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Moderated Forums => Orthodox-Other Christian Discussion => Orthodox-Protestant Discussion => Topic started by: GreekChef on January 20, 2009, 12:41:59 AM

Title: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 20, 2009, 12:41:59 AM
The question was raised in another thread, and I think it bears exploration, of the existence of a one true church...

David Young said the following:
Quote
Could it boil down to this? That we start from quite different ground, but each is assuming the other can be brought round to his/her own point of view.

Your belief is that there exists such a thing as "the only true church". I know I put that rather crassly, but you know what I mean.

I start from the belief that there exists no such thing as "the only true Church".

As far as I know, there are only two claimants to the title: Rome and Orthodoxy. (I am not aware of such bodies as Copts, Waldensians etc making that claim.)  Let me say at once that, if I believed there was such an entity as the only true church, I think you have a much stronger case than Rome and I would 'vote' for Orthodoxy every time. You win (I think) every argument...

...except the basic one, which is: Does such a thing exist in the first place?


As you know, our view is that - as you rightly say yourselves - the Lord has only one Body; but we believe that body is made up of all the redeemed, invisibly joined in union with Christ by his indwelling Spirit, whether they come to him through Orthodoxy (as you have, it seems (I say that, only because you rightly say that in the final analysis only God knows who is saved, not because I imply any doubt on my part of your salvation)), through Methodism (as I did), and so on.
Emphasis mine


I'm going to sleep on this tonight, as it is getting late.  But I would love to see responses to the question.  Anyone wanna take a stab at it?

God bless!
Presbytera Mari
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 20, 2009, 01:12:30 AM
Does such a thing exist in the first place?

This is easy:

"I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church."

The belief in one true church is mandated by the universal creed of all Christians.  After that, it's simply an issue deciding which church that is.  It is either the Roman Catholic Church, the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox, or the Assyrian Church of the East.  I think that covers all of the surviving apostolic communions; correct me if I am wrong.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 20, 2009, 02:22:41 AM
Does such a thing exist in the first place?

This is easy:

"I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church."

The belief in one true church is mandated by the universal creed of all Christians.  After that, it's simply an issue deciding which church that is.  It is either the Roman Catholic Church, the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox, or the Assyrian Church of the East.  I think that covers all of the surviving apostolic communions; correct me if I am wrong.

No, just about.  The Protestant ones, and now it seems most of the "Old Catholic" have committed suicide.

The Church is the Bride of Christ, and He doesn't keep a harem.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 20, 2009, 12:05:20 PM
For those of us who have retained the apostolic communion, this is, indeed, an easy question.  When addressing the question with non-apostolic communions, though, we have to remember that the Creed was written in 325 at Nicea (and completed at Constantinople).  So for the churches who believe in sola scriptura and have rejected everything outside of the NT (I was going to write "anything after about 150 a.d.," but considering many of the fathers wrote prior to that, the date doesn't work, since they reject those fathers as well), the Creed which we hold so dear means nothing to them.  So for the sake of discussing with them, what do we say?

And to our resident Protestants, I would like to ask, how do you support your claim that there is no true church, but that all Christians constitute the church?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 20, 2009, 12:41:03 PM
For those of us who have retained the apostolic communion, this is, indeed, an easy question.  When addressing the question with non-apostolic communions, though, we have to remember that the Creed was written in 325 at Nicea (and completed at Constantinople).  So for the churches who believe in sola scriptura and have rejected everything outside of the NT (I was going to write "anything after about 150 a.d.," but considering many of the fathers wrote prior to that, the date doesn't work, since they reject those fathers as well), the Creed which we hold so dear means nothing to them.  So for the sake of discussing with them, what do we say?

And to our resident Protestants, I would like to ask, how do you support your claim that there is no true church, but that all Christians constitute the church?

Why stop at Christians?  Muslims claim to be the true followers of Christ.  And plenty of Protestants promote the idea that the Jews have their own special deal going on, an idea welcome on the Jewish spectrum from atheist to ultra-Orthodox.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ironsiderodger on January 20, 2009, 01:12:45 PM
For those of us who have retained the apostolic communion, this is, indeed, an easy question.  When addressing the question with non-apostolic communions, though, we have to remember that the Creed was written in 325 at Nicea (and completed at Constantinople).  So for the churches who believe in sola scriptura and have rejected everything outside of the NT (I was going to write "anything after about 150 a.d.," but considering many of the fathers wrote prior to that, the date doesn't work, since they reject those fathers as well), the Creed which we hold so dear means nothing to them.  So for the sake of discussing with them, what do we say?

And to our resident Protestants, I would like to ask, how do you support your claim that there is no true church, but that all Christians constitute the church?

I think that perhaps some, like my own pastor, feel that truly all of the believers who hold to orthodox (small "o") tennants (and in truth my church's doctrinal statement reflects more of the Nicene Creed than we'd care to admit rather than reflecting proof texts from our sola scriptura stance) and who apply orthopraxy (because even the demons believe...)- these people represent the "invisible" body of Christ, united by these orthodox beliefs. Thus in a sense there is some supra-demoninational thing going on here- we have our in-fighting- but we are united in an overall inclusive sense. With that a protestant might see and say he is as much a part of the Church as is an Orthodox Chirstian. So with that we side-step the issue of the "harem" that ialmisry brings up... it may not be a pretty way of doing it.

Now... I'm saying this, not to neccessarily say I'm in total agreement with that reasoning; hopefully just to offer a possible explaination.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Asteriktos on January 20, 2009, 02:14:00 PM
Quote
But I would love to see responses to the question.  Anyone wanna take a stab at it?

I tried in the last few threads about roughly the same subject matter...

One True Church? (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18657.0.html)
We Cannot Be Sure Where the Church Is Not (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18112.0.html)
Is There Salvation Outside of Orthodoxy? (http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19064.msg281245.html#msg281245)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: witega on January 20, 2009, 03:57:00 PM
Christ did not incarnate in an 'invisible/abstract/undefined/illusionary' body. He was incarnate as a specific human being, in a single, defined physical body, in a specific space and time. While in that specific, defined, circumscribable human body, He established His Church and gave His apostles authority to organize and spread it--which they did as a specific, defined, and identifiable community. 

If John Smith says, "I will start my business", do we assume that he actually means he will set up a specific business ("John Smith Industries, ltd") or that he is referring to an abstract concept such that anyone, anywhere, at anytime can set up an organization that shares some essential philosophies or practices with the original and that all such organizations constitute "John Smith Industries, ltd".? Or do we recognize that "Ted Smith Industries", "Smith Productions", "Smitt Industries", etc may be very close imitations of 'John Smith Industries, ltd' but are not the company John Smith said he would set up (and did, complete with designation of administrators after He Himself moved on).
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 20, 2009, 05:54:52 PM
Christ did not incarnate in an 'invisible/abstract/undefined/illusionary' body. He was incarnate as a specific human being, in a single, defined physical body, in a specific space and time. While in that specific, defined, circumscribable human body, He established His Church and gave His apostles authority to organize and spread it--which they did as a specific, defined, and identifiable community. 

If John Smith says, "I will start my business", do we assume that he actually means he will set up a specific business ("John Smith Industries, ltd") or that he is referring to an abstract concept such that anyone, anywhere, at anytime can set up an organization that shares some essential philosophies or practices with the original and that all such organizations constitute "John Smith Industries, ltd".? Or do we recognize that "Ted Smith Industries", "Smith Productions", "Smitt Industries", etc may be very close imitations of 'John Smith Industries, ltd' but are not the company John Smith said he would set up (and did, complete with designation of administrators after He Himself moved on).

Excellent point!
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 24, 2009, 07:06:48 AM
In discussing the nature of the true church, I think there are some things we should agree to set aside as not really germane to the discussion.

Some who post refer often to Mormons and Oneness Pentecostals. The former are clearly a sect, not a Christian church of any sort; the latter are modalists, Sabellians, a heresy rejected long ago by the early church.

Also, we probably all use the word “church” in non-theological ways, in ordinary conversation, just as any English speaker would. “John goes to church every Sunday.” “There is a church on the corner of our street.” “The Church should speak out against moral corruption.”

We are not, on this thread, discussing sects, revived ancient heresies, or common English parlance. We are comparing the ways in which Orthodox and Protestants conceive the true church. What is the true church of Jesus Christ?

Our view, as Protestants, is based very much on the pattern of Acts 2.37-42:

Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…” So those who received his word were baptised… and they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

We can, I think, include true faith in the reference to repentance (no-one repents towards a god he doesn’t believe in). So first of all, a true church is made up of believers. Here is a quotation:

“The beginning of the spiritual life is conversion, an attitude of the will turning towards God and renouncing the world… The soul which is not transformed by repentance does not know grace.”

Those are from Vladimir Lossky’s “Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church” (pp. 199-205).

Then these people are baptised. We should leave aside the question of whether it is licit to baptise the infant children of Christian parents, for there is a thread devoted to that discussion. Let us rather, for the sake of adhering clearly to the theme of this thread, allow that both infant and believers’ baptisms are acceptable variants of the rite, and create baptised believers.

These believers then meet together regularly in the place where they live for the apostles’ teaching (which will be imparted in various ways including preaching to the congregation), for the various forms of ongoing fellowship (worship, spiritual conversation, mutual love and care and so on), the Lord’s Supper, and prayer together. They form a body (the body of Christ where they are).

Such a body is a true Christian church.

At least, it is the ideal, the goal we all aim for. But I suspect it is seldom achieved. In reality, such a body will attract people who come for a variety of reasons and motives, and some will have the form of godliness but deny its power. Some will be Christian in name only. “Kings or patriarchs, bishops or priests, princes or servants, seculars or monks, all are equally in the shadows and walk in darkness, unless they are willing to repent as they ought to do. For repentance is the gate which leads from the realm of darkness into that of light,” to quote Lossky again (p. 219). Nonetheless, such a body, aiming to conform to the pattern of Acts 2, is a true Christian church.

Then there is the catholic church, perhaps better called universal church. This consists of all the redeemed, who are united to Christ individually through their faith by the Holy Spirit, will be united to Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb following the close of this age. These will have come in via Orthodoxy, Methodism, Catholicism, Waldenses, Brethren, Pentecostals etc etc. Some will even have been Baptists in this age! No-one can see with the eye who these are: God alone truly knows those who are his. So it is sometimes called “the invisible church.”

This explains, I think why we have no conception of any organisation being “the one true church”.

Such is our view.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: DennyB on January 24, 2009, 09:29:41 AM
Jesus said himself that we the Church are a City on a Hill,meaning we are clearly visible to the world,just as a City has stucture,a government,laws,etc. so does the Church,yes there are invisible aspects of our faith,our union,etc., we are clearly seen for others to see.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: chrevbel on January 24, 2009, 11:58:16 AM
In discussing the nature of the true church, I think there are some things we should agree to set aside as not really germane to the discussion.

Some who post refer often to Mormons and Oneness Pentecostals. The former are clearly a sect...
I don't know.  I think I see this as germane.  A sect is a dissenting or schismatic religious body.  How can that not be relevant to a discussion about the possibility of one true church?  We call what happened in the 11th century the Great Schism.  Regardless of what one believes existed prior, it's impossible to conclude that what existed afterward was one true church.

If you wish to argue that Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism, etc. are all truly Christ's churches (which I believe is the gist of your argument, but correct me if I'm wrong), then the logical extension of that is that any body can have a valid claim as one of Christ's churches.  By what objective criterion do you conclude that Mormonism is a sect?  And that it does not have a just claim as one of Christ's churches?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 24, 2009, 12:17:12 PM
In discussing the nature of the true church, I think there are some things we should agree to set aside as not really germane to the discussion.

Some who post refer often to Mormons and Oneness Pentecostals. The former are clearly a sect...
I don't know.  I think I see this as germane.  A sect is a dissenting or schismatic religious body.  How can that not be relevant to a discussion about the possibility of one true church?  We call what happened in the 11th century the Great Schism.  Regardless of what one believes existed prior, it's impossible to conclude that what existed afterward was one true church.

If you wish to argue that Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism, etc. are all truly Christ's churches (which I believe is the gist of your argument, but correct me if I'm wrong), then the logical extension of that is that any body can have a valid claim as one of Christ's churches.  By what objective criterion do you conclude that Mormonism is a sect?  And that it does not have a just claim as one of Christ's churches?

I have to agree with this, actually.  Because while we may say that Mormonism is a sect, they would not agree, I'm sure.  The entire purpose of the one true church is to preserve in perfection what Christ taught.  Each time a "denomination" broke away from it's parent in favor of a new teaching, the product was farther and farther and farther from the Truth which Christ taught.  While yes, Mormonism is on the fringes, just this side of occult, they still adhere to what they believe the Bible is teaching (with the help of the Book of Mormon).  They see themselves as having corrected heresies and come into the truth... sounds a lot like mainstream Protestants.  The question in my mind is who decides what is valid?  Jehovah's Witnesses and Baptists, for example, are worlds apart.  And each calls the other invalid.  Yet both use the same "objective" criterion to judge their validity... the Bible.  So who is correct?  It's all a matter of interpretation of the words of the Bible.  Jehovah's Witnesses say their interpretation is correct.  Baptists say theirs is correct.  And when one points out the other's heresies, the accused heretical group offers more words from the Bible to justify their argument!  So who is it?  We can't just say, "well, Jehovah's Witnesses have clearly corrupted Christ's teaching," without offering objective criterion. 


Quote
These believers then meet together regularly in the place where they live for the apostles’ teaching (which will be imparted in various ways including preaching to the congregation), for the various forms of ongoing fellowship (worship, spiritual conversation, mutual love and care and so on), the Lord’s Supper, and prayer together. They form a body (the body of Christ where they are).

Such a body is a true Christian church

It seems to me that, by the criterion offered by David Young in this quote, even Jehovah's Witnesses would qualify as Christ's Church, since they themselves believe that their teachings regarding Christ (as derived from the Bible) are correct.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on January 24, 2009, 02:38:38 PM
I have to agree with this, actually.  Because while we may say that Mormonism is a sect, they would not agree, I'm sure.  The entire purpose of the one true church is to preserve in perfection what Christ taught.  Each time a "denomination" broke away from it's parent in favor of a new teaching, the product was farther and farther and farther from the Truth which Christ taught.  While yes, Mormonism is on the fringes, just this side of occult, they still adhere to what they believe the Bible is teaching (with the help of the Book of Mormon).  They see themselves as having corrected heresies and come into the truth... sounds a lot like mainstream Protestants.  The question in my mind is who decides what is valid?  Jehovah's Witnesses and Baptists, for example, are worlds apart.  And each calls the other invalid.  Yet both use the same "objective" criterion to judge their validity... the Bible.  So who is correct?  It's all a matter of interpretation of the words of the Bible.  Jehovah's Witnesses say their interpretation is correct.  Baptists say theirs is correct.  And when one points out the other's heresies, the accused heretical group offers more words from the Bible to justify their argument!  So who is it?  We can't just say, "well, Jehovah's Witnesses have clearly corrupted Christ's teaching," without offering objective criterion.

Have the teachings of the Orthodox Church been corrupted to the point that the Orthodox Church of today bears no resemblance to the Orthodox Church of 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000 years ago?  By implicitly saying that the Orthodox Church is not the True Church opens the door for everyone else to say that they are the True Church.
 
Quote
These believers then meet together regularly in the place where they live for the apostles’ teaching (which will be imparted in various ways including preaching to the congregation), for the various forms of ongoing fellowship (worship, spiritual conversation, mutual love and care and so on), the Lord’s Supper, and prayer together. They form a body (the body of Christ where they are).
Such a body is a true Christian church

It seems to me that, by the criterion offered by David Young in this quote, even Jehovah's Witnesses would qualify as Christ's Church, since they themselves believe that their teachings regarding Christ (as derived from the Bible) are correct.

I'll keep the above words in perspective when I see empty pews at an Orthodox Church because any Church can call itself Christ's Church....
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 24, 2009, 06:43:53 PM
1) By what objective criterion do you conclude that Mormonism is a sect?  And that it does not have a just claim as one of Christ's churches?

2) Each time a "denomination" broke away from it's parent in favor of a new teaching, the product was farther and farther and farther from the Truth which Christ taught. 

3) Jehovah's Witnesses and Baptists, for example, are worlds apart.  And each calls the other invalid.  Yet both use the same "objective" criterion to judge their validity... the Bible.  So who is correct? 

1) To answer this really appropriately, I should have to read up on Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses and discover a good deal more than I actually know about them. But in fact I suspect we all agree that such bodies are not really the only true church, so we'd really only end up knowing more about we already agree on.

We're back to where we got to under 'sola scriptura': what is the "all truth" into which the Holy Spirit led the Church? Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the Nicene and the Apostles' Creeds are usually taken as the basis for what true Christians agree on. We all believe a lot more than was included in those, but - without doing my further research into the sects - I think we all subscribe to what is in them. It is my impression that the sects do not.

2) We've been here before too! Without studying the beliefs of every denomination, I'd lay a wager (if I were a betting man) that denominations don't usually break away "in favor of a new teaching", but rather in a genuine attempt to recover lost teaching. Certainly this was the aim of the Reformers: whether they succeeded or not is a different discussion; but let us at least grant them their motivation.

3) As far as I know, the Jehovah's Witnesses use their own "New World" translation of the Bible, which alters the verses they do not agree with. Baptists until recently used the King James version, and later many used the Revised Standard Version. Today a lot use the New International Version. These are not confined to one denomination. I believe we all (Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox) strive to use translations which are faithful to the meaning of the Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew originals. The JWs have had to concoct their own version (I believe) to avoid the Christian teaching in any version Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox would use.

If one wants to discuss whether the sects have any claim to be Christian churches, it probably ought to be a separate thread - maybe already is. Really, what we are (I think) examining here is whether Holy Orthodoxy is the one true church, or whether the pattern I drew (correctly or mistakenly) from Acts 2 allows us to include Evangelical churches as true churches, and as part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church in which we all profess to believe.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 24, 2009, 07:04:18 PM
in the 11th century the Great Schism... it's impossible to conclude that what existed afterward was one true church.

Thus far we agree. But there are two conclusions:

1) one half of the split remained the only true church (Orthodox answer)

2) there isn't such a thing as the only true church (Evangelical answer, if we mean an identifiable unified organisation).

After 1054 we agree; we could go back further and discuss Waldenses or Donatists if we wished. It would make no difference to the principle. What your post says is true - but it doesn't reach an answer to the question which this thread is about.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 24, 2009, 07:21:55 PM
saying that the Orthodox Church is not the True Church opens the door for everyone else to say that they are the True Church.

It does; but it also open the door to saying that such an organisation does not exist - that the true church, which will spend eternity with the Lord, is made up of all the redeemed from all the denominations. This Bride will be united to him at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Let me give you an imperfect example. A week ago I was invited to speak at the evening service of a Pentecostal church. It was a very strange experience, and my human mind was silently asking such questions as, "How can this be worship of the Lord?" When the service was over - some 1½ hours after it began - coffee and biscuits were served in a downstairs room, and I fell to fairly long conversation with the pastor and others in the congregation, including those with whom I stayed the night. There was no doubt at all that these people enjoy 'like precious faith' with me and my Baptists here at home. Now, Baptists and Pentecostals aren't that far apart, which is why I say it is an imperfect example. Baptists and Orthodox are a good deal further apart, if only because separated by a considerably longer period of unconnected development. Nonetheless, reading posts and Private Messages from this forum, and reading Orthodox books as well as the some of early Greek Fathers, I find at the core of it all the same 'like precious faith'. This is why I put quotations from Lossky, Bulgakov, Hopko, and others in what I write. It seems to me (without making myself my own pope) that the Lord has redeemed some of you, and people here at my local Baptist church, and people at the Pentecostal church of last weekend, various Catholics I have met or read, and so on; and that we all are members of his true church and have our names written in the Lamb's book of life.

That is what we say the true church is. It includes some Orthodox, some Baptists, etc etc, and excludes other Orthodox and Baptists &c &c, for some have this 'like precious faith' (as it is somewhere written) and others, though nominally members of our churches, have never entered 'the gates of grace', as one of your own writers has it.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on January 25, 2009, 12:06:44 AM
I see that you haven't included anybody outside of Christianity. That means that you have yourself created a church because you only believe Christians can only be saved. I hope you see now that we believe the same thing. Except that our church isn't as broad as yours. ;)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on January 25, 2009, 12:41:23 AM
I see that you haven't included anybody outside of Christianity. That means that you have yourself created a church because you only believe Christians can only be saved. I hope you see now that we believe the same thing. Except that our church isn't as broad as yours. ;)

The truth of the matter is that even those outside of Christianity can be saved.

The late Christos Androutsos, professor of Dogmatics, used to say that Orthodoxy is the only sure path for salvation. It is not the only path for salvation, but it is the only safe road.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on January 25, 2009, 03:08:32 AM
saying that the Orthodox Church is not the True Church opens the door for everyone else to say that they are the True Church.

It does; but it also open the door to saying that such an organisation does not exist - that the true church, which will spend eternity with the Lord, is made up of all the redeemed from all the denominations. This Bride will be united to him at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Yet, the Orthodox Church does not have any readings from Revelation, not even the letters from Christ to the 7 Churches.  Many sects have exploited Revelation to predict the End of the World.  These sects call themselves the Church of Christ and come up with all sorts of ideas already discussed in other threads on this board.   :)

Let me give you an imperfect example. A week ago I was invited to speak at the evening service of a Pentecostal church. It was a very strange experience, and my human mind was silently asking such questions as, "How can this be worship of the Lord?"

Do you ask yourself the same question at your own worship services?

When the service was over - some 1½ hours after it began - coffee and biscuits were served in a downstairs room, and I fell to fairly long conversation with the pastor and others in the congregation, including those with whom I stayed the night. There was no doubt at all that these people enjoy 'like precious faith' with me and my Baptists here at home. Now, Baptists and Pentecostals aren't that far apart, which is why I say it is an imperfect example.

"Like Precious Faith" - I suppose they are glad that there is no Hierarch to watch over them besides Christ ... wait a minute, He ascended into Heaven.

Baptists and Orthodox are a good deal further apart, if only because separated by a considerably longer period of unconnected development.

"Unconnected Development"  While St. John Chrysostom was inventing the Divine Liturgy in the 4th Century AD, the Germanic tribes were looting and pillaging their way across Europe.  I'll agree with that assessment.   ;)

Nonetheless, reading posts and Private Messages from this forum, and reading Orthodox books as well as the some of early Greek Fathers, I find at the core of it all the same 'like precious faith'. This is why I put quotations from Lossky, Bulgakov, Hopko, and others in what I write. It seems to me (without making myself my own pope) that the Lord has redeemed some of you, and people here at my local Baptist church, and people at the Pentecostal church of last weekend, various Catholics I have met or read, and so on; and that we all are members of his true church and have our names written in the Lamb's book of life.

If you feel that way, suit yourself.  If you are quoting Orthodox authors to persuade Orthodox peoples on your missionary assignments that your theology is more superior than existing theology, you will realize that such use of Orthodox authors will only take you so far before you ultimately wind up with an Orthodox mindset that the same writers you describe have.

That is what we say the true church is. It includes some Orthodox, some Baptists, etc etc, and excludes other Orthodox and Baptists &c &c, for some have this 'like precious faith' (as it is somewhere written) and others, though nominally members of our churches, have never entered 'the gates of grace', as one of your own writers has it.

How can you say with any authority who has been saved and who hasn't?   ???
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 25, 2009, 06:25:23 AM
you only believe Christians can only be saved.

We believe that those who hear the Gospel and reject it, dying in that rejection, are lost. It is debatable whether those who have had no opportunity to hear or read the Gospel, but who live moral, God-fearing lives, will be in the Kingdom. This is one of those unrevealed mysteries known only to God and not dealt with in scripture. Our task, of course, is not to speculate on the minority of such people who lived before Christ came, or for some other reason have never been exposed to the Gospel; not to speculate on them, but to "preach the Gospel to every creature", trusting God and leaving the unrevealed mysteries to him.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 25, 2009, 06:38:42 AM
Do you ask yourself the same question at your own worship services?

No. I am aware that I cannot look on the heart, and my point was that some forms of service are obviously worship, which can be discerned from the words addressed to the Almighty in liturgy, prayer, hymnody, coupled with a reverent attitude. (Only God knows who is saying or singing them with sincerity and faith.) The form of service at the Pentecostal was so alien to me that I had to remind myself that the heart is known only to God: I could not extract from what they were saying and doing that it was worship. I was puzzled. Then (as my point and post continued) when I got into one-to-one conversation at length with some of them afterwards, there was no doubt of their sincerity and the truth of their faith. So I had to silently rebuke myself and remind myself to leave such matters to God, who is the only One who knows.

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in the 4th Century AD, the Germanic tribes were looting and pillaging their way across Europe. 

Indeed we were. God has been wonderfully merciful to us.

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If you are quoting Orthodox authors to persuade Orthodox peoples ... that your theology is more superior than existing theology, you will realize that such use of Orthodox authors will only take you so far before you ultimately wind up with an Orthodox mindset

No: I quote them because what they say is true and edifying. As far as winding up with an Orthodox mindset, I began a thread on this board plainly saying I have joined in order to learn both for my own benefit and for that of those to whom I sometimes give teaching, preaching or writing.

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How can you say with any authority who has been saved and who hasn't?   

I can't. There is often a prompt recognition among Christians who meet for the first time as strangers that "this person knows and loves the same Lord as I do": if you like, a family likeness which transcends age, nationality, education, or culture. It is often possible to be fairly sure of who is saved; of others it is often easy to be sure they are not (murderers, rapists, blasphemers...). But you rightly observe that there are very many whose state is known only to God.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on January 25, 2009, 07:14:04 AM
in the 4th Century AD, the Germanic tribes were looting and pillaging their way across Europe. 

Indeed we were. God has been wonderfully merciful to us.
Indeed. My priest often says of those of us of Irish and German heritage, that the Church was thriving in some parts of the world while our ancestors were still worshiping trees, and now God has chosen the descendants of these tree-worshipers to build His Church in the Ozarks. How strange and wonderful are His ways, and His paths beyond searching.


Fixed quote tags  -PtA
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 25, 2009, 03:22:33 PM
No. I am aware that I cannot look on the heart, and my point was that some forms of service are obviously worship, which can be discerned from the words addressed to the Almighty in liturgy, prayer, hymnody, coupled with a reverent attitude. (Only God knows who is saying or singing them with sincerity and faith.) The form of service at the Pentecostal was so alien to me that I had to remind myself that the heart is known only to God: I could not extract from what they were saying and doing that it was worship. I was puzzled. Then (as my point and post continued) when I got into one-to-one conversation at length with some of them afterwards, there was no doubt of their sincerity and the truth of their faith. So I had to silently rebuke myself and remind myself to leave such matters to God, who is the only One who knows.

David,

While it is true that only God knows who will enter His kingdom, regardless of what denomination they ascribe to, what we DO know is that the Orthodox Church is the Church that Christ and Apostles set up on Earth. We have the documented history to prove it.

In October of 2007 my friend Jenn and I had the pleasure of taking a one week trip to Ireland. We had an amazing time! We drove all over the country. On the last part of our journey we had to drive from a town just outside Limerick (on the West side of the isle) to Waterford (on the South East side of the Isle) to Dublin (North East) all in one day. It was a loong drive.

Now, if Jenn had said to me, "Maureen, I think I am going to take another car and just drive my own way without any maps or GPS devices," I would have told her she was crazy. While there was a chance that she could have gotten to our destinations by just pointing the car in the general direction of our destination, there was also a very good chance she'd get lost on a round-about or get stuck in a sheep pasture on the way. (If anyone has ever been to Ireland, you know that this is a very real possibility!  :D )

I had the maps and I had the GPS device. It would have been insane for Jenn to try to make the voyage on her own.

It's the same thing with those outside the Church. Yeah, there's a chance that they may end up in heaven, but why run the risk of getting stuck on a round-about when you know someone who has the map?

Also, while I know plenty of Protestants and Catholics who are sincere in their faith for the Lord, I also believe that the devil is at work in these "churches" to distract them from the truth. While I am not naive to think that the devil doesn't try to interfere with the Orthodox Church, I also know that even if a priest or a Bishop runs astray, the teachings of the Church are true.

In the Protestant sects, since so much is dependant on the faith of the preacher, if he falls astray, what happens to the flock?

Last summer in Atlanta, a pastor at one of the LARGEST mega churches in the area was brought up on charges of financial scandel and sexual misconduct. The entire church fell apart after that. The school, everything associated with the church just fell apart. It was sad.

It's not that the Orthodox Church believes that God's grace isn't at work outside of the Church. We can't put God in a box. We just know that His grace IS at work INSIDE the Church.

I hope this helps.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on January 25, 2009, 03:43:27 PM
Indeed we were. God has been wonderfully merciful to us.

God hasn't been merciful to Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and other branches of Protestantism?

No: I quote them because what they say is true and edifying.

Your own scholars haven't written anything on par with the Orthodox scholars you cite?

As far as winding up with an Orthodox mindset, I began a thread on this board plainly saying I have joined in order to learn both for my own benefit and for that of those to whom I sometimes give teaching, preaching or writing.

The Divine Liturgy has a passage asking to bless all which is good and beneficial to us.  Many people misinterpret that passage to imply blessing for all ulterior motives like: financial gain, secular power, success with the opposite sex, well behaved children, obedient pets, well maintained expensive automobiles, et al.; However, like the Parable of the 10 Lepers which was read on Sunday 1/18, only one healed Leper, a Samaritan, came back to Christ and thanked Him for the gift of healing while the other 9 supposedly went among their business.  Do you give thanks to Christ for how many Orthodox are converted to the Baptist faith?

I can't. There is often a prompt recognition among Christians who meet for the first time as strangers that "this person knows and loves the same Lord as I do": if you like, a family likeness which transcends age, nationality, education, or culture. It is often possible to be fairly sure of who is saved; of others it is often easy to be sure they are not (murderers, rapists, blasphemers...). But you rightly observe that there are very many whose state is known only to God.

So, you conclude that people who are incarcerated for murder, rape or other crimes are outside of the Lord's Salvation?  As for blasphemers, are they also outside the Lord's Salvation?  A lot of people in Albania have been in spiritual prison for decades due to the previous political climate.  Does your ministry serve as visitation to those who have been imprisoned due to political circumstances beyond their control?  Before your missionary organization showed up in Albania, were the people of Albania beyond the Lord's Salvation like the murderer, rapist or blasphemer?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 25, 2009, 05:42:20 PM

1) To answer this really appropriately, I should have to read up on Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses and discover a good deal more than I actually know about them. But in fact I suspect we all agree that such bodies are not really the only true church, so we'd really only end up knowing more about we already agree on.
The point is this... you say YOU have to read up on those two sects... to do what?  To judge whether or not they are truly "the church" as they claim to be.  I, on the other hand, need to do no such thing, as their claims are invalid simply because they are outside of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church, and because I won't judge anything... the Church, in Her great wisdom, has judged that they are not, in fact the Church.  The criterion for conclusion within Orthodoxy is adhering to the faith and dogma of the Orthodox Church, as was preserved and handed down from Christ Himself, and coming under the apostolic succession that She holds.  The criterion has NOTHING to do with what I think of their theology.  So yes, we may agree that they are sects, but for two TOTALLY different reasons (which is the point).  You conclude they are a sect because what you know of their theology is not in line with what you believe to be proper Christianity.  I conclude they are a sect because of the two reasons I gave above.  Completely different-- one relies on YOUR judgment, the other on the judgment of the entirety of the Church.  Another example of Protestants being "popes unto themselves."

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We're back to where we got to under 'sola scriptura': what is the "all truth" into which the Holy Spirit led the Church? Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the Nicene and the Apostles' Creeds are usually taken as the basis for what true Christians agree on. We all believe a lot more than was included in those, but - without doing my further research into the sects - I think we all subscribe to what is in them. It is my impression that the sects do not.
Funny you should mention the Nicene Creed... one of the keystones of Orthodox Holy Tradition.  How is it that a Sola Scriptura Protestant adheres to the Nicene Constinopolitan Creed, written in 325 ad... by all those fathers you categorically reject (like St. Spyridon, St. Nicholas, St. Athanasios the Great...).  It was written WAY after Ignatius of Antioch, WAY after all those other fathers we discussed in the other threads.  And the fathers that wrote it were STRICT adherents of Orthodoxy (which included the writings of Ignatius and the like).  So you accept it, but reject other things they taught?  This isn't Sola Scriptura, my friend.  It is picking and choosing what one wants to believe.  And, by the way, when it says, "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church," it is NOT speaking of "Christians" or "Christianity" across denominations.  It is speaking of THE One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church... the Orthodox Church.  If "true Christians" agree on this, then "true Christians" should be Orthodox.  Can't have it both ways, I'm afraid.

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2) We've been here before too! Without studying the beliefs of every denomination, I'd lay a wager (if I were a betting man) that denominations don't usually break away "in favor of a new teaching", but rather in a genuine attempt to recover lost teaching. Certainly this was the aim of the Reformers: whether they succeeded or not is a different discussion; but let us at least grant them their motivation.
I'll take your wager and raise you!  :) 
You are certainly a more trusting person than I.  I have NO faith that they break away in a "genuine attempt" to recover lost teaching.  Why?  Because it is prideful to think that any individual knows better than the entire Church (such as Arius thought he knew correctly, such as Luther thought he knew correctly, etc), and as ialmisry said above, Christ does NOT keep a harem.  The evil one has his hands all over that.

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3) As far as I know, the Jehovah's Witnesses use their own "New World" translation of the Bible, which alters the verses they do not agree with. Baptists until recently used the King James version, and later many used the Revised Standard Version. Today a lot use the New International Version. These are not confined to one denomination. I believe we all (Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox) strive to use translations which are faithful to the meaning of the Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew originals. The JWs have had to concoct their own version (I believe) to avoid the Christian teaching in any version Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox would use.
From where do you think they translated?  There is only ONE original Bible, untranslated.  It's the Greek.  Every "translation" has to come from that.  So while yes, they use their own version, they had to have taken it from somewhere.  The point is, they are publishing what THEY believe to be the correct translation, and from it preaching what they believe to be the correct faith (the same as you believe about the translation you use and the faith you preach).  Where do you draw the line?  The loosy-goosy (as my Grandmother would have said) criteria of "well they SEEM to have faith," and "well I think we can agree that they're not in line with us" leave WAY too much room for all kinds of horrible teachings to creep in.

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If one wants to discuss whether the sects have any claim to be Christian churches, it probably ought to be a separate thread - maybe already is. Really, what we are (I think) examining here is whether Holy Orthodoxy is the one true church, or whether the pattern I drew (correctly or mistakenly) from Acts 2 allows us to include Evangelical churches as true churches, and as part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church in which we all profess to believe.
The point is, you say "sects."  We say (and please, no offense is meant) that ANYTHING outside of Holy Orthodoxy is essentially the same-- heretical.  Why?  Because the pure and perfect teachings of Christ through His Church have been watered down, wittled away, to wrong belief.  It doesn't matter if that wrong belief is seemingly innocent or unimportant (such as the loss of infant baptism), or as huge as denying the very deity of Christ and His place in the Undivided Trinity (as is the case with Mormons and JW's).  They ALL have implications much greater-- about the nature, the greatness, the glory of God.  They are ALL outside of Orthodoxy.  So we view them as the same, essentially.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 25, 2009, 06:12:34 PM
We just know that His grace IS at work INSIDE the Church.

Which I don't deny for a moment.

Just wondering, musing: do you know this, not because of the Church where you have experienced grace, but because it is there that you have found the Lord? Or rather, that he has found you? You see, it's a good argument for you to remain where you are (which I am not trying to persuade you not to do). But as I look back over the past 45 years or so since I 'found Christ' or better he 'found me' within an Evangelical context, the argument works equally well for me.

In fact I actually put it some on a thread weeks or months ago: that I feel able and right to remain in Evangelicalism because looking back over the centuries (not many, I know!) I see God there in so many ways, in so many lives. I think I said the argument works "ad hominem": it keeps each of us where we have that inner, God-given and blessed assurance, so impossible to describe to someone who lacks it, that here I find God.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 25, 2009, 06:28:28 PM
God hasn't been merciful to Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and other branches of Protestantism?

The reference was to pre-Christian Germanic tribes, not to churches.

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Your own scholars haven't written anything on par with the Orthodox scholars you cite?

Yes: I often quote them too. But some Orthodox writers have emphases I have not previously discovered in Evangelical writers.

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Do you give thanks to Christ for how many Orthodox are converted to the Baptist faith?

I don't know of any. I would give thanks for any merely nominal Orthodox who found a living faith in a Baptist context, as I would give thanks for any merely nominal Baptist who came to the same experience. The aim is not to make Baptists of people, but to see people knowing Christ.

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So, you conclude that people who are incarcerated for murder, rape or other crimes are outside of the Lord's Salvation?  As for blasphemers, are they also outside the Lord's Salvation? ... Before your missionary organization showed up in Albania, were the people of Albania beyond the Lord's Salvation like the murderer, rapist or blasphemer?

If they have committed these sins - and we are all sinners - they need to repent and turn to God, as we all do, whatever our sins. Your own writers say that with great clarity. None is beyond the call to repentance and faith. Jesus said he came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. But they are not saved without that conversion.

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Does your ministry serve as visitation to those who have been imprisoned due to political circumstances beyond their control? 

Not specifically, for they are now happily released and back in society, scattered here and there with their homes, families and friends. We do do prison visiting, when a governor allows us. People who were imprisoned for political reasons often need healing of the mind and emotions, to which of course Christian faith contributes significantly; but people who now need help in coming to terms with their experiences under Communism are just as likely to be those who avoided prison and obeyed the régime - like former schoolteachers who were ordered to lead their pupils in demolishing a church and now wonder God will ever forgive them. (Of course he will if they turn to him, but they need to hear that comfort and that assurance of the promised acceptance. "Him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.")
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 25, 2009, 06:50:05 PM
read up on those two sects... to do what?  To judge whether or not they are truly "the church" ... Another example of Protestants being "popes unto themselves."

Come! That's not fair. You asked by what criterion I would know they are not a Christian church, and I said I should need to find out more about them to give a proper answer. That's not calling myself Benedict XVII. It's only saying I can't give a detailed answer as to what makes them not-Christian without more information about their dogmas.

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all those fathers you categorically reject (like St. Spyridon, St. Nicholas, St. Athanasios the Great...). 

I know nothing of St Nicholas; St Spyridon is a figure much loved in Corfu and is, I believe, their patron saint, but beyond that I know nothing about him. Not knowing about them is not the same as categorical rejection. Athanasius I have at home and have read with pleasure.

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The Nicene Creed ... This isn't Sola Scriptura,

But it doesn't contradict scripture, does it? Why should we not accept it as a brief and succinct statement of genuine Christian belief?

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There is only ONE original Bible, untranslated.  It's the Greek. 

I think the LXX is a translation from the Hebrew and Aramaic original, plus additional books written in Greek. Am I mistaken here?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 25, 2009, 08:09:52 PM
read up on those two sects... to do what?  To judge whether or not they are truly "the church" ... Another example of Protestants being "popes unto themselves."

Come! That's not fair. You asked by what criterion I would know they are not a Christian church, and I said I should need to find out more about them to give a proper answer. That's not calling myself Benedict XVII. It's only saying I can't give a detailed answer as to what makes them not-Christian without more information about their dogmas.

I didn't mean that as a personal attack.  I apologize.  My point was that you are making the determination, you are making the decision, you are judging that, in your opinion, they are not the Church (this is the same of ANY Protestant, not just you).  I, as an Orthodox Christian, need not know anything about their theology.  The Church of Christ (the Orthodox Church) has determined, in Her wisdom, that those sects are NOT the Church of Christ (otherwise they would be a part of the fold).  This is all I need to know.  It is not subject to my opinion.  I have no opinion.  Only obedience to Christ's Church.

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all those fathers you categorically reject (like St. Spyridon, St. Nicholas, St. Athanasios the Great...). 

I know nothing of St Nicholas; St Spyridon is a figure much loved in Corfu and is, I believe, their patron saint, but beyond that I know nothing about him. Not knowing about them is not the same as categorical rejection. Athanasius I have at home and have read with pleasure.
If Protestants did not categorically reject the fathers, the reading of them would be everyday practice, and the theology of the Protestant churches would be in line with what they write.  As I said, it's not pick and choose for us.  We accept the collective voice of the fathers.  Protestants do not.  We don't read them simply for pleasure.  We read them for instruction, inspiration, guidance... Protestants, as a whole, do not.


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The Nicene Creed ... This isn't Sola Scriptura,

But it doesn't contradict scripture, does it? Why should we not accept it as a brief and succinct statement of genuine Christian belief?
But you are picking and choosing according to your opinion.  That's the point.  The collective voice of the fathers DOES NOT contradict Scripture.  NONE of Orthodoxy contradicts Scripture.  So why reject Orthodoxy? 
By your (Protestants') account, the veneration ALONE of the Fathers, the keeping of the Saints, contradicts Scripture!  So why, then would you accept something they wrote?  It's picking and choosing... I judge that this is in line with what I believe (according to how I interpret the Scriptures), thus, I will accept it as dogma.
It is, again, ridiculous to me, to accept as inspired ONE thing that they wrote (the Nicene Creed) and adhere to it, but REJECT other things that they wrote as uninspired simply because they don't agree with YOUR interpretation of Scripture.  We're back where we started.

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There is only ONE original Bible, untranslated.  It's the Greek. 

I think the LXX is a translation from the Hebrew and Aramaic original, plus additional books written in Greek. Am I mistaken here?

In speaking of the OT, yes.  In speaking of the NT, they were originally written in Greek, the language of the empire.  Maybe I should have clarified, I just figured this was common knowledge.  Apologies.

Please know that I don't say any of this as a personal attack on you or your beliefs.  I am trying very hard (though apparently unsuccessfully) to make what I felt was a fairly clear point.  I guess I'm just not being very clear.  I don't mean to come off as attacking.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on January 25, 2009, 08:21:30 PM
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the Lord has only one Body; but we believe that body is made up of all the redeemed, invisibly joined in union with Christ by his indwelling Spirit, whether they come to him through Orthodoxy (as you have, it seems (I say that, only because you rightly say that in the final analysis only God knows who is saved, not because I imply any doubt on my part of your salvation)), through Methodism (as I did), and so on.



This idea is a noval one. The Protestant Reformation took an idea that Saint Augustine made up and ran with it to it's logical conclusion. But the idea is noval.....new. The One True Church idea is not noval. It is old. So by the bases of "time" itself, the idea expressed above is "counterfit".


We know where it came from and it didn't come from Jesus and the Apostles......nor from Orthodox Christians for the first 4 hundred years. The beginnings (ruff draft) of that idea can be traced to Saint Augustine. And the development of it can be traced to the Protestant Reformers.

This idea destroys any real concept of "the Real Church" being INCARNATE in the HERE and NOW.  It has a gnostic feel to it.

The Gnostics believed that their souls would be saved. They didn't care about their physical bodies. In a similar manner, this Augustinian..modied Protestant idea makes the "invisible church soul" saved while not caring about the "physical church body".


If the Church is Incarnate then their is only ONE TRUE CHURCH......with a spiritual and physical aspect.

If the Church is some phantom ghost then there is no such thing as a ONE TRUE (physical) CHURCH......because the onlything that's important is the spiritual aspect.







JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on January 25, 2009, 08:40:00 PM
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I think the LXX is a translation from the Hebrew and Aramaic original, plus additional books written in Greek. Am I mistaken here?

The Dead Sea Scrolls shows that even some of those "plus additional" books were also written in Hebrew and Aramaic.






JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on January 25, 2009, 11:30:56 PM
Off-topic posts split and moved to the following thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19399.0.html

Please do not derail this thread with off-topic conversation.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on January 25, 2009, 11:57:19 PM

This idea is a noval one. The Protestant Reformation took an idea that Saint Augustine made up and ran with it to it's logical conclusion. But the idea is noval.....new. The One True Church idea is not noval. It is old. So by the bases of "time" itself, the idea expressed above is "counterfit".


We know where it came from and it didn't come from Jesus and the Apostles......nor from Orthodox Christians for the first 4 hundred years. The beginnings (ruff draft) of that idea can be traced to Saint Augustine. And the development of it can be traced to the Protestant Reformers.

This idea destroys any real concept of "the Real Church" being INCARNATE in the HERE and NOW.  It has a gnostic feel to it.

The Gnostics believed that their souls would be saved. They didn't care about their physical bodies. In a similar manner, this Augustinian..modied Protestant idea makes the "invisible church soul" saved while not caring about the "physical church body".


If the Church is Incarnate then their is only ONE TRUE CHURCH......with a spiritual and physical aspect.

If the Church is some phantom ghost then there is no such thing as a ONE TRUE (physical) CHURCH......because the onlything that's important is the spiritual aspect.



JNORM888

I'm just happy that at least you can see this.  ;)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on January 26, 2009, 12:46:02 AM
God hasn't been merciful to Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and other branches of Protestantism?
The reference was to pre-Christian Germanic tribes, not to churches.

The Germanic tribes saw religion as a way out of foraging and barbarism.  In modern society, religion can be seen as constant fundraising and barbarism.

Yes: I often quote them too. But some Orthodox writers have emphases I have not previously discovered in Evangelical writers.

Why do you think that your Evangelical writers have not found the same emphases as Orthodox writers?

I don't know of any. I would give thanks for any merely nominal Orthodox who found a living faith in a Baptist context, as I would give thanks for any merely nominal Baptist who came to the same experience. The aim is not to make Baptists of people, but to see people knowing Christ.

People knowing Christ vs. conversion to the Baptist faith.  So the Albanian Orthodox do not know Christ or if I don't attend Divine Liturgy for 3 months I suddenly do not know Christ.

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So, you conclude that people who are incarcerated for murder, rape or other crimes are outside of the Lord's Salvation?  As for blasphemers, are they also outside the Lord's Salvation? ... Before your missionary organization showed up in Albania, were the people of Albania beyond the Lord's Salvation like the murderer, rapist or blasphemer?

If they have committed these sins - and we are all sinners - they need to repent and turn to God, as we all do, whatever our sins. Your own writers say that with great clarity. None is beyond the call to repentance and faith. Jesus said he came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. But they are not saved without that conversion.

The kind of conversion experienced by the Samaritan Woman at Jacob's Well or the kind of conversion which goes like "Be saved or be destroyed in Armageddon."

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Does your ministry serve as visitation to those who have been imprisoned due to political circumstances beyond their control? 

Not specifically, for they are now happily released and back in society, scattered here and there with their homes, families and friends. We do do prison visiting, when a governor allows us. People who were imprisoned for political reasons often need healing of the mind and emotions, to which of course Christian faith contributes significantly; but people who now need help in coming to terms with their experiences under Communism are just as likely to be those who avoided prison and obeyed the régime - like former schoolteachers who were ordered to lead their pupils in demolishing a church and now wonder God will ever forgive them. (Of course he will if they turn to him, but they need to hear that comfort and that assurance of the promised acceptance. "Him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.")

I was referring to spiritual imprisonment enforced by the former Athiest Albanian Government.  Sorry if I wasn't clear.  You can restate your above comment based on spiritual rather than physical imprisonment.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 26, 2009, 06:06:19 AM
you are making the determination, you are making the decision, you are judging that, in your opinion, ... I, as an Orthodox Christian, need not know anything about their theology.  The Church of Christ (the Orthodox Church) has determined

Handmaiden sent me an excellent article on infant baptism by Jordan Bajis, which you can get the link to from her post on that thread. He starts by saying he was troubled about the practice of infant baptism, and became determined to read, study, think, pray and discuss till he felt satisfied he had the answers. Now he believes in infant baptism. Why is it right for him to work through that lenghty process, coming to his own, personal, throught-through conviction, but when I do it I become a pope?

