Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Church of the Living God

These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:14-16)

Paul’s purpose in writing his first letter to Timothy was to give him instructions on how a local assembly and its leadership should function. This verse (1 Timothy 3:15) is commonly cited by Roman Catholics to "prove" the infallibility of the teaching and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. The assumption here being that by the process of apostolic succession, the Roman Catholic Church is the church of God and therefore it is "the pillar and ground of truth", which can never error doctrinally.

The bottom-line is that the Roman Catholic Church truly believes that the church did not come from the Bible; the Bible came from the Church and was a written form of what the church had been teaching orally for hundreds of years. In fact, the New Testament is a Catholic document of the faith. It was written by Catholics, vetted by Catholics, and declared inerrant and infallible Scripture by Catholics.

So why does the Roman Catholic Church believe that this verse refers to them? Here are a few of the unbiblical teachings of the Roman Catholic Church: (1) The Catholic Church was the only Church at the time, and Jesus established His Church upon Peter as Prime Minister and thus the only true Church in the fullness of the faith is that church, that group of people, who are loyal and obedient to the successor of St. Peter, the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. (2) This was ordained by God personally and no one has a right to contradict God.

Now let us come back to reality and see what the Word of God says about these passages. Paul is referring to the church as the "pillar and ground of the truth." What he is saying is that we, the church (true believers), are responsible to guard the truth of God's Word. The church is not the SOURCE of truth, as the Roman Catholic Church would have you believe. Rather, it is the DEFENDER of truth already revealed by God.

In 1 Timothy 3:15, when Paul says, "church of the living God", he is referring to the universal (catholic) church that is manifested in local assemblies around the world. Paul goes on to say, "the pillar and ground of the truth" - misconduct and disorder in the local church (true believers) weaken the support of God’s truth in the world. Godly men and women gathering together in local assemblies to worship the Lord produce an orderly church, a church that testifies to others of the truth of God.

The verse, 1 Timothy 3:16, contains an early hymn of the church. Manifested in the flesh refers to Christ’s incarnation, the fact that Jesus became man (see John 1:14). Justified in the Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit’s work in Jesus’ ministry and resurrection (see Matt. 3:15–17; John 16:7, 10; Rom. 1:4; 8:11. ). Seen by angels refers to the angelic witness of Christ’s ministry and resurrection. Preached among the Gentiles refers to the proclamation of Christ to the nations (see Col. 1:23). Believed on in the world refers to the response of individuals to God’s plan of salvation (see 1 Cor. 1:18–25). Received up in glory refers to the Ascension; Christ is seated in God’s presence in heaven (see Acts 1:9; Heb. 1:3, 4).

We can't please God on our own; we must depend on Christ. As a man, Jesus lived a perfect life, and so He is a perfect example of how to live. As God, Jesus gives us the power to do what is right. It is possible to live a godly life - through following Christ.

Is today your day of salvation? Is the Holy Spirit leading you to become a member of God's family by accepting His Son Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord? If you want to know the joy, happiness and peace that a child of God has - please humble yourself right now and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and to be your Lord and Savior, King of kings, Lord of lords and Master of your heart, mind and soul. Jesus, I surrender all too you. You are my reason for living. To be obedient to your Lord and Savior, find a body of true believers (church), be baptized, and join them in worshiping our Holy and Almighty God.

References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), the Nelson Study Bible.


Barbara said...

Amen and amen, yep I found it too, hugs my friend, Barbara

Barbara said...

If only every church was all it was supposed to be in Christ.

Life & Faith in Caneyhead

Zimbabwe said...

In Poland there are many "formal" Catholics. For most of them it is only tradition, but also very strong tradition - in the youngest generation it changes. I was grown in Lutheran and Atheist family, so I didn't know about many doctrines of Roman Catholic Church. Last time I learn something about it. However, I think that God don't look on the body, but only on mind, spirit and heart.

Carnival said...

Hello Lloyd, as you probably have guessed I am Catholic. I love all Christians though and long for unity. I am honored that you have chosen to follow my blog. Now about infallibility. The infallibility of the Church is quite complicated. Firstly, Christ and not the Church is the source of Truth. The Word of God is present in scripture and in tradition. Tradition, because the new Testament was not fully written until more than 80 years after Christ ascended. The Word of God was first transmitted orally and then put into a book. There have only been a small number of papal infallible declarations in Catholic history and the declarations only reflected what Catholics had believed for hundreds of years.

It is true that for many centuries the Church was severely legalistic and often was not a light of Christ to the world. However, in the last century, as a result of the Second Vatican Council, the Church has reformed herself. Bible studies are everywhere and people are highly incouraged to read the scriptures because they contain the Truth. There is a lot of Biblical scholarship happening nowadays. In fact, the New American Bible (the Catholic Bible) has extensive footnotes and infallibility was not even mentioned in the footnotes for the passage you mentioned above. Trust me, the Church severely reformed her approach to reading scripture in the last 60 years. So,the infallibility of the Church comes from God and is a result of the Word not the pope. The pope sins and has to go to confession like anyone else; in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if some are in Hell.

In addition, in 1999, the Catholic and Lutheran churches signed a joint agreement that can be found on the vatican websited saying that a person is justified by Grace through faith and NOT by works.

"Together we confess: By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good sinners our new life is solely due to the forgiving and renewing mercy that God imparts as a gift and we receive in faith, and never can merit in any way." If you are ever interested in learning about what the Catholic Church truly teaches I am always happy to help.

God Bless you =)

Carnival said...

