Monday, December 17, 2018

Are evangelicals closer to what the New Testament church believed than Roman Catholicism?

Are evangelicals closer to what the New Testament church believed than Roman Catholicism?
 
Actually, though evangelicals are not to a church denomination but a faith group that makes up a religious movement (which arose in response to liberal declension from Scripture), this group overall actually has the most in common with Scriptural Christian teachings.

While distinctive Catholic teachings are not manifest in the only wholly inspired substantive authoritative record of what the NT church believed (including how they understood the OT and gospels), which is Scripture, especially Acts thru Revelation, most of what evangelicals believe is Scriptural, while yet falling short of the purity, probity, power and passion of the prima NT church, as described in Acts 1–5.
However, like as the term “Christian” became watered-down and corrupted over time, giving rise to the term “born-again” and “evangelical” (which pollsters often treat as synonymous, wrongly so), then likewise “evangelical” which used to be synonymous with fundamentalist, has increasingly become a mixture of traditionalists anfd that of a watered-down superficial idea of faith and with arrested development (though overall it has attested to being the most unified major Christian group overall in core conservative, Scripture beliefs). There is also classic evangelicals, inclusion such holy men as Matthew Henry, and the 20th century evangelical movement.
Principal differences btwn evangelicalism today and Roman Catholicism is,
  • Rather than imagining that act itself of proper baptism makes one good enough to enter Heaven (via cleaning of a sin infants are not guilty of, and infusing them with charity) at that point, and thus henceforth treating them as children of God, evangelicals overall instead stress the importance personal conversion of repentant faith in the Lord Jesus. And which faith is then to be expressed in baptism and following the Lord in obedience.
However, like as most Catholics are nominal (though she treats such as members) and partly trust their own merits and that of the church to save them, too many evangelicals make Christ a means to an end, believing in Him to save them by faith - sometimes regardless of how they live - almost in abstract from all Christ is, versus believing in the Lord Jesus as a person and thus seeking to obey what they know He taught, which is what believing entails.
  • Rather than teaching that one usually must to endure postmortem purifying punishments in RC Purgatory (since the sinful nature remains after baptism, and RCs are taught they must usually atone for sins after death, and actually become good enough in character to be with God), evangelicals instead teach that;
While nothing unclean shall enter God's Holy City, (Rv. 21:27) believers are already washed, sanctified and justified (1Co. 6:11) by effectual faith in the risen Lord Jesus to save them by His sinless shed blood, (Rem. 3;25 — 5:1; Eph. 2:8,9; Titus 3:5) and are already accepted in the Beloved on His account, and made to spiritually sit with Christ in Heaven, (Eph. 1:6; 2:6) and by Him have direct access to God in the holy of holies in prayer. (Heb. 10:19) And who, if they die in faith will go to be with the Lord at death. (Phil 1:23; 2Cor. 5:8 [“we”]; Heb, 12:22,23; 1Cor. 15:51ff'; 1Thess. 4:17)
And with the only suffering after this life being that of the loss of rewards (and the Lord's revelation and disapproval) at the judgment seat of Christ, which one is saved despite the loss of, and which does not occur until the Lord's return and believers resurrection. (1Cor. 3:8ff; 4:5; 2Tim. 4:1,8; Rev.11:18; Mt. 25:31-46; 1Pt. 1:7; 5:4) And which resurrection being the only transformative the believer looks forward to after this life (Rm. 8:23; 2Co. 5:1-4; Phil 3:20,21; 1Jn. 3:2) — not purgatory, which suffering commences at death in order to enable souls to enter Heaven.
However, most evangelicals are wrongly taught that once one has believed on Christ for saslvation, they cannot fall away and be lost, for since one who fundamentally lives contrary to this, such as not providing from his own family as he could, then it is declared that "he has denied the faith." (1 Tim. 5:8) And thus we also have warnings against having an evil hard of unbelief, in departing from the living God." to "draw back into perdition," (Hebrews 3:12; 10:38,39) and "entangled again with the yoke of bondage," thereby making Christ "to become of no effect," "to profit you nothing," being "fallen from grace." (Galatians 5:2,4) For while we can take no credit for faith, and the obedience of faith which God enables and motivates us to do," (Phil. 2:12,13) we can choose to no only sin but harden our hearts at God's correction, which He works so that we will not be "condemned with the rest of the world." (1 Cor. 11:32) Thanks be to God.
In addition, rather than believing in the erroneous Catholic teaching of the words of the Lord at His institution of the Lord supper, with her metaphysical contrivance of her unscriptural priests providing the “true body and blood” of Christ under the appearance of non-existent bread and wine (until it begins to manifestly decay), evangelicals rightly understand these words as being metaphorical.