Have you never examined why you believe the things you do? Does that make you Pope Joan II? Of course not! God calls us to worship him with all our mind, and surely that means not accepting beliefs second-hand, but with inner conviction of their truth. You have concluded that Orthodoxy is the true church, and from that all else follows. But something made you take that first step and commit yourself and your trust to Orthodoxy - otherwise you would not be so theologically articulate as you are!

Surely your congregation contains people of simple belief who accept what they are told without a lot of prior personal thought; so does ours. Simple faith - admirable. But one can tell the difference between such perfectly acceptable, trusting souls and those who have striven with difficult questions and come to personal (often changed) beliefs. That doesn't make them all quasi popes.

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If Protestants did not categorically reject the fathers, the reading of them would be everyday practice

Nonsense! You yourself wrote on a previous post that you wished Orthodox would read the Fathers. (I think it was yourgoodself who wrote it.) I've probabvly read more Athanasius lately than I have Wesley, but at present my daily reading is Bulgakov, who at least quotes the Fathers - and no doubt agrees with them.

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We read them for instruction, inspiration, guidance...

As do I. So too do I read Wesley, Spener, Zinzendorf, Bernard of Clairvaux, Ælfric, and many others. They all have things to teach me: I don't see any of them as infallible - not even Gregory the Great, who really was a pope!

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So why reject Orthodoxy? 

This is (I think) the title of a whole different thread, and I think I have posted on it.

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It is, again, ridiculous to me, to accept as inspired ONE thing that they wrote ... but REJECT other things that they wrote

Not at all! Anyway, I didn't say the creeds (I referred to the Apostles' and the Nicene) are inspired, I said we all agree on them as succinct summaries of Christian doctrine which exclude sects like JWs and Mormons. I don't have to accept every word someone (or a body of people) write, to accept one piece of their writing as valid and true. That's not ridiculous - it's just seeing them as human.

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I don't mean to come off as attacking
.

Words like "sect", "own pope", "ridiculous" do rather tend in that direction, I'm afraid.

Pax nobiscum jugiter!,

Your friend (and I like to think, brother - the Day will reveal it one way or another),
DMY
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 26, 2009, 09:14:00 AM
Why do you think that your Evangelical writers have not found the same emphases as Orthodox writers?

I find the same, of course, the other way round - that Evangelical writers nourish me with insights or emphases which I seldom find in Eastern writings. Why is that? I don't think any one writer has embraced and experienced all God has revealed, and also there develop what one might call schools of thought, with their own structure of thought, their own emphases. With so many years of theological and spiritual reflection, and so little cross-fertilisation or even contact, it is not surprising that East and West are different.

I think Lossky has a very expressive and insightful point when he observes that no eastern saint has ever borne the stigmata as have western saints, and that no western saint has entered into the experience of the Transfiguration as have eastern saints. We emphasise the Passion, you emphasise the Glory. Both are fully true and fully biblical. This of course is probably the starkest difference, but there are many smaller ones, such as the different approaches to fasting discussed on the Fasting thread.

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People knowing Christ vs. conversion to the Baptist faith.  So the Albanian Orthodox do not know Christ or if I don't attend Divine Liturgy for 3 months I suddenly do not know Christ.

I am obviously not managing to express myself in a way that you can follow. Here, I think, is another evidence of the difference between East and West: we use the same words with different meanings. Each meaning may well be a true and biblical concept, but because of our different vocabulary we misunderstand each other. I believe the same is true of speakers of Danish and Norwegian: they have the same words, but they mean different things.

First, I have never, to my knowledge, spoken of conversion to the Baptist faith, nor even of "the Baptist faith". Is there such a thing? The word "baptist" describes more a form of church government - autonomous local churches consisting of believers baptised by immersion upon profession of faith. Never in my life have I been bothered about converting people to a particular church order.

In re not attending divine worship for several months, it would surely depend on the motive for absence? Maybe the people at church have hurt your feelings deeply in some manner and you just can't face them for a while; maybe you are ill; maybe you are away on business in a place where your church does not exist. But maybe you don't go because you have no love for God himself and are heartily glad to rid yourself for a while of an irksome family tradition. Our salvation does not depend on being in church; but there is something amiss if a real Christian deliberately decides to suspend or end church-going.

As regards whether the Albanian Orthodox know Christ or not, do not your own writers on these posts persistently state that, in the last analysis, only God knows those who are his? I have no doubt that some know him, and some do not - as is true of Baptist congregations and probably any other in this fallen but religious world.

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The kind of conversion experienced by the Samaritan Woman at Jacob's Well or the kind of conversion which goes like "Be saved or be destroyed in Armageddon."

Without getting into a debate on premillennialism, let me say that God, in his mercy, uses all manner of approaches to make people aware of their need of the Saviour. Some come in like the Samaritan woman, with tactful, thoughtful and gentle prompting; others come because they know they are heading for final destruction and need to "flee from the wrath to come". What matters is that after their conversion, it be seen to be genuine by the continuing fruit of a godly and Christ-centred life. I believe you call it theosis.

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I was referring to spiritual imprisonment enforced by the former Athiest Albanian Government.  ... You can restate your above comment based on spiritual rather than physical imprisonment.

It doesn't really make a difference to my reply. The Lord's command is to preach repentance and remission of sins to all. I think so many people were damaged by the strict and relentless imposition of atheism that they hardly form a special group: it's almost the whole population, in one degree or another, who were born during those terrible years. The Catholics suffered most, I believe, because of their link with a foreign power (the Vatican, hence Italy). The Orthodox have recorded some very moving stories in English in "The Resurrection of the Church in Albania". There was only one Evangelical church; all its pre-War members are now dead, but during Communism some were imprisoned, the pastor was tortured as well. The Moslems probably had an easier time, because (I believe - I am no expert on Islam) that their religion permits you to deny your faith if your life is in danger, so living a double life was an option that was open to them.

Does that answer the question better?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 26, 2009, 09:55:12 AM
There is, it seems to me, a findamental flaw, a contradiction in the orthodox contention that they alon are the ONE true church. What? Namely, that while you affirm you know where the church is, that is to say that you embrace Orthodoxy as the known receiptical (for lack of a better term) of the original church, while on the other hand you acknowledge you do not know where the church is not.

That admission, that you do not know where the church is not, leaves no room to claim sole embodiment of the church in Orthodoxy. IN otger words, if you do not know where the church is not, the you admit (at least as possibilitty) a universal spiritual union among believers who may be outside of Orthodoxy itself. That admission is essentially and fundamentally the same as the common belief among Evangelicals regarding ghe universal nature of the church.

I actually was raised in a Holiness-Pentecostal group who believed themselves to be the excluive restoartion of the NT church. Now, they did not claim to be the only savd people (creating some contrived distinction between what it meant to be in Chrost versus in the body of Christ). However, eventually Scripture would let me proceed no further without rectifying the error I had learned in this regard. Hebrews 12:23 is so clear that one cannot claim to rightly believe it and at the same time hold a view between the two extremes as it were.

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Hebrews 12:23
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect

Per this passage the church is the collective body or assembly of those who have been justified in the sight of God by faith in the atoning work of Christ, the firstborn -- whose names are accordingly written in heaven. So then, based on this passage, we can only rightly conclude one of two options:

1. The church universal consists rightly of ALL who have placed saving faith in the Lord jesus Christ, despite present ecclessiastical alignment.  -- OR --
2. Only those who are members within a given church orgajization or successor which totally embodies and decends form the NT church itself are saved, and no other.

I believe, based on Scripture, and from personal experience (as also implied by your unwillingness to define the very limits of the church concretely) that option one is correct.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on January 26, 2009, 10:38:36 AM
How about one and two simultaneously.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 26, 2009, 11:08:41 AM
you are making the determination, you are making the decision, you are judging that, in your opinion, ... I, as an Orthodox Christian, need not know anything about their theology.  The Church of Christ (the Orthodox Church) has determined

Handmaiden sent me an excellent article on infant baptism by Jordan Bajis, which you can get the link to from her post on that thread.
I know this article.  It is the one that I posted toward the beginning of the Believer's Baptism thread, and went back and forth with Cleopas over several posts subsequently.  It is indeed a good article.

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He starts by saying he was troubled about the practice of infant baptism, and became determined to read, study, think, pray and discuss till he felt satisfied he had the answers. Now he believes in infant baptism. Why is it right for him to work through that lenghty process, coming to his own, personal, throught-through conviction, but when I do it I become a pope?

Have you never examined why you believe the things you do? Does that make you Pope Joan II? Of course not! God calls us to worship him with all our mind, and surely that means not accepting beliefs second-hand, but with inner conviction of their truth. You have concluded that Orthodoxy is the true church, and from that all else follows. But something made you take that first step and commit yourself and your trust to Orthodoxy - otherwise you would not be so theologically articulate as you are!

Surely your congregation contains people of simple belief who accept what they are told without a lot of prior personal thought; so does ours. Simple faith - admirable. But one can tell the difference between such perfectly acceptable, trusting souls and those who have striven with difficult questions and come to personal (often changed) beliefs. That doesn't make them all quasi popes.

Of course we go looking for answers!  You are definitely correct in that.  The difference is that, for us, first comes obedience, whether we understand rationally or not.  Even if Bajis disagreed with the practice, he does not set himself above the rest and assume that he is right and the church is wrong (that's not to imply that you or anyone else is trying to set yourself above the rest, I'm speaking only of him).  He obeys his bishop, obeys his Church.  He is accountable to someone and does not make decisions of doctrine and dogma on his own.  That's my point.  Even when he disagrees, he obeys.  Now, when we are talking about smaller issues that are not doctrinal or dogmatic, disagreeing is a little different.  Disagreeing with a single bishop is another matter (though we properly still obey).  But when the Church has spoken through the councils of the bishops, the voice of the Holy Spirit, about doctrinal and dogmatic issues, you are correct that we are not at liberty to disagree.  We may hold personal opinions, but we obey.  We don't up and leave, we don't start a new church, we don't try and "correct" or anything like that (I'm not saying that you do, I'm just addressing what you said about people leaving because they are trying to recover old teachings, etc).  Because we realize that the collective voice of the church, through the councils and the bishops, is right and we are wrong.  We do not believe ourselves to be so enlightened as to know better than everyone else (I'm not implying anything by that about you or Protestants, I'm speaking strictly of Orthodox). 

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If Protestants did not categorically reject the fathers, the reading of them would be everyday practice

Nonsense! You yourself wrote on a previous post that you wished Orthodox would read the Fathers. (I think it was yourgoodself who wrote it.) I've probabvly read more Athanasius lately than I have Wesley, but at present my daily reading is Bulgakov, who at least quotes the Fathers - and no doubt agrees with them.
I don't remember writing that, but I may have.  It is important for us to read the Fathers.  But the point is not that we Orthodox each individually read the Fathers.  As Orthodox, we adhere to the teachings of the Fathers, as they permeate all aspects of Orthodoxy.  So though I may not have read St. Athanasios' On the Incarnation (though I have), I still adhere to what he says because I adhere to Orthodoxy, which accepts that work as truth (notice the little t).  His writing, as I think I mentioned with regards to other writers, proclaimed what was already believed by the church.  Does this make sense?  I'm trying to demonstrate the synthesis of the Fathers and the Church.  I didn't mean that NO Protestant reads the Fathers, I just meant that there is no such synthesis in Protestantism of Fathers and belief, or Fathers and Church.  Am I wrong?  Please correct me if I am.  I was under the impression that it is not common practice among Protestants to read and adhere to the teaching of the Fathers (as a general rule).

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We read them for instruction, inspiration, guidance...

As do I. So too do I read Wesley, Spener, Zinzendorf, Bernard of Clairvaux, Ælfric, and many others. They all have things to teach me: I don't see any of them as infallible - not even Gregory the Great, who really was a pope!
I totally appreciate that you read them because it makes it much easier to discuss these things with you.  You have a greater understanding of Orthodoxy than the majority of Protestants I have encountered.  Would you say that this is common among Protestants?

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So why reject Orthodoxy? 

This is (I think) the title of a whole different thread, and I think I have posted on it.
I think you are right, that it is a different thread.  And as a stand alone question, I think it is a little different from what I was trying to say.  I was trying to draw the logical conclusion... if one adheres to the teachings of the fathers (collectively, not individually), then one should (by logic) be Orthodox.  If one accepts the collective teachings of the fathers, then why reject Orthodoxy?  I'm not sure I'm being clear.  I'm trying to draw a distinction between a) accepting, for example, Athanasios' teaching on the Incarnation, but rejecting Ignatios' teaching about the Eucharist, and b) accepting the collective teachings of the fathers, following what the Church has taught us to accept (so by logic accepting both Athanasios AND Ignatios).  So the distinction is between a) and b).  Does that make sense?  A) is picking and choosing what to believe based on one's own interpretation of the Bible (thus accepting only what one believes to be in line with their own opinion--- not consciously, per se, but by default because of the lack of the Church's guidance).  B) is being obedient to the Church, recognizing the authority that Christ left on earth for us to follow, and accepting the authoritative voice of the Church (through the voice of the fathers) guiding us in our journey to salvation. 

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It is, again, ridiculous to me, to accept as inspired ONE thing that they wrote ... but REJECT other things that they wrote

Not at all! Anyway, I didn't say the creeds (I referred to the Apostles' and the Nicene) are inspired, I said we all agree on them as succinct summaries of Christian doctrine which exclude sects like JWs and Mormons. I don't have to accept every word someone (or a body of people) write, to accept one piece of their writing as valid and true. That's not ridiculous - it's just seeing them as human.
It seems logical to me (though, granted, my logic could be totally off here) that if one accepts the Creeds to be truthful, they must have been inspired (meaning that the Holy Spirit lead them to a truthful conclusion).  And if the Holy Spirit inspired them to say something truthful here (being the Nicene Creed), then surely other things they said were also inspired by the Holy Spirit to be truthful, as they are still the same people.  Yes, individual fathers have made individual mistakes (being human, as you said).  But collectively, isn't it backward and somewhat lacking in faith to think that they speak correctly in some places, correctly transmit the gospels, but speak incorrectly in others, and incorrectly transmit the meaning of the gospels which they transmitted (I know we've covered this elsewhere, it's more rhetorical than anything else)? 

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I don't mean to come off as attacking
.

Words like "sect", "own pope", "ridiculous" do rather tend in that direction, I'm afraid.

In saying "sect," I was speaking of the Mormons and JW's, whom you also called sects.  That was not directed at you, friend.  When I said "own pope," again, it was not directed at you.  I was attempting to give an example of why Orthodox often say that Protestants, in general, are their own popes-- because they make exactly the type of doctrinal and dogmatic decisions that I was showing by themselves (as the pope makes doctrinal and dogmatic decisions). 
I certainly meant no offense by saying I thought something was ridiculous.  I apologize if it sounded that way.  I apologize if anything I said sounded offensive.  It was really NOT my intent.  I would hate to think that I was coming off that way, as it is farthest from my mind to attack you, and I absolutely NEVER want to offend you.  My deepest apologies, my friend.

In Christ's Love,
Presbytera Mari
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 26, 2009, 12:11:18 PM
if one accepts the Creeds to be truthful, they must have been inspired ... then surely other things they said were also inspired by the Holy Spirit to be truthful,

Briefly, yes: you make very good sense.

On the Christmas I had to be alone, mentioned before, which I spent at Hyning Monastery, one of the religious told me how much they appreciate Wesley, meaning (I assume) the hymns of Charles Wesley. They must feel these compositions are true, if they love them. But I'd be willing to lay another wager (if I were a betting man!) that they disagree with a good deal of what the Wesley brothers published.

That, to me, seems perfectly reasonable.

But duty calls, and I must away... ¡Hasta luego!
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on January 26, 2009, 01:11:48 PM
There is, it seems to me, a findamental flaw, a contradiction in the orthodox contention that they alon are the ONE true church. What? Namely, that while you affirm you know where the church is, that is to say that you embrace Orthodoxy as the known receiptical (for lack of a better term) of the original church, while on the other hand you acknowledge you do not know where the church is not.
I can see where you find a flaw. If we were to claim to be the inheritance of the original Church, and then claim to be the One Church, then yes, our philosophy would be flawed. Yet we are not the inheritors of the Church. We are the Church, founded by Jesus Christ and unbroken since the beginning.

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That admission, that you do not know where the church is not, leaves no room to claim sole embodiment of the church in Orthodoxy. IN otger words, if you do not know where the church is not, the you admit (at least as possibilitty) a universal spiritual union among believers who may be outside of Orthodoxy itself. That admission is essentially and fundamentally the same as the common belief among Evangelicals regarding ghe universal nature of the church.
Again, we are not the embodiment of the Church; we are the Church. To claim embodiment of the Church would be to presuppose an invisible Church--and to use this claim to prove an invisible Church is circular reasoning.

No, we are not the embodiment of the Church but the embodiment of Christ. Christ is Incarnate in us. The Word made flesh was not his flesh unmade, but Christ is with us forever, unto ages of ages.

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I actually was raised in a Holiness-Pentecostal group who believed themselves to be the excluive restoartion of the NT church. Now, they did not claim to be the only savd people (creating some contrived distinction between what it meant to be in Chrost versus in the body of Christ). However, eventually Scripture would let me proceed no further without rectifying the error I had learned in this regard. Hebrews 12:23 is so clear that one cannot claim to rightly believe it and at the same time hold a view between the two extremes as it were.
You do not seem to see the difference between a claim of being a restoration of a dead, invisible Church and claiming to be the original Church itself. In fact, to us, such terms as "original Church" are illogical, as they imply that there is another Church--and clearly, this is not the case. Christ has one Body, one Bride. No more.

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So then, based on this passage, we can only rightly conclude one of two options:

1. The church universal consists rightly of ALL who have placed saving faith in the Lord jesus Christ, despite present ecclessiastical alignment.  -- OR --
2. Only those who are members within a given church orgajization or successor which totally embodies and decends form the NT church itself are saved, and no other.

I believe, based on Scripture, and from personal experience (as also implied by your unwillingness to define the very limits of the church concretely) that option one is correct.
Either/or fallacy. Your #1 is only partially correct, in that the Church does consist of those whose faith in in Christ Jesus; yet it is incorrect in that it supposes ecclesiastical alignment does not matter. Likewise, #2 is correct in that only those whose faith is according to that prescribed by the Church are being saved, but it is incorrect in that it supposes that the New Testament Church has descendants. She does not, for she still lives, and will forever.

The truth really is in the middle path. I don't think you yet see it.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: witega on January 26, 2009, 01:45:19 PM
That admission, that you do not know where the church is not,

The idea that "We know where the Church is, but we do not know where it is not." is not the Orthodox position. It is a formulation used by some Orthodox to try to explain the Orthodox position but many of us find it problematic because it can be misinterpreted (as your post exemplifies).

A less pithy, but more accurate way of putting it might be "We know where the Church is. We do not presume to know what God may choose to do beyond those boundaries."

To go back to my example, if John Smith says, "I will found my business." then I can identify John Smith Industries inc as a specific organization founded by John Smith and distinguish it from all other businesses no matter how closely they otherwise copy John Smith's business practices, business philosophies, etc. And if I am an employ of John Smith Industries, I know where the business is (what buildings we work in, who is employed, etc). But I don't necessarily know what CEO John Smith chooses to do with his resources outside the business--that is, he may give millions each year to Goodwill Charities, or put his personal money into the stock market, and as an employee I don't know that--nor, really, is it any of my business.

In the same sense, if Christ chooses to work beyond the boundaries of the defined Church which He established then that is certainly within His power and His perogatives. If He chooses to save without Orthodox Baptism (as He did the thief on the cross) or to bless or to guide, then it is certainly not my place to judge or complain. But at the same time, He said He would establish a Church, He did establish a Church, and that Church has verifiably continued as an organized and definable entity down to the present day. Now, which group split off from the original at certain junctures (i.e., was it the Roman Church or the Christian East that was splitting from the historical entity in 1054) is certainly debatable. But that there has been continuous existence of the corporate body established by Christ is not.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on January 26, 2009, 03:06:02 PM
Why do you think that your Evangelical writers have not found the same emphases as Orthodox writers?

I find the same, of course, the other way round - that Evangelical writers nourish me with insights or emphases which I seldom find in Eastern writings. Why is that? I don't think any one writer has embraced and experienced all God has revealed, and also there develop what one might call schools of thought, with their own structure of thought, their own emphases. With so many years of theological and spiritual reflection, and so little cross-fertilisation or even contact, it is not surprising that East and West are different.

Which is why the West also claim themselves as the One True Church based on these "schools of thought."  In Academia, research is never absolute; However, for the first 1,021 years of Christendom, there was an absolute, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  When Sola Scriptura became the first fruits of the new "research" produced by Luther's "school of thought" in 1515 (note that the quoted terms can be switched), the differences and the emphases started to accumulate.  You rely on academics to establish your position as being the One True Church while the East does not rely on academics, theses and PhD Dissertations.

I think Lossky has a very expressive and insightful point when he observes that no eastern saint has ever borne the stigmata as have western saints, and that no western saint has entered into the experience of the Transfiguration as have eastern saints. We emphasise the Passion, you emphasise the Glory. Both are fully true and fully biblical. This of course is probably the starkest difference, but there are many smaller ones, such as the different approaches to fasting discussed on the Fasting thread.

According to the West, the Renaissance and later the Enlightenment defeated suffering not Christ's Resurrection.  The East deeply respects how Christ was humbled in His Passion.  On Good Friday, the Orthodox ask Christ to show us to His Glorious Resurrection meaning that there is no dwelling or excess worship of Christ's Passion.  As for stigmata, the East never displayed stigmata because Christ said Blessed are those who haven't seen and yet believe.  Stigmata implies a lack of belief in Christ and His Suffering and if one lacks belief in Christ, the door is opened for all kinds of "schools of thought" regarding the Divinity of Christ and the One True Church.

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People knowing Christ vs. conversion to the Baptist faith.  So the Albanian Orthodox do not know Christ or if I don't attend Divine Liturgy for 3 months I suddenly do not know Christ.

I am obviously not managing to express myself in a way that you can follow.

I can understand you better.   ;D

Here, I think, is another evidence of the difference between East and West: we use the same words with different meanings. Each meaning may well be a true and biblical concept, but because of our different vocabulary we misunderstand each other. I believe the same is true of speakers of Danish and Norwegian: they have the same words, but they mean different things.

First, I have never, to my knowledge, spoken of conversion to the Baptist faith, nor even of "the Baptist faith". Is there such a thing?

There is no Baptist Convention in United Kingdom?  There is the Southern Baptist Convention (http://www.sbc.net/) in the United States.  They meet in Louisville, KY on 6/23 and 6/24, 2009.  You said there was no such thing as the Baptist faith ... I beg to differ.

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Since its organization in 1845 in Augusta, Georgia, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has grown to over 16 million members who worship in more than 42,000 churches in the United States. Southern Baptists sponsor about 5,000 home missionaries serving the United States, Canada, Guam and the Caribbean, as well as sponsoring more than 5,000 foreign missionaries in 153 nations of the world.

The term "Southern Baptist Convention" refers to both the denomination and its annual meeting. Working through 1,200 local associations and 41 state conventions and fellowships, Southern Baptists share a common bond of basic Biblical beliefs and a commitment to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world.

You become a Southern Baptist by uniting with a Southern Baptist church, one in friendly cooperation with the general Southern Baptist enterprise of reaching the world for Christ. Typically church membership is a matter of accepting Jesus as your Savior and Lord and experiencing believer's baptism by immersion.
 

The word "baptist" describes more a form of church government - autonomous local churches consisting of believers baptised by immersion upon profession of faith. Never in my life have I been bothered about converting people to a particular church order.

Do the Southern Baptists go against Sola Scriptura in having a Hierarchy (e.g. Church Government)?  I know of many instances that Southern Baptists have threatened to boycott Disney and other companies due to these companies having policies contrary to Southern Baptist belief.

In re not attending divine worship for several months, it would surely depend on the motive for absence? Maybe the people at church have hurt your feelings deeply in some manner and you just can't face them for a while; maybe you are ill; maybe you are away on business in a place where your church does not exist. But maybe you don't go because you have no love for God himself and are heartily glad to rid yourself for a while of an irksome family tradition. Our salvation does not depend on being in church; but there is something amiss if a real Christian deliberately decides to suspend or end church-going.

There are Orthodox Christians in battlefields around the world with no chaplains or anyone else to provide support.  Thankfully, I can provide my own support; However, I do love God and I do not consider my Church attendance as an "irksome family tradition."  Does that make a good selling point to the Albanian Orthodox?

As regards whether the Albanian Orthodox know Christ or not, do not your own writers on these posts persistently state that, in the last analysis, only God knows those who are his? I have no doubt that some know him, and some do not - as is true of Baptist congregations and probably any other in this fallen but religious world.

What if you presume that the Albanian Orthodox don't know (or have forgotten) Christ and your missionary work attempts to define Christ, from your perspective, for them to understand and perhaps follow?  Closer to home, what if a lapsed Orthodox discovers that a Church like Cleopas' is a 5 minute drive and Cleopas' assumes that the lapsed Orthodox doesn't know Christ or thinks that Christ is everywhere?

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The kind of conversion experienced by the Samaritan Woman at Jacob's Well or the kind of conversion which goes like "Be saved or be destroyed in Armageddon."

Without getting into a debate on premillennialism, let me say that God, in his mercy, uses all manner of approaches to make people aware of their need of the Saviour.

Hey, you used the word premillennialism.  I admire you if you do not use Armageddon as part of your missionary work even though others may feel differently.

Some come in like the Samaritan woman, with tactful, thoughtful and gentle prompting; others come because they know they are heading for final destruction and need to "flee from the wrath to come". What matters is that after their conversion, it be seen to be genuine by the continuing fruit of a godly and Christ-centred life. I believe you call it theosis.

Christ refers to Himself as the eternal water of Life which never runs dry unlike Jacob's Well which, thankfully, continues to flow today just as in the last chapter of Revelation where the eternal water of Life flows down into the new Jerusalem.

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I was referring to spiritual imprisonment enforced by the former Athiest Albanian Government.  ... You can restate your above comment based on spiritual rather than physical imprisonment.

It doesn't really make a difference to my reply. The Lord's command is to preach repentance and remission of sins to all. I think so many people were damaged by the strict and relentless imposition of atheism that they hardly form a special group: it's almost the whole population, in one degree or another, who were born during those terrible years. The Catholics suffered most, I believe, because of their link with a foreign power (the Vatican, hence Italy). The Orthodox have recorded some very moving stories in English in "The Resurrection of the Church in Albania". There was only one Evangelical church; all its pre-War members are now dead, but during Communism some were imprisoned, the pastor was tortured as well. The Moslems probably had an easier time, because (I believe - I am no expert on Islam) that their religion permits you to deny your faith if your life is in danger, so living a double life was an option that was open to them.

Does that answer the question better?

Thank you for the clarification.   :) :)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 26, 2009, 03:15:31 PM
There is, it seems to me, a findamental flaw, a contradiction in the orthodox contention that they alon are the ONE true church. What? Namely, that while you affirm you know where the church is, that is to say that you embrace Orthodoxy as the known receiptical (for lack of a better term) of the original church, while on the other hand you acknowledge you do not know where the church is not.

That admission, that you do not know where the church is not, leaves no room to claim sole embodiment of the church in Orthodoxy. IN otger words, if you do not know where the church is not, the you admit (at least as possibilitty) a universal spiritual union among believers who may be outside of Orthodoxy itself. That admission is essentially and fundamentally the same as the common belief among Evangelicals regarding ghe universal nature of the church.

I actually was raised in a Holiness-Pentecostal group who believed themselves to be the excluive restoartion of the NT church. Now, they did not claim to be the only savd people (creating some contrived distinction between what it meant to be in Chrost versus in the body of Christ). However, eventually Scripture would let me proceed no further without rectifying the error I had learned in this regard. Hebrews 12:23 is so clear that one cannot claim to rightly believe it and at the same time hold a view between the two extremes as it were.

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Hebrews 12:23
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect

Per this passage the church is the collective body or assembly of those who have been justified in the sight of God by faith in the atoning work of Christ, the firstborn -- whose names are accordingly written in heaven. So then, based on this passage, we can only rightly conclude one of two options:

1. The church universal consists rightly of ALL who have placed saving faith in the Lord jesus Christ, despite present ecclessiastical alignment.  -- OR --
2. Only those who are members within a given church orgajization or successor which totally embodies and decends form the NT church itself are saved, and no other.

I believe, based on Scripture, and from personal experience (as also implied by your unwillingness to define the very limits of the church concretely) that option one is correct.



Cleopas!  Friend!  I missed your voice!  I was afraid you had left us again, I'm so glad to see you are still here!  You always have such excellent points to add to the discussion!
I don't really have anything to add yet, as ytterbiumanalyst and witega said things quite nicely, I think.  I just wanted to say glad you're still here!
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 26, 2009, 03:28:12 PM
Cleopas!  Friend!  I missed your voice!  I was afraid you had left us again, I'm so glad to see you are still here!  You always have such excellent points to add to the discussion!
I don't really have anything to add yet, as ytterbiumanalyst and witega said things quite nicely, I think.  I just wanted to say glad you're still here!

Thank you Sister. *blush*  :)
BTW, I officially hate the limited edit functionality here. I have created a bad habit over the years of correcting typos on a second or third read through, usually on later visit. And of course I can't do that here.  :o :'( :laugh: In other words, please forgive the sloppy spelling and what not. I do not type well, or proper, though I am pretty fast for using only three fingers between two hands.  ;) :D

Left? No, I have not taken a sabbatical (not yet anyhow :D).
I've just had a lot going on with family and my congregation as of late. You know how that can be, I'm sure.

BTW, whose the beauty in your avatar?  ;D :D
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 26, 2009, 03:36:30 PM
That admission, that you do not know where the church is not,

The idea that "We know where the Church is, but we do not know where it is not." is not the Orthodox position. It is a formulation used by some Orthodox to try to explain the Orthodox position but many of us find it problematic because it can be misinterpreted (as your post exemplifies).

A less pithy, but more accurate way of putting it might be "We know where the Church is. We do not presume to know what God may choose to do beyond those boundaries."

Ahhh, well then, that really is a "horse of another color" then. Thank you for the more accurate declaration.


BTW (and this is for you Ytterbiumanalyst also), when I referenced Orthodxy as the claimed successor of the NT church, the embodiment of the original, I did not mean either to deny or affirm your claims of continuity therewith. I should have chosen my terms more carefully, Albeit, these are the more natural descriptives from my perspective. I suppose I had not though through all the evangelical baggage they carry with them and how that would effect an Orthodox perception of my writing.

Of course my point is now moot, given witega's more acurate articulation of Orthodox belief regarding the nature of the church and it's parameters.
Still, I think I have made a clear and succient explanation for the Biblical basis of the common Evagelical belief in the universal nature of the church.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 26, 2009, 03:54:26 PM
There is no Baptist Convention in United Kingdom? 

Not that I've ever heard of; and seeing I started worshipping with the Baptists in 1966, I think I'd've known by now!  There are various associations, and a lot of churches are entirely unaffiliated but in informal fellowship with other churches which are near them theologically or geograpghically or both, not necessarily or even usually only Baptist ones.

Quote
what if a lapsed Orthodox discovers that a Church like Cleopas' is a 5 minute drive and Cleopas' assumes that the lapsed Orthodox doesn't know Christ or thinks that Christ is everywhere?

You'd have to ask Cleopas. If such a person came to us in Wrexham, we would make him (her) welcome, as no doubt you would if a lapsed Baptist appeared among you seeking the Lord. But our primary aim would not be to make him a Baptist, but to ensure he was born again and knew it - justification by faith and assurance of salvation. If he stayed among us, of course he would be most welcome.

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on January 26, 2009, 04:03:44 PM


You'd have to ask Cleopas. If such a person came to us in Wrexham, we would make him (her) welcome, as no doubt you would if a lapsed Baptist appeared among you seeking the Lord. But our primary aim would not be to make him a Baptist, but to ensure he was born again and knew it - justification by faith and assurance of salvation. If he stayed among us, of course he would be most welcome.


How is one assured of salvation before the judgment?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 26, 2009, 04:43:01 PM
There is no Baptist Convention in United Kingdom? 

Not that I've ever heard of; and seeing I started worshipping with the Baptists in 1966, I think I'd've known by now!  There are various associations, and a lot of churches are entirely unaffiliated but in informal fellowship with other churches which are near them theologically or geograpghically or both, not necessarily or even usually only Baptist ones.

Quote
what if a lapsed Orthodox discovers that a Church like Cleopas' is a 5 minute drive and Cleopas' assumes that the lapsed Orthodox doesn't know Christ or thinks that Christ is everywhere?

You'd have to ask Cleopas. If such a person came to us in Wrexham, we would make him (her) welcome, as no doubt you would if a lapsed Baptist appeared among you seeking the Lord. But our primary aim would not be to make him a Baptist, but to ensure he was born again and knew it - justification by faith and assurance of salvation. If he stayed among us, of course he would be most welcome.



And what distinction do you make between being "born again" (whatever that means), justified by faith (which faith?) and assured of salvation (according to whom?) and being Baptist?

Let's say you lapsed Orthodox thinks he is justified by faith, assured of salvation, and thinks he knows it.  Nonetheless, he believes he was baptized as an infant by the Orthodox, and does not seek nor accept another "believer's" baptism.  What say you then?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 26, 2009, 05:33:22 PM
Speaking from my own experience in the Baptist Church, I was told my infant baptism wasn't valid, and that I had to be baptized again. I was also told that until I pray their Jesus prayer "Lord Jesus I recognize I am a sinner, and I accept you today into my heart and into my life" I wouldn't be "born again" and therefore I couldn't be assured of my salvation. I was told that no matter what sins I commited from that point on, my sins were washed away by Jesus' blood, and that I was forgiven, my salvation assured. I was also told that the entire side of my father's family, who just happened to be Orthodox, was going to hell, since they weren't "saved." (I was 11 when I was informed of that little fun fact.)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 26, 2009, 06:07:39 PM
1) You have a greater understanding of Orthodoxy than the majority of Protestants I have encountered. 
2) Would you say that this is common among Protestants?

1) You are too kind! If there is any truth in your generous words, it is probably because:

- I work with a mission which works in a country where there are twice as many Orthodox as Catholics, and the rest are Moslems (bar maybe 8000 Protestants), so I needed to learn
- I am fascinated by historical theology - that is, the development of theology over the centuries
- likewise, I am seriously interested in the development and various expressions of Christian spirituality over the centuries
- I love so many things about Greece - the scenery, the food, the wine, the olives, the wonderful weather (cold, deep snow and pine forests to blazing sunshine and turquoise seas), and (if I weren't striving for holiness) I am aware that Greek women had a well-deserved reputation for great beauty even before the Greeks arrived in Greece
- The hospitality from Alexandroupolis to Konitsa, and down to Vagia near Thebes
- Coupled with this, many Orthodox churches are of great age and beauty, and my wife and I love visiting them, and sometimes if my wife is tucked up in the hotel (half the price of one in Britain) of a late evening I might go and pray silently in one of those churches. Even deserted monasteries have a serene beauty and a lingering sense of holiness.

I really think that the Orthodox Church has a rich heritage which needs to be shared with the wider Christian church - if only you would or could get out of the 'only true church' mentality which locks you away and with you your blessings, and recognise that there really is a 'wider Christian church' which needs what you have to offer.

2) No, it is not usual. Most Protestants have barely heard of Orthodoxy, and probably think it consists of people who wear funny hats and have a chaotic, wailing style of worship to which they cannot relate. A few uninformed glimpses of the exteriors when on holiday in Greece. They haven't the faintest idea what Orthodox believe.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 26, 2009, 06:19:46 PM
How is one assured of salvation before the judgment?

You have approached one of the largest differences between us. It is written, "Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself" (1 John 5). Or, "you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!'" (Romans eight). Or "Whoever believes in him is not condemned" and "Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgement but has passed from death to life" (John 3 and 5).

You ask How? It is also written that "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans eight). A believer has that testimony in himself. To describe it is a bit like trying to describe what it means to be alive, or to be in love: within yourself, you know. But this assurance is imparted by the Spirit of God to our spirit within us.

Now the question, whether this blessed condition can be lost, is a different question. Orthodox and Arminian Protestants say it can; Augustinians and Calvinists say it cannot. I cannot enter into that question with confidence.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 26, 2009, 06:40:50 PM
what distinction do you make between being "born again" ... justified by faith (which faith?) and assured of salvation ... and being Baptist?

Let's say you lapsed Orthodox thinks he is justified by faith, assured of salvation, and thinks he knows it.  Nonetheless, he believes he was baptized as an infant by the Orthodox, and does not seek nor accept another "believer's" baptism.  What say you then?

Let me reverse the order of some of the questions. On assurance, see my previous post. I see justified in the Protestant sense of the term, that is a sort of forensic or legal metaphor: God forgives us our many sins, cleanses us, removes the guilt of them, and declares us 'not guilty'. (Prior to the Reformation justification was understood as being made righteous, but I am content with the Protestant understanding of the term as meaning being declared righteous (a status rather than a state, if you like).)

Being born again is a literal new birth. We come into the world by physical birth, but we are not alive spiritually. We are born again when we are made alive spiritually, united with Christ, alive in him, a new creation. Orthodox see this as happening at baptism; we see it as happening when a person cordially believes in Christ as Saviour and Lord. Either way, it is a separate and later event than physical birth, and it makes one a child of God ("adopted" to use Paul's analogy).

These are entirely different from being Baptist, which denotes one's denominational affiliation, or one's "persuasion" as they used to say.

Now to come to your mooted lapsed Orthodox, it is hard to reply without sitting down and talking with him, for much is revealed in a person's body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and so on. Again, let me reverse the order of your questions. We do not believe that baptism is essential to salvation, so we would certainly not begin by trying to persuade him that his problem was related to his previous baptism as an infant. The first thing would be to get him right with the Lord, in his relationship with God; he could wrestle with the question of baptism later. Certainly we have unbaptised people (that is, people christened as infants) coming to our church, and we place no pressure upon them on that score, though we do require baptism for church membership.

You say he "thinks he is justified by faith, assured of salvation, and thinks he knows it". I would be surprised to hear him say those things if he were a lapsed Orthodox, because normally I believe you do not speak in those terms. However, assuming he has learnt Evangelical jargon and is speaking to us in it, I would probably attempt to take two approaches:

- I would wish to probe sensitively to discover why he believed he is fact "justified by faith, assured of salvation, and thinks he knows it", to try, as far is is pastorally and humanly possible, to discover whether his was a false assurance based on a faulty understanding of these things, or a second-hand rather than personal faith.

- If it seemed that he truly were "justified by faith, assured of salvation" I would wish to discover what made him lapse from public worship and all the privileges and duties of being a member of the Body of Christ. It might be his reaction to harsh, ungodly people who had treated him badly in church; it might be some sin he was cherishing, or other known and sustained disobedience.

I could ramble on at length to you as to how one should counsel a lapsed believer, but there are some initial and spontaneous ideas. Others are much better pastors than I ever was.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 26, 2009, 06:45:12 PM
I really think that the Orthodox Church has a rich heritage which needs to be shared with the wider Christian church - if only you would or could get out of the 'only true church' mentality which locks you away and with you your blessings, and recognise that there really is a 'wider Christian church' which needs what you have to offer.

You realize this is like asking us to deny Christ, His Incarnation, and His Ressurection? We believe this the Church Christ founded. Not Wesley, not Luther, not Calvin, not any MAN, but GOD Himself. We don't lock up our blessings or our truth; it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us. It's not for us to implement parts of our faith with THEM.

Christ commanded us to go out and make disciples of all nations. (Matt 28:19) Not modify our faith in accordance with others. We are preservers of the faith; we are preservers of the TRUTH.

Christianity is not a democracy.

It's a Theocracy where Christ is King, and we are His servants.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 26, 2009, 06:56:19 PM
I was told that no matter what sins I commited from that point on, ... my salvation assured. I was also told that the entire side of my father's family, who just happened to be Orthodox, was going to hell, since they weren't "saved." (I was 11 when I was informed of that little fun fact.)

Let's leave aside the crass insensitivity of telling an 11-year-old her family are on their way to hell, whether it was true or not. It was out of place. Let us also leave aside the fact that whoever said it was clearly rather shallow in his or her understanding of soteriology, or at least of Orthodox theology and faith. I have no wish to justify that having been said.

However what was said to you was said to an 11-year-old and may have been put rather too simply because of your tender age at the time, and the true or false assumption that you would not grasp further theological ideas.

It is of course a half-truth. It was probably genuinely intended to give comfort and security to you.

Your speaker was right in referring to your past sins: however gross they were (and here I refer to any new believer, not just to you aged 11), they were, according to God's promise, forgotten, removed as far as the east is from the west, never to be remembered again. Have you seen the Narnia film, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? My grandson (now 13) asked me what was my favourite scene, and I had little hesitation in saying it was the moment when Aslan and Edmund (the traitor) had a private talk, and afterwards Aslan says that no-one need ever again mention the appalling things Edmund had done. Favourite, because that is how God has treated me: my sins have been forgiven, borne on the Cross, and forgotten for ever.

Your adviser probably also wanted to assure you that, though you would sometimes fail and fall again into sin, God would not stop loving you, nor cast you into outer darkness. You were his child, and the 'gates of grace' to use an Orthodox expression would always be open to you. However far the prodigal goes, he is always welcomed back, like the one lost sheep among 99 which gives such rejoicing among the angels.

I am sure your adviser did not mean to say that you now had a licence to sin as much as you liked. Someone who does that has not really made a sincere commitment to following Christ as Lord and serving him in this world. It is severely doubtful whether someone who does that is really saved at all. But I think your adviser was treating your new faith with respect, accepting it as genuine, and assuring you of God's acceptance of you, despite all your past sin and even despite the times you would fail him in the future.


Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 26, 2009, 07:03:15 PM
it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us.

Is this truly how our Lord commissioned his followers? Did he not say rather, "Freely you have received, freely give"?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 26, 2009, 07:21:06 PM

You realize this is like asking us to deny Christ, His Incarnation, and His Ressurection? We believe this the Church Christ founded. Not Wesley, not Luther, not Calvin, not any MAN, but GOD Himself. We don't lock up our blessings or our truth; it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us. It's not for us to implement parts of our faith with THEM.

I could be wrong (and David Young please correct me if I am), but I am sure he did not mean that you had to deny your belief in Orthodoxy actually being the church so much as stop allowing that belief to segregate you from those others who gather with Christ, who are not against Him, and among whom in fact His power, grace, and truth are likewise manifested. Rather than forbidding us, avoiding us, etc. for not following with you, seek to bridge the gap by acknowldgeing what truth and fellowship with Christ is among us as well.

Can you sit with us spiritual "Samaritans" who have not the pure "lineage" you claim as your own? Can you accept that God receives us "in this mountain" and you at your "Jerusalem", not because of place or lienage, but because we both are worshipping Him (in as much as we know) in spirit and in truth?

You see we believe in, await, and with loving devotion, humility, and selflessness serve the Lord Jesus Christ too!  :)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on January 26, 2009, 08:04:49 PM
it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us.

Is this truly how our Lord commissioned his followers? Did he not say rather, "Freely you have received, freely give"?

So the Orthodox are now like the Lost Sheep of Israel?   ???

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on January 26, 2009, 08:16:57 PM
I could be wrong (and David Young please correct me if I am), but I am sure he did not mean that you had to deny your belief in Orthodoxy actually being the church so much as stop allowing that belief to segregate you from those others who gather with Christ, who are not against Him, and among whom in fact His power, grace, and truth are likewise manifested. Rather than forbidding us, avoiding us, etc. for not following with you, seek to bridge the gap by acknowldgeing what truth and fellowship with Christ is among us as well.

Cleopas, What is Truth?

Can you sit with us spiritual "Samaritans" who have not the pure "lineage" you claim as your own? Can you accept that God receives us "in this mountain" and you at your "Jerusalem", not because of place or lienage, but because we both are worshipping Him (in as much as we know) in spirit and in truth?

So, you want to drink from the water of eternal life based on your acceptance of Christ and repudiating the successors of the Apostles?

You see we believe in, await, and with loving devotion, humility, and selflessness serve the Lord Jesus Christ too!  :)

So did those who died as witnesses (Martyrs) to the Eastern Orthodox faith whose memories we commemorate yesterday, today and tomorrow....   :)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 26, 2009, 11:46:40 PM
Speaking from my own experience in the Baptist Church, I was told my infant baptism wasn't valid, and that I had to be baptized again. I was also told that until I pray their Jesus prayer "Lord Jesus I recognize I am a sinner, and I accept you today into my heart and into my life" I wouldn't be "born again" and therefore I couldn't be assured of my salvation. I was told that no matter what sins I commited from that point on, my sins were washed away by Jesus' blood, and that I was forgiven, my salvation assured. I was also told that the entire side of my father's family, who just happened to be Orthodox, was going to hell, since they weren't "saved." (I was 11 when I was informed of that little fun fact.)

Well, to state the obvious, you were told wrong.

Interesting that their Jesus prayer isn't in the Bible (let alone anabaptism and "assurance), yet they require it none the less.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 26, 2009, 11:54:44 PM
it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us.

Is this truly how our Lord commissioned his followers? Did he not say rather, "Freely you have received, freely give"?

Matthew 7:6 μὴ δῶτε τὸ ἅγιον τοῖς κυσίν μηδὲ βάλητε τοὺς μαργαρίτας ὑμῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν χοίρων, μήποτε καταπατήσουσιν αὐτοὺς ἐν τοῖς ποσὶν αὐτῶν καὶ στραφέντες ῥήξωσιν ὑμᾶς.
"Don't give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces,

1 Timothy 5:22 χεῖρας ταχέως μηδενὶ ἐπιτίθει μηδὲ κοινώνει ἁμαρτίαις ἀλλοτρίαις· σεαυτὸν ἁγνὸν τήρει.
Lay hands hastily on no one, neither be a participant in other men's sins. Keep yourself pure.


You realize this is like asking us to deny Christ, His Incarnation, and His Ressurection? We believe this the Church Christ founded. Not Wesley, not Luther, not Calvin, not any MAN, but GOD Himself. We don't lock up our blessings or our truth; it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us. It's not for us to implement parts of our faith with THEM.

I could be wrong (and David Young please correct me if I am), but I am sure he did not mean that you had to deny your belief in Orthodoxy actually being the church so much as stop allowing that belief to segregate you from those others who gather with Christ, who are not against Him, and among whom in fact His power, grace, and truth are likewise manifested. Rather than forbidding us, avoiding us, etc. for not following with you, seek to bridge the gap by acknowldgeing what truth and fellowship with Christ is among us as well.

Can you sit with us spiritual "Samaritans" who have not the pure "lineage" you claim as your own? Can you accept that God receives us "in this mountain" and you at your "Jerusalem", not because of place or lienage, but because we both are worshipping Him (in as much as we know) in spirit and in truth?

You see we believe in, await, and with loving devotion, humility, and selflessness serve the Lord Jesus Christ too!  :)


Luke 10:16 ὁ ἀκούων ὑμῶν ἐμοῦ ἀκούει, καὶ ὁ ἀθετῶν ὑμᾶς ἐμὲ ἀθετεῖ· ὁ δὲ ἐμὲ ἀθετῶν ἀθετεῖ τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με.
Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me."

Matthew 7:21 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 27, 2009, 01:44:16 AM
I was told that no matter what sins I commited from that point on, ... my salvation assured. I was also told that the entire side of my father's family, who just happened to be Orthodox, was going to hell, since they weren't "saved." (I was 11 when I was informed of that little fun fact.)

