Thursday, February 10, 2011

Opening statement from Frank Turk (Negative)

Here is Frank Turk's opening statement.

Well, I think it’s quite amusing that this topic has come up for a few of reasons:

1. I don’t deny that people should separate from what the LBCF calls churches “so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan.” I don’t actually know anyone who would deny that – except for the new wave of Mormon evangelists and apologists who are ironically, broadly, and self-ignorantly ecumenical.

2. I don’t deny that, historically, this has happened over and over.

3. I don’t deny that there are good reasons to do this today. If someone gets saved and finds himself in a Jehovah’s Witness church, he should leave immediately for spiritual refuge in any Christian church.

But here is what I would actually affirm:

The purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a kingdom in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his name.

In the execution of this power wherewith he is so entrusted, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the world unto himself, through the ministry of his word, by his Spirit, those that are given unto him by his Father, that they may walk before him in all the ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his word. Those thus called, he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or churches, for their mutual edification, and the due performance of that public worship, which he requireth of them in the world.

The members of these churches are saints by calling, visibly manifesting and evidencing (in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto that call of Christ; and do willingly consent to walk together, according to the appointment of Christ; giving up themselves to the Lord, and one to another, by the will of God, in professed subjection to the ordinances of the Gospel.

As all believers are bound to join themselves to particular churches, when and where they have opportunity so to do; so all that are admitted unto the privileges of a church, are also under the censures and government thereof, according to the rule of Christ.

No church members, upon any offence taken by them, having performed their duty required of them towards the person they are offended at, ought to disturb any church order, or absent themselves from the assemblies of the church, or administration of any ordinances, upon the account of such offence at any of their fellow members, but to wait upon Christ, in the further proceeding of the church.

I have omitted some parts of the LBCF Chapter XXVI which are not relevant to this discussion for the sake of word count, but there it is: I believe the over-arching principle of the Christian life when it comes to ecclesiology (which is what this question hinges on entirely) is unity entirely balanced on the truth that Christ saves sinners, and the church is full of people like that. That is: rather than have only the self-centered view that one is saved and therefore entitled to all sorts of benefits (including the benefit of the doubt when one is strident or imperious), I think that one who is saved is therefore called to be joined to the others who are also saved in a concrete and visible way, and one therefore has an obligation to give others the benefit of the doubt, to give them the benefits of Christ’s work for them, and to work as if Christ is the one who makes other believers holy rather than to believe tacitly that some other person’s sin is greater than my own and therefore forces me to separate from them because thank God, I am not like them.

This view does not abandon the warnings against false teaching in the NT: it regards them with an eye to God’s intention that the church is where God is working out His plan for all things specifically and ordinarily and every day.

I wish Daniel good luck and God’s blessing as we begin this discussion.


Frank Rollberg said...

Frank you already started out wrong by saying good luck to Daniel. There is no such thing as luck. God is Sovereign. LOL

PuritanReformed said...