Christian BoyLove Forum #66661
It feels like you don't want to engage with the questions I'm asking you, so you insist on spouting the RC partisan line where you think you are justified. You aren't, but let's start with the points you've avoided.
1) "The question is not 'which is the true church?' but 'is God at work in the local church I am at present attending?'. If He is, then it is irrational for a disciple of Jesus to abandon His workshop..."
2) 1 Cor 5 gives an instance of Mt 18 in action - it does not provide a basis for ecumenical councils
To return to the issue of the brown scapular. The wording is clear:
"Those who die wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire."
That's what it says.
It won't do to pretend that this is a 'popular devotion'. It's a lie which has not been suppressed because it's too embarrassing. So it has to be spun to fit orthodox theology - but it doesn't. Which is the same problem as the infallible statement in the proclamation about the Assumption: 'Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.'
Now that means that I've fallen away completely from the 'divine and Catholic faith'. Now on the whole I'm not too concerned at falling away from the 'Catholic' faith; the faith proclaimed by people whose safe conducts can't be trusted and who have the presumption to instruct their believers to rebel against their rulers. But the divine faith? I've completely fallen away from that? If I have, then for my sake you should treat me as a non-believer. Yet Rome doesn't - instead it joins ecumenical organisations. This suggests that it accepts that we haven't 'fallen away completely from the divine faith'. So by its actions, the Roman Hierarchy proves that it doesn't believe its own 'infallible' statements. Funny that.
Which is why I refuse to treat Rome more seriously than I do any other denomination. You've got your good moments and you've got your bad, as have we all. But the idea that I should trust you more than I trust any other denomination is irrational. You have an appalling record of crass errors in the past - yet you ask me to ignore those errors and trust you unconditionally. It's not a matter of arguing when the apostasy occurred; it's that you have done unacceptable things in the past. Given that is the case, you don't get to get special treatment.
Yet you want to argue 'The fact of the matter is, for the faithful, the belief in the assumption of the Blessed Mother is essential for Christian unity, and to go against it makes one no different than any heretic from Pelagius to Arius...' Really? Yet you treat us Protestants as ecclesial communities - and join in ecumenical organisations with us. But you won't let the proponents of the views of Arius - those nice JWs - in the door...
You sulked about my use of the term 'local church'. A brief study of the opening verses of Paul's epistles gives a remarkable range of greetings.
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops[b] and deacons:
To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ in Colossae
To the churches of Galatia
To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours
To the church of God that is in Corinth, including all the saints throughout Achaia
Then of course we have Jesus' letter to the churches of Asia Minor in Revelation
To the angel of the church of... write:
It seems that from God's perspective the local Christians of an area constitute the church. Unfortunately these days we are divided into our denominations - but from God's perspective we are a single church. Unless you want to argue that those who aren't under the authority of the Pope are 'extra ecclesia' - and so not salus? But you don't want to go there - so we must be in 'the church'. So we are part of the local church as well.
So how should we live? Broadly we should remain in the church into which we were reborn. That's where God was at work in our spiritual birth - so why should we leave? Paul works with this idea when he describes himself as the spiritual father of the Corinthians (1 Cor 4), and that should be our relationship with the person through whom we were introduced to Jesus. You don't walk out on your birth family - or your rebirth family. Or rather you don't unless they are leading you badly astray. If when in fulfilment of the instruction to 'test everything' you discover that the teaching being served up is consistently defective, then you need to reconsider.
Of course this is based on a willing to be specifically discerning of what is of God. But that is what we are called to do in 1 Thess 5: 'Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good'. We are told to 'Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.' (Mt 7). A prophet is one who claims to speak for God... On the whole Rome has a failure rate in prophecy as bad as anyone else; there's no visible evidence of God's special grace.