Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Visible Church Founded by Christ

Just as a bodythough one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. [1 Corinthians 12:12-25]

Conceptual Set of Clusters vs an Actual Composite Whole

Imagine yourself holding a box; once you open it, you see a different type of tools according to their use (eg. screws, pliers, drivers, etc.) all these different tools can be referred as one SET – a set of clusters. But this term ‘set’ is not an ‘Actual’; it is only a product of concept, therefore, screws are dependent on its own and can be separated to the other clusters(tools)  or to its own clusters(screws) inside the box.

But Human Body is not a set of clusters; rather, it is a Composite whole - of different parts forming into ONE WHOLE BEING. If the term ‘Set’ is abstract, meaning it’s a mere concept not an actual ONE and can be divided; human body is not. The BODY is COMPOSITE ONE WHOLE; each part is dependent, and therefore cannot be divided, segregate nor separate one from the other.

This is exactly what Apostle Paul said when he compared Christ’s Church into a Living Body; it is not by accident, rather it is by his intention to describe the Church as a living body – a communion of different parts, nourish and sustain by one source of life. Thus [t]he eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” [1 Corinthians 12:21]

Conceptual-Set-of-Clusters Ecclesiology: 
its incompatibility with Christ’s Teachings


(a) Church against Schism (Division)

According to Anti-Catholic Protestants, the visible church was merely the “multitude” of believers spread over the earth. Christ, they continue, founded a mere Set of Believers united by an invisible union of faith without any unified visible hierarchy. It is obviously then, that when a member or group in a particular cluster would split into autonomous bodies because of disagreement in the profess doctrine (and creed) in a cluster where they belong, this would not necessarily be a schism or division, apostasy or a heresy; it could be a mere branching!

This concept makes them more unbiblical; Christ and his Apostles repeatedly warn the Church against Division (Schism).

[t]hat they may be one, even as We are … that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee… that they may be one, just as We are one …that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Though didst love Me.  [John 17:11,21-23]

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions[Romans 16:17]

so that there may be no division in the body [1 Corinthians 12:25]

Now I exhort you brothers through the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that all of you confess the same thing, and there be no schisms among you, but you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. [1 Corinthians 1:10]

(b) Church authority to discipline.

In a democratic type of secular government, the presumption that no one knows the TRUE WAY is considerably acceptable; therefore all roads seeking the TRUTH are mutually recognized1 (eg. A Congressman can propose a bill (or can speak an opinion) that seems to be the TRUE WAY for the betterment of his country; this proposal follows his deliberation then common dialogues between the opposing views proceed, till the bill became a law (law that speak ways)). But the case of the Church is different; Christ said I am the way and the Truth [John 14:6]; Christ is the REVEALED TRUTH! The TRUTH that they were looking for is already found. The Church compare to the secular government, has already achieved the ultimate ways to follow; all she has to do is to guard this one pristine truth against the false teaching. And the [instructions] which you have heard from me along with many witnesses, transmit and entrust [as a deposit] to reliable and faithful men who will be competent and qualified to teach others also. [1Timothy 2:2]

Now, if the head (Christ) is the TRUTH and the way so with his body (the Church) the pillar and bulwark of truth [1Timothy 3:15]. This Church therefore is the sole protector of undivided Truth.

And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the Church; and if he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer [Matthew 18:17]

Christ speaks in a crystal clear manner here. If the members who are in full communion in the body (Church) refuse to listen to the Church, the Church in turn can excommunicates them. They would be like a hand cut into the body, isolated without the sustaining source of life. This Christ’s teaching can be realized only if the Church is in Actual-Composite-Whole.

But with the Conceptual-Set-of-Cluster, the imperative to excommunicate makes little sense or (at worse) runs against Church’s duty to guard the Truth and to save one’s soul (deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. [1Corinthians 5:5]). An excommunicated member can simply go down the street and shop to the next church agreeing with or tolerating his doctrine or simply establish his own ‘church’. This explains why there are 33,000 + different churches in Protestantism, each are unique, independent – and none of them share a united doctrine (creed). Reducing the ‘Church’ into a consumer-driven enterprise, based on each person’s own internal perception of his own spiritual needs and how the competing organizations, institutions, or communities meet those needs. Apostle Paul is correct For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold [1Timothy 4:3]

The Catholic Church: an Actual Composite Whole

The Catholic Church

We see that both powers to discipline and to guard against schism do not fit into Conceptual-Set-of-Clusters ecclesiology simply because of the lacking hierarchical unity to perform these duties.

The Church founded by Christ according to Apostle Paul is an Actual Composite Whole; The Church (like a body) needs to have structure and the ability to act in a unified way.

This Church (like a body) is a communion of different parts; each has its own specific task but fully coordinated to the overall activity of the body as ONE.

This Church (like a body) is structural in design; govern by order and harmony; no division, isolation, chaos and disagreement, because in each disagreement, someone will be wrong and thus fail to follow the true teaching of Jesus. 

It is WHOLE rather than set, COMPOSITE rather than collection, INTERCONNECTED rather than division, and STRUCTURAL rather than disorder.

The Church (the body) according to Apostle Paul, the ultimate principle is the TRUTH, same her founder Jesus Christ (the Head of the body) the WAY AND THE TRUTH.

Unless you belong to a body with Tardive dyskinesia

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