Sorry to bother you again but I thought I'd tell you that my footnotes in fact does say, "The passage apparently includes part of a liturgical hymn used among the Christian communities in and around Ephesus."

GOD thinker said...

I so agree. I have problems with the Catholic church's doctrines concerning Mary and praying to dead saints as well. It all goes directly against the scripture. We all need to be searching the scripture for ourselves and asking the Holy Spirit to lead us into truth. We cannot just trust whatever someone else says and we all need as relationship with the Lord for ourselves. Great post!!


Good Bible study Lloyd. And a great evangelistic message calling sinners to repent and turn to Christ alone for salvation :-)


dfish said...

Another great post, Lloyd.

Unfortunately, the Catholic Church isn't the only one who has tried to use the scripture to prove they are right, rather than searching them to find out what God said.


Riccardo Bianchini said...

I appreciate your attention and thanks for visiting my blog. Occasionally I come visit you. Stay with God bless my friend. (Riccardo Bianchini)...

JI said...

An interesting blog you have here Lloyd - very Protestant but nonetheless interesting.

Best wishes,

Pax et Bonum said...

paz e bem meu irmão, sim Deus é um Deus vivo, amém.

Sheila Deeth said...

Interesting, though there's always that saying that when we find a perfect church we'd better not join it, else it won't be perfect anymore.

Lloyd said...

Barbara - Thank you for your visit and encouraging comments. Yes, I too have found a group of believers (church) that I can fellowship with and worship our Awesome and Holy God. Blessings.

Barbara (Icon with flowers) - Thank you so much for the visit and comments. I truly believe that most Christian churches sincerely try to keep Jesus as the head of their church. Jesus came to earth to save sinners, so His church must be full of sinners who are reaching out to Him for repentance and forgiveness. Blessings.

Zimbabwe - I really enjoy your visit and comments. God truly looks at the heart, mind and spirit when we worship Him. I sincerely love my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ. However, I feel that there are several doctrines that become stumbling blocks and burdens for those who needlessly worry about their relationship with Jesus and the assurance of salvation. Bless you my friend in Christ.

Carnival - I want to thank you so much for your comments and visit. I really enjoy reading the posts on your blog. Even though there is a great deal of difference in theology and doctrines between the Protestant and Catholic churches, we can all agree that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Thank you again for your personal views regarding your religious beliefs. God bless you.

GOD thinker - I always appreciate your visits and comments. I agree with you regarding some of the RCC's doctrines but I believe that Jesus must be the common "thread" that links all true believers together. We must be "One in Christ". It just break my heart sometimes to think about those believers who are with the RCC who are always trying to work their way to heaven instead of accepting God's free gift of salvation by faith alone. Blessing my sister in Christ.

Ron- Thanks for dropping by and giving me a little encouragement. It is my prayer that someone who has not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior might come onto this blog and read it. I really enjoy coming over to your blog and reading all the different topics you post. Bless you my friend in Christ.

dfish - Thank you for your visit and comments. You are so right...there are several religious groups and cults out there in the world that will read into God's Word everything but the TRUTH to justify their doctrines. It is the duty of believers to expose false teachings and doctrines so they do not become stumbling blocks for someone that is truly seeking a relationship with our Lord and Savior. Blessings.

Riccardo - Thank you for your visit and comments. I enjoyed reading your last post about people either liking you or not. This is true about me also. Thanks again for dropping by. God bless.

JI and Pax - I want to thank you both personally for dropping by and commenting on this post. It is true JI that this blog is mainly about believers in our Lord and Savior from the "Protestant" point of view. However, I always welcome different religious points of view as long as the topic edifies and brings glory to our Lord Jesus. Pax et Bonum, I want to also wish you peace in the Lord, and yes... God is a living God. Blessings to both of you.

Sheila - Thank you so much for your visit and comments. You are right...It seems like folks always are looking for the "perfect church" to join and when they think they have found it they get so frustrated because there are so many sinners and hypocrites going there too. Blessings.

Mrs. A said...

Hi Lloyd, I just wanted to thank you again for your prayers and let you know we "shook hands" (so to speak).

I thought it would be a courtesy to you to let you know what's going on since you've been so kind and willing to pray.

The prayer at the bottom of my post today, speaks about my conclusions thus far.

God bless!

nissa_ami_kato said...

Where are you getting your information about what the Catholic church teaches? You should be sure you base it on a sound source, like the web site Catholic Answers.

There are a lot of ill-informed Catholics out there who don't know what their church teaches, and a lot of Protestant books that for whatever reason misrepresent what the Catholic church teaches.

Lloyd said...

nissa - First of all I would like to personally thank you for your visit. Your comments were sort of unclear about what parts of my post are not biblical. Please let me know if there are any false teachings on this post so I can look further into what the Word of God teaches. I sincerely try to make all my posts biblically sound and I get my information dealing with theology from solid and biblically sound sources.

Thank you again for your visit and expressing your religious opinions. God bless, Lloyd

António Jesus Batalha said...

Muita paz meu irmão. Desculpe eu escrever em portugues mas o meu inglês não dá nem para escrever uma palavra. Estive a tentar no tradutor e li algumas coisas de seu blog.ogrigado por seguir meu blog, Também já estou seguindo o seu.Que Jesus continue a dar-lhe muita graça e sabedoria.


Lloyd said...

António - Thank you my friend in Christ for stopping by and leaving such an encouraging comment. I have a translator located in the upper right-hand corner of my blog. Just click on the Portaguese flag and it will translate the entire blog into your launguage. God bless, Lloyd