However, there is some retaining by evangelicals of the Catholic failure to see that discerning the body of Christ (1 Co. 11:17–34) means showing the Lords death by effectually treating the other members as those who were bought by His sinless shed blood, signified by sharing a meal with them, but extending far beyond that (in which I come too short), versus focusing on the elements (Catholics) or the death of Christ somewhat in abstract from how the Lord’s supper is to show His death till He comes.
  • Rather than making what the NT refers to as episkopos (overseer) and presbuteros (senior) into being two pastoral offices, and making pastors into a separate class of (normatively celibate) sacerdotal “hiereus’ “(priests” in English) and even translating that Greek word that is distinctively used for a distinctive sacerdotal class as referring to her own priests, and with their primary unique function being that of offering the Catholic Eucharist as sacrifice for sins, and as being spiritual food for the flock;
Instead, evangelicals overall recognize that episkopos and presbuteros (senior) refer to one office (Titus 1:5-7; Acts 14:23; 20:17) of (normatively married: 1 Tim. 3:1–7) holy believers, and that the Holy Spirit never uses hiereus for NT pastors aside from being part of the whole body of believers. For all believers are called to sacrifice (Rm. 12:1; 15:16; Phil. 2:17; 4:18; Heb. 13:15,16; cf. 9:9) and all constitute the only priesthood (hier√°teuma) in the NT church, that of all believers, (1Pt. 2:5,9; Re 1:6; 5:10; 20:6).
And that the primary function (besides prayer) of NT episkopos/presbuteros is that of preaching/teaching the inspired word of God. By which word (Scriptures) man is to live by, (Mt. 4:4) as Christ lived by the Father, (Jn. 6:57) with doing His will being His “meat.” (Jn. 4:34) by the believing of which one receives spiritual lie, being regenerated, (Acts 10:43-47; 15:7-9; Eph. 1:13) and thus desiring the milk of the word, (1Pt. 2:2) and then handling the “strong meat” (Heb. 5:12-14) of the word of God, which word believers are “nourished” (1Tim. 4:6) and built up, and are to let it dwell in them richly. (Col. 3:16)
However, while required (with rare exceptions) clerical celibacy is not Scriptural, ordaining women pastors is also unscriptural, and yet it is often seen in modern evangelicalism, in contrast to its past.
  • Rather than making Peter into a person that the NT church looked to as the rock upon with the church is built, and the first of a line of (conditionally) infallible popes reigning from Rome, evangelicals see Peter as the street level leader among brethren, not as lord exalted above all, or with his office possessing perpetual ensured infallibility.
For in contrast to Peter, that the LORD Jesus is the Rock (“petra”) or "stone" (“lithos,” and which denotes a large rock in Mk. 16:4) upon which the church is built is one of the most abundantly confirmed doctrines in the Bible (petra: Rm. 9:33; 1Cor. 10:4; 1Pet. 2:8; cf. Lk. 6:48; 1Cor. 3:11; lithos: Mat. 21:42; Mk.12:10-11; Lk. 20:17-18; Act. 4:11; Rm. 9:33; Eph. 2:20; cf. Dt. 32:4, Is. 28:16) including by Peter himself. (1Pt. 2:4-8) Rome's current catechism attempts to have Peter himself as the rock as well, but also affirms: “On the rock of this faith confessed by St Peter, Christ build his Church,” (pt. 1, sec. 2, cp. 2, para. 424) which understanding some of the so-called “church fathers” concur with.)
  • Rather than effectively making a church itself an object of faith, and with her claimed infallibility being essential ot know what is of God, and with dissent from her official teachings necessarily meaning rebellion from God, evangelicals implicitly recognize that the NT church began with common souls correctly discerning what was of God, and in dissent from the historically valid magisterium.
However, while dissent from authority can be Scriptural, and separation from the impenitent recalcitrant aberrant and heretical persons and churches is warranted, separation in the face of differences has too often been the default recourse for evangelicals, while a central magisterium of holy anointed men of faith should be a goal as it is actually Scriptural, though that of Rome and Orthodox priests or cults is not.
There is more that can be said of evangelicalism falling short of the prima NT church, but the more severe contrasting teachings of groups can be seen described in this section, by the grace of God.
But there is still room at the cross for all who will come to God in repentance and faith, and trust in the Divine Son of God sent by the Father, the risen Lord Jesus, to save them on His account, by His sinless shed blood, and thus be baptized and live for Him. Acts 10:36-47
The redeemed have come to God as souls as sinners knowing their desperate need of salvation, and not as souls saved by their works or church affiliation, but as destitute of any means or merit whereby they may escape their just judgment and gain eternal life with God.
And with contrite heart have cast their whole-hearted repentant faith upon the mercy of God in Christ, trusting the risen Divine Lord Jesus to save them on His account, by His sinless shed blood. (Rm. 3:9 - 5:1) and declare this in baptism. And whose faith is thus counted as righteousness, but it is a faith that will characteristically follow Him, and repent when convicted in their heart that they failed to do so.
Thanks be to God.

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