[G]    CHURCH

G1.    Creeds: authority (Question 67)

G2.    Denominations (Question 68) G3.    Three types of churches (Question 68)
     
    1
    2
    3
    Model Coetus Electorum (Latin: company of the elected): transcendent Corpus Christi (Latin: body of Christ): historical-objective Communio Sanctorum (Latin: communion of the faithful): spiritual-subjective
    Historical expression Evangelical: revivalism, pietism Liturgical: Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, catholic orthodoxy Liberal: "mainline" Protestantism, political theology
    Focus of common life Conversion: discipline of the regenerate life, religion of the heart Sacramental life: unity of apostolic teaching, religion of the book Social action: relevant service in the world, religion of the people
    Key values & achievements Vatality: inner life Authority: correct doctrine Solidarity: social change
    Teaching concentration New birth: the individual, personal regeneration Authoritative doctrine and catechetics: the eternal, apostolic authority Reconciling base communities: the social, social action
    Church & society correlation Christ against culture Christ of or above culture Christ transforming culture
    Heterodox tendency Gnosticism Neoplatonic idealism Pelagian pragmatism
    Focus of human predicament Sin Heresy Injustice
    Key mark Holiness Apostolicity Unity

     
G4.    Prayer -- detailed version (Question 69) a. Purposes of prayer: (1) Prayer expresses our trust in God; it is also a means by which our trust and faith in God can increase.

(2) Prayer is fellowship with God and a way to show our love and devotion to Him; it is also a means by which our love for God can be strengthened.

(3) Prayer is a means by which we learn to be grateful, remembering that everything comes from God.

(4) Prayer is a means by which we can relieve our burdens before God.

(5) Prayer is a way through which God allows His children to be involved in activities that are eternally important.
 

b. Effect of prayer: Prayer does change the way God acts (Jas 4:2; Lk 11:9-10; Ex 32:11-14; 2Ch 7:14)

c. Proper attitudes in prayer:
 

(1) Pray according to Godís will (Jn 15:17; 1Jn 5:14-15; Mt 6:10; 26:39): His will can be known from the Bible. When we ask for something that is a specific promise or command in the Bible, we should have great confidence that God will answer our prayer. Also, the Holy Spirit gives us guidance in our prayers (Ro 8:26). In cases when we do not know what Godís will is, we should ask for deeper understanding and then pray for what seems best to us.

(2) Pray with faith and real confidence of answer (Heb 11:1; Mk 11:24; Mt 21:22; Jas 1:6)

(3) Pray continually over time (Gen 32:26; Lk 6:12; Mk 14:39; Mt 18:1-8)

(4) Pray earnestly (Heb 5:17; Amos 7:2)

(5) Wait on the Lord (Ps 27:14; 38:15; 130:5-6): to have heart and mind in the right mood for talking with God, to rise to a level of purity worthy of God; to concentrate all thoughts and feelings; to be free from all earthly worries and affections before tha majestic God.
 

d. Components of Prayer:
  (1) Praise for Godís greatness and nature (Mt 6:9; Lk 24:52-53; Rev 4:8)

(2) Thanksgiving for Godís blessings (Col 4:2)

(3) Confession of own sins (Mt 6:12; 1Jn 1:9; Jas 5:16)

(4) Petition for self and for others (Php 4:6)
 

e. Reasons for unanswered prayer:
  (1) It may be answered later according to Godís timing (Rev 6:10-11).

(2) We do not know how to pray as we ought (Ro 8:26).

(3) We do not pray according to Godís will (Jas 4:3).

(4) We do not ask in faith (Jas 1:6-8).

(5) God has a better plan (2Co 12:8-9).

G5.    Baptism -- detailed version (Question 71) a. Institution of baptism: b. Symbolism and Meaning: (1) Cleansing and purification: (2) Identification with the death of Christ: (3) Entry into the church: c. Mode: (1) OT: OT baptisms were all sprinklings (Nu 8:7; Ps 51:7; Eze 36:25; Heb 9:10,13). None of the present modes symbolizes OT circumcision.

(2) Johnís baptism: It is one of repentance (Mt 3:2,6; Ac 19:4), and cleansing of sin (Jn 3:25-26). The mode is unknown but most likely following the OT tradition of sprinkling. The term "much water" (Jn 3:23) should be translated "many waters" meaning many springs.

(3) Jesus did not prescribe a certain mode of baptism, and the Bible never stresses any particular mode.

(4) Greek words: The word baptizo employed by Jesus does not necessarily mean "to immerse" but may also mean "to purify by washing". The word baptisma can mean immersion, pouring, or sprinkling. It is probable that some NT usage can mean immersion, but in no instance is this certain. On the other hand, some OT and NT usage of the word clearly refer to sprinkling and washing (Lev 14:16, Mk 7:1-7).

(5) NT baptisms: There is not a single case of baptism mentioned in the NT of which we are sure that it was baptism by immersion. However, there are many examples in which immersion was unlikely, such as the 3000 baptised on Pentecost (Ac 2:41; too many people) and the baptism of Paul (Ac 9:18; 22:16; Paul was extremely weak).

