Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Church is the Body is the Ark: Visible and Tangible

This post is actually a response to a couple of comments made about my quotation of Cyprian on Facebook. Cyprian said that there is no salvation outside the Church. And I have heard that Calvin agreed with this and said that there was as much hope for those outside the Church as there was for those outside the ark. The comments made about this were similar and yet had different conclusions. The first comment was approving the quote. It was saying that the Church was the elect and so of course there is not salvation outside of that. Basically, that the Church was not a meeting place but rather the elect. The second comment was seperating salvation from "entrance" into the ark/Church. That comment said that salvation takes place and then you enter the Church... so salvation is essentially "outside" the Church. So, this person had some problems with the way that the words sounded. So, this was my response to these two comments. Please forgive me if it sounds a bit choppy... I copied and pasted.

First of the Church is able to be seen. It is not "invisible" as commonly understood. There is an invisible aspect of the Church and that would be those who have gone before us. But the Body of Christ can be seen and it does "meet." It has its sacraments and other physical aspects. So when I say the Church I mean just that. Even as Paul addressed the Church in his letters. These were people that he could name and shake hands with. These were people that he could find and which included all those who gathered to hear his letters.
Secondly, you cannot seperate the Body of Christ from the Church. If you are in the Church you are in the Body. So when we say that there is no salvation outside the Church we are saying there is no salvation outside the Body. When you are baptized you are baptized into the Body of Christ and without any distinction into the Church. You cannot be part of Christ and not be part of His body which is the Church. Thus, salvation is in the Church and absolutely nowhere else. It is wrong to divide Church and Body. And to be part of the Body is to be in Christ. Your heart cannot be part of your body and not part of you. So for it to be in your body is to be in YOU. The ark was salvation and Christ is salvation. That is why Peter says that baptism is an antitype and that it now saves. Because to be baptized is to enter into the true Ark. And just as entrance into the ark saved so now does entrance into The ARK.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Church Triumphant

And the gates of hell will not prevail!
One common misconception about the church is the idea that we are on the defense. This thought is everywhere and it is very dangerous. It affects the way we view our worship, our jobs, our evangelism, our families, and our interaction (or lack thereof) with culture. My point here is not to expound on these particular effects but rather to push the correct view of the Church. The Church is NOT on the defensive! The Church is Militant. The gates of hell are on the defense. And we will devastate them. Christ told us that “on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Gates are not a weapon. You do not “go” to battle carrying gates to slay the enemy. No, gates are for protection against invasions and these specific gates will not hold. We will destroy our enemies which are Christ’s enemies. We will not be raptured out of a bad situation nor will we cower as a small remnant until the end. God is not a loser and neither is His Church. The Rock that is Christ breaks and crushes. The Rock breaks the enemy through conversion or it crushes the enemy through everlasting destruction. But it, or rather He, is never broken or crushed (outside his being broken for us in which sense he clearly was not the “loser”). When you think of this world and everything in it, think of it in terms of dominion. Think of it in terms of destroying the enemy. When you teach your children, worship in church, go to work, or evangelize realize that you are part of a Militant Church which, through all these means and many others, will crush the gates of hell.

Friday, March 20, 2009

No Crowd Control!

"The Church's stand on birth control is the most absolutely spiritual of all her stands and with all of us being materialists at heart, there is little wonder that it causes unease. I wish various fathers would quit trying to defend it by saying that the world can support 40 billion. I will rejoice in the day when they say: This is right, whether we all rot on top of each other or not, dear children, as we certainly may. Either practice restraint or prepare for crowding."
The Habit of Being (This is from a personal letter written by Flannery O'Connor)
pg. 328