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Symbols that Strengthen

Symbols have had a confused history in Christianity because
Christianity involves humans with all their natural tendency to accretion and superstition.
A
principle of biblical Christianity however, is that when that to which an anticipatory symbol points has finally come, that symbol falls away lest it distract from the reality which it indicated.
See: Animism
in Christ's Church
For
instance, to continue to offer the blood of animals as a reminder today of Christ's sacrifice for sin is a contradiction of the fulfilment of those past symbolic acts that pointed forward to the Cross of Jesus.
No
less also, is the offering of incense and a lighting of candles to represent the ascent of prayer and its intercession, which is fulfilled in Christ's Ascension for us to the right hand of the Most High, a contradiction of His consequent gift of the Holy Spirit to all believers, in Whom they thereby have immediate direct access to the Father.
 
Nevertheless,
in its founding character Christianity is associated with three distinct continuing symbols that carry profound teaching significance for the character of its continuing witness in this world if understood.
 
  – Biblical Symbols in the Church's Life –
WITH THE CORRESPONDING CENTRAL EMPHASIS OF EACH
 
Christian Baptism
(spiritual burial and resurrection)
Identity
The Lord's Supper
(celebration of our union in Christ)
Unity
The Head Covering
(with and without, in public ministry)
Leadership
1
Entering the Faith through Baptism
 
The
expression, with one's whole body, of a once-off personal surrender of our total person to Christ's ownership in identification with His death.
 
It
is by faith also a freeing from all forms of spiritual bondage through identification with Christ's resurrection.
SEE: ITS PERVERSION
 
2
Celebrating The Lord's Supper
 
It is
the continuing personal act-of-faith in the completed redemption of all Christ's people in His atoning death.
 
Truly, this is no 'mystery' of faith. It is our united act of thanksgiving for Christ's single act of redemption, in which He reconciled God's justice and mercy in His body on the cross by receiving our just condemnation upon Himself.
 
It is a submission to the presence of Christ in all His people; a spiritual act of 'discerning' them as His precious Body –
for "there is one Bread, we who are many are one Body, for we all partake of the one Bread."
1 Corinthians 10:17.
The
understanding of the early church is reflected in the Didache, a guide for the churches of Syria dating from the beginning of the second century AD.
'On the Lord's Day of the Lord [first day of the week in commemoration of His resurrection] come together, break bread and hold Eucharist, after confessing your transgressions that your offering may be pure; but let none who has a quarrel with his fellow join in your meeting until they be reconciled, that your sacrifices be not defiled. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord, "In every place and time offer Me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great king." saith the Lord, "and My name is wonderful among the heathen".' (Didache 14).
SEE: ITS PERVERSION
Open or Closed Communion?

 
3
With and Without Headcovering
 
In the
act of public worship, the presence (for the female) as well as the absence (for the male) of a head-covering is simply an outward recognition of God's leadership-balance in our humanity and is the most appropriate conduct under the gender-neutral gift of the Holy Spirit.
 
 
Recognition of God's gender distinction in His human leadership-design is equally incumbent upon both men and women in leading the believers in public prayer, or other forms of public leadership ministry, so that spiritual equality in leadership ministry does not appear to disregard the gender distinction in our Creator's design of humanity as was witnessed in the beginning.
(please click this heading for more detail)
God is consistent.

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