(6) In sacraments, the mode is always subordinate to the symbolism. To follow the symbol of purification, sprinkling or pouring are more proper (Lev 14:7; Nu 8:7; Heb 9:19-22; 10:22). To follow the symbol of burial with Christ, immersion is more proper. To follow the symbol of entry into the church, sprinkling is more proper.

(7) Baptists hold strongly that the proper mode of baptism is by immersion because they believe that baptism symbolizes burial and resurrection. They even assert that baptism in any other way is not baptism at all. This interpretation of the Bible is inaccurate.

(8) History: Immersion was more prevalent (not exclusive) in post-apostolic times; sprinkling is more prevalent now.

(9) Visual effects: Immersion is more vivid and spectacular and may result greater impact on the person baptized, but definitely not more holy.

d. Requirement for participation: G6.    Infant baptism (Question 71)
    (1) Support for infant baptism:
     
      (a) Infant baptism is visible manifestation of accepting the children of believers into the church and into the new covenant, just like Jewish children are accepted into the OT covenant through circumcision.

      (b) The covenant made with Abraham was primarily a spiritual covenant, though it also had a national aspect (Ro 4:16-18; Gal 3:8-9,14). The covenant is still in force and is essentially the same as the new covenant (Ro 4:13-18; Gal 3:15-18; Heb 6:13-18). Children share in the blessings of the covenant, received the sign of circumcision, and were reckoned as part of the congregation of Israel (2Ch 20:13; Joel 2:16).

      (c) In the NT, baptism is substituted for circumcision as the sign and seal of entrance into the covenant, (Ac 2:39; Col 2:11-12). The new covenant is represented in Scripture as more gracious than the old (Isa 54:13; Jer 31:34; Heb 8:11), and therefore would hardly exclude children. The inclusion of children is supported by Mt 19:14; Ac 2:39; 1Co 7:14.

      (d) In addition, whole households were baptized and it is unlikely that all of them contained no children (Ac 16:15,33; 1Co 1:16).


    (2) Objection to infant baptism:
     

      (a) Baptism is only for believers (Ac 2:41) but children do not have faith.

      (b) There is no command to baptize children in NT.

      (c) NT does not record any clear occurrence of infant baptism.
       

    (3) Many churches practise infant baptism (such as Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Reformed) and many churches do not (such as Baptist, C&MA, Pentacostal). Both have biblical support. As this is not an essential point of faith, each church should adopt their own practice.

    (4) Some churches which oppose infant baptism use the substitute of infant dedication which serves a similar function. This is equivalent to infant baptism without water.

G7.    Four views on baptism (Question 71) (1) Roman Catholic: (2) Lutheran: (3) Reformed: (4) Baptist: G8.    The Lordís Supper -- detailed version (Question 72) a. Name: (1) "supper of the Lord" (1Co 11:20)

(2) "breaking of the bread" (Ac 2:42,46; 20:7,11)

(3) holy communion (1Co 10:16)

(4) "eucharist" from Gr. eucharisteo meaning to give thanks or to be grateful; from the giving of thanks at the Last Supper (Mk 14:22; Mt 26:27; 1Co 10:16; 11:24)

(5) thanksgiving, or mass (Latin missa: sending, dismissal, blessing)
 

b. Institution of the Lordís Supper:
c. Jewish celebration of Passover has two meanings: (1) memorial of deliverance from bondage in Egypt; similarly, the Lordís Supper is a sign of the deliverance from the bondage of sin and death

(2) perpetual sign of and renewal of covenant sealed with sacrificial blood ["blood of the covenant" (1Co 11:25) come from Ex 24:8 where blood was sprinkled over the people to ratify the covenant]; similarly, the Lordís Supper is a sign of the new covenant (salvation by faith) sealed with the blood of the Lamb of God (1Co 5:7)
 

d. Additional Symbolism: (1) representation and proclamation of the Lordís death (1Co 11:26): remembrance (1Co 11:24)

(2) believersí participation in the crucified Christ

(3) unity (oneness) of the believers as we share the one body of Christ

(4) representation of the effects of spiritual eating and drinking as giving life, strength, and joy to the soul
 

e. Meaning of remebance: (1) The phrase "in remembrance of me" or "as a memorial of me" can have two possible meanings: (a) "Godward" reference: the petitioning of God to "remember" Jesusí atoning death and thus show mercy to his people.
(b) "humanward" reference: reminding believers to "remember" their deliverance through Jesus. (2) By using the phrase "in remembrance of me" instead of simply "to remember me", Jesus probably intends it to mean both. Traditional Christian teaching has followed interpretation (b) but Jewish tradition supports interpretation (a).
 
f. Means of grace:
g. Meaning for our lives: (1) Past: Christ died for us to redeem us: our Faith; we are to receive grace and blessings from God through the participation of the eucharist

(2) Present: we are of one body with brothers and sisters and should love them: our Love; we were in the bondage of sin but now we are in the bond of love

(3) Future: we partake the Lordís Supper until Jesusí second coming (1Co 11:26): our Hope; we joyfully look forward to sharing the feast in heaven with all our brothers and sisters, including those who already died

h. Requirement for participation:
G9.    Four views on the Lordís Supper (Question 72) (1) Roman Catholic: (2) Lutheran: (3) Reformed (Calvin): (4) Zwingli: