True2Ourselves
Already a member? login
Divider
Divider
Divider
Divider
Divider
Divider
Divider
Divider
Divider
Divider
Divider
Divider
  
+
Register FAQ A-Z directory Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

True2Ourselves Forums   > Community Topics > Theology  > Getting Saved in the Church

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-17-2009, 01:46 PM
SeraphimH
 
Posts: n/a
Default Getting Saved in the Church

I constantly read here of people who make the claim to individual salvation, away from any affiliation to a church or group of people claiming to be so. Below is an article that sheds light on this tragedy of modern culture.

Getting Saved in the Church
by Fr. Stephen Freeman

"I grew up in the deep South where “getting saved” was a part of everyday speech and we all knew what it meant. It was evangelical short-hand for “accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,” usually done at Church after walking the aisle at the end of the service. I did this at age seven. This action was followed by Baptism (as simply an outward obedience to Christ). It did mean I could start to take communion on one of the four Sundays a year this occurred. Though, again, communion was only meant as a meal to remember something Jesus had done once upon a time. In giving such a description, I am simply relating what I and any other member of the Southern culture at large knew. We could cite a few Bible verses that spoke of what we were doing and that seemed to make everything legitimate.

Of course in such a context, speaking about the Church in anything other than mere fellowship or accountability terms is a foreign thing. Verses such as those in Ephesians 1, where the Church is called, “the fullness of Him that filleth all in all,” either make no sense, or must be relegated to some Church of the eschatological future about which we can only dream.

Of course, all of this rural Protestant understanding presupposes human life defined in purely modern terms. We are individuals whose relationship to one another is at best emotional, psychological or affectional. We go to the same Church because we believe some of the same things (or for reasons much less noble).

Having been saved, there are really only two things left to do: help other people get saved (evangelism) and become a more moral citizen (sanctification). Sermons will usually talk about one or the other.

Of course, all of this is completely foreign to the Orthodox Catholic faith of the Fathers – the inheritance of the Church as given in Scripture and the writings of centuries. Anyone transported from our modern world into the 4th century and speaking of their salvation in the modern manner would have been judged a heretic (of a strange variety never seen before) and disciplined accordingly.

Several key elements here should be underlined:

1. Salvation is not something that happens to you as an individual in isolation from others.

2. Salvation is not a legal settlement between you and God in which, having your sins remitted, you are now permitted to enter heaven when you die.

3. The Church is what salvation looks like.

I’ll explain this third point in some detail. The Church is what salvation looks like because salvation is not a momentary matter, but a life-long event. It may be initiated by our acceptance of Christ, just as a battle against cancer may be initiated by a diagnosis and first dose of chemo. But the sin which affects us is not a mere legal problem – it is existential, ontological – it is deep in the core of us – and only a lifetime in Christ, bathed continually in grace, will we find a beginning to the healing of its destruction and prepare us for the life God is giving us.

What does St. Paul mean when he says in Romans 13:11:

'Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.'

Or in 2 Corinthians 7:8-9

'As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting; for you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.'

Or most famously in Philippians 2:12-13?

'Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.'

And again in 1 Thessalonians 5:8-9?

'But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.'

In none of these cases is salvation used to describe a past experience (the word has a very broad use of meanings in the New Testament). These kinds of example can be multiplied over and over to demonstrate that the parlance of many modern cultural Christians is simply not at all in line with the Gospel as proclaimed in Scripture. It is a truncated, virtual version that does not express the fullness of the faith.

The idea of the salvation of an individual qua individual is also a modern idea. It is a modern idea, for the very concept of a human being existing as a self-existent, self-contained individual is a very recent idea. Charles Taylor in his magisterial work, Sources of the Self: the Making of the Modern Identity, carefully illustrates (in over 500 pages) the slow process whereby man as an individual came into modern consciousness. It is not surprising that the concept would come to dominate popular preaching. Preaching and preparation that has been cut off from the history, doctrines, language, and Fathers of the Church, is absolutely vulnerable to every pop cultural notion that comes down the pike. Thus it is that American Evangelicalism is mostly Americanism with a Jesus veneer. In some cases it can be as unashamedly American as Mormonism, a purely American phenomenon.