Let's leave aside the crass insensitivity of telling an 11-year-old her family are on their way to hell, whether it was true or not. It was out of place. Let us also leave aside the fact that whoever said it was clearly rather shallow in his or her understanding of soteriology, or at least of Orthodox theology and faith. I have no wish to justify that having been said.

However what was said to you was said to an 11-year-old and may have been put rather too simply because of your tender age at the time, and the true or false assumption that you would not grasp further theological ideas.

It is of course a half-truth. It was probably genuinely intended to give comfort and security to you.

Your speaker was right in referring to your past sins: however gross they were (and here I refer to any new believer, not just to you aged 11), they were, according to God's promise, forgotten, removed as far as the east is from the west, never to be remembered again. Have you seen the Narnia film, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? My grandson (now 13) asked me what was my favourite scene, and I had little hesitation in saying it was the moment when Aslan and Edmund (the traitor) had a private talk, and afterwards Aslan says that no-one need ever again mention the appalling things Edmund had done. Favourite, because that is how God has treated me: my sins have been forgiven, borne on the Cross, and forgotten for ever.

Your adviser probably also wanted to assure you that, though you would sometimes fail and fall again into sin, God would not stop loving you, nor cast you into outer darkness. You were his child, and the 'gates of grace' to use an Orthodox expression would always be open to you. However far the prodigal goes, he is always welcomed back, like the one lost sheep among 99 which gives such rejoicing among the angels.

I am sure your adviser did not mean to say that you now had a licence to sin as much as you liked. Someone who does that has not really made a sincere commitment to following Christ as Lord and serving him in this world. It is severely doubtful whether someone who does that is really saved at all. But I think your adviser was treating your new faith with respect, accepting it as genuine, and assuring you of God's acceptance of you, despite all your past sin and even despite the times you would fail him in the future.

I wish I could lay this all on the feet of one person teaching me bad theology at one time, but honestly this is the theology that was preached at the Baptist Church I attended over the course of the ten+ years or so that I was there by multiple individuals (including my mother.)

About eight years ago they did a seven week on the "evils" of the Catholic Church, and how they worshipped Mary, and how their sacraments were false testaments to God's promises, and how they weren't "true" Christians. And you see, this theology wasn't just limited to my church in New Jersey. My aunts in Pittsburgh and Denver were hearing the same promises from their pastors in their non-denominational churches.

I'm sorry David, but what you are preaching is false. It was false theology that was taught to me then, and it's false theology you are promoting now. While there may be bits of truth in what you say, (God does forgive our sins if we repent) because it is not 100% true, it's categorically false. There is no way for you or anyone else for that matter to say who is or who is not saved, and one prayer ain't gonna get you there. It's a lifetime walk my friend. Oh yes, there are deathbed confessions, the thief on the cross is a testament to that. But the OSAS theology is false. No one can gaurantee anyone their salvation.

In regards to the Narnia series, I'm quite familiar with it. My mother read it to us every night before Bible study. It's a nice story, but that's all it is. A story. I'm familiar with the allegorical undertones to it, listened to the radio series by Focus on the Family, saw the movie. But in the end, it's just a story.

I find it interesting that you and other Protestants will be quick to quote or borrow from writers such as C.S. Lewis, or go to Beth Moore for scriptural interpretation, or consult Charles Swindoll for advice on how God wants us manage our money, but will be quick to criticize us when we quote the Early Church Fathers. I just don't get it. If self interpretation is so accurate, why are Zondervan and LifeWay publishing houses making a killing on books that tell us how to interpret scripture? Why do we consult the minds of modern men, but disregard the writings of the earliest Christians who were disciples of the Apostles? It just doesn't make any sense. That is why I had to leave Protestantism. It doesn't make sense.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 27, 2009, 01:52:47 AM
it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us.

Is this truly how our Lord commissioned his followers? Did he not say rather, "Freely you have received, freely give"?

We are willing to give freely; but one must be willing to leave behind their old beliefs and accept the new. All are welcome into Christ's Church, but they have to be willing to accept our beliefs.

Paul didn't go and preach to those in Athens and say "how can we mix our beliefs in Christ with your Paganism to make it easier for you to accept our beliefs?" No, he went, preached the truth, and told them that they must follow Christ and give up their old ways.

As the Dean of our parish likes to say, "God didn't call Moses up to Mt. Sinai for forty days to give him ten suggestions. He said, "These are my COMMANDMENTS. If you want a relationship with me you must follow them."

I am more than willing to talk to others about Orthodoxy, and how it is the One, True, Faith. But to walk into a Baptist Church and suggest how incense may enhance their worship experience? Heck no.

See what you don't get is that this is not a cafeteria. You can't pick and choose what elements you like, what you want to believe, and what makes you feel good.

You either accept that we are the One, True, Church or you don't.

It's that simple.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 27, 2009, 02:06:15 AM

You realize this is like asking us to deny Christ, His Incarnation, and His Ressurection? We believe this the Church Christ founded. Not Wesley, not Luther, not Calvin, not any MAN, but GOD Himself. We don't lock up our blessings or our truth; it is up to those outside of the Church to come to us. It's not for us to implement parts of our faith with THEM.

I could be wrong (and David Young please correct me if I am), but I am sure he did not mean that you had to deny your belief in Orthodoxy actually being the church so much as stop allowing that belief to segregate you from those others who gather with Christ, who are not against Him, and among whom in fact His power, grace, and truth are likewise manifested. Rather than forbidding us, avoiding us, etc. for not following with you, seek to bridge the gap by acknowldgeing what truth and fellowship with Christ is among us as well.

Can you sit with us spiritual "Samaritans" who have not the pure "lineage" you claim as your own? Can you accept that God receives us "in this mountain" and you at your "Jerusalem", not because of place or lienage, but because we both are worshipping Him (in as much as we know) in spirit and in truth?

You see we believe in, await, and with loving devotion, humility, and selflessness serve the Lord Jesus Christ too!  :)

I understand that he may have not intended to suggest we give up our belief in Christ, but you see we believe this is the Church Christ established. To give up that belief, well we might as well stop believing in Christ. As I said in the above post, this isn't a cafeteria, you can't pick and choose what you like and don't like.

Christ sat with the Samaritan woman, and then he told her of the true faith. God is willing to meet you where you are, but then He expects you to change.

We don't believe God receives us because of our "lineage" or our "Jeruselum." We are not Jewish. (Please don't confuse Orthodox Christianity with Orthodox Judaism.) We believe God receives us because our beliefs are in line with what He preached and what He taught us while He was here on earth.

I am willing to speak with Protestants about Orthodoxy, but I am not willing to compromise my beliefs for them. If you want to learn more about Orthodoxy, that is fine. But to be a member of the One, True, Church you must accept the beliefs of the Orthodox Church.

I'm not sure what you want us to do? Allow you to participate in communion with us? Participate in "worship" services at Protestant churches with you? This is not acceptable. We don't desire to worship with those who do not accept the fullness of the faith. We see the Protestant faiths as lacking, so why would we want to worship with them? You say you have much to gain from us. Fine. Then come, join the Orthodox Church. But you must give up your Protestant beliefs. It's all or nothing. I'm sorry if that sounds mean or crass, but it is true.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on January 27, 2009, 02:21:17 AM
I'm not sure what you want us to do? Allow you to participate in communion with us? Participate in "worship" services at Protestant churches with you? This is not acceptable. We don't desire to worship with those who do not accept the fullness of the faith. We see the Protestant faiths as lacking, so why would we want to worship with them? You say you have much to gain from us. Fine. Then come, join the Orthodox Church. But you must give up your Protestant beliefs. It's all or nothing. I'm sorry if that sounds mean or crass, but it is true.

Our Protestant friends do not ask us for anything.  Example, Cleopas won't talk to me and that's perfectly fine.   :)

The point is not about what our Protestant friends are willing to give up (which is nothing); The point is what they can do for disillusioned Orthodox, whom we have no influence over, who attend non-denominational Churches whether for convenience or any other reasons.  The Orthodox Church, while attempting to find the lost sheep, must continue to minister to those who seek salvation under Her wings and not get caught up in things like Stewardship (ask for a lot while mismanaging budgets in the process) and Folk Dances, et al.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 27, 2009, 03:49:11 AM
Let's say you lapsed Orthodox thinks he is justified by faith, assured of salvation,

Maybe such a person is reading the posts on the forum, in hope of some strength and guidance. Here are some words from Shenouda III:

A person might live in sin whilst having spiritual tears. How can this be? Here is an example of this.

A person lives in sin and is being defeated by a habit which is dominating him. So he weeps, wanting from all his heart to get rid of this sin, but his will is weak and cannot assist him!

This person will be rescued by grace and God will regard his weeping as a beginning for repentance. God looks at his heart and not his deed. If also, he is committing the sin whilst not enjoying it but is defeated by it.

- "Tears in spiritual Life" pp. 73-74 (emphasis Shenouda's)

May that help you!
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 27, 2009, 03:51:37 AM
Let's say you lapsed Orthodox thinks he is justified by faith, assured of salvation,

Maybe such a person is reading the posts on the forum, in hope of some strength and guidance. Here are some words from Shenouda III:

A person might live in sin whilst having spiritual tears. How can this be? Here is an example of this.

A person lives in sin and is being defeated by a habit which is dominating him. So he weeps, wanting from all his heart to get rid of this sin, but his will is weak and cannot assist him!

This person will be rescued by grace and God will regard his weeping as a beginning for repentance. God looks at his heart and not his deed. If also, he is committing the sin whilst not enjoying it but is defeated by it.

- "Tears in spiritual Life" pp. 73-74 (emphasis Shenouda's)

May that help you!

Let it be stated that Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria is part of the Coptic Orthodox Church and is in no way in communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 27, 2009, 05:16:16 AM
Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria is ... in no way in communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Which works for my belief, that the Eastern Orthodox Church is not the only body to contain the Lord's children. No-one is saying that you Eastern Orthodox are not true Christians; we are only contending that you are not God's only children, and that we who are outside of your communion are nonetheless, by grace, part of Christ's Body, the Church.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 27, 2009, 05:21:33 AM
You realize this is like asking us to deny Christ, His Incarnation, and His Ressurection?

I do not understand what you mean. If God has entrusted riches to you - as he has - and if you share these riches with others, how is this tantamount to denying Christ, his incarnation and his resurrection?

Even sharing those facts with unbelievers is commendable, for we must make God's gospel known to the world. Why then not to those who already share your firm belief in Christ's incarnation and resurrection?

Does not the scripture invite men to "taste and see that the Lord is good"? How can we taste of your riches, if you believe that sharing them with those outside involves a denial of your Lord?

These are not rhetorical questions: I am genuinely puzzled.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 27, 2009, 05:26:26 AM
[So the Orthodox are now like the Lost Sheep of Israel?

Some are, some are not. It is not outward membership of an institution that imparts salvation, but union with Christ. Not all who take his name belong to him: to some he will say, "I never knew you." Whether there will be more of such who were, in this life, Orthodox or more who were Evangelical, remains to be revealed at that Day. But those, whom he does not yet "know" in that sense, are indeed lost sheep, and need to be brought to the Saviour.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 27, 2009, 05:32:47 AM
quick to criticize us when we quote the Early Church Fathers.

I for one have never criticised you for the authors whom you quote, and I quote the Fathers myself, as you know. Which points to the fact that I read them as well. But we do not regard them as infallible, any more than C S Lewis was infallible; the other authors you mention are not among my reading.

But as an aside, have you any idea how difficult it is to get hold of the writings of tha Fathers in modern English? It's like looking for gold dust.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 27, 2009, 09:12:11 AM
GREEKCHEF: THE WAGER

You wrote that a group or denomination hives off to form a new division or splinter because it is following some new idea, distorting the Faith even further; I had the temerity to contradict you, and said that (were I a betting man) I believed I could show that such groups spring up for the very opposite reason: namely, that they wish to recover a lost idea or ideal. You countered that you would accept the bet and raise me some.

So be it! Let us have our (pretend) bet!

I list some groups and denominations and the lost ideas and ideals which I think they have striven to recover from a parent body now in decline:

Pentecostals
Montanists   the lost charismata
Brethren
Congregationalists   a primitive church order
Baptists      the primitive form of baptism
Methodists
Pietists      the spirit of their parent bodies (Anglican, Lutheran)
         without change to the doctrine
Reformers   to leapfrog over mediæval corruption to the early church
Lollards
Hussites                to set aside papal pretensions and return to the authority of the Apostles
Donatists                the recovery of a pure, uncompromised church

There is a list: maybe I could add more if I set my mind to it. But over to you.

(Sorry I do not know how to arrange the tabs neatly  :()
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 27, 2009, 11:48:18 AM
So the Orthodox are now like the Lost Sheep of Israel?

Do these words of Peter the Aleut (see his 17th May 2008 post) have any bearing on your question?

We Orthodox can certainly do well to learn the Evangelical mantra that conversion of the inner man is necessary for salvation, that mere application of the name Orthodox to ourselves because this is the title we inherited from our forebears is not enough to make us truly Christian.  (Is this, in fact, not the message of such great saints as St. John Chrysostom?) 
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Sarah on January 27, 2009, 11:57:31 AM
DY, the groups you listed picked one thing to "fix."  In fact, the things they tried to fix were never broken in Orthodoxy.  Orthodoxy is the fullness of the faith and doesn't need fixing.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 27, 2009, 12:17:43 PM
DY, the groups you listed picked one thing to "fix."  In fact, the things they tried to fix were never broken in Orthodoxy.  Orthodoxy is the fullness of the faith and doesn't need fixing.

Well, obviously, we respectfully disagree. Nevertheless, we are not saying there is not enough right about Orthodox to make true salvation (being "born again" in the Evangelical sense) possible through it's ministry.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 27, 2009, 12:23:31 PM
Our Protestant friends do not ask us for anything.  Example, Cleopas won't talk to me and that's perfectly fine.   :)

I'm sorry for any perceived slight, dear fellow. It was not intentional. It's just that I have learned to reply only to those comments, persons, or aspects of a post that solicit particular interest at a given time or reading. You see, being as an Evagelical so few in comparison to you many, varied, and well spoken Orthodox I realized early on I could not, indded would be foolish to try to, respond to everyone and/or every single comment. So, I try to make my comments count when I make them, and hope that as such they will fuel the dialog, and even if not addressing everyone directly will indirectly create a sense of interaction.

My sincere apologies if I made you feel ignored or neglected. Indeed, sometimes I have not had the time or liberty to formulate a reply and mentally have placed some responses on a back burner -- hoping to get to them later perhaps.

Just an FYI. ;)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 27, 2009, 12:30:51 PM

Cleopas, What is Truth?

God's word is truth! John 17:17

Quote
So, you want to drink from the water of eternal life based on your acceptance of Christ and repudiating the successors of the Apostles?


Not at all! What I am trying to tell you is that we have ALREADY received the water of eternal life from the hand of the Lord himself. He has received us, graced us, and revealed himself to us without you. And like the diciples who were astonished  and speechless to find Jesus communing with that Smaratian woman, it seems you similarly balk at the saving grace of our Lord among us Protestants. BUT Christ has received us! And that apart from you. To Him we stand or fall.

That is the intended positive provocation that I am attempting to metaphorically relay.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on January 27, 2009, 12:31:32 PM
So the Orthodox are now like the Lost Sheep of Israel?

Do these words of Peter the Aleut (see his 17th May 2008 post) have any bearing on your question?

We Orthodox can certainly do well to learn the Evangelical mantra that conversion of the inner man is necessary for salvation, that mere application of the name Orthodox to ourselves because this is the title we inherited from our forebears is not enough to make us truly Christian.  (Is this, in fact, not the message of such great saints as St. John Chrysostom?) 


Lets put the cart before the horse. ;)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 27, 2009, 12:49:23 PM
the groups you listed picked one thing to "fix."  ... they ... were never broken in Orthodoxy. 

Of course one wasn't disputing that. The nub of the wager was whether their motive as to follow a new idea or to recover a lost one.

The relevance to this thread lies here, that I think, expressed more seriously, GreekChef's assertion is that each new group or denomination moves one step further away from the faith and order of the true church as it develops the latest new idea. I was countering with the assertion that their motive (the "wager" was not about their success) was to restore and re-activate what had been lost.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 27, 2009, 01:20:35 PM

Cleopas, What is Truth?

God's word is truth! John 17:17

John 17:18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, and that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word

Quote
So, you want to drink from the water of eternal life based on your acceptance of Christ and repudiating the successors of the Apostles?


Not at all! What I am trying to tell you is that we have ALREADY received the water of eternal life from the hand of the Lord himself. [/quote]

Amazing!  St. Paul didn't, but had to get it from the Church by the hand of St. Ananias.

Your claims resemble St. Paul less and Joe Smith, Jr. more.

Quote
He has received us, graced us, and revealed himself to us without you.

Evidently not, as you keep quoting OUR word (see John 17:20 above).

Quote
And like the diciples who were astonished  and speechless to find Jesus communing with that Smaratian woman, it seems you similarly balk at the saving grace of our Lord among us Protestants. BUT Christ has received us! And that apart from you.

Luke 10:16 ὁ ἀκούων ὑμῶν ἐμοῦ ἀκούει, καὶ ὁ ἀθετῶν ὑμᾶς ἐμὲ ἀθετεῖ· ὁ δὲ ἐμὲ ἀθετῶν ἀθετεῖ τὸν ἀποστείλαντά με.
Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me."

Matthew 7:21 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Quote
To Him we stand or fall.

no, you fall on your own.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 27, 2009, 01:25:53 PM
John 17:18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, and that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word

Indeed! It was and is their word, the gospel, the message of Jesus, that we believed through.


Quote
Evidently not, as you keep quoting OUR word (see John 17:20 above).

No, I am quoting THEIR word, which is HIS word. Not your word.

Quote
no, you fall on your own.

Thankfully your judgment doesn't matter. I know in whom I have believed, and I know to Him I stand or fall, and I shall by His grace stand.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 27, 2009, 01:26:16 PM
the groups you listed picked one thing to "fix."  ... they ... were never broken in Orthodoxy. 

Of course one wasn't disputing that. The nub of the wager was whether their motive as to follow a new idea or to recover a lost one.

The relevance to this thread lies here, that I think, expressed more seriously, GreekChef's assertion is that each new group or denomination moves one step further away from the faith and order of the true church as it develops the latest new idea. I was countering with the assertion that their motive (the "wager" was not about their success) was to restore and re-activate what had been lost.

David,
I have no doubt that many, many of the denominations had the motives that you have stated.  I raised your "wager" based on a personal experience I had while in high school, of a friend telling me why his church split away from its parent (who had split away from their parent with similar motives).  It was because they decided to teach something new, never heard before, supported by "scriptural evidence."  The scary part was that my friend (16 at the time) was the one who developed the doctrine!  It was so convoluted (not to mention being over a decade ago), I could not try to explain it to you if I tried.  It was something from Revelation about the second coming of Christ.  This seemed to be commonplace, as it was not the first time I'd heard it.  

My other point was that even the ones with the motives you stated (recovering lost teachings) ended up, in fact, with new, novel, foreign, innovative teachings, good motives or not.  The very basic Protestant teaching of Sola Scriptura was COMPLETELY new, novel, foreign, and innovative!  They were trying to return, presumably, to the faith before it was so "corrupted" by the Catholic Church.  In fact, however, they ended up much, much farther away from the faith.

I have to admit that I do not have enough knowledge of the majority of those denominations which you listed to be able to address them anyway.  Sadly, as there is so much about Orthodoxy alone that I am still trying to learn (having only so much time for private study), my reading in Protestantism is still quite limited and basic.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 27, 2009, 01:27:25 PM
I do not understand what you mean. If God has entrusted riches to you - as he has - and if you share these riches with others, how is this tantamount to denying Christ, his incarnation and his resurrection?

Even sharing those facts with unbelievers is commendable, for we must make God's gospel known to the world. Why then not to those who already share your firm belief in Christ's incarnation and resurrection?

Does not the scripture invite men to "taste and see that the Lord is good"? How can we taste of your riches, if you believe that sharing them with those outside involves a denial of your Lord?

These are not rhetorical questions: I am genuinely puzzled.

I don't understand what you mean. What treasures do you want us to share? What do you mean by sharing? As I've stated before, the Orthodox Church has no problem educating honest inquirerers to the Orthodox faith. My own parish has a class every Tuesday night for those who want to learn more about the faith, whether they be new to the faith, or cradle but want to learn more about it. In addition to this, we also have a Monday night Bible Study, a Wednesday night lecture series (that includes dinner) and we are also starting an adult education program on Sunday mornings.

Even for parishes who do not have such an extensive list of educational opportunities, I know that outsiders are always welcome to attend any of the Divine Services, and can contact a priest at any time with any questions.

As we always say in Orthodoxy, "Come and See."

I'm not sure what you mean by "share your treasures." Do you want us to go and lecture in other faiths as to how to incorporate Orthodoxy into their worship? That's ridiculous. Even during my time in the Baptist Church, we never invited speakers from other faiths to come tell us how we should modify our worship. (And Lord knows, they were modifying it all the time.)

If you are under the impression that Orthodox Christians do not share the gospel, you are wrong.

In addition to Orthodox Missions (http://ocmc.org), Orthodox Christians are spreading the word about the faith right in their own neighborhoods. A recent study conducted by the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute of the OCA and Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in the U.S. revealed "the common stereotype is that the Orthodox Churches in the USA are “ethnic” Churches of certain immigrant communities. The study shows that this not the case anymore. Nine out of ten parishioners in both GOA and OCA are American-born. Further, today, more than one-quarter (29%) of the GOA and a majority of OCA (51%) members are converts to Orthodoxy – persons born and raised either Protestants or Roman Catholics." (Go to http://www.orthodoxinstitute.org/orthodoxchurchtoday.html for the full details of the study.) It should also be stated that this survey didn't include all of the jurisdictions in the U.S., one of which, the Antiochian Archdiocese, is comprised mainly of converts.

What I keep on saying to you, and what you don't seem to understand, is that you cannot break Orthodoxy up into little pieces and accept what you like and reject what you don't. You either accept it as a whole or reject it as a whole.

There is absolutely positively nothing in the Protestant faith/worship/theology that I wish to incorporate into Orthodoxy. Why?

Because it is lacking. It does not have the fullness of the faith. The Reformers of the 16th Century tried to restore what we already had. There was nothing, in our eyes, that they "fixed" or made better because we already had it, and still have it to this day.

While the Orthodox Church will never judge who is or who is not going to heaven, we will never accept that those outside of the Church are part of the Church.

I'm not sure what else to tell you David. You keep trying to apply your "cafeteria theology" to Orthodoxy, and it just doesn't work that way. It cannot work. As I said before, Christianity is a theocracy, not a democracy.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 27, 2009, 01:34:19 PM
HandmaidenofGod,

It is not other faiths!!! It is other followers of THE Faith, even if you do not wish to acknowledge it. To use a term that for DY carries some negative connotation (for which I apologize) we are ALL more or less sects of the ONE Christian faith -- be we Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant.

As it was among the the Old economy (one faith with various sects, i.e. Pharisees, Sadducees, and even Samaritans), so it is under the New economy.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 27, 2009, 01:38:37 PM
John 17:18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, and that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word

Indeed! It was and is their word, the gospel, the message of Jesus, that we believed through.
Actually, historically speaking, their word was much more than just the canonical gospels.  It was the entire teaching of those such as the much-discussed Ignatius which is now preserved in the church.  To say that it is JUST the gospel is simply to be deluding oneself. 

Quote
Quote
Evidently not, as you keep quoting OUR word (see John 17:20 above).

No, I am quoting THEIR word, which is HIS word. Not your word.
Ialmisry is referring to the fact that it is the Church (that would be the Orthodox Church) that preserved and defended the Gospels and Christianity which was canonized in 419, and handed down to be subsequently changed and diluted by Protestants and filtered down to you.   ;)

Quote
Quote
no, you fall on your own.
Quote
Thankfully your judgment doesn't matter. I know in whom I have believed, and I know to Him I stand or fall, and I shall by His grace stand.
I don't believe ialmisry was attempting to pass judgment on you.  I think he was referring to the authority of the Church, the body of Christ on earth, which you are outside of, and thus on your own.  Does that make a little more sense?

Isa, correct me if I am wrong on any of these things.  I'm just trying to help so that the discussion remains productive and doesn't disintegrate.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 27, 2009, 01:43:07 PM
John 17:18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, and that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word



Indeed! It was and is their word, the gospel, the message of Jesus, that we believed through.

Which they spoke to their successors.  Not you.


Quote
Evidently not, as you keep quoting OUR word (see John 17:20 above).

Quote
No, I am quoting THEIR word, which is HIS word. Not your word.

No, you are quoting what the Church says is THEIR word, which is His word, again according to the Church.

Not your word.

Quote
no, you fall on your own.

Quote
Thankfully your judgment doesn't matter.

No it doesn't.  But Christ's does "Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me."


Quote
I know in whom I have believed,


St. Apollos so thought.  Eloquent, mighty in the scriptures, instructed in the way of the Lord, fervent in spirit, teaching accurately the  things of the Lord.  Yet he humbled himself to receive instruction in the way of God more accurately, instruction he received from the Church (Acts 19 would indicate perhaps that he was confused about baptism too).

Quote
and I know to Him I stand or fall, and I shall by His grace stand.

1Cor 10:12: So-then let him who thinks he stands beware lest he fall.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 27, 2009, 01:44:27 PM
HandmaidenofGod,

It is not other faiths!!! It is other followers of THE Faith, even if you do not wish to acknowledge it. To use a term that for DY carries some negative connotation (for which I apologize) we are ALL more or less sects of the ONE Christian faith -- be we Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant.

As it was among the the Old economy (one faith with various sects, i.e. Pharisees, Sadducees, and even Samaritans), so it is under the New economy.

That is for Christ, and Christ alone to judge. As we have said before, we know where Christ's faith is. We don't know where it isn't.

While I can look at some Protestant sects that hold true to orthodox (small "o") Christian beliefs, there are others that make me scratch my head. As I said before, only God and God alone knows who is and who isn't going to heaven. (Regardless of whether they are Orthodox, Baptist, Pentacostal, Catholic, etc.)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 27, 2009, 01:45:04 PM
Cleopas!  Friend!  I missed your voice!  I was afraid you had left us again, I'm so glad to see you are still here!  You always have such excellent points to add to the discussion!
I don't really have anything to add yet, as ytterbiumanalyst and witega said things quite nicely, I think.  I just wanted to say glad you're still here!

Thank you Sister. *blush*  :)
BTW, I officially hate the limited edit functionality here. I have created a bad habit over the years of correcting typos on a second or third read through, usually on later visit. And of course I can't do that here.  :o :'( :laugh: In other words, please forgive the sloppy spelling and what not. I do not type well, or proper, though I am pretty fast for using only three fingers between two hands.  ;) :D

Left? No, I have not taken a sabbatical (not yet anyhow :D).
I've just had a lot going on with family and my congregation as of late. You know how that can be, I'm sure.

BTW, whose the beauty in your avatar?  ;D :D

I just realized I never said thank you for your compliment.  The picture is of me and my husband while on our trip to Greece in November.  Thank you for your kind words!
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 27, 2009, 02:04:31 PM
HandmaidenofGod,

It is not other faiths!!! It is other followers of THE Faith, even if you do not wish to acknowledge it. To use a term that for DY carries some negative connotation (for which I apologize) we are ALL more or less sects of the ONE Christian faith -- be we Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant.

As it was among the the Old economy (one faith with various sects, i.e. Pharisees, Sadducees, and even Samaritans), so it is under the New economy.

Respectfully, I have to disagree.  There is TOO much difference and disunity of faith to say that we are all the same (else we would all be accepting gay bishops, female priests, Christ as god-with-a-little-g, and all manner of other bizarre beliefs that I think we can all agree are not in line with Christ's teaching).  There are more important things than holding hands and singing kumbayah together.  As Handmaiden said, we are truly proclaiming the Gospel all over the world.  We more than welcome inquiries into the faith.  Indeed, the Church waits as the father of the prodigal, with open arms, praying for the son to return.  In fact, as our elder priest said in his sermon this past Sunday, "NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY prays MORE for the unity of the faith than we Orthodox."  We pray CONSTANTLY, at every service, at all times, at every hour, for the unity of Christ's Church (You might be very surprised by what you hear, were you to attend services at an Orthodox Church).  What is it that you would like us to do in addition?  I, too, am a little confused about this. 

And really, it's not about what Handmaiden, or I, or ialmisry, or any other Orthodox believes about Protestants that matters.  Unlike Protestant believers (and I don't say that in a pejorative sense, just to draw the difference), we do not form our own opinions on these matters and hold them as dogmatic (or authoritative).  We submit to the greater wisdom and authority of the Church on these things.  So it's not about whether Handmaiden or any other individual acknowledges it.  The Church has spoken quite clearly, and it is to Her that we humbly submit our opinions, as it is She who is Christ's bride, whom He Himself left to be the guiding authority for us on earth.  Do you believe that you know better than the entirety of the Church, whose voice has been heard on the matter through the voices and hands of the saints over 2000 years (I don't mean that disrespectfully, I'm just trying to provide perspective)? 

No. Christ left the Church as His authority on earth to guide us in our journey.  Who is your guiding authority on earth?  Saying "the Holy Spirit," as you can imagine, will hold no weight whatsoever with us, as it is the same claim made by those who founded such sects as Mormons and JW's.  As is quite clear by the extremely varied beliefs throughout Protestantism (as well as those fringe sects mentioned and others), "hearing" the Holy Spirit by oneself is ALWAYS compromised by sin and pride without the guiding hand of the Church.  Make sense?  Or am I being clear as mud?  :)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 27, 2009, 02:45:03 PM
John 17:18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, and that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word

Indeed! It was and is their word, the gospel, the message of Jesus, that we believed through.
Actually, historically speaking, their word was much more than just the canonical gospels.  It was the entire teaching of those such as the much-discussed Ignatius which is now preserved in the church.  To say that it is JUST the gospel is simply to be deluding oneself.

I Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delievered them to you.

Evidently not, as you keep quoting OUR word (see John 17:20 above).

No, I am quoting THEIR word, which is HIS word. Not your word.
Ialmisry is referring to the fact that it is the Church (that would be the Orthodox Church) that preserved and defended the Gospels and Christianity which was canonized in 419, and handed down to be subsequently changed and diluted by Protestants and filtered down to you.   ;)

Yes, if you reject the Church, you can't use her Gospel.  You will have to officially get another one.


no, you fall on your own.
Thankfully your judgment doesn't matter. I know in whom I have believed, and I know to Him I stand or fall, and I shall by His grace stand.
I don't believe ialmisry was attempting to pass judgment on you.  I think he was referring to the authority of the Church, the body of Christ on earth, which you are outside of, and thus on your own.  Does that make a little more sense?

I'm not in a position to judge anyone.  I liken him to St. Apollos.

Funny you should use the phrase "on your own."  Our priest (a proud graduate of Southern Baptist) was talking about that on Saturday at Vespers.  He was reading from the Pentateuch, how God says that if anyone disobeys the instructions, they are to be "cut off from the people."  "Some," he pointed out, "think this means capital punishment.  Whether it does or not, the Church sees it as something more serious: it means excommunication.  They are no longer part of God's plan of redemption.  'that person shall then be cut off from his people, for he did not present the offering of the LORD at its appointed time. That man will bear his sin.' (Numbers 9:13).  He is on his own."

Quote
Isa, correct me if I am wrong on any of these things.  I'm just trying to help so that the discussion remains productive and doesn't disintegrate.
No, you are correct in all of the above, just nicer than me in the saying.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 27, 2009, 03:53:15 PM
HandmaidenofGod,

It is not other faiths!!! It is other followers of THE Faith, even if you do not wish to acknowledge it. To use a term that for DY carries some negative connotation (for which I apologize) we are ALL more or less sects of the ONE Christian faith -- be we Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant.

Orthodoxy is not a sect.

It is the ONE Christian Faith.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 27, 2009, 06:31:07 PM
I don't understand what you mean. What treasures do you want us to share?

I have replied to this on the "A Challenge to you Orthodox" thread, as being more relevant there. I hope you will take a look.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 27, 2009, 06:41:48 PM
(else we would all be accepting gay bishops, female priests, Christ as god-with-a-little-g, and all manner of other bizarre beliefs that I think we can all agree are not in line with Christ's teaching). 

If you look back over the posts of the past months, since Rosehip put my two articles (amalgamated into one) on to a thread in May last year, you will see that I have stressed that these same deviations and distortions disturb us also. Many Evangelicals like me are undoubtedly much more deeply alarmed and distressed by them than you are, because we are insiders, and we see men and women in positions of leadership in the churches, dismantling and perverting the very faith they profess (and often are paid) to uphold.  Many of the criticisms Orthodox posts on these fora refer to find us in complete and much saddened agreement. But we must compare the best Orthodoxy with the best Protestantism; it would not be impossible to find poor examples of Orthodox life and compare them in the same manner with the best Evangelical examples - but it would be quite unfair. Perversions of the Faith are not really germane to the discussion, and they are all too easy to find.

Quote
There are more important things than holding hands and singing kumbayah together.

Or stin kardia, Kyrie, as they do in Greece.
 :)

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on January 27, 2009, 07:15:04 PM
Let it be stated that Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria is part of the Coptic Orthodox Church and is in no way in communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

So are the people we are talking to on this thread David Young and Cleopas.  We can sit back and entertain our Protestant friends while slamming an OO Hierarch because He's not in "official" Communion with Eastern Orthodoxy?   ???
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on January 27, 2009, 07:20:49 PM
Do these words of Peter the Aleut (see his 17th May 2008 post) have any bearing on your question?

We Orthodox can certainly do well to learn the Evangelical mantra that conversion of the inner man is necessary for salvation, that mere application of the name Orthodox to ourselves because this is the title we inherited from our forebears is not enough to make us truly Christian.  (Is this, in fact, not the message of such great saints as St. John Chrysostom?) 

Sure, unless you are trying to convert the "inner man" of an Orthodox Christian to your perspective on Christ just like many martyrs were asked to bow down and worship idols of the Roman Emperor.  These martrys received their inheritance for staying loyal under persecution as the Church Triumphant.  Where are your martyrs?  your witnesses? those who rejected temptation for the eternal kingdom?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on January 27, 2009, 07:24:50 PM
Our Protestant friends do not ask us for anything.  Example, Cleopas won't talk to me and that's perfectly fine.   :)
I'm sorry for any perceived slight, dear fellow. It was not intentional.

Forgive me for I did feel a little bad about calling you out, in a sense.  My point was that you engaged others in discussion and not me and if you thought that I was making little or no sense, I understand.   :)

It's just that I have learned to reply only to those comments, persons, or aspects of a post that solicit particular interest at a given time or reading. You see, being as an Evagelical so few in comparison to you many, varied, and well spoken Orthodox

On this forum, yes.  In the world, you know that the reverse is true.   ;D

I realized early on I could not, indded would be foolish to try to, respond to everyone and/or every single comment. So, I try to make my comments count when I make them, and hope that as such they will fuel the dialog, and even if not addressing everyone directly will indirectly create a sense of interaction.

My sincere apologies if I made you feel ignored or neglected. Indeed, sometimes I have not had the time or liberty to formulate a reply and mentally have placed some responses on a back burner -- hoping to get to them later perhaps.

Just an FYI. ;)

I look forward to your replies when your schedule permits.   :)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ozgeorge on January 27, 2009, 07:26:58 PM
Let it be stated that Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria is part of the Coptic Orthodox Church and is in no way in communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

So are the people we are talking to on this thread David Young and Cleopas.  We can sit back and entertain our Protestant friends while slamming an OO Hierarch because He's not in "official" Communion with Eastern Orthodoxy?   ???

SolEX01,
Again this is a completely unfounded claim, emotionally based rather than based on fact, and is distracting and derailing to the dialogue on this thread.
I'm now asking you as a Moderator to desist from such posts. Please contribute to the dialogue if you so desire, but stop making posts which are unrelated to the topic and which derail the thread.
I would also ask that those on the thread do not respond to this post of SolEX01 or comment on this Moderation in the thread. If you wish to say anything about this Moderation, please either pm myself, cleveland or Fr. Chris.
George
(Global Moderator)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 27, 2009, 09:11:57 PM
(else we would all be accepting gay bishops, female priests, Christ as god-with-a-little-g, and all manner of other bizarre beliefs that I think we can all agree are not in line with Christ's teaching). 

If you look back over the posts of the past months, since Rosehip put my two articles (amalgamated into one) on to a thread in May last year, you will see that I have stressed that these same deviations and distortions disturb us also. Many Evangelicals like me are undoubtedly much more deeply alarmed and distressed by them than you are, because we are insiders, and we see men and women in positions of leadership in the churches, dismantling and perverting the very faith they profess (and often are paid) to uphold.  Many of the criticisms Orthodox posts on these fora refer to find us in complete and much saddened agreement. But we must compare the best Orthodoxy with the best Protestantism; it would not be impossible to find poor examples of Orthodox life and compare them in the same manner with the best Evangelical examples - but it would be quite unfair. Perversions of the Faith are not really germane to the discussion, and they are all too easy to find.

Quote
There are more important things than holding hands and singing kumbayah together.

Or stin kardia, Kyrie, as they do in Greece.
 :)


David, I have no doubt that those deviations and distortions disturb you.  No doubt whatsoever.  I'm sure that you feel them very deeply and are saddened by them.  This is how we Orthodox feel about ALL Christians outside of Orthodoxy, how we feel about ALL of the denominations of Christianity that have deviated and distorted so badly the teachings of the Church.  As I said, no one prays more for the unity of the Church than the Orthodox.  We pray for this unity several times in the Divine Liturgy alone!

I'm not trying to say that these deviations and distortions are invalid.  In fact, my point is exactly the opposite.  They are totally invalid, but used the SAME criterion for arriving at their invalid ways/beliefs that you have for your valid ones!  Do you believe that their motives were as pure as you believe the other denominations to be?  If so, then logic follows that this idea that the Holy Spirit tells you what to believe must be false, otherwise the problem would not be there to begin with!  If their motives are NOT pure, then there must be a LOT of people out there, yes, entire denominations full of people who have ulterior motives behind their beliefs! 

Besides that, while you (and yes, I) say that they are invalid, if you look at the U.S., it is quite clear that they have now been accepted as mainstream!  The National Prayer Service for the Inauguration of President Obama just the other day featured a woman (in a rainbow colored stole, no less) preaching the sermon!  She was an ordained "minister" who was considered to be a "safe" and "non-controversial" choice to give the sermon!  So, obviously, there are a LOT of people out there who disagree with what you and I say about their validity (and who believe themselves to be God-fearing Christians).  But, I must say with no disrespect meant whatsoever, we Orthodox have MUCH firmer ground to stand on in saying that she is invalid.  We have 2000 years of beliefs, tradition, doctrine, dogma, and obviously the Holy Spirit on our side!  We have the concrete evidence to prove that this is the position the Church has always held, the theological reasoning (aided by the writings of the Fathers and the decisions of councils) to back it up, etc.  But as each individual Protestant is free to believe what he or she wishes and make such doctrinal and dogmatic decisions for themselves, the only ground they have to stand on is "the Holy Spirit told me, and it says in the Bible."  Both of these statements (Holy Spirit and Bible) are open to interpretation--- your interpretation of what the Holy Spirit told you and what you think the Bible says (this is the hypothetical you, not you personally).  Our stance, however, is in no way open to interpretation.  The Church has spoken concretely on these matters. 

I'm not attempting to compare the best of Orthodoxy to the worst of Protestantism.  Far from it.  My point, as I said, was exactly the opposite.  But as you are quite keen on examining the motives of particular groups and such, I'm going to try and state what I said a little clearer ('cause I think I muddled it a little above).  I would love to hear your thoughts.

With regard to the fringe groups that have "deviated from" and "distorted" the Truth...  by the Protestant logic which says that pure motives/ pure heart (I'm not sure I'm putting that correctly, but hopefully you grasp my meaning) will result in proper interpretation of Scripture and enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, one of the two following options must be the result:

1) The motives of these groups (which include MILLIONS in the US alone) are impure and thus there are millions of so-called Christians and those who believe themselves to be the true Church (Mormons and JW's and Seventh Day Adventists and Oneness Pentecostals, etc) who, while they believe they have the proper interpretation of the Scriptures cannot possibly because their motives are so impure and they are thus lost.

or

2) The motives of these groups are as you say they are (an effort to recover lost teaching--- I know the JW's say this), and the whole "the Holy Spirit guides my interpretation because I pray and have a pure heart" idea does not actually work.  Rather, relying on one's own self to interpret the Scriptures (with the "aid" of the Holy Spirit) is a dangerous path, as we are in fact subjecting the Scriptures to our limited knowledge, limited world view, and of course our pride and sin, thus arriving at false teaching.

Clear as mud?  :)

Any thoughts?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 28, 2009, 12:22:36 AM
(else we would all be accepting gay bishops, female priests, Christ as god-with-a-little-g, and all manner of other bizarre beliefs that I think we can all agree are not in line with Christ's teaching). 

If you look back over the posts of the past months, since Rosehip put my two articles (amalgamated into one) on to a thread in May last year, you will see that I have stressed that these same deviations and distortions disturb us also. Many Evangelicals like me are undoubtedly much more deeply alarmed and distressed by them than you are, because we are insiders, and we see men and women in positions of leadership in the churches, dismantling and perverting the very faith they profess (and often are paid) to uphold.  Many of the criticisms Orthodox posts on these fora refer to find us in complete and much saddened agreement. But we must compare the best Orthodoxy with the best Protestantism; it would not be impossible to find poor examples of Orthodox life and compare them in the same manner with the best Evangelical examples - but it would be quite unfair. Perversions of the Faith are not really germane to the discussion, and they are all too easy to find.

Quote
There are more important things than holding hands and singing kumbayah together.

Or stin kardia, Kyrie, as they do in Greece.
 :)


David, I have no doubt that those deviations and distortions disturb you.  No doubt whatsoever.  I'm sure that you feel them very deeply and are saddened by them.  This is how we Orthodox feel about ALL Christians outside of Orthodoxy, how we feel about ALL of the denominations of Christianity that have deviated and distorted so badly the teachings of the Church.  As I said, no one prays more for the unity of the Church than the Orthodox.  We pray for this unity several times in the Divine Liturgy alone!

I'm not trying to say that these deviations and distortions are invalid.  In fact, my point is exactly the opposite.  They are totally invalid, but used the SAME criterion for arriving at their invalid ways/beliefs that you have for your valid ones!  Do you believe that their motives were as pure as you believe the other denominations to be?  If so, then logic follows that this idea that the Holy Spirit tells you what to believe must be false, otherwise the problem would not be there to begin with!  If their motives are NOT pure, then there must be a LOT of people out there, yes, entire denominations full of people who have ulterior motives behind their beliefs! 

Besides that, while you (and yes, I) say that they are invalid, if you look at the U.S., it is quite clear that they have now been accepted as mainstream!  The National Prayer Service for the Inauguration of President Obama just the other day featured a woman (in a rainbow colored stole, no less) preaching the sermon!  She was an ordained "minister" who was considered to be a "safe" and "non-controversial" choice to give the sermon!  So, obviously, there are a LOT of people out there who disagree with what you and I say about their validity (and who believe themselves to be God-fearing Christians).  But, I must say with no disrespect meant whatsoever, we Orthodox have MUCH firmer ground to stand on in saying that she is invalid.  We have 2000 years of beliefs, tradition, doctrine, dogma, and obviously the Holy Spirit on our side!  We have the concrete evidence to prove that this is the position the Church has always held, the theological reasoning (aided by the writings of the Fathers and the decisions of councils) to back it up, etc.  But as each individual Protestant is free to believe what he or she wishes and make such doctrinal and dogmatic decisions for themselves, the only ground they have to stand on is "the Holy Spirit told me, and it says in the Bible."  Both of these statements (Holy Spirit and Bible) are open to interpretation--- your interpretation of what the Holy Spirit told you and what you think the Bible says (this is the hypothetical you, not you personally).  Our stance, however, is in no way open to interpretation.  The Church has spoken concretely on these matters. 

I'm not attempting to compare the best of Orthodoxy to the worst of Protestantism.  Far from it.  My point, as I said, was exactly the opposite.  But as you are quite keen on examining the motives of particular groups and such, I'm going to try and state what I said a little clearer ('cause I think I muddled it a little above).  I would love to hear your thoughts.

With regard to the fringe groups that have "deviated from" and "distorted" the Truth...  by the Protestant logic which says that pure motives/ pure heart (I'm not sure I'm putting that correctly, but hopefully you grasp my meaning) will result in proper interpretation of Scripture and enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, one of the two following options must be the result:

1) The motives of these groups (which include MILLIONS in the US alone) are impure and thus there are millions of so-called Christians and those who believe themselves to be the true Church (Mormons and JW's and Seventh Day Adventists and Oneness Pentecostals, etc) who, while they believe they have the proper interpretation of the Scriptures cannot possibly because their motives are so impure and they are thus lost.

or

2) The motives of these groups are as you say they are (an effort to recover lost teaching--- I know the JW's say this), and the whole "the Holy Spirit guides my interpretation because I pray and have a pure heart" idea does not actually work.  Rather, relying on one's own self to interpret the Scriptures (with the "aid" of the Holy Spirit) is a dangerous path, as we are in fact subjecting the Scriptures to our limited knowledge, limited world view, and of course our pride and sin, thus arriving at false teaching.

Clear as mud?  :)

Any thoughts?

I remember seeing the debate in the Southern Baptist Convention over ordaining women, seeing the conservatives being shown up on the issue using their own criteria.  They had dealt their trump card out.

The problem with the Mormons and JW is that many of them have pure, but misguided, motives.  They are duped, but much like Pelagius, their personal motives and behavior are pure.  How does the "best of Protestantism" tell them that they are wrong?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: John of the North on January 28, 2009, 03:12:48 AM
Any thoughts?

In Christianity truth is not a philosophical concept nor is it a theory, a teaching, or a system, but rather, it is the living theanthropic hypostasis - the historical Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Before Christ men could only conjecture about the Truth since they did not possess it. With Christ as the incarnate divine Logos the eternally complete divine Truth enters into the world. For this reason the Gospel says: "Truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). - St. Justin Popovich
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 28, 2009, 06:43:08 AM
...unless you are trying to convert the "inner man" of an Orthodox Christian to your perspective

I am not.

Quote
Where are your martyrs?  your witnesses? those who rejected temptation for the eternal kingdom?

Together with yours, awaiting the resurrection at the last day.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: LBK on January 28, 2009, 07:57:03 AM
Quote
Where are your martyrs?  your witnesses? those who rejected temptation for the eternal kingdom?

Together with yours, awaiting the resurrection at the last day.

I didn't think Baptists recognise the idea of saints as do the Orthodox and RC.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 28, 2009, 08:32:00 AM
I didn't think Baptists recognise the idea of saints as do the Orthodox and RC.

This is true. Not that we deny their saintliness, or fail to derive inspiration from their example or nourishment from their writings. We may well. But we do not use the title "Saint" to distinguish between some of the Lord's servants and others.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 28, 2009, 09:00:31 AM
David, I have no doubt that those deviations and distortions disturb you. 

I think we are dealing with three different matters all entangled together: geographical; chronological; and religious.

