and turned into a curse. Therefore we need to teach our children about the proper use of such gifts.
Blessings

5/18/2007 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous rrbj said...

Bro Timonthy what I'm saying is God I don't think considers alcohol a Gift and would not present it to his children ? Maybe Satan just wants us to believe that as you said he is lurking and waiting just as He was by The Garden of Eden? It can be any denomination of children not only the Baptist children in our colleges or anywhere for that matter? Blessings. Ron.

5/18/2007 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger dorsey said...

"Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind." (Rom. 14:5)

5/25/2007 06:18:00 AM  

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