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Thread: The church and doctrine

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    nathanbforrest45's Avatar Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjohns View Post
    I find it rather troubling that some churches wish to manufacture doctrine.

    It is not that doctrine is unimportant--far from it--but it is simply not within the church's purview to set this forth.

    Rather, it is the obligation of each individual believer to come to a proper understanding of biblical doctrine, according to the teachings of Scripture.

    The church (any church) is simply not the proper source for "True Doctrine" (to be blindly accepted by all parishioners).
    Well, that's just silly.
    Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjohns View Post
    But why should that church (or any other church, for that matter) claim any doctrine?

    Perhaps centuries ago, when most people were entirely illiterate (and even the Gutenberg Bible had not yet been printed), it may have made some sense for those few who were literate to spoon-feed the parishioners. Nowadays, it does not.
    I cannot imagine what a "church" would look like that proscribed no doctrine. What exactly would be its purpose? Perhaps I am just a simple minded Catholic but it would not be unlike claiming I believe in government but not in any government doctrine. Do each of us decide for ourselves exactly what is the nature of God without any frame of reference? That sounds like Universal Unitarianism, or as Heinlein proclaimed "Universal Unitarianism is the unshakable belief that your guess is as good as mine"
    Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
    Robert A. Heinlein

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    As I stated before, I think there are both positive and negative aspects to a church body teaching how this or that scripture should be interpreted. Ideally, I think that someone who is in a position wherein they are expected to instruct or guide other members should certainly be open to honest questions and discussion about those "accepted" interpretations, but there are limits to open dissension - there have to be. It might not cause any huge rifts within the body if there was disagreement about some relatively minor doctrinal point, but - as an example - were the deity of Christ questioned in most churches, there would be serious problems.
    "It is a foolish man who believes that he possesses all of the answers until he is absolutely certain that he has heard all of the questions."

    "Those who suffer heal. Everything destroyed gets rebuilt. And our towers grow a little taller every time."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Standing Wolf View Post
    As I stated before, I think there are both positive and negative aspects to a church body teaching how this or that scripture should be interpreted. Ideally, I think that someone who is in a position wherein they are expected to instruct or guide other members should certainly be open to honest questions and discussion about those "accepted" interpretations, but there are limits to open dissension - there have to be. It might not cause any huge rifts within the body if there was disagreement about some relatively minor doctrinal point, but - as an example - were the deity of Christ questioned in most churches, there would be serious problems.

    In some Protestant churches rifts between members baking skills leads to the creation of other churches. Where I live in East Tennessee in a town of less than 800 people there must be 25 churches because one family found fault, not in the preaching, but in disagreements with other family members or just other members in general. So, whole families move off and start another church.

    This is why I like the Catholic Church, it is what it is and all authority comes from God's emissary on Earth, the Pope.
    Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
    Robert A. Heinlein

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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanbforrest45 View Post
    In some Protestant churches rifts between members baking skills leads to the creation of other churches. Where I live in East Tennessee in a town of less than 800 people there must be 25 churches because one family found fault, not in the preaching, but in disagreements with other family members or just other members in general. So, whole families move off and start another church.
    I read about a church, somewhere in the rural South, called the 'Do Me Good Baptist Church". When a schism about something divided the membership, one group left and founded what they called the "Do Me Better Baptist Church". May be an apocryphal story, but it sounds about right.

    Quote Originally Posted by nathanbforrest45 View Post
    This is why I like the Catholic Church, it is what it is and all authority comes from God's emissary on Earth, the Pope.
    Of course acceptance of the Pope's primacy, the belief that "holy tradition" is of equal authority with Scripture, and that the Holy Spirit preserves the Church hierarchy from doctrinal error - those are all matters of faith. Sure, it feels good, on one level, just to "let go" intellectually and place your faith in what someone else tells you they know; the desire to own and have access to a sort of owner's manual to life and the universe is one of Man's oldest and strongest urges - it's what makes Religion such a powerful, recurring force in history.
    "It is a foolish man who believes that he possesses all of the answers until he is absolutely certain that he has heard all of the questions."

    "Those who suffer heal. Everything destroyed gets rebuilt. And our towers grow a little taller every time."