One of the most persistent complaints you all put on these various threads is the "OSAS" teaching - "once saved, always saved" - which is usually called "eternal security" or "the perseverance of the saints" over here in Britain. As I wrote on a previous thread, I have never heard such a teaching here in Britain, except from one man who is an American Baptist from California pastoring a church in Wales. It jarred on my ears. Now remember that from 1971 to 1976 I was among the straitest, most orthodox Calvinists in the south of England, and even there I never heard anything like the counsel that was given to 11-year-old Handmaiden and has so troubled and disturbed her. She says, "it is a life-long walk, my friend," and even the strongest believer in eternal security would agree with her entirely on that. The only evidence which "makes your calling and election sure" or proves the genuineness of your personal salvation is a godly life. So I think here we are dealing with a geographically located problem: it is an American thing. Not that that reduces its seriousness in any way. But it is not universal, and I guess it must be new, for the Calvinists to whom I referred just now constantly feed their souls on the writings of Calvin, the Calvinist confessions of faith, and the Puritans.

Then there is what I have called chronological: that is, I think the current Zeitgeist is infecting the church of God in a devastating and debilitating way. We live in a shallow, silly and entertainment-based age, and we expect our religion to be the same. Schoolchildren get good exam results now because, as is widely known, the standards for grades have been lowered so much. Even Oxford and Cambridge have been forced to change their entry requirements  :( .  Marriages last a while, and then people move on: it's called 'serial monogamy', Even the news on television has to have a break, and be accompanied by music. Sentences passed on criminals are lamentably lenient, and some people deliberately get caught so as to get back into prison where they feel at home. Nothing matters any more. Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous as dowsing someone with rose petals and calling it baptism, as one post relates? Such is the spirit of our age.

Thirdly there is what I called 'religious'. People want the privilege of being deemed Christian, or ordained, without the submission to God's requirements which have always been part of Christianity. So if you are a woman and want a dog-collar or stole, you find a way to explain away the passages in the Bible which forbid it. If you are a sodomite and want to practise your perversion and still be called Rev So-and-So, you find a way to explain it away. But this is not 'sola scriptura' or real Protestantism: it's a new-fangled religious spirit usurping our name and hijacking our institutions. People have shaken their heads in weary despair over Obama's politically correct inauguration: what a travesty, and surely what an offence to God Almighty!

Quote
They ... used the SAME criterion for arriving at their invalid ways/beliefs that you have for your valid ones! 

I dispute that most vehemently!

Quote
Do you believe that their motives were as pure as you believe the other denominations to be? 

No! Someone may post a reply asking who is DMY to judge another's motives? Well, so be it! I like your attitude of submission to a God-given authority. You see that as the Church; we see it as the scripture. These people submit to nothing but their own whims and ambitions.

Quote
there must be ... entire denominations full of people who have ulterior motives behind their beliefs! 

I don't think we can go that far. Many people are simple believers - the scripture, nay the Lord himself, calls them 'sheep'. They follow trustingly and are led to believe that these perversions are OK.

Quote
I would love to hear your thoughts.

There! You have them.

Quote
With regard to the fringe groups that have "deviated from" and "distorted" the Truth...  by the Protestant logic which says that pure motives/ pure heart (I'm not sure I'm putting that correctly, but hopefully you grasp my meaning) will result in proper interpretation of Scripture and enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, one of the two following options must be the result:

1) The motives of these groups (which include MILLIONS in the US alone) are impure and thus there are millions of so-called Christians and those who believe themselves to be the true Church (Mormons and JW's and Seventh Day Adventists and Oneness Pentecostals, etc) ...

or

2) The motives of these groups are as you say they are (an effort to recover lost teaching

No. Let us remove 7th Day Adventists from the list, as I know nothing about them, and I am aware that some people accept them and others don't. You are then mixing sects (JWs, Mormons, Sabellians) with the truly trinitarian groups listed in my side of our "wager". I believe all those listed by me would accept the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, and all (from the early church to the 20th century Pentecostals in Azusa Street) believe what you, we and the RCs believe about our Lord's Person. The ones in your list a few lines above do not. I don't think we should confuse them.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on January 28, 2009, 11:51:40 AM
Thirdly there is what I called 'religious'. People want the privilege of being deemed Christian, or ordained, without the submission to God's requirements which have always been part of Christianity.

How about indulgenices and simony?  Is it fair to say that not much has changed in the 5 Centuries since Luther?  How about modern day analogs to indulgencies like donating $X a month to have one's name scroll across a televangelist's screen?

So if you are a woman and want a dog-collar or stole, you find a way to explain away the passages in the Bible which forbid it.

Simple, translate the Bible to fit the world view and not the other way around.  The Old Testament and the Gospel, handed to us by the scribes, writers and Apostles, establish the bedrock for the One True Church, not an academic translation modified to justify one's agenda.

If you are a sodomite and want to practise your perversion and still be called Rev So-and-So, you find a way to explain it away. But this is not 'sola scriptura' or real Protestantism: it's a new-fangled religious spirit usurping our name and hijacking our institutions.

Here, we see the fruits of 'sola scriptura' and every Church a "Pope."  Every Church's "Pope" can commission their own translation of the Bible to justify anything and that translation becomes the "One True Church" for that Pope....

People have shaken their heads in weary despair over Obama's politically correct inauguration: what a travesty, and surely what an offence to God Almighty!

Was the "One True Church" really in the National Cathedral where one loved another and didn't judge anyone?  Does the same spirit of love and charity and mercy (gifts of the Holy Spirit, BTW) apply outside of the National Cathedral; in the courtrooms of USA and UK? in neighborhoods where people are being burned out of their homes or being evicted from their homes or when old people freeze to death when the utilities are disconnected or when charities lose money to swindlers and are unable to help people in need?  Where is the "One True Church" in those cases?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on January 28, 2009, 12:13:24 PM
I didn't think Baptists recognise the idea of saints as do the Orthodox and RC.

This is true. Not that we deny their saintliness, or fail to derive inspiration from their example or nourishment from their writings. We may well. But we do not use the title "Saint" to distinguish between some of the Lord's servants and others.
I have noticed this. I have also noticed, however, having been in the Southern Baptist Convention for two years, that the Baptists do recognize the holiness of certain individuals, and they do attribute that holiness to having received salvation. In fact, the only difference I can see between their idea of sanctification (which shares the Latin root from which we derive the word saint) and ours is that the Baptists believe that people are saved instantaneously upon the decision to become Christ-like, and we claim that people are saved when they actually become Christ-like. Thus for them, all Christians living and dead are saints, whereas for us, some are saints and some are still on the path of sanctification. I don't think we would disagree with the Baptists that Christians are being sanctified, but I do believe that we would hesitate to claim that all Christians have already been sanctified. In other words, I do not believe that an Orthodox would be wrong if they made the claim that Baptists do that all Christians are saints--in fact, St. Paul often refers to the churches in his care as "saints"--but I do believe that we are more cautious than they about making such a claim.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 28, 2009, 12:35:00 PM
the only difference I can see between their idea of sanctification ... and ours is that the Baptists believe that people are saved instantaneously upon the decision to become Christ-like, and we claim that people are saved when they actually become Christ-like.

Yes, very well put, and it's very similar to what I've been trying to say for a long time. We wouldn't use the phrase "the decision to become Christ-like" for only the working of the Spirit in our lives, coupled with our co-operation with him (synergy, I believe it's called), can make us Christ-like. But yes, we believe that a person is saved instantaneously, the first event in a life-long process of growth in holiness and Christlikeness (sanctification / theosis). We use the word "saved" to denote what happens at the start, and you use it to denote what happens at the end. In fact, I think the Bible uses it in different passages with both senses.

This post has no bearing on the question of eternal security (OSAS as you call it), for the question about whether true salvation can ever be lost is a different one, and one on which I have nothing to say.

For your meaning of "saved" we would perhaps say glorified or perfected, and (apart from Wesleyans) we do not look for it in this life. But - and here we may perhaps be different from you - we do have the assurance that we shall get there, because of God's promise that he will complete the work he began in us.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 28, 2009, 12:40:57 PM
How about modern day analogs to indulgencies like donating $X a month to have one's name scroll across a televangelist's screen?

Sickening.

Quote
Was the "One True Church" really in the National Cathedral ...?

I assume you are referring to the Inauguration. I didn't watch it, but from what you and others have told me, it was a religious disaster - Obama putting together his own politically correct religion, not Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or Orthodox. I imagine I would have switched it off in digust, or done like Elvis Presley used to and shot the television.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 28, 2009, 12:52:11 PM
Quote

Yes, very well put, and it's very similar to what I've been trying to say for a long time. We wouldn't use the phrase "the decision to become Christ-like" for only the working of the Spirit in our lives, coupled with our co-operation with him (synergy, I believe it's called), can make us Christ-like. But yes, we believe that a person is saved instantaneously, the first event in a life-long process of growth in holiness and Christlikeness (sanctification / theosis). We use the word "saved" to denote what happens at the start, and you use it to denote what happens at the end. In fact, I think the Bible uses it in different passages with both senses.

This post has no bearing on the question of eternal security (OSAS as you call it), for the question about whether true salvation can ever be lost is a different one, and one on which I have nothing to say.

For your meaning of "saved" we would perhaps say glorified or perfected, and (apart from Wesleyans) we do not look for it in this life. But - and here we may perhaps be different from you - we do have the assurance that we shall get there, because of God's promise that he will complete the work he began in us.


Very well stated David Young!

I would only add that we also see salvation as a bit of paradox, both/and not either/or. That is to say we are both now truly saved and yet will be (finally) saved.
For us salvation entails conversion itself through eternal life, and not just eternal life.

I am saved (we are now the children of God)
I am being saved (I am becoming more Christ-like).
&, I will be saved (at the redemption of the body at the appearing of the Lord).
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on January 28, 2009, 12:54:18 PM
For your meaning of "saved" we would perhaps say glorified or perfected, and (apart from Wesleyans) we do not look for it in this life.
This is precisely why we are so reluctant to use the term "saint" in regards to the living. For though we try very hard to achieve the perfection to which Christ calls us, we too do not expect it to come in this life.

But - and here we may perhaps be different from you - we do have the assurance that we shall get there, because of God's promise that he will complete the work he began in us.
No, we are not different in this aspect. We do have the assurance that we will be saved; we just do not believe that we have already been saved. For this reason, we cling to the Church, for we believe that by following the plan She offers, we will be saved. We do not know if there are other ways to salvation, and so we cling tenaciously to the one way we do know. Salvation is just too important to risk being wrong.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 28, 2009, 02:04:05 PM
One of the most persistent complaints you all put on these various threads is the "OSAS" teaching - "once saved, always saved" - which is usually called "eternal security" or "the perseverance of the saints" over here in Britain. As I wrote on a previous thread, I have never heard such a teaching here in Britain, except from one man who is an American Baptist from California pastoring a church in Wales.

This is interesting. While it has been joked before that the U.S. and Britain are two countries divided by one language, the "Baptists" in England seem to be a completely different lot than the "Baptists" in America.

Having said that, this is a perfect example as to the neccesity of Church Authority. From the English point of view, the Americans have taken what was started in Britain and run it through the mud.


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I dispute that most vehemently!

How can you? While these groups may have an idealogy quite different than yours, was it not derived by the same method of prayer, reading of scripture, and believing in one's own interpretation of said scripture? You cited examples of gross mis-interpretation of scripture. But in all reality, how is searching scripture to justify gay ordination any different than searching scripture to justify denying the authority of the Church? In both cases, it is man using God's word to justify his own actions.

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You see that as the Church; we see it as the scripture. These people submit to nothing but their own whims and ambitions.

How can you say that you look to scripture for authority, yet deny the Church that gave you the scripture? The Bible didn't just fall from heaven leatherbound with the stamp of Thomas Nelson publisher's on the side, and the words of Christ in red. Remember, the Bible was not canonized until 419. Luther, apparantly finding the canon of 419 too heavy to carry around, threw out 13 books, and some chapters from Esther and Daniel to satisfy his own theology.

You say you look to the Bible for authority, yet you do not even have the complete Bible in your possession. You accuse others of submitting to nothing but their own whims and ambitions, yet you accept the canon from one who altered the original canon to satisfy his own whims and ambitions.

Pot meet Kettle.

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I don't think we can go that far. Many people are simple believers - the scripture, nay the Lord himself, calls them 'sheep'. They follow trustingly and are led to believe that these perversions are OK.

By what authority do you have to judge these other sects? Are we not all sheep? This is why we need a God given authority to lead us. A shepherd, a vicar, a Bishop.


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No. Let us remove 7th Day Adventists from the list, as I know nothing about them, and I am aware that some people accept them and others don't. You are then mixing sects (JWs, Mormons, Sabellians) with the truly trinitarian groups listed in my side of our "wager". I believe all those listed by me would accept the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, and all (from the early church to the 20th century Pentecostals in Azusa Street) believe what you, we and the RCs believe about our Lord's Person. The ones in your list a few lines above do not. I don't think we should confuse them.

By what authority do you have to say that those that accept the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds are okay, but those that don't aren't? I know of many non-denominational sects that reject both creeds yet accept the points made in the creeds. (I don't understand it either.)

By setting the above standards, you are (whether you realize it or not) declaring yourself your own Pope.

You are saying, "I, David Young, say that all who believe in teh Apostles' and Nicene Creeds are truly Christian and those who don't aren't." Also, I find it interesting that you use a measuring stick, that although based on scripture, cannot be found in scripture. In fact, who was it given to us by? Oh yes, THE CHURCH!
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 28, 2009, 02:07:44 PM
Very well stated David Young!

I would only add that we also see salvation as a bit of paradox, both/and not either/or. That is to say we are both now truly saved and yet will be (finally) saved.
For us salvation entails conversion itself through eternal life, and not just eternal life.

I am saved (we are now the children of God)
I am being saved (I am becoming more Christ-like).
&, I will be saved (at the redemption of the body at the appearing of the Lord).

Whoa! You guys have been spending too much time with us here on OC.net! Cleopas my friend, you just stated the Orthodox view of salvation!

Be careful, you're starting to become Orthodox! :D
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 28, 2009, 05:31:12 PM
Whoa! You guys have been spending too much time with us here on OC.net! Cleopas my friend, you just stated the Orthodox view of salvation!

Be careful, you're starting to become Orthodox! :D

Kewl! Interesting as well.  ;D
BTW, I have believed this before ever coming to OC.net.  ;)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: LBK on January 28, 2009, 05:44:28 PM
Whoa! You guys have been spending too much time with us here on OC.net! Cleopas my friend, you just stated the Orthodox view of salvation!

Be careful, you're starting to become Orthodox! :D

Kewl! Interesting as well.  ;D
BTW, I have believed this before ever coming to OC.net.  ;)

So, Cleopas, why are you trying to set up your own denomination? Why not "cut out the middle man", and become Orthodox? Or are you simply cherry-picking the bits of Orthodoxy you like for your new melange "church"?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 28, 2009, 06:28:28 PM
So, Cleopas, why are you trying to set up your own denomination? Why not "cut out the middle man", and become Orthodox?

I'm not.

I do pastor an independent church. But it was an existing church plant, without a pastor. I was a pastor without a church.
God Led me, in His providence, to them. That is why I am there.

If you mean why am I an evangelical? Well because that is what led me to Christ, and where Christ has seen fit to keep me.  :)
Besides, I sincerely believe it to contain the most accurate beliefs and conformity to NT Christianity (as recorded in the Scripture) of any of the 3 branches.

I really didn't know anything much about Orthodoxy before coming across OC.net. I had assumed you were pretty much the same thing as Catholics (which in some ways you still are, to me).

It is neat to see that some Scriptural truths pertaining to personal salvation are common. It gives me greater hope, and a bit more understanfing as to how, that saving grace can exist among your fellowship, in spite of the ecclessiastical systems, traditions, etc. that, in our perspective, would serve to impede it. ;D

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Or are you simply cherry-picking the bits of Orthodoxy you like for your new melange "church"?

Not at all. I came to increase knowledge of your beliefs, practices, and polity as well as to help relay mine and those who believe the same or similar to me.
However, anything I can learn here that would enlarge my understanding of Scripture, edify my relayionship with the Lord, or otherwise serve to properly glorify and exalt the name of Christ, well I'm all for it. But it has nothing to do with cherry picking your beliefs or practices. I have no such motivation or undertaking in any wise.

I am here building bridges, building relationships, and hopefully in some way building others up in Christ.  ;)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 28, 2009, 06:59:46 PM
I am saved (we are now the children of God)
I am being saved (I am becoming more Christ-like).
&, I will be saved (at the redemption of the body at the appearing of the Lord).

Amen. So we believe.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 28, 2009, 07:10:25 PM
If you mean why am I an evangelical? Well because that is what led me to Christ, and where Christ has seen fit to keep me. Besides, I sincerely believe it to contain the most accurate beliefs and conformity to NT Christianity (as recorded in the Scripture) of any of the 3 branches.

I really didn't know anything much about Orthodoxy ... I had assumed you were pretty much the same thing as Catholics (which in some ways you still are, to me).

It is neat to see that some Scriptural truths pertaining to personal salvation are common. It gives me greater hope, and a bit more understanding as to how that saving grace can exist among your fellowship, in spite of the ecclesiastical systems, traditions, etc. that, in our perspective, would serve to impede it.

However, anything I can learn here that would enlarge my understanding of Scripture, edify my relationship with the Lord, or otherwise serve to properly glorify and exalt the name of Christ, well I'm all for it.

I assure you I am not really Cleopas breaking the rules by posting under a second name. Even so, his thoughts coincide precisely with mine. I have put dots where he referred to this Net, because it was in Albania, not via the Net, that I came across Orthodoxy and began studying it - first for no other reason than my work, then because of its many good, wholesome and attractive features.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 28, 2009, 07:19:55 PM
By what authority do you have to judge these other sects?

I haven't replied to this long post, not out of discourtesy or lack of respect for your questions, but because it still doesn't seem entirely relevant to me for us to discuss sects to which we both deny the name Christian anyway, and are thus a priori in agreement. The most we would achieve (and someone has already said this - maybe yourgoodself) would be to end by saying we have arrived at the same conclusion about them from different starting points. There may be a thread about sects, but as I know so little about them, and have even less interest in them, I am unlikely to post on it.

The other reason is that most of your questions in this posting seem to belong more on the 'sola scriptura' thread. That is not to deny their value as questions, but I think I have probably said all I can on that subject, on that thread. I have your Orthodox book opposing sola scriptura, and I have ordered a book which studies and compares the Orthodox position and the Protestant one, by a Protestant, and I shall read that too. So I shall have the argument presented to me by an author from each side. By then I may know a good deal more and be better able to make worthwhile contributions to that thread. At present, on that theme I am written out.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on January 28, 2009, 08:29:35 PM
HandmaidenofGod,

It is not other faiths!!! It is other followers of THE Faith, even if you do not wish to acknowledge it. To use a term that for DY carries some negative connotation (for which I apologize) we are ALL more or less sects of the ONE Christian faith -- be we Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant.

As it was among the the Old economy (one faith with various sects, i.e. Pharisees, Sadducees, and even Samaritans), so it is under the New economy.

I disagree.

That's like me reading the book of mormon, and deciding to start a Mormon church (with no connection to the original mormons at all) and claiming that the Original Mormons can't call my new mormon group "a new faith".

New groups can't tell the Original what they can and can't say.

Orthodoxy has been making these claims before both you and I were born. Before Protestantism was born 500 years, and before Rome split from us 1,000 years ago. And you can see Orthodox Christians saying this to gnostics in the 2nd century.

So you have no right to say we can't talk this way. If Orthodoxy has been talking this way for almost 2,000 years, then who are you....or me.....or anyone to say we can no longer talk this way?







JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on January 28, 2009, 08:39:51 PM
David Young said:
Quote
Let me reverse the order of some of the questions. On assurance, see my previous post. I see justified in the Protestant sense of the term, that is a sort of forensic or legal metaphor: God forgives us our many sins, cleanses us, removes the guilt of them, and declares us 'not guilty'. (Prior to the Reformation justification was understood as being made righteous, but I am content with the Protestant understanding of the term as meaning being declared righteous (a status rather than a state, if you like).)

Cleopas might disagree with you since Pentecostals and some Charismatics merge Sanctification in the "Salvation" area.




JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on January 28, 2009, 08:51:19 PM
David Young said:
Quote
No. Let us remove 7th Day Adventists from the list, as I know nothing about them, and I am aware that some people accept them and others don't. You are then mixing sects (JWs, Mormons, Sabellians) with the truly trinitarian groups listed in my side of our "wager". I believe all those listed by me would accept the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, and all (from the early church to the 20th century Pentecostals in Azusa Street) believe what you, we and the RCs believe about our Lord's Person. The ones in your list a few lines above do not. I don't think we should confuse them.

After reading his book, I doubt if Robert Morey believes in those creeds. At least it seemed that way when he attacked them in his book. He thought the Apostles creed and Athansians creed were written by the East (I know, I know....you don't gotta say it). But he is a Reformed Baptist, and he seems to differ from you.







JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 28, 2009, 10:33:03 PM
David Young said:
Quote
Let me reverse the order of some of the questions. On assurance, see my previous post. I see justified in the Protestant sense of the term, that is a sort of forensic or legal metaphor: God forgives us our many sins, cleanses us, removes the guilt of them, and declares us 'not guilty'. (Prior to the Reformation justification was understood as being made righteous, but I am content with the Protestant understanding of the term as meaning being declared righteous (a status rather than a state, if you like).)

Cleopas might disagree with you since Pentecostals and some Charismatics merge Sanctification in the "Salvation" area.

Not at all, at least as in so far as you quoted. Justification is (to the believer) primarily a judical act of God. Yes, it leaves one in a justified state, but it (justification) is wholly to us righteousness imputed. It is in regeneration that righteousness is imparted or infused. Different works or aspects of (initial) conversion.

Not sure where David Young stands on regenration and it's correlation with justification, or regarding sanctification really (beyond his brief mention to it above). But I can't imagine as similar as our beliefs have already proven to be that there would be any significant difference between us here. Yet, I cannot speak for him. These are reflective only of my own doctrinal understanding of salvific works.

I believe that Sanctification happens in conversion itself, yes. However, most Holiness-Pentecostals (except the AG) hold to sanctification as a post conversion crisis experience and/or an instanteaneous 2nd definite work of grace (with conversion being the first) and  thus as an intermediary work preperatory to the reception of the Spirit baptism (a "third blessing" it's called). Charasmatics are less dogmatic or definitive about the order or steps of such things (so I have found). Of course that is a whole 'nother subject or three in and of itself. I just wanted to try and give a bit more accurate overview.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on January 28, 2009, 11:21:36 PM
After the "third blessing" are all sins covered? I ask because there is no difference before or after than. Why even become a christian if you are no better off afterwards than when you started.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 29, 2009, 12:35:16 AM
David, I have no doubt that those deviations and distortions disturb you. 

I think we are dealing with three different matters all entangled together: geographical; chronological; and religious.

One of the most persistent complaints you all put on these various threads is the "OSAS" teaching - "once saved, always saved" - which is usually called "eternal security" or "the perseverance of the saints" over here in Britain. As I wrote on a previous thread, I have never heard such a teaching here in Britain, except from one man who is an American Baptist from California pastoring a church in Wales. It jarred on my ears. Now remember that from 1971 to 1976 I was among the straitest, most orthodox Calvinists in the south of England, and even there I never heard anything like the counsel that was given to 11-year-old Handmaiden and has so troubled and disturbed her. She says, "it is a life-long walk, my friend," and even the strongest believer in eternal security would agree with her entirely on that. The only evidence which "makes your calling and election sure" or proves the genuineness of your personal salvation is a godly life. So I think here we are dealing with a geographically located problem: it is an American thing. Not that that reduces its seriousness in any way. But it is not universal, and I guess it must be new, for the Calvinists to whom I referred just now constantly feed their souls on the writings of Calvin, the Calvinist confessions of faith, and the Puritans.
You admit, then, that in fact Protestantism is NOT consistent in faith?  You have stated several times that the beliefs in Britain differ dramatically from the beliefs in the U.S (as though this is an answer to what I've said--- it's not).  How is it then, that with such differences in faith, Protestantism is unified in faith?  I'm afraid you can't have it both ways.

There are, by the way, over 8,000 denominations within Protestantism alone (and that's just the ones that readily identify themselves as being Protestant-- that's not even counting the non-denominational ones-- altogether over 33,000, with 200-300 new ones every year!).  Just because it "doesn't exist in Britain" doesn't mean that Protestantism is not accountable, so to speak.  It is still Protestant.

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Then there is what I have called chronological: that is, I think the current Zeitgeist is infecting the church of God in a devastating and debilitating way. We live in a shallow, silly and entertainment-based age, and we expect our religion to be the same. Schoolchildren get good exam results now because, as is widely known, the standards for grades have been lowered so much. Even Oxford and Cambridge have been forced to change their entry requirements  :( .  Marriages last a while, and then people move on: it's called 'serial monogamy', Even the news on television has to have a break, and be accompanied by music. Sentences passed on criminals are lamentably lenient, and some people deliberately get caught so as to get back into prison where they feel at home. Nothing matters any more. Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous as dowsing someone with rose petals and calling it baptism, as one post relates? Such is the spirit of our age.
This is exactly an example of what I'm talking about.  Without the authority of the Church to guide us, we are led into problems like this, trying to make the faith relevant to these kids, for example.  The voice of the Church has been consistent and steady since 33 AD, and is always relevant, and always ready to address these issues.  There is no watering down according to society.  Yeah, we've had to learn how to utilize the internet to get the Gospel out.  Yeah, we've had to use radio, and television, and whatnot.  Yeah, we have to address all of these things.  But nothing, and I mean nothing, changes the consistency and the Truth of Orthodoxy.

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Thirdly there is what I called 'religious'. People want the privilege of being deemed Christian, or ordained, without the submission to God's requirements which have always been part of Christianity. So if you are a woman and want a dog-collar or stole, you find a way to explain away the passages in the Bible which forbid it. If you are a sodomite and want to practise your perversion and still be called Rev So-and-So, you find a way to explain it away. But this is not 'sola scriptura' or real Protestantism: it's a new-fangled religious spirit usurping our name and hijacking our institutions. People have shaken their heads in weary despair over Obama's politically correct inauguration: what a travesty, and surely what an offence to God Almighty!
And where did they get the idea that they can do this?  From Sola Scriptura!  All they have to say is, "I prayed and fasted and the Holy Spirit enlightened me!"  All of a sudden, they're preaching at the President's inauguration!  And it's not as though they are considered fringe and unaccepted!  They are perfectly mainstream.  You are saying that these millions of people are invalid.  Who is being exclusive now?  I think those millions of people would disagree with you that it's not Sola Scriptura and not Protestant.  What assurance do you have that you are right and they are ALL wrong, aside from your own opinion and your private interpretation of Scripture?  Our assurance is the consistent voice of the Church with 2000 years of doctrine and dogma to back us up.

The point is not that you or I find all these perversions to be travesties.  The point is that they exist to begin with, as a result of the Protestant mindset of Sola Scriptura, as a result of the idea that one can properly interpret the Scriptures by oneself.


Quote
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They ... used the SAME criterion for arriving at their invalid ways/beliefs that you have for your valid ones! 

I dispute that most vehemently!
David, I certainly did not mean that as a criticism of you, I hope you didn't receive it that way.
I was pointing out that the method used by both parties (you and them) to arrive at beliefs held is purportedly the same-- faithful Christian living such that the Holy Spirit guides you to interpret the Scriptures.  They say this.  You say this.  Who is right?  Because the same methodology has resulted in 33,000 separate denominations (and still growing)-- each believing something different, or interpreting something different, or at the very LEAST stressing something different.  As far as stressing different things (which you have yourself stated is often the case in different Protestant denominations)-- we would say that this in and of itself is a violation of Scripture, as it takes God's word out of context, tips the balance, etc.  When one thing is stressed, something else is sacrificed.  Only the Church can maintain perfect balance.  So 33,000 denominations...as has been stated so many times, Christ does NOT keep a harem.

May I ask, please, what is your grounds for dispute?  You did not give a reason or proof that I said something wrong.

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Do you believe that their motives were as pure as you believe the other denominations to be? 

No! Someone may post a reply asking who is DMY to judge another's motives? Well, so be it! I like your attitude of submission to a God-given authority. You see that as the Church; we see it as the scripture. These people submit to nothing but their own whims and ambitions.
And yet that very "submission to Scripture" absent of the authority of the Church is what landed us here to begin with!  And that is quite a value judgment you're making there, I must say.  One of my best friends, for example, is a member of one of these "forward-thinking" parishes that has a female priest (Episcopalian) and has other major problems.  But she is a beautiful, God-fearing person who searches her heart constantly for enlightenment.  And her (female) priest, whom I happen to know personally, is a beautiful, God-fearing person as well who has wholly submitted her life to God.  Neither of them has any regard for their whims or ambitions.  I have NO doubt of their motives.  How is it that you do?  It is not the motives that make the problem, friend, but the method.

At least you are acknowledging, though, that it is you who are judging motives solely of your own opinion and without any authority.  That's a step in the right direction, I'd say.  I say that with love and sincerity, not as an attack or out of sarcasm.  I truly believe that the conversation will move forward a lot more when we (both of us) are honest, and not rationalizing and using circular reasoning.

By the way, just a technical note.  We would not say that the authority is the Church and NOT the Scriptures.  The Scriptures are part of the Church, and the two cannot be separated.  Just thought I'd mention that.

Quote
Quote
there must be ... entire denominations full of people who have ulterior motives behind their beliefs! 

I don't think we can go that far. Many people are simple believers - the scripture, nay the Lord himself, calls them 'sheep'. They follow trustingly and are led to believe that these perversions are OK.
I'm sure that this is true, which is perfect evidence of what I am saying-- it is not the motives that are the problem, but the method.  Interpreting Scripture absent of the guidance of the Church is dangerous.  What makes you think that they will not trustingly (naively) fall prey to the evil one when trying to interpret Christ's word on their own?  I mean, the evil one didn't hesitate to tempt Christ in the Wilderness, using the words of Scripture.  What makes you think he would not tempt those naive believers?  And what makes you think that they (who are naive) would then not fall prey? 

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I would love to hear your thoughts.

There! You have them.
And indeed, I appreciate them.  I feel like maybe you are frustrated?  I think I am reading that in your posts, but I pray not.  Please, I hope I'm not overwhelming you again or frustrating you.  If so, I do apologize.

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With regard to the fringe groups that have "deviated from" and "distorted" the Truth...  by the Protestant logic which says that pure motives/ pure heart (I'm not sure I'm putting that correctly, but hopefully you grasp my meaning) will result in proper interpretation of Scripture and enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, one of the two following options must be the result:

1) The motives of these groups (which include MILLIONS in the US alone) are impure and thus there are millions of so-called Christians and those who believe themselves to be the true Church (Mormons and JW's and Seventh Day Adventists and Oneness Pentecostals, etc) ...

or

2) The motives of these groups are as you say they are (an effort to recover lost teaching

No. Let us remove 7th Day Adventists from the list, as I know nothing about them, and I am aware that some people accept them and others don't. You are then mixing sects (JWs, Mormons, Sabellians) with the truly trinitarian groups listed in my side of our "wager". I believe all those listed by me would accept the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, and all (from the early church to the 20th century Pentecostals in Azusa Street) believe what you, we and the RCs believe about our Lord's Person. The ones in your list a few lines above do not. I don't think we should confuse them.

Actually, how much one knows about 7th Day Adventists is really irrelevant.  I know almost nothing about them.  The point is not that these sects are invalid.  You are correct that we agree on that.  The point that you continue to dance around and rationalize is how they got to their invalid conclusions. 

I am interested to know, by the way...
Earlier in the thread, jnorm888 mentioned that the idea which you presented of the Church (Acts 2) is a novel one, innovative, foreign, new, etc.  I don't recall you addressing that.  If I may, I will quote it below and ask that you address it in addition to our ongoing discussion.

Quote
This idea is a noval one. The Protestant Reformation took an idea that Saint Augustine made up and ran with it to it's logical conclusion. But the idea is noval.....new. The One True Church idea is not noval. It is old. So by the bases of "time" itself, the idea expressed above is "counterfit".


We know where it came from and it didn't come from Jesus and the Apostles......nor from Orthodox Christians for the first 4 hundred years. The beginnings (ruff draft) of that idea can be traced to Saint Augustine. And the development of it can be traced to the Protestant Reformers.

This idea destroys any real concept of "the Real Church" being INCARNATE in the HERE and NOW.  It has a gnostic feel to it.

The Gnostics believed that their souls would be saved. They didn't care about their physical bodies. In a similar manner, this Augustinian..modied Protestant idea makes the "invisible church soul" saved while not caring about the "physical church body".


If the Church is Incarnate then their is only ONE TRUE CHURCH......with a spiritual and physical aspect.

If the Church is some phantom ghost then there is no such thing as a ONE TRUE (physical) CHURCH......because the onlything that's important is the spiritual aspect.

As I said, I pray I am not causing you frustration or offense, as it is the last thing I want.  I appreciate your sticking with the conversation.  I am, truly, still having trouble grasping the logic of much of Protestant theology.  As Handmaiden said in one of her posts, it just doesn't make sense.  I can't wrap my head around it without arriving at the conclusion that it is nothing more than circular reasoning.  I am continuing to ask questions and drive home points in the hope that you will say something that will click with me and I will understand the logic and the vicious circle of reasoning will be broken.  At the very least, these conversations are always enlightening and cause me to constantly examine and re-examine my faith.  For that, I am grateful, as it deepens and strengthens my faith always!

With love in Christ,
Presbytera Mari
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 29, 2009, 12:36:56 AM
So, Cleopas, why are you trying to set up your own denomination? Why not "cut out the middle man", and become Orthodox?

I'm not.

I do pastor an independent church. But it was an existing church plant, without a pastor. I was a pastor without a church.
God Led me, in His providence, to them. That is why I am there.

If you mean why am I an evangelical? Well because that is what led me to Christ, and where Christ has seen fit to keep me.  :)
Besides, I sincerely believe it to contain the most accurate beliefs and conformity to NT Christianity (as recorded in the Scripture) of any of the 3 branches.

I really didn't know anything much about Orthodoxy before coming across OC.net. I had assumed you were pretty much the same thing as Catholics (which in some ways you still are, to me).

It is neat to see that some Scriptural truths pertaining to personal salvation are common. It gives me greater hope, and a bit more understanfing as to how, that saving grace can exist among your fellowship, in spite of the ecclessiastical systems, traditions, etc. that, in our perspective, would serve to impede it. ;D

Au contraire, it is precisely BECAUSE of the Church's ecclesiology (not an "ecclessiastical sytem," as if it was just an organization incorporation question), traditions etc., including OUR scripture, that have given us saving grace.

They are what St. Paul praised us for (I Cor. 11):
"1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
2 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you"

That, btw, is what Apostolic succession is about.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 29, 2009, 12:57:47 AM
So, Cleopas, why are you trying to set up your own denomination? Why not "cut out the middle man", and become Orthodox?

I'm not.

I do pastor an independent church. But it was an existing church plant, without a pastor. I was a pastor without a church.
God Led me, in His providence, to them. That is why I am there.
Glory to God!

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If you mean why am I an evangelical? Well because that is what led me to Christ, and where Christ has seen fit to keep me.  :)
Besides, I sincerely believe it to contain the most accurate beliefs and conformity to NT Christianity (as recorded in the Scripture) of any of the 3 branches.
First off, may I ask to what 3 branches you are referring?
Secondly, honestly, you believe your Church to "contain the most accurate beliefs and conformity to NT Christianity (as recorded in the Scripture)?"  I don't mean that to sound crass or harsh.  But the next thing you say is this:

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I really didn't know anything much about Orthodoxy before coming across OC.net. I had assumed you were pretty much the same thing as Catholics (which in some ways you still are, to me).

So how can you believe that when you don't even know what else is out there?  Historically, I'm sorry, whether you want to acknowledge it or not (oops, there's that expression again), we ARE the historical Church, the Church of Acts.  You had no clue what we believe before, and obviously still have little knowledge (if you think we are the same as Catholics).  So how is it that you believe you possess NT Christianity?  Just because you can't see how anyone could know more than you?  Again, not meant in a nasty way, but you and David Young are the very ones who have been asking us to share what you don't know.  Is it just that you can't see how there could possibly be something else that is closer than you?  I'm really genuinely mystified by this... how one can think that they can just suddenly reinvent the NT faith, or return to it, WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT WAS THERE TO BEGIN WITH (AND AS IS OBVIOUSLY THE CASE WITH THE ORTHODOX, WHAT STILL IS THERE).  There are so many Protestant Churches out there that are founded on this notion... claiming to be the NT Church, or the closest thing to it.  Have you any type of Liturgy?  Because they did...  I'm still trying to get my husband to join the forum, as this is his area of expertise... he has studied the historical sources that speak about the liturgy of the Early Church (and by Early, I mean 1st century).  Do you know anything of them?  If so, have you incorporated those into your worship?  If not, why not, since you seem to think you are the closest thing to NT Christianity?  Do you see the point I'm trying to make here?  Again, these are genuine questions, not meant to be nasty or critical.  I'm seriously confused and mystified, almost to the point of kind of a snorting laughter like, "uhhh, what???!!!  NO WAY!!  How'd he arrive at that!!??!!"  Make sense?  Again, not meant to be ugly...

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It is neat to see that some Scriptural truths pertaining to personal salvation are common. It gives me greater hope, and a bit more understanfing as to how, that saving grace can exist among your fellowship, in spite of the ecclessiastical systems, traditions, etc. that, in our perspective, would serve to impede it. ;D
Interesting that you (hypothetical you plural) feel yourself qualified, having little knowledge of our faith, to make that judgment.  Even if you did know of our faith, what makes you qualified to judge the presence of saving grace among us, again?  Somehow I thought that was God's job... As we've said over and over, we make no judgments of saving grace among you.  We just know what we have. 

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Or are you simply cherry-picking the bits of Orthodoxy you like for your new melange "church"?

Not at all. I came to increase knowledge of your beliefs, practices, and polity as well as to help relay mine and those who believe the same or similar to me.
However, anything I can learn here that would enlarge my understanding of Scripture, edify my relayionship with the Lord, or otherwise serve to properly glorify and exalt the name of Christ, well I'm all for it. But it has nothing to do with cherry picking your beliefs or practices. I have no such motivation or undertaking in any wise.

I am here building bridges, building relationships, and hopefully in some way building others up in Christ.  ;)
I am truly glad to hear you say this.  I think building bridges and relationships is, indeed, a worthy reason.  I always feel edified by conversation with you, my friend!
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 29, 2009, 01:19:39 AM
By what authority do you have to judge these other sects?

I haven't replied to this long post, not out of discourtesy or lack of respect for your questions, but because it still doesn't seem entirely relevant to me for us to discuss sects to which we both deny the name Christian anyway, and are thus a priori in agreement. The most we would achieve (and someone has already said this - maybe yourgoodself) would be to end by saying we have arrived at the same conclusion about them from different starting points. There may be a thread about sects, but as I know so little about them, and have even less interest in them, I am unlikely to post on it.
I know this wasn't directed at me, so please forgive me if I'm interfering... It doesn't matter that we both believe them to be invalid.  That's beside the point.  What does matter is that we arrive at the same conclusion from different starting points (or maybe, rather, by different methods).  It's that starting point, or that method, that matters.  Your conclusion is based solely in your opinion based on your reading of Scripture (not the authority of Scripture, but your reading of it... they submit to the authority of Scripture too, but your reading of it is different from theirs, and, as there is no proof backing up your reading to establish it as authoritative, it is just your opinion) and your judgment of them, their beliefs, and their motives.  This is what we are trying to get you to address.  We arrive at our conclusion by way of submitting to the authority of the Church and what she says.  It matters not how we individually judge them, or how we individually read and interpret the Scriptures, or how we individually view their motives (in fact, motives has NOTHING to do with it at all for us).  It is THIS that we are trying so hard to stress.  By what authority do you establish that your reading and interpretation of the Scriptures, which allows you to view them as invalid, is right and theirs is wrong?

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The other reason is that most of your questions in this posting seem to belong more on the 'sola scriptura' thread. That is not to deny their value as questions, but I think I have probably said all I can on that subject, on that thread. I have your Orthodox book opposing sola scriptura, and I have ordered a book which studies and compares the Orthodox position and the Protestant one, by a Protestant, and I shall read that too. So I shall have the argument presented to me by an author from each side. By then I may know a good deal more and be better able to make worthwhile contributions to that thread. At present, on that theme I am written out.
The two questions are completely intertwined, as your Church IS Sola Scriptura, so to speak.  Your "church" is made up of the individual believers.  To establish that this is invalid is to establish that the other is valid (being the Orthodox way).  So, all do respect, her questions are perfectly appropriate for this thread.  Either way, I don't really see how her questions ARE so much about Sola Scriptura.  But maybe that's just me.

Honestly, David, your last couple posts (as I said before) sound like frustrated side-stepping of the direct questions we are asking and the direct issues.  I can't speak for Handmaiden (although knowing her personally, I'm sure she feels the same way), but I personally have no desire what-so-ever to frustrate or offend you.  Please do tell me if I am doing so.  But it is starting to feel as though once you run out of answers (in other words, once we've stumped you to the point that you have no valid response), you move on to a new thread, side step the question, give what amounts to a tangential answer, etc.  I say this, again, sincerely and with love.  I look forward, as always, to your ever gentle, sincere, and loving responses.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 29, 2009, 01:46:14 AM
So, Cleopas, why are you trying to set up your own denomination? Why not "cut out the middle man", and become Orthodox?
Besides, I sincerely believe it to contain the most accurate beliefs and conformity to NT Christianity (as recorded in the Scripture) of any of the 3 branches.

Orthodoxy isn't a branch, it's the trunk:NT Christianity in the 21st century and all 21 centuries in between

That, btw, is what Apostolic succession is about.

4. How do you explain, and is their some significance to, the overlap between Bishops and Apostles both being present in the NT church itself?

I don't think it has ever been put better than by St. Clement:...42 The apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the command of the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus saith the Scripture in a certain place, “I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith."...44 Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 29, 2009, 07:04:53 AM
I doubt if Robert Morey believes in those creeds.

I have read his book. It is highly regarded. You have prompted to take it down from my shelf again.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 29, 2009, 07:27:20 AM
You admit, then, that in fact Protestantism is NOT consistent in faith? 

I must be brief, for someone is coming to see me soon. There is variety within Protestantism, but we hold the core doctrines in common. I have listed them elsewhere.

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they're preaching at the President's inauguration!  ... They are perfectly mainstream. 

They are a new-fangled main-stream religion favoured by possibly post-modern politicians. That does not make them true to Orthodoxy, Catholicism or Protestantism. We have the same compromised religiosity over here. People want the form of godliness without the power thereof - that is, without the life-changing inner work of producing holiness and commitment to one who is Lord of lords.

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I feel like maybe you are frustrated?  I hope I'm not ... frustrating you.  If so, I do apologize.

No need to apologise, but perhaps I am a bit frustrated. I ask myself why. Probably because:

- I long for better relations between Christians in Orthodox and Evangelical churches, not for conversion from one church to another but, among those who know the Lord, mutual acceptance and respect as children of God.

- I hope for mutual benefit: learning from each other, being a help and blessing to each other.

But it seems to come across from the Orthodox side that you are saying two things to us:

1) You are wrong, because we are the only true church and we have nothing to learn from you
2) Even when you happen to be right on something, you are still wrong really, because your churches are not real Christian churches, and your ministry and sacraments are invalid.

It has been eloquently said that Cleopas, I and the rest of us cannot derive blessing from Orthodox spirituality, but must accept an "all or nothing" arrangement. No cafeteria religion: the banquet, or nothing.

But thirdly, I am not a learned church historian or theologian, and I have a family and a job. I have neither the knowledge nor the time to respond adequately to the cascade of posts you good people kindly offer me for my consideration. But if I overlook one, someone may feel belittled, or that I have deliberately sidestepped an issue. There are many things I simply don't know, and others that would take considerable time to deal with worthily.

I should be delighted to attend the studies at your church, not least the accomopanying dinners, but you are thousands of miles away. Face to face, I think, we might annul the impression of frustration. But it cannot be. Let us however do our best.




Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 29, 2009, 07:33:56 AM
it is precisely BECAUSE of the Church's ecclesiology , traditions etc., ... that have given us saving grace.

I hoped someone would pick up on Cleopas's point here, for I think it is fairly near the centre of our discussion. It seems to me that our view of you is a mirror image of your view of us. You see us as impoverished because we lack the Holy Tradition, and this lack makes it harder for us to find Christ.

We see you as encountering obstacles to finding Christ, because your faith is encrusted with additional beliefs and practices which obscure or eclipse him, and thus make it harder for you to find him: the need for priests, prayers to and by the saints, ex opere operato sacraments, etc.

This post (which must in any case be cut short for I now have a visitor) is not a goad to discuss these issues, though we could do so later if you wished: rather, it is an observation which I hope will clarify the character of the debate.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 29, 2009, 01:15:30 PM
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the Lord has only one Body; but we believe that body is made up of all the redeemed, invisibly joined in union with Christ by his indwelling Spirit, whether they come to him through Orthodoxy (as you have, it seems (I say that, only because you rightly say that in the final analysis only God knows who is saved, not because I imply any doubt on my part of your salvation)), through Methodism (as I did), and so on.

This idea is a noval one. The Protestant Reformation took an idea that Saint Augustine made up and ran with it to it's logical conclusion. But the idea is noval.....new. ... that idea can be traced to Saint Augustine. And the development of it can be traced to the Protestant Reformers.

This idea destroys any real concept of "the Real Church" being INCARNATE in the HERE and NOW.  It has a gnostic feel to it.

The Gnostics believed that their souls would be saved. They didn't care about their physical bodies. In a similar manner, this Augustinian..modied Protestant idea makes the "invisible church soul" saved while not caring about the "physical church body".
JNORM888

There seem to be three ideas here, and I do not feel competent to reply, because to do so would require a good knowledge of Augustine and his influence, and I confess I am not drawn to Augustine and do not read him. (I have read about him.)

We see the idea of my model of the church in the New Testament, starting in Acts 2 as I quoted and then throughout the epistles and Revelation, but you may well be right in asserting that it lay dormant and undeveloped for hundreds of years before being taken up anew by Augustine and passed on down the centuries via people who agreed and still agree with it. Though I am sure Augustine laid much more sterss on the role of the sacraments than we do.

Then we move on to the notion of Christ incarnate in the church by his Spirit. No - we have in no way ditched that belief; indeed, it is very true and very precious. The church is the temple of the Holy Spirit, whom we have from God.

Neither does this model of the church tend, for us, towards a gnostic or manichæan concept of the contrast between body and spirit. All those who are in Christ will be raised in glory at the last day and will, in the eternal kingdom, make up the Bride to whom he is united. The resurrection of the body and the setting up by God of the new heavens and the new earth is important: we await no disembodied eternity.


Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 30, 2009, 12:14:36 PM
After the "third blessing" are all sins covered? I ask because there is no difference before or after than. Why even become a christian if you are no better off afterwards than when you started.

I'm sorry friend. I do not understand the question.
Could you rephrase or clarify, please?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 30, 2009, 12:22:55 PM
Orthodoxy isn't a branch, it's the trunk:NT Christianity in the 21st century and all 21 centuries in between

So you say. But what do Serbian's Say? Catholics? You get the idea.
At best, from a purely chronologically overview, Orthodoxy is an ancient and early branch, a major branch, in the growth of the tree of Christianity (if you will). Maye even the closest to the trunk. Yet, if any can, then only the pre-schismatic chronological church can claim uncontested title to being exclusively the one and self same church our Lord started.


Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 30, 2009, 12:34:12 PM
Glory to God!

