Visible/Invisible distinction resources

Discussion in 'Ecclesiology' started by arapahoepark, Jul 29, 2017.

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  1. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I am wondering what are some good resources on the visible/invisible church contra Shepherd, FV, et al.?
     
  2. Andrew P.C.

    Andrew P.C. Puritan Board Junior

  3. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    One thing to remember is that this question isn't isolated from larger questions of the Covenant of Grace (and who is or isn't in it)
     
  4. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    I'm too much a theological neophyte to know if this example qualifies in terms of contra Shepard, FV &tc, but here it is ;
    A book recommended by Reformed Reidian, 'Always Obedient', Essays on the Teachings of Klaas Shcilder, contains some interesting insights into his view of the visible/invisible church, as well as the militant/triumphant church, both of which concepts he rejects.

    This in the essay by J.M. Batteau, 'Schilder on the Church.' Beginning on page 84 of that essay, 'Discontinuity ; Old Concepts Replaced By New', Batteau explains Schilder's view on the aforementioned topics, and translates some of his writings to illustrate his subject.

    Such as;4'Inasmuch as the concept of "invisible" is determined by the concept of "visible", the need to speak about an "invisible church" is eliminated.'

    "Comment (by the essayist) Schilder phrases his criticism of scholastic Reformed and Kuyperian orthodoxy in such a way as to disarm his critics. Instead of totally rejecting the invisible church, he denies the existence of the visible church, and thereby the need to create an artificial theory of the invisible church."

    5 'The church is willed by God; the Son of God indubitably gathers for Himself a congregation, chosen to eternal life, by His Spirit and Word. He does this from the beginning of the world to its end. He is thus busy with this activity today, and tomorrow, and until the final day. He is thus at work, with this objective, in the "imperfect present" tense. Suppose that there is only one carpenter in the whole world, who needs all of history to make one table, which he will deliver at the end. Surely no one can commend the quality of the man's work, so long as the praise is based on some "phenomenologically" developed argument about the "visible" table and the "invisible" table that the carpenter is making. So in the same way, no one should tire the Son of God with doxologies based on "phenomenologically" developed theories about "the" "visible" church and "the" "invisible" church. How do we know what the carpenter's table will look like, supposing that there is only one carpenter in the world and only one table ... and supposing that we ourselves are the wood that he cuts and carves in order to make his table ? "The church has never ever been a phenomenon ; further, there is only one Lord, and only one church is being made, once. Socrates cannot form a "concept" of the church here, for there is only one church and to form concepts, he needs more than one "specimen." And Plato can't do it either; already the simple fact that the church is divided over two "worlds," ever since the first Expiration of breath from human nostrils (the first death). ... prevents Plato, with his teaching about the two worlds, from constructing an "essence" of the church. And furthermore, since no one can say something about the church with out the Scripture, every word about the church is bound to Scripture." (punctuation, capitals, and italics are as they are printed in the book)

    As Jacob noted in another thread, it is an outstanding book if you're interested in an overview of Klaas Schilder's thought.
     
  5. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    As noted above, I don't see Schilder as rejecting the distinction. The key point is that we can't absolutize them, otherwise we have two different churches: Church Visible and Church Invisible (so which is the body of Christ?).
     
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  6. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Only the invisible church would be those under the NC and now saved, as there would be many professing, but still unsaved within the visible church at large.
     
  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    No one is disputing that on this thread, but does a preacher get up and when he starts talking about the death of Christ to his congregation, does he say, "Now for a moment I am only talking to the invisible church"?
     
  8. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    A thornier question would involve when we administer the ordinances to the church at large, how would we know who is in which group?
     
  9. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    And that's the difference between paedobaptists and credos.
     
  10. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    and there's the hair in the soup; both groups are moving forward on profession alone and presumption, which is earthy and imperfect.
     
  11. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    God alone knows those whom are His, but that person can also know that they are saved due to the truth of scripture and the witness of the Holy Spirit.
    The problem is that its really hard for anyone else to really know.
     
  12. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Both groups still end up though at same place in the end, is that person professing Jesus saved them really now saved?
     
  13. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Correct and hence, the distinction. Visible vs invisible.
     
  14. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Not really. On your gloss only the elect can receive the signs and seals of the covenant, which means you have to know [in theory] who is elect. On my gloss that's not a problem.
     
