Or, What the church looks like, now and in the future.
Based on how different Christian faiths view the Apostles’ Creed
In this final installment, we examine the final 4 statements of the Apostles Creed, and include some additions that the creed doesn’t address, but account for many of the real differences between the Catholic church and the protestant faiths.
Article 9. I believe in a holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
Catholic church. Universal church. The body of christ as it reaches around the world. This has a counterpart in the local church, both identifications are important.
The Communion of saints. A basic description of what church is, and indicating that it’s essential to spiritual living.
Offices of authority. for Catholic, the priest. For most protestants, the pastor and deacon.
Let the divergence begin.
Church governments range from formal hierarchy to autonomous congregations.
Catholic view: More than just gathering together. The church is key to administering sacraments, the means to grace and securing faith. The church itself is considered a sacrament and therefore has salvation power. In worship service, prayers are offered to Mary, saints, and angels. Little mention of the spirit.
Traditional Christianity leans toward considering the church as an establishment by Jesus, led by, empowered by the spirit, but spiritual gifts ceased. The church is where discipleship, evangelism take place. Pentecostal leaning. The same, but the belief is that spiritual gifts continue. Though the witness of the spirit is the internal sign of salvation, without gifts there is no external evidence.
Local vs Universal Church
Local church. limits worship to others in the local body. Visitors are welcome, but sacraments, or ordinances, are particularly Limited to local members only.
Universal church. Open to visiting believers, and including them in sacraments.
Statements of Faith on the church
ABA (American Baptist Association): The church is established by Jesus.
Administered, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Continues in the local, visible church.