Thank you.  :)

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First off, may I ask to what 3 branches you are referring?
Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant (used here as an all inclusive term for reformed and evangelical type churches)

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Secondly, honestly, you believe your Church to "contain the most accurate beliefs and conformity to NT Christianity (as recorded in the Scripture)?"  I don't mean that to sound crass or harsh.  But the next thing you say is this:

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I really didn't know anything much about Orthodoxy before coming across OC.net. I had assumed you were pretty much the same thing as Catholics (which in some ways you still are, to me).

So how can you believe that when you don't even know what else is out there?  Historically, I'm sorry, whether you want to acknowledge it or not (oops, there's that expression again), we ARE the historical Church, the Church of Acts.  You had no clue what we believe before, and obviously still have little knowledge (if you think we are the same as Catholics).  So how is it that you believe you possess NT Christianity?

I do. Admittedly there was and is much about Orthodoxy not understood by myself. But I am not totally ignorant thereof. And the things that give me the greatest concerns about Catholicism are more or less evident in Orthodoxy as well (i.e. literal prescence, prayers for the dead, infant baptism and lack of emphaisi on personal conversion, prayers to saints, lack of singulrity of ultimate authority residing in Scripture, etc.)

Simply put, when I read the Bible, churches like mine are the closest thing to the NT record of church practice, structure, and belief of the three major branches.

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Interesting that you (hypothetical you plural) feel yourself qualified, having little knowledge of our faith, to make that judgment.  Even if you did know of our faith, what makes you qualified to judge the presence of saving grace among us, again?  Somehow I thought that was God's job... As we've said over and over, we make no judgments of saving grace among you.  We just know what we have. 

I think perhaps you tokk my words for more than intended. Christ said we shall know the tree by it's fruit. I was simply saying that I see good fruit among you.

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I am truly glad to hear you say this.  I think building bridges and relationships is, indeed, a worthy reason.  I always feel edified by conversation with you, my friend!

Thank you, and I likewise share in that sentiment as well toward you. :)



Fixed quote tags  -PtA
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: StGeorge on January 30, 2009, 01:55:04 PM
Glory to God!

Thank you.  :)

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First off, may I ask to what 3 branches you are referring?
Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant (used here as an all inclusive term for reformed and evangelical type churches)

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Secondly, honestly, you believe your Church to "contain the most accurate beliefs and conformity to NT Christianity (as recorded in the Scripture)?"  I don't mean that to sound crass or harsh.  But the next thing you say is this:

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I really didn't know anything much about Orthodoxy before coming across OC.net. I had assumed you were pretty much the same thing as Catholics (which in some ways you still are, to me).

So how can you believe that when you don't even know what else is out there?  Historically, I'm sorry, whether you want to acknowledge it or not (oops, there's that expression again), we ARE the historical Church, the Church of Acts.  You had no clue what we believe before, and obviously still have little knowledge (if you think we are the same as Catholics).  So how is it that you believe you possess NT Christianity?

I do. Admittedly there was and is much about Orthodoxy not understood by myself. But I am not totally ignorant thereof. And the things that give me the greatest concerns about Catholicism are more or less evident in Orthodoxy as well (i.e. literal prescence, prayers for the dead, infant baptism and lack of emphaisi on personal conversion, prayers to saints, lack of singulrity of ultimate authority residing in Scripture, etc.)

Simply put, when I read the Bible, churches like mine are the closest thing to the NT record of church practice, structure, and belief of the three major branches.

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Interesting that you (hypothetical you plural) feel yourself qualified, having little knowledge of our faith, to make that judgment.  Even if you did know of our faith, what makes you qualified to judge the presence of saving grace among us, again?  Somehow I thought that was God's job... As we've said over and over, we make no judgments of saving grace among you.  We just know what we have.

I think perhaps you tokk my words for more than intended. Christ said we shall know the tree by it's fruit. I was simply saying that I see good fruit among you.

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I am truly glad to hear you say this.  I think building bridges and relationships is, indeed, a worthy reason.  I always feel edified by conversation with you, my friend!

Thank you, and I likewise share in that sentiment as well toward you. :)

Literal presence is held by many Lutherans.  Infant baptism is done by the mainline Protestant churches.  The need for personal conversion is held by many Protestants who believe "pentecostal gifts" (e.g. glossalia) need not be present for a person or church to be Christian. 

Why must the historic church be exactly like the church of the New Testament? 



Fixed quote tags in block of post quoting Cleopas  -PtA
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 30, 2009, 02:10:40 PM
Literal presence is held by many Lutherans.  Infant baptism is done by the mainline Protestant churches.  The need for personal conversion is held by many Protestants who believe "pentecostal gifts" (e.g. glossalia) need not be present for a person or church to be Christian.

1. Even though Lutherans may have their own literal prescence beliefs, they emphasis personal conversion, especially (initial) justification by faith alone in Christ alone. Sacrements are not needed to become justified with God.

2. Yes, some Protestant churches baptize infants. Still they have historically, emphasised personal conversion in spite their practice of infant baptism. However, let me hasten to add that I believe the more radical reformation branch (the anebaptists movement, etc.) of what is now typically categorized lump sum as "Protestant" probably is more closely aligned with and decended from NT distinctives. I suppose that is why there is such common agreement in beliefs among myself and David Young, more than say with a Presbyterian or an Anglican.

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Why must the historic church be exactly like the church of the New Testament? 

Because if, at least in principle, it is not the same then any claim to being the continuation thereof fails to be valid (at least to the degree it fails to be conformable to the principles of NT Christinaity).
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 30, 2009, 02:27:32 PM
Orthodoxy isn't a branch, it's the trunk:NT Christianity in the 21st century and all 21 centuries in between

So you say. But what do Serbian's Say? Catholics? You get the idea.
At best, from a purely chronologically overview, Orthodoxy is an ancient and early branch, a major branch, in the growth of the tree of Christianity (if you will). Maye even the closest to the trunk. Yet, if any can, then only the pre-schismatic chronological church can claim uncontested title to being exclusively the one and self same church our Lord started.

That would be us.

Since the Serbians are Orthodox (or rather most Serbians are Serbian Orthodox, who are Orthodox) they would say the same thing.

Catholics?  We are the Catholic Church, so we say the same.  If you are refering to the Vatican, their reversal of their own Popes (e.g. Pope Leo III forbids the innovation of the filioque, pope Leo IX insists on it, etc.) is quite clear.

So yes, I get the idea.

The only  pre-schismatic chronological church can claim uncontested title to being exclusively the one and self same church our Lord started.  Yes, that would be us.  That others broke off doesn't effect that.

My grandfather's arm got gangerous and had to be cut off.  That doesn't mean he ceased to be the same man born October 8, 1895.

As I stated:
5. How does one prove or validate their Apostolic lineage?

Those who have continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and communion, in the eucharist and the liturgy (THE Prayers) witness by their laying on of hands that the candidate so too continues in the Apostles doctrine and communion.  In other words, that the Apostles would commune them.  Those laying on hands must be in the Orthodox Churches diptychs.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 30, 2009, 02:40:31 PM
Orthodoxy isn't a branch, it's the trunk:NT Christianity in the 21st century and all 21 centuries in between

So you say. But what do Serbian's Say? Catholics? You get the idea.
At best, from a purely chronologically overview, Orthodoxy is an ancient and early branch, a major branch, in the growth of the tree of Christianity (if you will). Maye even the closest to the trunk. Yet, if any can, then only the pre-schismatic chronological church can claim uncontested title to being exclusively the one and self same church our Lord started.

That would be us.

Since the Serbians are Orthodox (or rather most Serbians are Serbian Orthodox, who are Orthodox) they would say the same thing.

Catholics?  We are the Catholic Church, so we say the same.  If you are refering to the Vatican, their reversal of their own Popes (e.g. Pope Leo III forbids the innovation of the filioque, pope Leo IX insists on it, etc.) is quite clear.

So yes, I get the idea.

My apologies.
I must have mixed the proper descriptive up.

As to Catholics, you know full well I was referring to Rome. ;)

Rome contends they are the trunk.
You contend you are the trunk.
Another (* wrongly indetified previously as Serbian) contends they are the trunk.
Alas, CHRIST is not divided! All who are in Christ, all who are justified by faith in His work (Hebrews 12:23), whatever church, whatever branch, what ever descriptive, are together the church universal. That no doubt includes Evangelicals and Protestants of various stripes, Orthodox, and Roman Catholics. Likewise it undoubtedly does NOT include all Evangelicals or Protestants, all Orthodox, nor all Roman Catholics.

You see, you may not where saving grace is ourside of the Orthodox church, but we do!  ;D And where that grace is, Christ is. We all who share that saving grace are one spirit with the Lord, one body of believers universal, though we be currently divided into our various sub-categories.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 30, 2009, 02:44:09 PM
Glory to God!

Thank you.  :)

Btw, I'll echo Greek Chef's sentiments.

First off, may I ask to what 3 branches you are referring?


Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant (used here as an all inclusive term for reformed and evangelical type churches)

Secondly, honestly, you believe your Church to "contain the most accurate beliefs and conformity to NT Christianity (as recorded in the Scripture)?"  I don't mean that to sound crass or harsh.  But the next thing you say is this:

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I really didn't know anything much about Orthodoxy before coming across OC.net. I had assumed you were pretty much the same thing as Catholics (which in some ways you still are, to me).

So how can you believe that when you don't even know what else is out there?  Historically, I'm sorry, whether you want to acknowledge it or not (oops, there's that expression again), we ARE the historical Church, the Church of Acts.  You had no clue what we believe before, and obviously still have little knowledge (if you think we are the same as Catholics).  So how is it that you believe you possess NT Christianity?

I do. Admittedly there was and is much about Orthodoxy not understood by myself. But I am not totally ignorant thereof. And the things that give me the greatest concerns about Catholicism are more or less evident in Orthodoxy as well (i.e. literal prescence, prayers for the dead, infant baptism and lack of emphaisi on personal conversion, prayers to saints, lack of singulrity of ultimate authority residing in Scripture, etc.)

Simply put, when I read the Bible, churches like mine are the closest thing to the NT record of church practice, structure, and belief of the three major branches.

Your first problem/difference from the NT record of Church practice is reading the Bible.  There was no NT to read: when St. Paul praises the Corinthians for celebrating the Eucharist, he specifically praises them for, and commands them to (I Cor. 11:) "1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
2 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you"

When he give the account of the Last Supper, no Gospel had been written: it had been transmitted in Divine Liturgy.

What traditions that have been delievered to you do you hold firm to, and deliever?

And the NT lacks the singulrity of ultimate authority residing in Scripture.  When the Church creates the order of diaconate, there is no reference to Scripture.  The Church just acts on her own authority.


And you still haven't explained why, while St. Paul submitted to the Church, you have not.

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 30, 2009, 02:51:21 PM
Orthodoxy isn't a branch, it's the trunk:NT Christianity in the 21st century and all 21 centuries in between

So you say. But what do Serbian's Say? Catholics? You get the idea.
At best, from a purely chronologically overview, Orthodoxy is an ancient and early branch, a major branch, in the growth of the tree of Christianity (if you will). Maye even the closest to the trunk. Yet, if any can, then only the pre-schismatic chronological church can claim uncontested title to being exclusively the one and self same church our Lord started.

That would be us.

Since the Serbians are Orthodox (or rather most Serbians are Serbian Orthodox, who are Orthodox) they would say the same thing.

Catholics?  We are the Catholic Church, so we say the same.  If you are refering to the Vatican, their reversal of their own Popes (e.g. Pope Leo III forbids the innovation of the filioque, pope Leo IX insists on it, etc.) is quite clear.

So yes, I get the idea.

My apologies.
I must have mixed the proper descriptive up.

As to Catholics, you know full well I was referring to Rome. ;)

Just correcting the terminology. :police: ;) :police:

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Rome contends they are the trunk.
You contend you are the trunk.
Another (* wrongly indetified previously as Serbian) contends they are the trunk.
Alas, CHRIST is not divided! All who are in Christ, all who are justified by faith in His work (Hebrews 12:23), whatever church, whatever branch, what ever descriptive, are together the church universal.

No, there are not.  You skip the possibility that someone is lying.

If there is no One True Church, or as we say, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, then we are lying.

And if our beliefs, documented in the Church from the time of SS Clement and Ignatius, i.e. those the Apostles handed the Church over to, are not true, then our Fathers were lying.

And if our Father were lying, then Christ who promised to be with the Church "every day until the end of the Age," and promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against her, was lying.

And if He is lying, then there is no need to debate this all, is there?

 
Quote
That no doubt includes Evangelicals and Protestants of various stripes, Orthodox, and Roman Catholics. Likewise it undoubtedly does NOT include all Evangelicals or Protestants, all Orthodox, nor all Roman Catholics.

You see, you may not where saving grace is ourside of the Orthodox church, but we do!

No, you don't.  Visible grace of knowing where the Church is, is embodied in the Orthodox Church.  By definition, any part of the "Church" outside her visible and manifest boundaries is ipso facto "unknown."  ;D

Quote
And where that grace is, Christ is. We all who share that saving grace are one spirit with the Lord, one body of believers universal, though we be currently divided into our various sub-categories.

Like my grandfather's severed arm.  May you be reattached to the Body.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 30, 2009, 02:54:20 PM
Why must the historic church be exactly like the church of the New Testament? 

Because if, at least in principle, it is not the same then any claim to being the continuation thereof fails to be valid (at least to the degree it fails to be conformable to the principles of NT Christinaity).

I'm betting that that isn't your baby picture.  Are you the living continuation of the infant in your baby picture?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: LizaSymonenko on January 30, 2009, 03:46:55 PM

Sacrements are not needed to become justified with God.



Really?  Sacraments are NOT needed?  This is news to me.
__________________________________________________

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."    (Luke 22)

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;   (Mark 16:16)
___________________________________________________

I could go on....



Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 30, 2009, 06:04:06 PM

Sacrements are not needed to become justified with God.



Really?  Sacraments are NOT needed? 

Cleopas wrote that sacraments are not needed in order to become justified before God. They were instituted by our Lord, are his commands, and are means of grace. They strengthen the believer. When done in faith they are steps in his experience of God, his growth in grace, his hold on God by faith. But justification comes before them; it is the beginning, and is effected by grace through faith. For that, a sacrament is not the means.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on January 30, 2009, 06:13:14 PM
Sacrements are not needed to become justified with God.
Wow. If you actually believe this, then you are not a Christian.

The term "sacrament" literally means "that which makes us holy." When we are baptized, we become more like Christ, who receives our sins through baptism. When we are married, we become more like Christ, who is the Bridegroom of the Church. When we are ordained, we become more like Christ, who is our High Priest. When we eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ, we become more like Christ, because we remember Christ and become more dependent on Him for our sustenance. When we confess our sins and repent of them, we become more like Christ, who is without sin.

No one can be justified without confession, repentance, and forgiveness. All sacraments are manifestations of these essential elements of Christianity. To say that sacraments are not necessary is to say that confession is not necessary, nor repentance, nor forgiveness--and then you hold to a different gospel, a different religion entirely.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 30, 2009, 06:38:30 PM
What traditions that have been delievered to you do you hold firm to?

Without reading it all through, I think the answer would be close to, if not exactly, the formal pronouncements of the ecumentical councils that were held in the first, say 450 years of the church's life, well before the church began to ramify into Catholic / Orthodox, and later into Anabaptist / Protestant, and so on.

In fact, I think we are really debating four different approaches to Tradition, but writing as if we were debating only two. I am aware this is a recurrent theme of mine: different issues get blended in our posts, when they really belong apart. Anyway, if I am not mistaken, there are at least these four views:

- Holy Tradition, as held by Orthodox
- Tradition, as held by Rome
- tradition as maintained by Protestants
- the Anabaptist view of Tradition and and scripture.

My use or disuse of capitals is quite deliberate there. Dealing with them out of order, I would suggest:

- The Anabaptist view is the one you good Orthodox are mainly attacking on these posts, that is, that there is no valid tradition at all and each believer, being endowed with the Holy Spirit as we are, is able to discern the right teaching direct from scripture by the Spirit's enlightenment, without needing the teaching of the Fathers, Councils, Reformers, theologians or anyone else. This view was held by the 16th century Anabaptists, but became more widely popularised over the past eighty years or so as a reaction to the debilitating effects of biblical criticism and the spread of Liberal theology.

- The Catholic view, which holds that there are two equally authorative sources of truth - church tradition and scripture. There is no need for what is revealed via church tradition to be hinted at, let alone specified, in scripture. This view developed in the Middle Ages, later than the filioque controversy and the split and is peculiar to Rome. Most Protestant books attacking tradition deal entirely, or almost entirely with this view and do not address the Orthodox position.

- The Orthodox view, which is that scripture alone is the receptacle of God's revelation, and all that is necessary for salvation and godly living is contained within its pages, but for the correct interpretation of this sole source of authority one looks to Holy Tradition (Councils, Fathers, liturgy etc).

- The classic Protestant view, which (I believe) is closer to the Orthodox view than to either of the other two. The Reformers did not expect anyone and everyone to refer only to the Holy Spirit within himself to gain proper understanding of the Bible, but laid great weight on the traditional understanding in the early church (which is why they retained practices like infant baptism, and continued to believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary). We do not believe that our tradition is infallible - that the masters have spoken and no further correction will ever be needed - but we do remain firmly within the general parameters they set, and have preserved.

Believers' baptism is a good example of development resulting from further reflection. I believe (I have no statistics ready to hand, but I guess they are available somewhere) that most convinced and practising Protestants in the world today now practise believers' baptism - though in no way do we say that those who retain the older practice are excluded from life and grace.

Justification by faith is another example. The early Fathers did not really develop a theory of the Atonement, concentrating rather on the doctrines of the Trinity and the Person of Christ - that is, on the dogmas that needed defining in response to current heresies. That Christ redeemed us by his death and resurrection they always affirmed and preached; but they did not systematise a doctrine of how his death and resurrection redeemed us. They did not turn their attention to soteriology in their ecumenical statements. In the 16th century West however it became the major matter of theological debate and formulation.

So to answer ialmistry's question, we abide within that stream of tradition. It is more dynamic, more open to amendment and development, than the Orthodox view, and it allows freedom for individual believers to read and to discuss, and within the tradition to alter their views whilst remaining truly Evangelcial; but it does not make us each his own pope: that, I suggest, is more applicable to a fully developed Anabaptist view.

I think this may also point to a partial answer to the question, whether I ever feel frustrated on the forum. You see, I can sit down with my fellow Evangelicals and discuss points of theology - as I often do - or read theological books - also as I often do - and adjust my beliefs without creating a religious rift between me and my fellows. But the discussion on the threads here sometimes reads like, "The Church has spoken: there is no need to think about whether my personal beliefs need to change." This is such a new kind or idea of discussion, to my narrow Evangelical past experience, that I sometimes find it hard to 'get my head round it'.

I hope it is not in some way contrary to forum rules, but I think this might be just as relevantly posted on the sola scripture thread, so craving your indulgence, I shall do so.



Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 30, 2009, 06:47:37 PM
Sacrements are not needed to become justified with God.
If you actually believe this, then you are not a Christian.

I don't think it means Cleopas and I are not Christians. I think it means we use the word "justify" or " justification" with a different meaning from the one you assign to it. I think you use the word with the meaning "to make righteous"; we use it to mean "to account righteous". The initial change of status before God, from a guilty, condemned sinner to a forgiven man declared 'not guilty', is the first and instantaneous event. Being 'made righteous' is what we term 'sanctification', that is, being changed into Christ's likeness. That is a life-long process, worked out by cooperation between the Christian and God, and (apart from by those holding Wesleyan theology) not expected to be fulfilled in this life.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on January 30, 2009, 08:01:08 PM
There is a large riff between us which needs some attention. Your theology basically leaves god as a judge and requires man to just acknowledge him in faith. While we through faith along with works try to gain the kingdom in this life through deification. Synergy between man and god.  I see that the only Synergy in your practice is just a choice to follow and you leave the rest to god. In our faith that isn't enough. We believe that we play a much greater role in our salvation. We believe he gives us the holy spirit to help us to deification. He gives us the means to become like him and that becoming like his is our salvation. Anything else isn't.  Only when our image has become like his image salvation has become manifest. 
 
When you tell us such things like you are justified at the moment of faith. We see it as rather lame. Because that isn't salvation for us. Even the demons know god exists and every man knows that there is at least a chance that he could. That chance no matter how small it might be always casts doubts on mans salvation, believer or non-believer alike. It's circular.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 30, 2009, 08:18:28 PM
Your theology basically leaves god as a judge and requires man to just acknowledge him in faith.
Can you quote specific points of the theology of David Young and Cleopas so that we know specifically what you are criticizing in their point of view?  Otherwise, it looks like you're merely attacking a straw man.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 30, 2009, 08:23:39 PM
There is a large riff between us which needs some attention. Your theology basically leaves god as a judge and requires man to just acknowledge him in faith. While we through faith along with works try to gain the kingdom in this life through deification. Synergy between man and god.  I see that the only Synergy in your practice is just a choice to follow and you leave the rest to god. In our faith that isn't enough. We believe that we play a much greater role in our salvation. We believe he gives us the holy spirit to help us to deification. He gives us the means to become like him and that becoming like his is our salvation. Anything else isn't.  Only when our image has become like his image salvation has become manifest. 
 
When you tell us such things like you are justified at the moment of faith. We see it as rather lame. Because that isn't salvation for us. Even the demons know god exists and every man knows that there is at least a chance that he could. That chance no matter how small it might be always casts doubts on mans salvation, believer or non-believer alike. It's circular.

No doubts here!

Quote
1 John 3:2-3
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

See, were already born of God. We already have Christ in us. We growing more perfectly into His image, yes, but because we are laready His! We are NOW saved and because we are saved we purify ourselves, knowing that when he appears we will be just like Him.

In fact, even though we cooperate with God in this Christian life, it is still wholly of God that we are Christian (Philippians 2:13), both intially and continually (1 Corinthians 15:10a). Even the works we do emanate from Christ in us (Colossians 1:27), His Spirit through us, not from ourselves. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit except it abide in the vine (John 15:4-5)! He has begun the good work, and He will finish it (Philippians 1:6). We are already complete in Him (Colossians 2:10), even while we grow more fully into His perfection ourselves (see 1 John 3:2-3 above).


Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 30, 2009, 08:33:35 PM
Sacrements are not needed to become justified with God.
Wow. If you actually believe this, then you are not a Christian.

The term "sacrament" literally means "that which makes us holy."

I meant it in the more confined sense whereby various sacremental rituals themselves become necessarry in order to become justified with God.
Observance of Christian rites and practices (debates regaridng their proper reception, practice, or function aside) will follow, and willingness will spring from the heart, of those truly justified by faith in the Lord.

David Young has accurately understood and related my intention.

Sacrements (the ritualistic observances themselves, ie.e baptism, Lord's supper, etc.), as you call them, are to us only for the believer. Hence one must have already believed on the Lord for the forgiveness of their sins in order to partake in them. One must already be reconcilled to God through Christ. Else wise, though they may believe with the intellect, they are not indeed believers, their sins yet seperating between them and their God.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: StGeorge on January 30, 2009, 09:08:48 PM
Literal presence is held by many Lutherans.  Infant baptism is done by the mainline Protestant churches.  The need for personal conversion is held by many Protestants who believe "pentecostal gifts" (e.g. glossalia) need not be present for a person or church to be Christian.

1. Even though Lutherans may have their own literal prescence beliefs, they emphasis personal conversion, especially (initial) justification by faith alone in Christ alone. Sacrements are not needed to become justified with God.

2. Yes, some Protestant churches baptize infants. Still they have historically, emphasised personal conversion in spite their practice of infant baptism. However, let me hasten to add that I believe the more radical reformation branch (the anebaptists movement, etc.) of what is now typically categorized lump sum as "Protestant" probably is more closely aligned with and decended from NT distinctives. I suppose that is why there is such common agreement in beliefs among myself and David Young, more than say with a Presbyterian or an Anglican.

Quote
Why must the historic church be exactly like the church of the New Testament? 

Because if, at least in principle, it is not the same then any claim to being the continuation thereof fails to be valid (at least to the degree it fails to be conformable to the principles of NT Christinaity).

According to the Lutherans I've spoken with, the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist are necessary for being a Christian.  Per them, Baptism is God's work by which a person (infant or adult) is given the Holy Spirit and faith.  Conversion is not about what we do, but what God does for us through Word and Sacrament.  I'll have to check up on it, but I do not think the Lutherans I know would separate faith from sacrament.  The Lutherans I've mostly spoken with are confessional (e.g. LCMS, WELS).  In any case, I imagine that those Lutherans affected by piestist spirituality see things differently.   

My best friend in college was a fundamentalist/Baptist Christian, so to a certain degree I understand where you're coming from. 

I agree that the Church today should have real continuity with the Church of the New Testament.  What I question, however, is whether this ought to be a point-by-point conformity or a continuity that takes into consideration issues not clearly present in the early Church.  For example: church buildings.  There were no church buildings for the early Christians.  The early Christians continued to go to the synagogue, but to preach.  They assembled at the homes of fellow Christians.  Does this mean that Christians today who build and use church buildings are less in continuity with the early Christians than the home churching Christians (e.g. the Amish)?  I think that Orthodox and Anabaptist-variety Protestants in fact agree on many of the principles: e.g. giving your property to the church community, praying for one another, taking care of the elderly, the widowed, the poor and marginalized.  So, I'm not trying to create a wedge here.  I just see room for pastoral developments that may not be explicitly endorsed by the early Church, but which are nonetheless no less proper.             



Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Marc1152 on January 30, 2009, 09:22:13 PM
Orthodoxy isn't a branch, it's the trunk:NT Christianity in the 21st century and all 21 centuries in between

So you say. But what do Serbian's Say? Catholics? You get the idea.
At best, from a purely chronologically overview, Orthodoxy is an ancient and early branch, a major branch, in the growth of the tree of Christianity (if you will). Maye even the closest to the trunk. Yet, if any can, then only the pre-schismatic chronological church can claim uncontested title to being exclusively the one and self same church our Lord started.


The Serbians would say they are in the exact same Church as the Russians, Greeks, Romanian's and all the other Orthodox. We all share the exact same faith. You are confusing Church governance with denominationalism.

The Catholics are in a different category. They can also claim apostolic succesion and for a thousand years were part of the Ancient Church. They consider us in schism from them and we say the same about them. It's more in the nature of a family dispute.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 30, 2009, 09:29:08 PM
According to the Lutherans I've spoken with, the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist are necessary for being a Christian.

I'm not sure I differ with the statement as given, that "sacrements" are necessary for BEING a Christian. Indeed faith without works is dead. Saving faith is a productive faith. ;)
However, what I am contending is not that such observances are german, indeed necessarry compeonents of the Christian life. Rather, that sacrements are necessarry for BECOMING a Christian.  

Being a Christian? in a manner of speaking, yes.
Becoming one? No.

Quote
Per them, Baptism is God's work by which a person (infant or adult) is given the Holy Spirit and faith.  Conversion is not about what we do, but what God does for us through Word and Sacrament.  I'll have to check up on it, but I do not think the Lutherans I know would separate faith from sacrament.  The Lutherans I've mostly spoken with are confessional (e.g. LCMS, WELS).  In any case, I imagine that those Lutherans affected by piestist spirituality see things differently.


Well, they would know better than I, so perhaps I have misspoken.

My intention was that Luther (and hence it would follow Lutherans) hold to Justification by faith alone in Christ alone. If some Lutherans do not then that is news to me.
It is indeed possible though.

Quote
My best friend in college was a fundamentalist/Baptist Christian, so to a certain degree I understand where you're coming from.

Glad to know it. Sometimes I feel like we are speaking different languages, despite the fact they both appear to be English. :laugh: The more of us that understand both "dialects" can help bridge the communication gap.  :)

Quote
I agree that the Church today should have real continuity with the Church of the New Testament.  What I question, however, is whether this ought to be a point-by-point conformity or a continuity that takes into consideration issues not clearly present in the early Church.  For example: church buildings.  There were no church buildings for the early Christians.  The early Christians continued to go to the synagogue, but to preach.  They assembled at the homes of fellow Christians.  Does this mean that Christians today who build and use church buildings are less in continuity with the early Christians than the home churching Christians (e.g. the Amish)?  I think that Orthodox and Anabaptist-variety Protestants in fact agree on many of the principles: e.g. giving your property to the church community, praying for one another, taking care of the elderly, the widowed, the poor and marginalized.  So, I'm not trying to create a wedge here.  I just see room for pastoral developments that may not be explicitly endorsed by the early Church, but which are nonetheless no less proper.


Then it seems we essentially agree. I guess it's like they say, "the devil is in the details."  :P :D :laugh:
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 30, 2009, 09:34:57 PM
The Serbians would say they are in the exact same Church as the Russians, Greeks, Romanian's and all the other Orthodox. We all share the exact same faith. You are confusing Church governance with denominationalism.

The Catholics are in a different category. They can also claim apostolic succesion and for a thousand years were part of the Ancient Church. They consider us in schism from them and we say the same about them. It's more in the nature of a family dispute.

Yes, I understand. I actually misspoke when I said Serbians. Perhaps it was Coptic?  ???

At any rate, someone said something in one of these threads recently about someone quoting a father or leader in a group who was emphatically not a part of the Orthodox church. Whoever that was, it was to them I referred. Details and descriptives aside, my point was that you guys are not the only ones who claim, defend, and make good argument for being in fact the NT church.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on January 30, 2009, 09:36:56 PM
There is a large riff between us which needs some attention. Your theology basically leaves god as a judge and requires man to just acknowledge him in faith. While we through faith along with works try to gain the kingdom in this life through deification. Synergy between man and god.  I see that the only Synergy in your practice is just a choice to follow and you leave the rest to god. In our faith that isn't enough. We believe that we play a much greater role in our salvation. We believe he gives us the holy spirit to help us to deification. He gives us the means to become like him and that becoming like his is our salvation. Anything else isn't.  Only when our image has become like his image salvation has become manifest. 
 
When you tell us such things like you are justified at the moment of faith. We see it as rather lame. Because that isn't salvation for us. Even the demons know god exists and every man knows that there is at least a chance that he could. That chance no matter how small it might be always casts doubts on mans salvation, believer or non-believer alike. It's circular.

No doubts here!

Quote
1 John 3:2-3
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

See, were already born of God. We already have Christ in us. We growing more perfectly into His image, yes, but because we are laready His! We are NOW saved and because we are saved we purify ourselves, knowing that when he appears we will be just like Him.

In fact, even though we cooperate with God in this Christian life, it is still wholly of God that we are Christian (Philippians 2:13), both intially and continually (1 Corinthians 15:10a). Even the works we do emanate from Christ in us (Colossians 1:27), His Spirit through us, not from ourselves. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit except it abide in the vine (John 15:4-5)! He has begun the good work, and He will finish it (Philippians 1:6). We are already complete in Him (Colossians 2:10), even while we grow more fully into His perfection ourselves (see 1 John 3:2-3 above).

And if i say that I can prove that Protestants can fall away from Christ you will than tell me that they were false converts. Right? Than you will say that we believe the same thing, except in a reverse way. Than I will ask you why than if you believe the same things are you not Orthodox. I await your reply.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on January 30, 2009, 09:42:50 PM
And if i say that I can prove that Protestants can fall away from Christ you will than tell me that they were false converts. Right? Than you will say that we believe the same thing, except in a reverse way. Than I will ask you why than if you believe the same things are you not Orthodox. I await your reply.

No. I am an Arminian in soteriology, not a Calvinist. I believe a person can be geuninely converted, and yet fall away, make shipwreck, return to a sinful state, etc., etc., etc. And they can even finally apostasize. However, I am inclined to believe that many who profess to be Christians and later fall away were probably really false converts, if any semblance of a convert at all. But not because I have some notion of determinism as in the OSAS belief.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on January 30, 2009, 10:04:07 PM
You're dodging my question to you. If you believe the same thing why aren't you willing to become Orthodox?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: StGeorge on January 30, 2009, 10:13:22 PM
Sacrements are not needed to become justified with God.
Wow. If you actually believe this, then you are not a Christian.

The term "sacrament" literally means "that which makes us holy."

I meant it in the more confined sense whereby various sacremental rituals themselves become necessarry in order to become justified with God.
Observance of Christian rites and practices (debates regaridng their proper reception, practice, or function aside) will follow, and willingness will spring from the heart, of those truly justified by faith in the Lord.

David Young has accurately understood and related my intention.

Sacrements (the ritualistic observances themselves, ie.e baptism, Lord's supper, etc.), as you call them, are to us only for the believer. Hence one must have already believed on the Lord for the forgiveness of their sins in order to partake in them. One must already be reconcilled to God through Christ. Else wise, though they may believe with the intellect, they are not indeed believers, their sins yet seperating between them and their God.

Might God use his power in creation to bring someone to believe? 
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 30, 2009, 10:13:43 PM
It has been mentioned several times, I believe, by Cleopas and David Young that there is no emphasis on personal conversion in Orthodoxy.  I think this needs to be clarified.  There is NOTHING BUT an emphasis on personal conversion.  CONSTANT personal conversion.  

1st, in the sacramental sense.  When Baptizing/Chrismating adults, there MUST be formal personal conversion or the person will NOT be baptized/chrismated.  In the case of infants (and adults), the godparents MUST have already made this formal personal conversion.  In fact, the standards for godparents are even higher.  They must not only have made that personal conversion, but be in good standing with the Church (this means if they are married the marriage must have been performed by the Church, they must already be baptized/chrismated, recently confessed, etc.--- all of these are SIGNS of their personal conversion).  

2nd, in the sense of everyday spiritual life.  It is common for Orthodox to refer to their lives as a series of falls.  We spend our lives falling and getting up again, falling and getting up again, falling and getting up again.  It is in the getting up again that we constantly convert.  It is in that moment when we are tempted (someone cuts us off on the highway) that we must again convert and devote ourselves to Christ and act as He would (bless, not curse the person that cut us off).  If I fall (I cursed the person that cut me off out of anger), then I must again convert myself to Christ, confess and have my baptismal garments made white again, and the process begins again.  EVERY MOMENT of our lives is spent in personal conversion.  Yes, there is the initial conversion, which is necessary to be brought into the Church.  But from then on, the conversion continues constantly.

In Protestantism it is common, I believe, to re-baptize when one recommits their life to Christ after having fallen.  The idea being that the convert's initial baptism/conversion was not sincere.  Correct me if I'm wrong, here, please...

In Orthodoxy, rather than re-baptize, we confess, and our baptismal garments are clean.  The two are separated.  Why?  Because the baptism is something God does for us (yes, the personal conversion is necessary for the adult), and there is no way that we could ever say that His grace was somehow faulty and needed to be re-given.  In confession, however, we make our personal conversion once again.  To remove this from the picture and replace it with baptism, saying that the convert never really converted to begin with, is, in my opinion, to negate the giving of God's grace and to deny that we are human and are thus imperfect and constantly striving for perfection in Christ.

This post may have been more appropriate in the Believer's Baptism thread, but it is here that it was mentioned that there is no personal conversion in Orthodoxy.  I strenuously disagree with that.  The difference is that our personal conversion is not limited to a one time event.  It is something we do constantly instead.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 30, 2009, 10:45:25 PM
You're dodging my question to you. If you believe the same thing why aren't you willing to become Orthodox?
No, Demetrios, you loaded your question with too many presuppositions of your opponents' point of view.  Why don't you ask what they really believe so you can address their beliefs point by point?  Better yet, why don't you just read this thread?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 30, 2009, 10:45:52 PM

I meant it in the more confined sense whereby various sacremental rituals themselves become necessarry in order to become justified with God.
Observance of Christian rites and practices (debates regaridng their proper reception, practice, or function aside) will follow, and willingness will spring from the heart, of those truly justified by faith in the Lord.

David Young has accurately understood and related my intention.

Sacrements (the ritualistic observances themselves, ie.e baptism, Lord's supper, etc.), as you call them, are to us only for the believer. Hence one must have already believed on the Lord for the forgiveness of their sins in order to partake in them. One must already be reconcilled to God through Christ. Else wise, though they may believe with the intellect, they are not indeed believers, their sins yet seperating between them and their God.

I think, maybe, you misunderstand our usage of Sacraments and the "requirement" to participate in them.  As you said, Sacraments are ONLY for the believer (which is why, in Orthodoxy, the Eucharist is ONLY for the Orthodox).  So as you say, they must have already believed on the Lord to partake.  You say "for the forgiveness of their sins..." funny, these are the EXACT words that are associated with the Eucharist, a Sacrament.  That is EXACTLY what it and the other sacraments are for.  The Lord attached the exact words that you quoted to the Sacrament of the Eucharist!

My Spiritual Father has a great way of talking about the Sacraments.  They are tools in our tool box that help us in our journey to Salvation.  They are conduits of God's grace-- He makes His grace present in the sacraments and, through them, grants it to us, and unites us with Him (physically, in the case of the Eucharist).  Yes, they are a "sign" of one's faith, and, as you said, if one is a proper Christian, one will want to participate.  Without going into more detail here (we can discuss it more in another thread-- I believe there is one, if memory serves), suffice it to say they area FAR more than just a sign of one's faith.

As far as requirement, the ONLY Sacrament that we are required to participate in for Salvation is BAPTISM.  The Lord Himself told us that.  We believe and follow that quite seriously.  The rest are not necessarily required, but if one does NOT want to participate, then there is a serious problem.  The Eucharist is the most fundamental of the Sacraments in Orthodoxy, as it is the ONLY one where God makes Himself physically present and unites Himself with us.  As I told my Sunday Schoolers, if an Orthodox does not attend Divine Liturgy and thus does not partake of the Eucharist, one is clearly NOT Orthodox in the sense that you, Cleopas, would say one has clearly not made that personal conversion.  It is at that point when the non-attending/non-partaking Orthodox that I was addressing would re-make that personal conversion, go to confession, and then would receive the Eucharist.

I hope this clarifies things a bit, and does not confuse them.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on January 30, 2009, 10:57:02 PM
You're dodging my question to you. If you believe the same thing why aren't you willing to become Orthodox?
No, Demetrios, you loaded your question with too many presuppositions of your opponent's point of view.  Why don't you ask what they really believe so you can address their beliefs point by point?  Better yet, why don't you just read this thread?
It seems the thread is going no where. It's best to get to the heart of the discussion before all parties get tired of the same repetitive stuff.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 30, 2009, 11:06:33 PM

I do. Admittedly there was and is much about Orthodoxy not understood by myself. But I am not totally ignorant thereof. And the things that give me the greatest concerns about Catholicism are more or less evident in Orthodoxy as well (i.e. literal prescence, prayers for the dead, infant baptism and lack of emphaisi on personal conversion, prayers to saints, lack of singulrity of ultimate authority residing in Scripture, etc.)

Simply put, when I read the Bible, churches like mine are the closest thing to the NT record of church practice, structure, and belief of the three major branches.

I still don't understand how you can make this kind of statement without knowing Orthodoxy.  At the very least, it is an argument from silence, as just because (to your reading) those things are not explicitly mentioned in the NT does not mean that they were not believed and practiced by the NT Church.  Do you honestly believe that every single little detail is recorded in the Bible, and if it's not recorded, it didn't happen?  What of the words of John 21:25... "I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written?"

You have asked us to prove that those beliefs and practices WERE there, and indeed we have (you just have not accepted it), using both Biblical and historical sources.  But it is YOU that must prove that they are NOT there (historically, not Biblically-- we know your Biblical arguments) for this claim to be true.  The NT Church is not some figment of imagination, some ideal that someone came up with but never really existed.  It was a historical fact, an entity, an institution.  The book of Acts, for example, is just ONE record of the NT Church (set aside the authority of the Scripture for a moment, as that is not my point right now).  The HISTORICAL records of the NT Church are still here.  As Handmaiden mentioned at one point, the Church on the Street called Straight (found in Acts) STILL EXISTS!!!!  Much of the records are found in the writings of the saints.  You have chosen not to accept them.  Okay, but that doesn't make them wrong, untruthful, or false.  Just because you don't accept them doesn't meant that they were not believed.  You must find a way to HISTORICALLY prove that the NT Church did NOT believe in the real presence, infant baptism, the authority of tradition, prayers for the dead, prayers to the saints, etc. for your claims of being the closest thing to the NT Church to be true.  We know that you reject the theology behind all those beliefs/practices, this is not the question.  The question is, did the NT Church believe/practice these things?  We say yes and offer BOTH Biblical and Historical proof.  You offer Biblical proof being an argument from silence.  You must now offer historical proof for your claim to be true.  Am I making sense?

Good luck, friend, as this seems a daunting task to me, as we easily have 2000 years of writings, records, dogma, doctrine, etc. to draw on.  All of those things are categorically kept (so to speak), accessible, and it's fairly well known where one should look to find things (for instance, I knew to look to Ignatius immediately in the discussion of the Eucharist).  I know that you do not have these resources at your ready in the same way that we do.  So, as we would say in our tradition, KALI DYNAMI (good strength)!   :angel:
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on January 30, 2009, 11:08:33 PM
You're dodging my question to you. If you believe the same thing why aren't you willing to become Orthodox?
No, Demetrios, you loaded your question with too many presuppositions of your opponent's point of view.  Why don't you ask what they really believe so you can address their beliefs point by point?  Better yet, why don't you just read this thread?
It seems the thread is going no where. It's best to get to the heart of the discussion before all parties get tired of the same repetitive stuff.

I think it only seems that way to you, friend, as I have now posted three separate, lengthy posts with "new" ideas that I hope will prompt more discussion.  Give them an opportunity to answer and I think you will see that there is still much to be said.  Nor do I see anyone getting tired.  Maybe we are not reading the same thread somehow?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: StGeorge on January 30, 2009, 11:18:19 PM
According to the Lutherans I've spoken with, the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist are necessary for being a Christian.

I'm not sure I differ with the statement as given, that "sacrements" are necessary for BEING a Christian. Indeed faith without works is dead. Saving faith is a productive faith. ;)
However, what I am contending is not that such observances are german, indeed necessarry compeonents of the Christian life. Rather, that sacrements are necessarry for BECOMING a Christian. 

Being a Christian? in a manner of speaking, yes.
Becoming one? No.

Quote
Per them, Baptism is God's work by which a person (infant or adult) is given the Holy Spirit and faith.  Conversion is not about what we do, but what God does for us through Word and Sacrament.  I'll have to check up on it, but I do not think the Lutherans I know would separate faith from sacrament.  The Lutherans I've mostly spoken with are confessional (e.g. LCMS, WELS).  In any case, I imagine that those Lutherans affected by piestist spirituality see things differently.


Well, they would know better than I, so perhaps I have misspoken.

My intention was that Luther (and hence it would follow Lutherans) hold to Justification by faith alone in Christ alone. If some Lutherans do not then that is news to me.
It is indeed possible though.

Quote
My best friend in college was a fundamentalist/Baptist Christian, so to a certain degree I understand where you're coming from.

Glad to know it. Sometimes I feel like we are speaking different languages, despite the fact they both appear to be English. :laugh: The more of us that understand both "dialects" can help bridge the communication gap.  :)

Quote
I agree that the Church today should have real continuity with the Church of the New Testament.  What I question, however, is whether this ought to be a point-by-point conformity or a continuity that takes into consideration issues not clearly present in the early Church.  For example: church buildings.  There were no church buildings for the early Christians.  The early Christians continued to go to the synagogue, but to preach.  They assembled at the homes of fellow Christians.  Does this mean that Christians today who build and use church buildings are less in continuity with the early Christians than the home churching Christians (e.g. the Amish)?  I think that Orthodox and Anabaptist-variety Protestants in fact agree on many of the principles: e.g. giving your property to the church community, praying for one another, taking care of the elderly, the widowed, the poor and marginalized.  So, I'm not trying to create a wedge here.  I just see room for pastoral developments that may not be explicitly endorsed by the early Church, but which are nonetheless no less proper.


Then it seems we essentially agree. I guess it's like they say, "the devil is in the details."  :P :D :laugh:


Considering that baptism accompanies Apostolic preaching and repentance, I don't see how it cannot be considered other than beginning the Christian life.  A person who comes to believe hastens to be baptized.  Becoming a Christian and receiving baptism are not two loosely associated events but are complementary.   

What I meant about some Lutherans thinking differently is not that they reject sola fide but that they venture away from other confessional standards.         
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 30, 2009, 11:25:00 PM
I believe the more radical reformation branch (the anebaptists movement, etc.) of what is now typically categorized lump sum as "Protestant" probably is more closely aligned with and decended from NT distinctives. I suppose that is why there is such common agreement in beliefs among myself and David Young, more than say with a Presbyterian or an Anglican.

Btw, what is a "distinctive"?  And how are the Protestant "descended from the NT?"
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on January 30, 2009, 11:25:37 PM
You're dodging my question to you. If you believe the same thing why aren't you willing to become Orthodox?
No, Demetrios, you loaded your question with too many presuppositions of your opponent's point of view.  Why don't you ask what they really believe so you can address their beliefs point by point?  Better yet, why don't you just read this thread?
It seems the thread is going no where. It's best to get to the heart of the discussion before all parties get tired of the same repetitive stuff.
Actually, this thread continues to be very productive, judging from the insightful dialogue between GreekChef, David Young, and Cleopas, who seem to have a much better grasp of the heart of the matter than you have shown thus far.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 30, 2009, 11:34:39 PM
The Serbians would say they are in the exact same Church as the Russians, Greeks, Romanian's and all the other Orthodox. We all share the exact same faith. You are confusing Church governance with denominationalism.

The Catholics are in a different category. They can also claim apostolic succesion and for a thousand years were part of the Ancient Church. They consider us in schism from them and we say the same about them. It's more in the nature of a family dispute.

Yes, I understand. I actually misspoke when I said Serbians. Perhaps it was Coptic?  ???

At any rate, someone said something in one of these threads recently about someone quoting a father or leader in a group who was emphatically not a part of the Orthodox church. Whoever that was, it was to them I referred. Details and descriptives aside, my point was that you guys are not the only ones who claim, defend, and make good argument for being in fact the NT church.

I think you are refering to a quote from his holiness Pope Shenoudah, the Coptic Pope of Alexandria.  The issue there, however is that the Copts and many of us EO argue that we are one Church, the NT Church.  The Copts, for instance would without question rebaptize you, but they won't rebaptize an EO.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 30, 2009, 11:37:48 PM
It has been mentioned several times, I believe, by Cleopas and David Young that there is no emphasis on personal conversion in Orthodoxy.  I think this needs to be clarified.  There is NOTHING BUT an emphasis on personal conversion.  CONSTANT personal conversion.  

1st, in the sacramental sense.  When Baptizing/Chrismating adults, there MUST be formal personal conversion or the person will NOT be baptized/chrismated.  In the case of infants (and adults), the godparents MUST have already made this formal personal conversion.  In fact, the standards for godparents are even higher.  They must not only have made that personal conversion, but be in good standing with the Church (this means if they are married the marriage must have been performed by the Church, they must already be baptized/chrismated, recently confessed, etc.--- all of these are SIGNS of their personal conversion).  

2nd, in the sense of everyday spiritual life.  It is common for Orthodox to refer to their lives as a series of falls.  We spend our lives falling and getting up again, falling and getting up again, falling and getting up again.  It is in the getting up again that we constantly convert.  It is in that moment when we are tempted (someone cuts us off on the highway) that we must again convert and devote ourselves to Christ and act as He would (bless, not curse the person that cut us off).  If I fall (I cursed the person that cut me off out of anger), then I must again convert myself to Christ, confess and have my baptismal garments made white again, and the process begins again.  EVERY MOMENT of our lives is spent in personal conversion.  Yes, there is the initial conversion, which is necessary to be brought into the Church.  But from then on, the conversion continues constantly.