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    pjohns's Avatar Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanbforrest45 View Post
    This is why I like the Catholic Church, it is what it is and all authority comes from God's emissary on Earth, the Pope.
    I am a thoroughgoing individualist--in all matters (including religious ones). That is why I could never accept the (supposed) authority of the Pope--or of the Southern Baptist Convention, or of any other ecclesiastical body.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanbforrest45 View Post
    I cannot imagine what a "church" would look like that proscribed no doctrine.
    Here are some examples that leap to mind:

    Which method of interpretation of the Book of Revelation (i.e. The Apocalypse in Catholic Bibles) is probably correct? Note: There is an almost infinite number of individual interpretations of the book; but only four methods of interpretation. They are as follows: (1) the poetic method, which is often embraced by liberal scholars.; this method holds that there are no actual events being described in the book, but merely the certain victory of The Forces of God over The Forces of Satan; (2) the preterist method, which is sometimes embraced by a subset of conservative scholars; this method holds that the entirety of the book--yes, even including the much-ballyhooed "Battle of Armageddon"--was fulfilled by the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, by the armies of Titus, in AD 70; (3) the continuous historical method, which was embraced by most of the Reformers; this method holds that the book details the journey of the church from the first century until the Eschaton (or End Times); and (4) the futurist method, which is embraced by most televangelists; this method holds that the entire book (with the exception, early on, as concerning the Seven Churches of Asia) revolves around the Eschaton.

    May a woman teach over men? Some New Testament verses appear to say no (e.g. I Timothy 2:12). Or was this an accommodation toward the customs of that time and place only--plus the fact that the women of Ephesus were quite uneducated?

    Was Phoebe a deaconess? In Romans 16:1, Phoebe is described as a diakonon of the church at Rome. This may either be transliterated, "deaconess"; or translated, "servant" (in a generic sense). Appeals to grammar will not solve this conundrum. It is purely a matter of theology--not grammar.

    May baptism include pouring and/or sprinkling? The problem here is twofold: (1) Paul referred to baptism as "a burial with Christ"; and (2) the verb, baptizo--which is transliterated as "baptize"--means to immerse, according to all the Greek-English lexicons that I have seen. (It may even mean to overwhelm, as with one army "baptizing" another.)

    These are just a few of the doctrinal questions to which I refer.

    But I think that it would be much better for each person to come to a conclusion individually, as regarding these (and other) matters...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pjohns View Post
    Which method of interpretation of the Book of Revelation (i.e. The Apocalypse in Catholic Bibles) is probably correct? Note: There is an almost infinite number of individual interpretations of the book; but only four methods of interpretation. They are as follows: (1) the poetic method, which is often embraced by liberal scholars.; this method holds that there are no actual events being described in the book, but merely the certain victory of The Forces of God over The Forces of Satan; (2) the preterist method, which is sometimes embraced by a subset of conservative scholars; this method holds that the entirety of the book--yes, even including the much-ballyhooed "Battle of Armageddon"--was fulfilled by the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, by the armies of Titus, in AD 70; (3) the continuous historical method, which was embraced by most of the Reformers; this method holds that the book details the journey of the church from the first century until the Eschaton (or End Times); and (4) the futurist method, which is embraced by most televangelists; this method holds that the entire book (with the exception, early on, as concerning the Seven Churches of Asia) revolves around the Eschaton.
    I have met fundamentalist Christians who were shocked to discover that all the pre-millennialist end-times hoopla is a distinct minority view among Christians, and always has been. In my experience, there seems to be a direct correlation between believers in (4) and low standards of education among the clergy of a particular denomination. People like Tim LaHaye and Hal Lindsey have been making boatloads of money for decades pushing it.
    "It is a foolish man who believes that he possesses all of the answers until he is absolutely certain that he has heard all of the questions."

    "Those who suffer heal. Everything destroyed gets rebuilt. And our towers grow a little taller every time."

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    How ironic that this op comes up when the government is putting a bill through that allows churches to fund politician's in donations. To expand their doctrine includes teaching their audience in influencing political agendas by using their religious beliefs as a powerful tool over their followers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barb012 View Post
    How ironic that this op comes up when the government is putting a bill through that allows churches to fund politician's in donations. To expand their doctrine includes teaching their audience in influencing political agendas by using their religious beliefs as a powerful tool over their followers.
    Perhaps.

    But only for those who follow blindly.

    I have never been a follower (as regarding this, or anything else).

    And I have never been much of a leader, either.

    So, according to the old saying, I guess the only option that leaves is to get out of the way...

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