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Keralabrethren.net: General Forum: Independent Local assemblies vs One Body

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# 07745 :  Independent Local assemblies vs One Body

I have started this thread with reference to Bro. George P Koshy's 'A brief study on the various aspects of Assembly'.

In the above mentioned  thread he writes  "There is only “one body” and its Head is Christ. It is sad to say that we live in a time where there are many bodies. Each claims Christ as its Head. This many bodies with one head are not in the scriptures. As soon as one subscribes and entertains the idea of belonging to an ecclesiastical body upon this earth, not the body of Christ, there is a rivalry to the truth of the “one body.” This rivalry results in our Lord Jesus Christ not having His right place on His body. This is the reason why we should not be ‘Brethren.’ We should be Christians having fellowship with the saints who gather “unto the name of the Lord Jesus Christ."

My doubt is doesn't the practice  of independency  or autonomoy of local assembly (as is the case with Kerala Brethren) against the doctrine of OneBody ? Do we by teaching each assembly to be independent deny the truth of One Body?

 

 

Post by : wigram  View Profile    since : 23 Apr 2015


Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 24 Apr 2015 2:20:36 PM Close

Dear ‘Wigram,’

There are differences between the Ekklesia—translated as Church or Assembly—that Christ builds (Matthew 16) and the Local-Ekklesia that we are familiar with, as in Matthew 18. What I wrote was about the Ekklesia that Christ builds (Matthew 16) and not about the other one (Matthew 18).

I hope that this will help you to clarify your difficulties. If you need additional explanation, please let me know.

Shalom Malekim!!!

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Reply by : moses2006   View Profile   Since : 24 Apr 2015 5:14:34 PM Close

Dear 'wigram'

The local assemblies world over are not as independent as you seem to be suggesting. The assemblies are bound by love and fellowship with one another and each assembly is commanded to do good to other assemblies (Gal 6:10, 2 Cor 8). Every local assembly recognizes that the other assemblies, like itself are part of the same body of the Lord Jesus. He is Head over each one individually and He is the Head over all assemblies together. He holds them all together in His hands and He walks among all of them and is in all of them (Rev 1).

When we occasionally leave our local assembly due to travel or other reasons, we may join with the fellowship of another assembly. When we do so, we experience the same joy and fellowship as we do in our own local assembly. We rejoice with them in worshipping the same Lord. This practical reality shows that local assemblies, even though in different parts of the world, are bound together in the spiritual realm as one body under the headship of Christ.

When we talk about autonomy or independence of the local assembly, that is to be understood only in the context of local church administration. The church leadership (elders, deacons, teaches, etc) is responsible for their own local assembly only and their limited authority over them comes directly from the Lord. They are accountable for their actions directly to the Lord Jesus. No central organization or group can influence the leadership within the local assembly. This is the independence of the local assembly, nothing more.

It does not matter what we call ourselves - what matters as a local assembly, is our compliance with the Word of God and our obedience to the Spirit of God and the headship of the Lord Jesus. Just as there are many members in the human body, there are many members in each local assembly and many local assemblies in diverse places, that together form the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus, and a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

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Reply by : beracah   View Profile   Since : 25 Apr 2015 4:19:29 AM Close

This is not a theological explanation, but only an observation-

Whether we like it or not, whether we approve it or not, the fact is:

There are multiple Groups of Christian believers, all claiming to have come into being and continue to exist in the WILL of GOD, but opposed to one another and in certain cases live and work in enmity with one another without any communion or fellowship with each other. Generally, to have any kind of dealing or fellowship with such other Christian groups, who also are described as part of the Body of Christ, is a culpable offense that will attract punishment including excommunication.

My understanding is that there is no Scriptural scope for so many groups among members of the Body of Christ, opposed to one another, based on interpretations and practices emanating out of those interpretations. Some hold very opposing doctrines also. Instead of resolving differences, efforts are made and resources are spent on widening the gap and getting more alienated from one another.

They all agree on certain aspects of doctrines or practices but not on all doctrines and all practices. Still, all of them are Christians and children of the same God saved by the same Redeemer – Jesus Christ the Son of God, Members of the same Body of Christ.

How all these warring groups are accommodated in the Same Body is beyond human comprehension and it is the marvellous work of God

Apart from logistical reasons, is there any valid scriptural justification for having so many groups in the same geographical locality; is a question for which I haven’t found an answer so far; while they all continue to be part of the same Body?