In Protestantism it is common, I believe, to re-baptize when one recommits their life to Christ after having fallen.  The idea being that the convert's initial baptism/conversion was not sincere.  Correct me if I'm wrong, here, please...

In Orthodoxy, rather than re-baptize, we confess, and our baptismal garments are clean.  The two are separated.  Why?  Because the baptism is something God does for us (yes, the personal conversion is necessary for the adult), and there is no way that we could ever say that His grace was somehow faulty and needed to be re-given.  In confession, however, we make our personal conversion once again.  To remove this from the picture and replace it with baptism, saying that the convert never really converted to begin with, is, in my opinion, to negate the giving of God's grace and to deny that we are human and are thus imperfect and constantly striving for perfection in Christ.

This post may have been more appropriate in the Believer's Baptism thread, but it is here that it was mentioned that there is no personal conversion in Orthodoxy.  I strenuously disagree with that.  The difference is that our personal conversion is not limited to a one time event.  It is something we do constantly instead.

To underline that, that is why the priest says at communion "the servant/handmaiden of God X partakes...."  not just a blanket statement "the Body of Christ."


I meant it in the more confined sense whereby various sacremental rituals themselves become necessarry in order to become justified with God.
Observance of Christian rites and practices (debates regaridng their proper reception, practice, or function aside) will follow, and willingness will spring from the heart, of those truly justified by faith in the Lord.

David Young has accurately understood and related my intention.

Sacrements (the ritualistic observances themselves, ie.e baptism, Lord's supper, etc.), as you call them, are to us only for the believer. Hence one must have already believed on the Lord for the forgiveness of their sins in order to partake in them. One must already be reconcilled to God through Christ. Else wise, though they may believe with the intellect, they are not indeed believers, their sins yet seperating between them and their God.

I think, maybe, you misunderstand our usage of Sacraments and the "requirement" to participate in them.  As you said, Sacraments are ONLY for the believer (which is why, in Orthodoxy, the Eucharist is ONLY for the Orthodox).  So as you say, they must have already believed on the Lord to partake.  You say "for the forgiveness of their sins..." funny, these are the EXACT words that are associated with the Eucharist, a Sacrament.  That is EXACTLY what it and the other sacraments are for.  The Lord attached the exact words that you quoted to the Sacrament of the Eucharist!

My Spiritual Father has a great way of talking about the Sacraments.  They are tools in our tool box that help us in our journey to Salvation.  They are conduits of God's grace-- He makes His grace present in the sacraments and, through them, grants it to us, and unites us with Him (physically, in the case of the Eucharist).  Yes, they are a "sign" of one's faith, and, as you said, if one is a proper Christian, one will want to participate.  Without going into more detail here (we can discuss it more in another thread-- I believe there is one, if memory serves), suffice it to say they area FAR more than just a sign of one's faith.

As far as requirement, the ONLY Sacrament that we are required to participate in for Salvation is BAPTISM.  The Lord Himself told us that.  We believe and follow that quite seriously.  The rest are not necessarily required, but if one does NOT want to participate, then there is a serious problem.  The Eucharist is the most fundamental of the Sacraments in Orthodoxy, as it is the ONLY one where God makes Himself physically present and unites Himself with us.  As I told my Sunday Schoolers, if an Orthodox does not attend Divine Liturgy and thus does not partake of the Eucharist, one is clearly NOT Orthodox in the sense that you, Cleopas, would say one has clearly not made that personal conversion.  It is at that point when the non-attending/non-partaking Orthodox that I was addressing would re-make that personal conversion, go to confession, and then would receive the Eucharist.

I hope this clarifies things a bit, and does not confuse them.

Hence the canon of automatic excommunication after missing Eucharist for three successive Sundays without reasonable cause worthy of praise.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 31, 2009, 12:25:02 AM
If I could just weigh in here a second with a bit of history. There is a lot of conversation on this thread about the continuity of the Church, and proof that the church of the NT still exists today. I'd like to offer the below bit account as proof.

The Orthodox Church and her Liturgies for the most part were developed in Greece. Yes there were other Fathers in other places, but a good "chunk" of Orthodox history lies in Greece and in parts of modern day Turkey.

When looking at Orthodox History, one looks to the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople and the writings of St. John Chrysostom for an example of the "glory days" of Orthodoxy.

In 988 AD Prince Vladimir of Kiev (Ukraine and Russia were one country at the time) sent diplomats to all corners of the world in search of the "truth." After experiencing the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chysostom at the Hagia Sophia, the diplomats wrote to Prince Vladimir that they did not know if they were in heaven or on earth during the Liturgy. As a result of this experience, the Rus lands were baptized and became Christian.

So nine hundred fifty five years after Christ ascended into heaven, the people of Russia are given the faith of the Apostles by those in Greece who had been preserving it for all these years.

Fast forward a bunch of years... we have the occupation of the Turks in Greece, the Ottoman Empire, and Communism in Russia. All these things that seperate the Slavic people from "the mother Church" in Constantinople and the other Patriarchs, yet the faith is preserved.

Fast foward to today. I was raised in a Ukrainian Orthodox Church in New Jersey. (For those scratching their heads about my prior references to time in the Baptist Church, I was dually raised in both.) The Liturgy that I grew up with is the same Liturgy that was given to the Slavic people in 988 AD.

I move down to Atlanta end of 2007 from New Jersey. I start attending a Greek Orthodox Church. Even though I had never attended a Greek Orthodox Church before in my life, don't speak a stitch of Greek, I was able to follow the Liturgy, participate in the sacraments, and know that I am a part of the exact same faith that was given to my ancestors in 998 AD by ancestors of those who were preached to by the Apostles in the first century, and that 2000 years later and thousands of miles away from their point of birth is still exactly the same.

So despite seperation, years of war, occupation, diaspora, immigration, and transalation, the faith is the same. The beliefs are the same. The truth is the same.

David Young commented earlier about how American Baptist theology is different than English Baptist theology. How is it that two groups that ascribe to the same denomination and speak the same language have vast differences in theology, yet Orthodoxy, with all the obstacles listed above has remained steadfast and true? It is because of the authority of the Church has preserved the Orthodox faith for over 2000 years. No other Church can claim that. That is how we know it is true. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow; so is His Church.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Papist on January 31, 2009, 01:26:05 AM

Sacrements are not needed to become justified with God.



Really?  Sacraments are NOT needed? 

Cleopas wrote that sacraments are not needed in order to become justified before God. They were instituted by our Lord, are his commands, and are means of grace. They strengthen the believer. When done in faith they are steps in his experience of God, his growth in grace, his hold on God by faith. But justification comes before them; it is the beginning, and is effected by grace through faith. For that, a sacrament is not the means.

The sacraments are not needed to justified before God?
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved" Mark 16:16
"This prefigured baptism, which saves you now" 1 Peter 3:21
"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
54
Whoever eats 19 my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
55
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
56
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
57
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me." John 3:53 - 57

I think its quite clear that we need the sacraments to be justified before God. I never understood the "sola fide" thing becuase the bible mentions so many other things being involved in our salvation besides faith: grace, works, theosis, the sacraments, mercy, repentance, etc. etc. etc. 

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: stanley123 on January 31, 2009, 03:29:15 AM
Does such a thing exist in the first place?

This is easy:

"I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church."

The belief in one true church is mandated by the universal creed of all Christians.  After that, it's simply an issue deciding which church that is.  It is either the Roman Catholic Church, the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox, or the Assyrian Church of the East.  I think that covers all of the surviving apostolic communions; correct me if I am wrong.
Here is a question for the members of the one, true  Church:
After we die, we will be judged by Our Lord. But will He ask a Roman Catholic: Why did you not join the one, True, Orthodox Church? Or will it be instead as we read in Matthew 25:
"31 And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. 32 And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. 34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:
36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. 37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? 39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? 40 And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. 44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? 45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.
46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting."
I don't see here any mention of being judged on the basis of being a member of the one, true, Church? Maybe it is somewhere else in the Bible?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 31, 2009, 03:49:48 AM
I don't see here any mention of being judged on the basis of being a member of the one, true, Church? Maybe it is somewhere else in the Bible?

It's right next to the verse that says you have to acknowledge the Bishop of Rome as the Supreme and Infallible Vicar of Christ.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: stanley123 on January 31, 2009, 04:18:24 AM
I don't see here any mention of being judged on the basis of being a member of the one, true, Church? Maybe it is somewhere else in the Bible?

It's right next to the verse that says you have to acknowledge the Bishop of Rome as the Supreme and Infallible Vicar of Christ.
Of course, R. Catholics interpret the verse "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.." as giving Peter and his successors a certain authority in the Church.
But, when we are judged, won't it be a question of the serious observation of the Ten Commandments, our commitment to the words and precepts of Christ, such as for example, the Beatitudes and what we read in Matthew 25, and our obedience to the disciplines of our Church? Have we made good and virtuous use of the time which the Lord has given to us? And when we have fallen, did we sincerely repent and make a serious effort to avoid these mistakes in the future? I mean, does anyone really think that a Roman Catholic would be asked why he did not join the one, true Orthodox Church?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on January 31, 2009, 04:31:02 AM
I mean, does anyone really think that a Roman Catholic would be asked why he did not join the one, true Orthodox Church?

Well, when you put it that way it does sound pretty ridiculous.  But I guess the idea of the God of the Universe asking me questions in general seems a bit ridiculous, so whatever!
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 31, 2009, 07:37:34 AM
When we are baptized, we become more like Christ, ... When we eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ, we become more like Christ, because we remember Christ and become more dependent on Him for our sustenance. When we confess our sins and repent of them, we become more like Christ, who is without sin. ... No one can be justified without confession, repentance, and forgiveness. All sacraments are manifestations of these essential elements of Christianity.

Amen to all of that (except we see the eating and drinking as a spiritual feeding in the sacrament, not literal). But justification happens when God declares a man pardoned. Both are part of true Christianity - justification and sacraments. But justification comes before the sacraments: justification is a declaration which God makes concerning a man. It doesn't change his nature, it changes his status before God.

But once a person is justified, the life-long process of sanctification, growth in Christlikeness, theosis if you wish, begins in all those who are justified. The sacraments are part of this, as you rightly observe.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 31, 2009, 07:42:55 AM
Your theology basically leaves god as a judge and requires man to just acknowledge him in faith.

Not so! That is a heresy known as Sandemanianism.

Quote
Only when our image has become like his image salvation has become manifest. 

As explained before, this is only a different use of words. Change "manifest" for "complete" or "perfected" and we agree.
 
Quote
When you tell us such things like you are justified at the moment of faith... that isn't salvation for us.

Nor for us, but it is the beginning of salvation, and we often use the word 'saved' to denote this first event. It doesn't mean we do not look for sanctification and glorification to follow.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 31, 2009, 07:51:40 AM
It is common for Orthodox to refer to their lives as a series of falls.  We spend our lives falling and getting up again, falling and getting up again, falling and getting up again.  It is in the getting up again that we constantly convert.  

This is true of us all, of course. Only we use the word 'repent' rather than 'convert'. We tend to use 'conversion' only of the initial turning to Christ. That done, as Charles Wesley has it, we "grieve him by a thousand falls" and need to turn back in sorrow, repentance and cleansing.

Quote
In Protestantism it is common, I believe, to re-baptize when one recommits their life to Christ after having fallen.  The idea being that the convert's initial baptism/conversion was not sincere.  

I have never heard or read of such a practice in any denomination, as far as I can recall.

Quote
To remove this from the picture and replace it with baptism, saying that the convert never really converted to begin with, is, in my opinion, to negate the giving of God's grace

Absolutely! Amen to that in a most hearty manner! I would be happy to preach that very thing and to quote your very words.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 31, 2009, 08:00:13 AM
Sacraments are ONLY for the believer ... So as you say, they must have already believed on the Lord to partake.  ... They are tools in our tool box that help us in our journey to Salvation.  They are conduits of God's grace-- He makes His grace present in the sacraments and, through them, grants it to us, and unites us with Him (physically, in the case of the Eucharist).  Yes, they are a "sign" of one's faith, and, as you said, if one is a proper Christian, one will want to participate.  Without going into more detail here (we can discuss it more in another thread-- I believe there is one, if memory serves), suffice it to say they area FAR more than just a sign of one's faith. ... if one does NOT want to participate, then there is a serious problem.  

Remove the word "physically" as I agree entirely. I think we are united spiritually to Christ. Nonetheless, the eucharistic passage in John 6 does have a physical reference as well, for the Lord says "...and I will raise him up at the last day." But that is referring to the final resurrection at the close of the age.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 31, 2009, 01:05:52 PM
baptism ... cannot be considered other than beginning the Christian life.  A person who comes to believe hastens to be baptized.  Becoming a Christian and receiving baptism are not two loosely associated events but are complementary.   
    

Absolutely. That is why I have suggested in other posts that Orthodox baptise too soon, and we have a tendency to leave it too long, up to weeks, months or years after faith. You are right: they should happen together, as complementary parts of a single event.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 31, 2009, 01:25:54 PM
American Baptist theology is different than English Baptist theology. How is it that two groups that ascribe to the same denomination ...have vast differences in theology,

Your argument re Orthodoxy is good, but you overstate your case when you say that English and American Baptists have vast differences. What I said was that the way American Baptists express the doctrine of eternal security is not heard over here. Many Baptists (and others) here hold the doctrine, but they also emphasise the teaching that the only proof that saving faith is genuine is a godly life, progress in sanctification, steadfastness in discipleship. The Americans you (that is, y'all) quote seem to leave that teaching out. But you will have noticed a remarkable concurrence in the thoughts posted by Cleopas and me on all kinds of subjects, and I assure you we don't collude by e-mail or private messages beforehand, so as to mask our "vast differences".
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 31, 2009, 01:30:38 PM
"This prefigured baptism, which saves you now" 1 Peter 3:21

You break off the verse part-way through, for it continues "as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." The baptism and the cleansed conscience (because of justification - padon for our guilt) belong together.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on January 31, 2009, 01:33:20 PM
After we die, we will be judged by Our Lord. ... I don't see here any mention of being judged on the basis of being a member of the one, true, Church?

Wow! I keep saying we need more Protestants on the forum - but with posts like this, bring in the Catholics! I like it. :)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: stanley123 on January 31, 2009, 01:34:08 PM
I mean, does anyone really think that a Roman Catholic would be asked why he did not join the one, true Orthodox Church?

Well, when you put it that way it does sound pretty ridiculous.  But I guess the idea of the God of the Universe asking me questions in general seems a bit ridiculous, so whatever!
But there is a judgment, isn't there?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on January 31, 2009, 10:02:08 PM
David Young said:
Quote
Let me reverse the order of some of the questions. On assurance, see my previous post. I see justified in the Protestant sense of the term, that is a sort of forensic or legal metaphor: God forgives us our many sins, cleanses us, removes the guilt of them, and declares us 'not guilty'. (Prior to the Reformation justification was understood as being made righteous, but I am content with the Protestant understanding of the term as meaning being declared righteous (a status rather than a state, if you like).)

Cleopas might disagree with you since Pentecostals and some Charismatics merge Sanctification in the "Salvation" area.

Not at all, at least as in so far as you quoted. Justification is (to the believer) primarily a judical act of God. Yes, it leaves one in a justified state, but it (justification) is wholly to us righteousness imputed. It is in regeneration that righteousness is imparted or infused. Different works or aspects of (initial) conversion.

Not sure where David Young stands on regenration and it's correlation with justification, or regarding sanctification really (beyond his brief mention to it above). But I can't imagine as similar as our beliefs have already proven to be that there would be any significant difference between us here. Yet, I cannot speak for him. These are reflective only of my own doctrinal understanding of salvific works.

I believe that Sanctification happens in conversion itself, yes. However, most Holiness-Pentecostals (except the AG) hold to sanctification as a post conversion crisis experience and/or an instanteaneous 2nd definite work of grace (with conversion being the first) and  thus as an intermediary work preperatory to the reception of the Spirit baptism (a "third blessing" it's called). Charasmatics are less dogmatic or definitive about the order or steps of such things (so I have found). Of course that is a whole 'nother subject or three in and of itself. I just wanted to try and give a bit more accurate overview.



If you are a Protestant that believes one can loose their salvation then you automatically put Sanctification in the "Salvation area".


Thus, I stand by what I said!!!!! You can disagree, but it won't change what many Pentecostals, Charismatics, Cambellites and Ahmish believe about "Sanctification" and loosing ones salvation.......and how that effects their doctrine of Justification.

It's not the same as the classic Protestant Reformed view. Nor is it the same as the Baptist doctrine of "Easy Believism" ...A.K.A. Once saved always saved.






JNORM888

P.S. "You don't have to state what the Lutherian and Reformed Protestant view of Justification is. I already know what it is. I am after all a former Protestant myself. And what I said about many Pentecostals, Charismatics, Cambellites, Ahmish, and many other Arminians.... is indeed true. So feel free to disagree, but I'm not changing my mind. I already know that not all protestants agree in this area.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on January 31, 2009, 10:25:27 PM
Quote
2. Yes, some Protestant churches baptize infants. Still they have historically, emphasised personal conversion in spite their practice of infant baptism. However, let me hasten to add that I believe the more radical reformation branch (the anebaptists movement, etc.) of what is now typically categorized lump sum as "Protestant" probably is more closely aligned with and decended from NT distinctives. I suppose that is why there is such common agreement in beliefs among myself and David Young, more than say with a Presbyterian or an Anglican


Baptists didn't come from AnaBaptists directly. They are not Ahmish.....nor are they Mennonite, but there was some cross-breeding that went on in the 16 hundreds. The Baptists "directly" came from the low wing of Anglicanism. The Low Church Wing were called "Puritans" and Puritanism split into many different sub-groups.

1.) Episcopal Puritans

2.) Prespyterian Puritans

3.) Congregationalist Puritans (in whom the Separatists split from)

The English Separatists came out of group number 3! And from them came a man named "John Smyth". It was his Separatist group that eventually became the first Baptist congregation. And this happened in the 16 hundreds.

As seen from this quote:

"Quote:
Quote
"A Separatist movement of far-reaching ultimate consequences had its beginnings early in the origin of James I when John Smyth(1570?-1612), a former clergyman of the establishment, adopted separatist principles and became pastor of a gathered congregation at Gainsborough. Soon adherents were secured in the adjacent rural districts, and a second congregation gathered in the home of William Brewster(1560?-1644) at Scrooby. Of this Scrooby body, William Bradford Bradford (1590-1657) was a youthful member. It enjoyed the leadership of the learned and sweet-tempered John Robinson (1575?-1625), like Smyth a former clergyman of the Church of England and like him led to believe separatism the only logical step. The hand of opposition being heavy upon them, the members of the Gainsborough congregation, led by Smyth, exiled themselves to Amsterdam, probably in 1608. The Scrooby Congregation, under Robinson's and Brewster's leadership, followed the same road to Holland, settling finally in Leyden in 1609.

At Amsterdam, Smyth engaged in controvrsy with Francis Johnson, and on the basis of his own study of the New Testament became convinced that the apostolic method of admitting members to church fellowship was by baptism on profession of repentance toward God and faith in Christ. In 1608 or 1609, he therefore baptized himself by pouring, and then the others of his church, forming the first English Baptist church, though on Dutch soil. Smyth also became an Arminian, believing that Christ died not only for the elect but for all mankind. His new emphases brought him close to the Anabaptist position, and some of his congregation finally did affiliate with the Dutch Mennonites, though Smyth himself died of tuberculosis in 1612 before the transfer had been completed. A remnant of his congregation, howeverm clung to the English Baptist position under the leadership of Thomas Helwys (1550? -1616) and John Murton (?-1625?). They returned to England in 1611 or 1612, becoming the first permanent Baptist congregation on English soil. Arminian in viewpoint, they were known as "General Baptists." They were ardent champions of religious toleration.

In these same years, a new Puritan position was shaped by Henry Jacob (1563-1624), who had been a member of Robinson's congregation in Leyden; William Ames (1576-1633), prominent theologian exiled to Holland; and William Bradshaw (1571-1618), leading Puritan writer. These men enunciated the Independent, or nonseparatist, Congregational, from which modern Congregation has directly stemmed. Striving to avoid separation from the Church of England, they worked toward a nationwide system of established Congregational churches. Henry Jacob founded a church in Southwark in 1616, the first Congregational church to remain in continuous existence.

In 1630s, however, a small group from Jacob's church became convinced that believers' baptism was the scriptural norm. Separating from Jacob's congregation, they started a second Baptist line in England, called the "Particular" or Calvinistic Baptists because they believed in particular or restricted atonement, confined to the elect. In about 1641, they adopted immersion as the proper mode of baptism, and it thence spread to all English Baptists.

The chief event in the history of the congregation at Leyden was the decision to send its more active minority to America. Robinson, who had been almost won to the nonseparatist congregational position by Jacob and Ames, reluctantly stayed with the majority. In 1620, after much tiresome negotiation, the pilgrim Fathers" crossed the Atlantic in the Mayflower, under the spiritual leadership of their "elder," William Brewster." [1]








JNORM888

[1] pages 549-551 from the book "A History of the christian Church" by walker



P.S. "The Anabaptists split off from Zwingly. And that was in the 15 hundreds. So they are not decendants of the NT. (we are) They decended from the early Reformed under Zwingly."
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on January 31, 2009, 10:44:14 PM
I doubt if Robert Morey believes in those creeds.

I have read his book. It is highly regarded. You have prompted to take it down from my shelf again.

I'm still in the process of refuting it. After I finish my 8 papers. I will continue chipping away at it. 60% of it is already done and online.

I think his book is nothing more than an oversized jack chick tract. Or a Dan Brown script.



JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on January 31, 2009, 10:51:04 PM
Quote
the Lord has only one Body; but we believe that body is made up of all the redeemed, invisibly joined in union with Christ by his indwelling Spirit, whether they come to him through Orthodoxy (as you have, it seems (I say that, only because you rightly say that in the final analysis only God knows who is saved, not because I imply any doubt on my part of your salvation)), through Methodism (as I did), and so on.

This idea is a noval one. The Protestant Reformation took an idea that Saint Augustine made up and ran with it to it's logical conclusion. But the idea is noval.....new. ... that idea can be traced to Saint Augustine. And the development of it can be traced to the Protestant Reformers.

This idea destroys any real concept of "the Real Church" being INCARNATE in the HERE and NOW.  It has a gnostic feel to it.

The Gnostics believed that their souls would be saved. They didn't care about their physical bodies. In a similar manner, this Augustinian..modied Protestant idea makes the "invisible church soul" saved while not caring about the "physical church body".
JNORM888

There seem to be three ideas here, and I do not feel competent to reply, because to do so would require a good knowledge of Augustine and his influence, and I confess I am not drawn to Augustine and do not read him. (I have read about him.)

We see the idea of my model of the church in the New Testament, starting in Acts 2 as I quoted and then throughout the epistles and Revelation, but you may well be right in asserting that it lay dormant and undeveloped for hundreds of years before being taken up anew by Augustine and passed on down the centuries via people who agreed and still agree with it. Though I am sure Augustine laid much more sterss on the role of the sacraments than we do.

Then we move on to the notion of Christ incarnate in the church by his Spirit. No - we have in no way ditched that belief; indeed, it is very true and very precious. The church is the temple of the Holy Spirit, whom we have from God.

Neither does this model of the church tend, for us, towards a gnostic or manichæan concept of the contrast between body and spirit. All those who are in Christ will be raised in glory at the last day and will, in the eternal kingdom, make up the Bride to whom he is united. The resurrection of the body and the setting up by God of the new heavens and the new earth is important: we await no disembodied eternity.




You refuse to see the Church as "Incarnational". Was Christ Divided? If not then how can you see His Body as such?


You refuse to see the Church as Incarnational. You claim to see your model in Acts chapter two, but if you look at the whole book of Acts. You won't see your model. Nowhere in the book of Acts do we see Paul and Luke advocating a divided Visible Church.

When the Ethiopian was reading Scripture. The Holy Spirit guided Philop to speak to him. Thus bringing a person in contact with the visible Church.

Your model would have the Holy Spirit(without the use of Philop) to start a brand new competing visible Church through the Ethiopian.

In the Book of Acts we see an Angel coming to the Godfearing centurian, and the Angel told him to see Peter.

Your model would have the Angel tell the Centurian to start a brand new Church.

When Paul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, Jesus told him to go and see someone....someone that belonged to the Church.

The modal I see in the book of Acts is God and His Angels leading people to His One True Church. We don't see Him having people start up their own groups......independant from the Body He started.





JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: prodromas on January 31, 2009, 11:02:32 PM
Quote
the Lord has only one Body; but we believe that body is made up of all the redeemed, invisibly joined in union with Christ by his indwelling Spirit, whether they come to him through Orthodoxy (as you have, it seems (I say that, only because you rightly say that in the final analysis only God knows who is saved, not because I imply any doubt on my part of your salvation)), through Methodism (as I did), and so on.

This idea is a noval one. The Protestant Reformation took an idea that Saint Augustine made up and ran with it to it's logical conclusion. But the idea is noval.....new. ... that idea can be traced to Saint Augustine. And the development of it can be traced to the Protestant Reformers.

This idea destroys any real concept of "the Real Church" being INCARNATE in the HERE and NOW.  It has a gnostic feel to it.

The Gnostics believed that their souls would be saved. They didn't care about their physical bodies. In a similar manner, this Augustinian..modied Protestant idea makes the "invisible church soul" saved while not caring about the "physical church body".
JNORM888

There seem to be three ideas here, and I do not feel competent to reply, because to do so would require a good knowledge of Augustine and his influence, and I confess I am not drawn to Augustine and do not read him. (I have read about him.)

We see the idea of my model of the church in the New Testament, starting in Acts 2 as I quoted and then throughout the epistles and Revelation, but you may well be right in asserting that it lay dormant and undeveloped for hundreds of years before being taken up anew by Augustine and passed on down the centuries via people who agreed and still agree with it. Though I am sure Augustine laid much more sterss on the role of the sacraments than we do.

Then we move on to the notion of Christ incarnate in the church by his Spirit. No - we have in no way ditched that belief; indeed, it is very true and very precious. The church is the temple of the Holy Spirit, whom we have from God.

Neither does this model of the church tend, for us, towards a gnostic or manichæan concept of the contrast between body and spirit. All those who are in Christ will be raised in glory at the last day and will, in the eternal kingdom, make up the Bride to whom he is united. The resurrection of the body and the setting up by God of the new heavens and the new earth is important: we await no disembodied eternity.




You refuse to see the Church as "Incarnational". Was Christ Divided? If not then how can you see His Body as such?


You refuse to see the Church as Incarnational. You claim to see your model in Acts chapter two, but if you look at the whole book of Acts. You won't see your model. Nowhere in the book of Acts do we see Paul and Luke advocating a divided Visible Church.

When the Ethiopian was reading Scripture. The Holy Spirit guided Philop to speak to him. Thus bringing a person in contact with the visible Church.

Your model would have the Holy Spirit(without the use of Philop) to start a brand new competing visible Church through the Ethiopian.

In the Book of Acts we see an Angel coming to the Godfearing centurian, and the Angel told him to see Peter.

Your model would have the Angel tell the Centurian to start a brand new Church.

When Paul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, Jesus told him to go and see someone....someone that belonged to the Church.

The modal I see in the book of Acts is God and His Angels leading people to His One True Church. We don't see Him having people start up their own groups......independant from the Body He started.





JNORM888

The thing is that the low church protestant concept of Ecclesiology wouldn't have seen it as setting up "their own groups" but rather by starting a community and imitating what the church of Acts is they are partaking in the Body of Christ.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on January 31, 2009, 11:06:41 PM
The thing is that the low church protestant concept of Ecclesiology wouldn't have seen it as setting up "their own groups" but rather by starting a community and imitating what the church of Acts is they are partaking in the Body of Christ.

I think this is on the "About our beliefs" page of every non-denominational/low-Church Protestant group out there!

It's amazing how many groups are imitating the Church of Acts in so many different ways!  ::)

Presbytera needs to get Father on here so he can explain how the book of Acts relates to our Liturgics, and how we TRULY are imitating the Church of Acts.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on January 31, 2009, 11:11:05 PM
Orthodoxy isn't a branch, it's the trunk:NT Christianity in the 21st century and all 21 centuries in between

So you say. But what do Serbian's Say? Catholics? You get the idea.
At best, from a purely chronologically overview, Orthodoxy is an ancient and early branch, a major branch, in the growth of the tree of Christianity (if you will). Maye even the closest to the trunk. Yet, if any can, then only the pre-schismatic chronological church can claim uncontested title to being exclusively the one and self same church our Lord started.






He is in good company for Orthodoxy has been saying this before both you and I were born. Before the Pentecostals were born in 1906. Before the Baptists were born in the 16 hundreds. Before John Calvin was born, before Martin Luther was born, and before 1054 A.D. when Rome split off from us!

Orthodoxy has been saying this for almost 2,000 years.

So he is in good company........of a whole host of people saying it.






JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on January 31, 2009, 11:17:25 PM
Quote
the Lord has only one Body; but we believe that body is made up of all the redeemed, invisibly joined in union with Christ by his indwelling Spirit, whether they come to him through Orthodoxy (as you have, it seems (I say that, only because you rightly say that in the final analysis only God knows who is saved, not because I imply any doubt on my part of your salvation)), through Methodism (as I did), and so on.

This idea is a noval one. The Protestant Reformation took an idea that Saint Augustine made up and ran with it to it's logical conclusion. But the idea is noval.....new. ... that idea can be traced to Saint Augustine. And the development of it can be traced to the Protestant Reformers.

This idea destroys any real concept of "the Real Church" being INCARNATE in the HERE and NOW.  It has a gnostic feel to it.

The Gnostics believed that their souls would be saved. They didn't care about their physical bodies. In a similar manner, this Augustinian..modied Protestant idea makes the "invisible church soul" saved while not caring about the "physical church body".
JNORM888

There seem to be three ideas here, and I do not feel competent to reply, because to do so would require a good knowledge of Augustine and his influence, and I confess I am not drawn to Augustine and do not read him. (I have read about him.)

We see the idea of my model of the church in the New Testament, starting in Acts 2 as I quoted and then throughout the epistles and Revelation, but you may well be right in asserting that it lay dormant and undeveloped for hundreds of years before being taken up anew by Augustine and passed on down the centuries via people who agreed and still agree with it. Though I am sure Augustine laid much more sterss on the role of the sacraments than we do.

Then we move on to the notion of Christ incarnate in the church by his Spirit. No - we have in no way ditched that belief; indeed, it is very true and very precious. The church is the temple of the Holy Spirit, whom we have from God.

Neither does this model of the church tend, for us, towards a gnostic or manichæan concept of the contrast between body and spirit. All those who are in Christ will be raised in glory at the last day and will, in the eternal kingdom, make up the Bride to whom he is united. The resurrection of the body and the setting up by God of the new heavens and the new earth is important: we await no disembodied eternity.




You refuse to see the Church as "Incarnational". Was Christ Divided? If not then how can you see His Body as such?


You refuse to see the Church as Incarnational. You claim to see your model in Acts chapter two, but if you look at the whole book of Acts. You won't see your model. Nowhere in the book of Acts do we see Paul and Luke advocating a divided Visible Church.

When the Ethiopian was reading Scripture. The Holy Spirit guided Philop to speak to him. Thus bringing a person in contact with the visible Church.

Your model would have the Holy Spirit(without the use of Philop) to start a brand new competing visible Church through the Ethiopian.

In the Book of Acts we see an Angel coming to the Godfearing centurian, and the Angel told him to see Peter.

Your model would have the Angel tell the Centurian to start a brand new Church.

When Paul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, Jesus told him to go and see someone....someone that belonged to the Church.

The modal I see in the book of Acts is God and His Angels leading people to His One True Church. We don't see Him having people start up their own groups......independant from the Body He started.





JNORM888

The thing is that the low church protestant concept of Ecclesiology wouldn't have seen it as setting up "their own groups" but rather by starting a community and imitating what the church of Acts is they are partaking in the Body of Christ.


True!




JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on January 31, 2009, 11:25:11 PM
Literal presence is held by many Lutherans.  Infant baptism is done by the mainline Protestant churches.  The need for personal conversion is held by many Protestants who believe "pentecostal gifts" (e.g. glossalia) need not be present for a person or church to be Christian.

1. Even though Lutherans may have their own literal prescence beliefs, they emphasis personal conversion, especially (initial) justification by faith alone in Christ alone. Sacrements are not needed to become justified with God.

2. Yes, some Protestant churches baptize infants. Still they have historically, emphasised personal conversion in spite their practice of infant baptism. However, let me hasten to add that I believe the more radical reformation branch (the anebaptists movement, etc.) of what is now typically categorized lump sum as "Protestant" probably is more closely aligned with and decended from NT distinctives. I suppose that is why there is such common agreement in beliefs among myself and David Young, more than say with a Presbyterian or an Anglican.

Quote
Why must the historic church be exactly like the church of the New Testament? 

Because if, at least in principle, it is not the same then any claim to being the continuation thereof fails to be valid (at least to the degree it fails to be conformable to the principles of NT Christinaity).


You must not know of any high church Lutherians and Anglo-Catholics. Not to mention the New Perspective of Paul folks in the Reformed camp.

Oh, by the way. Many Jews still have prayers for the dead. As well as Anglicans

And as a former Anglo-Catholic myself. I can say that there are protestants that believe in the sacraments in the way the E.O. and RCC does. The same is true for "some" high church Lutherians.





JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on January 31, 2009, 11:48:31 PM
David Young said:
Quote
Let me reverse the order of some of the questions. On assurance, see my previous post. I see justified in the Protestant sense of the term, that is a sort of forensic or legal metaphor: God forgives us our many sins, cleanses us, removes the guilt of them, and declares us 'not guilty'. (Prior to the Reformation justification was understood as being made righteous, but I am content with the Protestant understanding of the term as meaning being declared righteous (a status rather than a state, if you like).)

Cleopas might disagree with you since Pentecostals and some Charismatics merge Sanctification in the "Salvation" area.

Not at all, at least as in so far as you quoted. Justification is (to the believer) primarily a judical act of God. Yes, it leaves one in a justified state, but it (justification) is wholly to us righteousness imputed. It is in regeneration that righteousness is imparted or infused. Different works or aspects of (initial) conversion.

Not sure where David Young stands on regenration and it's correlation with justification, or regarding sanctification really (beyond his brief mention to it above). But I can't imagine as similar as our beliefs have already proven to be that there would be any significant difference between us here. Yet, I cannot speak for him. These are reflective only of my own doctrinal understanding of salvific works.

I believe that Sanctification happens in conversion itself, yes. However, most Holiness-Pentecostals (except the AG) hold to sanctification as a post conversion crisis experience and/or an instanteaneous 2nd definite work of grace (with conversion being the first) and  thus as an intermediary work preperatory to the reception of the Spirit baptism (a "third blessing" it's called). Charasmatics are less dogmatic or definitive about the order or steps of such things (so I have found). Of course that is a whole 'nother subject or three in and of itself. I just wanted to try and give a bit more accurate overview.



If you are a Protestant that believes one can loose their salvation then you automatically put Sanctification in the "Salvation area".


Thus, I stand by what I said!!!!! You can disagree, but it won't change what many Pentecostals, Charismatics, Cambellites and Ahmish believe about "Sanctification" and loosing ones salvation.......and how that effects their doctrine of Justification.

It's not the same as the classic Protestant Reformed view. Nor is it the same as the Baptist doctrine of "Easy Believism" ...A.K.A. Once saved always saved.






JNORM888

P.S. "You don't have to state what the Lutherian and Reformed Protestant view of Justification is. I already know what it is. I am after all a former Protestant myself. And what I said about many Pentecostals, Charismatics, Cambellites, Ahmish, and many other Arminians.... is indeed true. So feel free to disagree, but I'm not changing my mind. I already know that not all protestants agree in this area.

I forgot to mention that some Calvinists would joke around and call the Arminians that believed one could loose their salvation as believing in the doctrine of "Justification through Sanctification".

So no, not all protestants believe the same in this area.



JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 31, 2009, 11:48:44 PM
The thing is that the low church protestant concept of Ecclesiology wouldn't have seen it as setting up "their own groups" but rather by starting a community and imitating what the church of Acts is they are partaking in the Body of Christ.

I think this is on the "About our beliefs" page of every non-denominational/low-Church Protestant group out there!

It's amazing how many groups are imitating the Church of Acts in so many different ways!  ::)

Presbytera needs to get Father on here so he can explain how the book of Acts relates to our Liturgics, and how we TRULY are imitating the Church of Acts.


We're not imitating the Church of Acts.

Acts records the Church of the Apostles, which was, and is, us.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on January 31, 2009, 11:58:22 PM
Does such a thing exist in the first place?

This is easy:

"I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church."

The belief in one true church is mandated by the universal creed of all Christians.  After that, it's simply an issue deciding which church that is.  It is either the Roman Catholic Church, the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox, or the Assyrian Church of the East.  I think that covers all of the surviving apostolic communions; correct me if I am wrong.
Here is a question for the members of the one, true  Church:
After we die, we will be judged by Our Lord. But will He ask a Roman Catholic: Why did you not join the one, True, Orthodox Church? Or will it be instead as we read in Matthew 25:
"31 And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. 32 And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. 34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:
36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. 37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? 39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? 40 And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. 44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? 45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.
46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting."
I don't see here any mention of being judged on the basis of being a member of the one, true, Church? Maybe it is somewhere else in the Bible?


The Jew, the Muslim, the Budhdhist, the Hindu, the agnostic, the atheist can ask the same thing.  So I guess it's all the same.  Kumbaya.

Matthew 19:28
Jesus said to them, "I tell you with certainty, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne in the renewed creation, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Luke 22:28 “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 01, 2009, 12:08:03 AM
When we are baptized, we become more like Christ, ... When we eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ, we become more like Christ, because we remember Christ and become more dependent on Him for our sustenance. When we confess our sins and repent of them, we become more like Christ, who is without sin. ... No one can be justified without confession, repentance, and forgiveness. All sacraments are manifestations of these essential elements of Christianity.

Amen to all of that (except we see the eating and drinking as a spiritual feeding in the sacrament, not literal). But justification happens when God declares a man pardoned. Both are part of true Christianity - justification and sacraments. But justification comes before the sacraments: justification is a declaration which God makes concerning a man. It doesn't change his nature, it changes his status before God.

The Ur-error of Protestant soteriology and anthropology.  We become partakers of divine nature.  "You must be perfect," not "you must be declared perfect."  One does not cease being a servant untill one becomes a son and heir.  And that is more than a change of status, being God's foster child: it is adoption.

Quote
But once a person is justified, the life-long process of sanctification, growth in Christlikeness, theosis if you wish, begins in all those who are justified. The sacraments are part of this, as you rightly observe.

And breathing is just one bodily function among many, just the one that makes all the others possible.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on February 01, 2009, 12:21:57 AM

We're not imitating the Church of Acts.

Acts records the Church of the Apostles, which was, and is, us.

You are 100% correct. My apologies.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 01, 2009, 12:30:22 AM
Quote
2. Yes, some Protestant churches baptize infants. Still they have historically, emphasised personal conversion in spite their practice of infant baptism. However, let me hasten to add that I believe the more radical reformation branch (the anebaptists movement, etc.) of what is now typically categorized lump sum as "Protestant" probably is more closely aligned with and decended from NT distinctives. I suppose that is why there is such common agreement in beliefs among myself and David Young, more than say with a Presbyterian or an Anglican


Baptists didn't come from AnaBaptists directly. They are not Ahmish.....nor are they Mennonite, but there was some cross-breeding that went on in the 16 hundreds. The Baptists "directly" came from the low wing of Anglicanism. The Low Church Wing were called "Puritans" and Puritanism split into many different sub-groups.

I didn't say they did. I simply cited Anabaptists as typical of the radical reformation.
I guess you may think I am Baptist. I am not, not properly at least (though baptistic in many ways). I am in a "non-denom" "generic" evangelical church. I was raised, and first came to faith in, the Holiness-Pentecostal tradition, particularly the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) movement.

And my decent I refer not to chronological instituaional continuity in and of itself, but to a sort of  spiritual and/or theological continuity.
Let me put it this way, of all the modern churches born to the faith, it is among the protestants that I see the most clear characterstics and features of the NT church. That is to say they look more like their "momma" than any other (at least to me).
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 01, 2009, 12:34:56 AM
Quote
2. Yes, some Protestant churches baptize infants. Still they have historically, emphasised personal conversion in spite their practice of infant baptism. However, let me hasten to add that I believe the more radical reformation branch (the anebaptists movement, etc.) of what is now typically categorized lump sum as "Protestant" probably is more closely aligned with and decended from NT distinctives. I suppose that is why there is such common agreement in beliefs among myself and David Young, more than say with a Presbyterian or an Anglican


Baptists didn't come from AnaBaptists directly. They are not Ahmish.....nor are they Mennonite, but there was some cross-breeding that went on in the 16 hundreds. The Baptists "directly" came from the low wing of Anglicanism. The Low Church Wing were called "Puritans" and Puritanism split into many different sub-groups.

I didn't say they did. I simply cited Anabaptists as typical of the radical reformation.
I guess you may think I am Baptist. I am not, not properly at least (though baptistic in many ways). I am in a "non-denom" "generic" evangelical church. I was raised, and first came to faith in, the Holiness-Pentecostal tradition, particularly the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) movement.

And my decent I refer not to chronological instituaional continuity in and of itself, but to a sort of  spiritual and/or theological continuity.
which you also don't have.
Quote
Let me put it this way, of all the modern churches born to the faith, it is among the protestants that I see the most clear characterstics and features of the NT church. That is to say they look more like their "momma" than any other (at least to me).
We are momma.

You cannot have God as your Father if you do not have the Church as your Mother.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: LBK on February 01, 2009, 12:40:44 AM
Quote
That is to say they look more like their "momma" than any other (at least to me).


Ummm, Cleopas, you've admitted that you don't know that much about the Orthodox Church. So how on earth could you know what "momma" looks like? Hoist by your own petard, my friend.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 01, 2009, 12:41:55 AM
If you are a Protestant that believes one can loose their salvation then you automatically put Sanctification in the "Salvation area".

Thus, I stand by what I said!!!!! You can disagree, but it won't change what many Pentecostals, Charismatics, Cambellites and Ahmish believe about "Sanctification" and loosing ones salvation.......and how that effects their doctrine of Justification.

It's not the same as the classic Protestant Reformed view. Nor is it the same as the Baptist doctrine of "Easy Believism" ...A.K.A. Once saved always saved.


JNORM888

P.S. "You don't have to state what the Lutherian and Reformed Protestant view of Justification is. I already know what it is. I am after all a former Protestant myself. And what I said about many Pentecostals, Charismatics, Cambellites, Ahmish, and many other Arminians.... is indeed true. So feel free to disagree, but I'm not changing my mind. I already know that not all protestants agree in this area.

I must be misunderstanding what you have said then. Because, from what I can see, you are misinformed (at least as it reads).

Now, you may know more of those "high" church groups you speak of. But I know Holiness, Holiness-Pentecostal, and Charismatic beliefs. By defintion, though I consider myself "unaffiliaited" now, I am one.

You honestly seem to have flipped the groups around, and I was just trying to clarify. Most all Holiness and Holiness-Pentecostal groups hold sanctification to be a totally seperate work of grace from justification, even to the point of stating it is a defintie work that, though it can be received to human perception simultaneous with the newbirth, yet often follows the new birth by days, weeks, months, or even years. They often do not see it as even beginning in conversion (as Wesley did), but as a totally seperate and distinct work in and of itself.

Except for the Assemblies of God (for the most part) and Charasmatics, this is the typical standard belief regarding personal sanctification among them.


However, whatever the differences in understanding on the nature and relation of sanctification to the Christian life or other experiences, generally speaking all of us Evangelicals typically concure on the nature and function of justification itself.


BTW, "easy belivism" or "cheap grace" is not an an entirely nor exclusively Baptist distinctive. Though, at least in the states, they have been one of the most fertile fields for the seeds of that pernicious and damnable doctrine to grow. That's is primarly a 20th century phenomamon. Before that most Baptists (as I underatnd it) agreed and taught holiness as more or less indicative of true conversion, as did most Protestant/Evangelical groups.

I am happy to say that this truth is being more and more reemphasized and rediscovered in the apathatic circles of the American Evangelical Christian sphere.
Don't believe me, just google and watch a you tube of Paul Washer ( a Calvinistic Baptist from Alabama) teaching on conversion. Better yet, here ya go:

http://www.tubecodes.com/watch=uuabITeO4l8

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: LBK on February 01, 2009, 12:46:50 AM
Quote
However, whatever the differences in understanding on the nature and relation of sanctification to the Christian life or other experiences, generally speaking all of us Evangelicals typically concure on the nature and function of justification itself.

Clutching at straws, my friend. Just clutching at straws.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 01, 2009, 12:52:37 AM
Quote
That is to say they look more like their "momma" than any other (at least to me).


Ummm, Cleopas, you've admitted that you don't know that much about the Orthodox Church. So how on earth could you know what "momma" looks like? Hoist by your own petard, my friend.

I did not say I was ignorant of Orthodoxy. Just not well versed in it.

That said, I see "Momma's" picture all the time. Right there in the NT itself. And, sorry, but you don't look like that to me. I don't see those features as prominent in you as I do among Evangelicals. You may disagree, and that's understandable. Often my wife's people (not knowing my folks) only recognize her family traits and features in our kids (when they see pics and such). But if they coudl see me and/or my family they would see just how prominenet my families features are in my kids, way more so than the former.

My point? You may notice things in Orthodoxy that relate to the NT church which I do not. You may not see the relation among Evangelicals thereto. We each argue for which most closely resembles them, and why. But I am convinced that Evangelicals more closlely resemblt NT Christianity than Orthodoxy does (even if you are chronologically older).
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: LBK on February 01, 2009, 01:04:38 AM
But I am convinced that Evangelicals more closlely resemblt NT Christianity than Orthodoxy does (even if you are chronologically older).

Let me get this straight: So the religious denomination you are trying to establish now, in 2009, bears a closer resemblance to the Church founded by Christ, spread by the Apostles from Pentecost, 33AD (give or take a couple of years or so), and guarded by the Fathers, that has been "operating", as it were, continuously, often in the face of great persecution and threat of annihilation, yet still maintained its integrity for some 2000 years? Oh dear.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 01, 2009, 01:21:19 AM
But I am convinced that Evangelicals more closlely resemblt NT Christianity than Orthodoxy does (even if you are chronologically older).

Let me get this straight: So the religious denomination you are trying to establish now, in 2009

I am not trying to establish a denomination. Though if God wills it to be, and it can be so to His glory, then I am willing.
I don't know where I gave you gusy the idea I was trying to birth another denomination. I am sorry for not being more clear on this before evidently.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: LBK on February 01, 2009, 01:34:25 AM
Quote
Nevertheless, I have been called of the Lord Jesus himself, through the Spirit, and authorized by Him to preach and defend the gospel, establish churches, baptize converts and any other duty that may rightly fall upon me as His minister. I am not ashamed of Him or of the calling He has placed upon me, even if you refuse to recognize it.

Quote
But I have received them, in as much as by their word (the NT) I have believed on the Lord. By that same word I have received Apostolic affirmation of divine authorization to baptize. Simply put, the Lord called me to be His minister, and he has authorized me to baptize. If you really have an issue with that, then I can't really help you. Take it up with Him.


Quote
My authority to baptize comes from heaven, from the Lord Himself.

Quote
Our authorization is from Heaven. We need not the permission of any ecclesiastical seat such as the Jews attempted to use as a barrier to the ministries of both the Baptist and the Lord.

Quote
I'm Bapti-costal. Part baptist. Part Pentecostal.

