Thursday, 12 July 2007

The Bible, The Pope and the Church

How glad I am that my eternal state does not depend on membership of some man-made organisation!

According to CBS News, Mr Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI, ...

... has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches. ...

"Christ 'established here on earth' only one Church," the document said. The other communities "cannot be called 'churches' in the proper sense" because they do not have apostolic succession — the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ's original apostles.

He is surely either supremely arrogant or supremely misguided.

But what does the Bible say about the church? I found this good summary on CARM (slightly altered):

The Church is the "body of believers". It is comprised of those who have been saved and redeemed by the true and living God, based upon the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus upon the cross.

Inclusion in the body of Christ is not by membership in a denomination, nor by baptism, nor or by dedication. It is not received by ritual, or by ceremony, or by natural birth. It is received by faith. Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 5:1; For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8.

The invisible church is the church made up of true believers. The visible church consists of those who say they are Christian but may or may not be truly saved.

Being a member of a church on earth guarantees nothing. Being a member of the body of Christ guarantees salvation.

The true Christian church is comprised only of those who have been redeemed by Christ who died on the cross and rose again. They are justified by faith in Christ. They are not saved by false teachers, false gods, false gospels, by their works, or by their works combined with the grace of God.

They are saved by grace through faith and that through Jesus alone: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved, Acts 4:12.


Shimmy said...

"There is no pope" (Gertrude Stein).

Mike said...

Thanks for dropping by, Shimmy. Nice cat.