This is not for a debate please......

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Reply by : moses2006   View Profile   Since : 26 Apr 2015 12:01:25 AM Close

Dear beracah,

The Lord's parable of the wheat and tares is appropriate to explain what is going on. The Lord described this in Mat 13:24-30. In His sovereign will, He will allow the tares and wheat to grow together until the time of the harvest. The time is coming when the master of the harvest will separate His wheat from the enemy's tares.

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Reply by : beracah   View Profile   Since : 27 Apr 2015 3:51:43 AM Close

In every individual local gathering, the composition of its members could be as depicted in Matt 13:24-30. There are wheat and tares growing together. Proportion of the constituents could be different in different formations. But are there: Totally wheat gatherings and totally Tares gatherings?

The Lord is patient and tolerant. He is waiting till the appointed harvest time. Shall not we also be patient like the Master?

If this is the case: why so many opposing groups in the Same Body of Christ? Can we also conclude that the Body of Christ on earth is divided in its local existence? Can such division be argued as separation? Separation from whom and for what? From fellow members of the Body of Christ?

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Reply by : muthu   View Profile   Since : 27 Apr 2015 12:01:52 PM Close

Dear Moses,

Your explanation on 24th April s great

 

Regards

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Reply by : wigram   View Profile   Since : 28 Apr 2015 11:47:48 AM Close

Dear bro, George P Koshy,

                                        Isn't the assembly in Matt 16 and the one in Matt 18 the same? My understanding is that same assembly is given that in Matt 16  as House of God which our Lord builds and in Matt 18 it is shown as the House of God where man administers or excercises his responsibility. If so, how could it be independent and non independent at the same time.?             

Could you clarify further?

Thanks

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Reply by : wigram   View Profile   Since : 28 Apr 2015 11:52:50 AM Close

Dear bro Moses ,

If independency only pertains to leadership , then would it be more apt to say our assemblies have a independent leadership rather than our assemblies are independent?

Thanks

 

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Reply by : moses2006   View Profile   Since : 28 Apr 2015 2:52:58 PM Close

Dear wigram,

Independent assemblies is not exactly a biblical teaching. In fact during the time of the apostles, the churches were very much dependent on the apostles (Acts 15:28-30) and on each other (Col 4:16) for directions on everything. Now that we have the completed scriptures, all assemblies have the same instructions to follow. The level of dependence on a central human authority or each other has greatly diminished. Still, there was a recent time in the early kerala churches when overseas missionaires were helping the administative functions in many infant local churches.

To the extend that the leadership in a local church is only responsible for those over whom the Spirt has made them overseers (Acts 20:28, 14:23, Titus 1:5, 1 Pet 5:1-4), the concept of admistrative independence of each local assembly can be derived or implied from these verses. In this regard, it is noteworthy that each of the elders in the 7 churches got a separate letter from the Lord in Rev 1,2. He did not ask any of the elders to interfere in the issues within any of the other churches. The Lord regarded each church as having the administrative independence for its own issues/problems and He expected each to take responsibility for themselves, correct themselves, not each other.

Note: I have used assemblies and churches interchangeably to mean the local assemblies.

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Reply by : George P. Koshy   View Profile   Since : 28 Apr 2015 4:52:36 PM Close

Dear ‘wigram,’

In Matthew 16, we read about the Ekklesia that Christ will build in the future and it started on the Day of Pentecost. In Matthew 18, we read about the gathering of the saints with Christ in their midst.

The Apostle Peter wrote about how we who were the dead stones—in the Apostle Paul’s language those who were dead in trespasses and sin—were made living stones to build the spiritual house by Christ (1 Peter 2).

The Ekklesia that gathers in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is the local assembly. That local assembly could consist of believers and unbelievers. We are reminded of this condition as some could become part of us, while we are unaware of it. The actions of Simon Magus of Samaria are an example of this condition of the local assembly. On the other hand, even the gates of hades will not prevail against the Ekklesia that Christ builds, because only the living stones are in it.

Could you meditate and study Matthew 16 and 18 with this in mind? Please try to include some more verses that could help you in this study.

Please ask, if you need any help.

Shalom Malekim!!!

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