Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Part Two

The Church's Attributes

     The Church is described in our sacred Creed as being one, holy, catholic, and apostolic and it will prove to be beneficial to review what these terms mean to all of us in the Church.. 

The Church bears the name apostolic because of having received it’s basic teaching directly from the holy apostles. Being apostolic is critically important for it means that the Church was established with the apostolic tradition both written and verbal. The Lord established this, saying to the apostles: “Go, therefore and teach all nations. baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you;  and lo, I am with you always, even unto the close of the age” (Mat. 28:19-20). So The Church preserves and teaches the pure teaching of the apostles which they had received from Jesus Christ. No other Church is genuinely apostolic except Christ’s holy Orthodox Church.

     The Church bears the name catholic because it is for all people and nations, as the new testament. The Church of Christ is called catholic because it is the same in relation to all the nations of the earth and among all nations, not undergoing change with respect to time and place. It receives all men alike and equal before the law and are entitled to honor maintaining the same principle regarding all men. The old testament was for a single people, the Jews. The new testament is for everyone and excludes no one from entering the Church because it is catholic it welcomes all. The Church’s beginning was when Christ established it at Caesarea and Philipi, in response to Peter’s confession: “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God.” 

     The building of the Church began from the time when the elect and precious cornerstone was laid in Zion, as it is written: “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief-cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believes on Him shall not be put to shame.”  The Papacy is not catholic for it misuses the term catholic and corrupt the meaning as well. They claim that they are catholic because in all places on earth are to be found men holding the sentiments of the Pope. First this is not the meaning of the word catholic and second the statement is untrue as there are many nations that are not in the papal camp.

     The Church bears the name holy because the Holy Spirit of God dwells in it and is its guide. The Church makes decision and acts in the Holy Spirit, doing nothing without the Holy Spirit. The mysteries are performed in Holy  Spirit, falsehoods are refuted and the truth is declared in Holy Spirit.

     The Church being holy never wanders from truth or violates the law. The Church does not fall into error or sin in any way.  The Church is composed of holy persons and there is no place in it for  those in error or sinners who continue in their way, unless they repent and correct themselves.

Everything done in the Church is to be done by and in the Holy Spirit who will always guide the Church into holiness and truth. Since she is conceived as a body, it  may have members that are healthy and other members that are diseased, and as a city it has members who break the law. But such people do not constitute the Church which always remains holy. An example in our days is ecumenism, which falsely sees Christ consorting with His enemies, and which contradicts the Holy Spirit and the oneness of the Church, for there is only heresy and schism outside the Church and any form of unity with outsiders is deadly poison, for the holy Orthodox Church’s exclusivity/

     The Church bears the name one because the saints who make up the Church are one. In the divine prayer during His holy passion, Christ desired unity to all who believed or would believe in Him through the preaching of the apostles: “Neither do I pray for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word; that they may be one, as you Father are in me, and I in you, that they may also be one in me; that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20-21).

     So the Church should be one as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one.  The unity of God is the reason for the unity of the Church, which is a perfect unity. The Holy Trinity is of one mind always honoring each other, always in agreement, always will and act for the same thing. So it is to be in the Church by all the truly faithful, to be of one mind, to love each other, and will the same thing, acting with the same end in view. The oneness of the Church totally excludes division, quarrels, which result from discord and disagreements 

     Although Christ founded one Church many other spurious churches have been built up beside it conflicting with His church as well as with each other, being totally disunited. They scandalize and seek to destroy those who are weak in faith, and they keep the world from believing that Christ is the Son of God due to the many conflicting churches whereas He had only founded one. Those outside the church are called heretics by the Holy Scripture. St Paul writes: “A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject, knowing that he that is such is subverted and sins, being self condemned” (Tit. 3:10).

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