These are strong words but they are meant to be. The Gospel is a precious treasure and should not be made captive to the cultural forms of any land, whether America, Byzantium or Russia. At present, the world-wide danger is the complete and total captivity of the Gospel to American culture. American culture makes the Hellenization of the ancient world seem mild. Our culture is conquering the world, even where they hate us. And our ideas are supplanting almost everything with which they come in contact.

Thus to maintain a proper Christian understanding of what it is to be human is particularly difficult. We are not purely individuals, except as the most unregenerate sinners. We were created in the image of God, and even in that creation were declared, “Not good,” until we existed as male and female. We are created in the image of a Triune God. My life is not my life alone. Indeed, sin can best be understood as the rupture of communion between myself and God and myself and others around me. And if this is sin, then salvation will be the restoration of communion – both with God and with others around me.

Thus, the Church is what salvation looks like. It is here that we are Baptized into the very life of Christ, into His body. It is here that we are fed on His Body and Blood. Here in the Church we are restored to communion with God and communion with others. And it is here that the battleground to maintain that communion takes place. Thus God has given us the means to correct one another, to heal one another, to aid in the salvation, the complete restoration of each other in Christ.

Anyone who does not know that the Church is what salvation looks like has not begun to work out his salvation with fear and trembling. We cannot love one another unless there is another to love. Indeed, the New Testament, with the exception of the Book of Philemon and the Pastoral Epistles is written only to the Church. And those exceptions are written to men only in regard to their place within the Church. The New Testament belongs exclusively to the Church. If you are reading it as an individual and not as a member of the Church to whom it was written, then you are reading someone else’s mail.

Finally, the Church has always understood itself to be One (not an abstract “one,” dwelling mystically in some second storey, but a very concrete one). Those who establish fellowships and ordain leaders have not been given authority to do what they do. Reading the letters of Abraham Lincoln does not make one a U.S. Senator. Those who have authority in the Church were appointed by Christ and by those whom Christ appointed. Apostolic succession is real – though not merely mechanical. Those who sit in the seat of the Bishops must in fact teach what the Apostles taught. But to ordain men apart from this divinely appointed means comes dangerously close to the make-believe of cult-like groups who think nothing of proclaiming prophets and the like. Of course, the Orthodox Church treats with deference and respect those who lead Christian communities, and in most cases has graciously received converts from that number with respect (though some like myself, having been an Anglican, had to submit to re-ordination – I did not take this as an insult).

According to Scripture, it is only in the Church that we will find the “fullness of Him who filleth all in all.” Why would we want less than the fullness, and how could we dare to create our own organization and claim such a Divine reality to be its constitution? Those who have inherited their Church from their own fathers stand perhaps in a different quandary. But it is still a quandary to be pondered and not merely justified because it exists."

Maybe this can shine the light of Truth on those seeking it. It is my prayer that it is so.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 07-17-2009, 03:11 PM
preachergirl
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Getting Saved in the Church

I do think it's sad that in today's modern Church you hardly anymore see alter calls occuring. Isn't Salvation the main thrust of the Gospel? I was blessed I think to get a chance to experience the good ole church...it was full of old timers who were not playing...but told us...the best thing a young person can do is get right with God...and you bet...they made sure we got in church and stayed there! We were 18-19, newly married, and had moved from the city of Flint to the back country of Tenn., and met God there and were forever changed!

But I have to say in response here, I "was" truly Saved at home. The conviction of God's Spirit wouldn't let me wait...it fell so heavy on me one night I couldn't with stand it. I was young, and also didn't have much knowledge about God, so that I was worried to death and thought I had to get to church! But there was no church at that time of night and so I called the Pastor and couldn't get a hold of him!

