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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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ConfessionalLutheran

Congregationalism

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34 minutes ago, ConfessionalLutheran said:

Would the Congregationalist Christian expression of Christianity be its own label, or would it be included under the Reformed/ Presbyterian umbrella? http://www.ccccusa.com/about-us/

The autonomy of each individual church reminds me of Calvary Chapel where each church is independent. If the churches are truly autonomous then they answer to no other church or body including the umbrella label CCCC which does not fit Presbyterianism (church government). The elders are not subject to anyone outside the local church whereas in Presbyterianism the local church is subject to a regional Presbyter and them a National Presbyter.

 

As we know things still can go wrong when the wrong men take over the national Presbyter as happened in the PCUSA.

 

My first impressions about the CCCC is that they feel the Reformed faith is distinguished enough to mention them separately. Yet I only see this in their statement of faith:

 

  • We believe the Bible consisting of the Old and New Testament, to be the only inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God written.
  • We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in the deity of Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
  • We believe that for salvation of lost and sinful man regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
  • We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by Whose indwelling power and fullness the Christian is enabled to live a godly life in this present evil world.
  • We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
  • We believe in the spiritual unity of all believers in Christ.

Am I to think that these are all the essentials that they believe in? Exactly how far does their autonomy go? Do they not consider themselves "catholic"? How far does individual expression go?

 

On secondary non essential issues, the more time I spend interacting with people of other denominations the more I realize that secondary issues can be primary or essential. For example, Baptism. Lots of people think that Baptism is a secondary issue, but what happens when someone makes Baptism a requirement for salvation? What happens if you have children and your church refuses to Baptize them? Is Baptism secondary enough to neglect?

 

Lastly, it seems that the CCCC is giving heavy emphasis on Christian living. Are they de-emphasizing heavy theological books by authors such as John and Paul in order to emphasize books like James? Don't know, but all I do know is that every time one of these "autonomous" bodies surface on the radar they are counted as a new denomination. If the CCCC has 5000 churches, then that's 5000 denominations added to the already 40+ thousand denominations.

 

God bless,

William

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27 minutes ago, William said:

The autonomy of each individual church reminds me of Calvary Chapel where each church is independent. If the churches are truly autonomous then they answer to no other church or body including the umbrella label CCCC which does not fit Presbyterianism (church government). The elders are not subject to anyone outside the local church whereas in Presbyterianism the local church is subject to a regional Presbyter and them a National Presbyter.

 

As we know things still can go wrong when the wrong men take over the national Presbyter as happened in the PCUSA.

 

My first impressions about the CCCC is that they feel the Reformed faith is distinguished enough to mention them separately. Yet I only see this in their statement of faith:

 

  • We believe the Bible consisting of the Old and New Testament, to be the only inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God written.
  • We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in the deity of Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
  • We believe that for salvation of lost and sinful man regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
  • We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by Whose indwelling power and fullness the Christian is enabled to live a godly life in this present evil world.
  • We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
  • We believe in the spiritual unity of all believers in Christ.

Am I to think that these are all the essentials that they believe in? Exactly how far does their autonomy go? Do they not consider themselves "catholic"? How far does individual expression go?

 

On secondary non essential issues, the more time I spend interacting with people of other denominations the more I realize that secondary issues can be primary or essential. For example, Baptism. Lots of people think that Baptism is a secondary issue, but what happens when someone makes Baptism a requirement for salvation? What happens if you have children and your church refuses to Baptize them? Is Baptism secondary enough to neglect?

 

Lastly, it seems that the CCCC is giving heavy emphasis on Christian living. Are they de-emphasizing heavy theological books by authors such as John and Paul in order to emphasize books like James? Don't know, but all I do know is that every time one of these "autonomous" bodies surface on the radar they are counted as a new denomination. If the CCCC has 5000 churches, then that's 5000 denominations added to the already 40+ thousand denominations.

 

God bless,

William

Excellent points. So, the Congregationalists don't really have any kind of accountability outside their local church and there is no overarching organization to provide checks and balances needed to maintain some sort of Reformed orthodoxy. 

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Just now, ConfessionalLutheran said:

Excellent points. So, the Congregationalists don't really have any kind of accountability outside their local church and there is no overarching organization to provide checks and balances needed to maintain some sort of Reformed orthodoxy. 

Exactly, and that's something I point out to most "non-denominationalist". What difference does it make if a local body rebels against the authority of popes only to reinstate a local pastor with all his authority? And what difference does it make if they reject the teachers of Catholicism only to convey Rome's teaching? Most of them, in my opinion are nothing more than rebellious Catholics which in some way convey the theology of Rome. Ask them about the 5 Solas or Protestant history and most of them are either clueless or they hold a negative view towards reformation theology.

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