  15. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    We don't, not ultimately. This is why we fence the table before Communion, for example. But God knows who those who are are taking Communion legitimately and those who are not. Our job is to administer and take the elements by faith, leaving it to God to make invisible/visible distinctions.
     
  16. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Since only the saved though can receive those signs and seals, we both are in the same predicament in regards to just the elect receiving them.
     
  17. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    One area when we do need to use discernment would be in allowing for children to partake of those items, as they must be saved and need to have the parents exercise wisdom at those times of administrating them .
     
  18. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    That sounds a lot like Presbyterianism
     
  19. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I am not in a predicament, since I believe children of the covenant ought to receive the sign of the covenant and grow up under the promises of the covenant.
     
  20. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    You have posted though that is for the elect only, so how can we have children take them without discerning whether they are even saved or not?
     
  21. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    No one is able to peer into the corridors of eternity and see whether another is really elect. But since God gives the covenant sign to those in the covenant, that alleviates some of the problem.
     
  22. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Thats not entirely true....the covenant has always been made up of believers i.e. true elect and unbelievers i.e. reprobates; consider Ishmael, Esau, Judas, Demas, Ananias and Sapphira, Simon Magus. Even the Apostles were placing water on people who were not true believers and they had a spiritual insight that none of us have.


    The benefits of the internal aspect of the covenant are only realized to the true Israel of God-however, the reprobates even share in the blessings of being in church and sitting under the means of grace (even though those means are a condemnation on the other hand) and sharing in loving fellowship from God's people.

    Do u think that all 3000 that were baptized on the day of Pentecost were all elect?
     
  23. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Yes, for it stated that was the number God had added into the Church, and only saved person are included in/under the NC.
     
  24. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    So, how do u respond to the fact that Ananias and his wife were in the NT church? or Demas who was active w Paul in ministry?
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  25. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Additionally, if the elect cannot fall away, which we would both agree with, how is it that if everyone in the NT church are elect, that we have a myriad of warning passages about just that, warning people that they can fall away i.e. the book of Hebrews?
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  26. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I would see the Husband and wife as going to heaven early, as God judged them for their sin in a way that made sure the early Church realized God was Holy. The other man God only knew his spiritual state at that time. Please remember when I say Church, its the invisible Body of Church being referenced.
     
  27. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I think the author is warning us to make sure of our election and calling, as many will be in the assembly and profess and look the part, but in the end, will show their true condition, just as Judas did with Jesus.
     
  28. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    What is your evidence that the husband and wife went to heaven early?
     
  29. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Annias and his wife were hypocrtites; I will not bore you w/ Poole or Henry on the subject, but I will use a credo in John Gill:

    "A name common among the Jews, the same with Hananiah, ( Jeremiah 28:1 ) ( Acts 9:10 ) ( 23:2 ) it signifies not the humility of the Lord, or the affliction of the Lord, or the answer of the Lord, as say some, as if it was derived from (hne) ; but the grace of the Lord, or the Lord's gracious one, coming from (Nnx) : there is no dependence on names; though this man's name signified one that was in the grace and favour of God; he was not so, but a graceless person, as appears by what follows. It is very likely he was a minister of the word, since the account of him follows upon that of Barnabas, and is opposed to it; it may be he was one of the hundred and twenty, on whom the Holy Ghost fell on the day of Pentecost; and yet, though he had great gifts, had no grace. This shows there are hypocrites among men of the greatest names and characters, and in the purest churches; this first and pure church, which, in the preceding chapter, has such large encomiums, was not free from them:"

    Here, even Gill admits that these two were in the local church; possibly even a 'minister of the word'. Satan filled their hearts to lie unto the HS. They perished.

    Colossians 4:14

    14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.

    2 Timothy 4:10

    10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

    Demas, same state; 'having loved the world (more than Christ), left us'. He took his hand off the plow and looked back, much like Lot's wife.



    U do understand that you have just validated that no one knows who the elect people of God are. In that, you agree that the church local has internal and external distinction, i.e. visible and invisible-visible, being made up of all kinds of peoples. To deny this just goes against simple logic.
     
  30. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    In a local assembly, there is a mixture of the invisible true church of Christ, the saved, and also the visible members of the local assembly church.
    When I say none are in the church save the saved, always referencing the true church of Christ.
     
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