imagine a community where the pastor doesn't have faith, none of the congregants have faith, and they are baptizing babies into the community. The FV guy (and honestly: even the non-FV presbyterian) has to at least say, "well, not a church in spite of meeting all the external requirements, blahblahblah," but I think the consistent FV guy says, "a church which is under the curses of God."And to that, Mablog commenter "Xon" has come back with a noteworthy and rebuttal come-back:
To which I am somewhat flabbergasted -- because that event (which is hardly a hypothtical one here in 21st century America) leads us to ask upon what Rock will Christ build His church? The promise of faith? The external, objective act of baptism and then the table?
Or is it instead that which flesh and blood has not revealed, but that which the Father who is in heaven have revealed? See: the church without faith -- in spite of the objective signs -- is no church.
Somebody's going to call that "gnostic", I am sure, but I'll wait for that coin to drop. And I'm getting the 'bot editor here telling me I need to be more punchy.
You propose a false dilemma of your own when you ask us to choose between Christ building his church on faith or on the sacraments? Faithful people trust Christ to be there when they do the sacraments because that is what He promises to do. At least, that's the "FV" view.Which, I think, is standard FV smoke-and-mirrors. They assume that doing the sacraments (Baptists: bear with me) means "demonstrating the faith", but then say something like "Mormon", and it's all yeah-buts. Suddenly non-objective realities like what someone believes about Jesus and the Father are material.
We baptists simply call the bluff before all that turns into questions about paedocommunion and/or the necessity (though biblically-unwarranted) of the practice of Confirmation come up. Sacraments are for the believer, and that keeps all the non-biblical exercises out of the picture. More or less.
"Build" is ambiguous. Does it mean that Christ is literally not going to be there at all if none of the people have faith?Yup. Think "rolling stone concert".
(And has there ever been a church where every last person lacked faith despite their profession? How do we know?)I love that -- not one person on Earth today has ever witnessed "paedofaith" except where John the Baptist demonstrates it in the womb, but somehow a baptist view of regenerate church membership which says that faith precedes Baptism precedes inclusion in the body suddenly requires that we can't understand what's happening inside a Mormon temple -- or a PCUSA church or the most liberal, mostly-unitarian stripe.
Or does it mean that the way Christ "grows", "builds up into strength," "establishes on an unbreakable foundation" His Church is by faith. But when the riff raff wander in and take the things of God lightly and do not trust in Him, they are going to get hammered eventually. But they get hammered in part because they were in Christ's Church and they trifled with it by refusing to obey God's command to trust in Him alone. When you come in without the right kinds of garments, that's a bad thing. But there had to be somewhere for you to be "in" in the first place.I would propose two things here:
 Every single church in the history of the world has some mixture of error in it, and has some chaff among the wheat. All of them. That doesn't prove or disprove anything except that what the Bible says is true: some creep in.
 Some "churches" are no longer such a thing, having become synagogues of Satan. That being the case -- the confessional case -- what exactly is being said there? What's being said is that at some point, God is not being served by the community, and the community ceases to be a church. That's a baptist premise, through and through. It hangs almost all of the weight of fidelity not on the external, objective issues of word and sacrament but on the teleological problem of whether or not the men in the church are men of faith or men without faith. And I don;t think anyone writing the WCF or the LBCF was a gnostic.