Que, Cleopas? Your Momma Church still don't look like de way it should.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on February 01, 2009, 01:42:29 AM
Quote from: Cleopas
I'm Bapti-costal. Part baptist. Part Pentecostal.

Ta da, the latest "One True Church" of Bapticostals (trumpet flourishes)  ;D
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on February 01, 2009, 04:15:47 AM
I am not trying to establish a denomination. Though if God wills it to be, and it can be so to His glory, then I am willing.
I don't know where I gave you gusy the idea I was trying to birth another denomination. I am sorry for not being more clear on this before evidently.

You have to forgive us Cleopas. Since you don't belong to an existing denomination, and you don't declare yourself non-denominational (which is a denomination in and of itself) that makes your church a new denomination. At least, that's how it appears to us.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 01, 2009, 05:17:29 AM
the Baptist doctrine of "Easy Believism"

I don't know where you got that phrase from, but if it is part of Orthodox parlance, be assured it is also part of our parlance. We always use it pejoratively, to denote a "gospel" we regard as inauthentic, shallow and ineffective, devoid of the call to "take up one's cross and follow Christ".
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 01, 2009, 05:20:57 AM
P.S. "The Anabaptists split off from Zwingly. ...They decended from the early Reformed under Zwingly."

You are very well informed, and accurate, except (I think) in this closing PS. The Anabaptists were around before the Reformation.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 01, 2009, 05:28:12 AM
You refuse to see the Church as "Incarnational".

Maybe you'd better try to make me understand more clearly what you mean by "the Church as "Incarnational"". Since we both agree that the Spirit indwells all believers, thus the church, since we both agree that Christ has only one Bride, I am not understanding what else you mean. Please be free to try again: doubtless the fault lies with my limited knowledge of Orthodox theological vocabulary.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 01, 2009, 05:32:58 AM
some Calvinists would joke around and call the Arminians that believed one could loose their salvation as believing in the doctrine of "Justification through Sanctification".
JNORM888

If you are correct, then such Calvinists should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for making jest of their brethren in Christ, and also for putting around a parody of Arminian soteriology. May the Lord teach them grace and gentleness.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 01, 2009, 05:38:08 AM
The Ur-error of Protestant soteriology and anthropology.  We become partakers of divine nature.  "You must be perfect," not "you must be declared perfect." 

I should prefer Urlehre to Ur-error, but I'll go along with the Ur-. But you are again not seeing that we always teach that justification is the first thing; the spirits of just men made perfect is the final thing, in heaven. Neither negates or distorts the other, neither is an error, neither is the whole picture. In between them is our synergy with the Holy Spirit throughout life, him sanctifying us, us "making every effort" as Peter expresses it in his epistle.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: chrevbel on February 01, 2009, 05:54:19 AM
But I am convinced that Evangelicals more closlely resemblt NT Christianity than Orthodoxy does.
Where (and/or when) would you say that we went wrong?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 01, 2009, 10:03:41 AM
Where (and/or when) would you say that we went wrong?

This question is addressed to Cleopas, and I'll happily leave it to him to answer.  :) Briefly, the main watershed is usually seen as the 'conversion' of Constantine and the subsequent union of state and church.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: LBK on February 01, 2009, 10:09:38 AM
Quote
Briefly, the main watershed is usually seen as the 'conversion' of Constantine and the subsequent union of state and church.

Oh, good grief. The old Jehovah's Witnesses shibboleth.  ::)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 01, 2009, 10:12:51 AM
Quote
Briefly, the main watershed is usually seen as the 'conversion' of Constantine and the subsequent union of state and church.

Oh, good grief. The old Jehovah's Witnesses shibboleth. 

Maybe: I know virtually nothing about the JWs. I think the idea that the union of state and church was a religious or spiritual disaster long antedates the beginnings of the JWs.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on February 01, 2009, 12:47:42 PM
The Ur-error of Protestant soteriology and anthropology.  We become partakers of divine nature.  "You must be perfect," not "you must be declared perfect." 

I should prefer Urlehre to Ur-error, but I'll go along with the Ur-. But you are again not seeing that we always teach that justification is the first thing; the spirits of just men made perfect is the final thing, in heaven. Neither negates or distorts the other, neither is an error, neither is the whole picture. In between them is our synergy with the Holy Spirit throughout life, him sanctifying us, us "making every effort" as Peter expresses it in his epistle.
Why in heaven and not on earth. Are you suggesting that no man that walks with holy spirit can become perfected in this life? This is the deformity of the western doctrine of original sin.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 01, 2009, 01:11:25 PM
the spirits of just men made perfect is the final thing, in heaven.

Why in heaven and not on earth.

I was merely quoting Hebrews 12.23.

Quote
Are you suggesting that no man that walks with holy spirit can become perfected in this life?

It is a Wesleyan doctrine, and Wesleyan theology is regarded as closer to Orthodox theology than most other Evangelical theology is. I have read Wesley's "A plain Account of Christian Perfection" and several testimonies of those who claim to have entered the experience. The Wesley hymns often use the phrase "the great salvation": e.g. Let us see thy great salvation, / Perfectly restored in thee. I am not suggesting whether the teaching is right or not.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on February 01, 2009, 03:08:11 PM
Quote
2. Yes, some Protestant churches baptize infants. Still they have historically, emphasised personal conversion in spite their practice of infant baptism. However, let me hasten to add that I believe the more radical reformation branch (the anebaptists movement, etc.) of what is now typically categorized lump sum as "Protestant" probably is more closely aligned with and decended from NT distinctives. I suppose that is why there is such common agreement in beliefs among myself and David Young, more than say with a Presbyterian or an Anglican


Baptists didn't come from AnaBaptists directly. They are not Ahmish.....nor are they Mennonite, but there was some cross-breeding that went on in the 16 hundreds. The Baptists "directly" came from the low wing of Anglicanism. The Low Church Wing were called "Puritans" and Puritanism split into many different sub-groups.

I didn't say they did. I simply cited Anabaptists as typical of the radical reformation.
I guess you may think I am Baptist. I am not, not properly at least (though baptistic in many ways). I am in a "non-denom" "generic" evangelical church. I was raised, and first came to faith in, the Holiness-Pentecostal tradition, particularly the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) movement.

And my decent I refer not to chronological instituaional continuity in and of itself, but to a sort of  spiritual and/or theological continuity.
Let me put it this way, of all the modern churches born to the faith, it is among the protestants that I see the most clear characterstics and features of the NT church. That is to say they look more like their "momma" than any other (at least to me).

You need to visit an Orthodox Jewish Synagogue then visit an Orthodox Christian Liturgy.

You also need to read the Apostolic Fathers on up.......for Orthodoxy is MOMMA! It always has been and always will be.


It took me 10 years to see that. So no rush.




JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on February 01, 2009, 03:14:37 PM
some Calvinists would joke around and call the Arminians that believed one could loose their salvation as believing in the doctrine of "Justification through Sanctification".
JNORM888

If you are correct, then such Calvinists should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for making jest of their brethren in Christ, and also for putting around a parody of Arminian soteriology. May the Lord teach them grace and gentleness.

Some Arminians already know it, and it doesn't bother them. Infact, I think it's sorta true myself. If one can loose their salvation then it is Justification through Sanctification.







JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on February 01, 2009, 03:50:41 PM
You refuse to see the Church as "Incarnational".

Maybe you'd better try to make me understand more clearly what you mean by "the Church as "Incarnational"". Since we both agree that the Spirit indwells all believers, thus the church, since we both agree that Christ has only one Bride, I am not understanding what else you mean. Please be free to try again: doubtless the fault lies with my limited knowledge of Orthodox theological vocabulary.

It's about being in communion with the Body Jesus & the Apostles started 2,000 years ago. Just as you believe that no one can be a lone island christian. In like mannor, you can't be a lone island group.......not in (physical) communion with the group Jesus started.


You believe in O.S.A.S.(once saved always saved) for individuals, yet you deny that to the Church itself. (Once the Church, always the Church).

So you must believe that the Church was some how destroyed, only to be brought back to life some 1,600 years later when John Smyth started the first Baptist church.


When we look in the book of Acts as well as Church History. We don't see Jesus telling Saint Paul to go start a body separate from the one He started some years earlier. No! We see Jesus telling Saint Paul to go and see a christian from the original body that he started.

When Jesus prayed in John chapter 17 or maybe 15. He prayed that we all might be one just as He is one with the Father. He prayed for his Disciples as well as all those who would listen to them.

He didn't pray that everyone should jump start their own group. And not be in (physical) communion with the group he started.

The One Church is both a physical as well as a spiritual continuity. It's not just a spiritual one. That is why I said before that such a thing sounds like "gnosticism". You have to have both. What the people had in mind at the Nicene-Constantinople creed was a real "physical & spiritual" unity when they said "ONE HOLY and Apostolic Church". They did not have in mind some semi-gnostic spiritual only church in the next life. It was a real Physical & spiritual Oneness in the here and now.......meaning, you had to be in communion with HER.






JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 01, 2009, 04:04:27 PM
Where (and/or when) would you say that we went wrong?

This question is addressed to Cleopas, and I'll happily leave it to him to answer.  :) Briefly, the main watershed is usually seen as the 'conversion' of Constantine and the subsequent union of state and church.

Ah, but the problem is that every dogma of Orthodoxy is well documented before Constantine.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 01, 2009, 04:10:57 PM
Quote
That is to say they look more like their "momma" than any other (at least to me).


Ummm, Cleopas, you've admitted that you don't know that much about the Orthodox Church. So how on earth could you know what "momma" looks like? Hoist by your own petard, my friend.

I did not say I was ignorant of Orthodoxy. Just not well versed in it.

That said, I see "Momma's" picture all the time. Right there in the NT itself. And, sorry, but you don't look like that to me. I don't see those features as prominent in you as I do among Evangelicals. You may disagree, and that's understandable. Often my wife's people (not knowing my folks) only recognize her family traits and features in our kids (when they see pics and such). But if they coudl see me and/or my family they would see just how prominenet my families features are in my kids, way more so than the former.

My point? You may notice things in Orthodoxy that relate to the NT church which I do not. You may not see the relation among Evangelicals thereto. We each argue for which most closely resembles them, and why. But I am convinced that Evangelicals more closlely resemblt NT Christianity than Orthodoxy does (even if you are chronologically older).

Since we are the Church of the NT, your final point goes without saying.

So you see yourself in the NT, do you?


Now, you may know more of those "high" church groups you speak of. But I know Holiness, Holiness-Pentecostal, and Charismatic beliefs. By defintion, though I consider myself "unaffiliaited" now, I am one.


Unaffiliated?  I don't see "unaffiliated" in the book of Acts.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on February 01, 2009, 04:18:54 PM
If you are a Protestant that believes one can loose their salvation then you automatically put Sanctification in the "Salvation area".

Thus, I stand by what I said!!!!! You can disagree, but it won't change what many Pentecostals, Charismatics, Cambellites and Ahmish believe about "Sanctification" and loosing ones salvation.......and how that effects their doctrine of Justification.

It's not the same as the classic Protestant Reformed view. Nor is it the same as the Baptist doctrine of "Easy Believism" ...A.K.A. Once saved always saved.


JNORM888

P.S. "You don't have to state what the Lutherian and Reformed Protestant view of Justification is. I already know what it is. I am after all a former Protestant myself. And what I said about many Pentecostals, Charismatics, Cambellites, Ahmish, and many other Arminians.... is indeed true. So feel free to disagree, but I'm not changing my mind. I already know that not all protestants agree in this area.

I must be misunderstanding what you have said then. Because, from what I can see, you are misinformed (at least as it reads).

Now, you may know more of those "high" church groups you speak of. But I know Holiness, Holiness-Pentecostal, and Charismatic beliefs. By defintion, though I consider myself "unaffiliaited" now, I am one.

You honestly seem to have flipped the groups around, and I was just trying to clarify. Most all Holiness and Holiness-Pentecostal groups hold sanctification to be a totally seperate work of grace from justification, even to the point of stating it is a defintie work that, though it can be received to human perception simultaneous with the newbirth, yet often follows the new birth by days, weeks, months, or even years. They often do not see it as even beginning in conversion (as Wesley did), but as a totally seperate and distinct work in and of itself.

Except for the Assemblies of God (for the most part) and Charasmatics, this is the typical standard belief regarding personal sanctification among them.


However, whatever the differences in understanding on the nature and relation of sanctification to the Christian life or other experiences, generally speaking all of us Evangelicals typically concure on the nature and function of justification itself.


BTW, "easy belivism" or "cheap grace" is not an an entirely nor exclusively Baptist distinctive. Though, at least in the states, they have been one of the most fertile fields for the seeds of that pernicious and damnable doctrine to grow. That's is primarly a 20th century phenomamon. Before that most Baptists (as I underatnd it) agreed and taught holiness as more or less indicative of true conversion, as did most Protestant/Evangelical groups.

I am happy to say that this truth is being more and more reemphasized and rediscovered in the apathatic circles of the American Evangelical Christian sphere.
Don't believe me, just google and watch a you tube of Paul Washer ( a Calvinistic Baptist from Alabama) teaching on conversion. Better yet, here ya go:

http://www.tubecodes.com/watch=uuabITeO4l8




I'm not talking about the 2nd or 3rd act of grace doctrine. I'm not talking about the Methodhist/Holiness/Pentecostal doctrine of a 2nd work of grace and perfectionism. I am talking about Sanctification in general. Many Methodhist, Holiness, and Pentecostals believe that one must MAINTAIN their SALVATION.

This is what I am talking about. Thus, some Calvinists call this Arminian idea "Justification through Sanctification".



Also Paul Washer believes what is called "Lordship salvation". Those who believe in Lordship Salvation go by P.O.T.S. (Perseverence of the Saints).  It is a stricter form of O.S.A.S.

Most of the people in North America who believe in O.S.A.S. are Baptists or quote on quote nondenominational Bible churches that look like Baptist churches. And alot of these groups are pumped out of Dallas Theological Seminary.

I already told you that I am a former Protestant. I know more than you think I know.

All Unconditional Eternal security doctrines (O.S.A.S. or P.O.T.S.) all came from the Reformed branch of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther believed that one could loose their salvation, only if they lost "faith" or stopped believing.
 
The idea of unconditional eternal security is hard to find before the birth of John Calvin. Infact, that is one of the major difference between Calvinism and Augustinianism. The Jansenists followed Saint Augustine's later teachings more closely than the Calvinists did. And that's why they didn't believe in O.S.A.S or P.O.T.S.

In modern times and in North America. Those who hold to O.S.A.S. tend to be Baptist or a so called nondenominational church with a Baptist ethos.

Those who tend to hold to P.O.T.S. would be your Prespyterians, Dutch Reformed, and maybe your so called Reformed Baptists. As well as a few independant free evangelical church groups.


O.S.A.S. & P.O.T.S. alters ones view of Justification. And this is why many Arminians....like your Methodhists, Holiness, Pentecostals and Charismatics can by pass some of the Anathemas of the Roman Catholic council of trent. Now many of them don't know this, but it's true. Their understanding of Justification is different from most Calvinist's understanding of that doctrine because every doctrine influences another. One belief will naturally slighty alter another belief.





P.S. "Must we go down this road?"





JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on February 01, 2009, 04:50:52 PM
But I am convinced that Evangelicals more closlely resemblt NT Christianity than Orthodoxy does (even if you are chronologically older).

Let me get this straight: So the religious denomination you are trying to establish now, in 2009

I am not trying to establish a denomination. Though if God wills it to be, and it can be so to His glory, then I am willing.
I don't know where I gave you gusy the idea I was trying to birth another denomination. I am sorry for not being more clear on this before evidently.

How can schizm be to God's glory? How can division be to God's glory?

I'm going to tell you what I told my buddies that follow David Bercot over on Yahoo. I use to follow David Bercot in college, and I stopped following him in 2003. Infact, it was his ministry/movement that kept me away from E.O. for 10 years.

But I will tell you what I'm always telling them:

1.) How do you know that your brand new church won't turn liberal some years after you die?

2.) How do you know that your brand new church won't fall away after you die?

3.) Where will your kids go if they move to a different city or part of town? If you teach O.S.A.S., they won't be able to go to a church that teaches conditional eternal security. If you teach adult Baptism, they won't be able to go to a church that believes in infant Baptism. If you don't believe in the sacraments/mysteries, then your kids won't be able to go to a church that teaches that. If you don't teach the name it claim it, prosperity gospel, then your kids won't be able to go to a church that teach that. Thus they will be all alone.......with no church to go to that teaches what your brand new church will teach. And thus your children may fall away and become secular.


I can go on and on and on about this, but you aren't as strict as the ones I know over at yahoo. Many of them are former Church of Christ, former Boston Church of Christ, Former Episcopal, former Roman Catholic, or Mennonite.

But they all have one thing in common. They are followers of David Bercot and most of them don't have a place to fellowship........because their standards and convictions are very very very high.




JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on February 01, 2009, 04:57:12 PM
the Baptist doctrine of "Easy Believism"

I don't know where you got that phrase from, but if it is part of Orthodox parlance, be assured it is also part of our parlance. We always use it pejoratively, to denote a "gospel" we regard as inauthentic, shallow and ineffective, devoid of the call to "take up one's cross and follow Christ".


I was raised Baptist, and I remember the conflict among some Baptists. Between those who believed in O.S.A.S. vs those who believed in P.O.T.S. It was John Macauther vs a few other people.

And it was termed "Easy Believism" by those who believed in P.O.T.S.
The people who believed in O.S.A.S. called those who believed in P.O.T.S. as believing in what they termed as "Lordship Salvation".


You are from England so I don't expect you to know about this. But you must remember that I am a former Protestant so I should be allowed to use those terms I use to use some years ago.


So if you hear something from me that you don't like. Just know that I am a convert to Orthodoxy. A convert from Protestantism. I was raised Baptist. I was influenced in highschool and college by Pentecostals and Charismatics, and after I graduated from college I joined an Anglo-Catholic Parish in the ECUSA....Pittsburgh Diocese.....which recently split.


So this is my context. Protestants didn't care when I used these words when I was protestant, but now that I'm Orthodox......these words seem to hurt.

It will take time for me to change my vocab.






JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 01, 2009, 06:18:03 PM
If one can loose their salvation then it is Justification through Sanctification.

Not necessarily so. Without committing myself to either side of the debate - eternal security or the possibility of falling away finally - I think that one could belive that salvation is lost, not by backsliding into sin, so that at the judgement one's works are burnt up but one is saved only as by fire; but that it is possible to lose salvation by public, deliberate and conscious repudiation of the Christ in whom one formerly believed - by spurning the Son of God, profaning the blood of the covenant by which one was sanctified, by thus outraging the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10.29), by holding up the Son of God to contempt (Hebrews 6.6).

I am not contending for this interpretation of those and other passages; I am only saying that justification (that initial declaration by God, "Not guilty") is received by faith alone, and on this interpretation would be lost by the denial of the faith once held.

Volume X of John Wesley's Works contains three closely argued chapters on the theme of eternal security, arguing for the possibility of the final falling away of a real Christian.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 01, 2009, 06:30:52 PM
You believe in O.S.A.S.(once saved always saved) for individuals,

You are putting words into my mouth - or rather, on to my keyboard. I have not written that I believe in eternal security; rather, I said I am agnostic on that question (actually I wrote 'apophatic'). But I have attempted to give a clearer description of the doctrine - without committing myself to it - out of fairness to those who do hold it, because the way it is described on the forum is a caricture of the classic Calvinist teaching.

Quote
We don't see Jesus telling Saint Paul to go start a body separate from the one He started some years earlier. No! We see Jesus telling Saint Paul to go and see a christian from the original body that he started.

Ah! I think I see what you mean. Before I attempt a reply, you'd better tell me whether I am understanding you better now. You mean a sort of institutional or organisational continuity in time and space, whereby the true church spread and continues to spread from the beginning to all its branches, twigs and outermost leaves, and that it is in this body that Christ dwells in his Spirit - that this body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. Of course, I don't share that view - but is it what you are arguing for?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 01, 2009, 06:36:53 PM
Unaffiliated?  I don't see "unaffiliated" in the book of Acts.

Of course not, 'cos there weren't denominational, historical and geographical associations of churches then. No more did they use printed hymnbooks or liturgies in NT days.

A lot of churches are not affiliated to a particular formal, legal, registered organisation: until fairly recently, ours wasn't. But that does not mean they are isolationist, let alone isolated. They run their affairs by means of fellowship between them and other churches, usually within a fairly easy radius so as to maintain contact. This informal association or fellowship or cooperation is usually trans-denominational, and will embrace Congregational, Pentecostal, Baptist and other churches, some of which are in a denomination, others of which are not affiliated in that way.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 01, 2009, 06:42:01 PM
Those who tend to hold to P.O.T.S. would be your Prespyterians, Dutch Reformed, and maybe your so called Reformed Baptists. As well as a few independant free evangelical church groups.

P.S. "Must we go down this road?"

Ah! Now you are describing the British situation - not that we have Dutch Reformed here, I think. I was unaware of the difference to which your post refers across the Pond.

In answer to your postscript: preferably not. It is seldom edifying, and usually devisive.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 01, 2009, 06:48:08 PM
Protestants didn't care when I used these words when I was protestant, but now that I'm Orthodox......these words seem to hurt.

No: I was pleasantly surprised to read your use of a phrase which we heartily agree with and frequently use. Keep it up! The Calvinists I was among, and still often am, all fall into your POTS category - but in re vocabulary, don't start calling them Potty!  ;)

As a matter of interest, I think the title "Reformed Baptist", which so many use, is an oxymoron, seeing the Reformers believed in infant baptism, a state church, and the use of force to maintain one's religious authority. The traditional term was "Particular Baptist", which some still retain over here.

As another aside, John MacArthur is well thought of over here, but it is regarded as a pity he is premillennialist in his eschatology. He is also a big name in Albania. Personally I have never read his writings or heard any recordings of him.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 01, 2009, 09:57:58 PM

You have to forgive us Cleopas. Since you don't belong to an existing denomination, and you don't declare yourself non-denominational (which is a denomination in and of itself) that makes your church a new denomination. At least, that's how it appears to us.

I understand. However, for the record, my church is a non-denominational church. Bapticostal is a descriptive we use to relate something about our style of worship, service, structure, and basic beliefs.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 01, 2009, 10:14:56 PM
I'm not talking about the 2nd or 3rd act of grace doctrine. I'm not talking about the Methodhist/Holiness/Pentecostal doctrine of a 2nd work of grace and perfectionism. I am talking about Sanctification in general. Many Methodhist, Holiness, and Pentecostals believe that one must MAINTAIN their SALVATION.

This is what I am talking about. Thus, some Calvinists call this Arminian idea "Justification through Sanctification".

Ahhh! I got ya now. Well, for the record, I agree one must maintain their faith and obedience ot Christ in order to remain "saved." That is one must constinue to abide in the vine to continue to share in it's life. I am an Arminian, and more so a Wesleyian Arminian. So, I believe one can backslide and lose out if they should die in that condition. I also believe one can apostasize from the faith and outright renunciate belief in Christ and die to go to hell. I do not believe in the Calvinistic notion of Perseverance nor it's variant OSAS. Though I believe and embrace the many faithful and "abiding" Christians among them, whose lives bear fruit unto holiness, that do believe in such.


Quote
Also Paul Washer believes what is called "Lordship salvation". Those who believe in Lordship Salvation go by P.O.T.S. (Perseverence of the Saints).  It is a stricter form of O.S.A.S.

Most of the people in North America who believe in O.S.A.S. are Baptists or quote on quote nondenominational Bible churches that look like Baptist churches. And alot of these groups are pumped out of Dallas Theological Seminary.

I already told you that I am a former Protestant. I know more than you think I know.

All Unconditional Eternal security doctrines (O.S.A.S. or P.O.T.S.) all came from the Reformed branch of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther believed that one could loose their salvation, only if they lost "faith" or stopped believing.
 
The idea of unconditional eternal security is hard to find before the birth of John Calvin. Infact, that is one of the major difference between Calvinism and Augustinianism. The Jansenists followed Saint Augustine's later teachings more closely than the Calvinists did. And that's why they didn't believe in O.S.A.S or P.O.T.S.

In modern times and in North America. Those who hold to O.S.A.S. tend to be Baptist or a so called nondenominational church with a Baptist ethos.

Those who tend to hold to P.O.T.S. would be your Prespyterians, Dutch Reformed, and maybe your so called Reformed Baptists. As well as a few independant free evangelical church groups.


O.S.A.S. & P.O.T.S. alters ones view of Justification. And this is why many Arminians....like your Methodhists, Holiness, Pentecostals and Charismatics can by pass some of the Anathemas of the Roman Catholic council of trent. Now many of them don't know this, but it's true. Their understanding of Justification is different from most Calvinist's understanding of that doctrine because every doctrine influences another. One belief will naturally slighty alter another belief.

I also believe in Lorship salvation -- though I do not believe in Calvinism itself. That is to say I believe Jesus is either both Lord and Savior or He is neither. After all, the Lord said "why do you call me Lord and do not the things that I say?"

This "easy believism you refer to has "a form of godliness" but "denies the power thereof." From such we are instructed to "turn away."

My intention in linking to Brother Washer is to say that, whatever the discrepencies between Arminians and Calvinists, the earnest seekers of truth and followers of Christ in both camps DENY any doctrine that says it matters not how a Christian lives after coming to faith. In other words both sides, rightly taught andunderstood, insist on holiness in one's living as validation of relationship or right standing with God.

As to any alterations in the outworking of our belief in justification related to sanctification, etc. ... well, whatever those may be, it does not change the fact that INTIALLY we agree on the nature of justification itself. We may differ on the application thereafter, but we agree on the initial occurence itself.


Quote
P.S. "Must we go down this road?"
I know not what you mean. Honestly, what is it we are beginning or getting close to that you wish to avoid?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 01, 2009, 10:34:35 PM

Of course not, 'cos there weren't denominational, historical and geographical associations of churches then. No more did they use printed hymnbooks or liturgies in NT days.

A lot of churches are not affiliated to a particular formal, legal, registered organisation: until fairly recently, ours wasn't. But that does not mean they are isolationist, let alone isolated. They run their affairs by means of fellowship between them and other churches, usually within a fairly easy radius so as to maintain contact. This informal association or fellowship or cooperation is usually trans-denominational, and will embrace Congregational, Pentecostal, Baptist and other churches, some of which are in a denomination, others of which are not affiliated in that way.

That was precisley my intetion in using that descriptive.


To the others,

That said, I do believe in Christian unity. I believe visible unity is not only ideal but possible. Not only possible, but indeed necessarry. However, I do not see the church as exclusively belonging to any one group of true Christians, but to all. I no longer see an exclusive church but an inclusive one. And thus orginizational cooperation and unity must be predicated on acceptance of the faith we share and not on converting to one particular branch.

I liken the various traditions, camps amd sects of true Christianity to the tribes of Israel. Though we be many tribes, yet are we one holy nation. Though we now be divided and scattered, yet the Lord's temple shall be raised and His people regathered. I fully exect that in this present age, prior to the Lord's return. Yet, if I am wrong, and it should wait till then, it will be no less a reality. There is, and there will be, only One Shepherd and His flock one.

It's that belief that causes me to interact and build bridges with other Christian churches and believers. I no longer am unwilling to deny the oneness we do have. Yet, I long for the fullness of unity Our Lord intends. I don't think that is Orthodoxy, but it certainly will be orthodoxy.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 01, 2009, 10:47:01 PM

Where (and/or when) would you say that we went wrong?

As horrible as it sounds it might be easier to just tell you where I think you didn't go wrong. :o :P :angel:
What remains among you of believer's baptism,
The triune nature of God
The true Deity and true Humanity of Christ, His life, ministry, and atoning work, His ressurection, ascension, and His coming return.
What is memorial in your observance of the eucharist
Recognition of Scripture as the inspired word of God...

There is surely more, but I assume you get the idea.

The errors I perceive are those of ecclesiatistical excess, overly ritualistic emphasis, real prescence, infant baptism, over importance of the church and tradition, prayers to saints, prayers for the dead, the confessional and priesthood, etc.

YET, this is probably not the ideal thread to discuss such things in. They are desrving of their own thread, if not a thread for each topic. I answer only to inform and hopefully keep this thread moving along -- not to digress into tangents on such matters.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: LBK on February 02, 2009, 12:20:15 AM
Quote
I don't think that is Orthodoxy, but it certainly will be orthodoxy.

So you say. Yet, in the same breath, you write:

Quote
The errors I perceive are those of ecclesiatistical excess, overly ritualistic emphasis, real prescence, infant baptism, over importance of the church and tradition, prayers to saints, prayers for the dead, the confessional and priesthood, etc.

To this you may well add veneration of icons, for I suspect you disagree with this aspect of Orthodoxy too. My dear Cleopas, how on earth can you expect a genuine "unity of the faith", an "orthodoxy", if you will, when you have rejected as false and erroneous so much of what Orthodoxy regards as essential to the fullness of the faith and salvation? To quote ialmisry: Kumbaya.

I reiterate, as have others on this thread, and its sister threads, that the Orthodox Church has survived with its theological, liturgical and doctrinal treasures intact, despite ferocious assaults to its integrity by Arians, iconoclasts, Ottomans and communists (to name but a few) for 2000 years. Is this an accident? Look at the renaissance that is happening now in Russia, Romania, and other former Eastern Bloc countries. As brutal, ruthless and powerful as Bolshevism was, it still could not destroy Orthodoxy.

Even in the darkest days of Stalin's Russia, credit should not only go to the clergy and monastics who had the integrity and courage to clandestinely keep on with their work, in the towns, in the villages, and in the gulags, but the mami and the babushki that literally kept the faith alive. This is not some romantic idealisation on my part. I know many of these women who survived these horrors, gutsy women who made sure the babies were baptised, who hid the books and icons from the authorities (and often, through sheer force of character, sent officials packing), who made miraculous escapes to freedom with only the clothes on their backs, and an icon tucked down their clothing over their hearts. Orthodoxy is not a mere philosophy, nor an intellectual exercise, an "-ism", nor a mere modus operandi, a set of rules or formulas for getting things right with God. It is a way of life, it is the very fabric of a believer's being.

Have you heard of the "Living Church" movement of the 1920s and '30s, Cleopas? This was an attempt by the Soviet regime to "renovate and reform" Orthodoxy. The aim was to emasculate and distort the Church in all sorts of ways, to turn it into a travesty of faith, and puppet of the government. It was a great failure, in the sense that the resistance to these "reforms" were resisted stoutly by clergy and laity alike. Cut to 1942, and the Nazi invasion of Russia. What did Stalin do? He knew (though it would have mightily stuck in his craw) that the only thing capable of uniting the people and boost morale at perhaps the nation's darkest hour since Napoleon's invasion was to allow an official relaxation of freedom of worship. There is even extant film footage from this period of Stalin atop Lenin's mausoleum at a rally of armed forces. He gives the expected stirring speech of encouragement, and ends it with the words: "Yako s'nami Bog (For God is with us)". Seventy years of Communism was hardly likely to destroy a thousand years of Russian Orthodoxy. And Stalin, as much as he would have fought to deny this, knew it.

By contrast, your Wesleyans, Pentecostals, Baptists (whatever flavour of these you align yourself to) either keep fragmenting into ever-increasing doctrinal groups ( "I am an Arminian, and more so a Wesleyian Arminian." "I also believe in Lorship salvation -- though I do not believe in Calvinism itself" - these are just a few of your words, my friend, if I had the time and inclination, I could dig up plenty more from your posts. Someone mentioned cafeteria or cherry-picking?), or disappearing into irrelevance or doctrinal corruption after a few generations, if that. Common ground? Hooo, there's SO much you need to catch up on.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: John of the North on February 02, 2009, 12:44:09 AM
The errors I perceive are those of ecclesiatistical excess, overly ritualistic emphasis, real prescence, infant baptism, over importance of the church and tradition, prayers to saints, prayers for the dead, the confessional and priesthood, etc.

The problem with your statement is in the "I perceive" part.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Byzantine2008 on February 02, 2009, 01:09:37 AM

Where (and/or when) would you say that we went wrong?

As horrible as it sounds it might be easier to just tell you where I think you didn't go wrong. :o :P :angel:
What remains among you of believer's baptism,
The triune nature of God
The true Deity and true Humanity of Christ, His life, ministry, and atoning work, His ressurection, ascension, and His coming return.
What is memorial in your observance of the eucharist
Recognition of Scripture as the inspired word of God...

There is surely more, but I assume you get the idea.

The errors I perceive are those of ecclesiatistical excess, overly ritualistic emphasis, real prescence, infant baptism, over importance of the church and tradition, prayers to saints, prayers for the dead, the confessional and priesthood, etc.

YET, this is probably not the ideal thread to discuss such things in. They are desrving of their own thread, if not a thread for each topic. I answer only to inform and hopefully keep this thread moving along -- not to digress into tangents on such matters.


I think you are stepping into uncharted territories my Christian brother..... :D

The errors I perceive are those of ecclesiatistical excess, overly ritualistic emphasis, real prescence, infant baptism, over importance of the church and tradition, prayers to saints, prayers for the dead, the confessional and priesthood, etc.

The problem with your statement is in the "I perceive" part.

I smell pride.......... :)

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 02, 2009, 01:10:29 AM
I wish not to offend. I am sorry if I have.

All in all, dosagreements aside, I take great comfort in knowing that all who have saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter that additional descriptive (whether Baptist, Pentecostal, or Orthodox) will live togther with Our Lord in the age to come known simply as "His people." I pray that each of us will by His grace persevere in faith and be together over yonder.  ;D
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: John of the North on February 02, 2009, 01:39:34 AM
I wish not to offend. I am sorry if I have.

All in all, dosagreements aside, I take great comfort in knowing that all who have saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter that additional descriptive (whether Baptist, Pentecostal, or Orthodox) will live togther with Our Lord in the age to come known simply as "His people." I pray that each of us will by His grace persevere in faith and be together over yonder.  ;D

So we are wrong on virtually everything but still going to heaven in your eyes? No point in trying to have truth then...
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: LBK on February 02, 2009, 01:41:00 AM
I wish not to offend. I am sorry if I have.

All in all, dosagreements aside, I take great comfort in knowing that all who have saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter that additional descriptive (whether Baptist, Pentecostal, or Orthodox) will live togther with Our Lord in the age to come known simply as "His people." I pray that each of us will by His grace persevere in faith and be together over yonder.  ;D

Kumbaya.  ::)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: DennyB on February 02, 2009, 08:04:18 AM
I wish not to offend. I am sorry if I have.

All in all, dosagreements aside, I take great comfort in knowing that all who have saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter that additional descriptive (whether Baptist, Pentecostal, or Orthodox) will live togther with Our Lord in the age to come known simply as "His people." I pray that each of us will by His grace persevere in faith and be together over yonder.  ;D

Based on your conclusion,we're simply left to be thrown too and fro by every wind of doctrine??
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 02, 2009, 08:43:13 AM
I wish not to offend. I am sorry if I have.

All in all, dosagreements aside, I take great comfort in knowing that all who have saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter that additional descriptive (whether Baptist, Pentecostal, or Orthodox) will live togther with Our Lord in the age to come known simply as "His people." I pray that each of us will by His grace persevere in faith and be together over yonder.  ;D

Based on your conclusion,we're simply left to be thrown too and fro by every wind of doctrine??

Like the waves of the sea.

The voice of Orthodoxy calls over the waves saying "Be still!"
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 02, 2009, 09:28:56 AM
the Orthodox Church has survived ... As brutal, ruthless and powerful as Bolshevism was, it still could not destroy Orthodoxy.

Handmaiden (or someone) suggested a thread be started on this, which I would also like to see. What you say above is true, but it is only one very large and important facet of the truth. A better statement would have been, "It still could not destroy the church," for what you write of Orthodox is true also of Baptists and Pentecostals in those countries. It is the church of Jesus Christ that is indestructible: he preserved us all.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 02, 2009, 09:41:06 AM
Where (and/or when) would you say that we went wrong?

In Acts 20 Paul addresses the elders or presbyters of the church in Ephesus and says, "I know that after my departure... from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them." These were elders among whom Paul had worked for two years (Acts 19.10), so we may safely say that things began to go wrong even among those duly appointed church leaders whom the apostles knew, taught and worked with. That takes us to the time of the writings of Ignatius and Justin Martyr among other early writings.

(This is not a comment on the teachings of those post-apostolic writers, but it does point in the direction of sola scriptura as the only safe base for faith and life.)

If you want to go back even before that, a good look at the views which the early Jerusalem church held about the Law of Moses might be a place to start.

Or if you prefer the writings of John, turn to 3 John 9-10 and consider Diotrephes, who was playing an important leading rôle in the church to which Gaius belonged; or the errors into which some of the churches in Revelation 2-3 were already falling.

That said, it is still true (I believe) that the time of Constantine the Great is considered to be when the landslide really accelerated.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 02, 2009, 01:54:40 PM
Where (and/or when) would you say that we went wrong?

In Acts 20 Paul addresses the elders or presbyters of the church in Ephesus and says, "I know that after my departure... from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them." These were elders among whom Paul had worked for two years (Acts 19.10), so we may safely say that things began to go wrong even among those duly appointed church leaders whom the apostles knew, taught and worked with. That takes us to the time of the writings of Ignatius and Justin Martyr among other early writings.

(This is not a comment on the teachings of those post-apostolic writers, but it does point in the direction of sola scriptura as the only safe base for faith and life.)

If you want to go back even before that, a good look at the views which the early Jerusalem church held about the Law of Moses might be a place to start.

Or if you prefer the writings of John, turn to 3 John 9-10 and consider Diotrephes, who was playing an important leading rôle in the church to which Gaius belonged; or the errors into which some of the churches in Revelation 2-3 were already falling.

That said, it is still true (I believe) that the time of Constantine the Great is considered to be when the landslide really accelerated.


Accutely argued.

As for Constantine, I agree it was a siginifcant shift in the post NT church era. Whatever errors had already seeped in, whatever divisions had already begun, at and following Nicea the church literally and subsrantially changed it's polity. What had been generally speaking a theocratic form of government gave way to the headship of the State over that of Christ. When Constatine called, moderated, and ruled over the church (or at least that portion within his domain, as their were churches ouside the boundsof the empire) at Nicea he effectively took the place of God ordained and qualified leadership, and actually usurped the authority that belongs only to Christ. At that moment, if not before, the true church (as a God ordained, self-governing entity) ceased to function as such.

Perhaps those churches outside the empire stayed true, but they eventually faded into oblivion. Either way the now State led portion gained prominence and reserved unto itself the title of the "one, holy, and apostolic church" to the exclusion of all others. Whatever good was accomplished doctrinally at Nicea, this was it's error. This gave way to the eventual rise of the prominence of Rome and it's bishop in the church, and essentially set the stage for the shift of the empire's power existing as a secualr government to now infect, reside, and corrupt it's new found host, the church, with the fall of the empire.

Hence we emphasize the rightness of seperation of church and state.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on February 02, 2009, 04:05:42 PM
Quote from: Cleopas
As for Constantine, I agree it was a siginifcant shift in the post NT church era. Whatever errors had already seeped in, whatever divisions had already begun, at and following Nicea the church literally and subsrantially changed it's polity. What had been generally speaking a theocratic form of government gave way to the headship of the State over that of Christ.

The Roman Empire oppressed Christians one second and tolerated them "in the blink of an eye."

Quote from: Cleopas
When Constatine called, moderated, and ruled over the church (or at least that portion within his domain, as their were churches ouside the boundsof the empire) at Nicea he effectively took the place of God ordained and qualified leadership, and actually usurped the authority that belongs only to Christ.

The Orthodox refer to St. Constantine and St. Helen as Equal among the Apostles.  Even though Constantine hadn't fully converted to Christianity (e.g. He wasn't Baptized) when He presided over Nicaea, He wasn't killing the 318 Bishops who showed up. 

So, How can an one, equal to an Apostle, put Himself ahead of Christ?

Quote from: Cleopas
At that moment, if not before, the true church (as a God ordained, self-governing entity) ceased to function as such.

I've heard that from other Greek Orthodox; I don't buy it and I never will.

Quote from: Cleopas
Perhaps those churches outside the empire stayed true, but they eventually faded into oblivion. Either way the now State led portion gained prominence and reserved unto itself the title of the "one, holy, and apostolic church" to the exclusion of all others.

Why omit the word Catholic, which means Universal?   ??? Are you saying that the Church after Nicaea wasn't Catholic?  Then what was the One True Church in the middle of the 4th Century AD?

Quote from: Cleopas
Whatever good was accomplished doctrinally at Nicea, this was it's error. This gave way to the eventual rise of the prominence of Rome and it's bishop in the church, and essentially set the stage for the shift of the empire's power existing as a secualr government to now infect, reside, and corrupt it's new found host, the church, with the fall of the empire.

I suppose that's why no one in your ranks talks about the Holy Fathers of Nicaea because they allegedly planted the seeds for everything Martin Luther and his followers are against.  How about if we blame Holy Father St. Nicholas for simony for purchasing a slave's freedom....

Quote from: Cleopas
Hence we emphasize the rightness of seperation of church and state.

I feel Pat Robertson is both Church and State thanks to his University; I suppose you have no objection to the 700 Club being the One True Church rather than Orthodox Christianity?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 02, 2009, 04:15:50 PM
the Orthodox Church has survived ... As brutal, ruthless and powerful as Bolshevism was, it still could not destroy Orthodoxy.

Handmaiden (or someone) suggested a thread be started on this, which I would also like to see. What you say above is true, but it is only one very large and important facet of the truth. A better statement would have been, "It still could not destroy the church," for what you write of Orthodox is true also of Baptists and Pentecostals in those countries. It is the church of Jesus Christ that is indestructible: he preserved us all.

We would have to see the criteria of being the same church among the Baptists and Pentacostals, who are forever splintering and changing, to compare your claim.

To make this easy, what is the denomination that you would claim is the oldest among the Protestants?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 02, 2009, 04:27:55 PM
Where (and/or when) would you say that we went wrong?

In Acts 20 Paul addresses the elders or presbyters of the church in Ephesus and says, "I know that after my departure... from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them." These were elders among whom Paul had worked for two years (Acts 19.10), so we may safely say that things began to go wrong even among those duly appointed church leaders whom the apostles knew, taught and worked with.

Judas predated them quite a bit.

Quote
That takes us to the time of the writings of Ignatius and Justin Martyr among other early writings.

So the Church against which Christ said the gates of hell would not prevail fell in less than a generation from when He said "Lo I am with you always (lit. all the days) even until the end of the age."

So He lied.

Quote
(This is not a comment on the teachings of those post-apostolic writers, but it does point in the direction of sola scriptura as the only safe base for faith and life.)

Then why didn't the Apostles do that?

It's also odd that you make this claim for a time when there was little to no scriptura to go solo.  And the little that was extant, ie. Thessalonians, tell us to explicitly hold fast to the Tradition delileverd to us.

Quote
If you want to go back even before that, a good look at the views which the early Jerusalem church held about the Law of Moses might be a place to start.
???
Quote
Or if you prefer the writings of John, turn to 3 John 9-10 and consider Diotrephes, who was playing an important leading rôle in the church to which Gaius belonged; or the errors into which some of the churches in Revelation 2-3 were already falling.

The error of Diotrephes was to refuse to acknowledge Apostolic authority, an error still among us it seems.

Quote
That said, it is still true (I believe) that the time of Constantine the Great is considered to be when the landslide really accelerated.

Because of the Nicene Creed?

Sorry Dan Brown, Christ was always God.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 02, 2009, 04:38:30 PM
Where (and/or when) would you say that we went wrong?

In Acts 20 Paul addresses the elders or presbyters of the church in Ephesus and says, "I know that after my departure... from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them." These were elders among whom Paul had worked for two years (Acts 19.10), so we may safely say that things began to go wrong even among those duly appointed church leaders whom the apostles knew, taught and worked with. That takes us to the time of the writings of Ignatius and Justin Martyr among other early writings.

(This is not a comment on the teachings of those post-apostolic writers, but it does point in the direction of sola scriptura as the only safe base for faith and life.)

If you want to go back even before that, a good look at the views which the early Jerusalem church held about the Law of Moses might be a place to start.

Or if you prefer the writings of John, turn to 3 John 9-10 and consider Diotrephes, who was playing an important leading rôle in the church to which Gaius belonged; or the errors into which some of the churches in Revelation 2-3 were already falling.

That said, it is still true (I believe) that the time of Constantine the Great is considered to be when the landslide really accelerated.


Accutely argued.

As for Constantine, I agree it was a siginifcant shift in the post NT church era. Whatever errors had already seeped in, whatever divisions had already begun, at and following Nicea the church literally and subsrantially changed it's polity. What had been generally speaking a theocratic form of government gave way to the headship of the State over that of Christ. When Constatine called, moderated, and ruled over the church (or at least that portion within his domain, as their were churches ouside the boundsof the empire) at Nicea he effectively took the place of God ordained and qualified leadership, and actually usurped the authority that belongs only to Christ. At that moment, if not before, the true church (as a God ordained, self-governing entity) ceased to function as such.

Perhaps those churches outside the empire stayed true, but they eventually faded into oblivion. Either way the now State led portion gained prominence and reserved unto itself the title of the "one, holy, and apostolic church" to the exclusion of all others. Whatever good was accomplished doctrinally at Nicea, this was it's error. This gave way to the eventual rise of the prominence of Rome and it's bishop in the church, and essentially set the stage for the shift of the empire's power existing as a secualr government to now infect, reside, and corrupt it's new found host, the church, with the fall of the empire.

Hence we emphasize the rightness of seperation of church and state.

Don't mean to be rude, but, where in heaven's name did you get this?  Can you please site a source.  I would be quite interested to see where this, no offense, disgusting rendition of Church History came from. 

This is NOT the Church History I was taught (which was, by the way, by two professors, both of whom teach at Harvard).  Where, and by whom were you taught this, my friend?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 02, 2009, 04:43:11 PM

Quote from: Cleopas
Perhaps those churches outside the empire stayed true, but they eventually faded into oblivion. Either way the now State led portion gained prominence and reserved unto itself the title of the "one, holy, and apostolic church" to the exclusion of all others.

Why omit the word Catholic, which means Universal?   ??? Are you saying that the Church after Nicaea wasn't Catholic?  Then what was the One True Church in the middle of the 4th Century AD?

In the sense you mean it, as a singular visible universal institutional body, no, it was not. Whatever may have remained of that before Nicaea, it was officially severed with and following Nicaea. The "church in the empire" had effectively seperated from the church "outside the empire" by submission to Constantine, and that apart from their outside brethren. It could not have been then, in any physical or organizational sense, any longer universal.

I admit and agree that a spiritual universality existed between believers within and believers without the empire, as had always been, and always will be the case. Our union as individual believers with Christ creates spiritual unon with all others in Christ, so the universal nature of the church persists in as much as believers persist. But the organizational unity of the church perished, and was (if not before) dealt the fatal wound that made it so at Nicaea.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 02, 2009, 04:43:19 PM
Where (and/or when) would you say that we went wrong?

In Acts 20 Paul addresses the elders or presbyters of the church in Ephesus and says, "I know that after my departure... from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them." These were elders among whom Paul had worked for two years (Acts 19.10), so we may safely say that things began to go wrong even among those duly appointed church leaders whom the apostles knew, taught and worked with. That takes us to the time of the writings of Ignatius and Justin Martyr among other early writings.

(This is not a comment on the teachings of those post-apostolic writers, but it does point in the direction of sola scriptura as the only safe base for faith and life.)

If you want to go back even before that, a good look at the views which the early Jerusalem church held about the Law of Moses might be a place to start.