I was under great conviction! So in my thinking I asked my husband to get on the floor with me to pray....some how figuring I needed someone there. And I cried and pleaded and begged and was so under conviction that I was afraid to lift my head if I was not saved! And I seemed to hear a voice that said, "It's ok now you can get up." And when I lifted my head, the most amazing, unearthly Peace filled me so much that I just sat there marveling at it!

Beofre I prayed I was restless! I tried to watch TV, do dishes, read,..anything to distract myself from the overwhelming conviction! Nothing worked. After I prayed there and gave my heart and life to God, I was able to just sit, in the most unusual peace, and feel a need for nothing, or to do nothing...I was knowing a Joy I had never before known in my life.

Now I was made to get up in front of the church and confess this Salvation...and I did and do believe that this did something! As I stood there, almost mortified to have to speak in front of these people, a great Love for the people came on me and I cried and told my testimony. When I was baptized it also was a very moving spirititual experience.

I read later that a love for the brethren is a result of Salvation. I have been the Lord's since and my life and love him as passionately and even more today than when I first believed, Amen.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-17-2009, 04:53 PM
christkid777's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,081
Default Re: Getting Saved in the Church

I don't know if you will be able to accept this or not SeraphimH. First, I think what you have spoken is fine. And I agree that our true identity is found in the Church, in Christ. But have you ever been in a service where the Holy Ghost runs like fire among the people? Or where the presence of God is so real you must fall on your face before Him? Or where the light of God is a real light shining in the air? I have seen these things as have many others. I have seen smoke in the air around the people. They are real to me. They are a part of my legacy in Christ. I didn't control these things, they just happened.

I don't know what manifestations of the Spirit you may have experienced. But my impression from what I have heard and what I have seen is that the manifestation of the Spirit is different among the old line churches.

It seems we each perceive our selves and our God a little differently. You point to traditions and the church's legacy while the people I always hung out with point to the move and the power of the Holy Ghost. I hope we are able to reconcile these things as time goes by. You seem to think of your selves as the guardians of the sacred traditions while we seem to think of our selves as living on the cutting edge of the Spirit. You seem to see your selves as keepers of the apostolic traditions while we see ourselves as living in the apostolic traditions of manifested spiritual works. There is ground between us. I hope we can cross that ground.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-17-2009, 05:42 PM
CI's Avatar
CI CI is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 254
Default Re: Getting Saved in the Church

It is true that salvation is not instantaneous at first becoming a believer, or immediately after heeding an alter call.

For clarity, by the splitting of hairs, there is step-by-step process of walking in those works that Christ Jesus performed on our behalf. Note carefully that our self-spun works don't factor, but we walk in those works of our Lord pre-ordained that we should walk in.

The step-by-step process leading to salvation:
  1. Obtaining the gift of faith unto believing God. The believer walks the good steps of faith unto righteousness;
  2. Obtaining the gift of grace and walking those accepted things of grace as did Christ Jesus unto glory of which is the redemption of God. This is the Calling - the Church (Body) is made up of the called believers;
  3. Obtaining the gift of the Spirit of grace and walking accordingly in perfect things unto excellent glory of which is the salvation of God. This is the Election - the Elect is anointed and the Spirit manifests fully in him/her.

It is very clear in Romans 13:11 that there is a process since first becoming a believer unto being saved:
Quote:
And that, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep: for now [is] our salvation nearer than when we believed.
Taking #1&2 as the body (church), we see that salvation is the crown on the head over the body. In this light, salvation is foremost an individual thing that can become corporate when all in Church (Body) advance to being saved.

Believers to be saved are added to the Church. While in the Church (Body), their salvation is futuristic as Acts 2:47 declares:
Quote:
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
The Lord does not add to the Church those that are saved. He adds to the Church those that should be saved. Salvation is a crown to the head (saint, the elect believer) that attaches on top of the body (church, the called believer).

With Jesus Christ as the Head (Salvation of God, Author of salvation), the Body (Church, Called believers) are redeemed and glorified on earth in honour. The Church, therefore, is the heir of salvation.

Therefore, we conclude that salvation is the result of being justified by the Spirit of grace. Or, generally it can be said that salvation is by grace through faith.
__________________
Grace and peace from the Father and from the Christ unto all!

Last edited by CI : 07-17-2009 at 07:27 PM.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-18-2009, 09:58 PM
MMari
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Getting Saved in the Church

Thanks Seraphim this is a good thread... I've gone to this link and read some of his writings... I bookmarked him. I understand what Fr Steve is saying.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-19-2009, 03:23 AM
Daniel
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Getting Saved in the Church

Quote:
Several key elements here should be underlined:

1. Salvation is not something that happens to you as an individual in isolation from others.

2. Salvation is not a legal settlement between you and God in which, having your sins remitted, you are now permitted to enter heaven when you die.

3. The Church is what salvation looks like.
And what do we say about the person who has never set foot in a church but has read the bible and cried out to the Lord for salvation?
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-19-2009, 06:44 AM
CI's Avatar
CI CI is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 254
Default Re: Getting Saved in the Church

And what do we say about the person who has never set foot in a church but has read the bible and cried out to the Lord for salvation?

Salvation is by grace through faith. It is not by setting foot in a church (building and congregational setting).

Whosoever obtains the faith and grace of Christ shall be saved if believes God, keeps them, and walks in steps of faith and grace by the power of God.

Such a person is added to the Church - the Body of Christ Jesus - whether he sets foot in a denominational church building or not.

Nevertheless, it is strongly recommended that such a person identifies and fellowships in love with brethren in the Body of Christ Jesus, and with other men.
__________________
Grace and peace from the Father and from the Christ unto all!
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-19-2009, 12:26 PM
winsome's Avatar
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 2,206
Default Re: Getting Saved in the Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeraphimH View Post
I constantly read here of people who make the claim to individual salvation, away from any affiliation to a church or group of people claiming to be so.................

.....................Maybe this can shine the light of Truth on those seeking it. It is my prayer that it is so.
Very interesting post Seraphim.
__________________
It isn't learned talk that saves man or makes a saint of him; only a life well lived can claim God's friendship. (Thomas À Kempis)
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-19-2009, 02:08 PM
Daniel
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Getting Saved in the Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by CI View Post
And what do we say about the person who has never set foot in a church but has read the bible and cried out to the Lord for salvation?

Salvation is by grace through faith. It is not by setting foot in a church (building and congregational setting).

Whosoever obtains the faith and grace of Christ shall be saved if believes God, keeps them, and walks in steps of faith and grace by the power of God.

Such a person is added to the Church - the Body of Christ Jesus - whether he sets foot in a denominational church building or not.

Nevertheless, it is strongly recommended that such a person identifies and fellowships in love with brethren in the Body of Christ Jesus, and with other men.
I agree , thank you
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-19-2009, 02:51 PM
MMari
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Getting Saved in the Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by winsome View Post
Very interesting post Seraphim.
May I ask Steve what makes it interesting to you? Just curious. I realize I am not Seraphim... but I am interested.
Digg this Post!Add Post to del.icio.usBookmark Post in TechnoratiFurl this Post!
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
When did we get saved? Heneni Theology 14 07-13-2011 05:35 PM
When were you saved? RollingThunder General Discussions 18 06-30-2009 06:09 AM
The underground church in China- our model of what the re-birthed church looks like? BruceG General Discussions 3 06-18-2009 08:35 PM
Do I need to be saved? Brad General Discussions 12 05-20-2009 07:36 PM
Are we saved colin Theology 4 03-04-2009 09:24 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:56 AM.


true2ourselves
 
 
 

Flashcoms

You need to upgrade your Flash Player.

Version 8 or higher is required.

download from http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29