Or if you prefer the writings of John, turn to 3 John 9-10 and consider Diotrephes, who was playing an important leading rôle in the church to which Gaius belonged; or the errors into which some of the churches in Revelation 2-3 were already falling.

That said, it is still true (I believe) that the time of Constantine the Great is considered to be when the landslide really accelerated.


Accutely argued.

As for Constantine, I agree it was a siginifcant shift in the post NT church era.
What shift was that?
Quote
Whatever errors had already seeped in,

What errors would those be?

Quote
whatever divisions had already begun,

Yes, there were Arians before Arius, or something like them.

 
Quote
at and following Nicea the church literally and subsrantially changed it's polity. What had been generally speaking a theocratic form of government gave way to the headship of the State over that of Christ. When Constatine called, moderated, and ruled over the church (or at least that portion within his domain, as their were churches ouside the boundsof the empire) at Nicea he effectively took the place of God ordained and qualified leadership, and actually usurped the authority that belongs only to Christ. At that moment, if not before, the true church (as a God ordained, self-governing entity) ceased to function as such.

St. Constantine did not dictate dogma: he bowed to the decision of the Church.  Btw, in the center of the Council the Gospel (meaning the liturgical book) was placed on Constantine's throne.
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dd/THE_FIRST_COUNCIL_OF_NICEA.jpg)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dd/THE_FIRST_COUNCIL_OF_NICEA.jpg

Quote
Perhaps those churches outside the empire stayed true,
Actually, a number of their bishops attended.  And in the Orthodox Churches of Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Iran, India, etc. they continued.

Quote
but they eventually faded into oblivion.
The Nubian Orthodox has become extinct.  Can you name others?

Quote
Either way the now State led portion gained prominence and reserved unto itself the title of the "one, holy, and apostolic church" to the exclusion of all others.
Odd thing to argue, as Constantine's success abandoned Nicea and persecuted its supporters (hence the phrase "Athanasius agaisnt the World," being exiled 5 times).

Quote
Whatever good was accomplished doctrinally at Nicea, this was it's error.

What was?

Quote
This gave way to the eventual rise of the prominence of Rome and it's bishop in the church,

Rome wasn't even a capital at the time.  Her bishop had already rose to prominence before Constantine.

Quote
and essentially set the stage for the shift of the empire's power existing as a secualr government to now infect, reside, and corrupt it's new found host, the church, with the fall of the empire.

The empire only fell in the West.  It endured in the East.  And when it fell in the East, why didn't the government take the Church with it?

Quote
Hence we emphasize the rightness of seperation of church and state.

I prefer the symphony.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 02, 2009, 04:50:15 PM

Quote from: Cleopas
Perhaps those churches outside the empire stayed true, but they eventually faded into oblivion. Either way the now State led portion gained prominence and reserved unto itself the title of the "one, holy, and apostolic church" to the exclusion of all others.

Why omit the word Catholic, which means Universal?   ??? Are you saying that the Church after Nicaea wasn't Catholic?  Then what was the One True Church in the middle of the 4th Century AD?

In the sense they meant it, as a singular visible universal institutional body, no. Whatever may have remained of that before Nicaea, it was officially severed with and following Nicaea. The "church in the empire" had effectively seperated from the church "outside the empire" by submission to Constantine, and that apart from their outside brethren. It could not have been then, in any physical or organizational sense, any longer universal.

What evidence do you have to make this statement that contradicts all history?  We have plenty on the interactions of the "Church in the Empire" with their "outside brethren."

Quote
I admit and agree that a spiritual universality existed between believers within and believers without the empire, as had always been, and always will be the case. Our union as individual believers with Christ creates spiritual unon with all others in Christ, so the universal nature of the church persists in as much as believers persist. But the organizational unity of the church perished, and was (if not before) dealt the fatal wound that made it so at Nicaea.

Nonsense.  For one, Armenia, OUTSIDE the Empire was represented by her hierarch St. Gregory at the Council of Nicea, and he and his successors remained in full communion with those within the empire until 450 (and if you count the OO WITHIN the Empire, thereafter).  Similarly Ethiopia, India, etc.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 02, 2009, 05:12:41 PM

Quote from: Cleopas
Perhaps those churches outside the empire stayed true, but they eventually faded into oblivion. Either way the now State led portion gained prominence and reserved unto itself the title of the "one, holy, and apostolic church" to the exclusion of all others.

Why omit the word Catholic, which means Universal?   ??? Are you saying that the Church after Nicaea wasn't Catholic?  Then what was the One True Church in the middle of the 4th Century AD?

In the sense they meant it, as a singular visible universal institutional body, no. Whatever may have remained of that before Nicaea, it was officially severed with and following Nicaea. The "church in the empire" had effectively seperated from the church "outside the empire" by submission to Constantine, and that apart from their outside brethren. It could not have been then, in any physical or organizational sense, any longer universal.

What evidence do you have to make this statement that contradicts all history?  We have plenty on the interactions of the "Church in the Empire" with their "outside brethren."

Quote
I admit and agree that a spiritual universality existed between believers within and believers without the empire, as had always been, and always will be the case. Our union as individual believers with Christ creates spiritual unon with all others in Christ, so the universal nature of the church persists in as much as believers persist. But the organizational unity of the church perished, and was (if not before) dealt the fatal wound that made it so at Nicaea.

Nonsense.  For one, Armenia, OUTSIDE the Empire was represented by her hierarch St. Gregory at the Council of Nicea, and he and his successors remained in full communion with those within the empire until 450 (and if you count the OO WITHIN the Empire, thereafter).  Similarly Ethiopia, India, etc.


My argument deals with the authority of Constantine. He called for the coucnil and required the bishops of the empire to attend. Whether any outside the empire attended also is of no consequence. The error persists. Constantine usurped authority over the church. And the church, at least those who did attend (and those who later submitted to the actions of this council) thus submitted to the rule of state. They, like Israel of old, chose (as it were) a man to rule over them instead of God. The church there essentially abandoned the Lordship of Christ and yielded instead to the Lordship of Ceaser. This was an unholy alliance, good intentions aside.

My reference to outsiders fading was to say that the effects of Nicaea became essentially universal in scope, more or less bringing all the church that did survive outside the empire into partcipation with the church of the empire and the Nicaean council. The point? The church at Nicaea, generally speaking, bowed and gave to the emporer what rightly belonged to Christ -- headship over the church. This is so because Constantine used his authority to convene and preside over the council. He had no valid ecclesiastical authority to do so. He had no station in the church, no authority from Christ, no ministeral gifting or office. Like Israel and her Sanhedrian was in subjugation to Rome, so to now was this spiritual Israel, the church, and it's bishops.

And it seems as though none recognized the danger or error therein.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 02, 2009, 05:20:29 PM

Don't mean to be rude, but, where in heaven's name did you get this?  Can you please site a source.  I would be quite interested to see where this, no offense, disgusting rendition of Church History came from. 

This is NOT the Church History I was taught (which was, by the way, by two professors, both of whom teach at Harvard).  Where, and by whom were you taught this, my friend?

From various sources, none of which I can at the moment properly cite, but which include...

Schaff's history of the Christian church
the 100 most important events in the history of Christianity
And various Restorationist/Evangelical intepretations or presentations of church history and/or the importance of the separation of church and state (i.e. Stone/Campbell movement, Anderson Indiana Church of God movement, the Christian Union and the Cleveland, TN Church of God movement, various Baptist defense of baptist beliefs and distinctives incvluding the priesthood of believers, soul freedom, bible freedom, seperation of church and state, etc.).
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 02, 2009, 05:20:47 PM

Quote from: Cleopas
Perhaps those churches outside the empire stayed true, but they eventually faded into oblivion. Either way the now State led portion gained prominence and reserved unto itself the title of the "one, holy, and apostolic church" to the exclusion of all others.

Why omit the word Catholic, which means Universal?   ??? Are you saying that the Church after Nicaea wasn't Catholic?  Then what was the One True Church in the middle of the 4th Century AD?

In the sense they meant it, as a singular visible universal institutional body, no. Whatever may have remained of that before Nicaea, it was officially severed with and following Nicaea. The "church in the empire" had effectively seperated from the church "outside the empire" by submission to Constantine, and that apart from their outside brethren. It could not have been then, in any physical or organizational sense, any longer universal.

What evidence do you have to make this statement that contradicts all history?  We have plenty on the interactions of the "Church in the Empire" with their "outside brethren."

Quote
I admit and agree that a spiritual universality existed between believers within and believers without the empire, as had always been, and always will be the case. Our union as individual believers with Christ creates spiritual unon with all others in Christ, so the universal nature of the church persists in as much as believers persist. But the organizational unity of the church perished, and was (if not before) dealt the fatal wound that made it so at Nicaea.

Nonsense.  For one, Armenia, OUTSIDE the Empire was represented by her hierarch St. Gregory at the Council of Nicea, and he and his successors remained in full communion with those within the empire until 450 (and if you count the OO WITHIN the Empire, thereafter).  Similarly Ethiopia, India, etc.


My argument deals with the authority of Constantine. He called for the coucnil and required the bishops of the empire to attend. Whether any outside the empire attended also is of no consequence. The error persists. Constantine usurped authority over the church. And the church, at least those who did attend (and those who later submitted to the actions of this council) thus submitted to the rule of state. They, like Israel of old, chose (as it were) a man to rule over them instead of God. The church there essentially abandoned the Lordship of Christ and yielded instead to the Lordship of Ceaser. This was an unholy alliance, good intentions aside.

My reference to outsiders fading was to say that the effects of Nicaea became essentially universal in scope, more or less bringing all the church that did survive outside the empire into partcipation with the church of the empire and the Nicaean council. The point? The church at Nicaea, generally speaking, bowed and gave to the emporer what rightly belonged to Christ -- headship over the church. This is so because Constantine used his authority to convene and preside over the council. He had no valid ecclesiastical authority to do so. He had no station in the church, no authority from Christ, no ministeral gifting or office. Like Israel and her Sanhedrian was in subjugation to Rome, so to now was this spiritual Israel, the church, and it's bishops.

And it seems as though none recognized the danger or error therein.


WRONG.  Constantine did not "require" anyone to attend.  Christianity wasn't even the official religion.  It was one legal one of many.

Furthermore, CONSTANTINE HAD NO VOTE AT THE COUNCIL.  He opened the council with a speech, sat back and let the bishops debate the questions.  THE BISHOPS, GUIDED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, made the declarations.  It had nothing whatsoever to do with Constantine.  He simply agreed to abide by what THEY decided.

AGAIN I WILL ASK YOU KINDLY, WHERE ARE YOU GETTING THIS?  CAN YOU PLEASE CITE A SOURCE.  You must realize that, without a source, this appears to us to be nothing more than disgusting propaganda, my friend, which I know is not how you intend it.  But you are leveling some extremely serious charges against not only one of the most beloved saints in Orthodoxy, but against the Church Herself!  And you are doing it without providing even one stitch of proof.  If this is simply your spin on history, then you need to say so.  Otherwise, I am personally asking you (I am not a mod, so I cannot officially ask, but as a friend, I am asking) to provide your sources for this, ummmm, interesting take on Byzantine and Church history.

In Christ's Love,
Presbytera Mari
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 02, 2009, 05:24:13 PM

Don't mean to be rude, but, where in heaven's name did you get this?  Can you please site a source.  I would be quite interested to see where this, no offense, disgusting rendition of Church History came from. 

This is NOT the Church History I was taught (which was, by the way, by two professors, both of whom teach at Harvard).  Where, and by whom were you taught this, my friend?

From various sources, none of which I can at the moment properly cite, but which include...

Schaff's history of the Christian church
the 100 most important events in the history of Christianity
And various Restorationist/Evangelical intepretations or presentations of church history and/or the importance of the separation of church and state (i.e. Stone/Campbell movement, Anderson Indiana Church of God movement, the Christian Union and the Cleveland, TN Church of God movement, various Baptist defense of baptist beliefs and distinctives incvluding the priesthood of believers, soul freedom, bible freedom, seperation of church and state, etc.).


Thank you.  I know that you said you cannot properly cite at the moment, but could you please be a little more specific as far as what came from Schaff as opposed to the rest?

Surely you realize that the last ones you cite will hardly be considered valid, as the very color of them as "Restorationist/Evangelical interpretations" makes them non-academic, biased, and, frankly, useless. 

I would suggest a little more trustworthy reading, friend, before you go around leveling such charges.  The only one I would be even remotely interested in hearing more about is Schaff.  The rest, as I said, is nothing more than propeganda.

Again, with love in Christ, not meaning offense,
Presbytera Mari
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 02, 2009, 05:33:54 PM

Thank you.  I know that you said you cannot properly cite at the moment, but could you please be a little more specific as far as what came from Schaff as opposed to the rest?

Surely you realize that the last ones you cite will hardly be considered valid, as the very color of them as "Restorationist/Evangelical interpretations" makes them non-academic, biased, and, frankly, useless. 

I would suggest a little more trustworthy reading, friend, before you go around leveling such charges.  The only one I would be even remotely interested in hearing more about is Schaff.  The rest, as I said, is nothing more than propeganda.

Again, with love in Christ, not meaning offense,
Presbytera Mari

Yes, I am aware that you guys will not considered as valid a non-orthodox application or understanding of such events. But, for us, these events MUST be understood through the filter of what is to us orthodox belief, namely here the seperation of church and state. I understahnd you will dismiss it as "propaganda." But that does not make it any less right or (for the sake of civility and hopsitality) wrong.

I will try to find the quote where Constantine required the attendance of bishops within the empire. I cannot promise when I will be ab le to do so. I am actually suprised at the position being countered. He was after all Emporer. It seems this was discussed here on my intial coming, and that the matter was attested to at that time, but memory can be faulty.

Other than that, I think it is a fundamental difference of understanding reagrding the nature of the church and it's polity between us who hold to seperation of church and state versus those who do not.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 02, 2009, 05:39:28 PM

Thank you.  I know that you said you cannot properly cite at the moment, but could you please be a little more specific as far as what came from Schaff as opposed to the rest?

Surely you realize that the last ones you cite will hardly be considered valid, as the very color of them as "Restorationist/Evangelical interpretations" makes them non-academic, biased, and, frankly, useless. 

I would suggest a little more trustworthy reading, friend, before you go around leveling such charges.  The only one I would be even remotely interested in hearing more about is Schaff.  The rest, as I said, is nothing more than propeganda.

Again, with love in Christ, not meaning offense,
Presbytera Mari

Yes, I am aware that you guys will not considered as valid a non-orthodox application or understanding of such events. But, for us, these events MUST be understood through the filter of what is to us orthodox belief, namely here the seperation of church and state. I understahnd you will dismiss it as "propaganda." But that does not make it any less right or (for the sake of civility and hopsitality) wrong.

I will try to find the quote where Constantine required the attendance of bishops within the empire. I cannot promise when I will be ab le to do so. I am actually suprised at the position being countered. He was after all Emporer. It seems this was discussed here on my intial coming, and that the matter was attested to at that time, but memory can be faulty.

Other than that, I think it is a fundamental difference of understanding reagrding the nature of the church and it's polity between us who hold to seperation of church and state versus those who do not.

Actually, it's not a matter of using non-Orthodox sources.  We're not that narrow-minded.  It's a matter of using trustworthy sources with no agenda or bias.  You and David Young have had much to say on this matter as far as us referring to the fathers, whose beliefs we tend to hold.  But the same expectation cannot be applied to you?  Isn't that a bit of a double standard?

If you want to discuss on the basis of such authors as Raymond Brown, I would be perfectly happy to engage that.  His is biblical, rather than historical, but you get the picture.  It's not about it being Orthodox.  It's about it being credible and trustworthy, which an obviously biased "interpretive" publication will not be to us, and, frankly, should not be to you either, my friend.  Be careful where you put your trust.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: John of the North on February 02, 2009, 05:58:35 PM

Thank you.  I know that you said you cannot properly cite at the moment, but could you please be a little more specific as far as what came from Schaff as opposed to the rest?

Surely you realize that the last ones you cite will hardly be considered valid, as the very color of them as "Restorationist/Evangelical interpretations" makes them non-academic, biased, and, frankly, useless. 

I would suggest a little more trustworthy reading, friend, before you go around leveling such charges.  The only one I would be even remotely interested in hearing more about is Schaff.  The rest, as I said, is nothing more than propeganda.

Again, with love in Christ, not meaning offense,
Presbytera Mari

Yes, I am aware that you guys will not considered as valid a non-orthodox application or understanding of such events. But, for us, these events MUST be understood through the filter of what is to us orthodox belief, namely here the seperation of church and state. I understahnd you will dismiss it as "propaganda." But that does not make it any less right or (for the sake of civility and hopsitality) wrong.

So much for an attempt at objective historical analysis....

"Imagination plays too important a role in the writing of history, and what is imagination but the projection of the author's personality." - Pieter Geyl
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 02, 2009, 06:28:35 PM
what is the denomination that you would claim is the oldest among the Protestants?

I've never really thought about it. I assume you mean the oldest still in continuous existence, so I'd guess that it would turn out to be the Waldenses. On the other hand, the Moravians go back to John Hus. I don't really know. You lay more stress upon age than we do.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 02, 2009, 06:35:53 PM
So the Church against which Christ said the gates of hell would not prevail fell in less than a generation from when He said "Lo I am with you always (lit. all the days) even until the end of the age."

As I put on another post, gates do two things: they keep people in, and they keep people out. The gates of hell cannot prevail to keep the church out when it rescues Satan's captives, nor can it keep those captives in when they respond to the Gospel.

Quote
So He lied.

God is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent.

Quote
it does point in the direction of sola scriptura ...

Then why didn't the Apostles do that?

I take the recognition and formalising of the canon of scripture to be part of the Holy Spirit leading the church into all truth.

Quote
the time of Constantine the Great is considered to be when the landslide really accelerated...

Because of the Nicene Creed?

No: we all accept that.

Quote
Sorry Dan Brown,
Not known at this address.

Quote
Christ was always God

Amen.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 02, 2009, 06:44:01 PM
AGAIN I WILL ASK YOU KINDLY, WHERE ARE YOU GETTING THIS?  CAN YOU PLEASE CITE A SOURCE.  

I realise this is really Cleopas' question, but I would just say that two works perhaps regarded as standard for what one might call an Evangelical church history are:

- "The Pilgrim Church" E. H. Broadbent (London & Glasgow, 1931)
- "Early Church History" and "Witnesses for Christ" (i.e. two volumes) E. Backhouse & C. Tyler (London 1894, 1906)

I have given the dates of my copies, but I wouldn't be surprised if there have been more recent editions or re-printings.

In addition, I think two factors are relevant:

1) The idea of creeping corruption in the church, especially from the time of Constantine, is so pervasive in the way church history is viewed that it is quite hard to single out just one or two sources as seminal. It's what everyone thinks - well, on our side of the fence, anyway.

2) One tends to read about individual doctrines and practices and to trace them over the centuries, not only about a general overview of church history: so one will read about the cult of Mary; the development of prayers to the saints; of prayers for the dead; of the wearing of vestments; of the idea of a priesthood; or monarchical bishops; of Purgatory; or seven sacraments; of penance; and so on and so on. In this way, an overall picture is formed of post-apostolic and mediæval developments in the church, many of which were what we see as spoiling the simplicity of the primitive church.

I begin to wonder whether our discussion is not really about whether these things happened, but whether they are good, bad or indifferent.

I get an idea that your (GreekChef's) comment is rather un-Orthodox, and not surprisingly I rather agree with her! Like you, I prefer church history written from a non-partisan standpoint, by academic scholars. They should have no axe to grind, and they leave me to form my own opinion regarding the things they set before me. That is not to say that I don't also read partisan accounts, for I have just listed two, and you know I have Stylianopoulos on Tradition; I also have, and have read, Kallistos Ware's "The Orthodox Church". Such books set two opinions before me; but the academic books written by university scholars should give me an unbiassed narration. I say your comment seems a little un-Orthodox, because (if I understand it aright - do correct me if not) Orthodox theology has traditionally not been done in secular university settings, whereas in Protestant nations this is quite normal.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: John of the North on February 02, 2009, 06:56:03 PM
the time of Constantine the Great is considered to be when the landslide really accelerated...

Because of the Nicene Creed?

No: we all accept that.

May you accept the words, you certainly don't accept the same definition of the words.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 02, 2009, 07:12:31 PM
May you accept the words, you certainly don't accept the same definition of the words.

You may be right: please say wherein our definitions differ from yours. This is not some insincere rhetorical challenge, but a genuine inquiry.

But mañana: it is four hours later here than the forum clock, and I must sleep.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 02, 2009, 11:47:02 PM
AGAIN I WILL ASK YOU KINDLY, WHERE ARE YOU GETTING THIS?  CAN YOU PLEASE CITE A SOURCE.  

I realise this is really Cleopas' question, but I would just say that two works perhaps regarded as standard for what one might call an Evangelical church history are:

- "The Pilgrim Church" E. H. Broadbent (London & Glasgow, 1931)
- "Early Church History" and "Witnesses for Christ" (i.e. two volumes) E. Backhouse & C. Tyler (London 1894, 1906)

I have given the dates of my copies, but I wouldn't be surprised if there have been more recent editions or re-printings.

In addition, I think two factors are relevant:

1) The idea of creeping corruption in the church, especially from the time of Constantine, is so pervasive in the way church history is viewed that it is quite hard to single out just one or two sources as seminal. It's what everyone thinks - well, on our side of the fence, anyway.

2) One tends to read about individual doctrines and practices and to trace them over the centuries, not only about a general overview of church history: so one will read about the cult of Mary; the development of prayers to the saints; of prayers for the dead; of the wearing of vestments; of the idea of a priesthood; or monarchical bishops; of Purgatory; or seven sacraments; of penance; and so on and so on. In this way, an overall picture is formed of post-apostolic and mediæval developments in the church, many of which were what we see as spoiling the simplicity of the primitive church.

I begin to wonder whether our discussion is not really about whether these things happened, but whether they are good, bad or indifferent.

I get an idea that your (GreekChef's) comment is rather un-Orthodox, and not surprisingly I rather agree with her! Like you, I prefer church history written from a non-partisan standpoint, by academic scholars. They should have no axe to grind, and they leave me to form my own opinion regarding the things they set before me. That is not to say that I don't also read partisan accounts, for I have just listed two, and you know I have Stylianopoulos on Tradition; I also have, and have read, Kallistos Ware's "The Orthodox Church". Such books set two opinions before me; but the academic books written by university scholars should give me an unbiassed narration. I say your comment seems a little un-Orthodox, because (if I understand it aright - do correct me if not) Orthodox theology has traditionally not been done in secular university settings, whereas in Protestant nations this is quite normal.


I don't know that I would say it's un-Orthodox... the professors that I was schooled under were schooled in some of the best schools in the world-- Harvard, Catholic University, The University of Athens, Fordham, Berkley, etc.  Theology is most definitely studied in an academic manner, though.

I also wouldn't agree that academics are the best places to look.  There is no such thing as unbiased, in my opinion.  We'd like to think there is, we'd like to think that academics always do their research properly (Robert Morey is a perfect example of this... an "academic" with a totally moronic understanding (or lack thereof, really) of Orthodoxy), but the fact is that they don't always.  And often, because they, too, look for "unbiased" sources, you end up with the kind of stuff that the History Channel and the Discovery Channel run with the "Lost Tomb of Christ," and "Jesus, the real story," and "UFO's in the Bible."  [sarcasm] Oh, yeah, those academics are credible, alright! [/sarcasm] :)

I was trying to stress "credible," not "academic," because, indeed, many, many academics DO, in fact, have axes to grind.  And when it comes to Orthodoxy, frankly, many academics are, in fact, ignorant of our beliefs and where to look to be educated in them.  At the very least, so many still confuse us with Catholics...

Anyway, I would not say that Kallistos Ware's book is NOT academic.  He WAS a professor at Oxford, after all.  His reputation is sterling as far as reliability and academic work, so I would say he certainly falls into both "academic" and "credible."
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on February 03, 2009, 12:01:34 AM
1) The idea of creeping corruption in the church, especially from the time of Constantine, is so pervasive in the way church history is viewed that it is quite hard to single out just one or two sources as seminal. It's what everyone thinks - well, on our side of the fence, anyway.

You haven't stated what "corruption" this is.

2) One tends to read about individual doctrines and practices and to trace them over the centuries, not only about a general overview of church history: so one will read about the cult of Mary

The "cult" of Mary is not accepted by neither the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Churches. We honor and venerate Mary, we do not worship her. This honoring of Mary comes from Luke 1:48: "For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed."

the development of prayers to the saints
We believe the soul lives on forever. Why do you NOT have a problem asking me to pray for you, but you have a problem asking those who have already finished the race to pray for you? We don't pray to the saints as a deity; we as them to pray for us as any brother would pray for another brother. As these are our brothers and sisters in Christ who have finished the race, why wouldn't they pray for us?

of prayers for the dead
I humbly submit the following article in response: http://www.protomartyr.org/prayer.html

of the wearing of vestments
The priests in the Old Testament wore vestments. Vestments God specified on how to make. Why wouldn't our priests wear vestments? Exodus 28 describes what they should wear and how to wear it.

of the idea of a priesthood
This came from the Old Testament and is described in the New in the book of Acts. As a matter of fact, in tonight's Bible Study, we read about the first ecumenical council which took place in Jeruselum. We read about how after Peter spoke, James who was BISHOP of Jeruselum spoke. It's all there in Acts 14 & 15. (Although by Father's account Acts 13 is much more exciting.)

monarchical bishops
Please see the book of Acts.

of Purgatory
This is a Roman Catholic belief, not an Orthodox one. Furthermore, it was doctrine that was developed long after the schism of 1054.

seven sacraments
Another Roman Catholic belief. The Orthodox Church does not limit the number of ways God bestows His grace upon us.

penance
Another Roman Catholic doctrine developed post schism.


I begin to wonder whether our discussion is not really about whether these things happened, but whether they are good, bad or indifferent.

I think we will have a better discussion when you get your facts straight as to what Orthodox beliefs are.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on February 03, 2009, 12:45:40 AM
Quote
Acts 2:17
" 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

As you can see. The HS is poured out to all members of the church. Your claim that only those people with the holy spirit will only be saved is false. Every member receives the holy spirit. The Orthodox church is none other than the persona of Christ. Christ is the very "I" in the church. It is Christs body that binds us. The one true church. It is the persona of Christ that the church passes on to it's members.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 03, 2009, 01:02:09 AM
what is the denomination that you would claim is the oldest among the Protestants?

I've never really thought about it. I assume you mean the oldest still in continuous existence, so I'd guess that it would turn out to be the Waldenses. On the other hand, the Moravians go back to John Hus. I don't really know. You lay more stress upon age than we do.

There's a reason for that. ::)

So the Church against which Christ said the gates of hell would not prevail fell in less than a generation from when He said "Lo I am with you always (lit. all the days) even until the end of the age."

As I put on another post, gates do two things: they keep people in, and they keep people out. The gates of hell cannot prevail to keep the church out when it rescues Satan's captives, nor can it keep those captives in when they respond to the Gospel.

If the Church couldn't keep Satan out even one generation past the Apostles nor keep the Apostolic teaching in past the Apostles, hell then prevailed.

Quote
So He lied.

Quote
God is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent.

Exactly.

Quote
it does point in the direction of sola scriptura ...

Then why didn't the Apostles do that?

Quote
I take the recognition and formalising of the canon of scripture to be part of the Holy Spirit leading the church into all truth.

That's nice, but what has that to do with the fact that the book of Acts doesn't record the Apostles as followers of sola scriptura, and the scriptura written before Acts, i.e. Thessalonians, talks against sola scriptura?

Quote
the time of Constantine the Great is considered to be when the landslide really accelerated...

Quote
Because of the Nicene Creed?

Quote
No: we all accept that.

The JW don't.  Nor the Mormons.

The Nicene Creed was the only "change" of substance in the Church.  Bishops, liturgy, Tradition, icons, intercession of saints, saints, relics, etc. all far predate St. Constantine.

Quote
Sorry Dan Brown,
Quote
Not known at this address.

Quote
Christ was always God

Quote
Amen.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 03, 2009, 01:35:12 AM
AGAIN I WILL ASK YOU KINDLY, WHERE ARE YOU GETTING THIS?  CAN YOU PLEASE CITE A SOURCE.  

I realise this is really Cleopas' question, but I would just say that two works perhaps regarded as standard for what one might call an Evangelical church history are:

- "The Pilgrim Church" E. H. Broadbent (London & Glasgow, 1931)
- "Early Church History" and "Witnesses for Christ" (i.e. two volumes) E. Backhouse & C. Tyler (London 1894, 1906)

I have given the dates of my copies, but I wouldn't be surprised if there have been more recent editions or re-printings.

In addition, I think two factors are relevant:

1) The idea of creeping corruption in the church, especially from the time of Constantine, is so pervasive in the way church history is viewed that it is quite hard to single out just one or two sources as seminal. It's what everyone thinks - well, on our side of the fence, anyway.

Not everyone.

Of course, many, like my parish's origins, then jump the fence to our side.

I've seen, however, a trend developing among those who don't want to jump the fence, to avoid the question of when the Church "fell," and down play the idea of dogmatic continuity.  The Apostles, however, said "hold fast to the Tradition."

Quote
2) One tends to read about individual doctrines and practices and to trace them over the centuries, not only about a general overview of church history: so one will read about the cult of Mary;

Already St. Ignatius (c. 105) writes of Mary's Virginity being a mystery announced by heaven.

Quote
the development of prayers to the saints; of prayers for the dead;

already found in the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp (c. 150).

Quote
of the wearing of vestments;

Already mentioned by Polycrates of Ephesus (c. 180).  How specific was St. Clement (c. 95) on this?

Quote
of the idea of a priesthood; or monarchical bishops;

Amply demonstrated by SS Clement (c. 95) and Ignatius (c. 105).

 
Quote
of Purgatory;

You have to talk to the Vatican on this one.

Quote
or seven sacraments;

All attested in the Second Century.

Of course, I am purposely not mentioning the references in Scripture to all of the above.

Quote
of penance; and so on and so on. In this way, an overall picture is formed of post-apostolic and mediæval developments in the church, many of which were what we see as spoiling the simplicity of the primitive church.

Which evidently didn't outlive the Apostles, if then.


Quote
I begin to wonder whether our discussion is not really about whether these things happened, but whether they are good, bad or indifferent.

BINGO!

The Prostestants of the radical reformation had chosen the "bad" position.

Quote
I get an idea that your (GreekChef's) comment is rather un-Orthodox, and not surprisingly I rather agree with her! Like you, I prefer church history written from a non-partisan standpoint, by academic scholars. They should have no axe to grind, and they leave me to form my own opinion regarding the things they set before me. That is not to say that I don't also read partisan accounts, for I have just listed two, and you know I have Stylianopoulos on Tradition; I also have, and have read, Kallistos Ware's "The Orthodox Church". Such books set two opinions before me; but the academic books written by university scholars should give me an unbiassed narration. I say your comment seems a little un-Orthodox, because (if I understand it aright - do correct me if not) Orthodox theology has traditionally not been done in secular university settings, whereas in Protestant nations this is quite normal.

Define secular.  It might be hard to remember, but even that bastion of secularism, Harvard, was founded as a seminary, to train Puritan ministers.

And it's not knew in Orthodoxy, e.g. St. Justin Martyr and the Cappadocian Fathers received a secular phiosophical education, which they put to the Church's use.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on February 03, 2009, 02:23:13 AM
So much for an attempt at objective historical analysis....

"Imagination plays too important a role in the writing of history, and what is imagination but the projection of the author's personality." - Pieter Geyl

Exactly.  Anyone with any training in basic historiography knows that "objective" scholarship is illusory at best.  I have a B.A. in History, and I can attest to the fact that everything about a historian's personal views shape his history.

But, for us, these events MUST be understood through the filter of what is to us orthodox belief, namely here the seperation [sic] of church and state. I understand you will dismiss it as "propaganda." But that does not make it any less right or (for the sake of civility and hospitality) wrong...

Other than that, I think it is a fundamental difference of understanding regarding the nature of the church and it's [sic] polity between us who hold to seperation [sic] of church and state versus those who do not.

It should be quite apparent to you, Cleopas, that your gospel reflects 'Enlightenment' ideals, not the paradigms that would have existed in the Ancient Near-Eastern Mediterranean two millennia ago.  Ironically, this perspective was vehemently opposed by the majority of the colonists here in the United States when it was enacted.  All most all of the protestant groups were petitioning the government to have their own sect be the dominant force in the New World.  Those who spoke of a wall of separation were men like Jefferson; deists who enjoyed mocking men like you in their free time.

Christianity is not about the separation of church and state.  The United States of America is about that separation.  Your reconstruction of Christian history is a joke, and you are wrong.  You have bought into an interpretation of the faith that aligns with your own cultural perspectives.  Your version of Christianity is tailored to reflect your own socio-political persuasion.

For as much as you criticize our faith for being the lackey bitch of imperials, your faith certainly is promoting the agenda of today's American Empire.  The only difference is that we Orthodox are not making things up as we go; desperately squinting into a telescope trying to reconstruct the past.  We are the past, present, and future of Christianity.  We are the Body of Christ; His Militant Bride.  Empires rise and fall, but we will remain!

Spend several years studying higher biblical criticism, and you will see what the end of the Protestant paradigm is.  It is misery and despair.  It is you and your own mind.  It is a God fashioned in your own image.  And once you realize that, then all the rest will fall into place.  The synchronization of the 'World Religions', the cosmic ascent of the new morality, and the collapse of Truth itself.  If you look deep enough into the Protestant pond, there is nothing but your own reflection staring back at you.  Come into the Church of Christ, Cleopas!  When you gaze into the heavens, you will see the whole of the Church Triumphant smiling back at you!
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 03, 2009, 06:33:14 AM
I think we will have a better discussion when you get your facts straight as to what Orthodox beliefs are.

I was aware that some of the things I listed, from what could have been a longer list, were RC rather than Orthodox. I was only answering the more general question about creeping changes in Christianity which we see as unwholesome.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 03, 2009, 06:40:10 AM
Quote
I begin to wonder whether our discussion is not really about whether these things happened, but whether they are good, bad or indifferent.

BINGO!

It seems then that we are in agreement that the things happened - some within Orthodoxy, others (pace Handmaiden) in later Catholicism - and that the question is really, Were they good, bad, or indifferent?

To answer that, I gently and humbly submit that we should turn to the threads on them: but gainsay that if you think it is a mistake, and that discussion of them should continue here.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 03, 2009, 07:27:46 AM
Quote
I begin to wonder whether our discussion is not really about whether these things happened, but whether they are good, bad or indifferent.

BINGO!

It seems then that we are in agreement that the things happened - some within Orthodoxy, others (pace Handmaiden) in later Catholicism - and that the question is really, Were they good, bad, or indifferent?

That is, however, intertwined with the question when they happened.  I set aside the argument of scripture and the first century only for the sake of argument.  Now you, for the sake of argument, admit the descriptions in scripture of the things you list.

Quote
To answer that, I gently and humbly submit that we should turn to the threads on them: but gainsay that if you think it is a mistake, and that discussion of them should continue here.

Of course they can continue here, as the question of good, bad and indifferent is viewed differently.  We see that such changes that are good are not changes, because they are what the Apostles taught.  The bad and indifferent likewise occured during the Apostles watch, but did not last, but they have been resurrected by those who will not learn by others mistakes.  You keep looking for some break with the Church of the Apostles at some time in history: we are telling you, no such break occured.  The fault lines are in the breaks of schism and heresy, which start with Judas.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 03, 2009, 08:08:29 AM
Now you, for the sake of argument, admit the descriptions in scripture of the things you list.

I shall try; perhaps Cleopas will do the same. It will take some time, as we have listed rather a lot, and even they are only the ones which immediately sprang to mind.

Apart from anything else, we have had the worst snowfall for 18 years, and it is rather tempting to sit by the fire of an evening and enjoy its warmth and lambent flames, rather than in the computer room.  :)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 03, 2009, 02:43:07 PM
St. Ignatius (c. 105) writes of Mary's Virginity being a mystery announced by heaven.

I shan't write about this one, as I have written at length on the Perpetual Virginity thread and cannot think of anything more to say, except this: that the Protoevangelium of James, which seems to be the earliest attestation of the belief, strikes me as having the character of legend. I think especially of the dove emerging from Joseph's rod.

Quote
the development of prayers to the saints

We see this as deterioration in the church, because to us it seems like lowering the worth of our blood-bought access direct to the throne of God, in the name of Jesus himself.

Quote
of prayers for the dead;

We see this as having no purpose. If the dead were saved when they died, they are in Paradise, and do not need further prayer; if they had rejected the Gospel, they are lost, and that cannot be amended or reversed after death.

Quote
of the wearing of vestments;

We do not read of this in the NT, and see it as either an importation from the pagan priesthoods, after the work of Constantine made it desirable for multitudes of unconverted people to gain formal membership of the church. We believe they brought some of their pagan practices with them. Personally I see this practice as indifferent rather than positively harmful. I have worn my black MA gown and white hood when conducting funerals, to add gravitas for the mourners, or when preaching in Anglican churches. Or we see it as a reversion to the Old Testament (see next quote).

Quote
of the idea of a priesthood;

We believe there is no priesthood now; it ended with the resurrection of Christ and the outpouring of the Spirit. Christ alone is now our Priest. Again, it was either a reversion to the OT, or an importation from paganism.

Quote
or monarchical bishops;

We believe that NT churches had a plurality of elders, and that the word for elder and bishop is the same or interchangeable. A bishop is an elder.

Quote
or seven sacraments;

I confess I have forgotten what all seven are - you might wish to remind me; but we read the NT as showing our Lord instituting only baptism and the Lord's Supper. Some do not even use the word 'sacrament' for them, but prefer 'ordinance'. I used to hold a Zwinglian position on these two; I have moved in a sacramental direction. Both views are represented widely in Protestantism.

Quote
of penance

I'd need to read up on this. To some extent it was promoted via Jerome's Latin translation of the NT, I believe. However it arose, we do not see it as a sacrament prescribed in scripture, though I do not say that the concept of some self-discipline imposed to help overcome sin is never helpful. But it cannot contribute to our forgiveness, for that was fully purchased at the immeasurable cost of Christ's blood. Penance, if seen as contributing to our pardon, demeans the value of the Blood.

Quote
an overall picture is formed of post-apostolic and mediæval developments in the church, many of which were what we see as spoiling the simplicity of the primitive church

Which evidently didn't outlive the Apostles

Quite!

Quote
Define secular. 

having no religious or spiritual basis.

Whew! I got there: but much more could - and perhaps will - be written.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 03, 2009, 04:45:49 PM
St. Ignatius (c. 105) writes of Mary's Virginity being a mystery announced by heaven.

I shan't write about this one, as I have written at length on the Perpetual Virginity thread and cannot think of anything more to say, except this: that the Protoevangelium of James, which seems to be the earliest attestation of the belief, strikes me as having the character of legend. I think especially of the dove emerging from Joseph's rod.

Quote
the development of prayers to the saints

We see this as deterioration in the church, because to us it seems like lowering the worth of our blood-bought access direct to the throne of God, in the name of Jesus himself.

Quote
of prayers for the dead;

We see this as having no purpose. If the dead were saved when they died, they are in Paradise, and do not need further prayer; if they had rejected the Gospel, they are lost, and that cannot be amended or reversed after death.

Quote
of the wearing of vestments;

We do not read of this in the NT, and see it as either an importation from the pagan priesthoods, after the work of Constantine made it desirable for multitudes of unconverted people to gain formal membership of the church. We believe they brought some of their pagan practices with them. Personally I see this practice as indifferent rather than positively harmful. I have worn my black MA gown and white hood when conducting funerals, to add gravitas for the mourners, or when preaching in Anglican churches. Or we see it as a reversion to the Old Testament (see next quote).

Quote
of the idea of a priesthood;

We believe there is no priesthood now; it ended with the resurrection of Christ and the outpouring of the Spirit. Christ alone is now our Priest. Again, it was either a reversion to the OT, or an importation from paganism.

Quote
or monarchical bishops;

We believe that NT churches had a plurality of elders, and that the word for elder and bishop is the same or interchangeable. A bishop is an elder.

Quote
or seven sacraments;

I confess I have forgotten what all seven are - you might wish to remind me; but we read the NT as showing our Lord instituting only baptism and the Lord's Supper. Some do not even use the word 'sacrament' for them, but prefer 'ordinance'. I used to hold a Zwinglian position on these two; I have moved in a sacramental direction. Both views are represented widely in Protestantism.

Quote
of penance

I'd need to read up on this. To some extent it was promoted via Jerome's Latin translation of the NT, I believe. However it arose, we do not see it as a sacrament prescribed in scripture, though I do not say that the concept of some self-discipline imposed to help overcome sin is never helpful. But it cannot contribute to our forgiveness, for that was fully purchased at the immeasurable cost of Christ's blood. Penance, if seen as contributing to our pardon, demeans the value of the Blood.

Quote
an overall picture is formed of post-apostolic and mediæval developments in the church, many of which were what we see as spoiling the simplicity of the primitive church

Which evidently didn't outlive the Apostles

Quite!

Quote
Define secular. 

having no religious or spiritual basis.

Whew! I got there: but much more could - and perhaps will - be written.


Yes, I am aware how you see it.  And, as the quotes of those to whom the Apostles wrote the NT show, I know how the Apostles and their disciples and successors saw it.

Just to briefly touch, for example, on a common thread: you see the priesthood and vestments as a through back to paganism or the OT.  The problem, as we indicated, is that such things predate Constantine by centuries.   In fact, how do you explain the Epistle to the Hebrews?  St. Clement likewise, indicates that before the Apostles departed, that they taught of Christian priesthood, and in unequivocal terms.  You put yourself in the position of claiming to know better the NT than the people to whom the Apostles wrote it (and since the people preserving Clement were the same preserving the NT, we know that they were the same).  We're going to have to see some proof of such a claim.  We have plenty:

I Timothy 4:14 "Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the eldership" (i.e. the bishops, as Acts 20:17, 28 clarifies). No mention of the congregation. (Mark 3:13-4 ) "And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach. (John 15:16) "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you may bear fruit" [btw. St. Clement, writing around the same time, calls the early bishops the first fruits of the Apostles]. (Luke 10:16) "The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me." (Mark 4:11) And He was saying to them, "To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables." (Hebrews 5:4, 7:7) "And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was [Consult Numbers 12 for the consequences]...And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better"


Acts and the Epistles describe One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  It condemns division and heresy.  The Church you condemn for "detrioration" is the only one that fits the description of the Church in the NT, and those "detriorations" are present from the beginning.  If this other Ur-Protestant church existed (besides John 6:66), we have no description of it.  At least not in our scriptures that you call "Scripture" as in Sola S-"
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 03, 2009, 05:06:26 PM
such things predate Constantine by centuries.   

I didn't realise that was the point you were making. Sorry. I only said that, among Protestants, the time of Constantine is seen as the time when things really accelerated, shifted into a new gear if you like. I didn't mean that there was no change prior to that - change that we see as deterioration.

Quote
how do you explain the Epistle to the Hebrews? 

Sorry again. I don't grasp what you are asking. What do you mean by 'explain'?

Quote
St. Clement likewise, indicates that before the Apostles departed, that they taught of Christian priesthood, and in unequivocal terms. 

Which Clement? I have the Corinthian epistle of Clement of Rome. Can you point me to the passage you have in mind? Then I'll look it up.

I get the feeling that however long we extend this conversation - and even if it could be more leisurely and lively by being face to face - we'd never reach agreement, because we are moving in opposite directions. You see the developments (which we all agree happened) as the unfolding of the fulness of faith, the establishing of Holy Tradition, and you see this all leading you forward towards the fully developed church, against which Hell's gates cannot prevail and which has been led into all truth by the ongoing working of the Spirit of God. On the other hand, we see the simplicity of the New Testament as normative and desirable, as the pattern God established and would have us reproduce today. So whereas you start at the beginning and move forward, we start at the end and (at least aim to) move backward

Does that make sense? It may not be a very good metaphor, but I cannot off-hand think of a better. The trouble is, in moving in opposite directions from each other, we never actually meet, not even in the time of Ignatius of Antioch of blessed memory. Perhaps we pause for a fleeting moment of mutual recognition in the time of the pastoral epistles.


Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 03, 2009, 05:24:03 PM
such things predate Constantine by centuries.   

I didn't realise that was the point you were making. Sorry. I only said that, among Protestants, the time of Constantine is seen as the time when things really accelerated, shifted into a new gear if you like. I didn't mean that there was no change prior to that - change that we see as deterioration.

My point is, we can document that from the Apostles to Constantine the change you speak of didn't happen: these things were always there.


Quote
St. Clement likewise, indicates that before the Apostles departed, that they taught of Christian priesthood, and in unequivocal terms. 

Which Clement? I have the Corinthian epistle of Clement of Rome. Can you point me to the passage you have in mind? Then I'll look it up.[/quote]

This for starters:
Christ is the apostle sent by the Father, the disciples are the apostles sent by Christ, the bishops are the apostles sent by the disciples.  I don't think it has ever been put better than by St. Clement: “This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles. In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome despatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spake with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolical tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood” (St. Iranaeus, “The Apostolic Tradition”).
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.iv.iv.html

"There is extant also another epistle written by Dionysius to the Romans, and addressed to Soter, who was bishop at that time. We cannot do better than to subjoin some passages from this epistle…In this same epistle he makes mention also of Clement's epistle to the Corinthians, showing that it had been the custom from the beginning to read it in the church....' Dionysius of Corinth, To Pope Soter" (A.D. 171).

St. Clement knew the Apostles, was appointed and ordained by them personally, and whose letter was read like Scripture for many centuries, yet did he ever claim the title "Apostle?"  In I Clement he writes (c. 95, i.e. while the last Apostle John still lived):

...42 The apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the command of the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus saith the Scripture in a certain place, “I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith."...44 Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties and presented the offerings. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that ye have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honor.


Quote
how do you explain the Epistle to the Hebrews? 

Quote
Sorry again. I don't grasp what you are asking. What do you mean by 'explain'?

I'll see about doing that, but maybe on the Apostalic succession thread.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 03, 2009, 05:43:29 PM
Christ is the apostle sent by the Father, ...

Excellent pieces of writing, but I didn't espy a single word in any of them about priesthood. Are you and I misunderstanding each other here? using the same words with different meanings?

I was going to add to my previous post, that as you start at the beginning and move forwards to today, incorporating all the changes (which we agree happened) as parts of the fulness of faith in the church which is the bulwark of truth; and as we move from today backwards towards the simplicity of aiming to require only what is recorded in the New Testament - does our pared down faith still contain enough to save us, and does your changed faith retain enough to save you?

My belief is that the answer in both cases is Yes - providing of course it is believed and practised in sincerity before God. You view our faith as impoverished for lacking the riches of Holy Tradition; we see yours as encrusted with accretions which carry the danger of eclipsing Christ, making him harder to find and lay hold of. So a lot of Orthodox think Baptists are not saved, and a lot of Baptists think Orthodox are not saved. If our churches endure till the eschaton, their members will probably still think the same about each other. But the vital question is: "What must I do to be saved?" Does our faith contain enough of the answer? Or does your faith still leave enough of the answer accessible?  I have suggested my reply a few lines or so up this post: what is yours?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 03, 2009, 08:30:24 PM

I was going to add to my previous post, that as you start at the beginning and move forwards to today, incorporating all the changes (which we agree happened) as parts of the fulness of faith in the church which is the bulwark of truth; and as we move from today backwards towards the simplicity of aiming to require only what is recorded in the New Testament - does our pared down faith still contain enough to save us, and does your changed faith retain enough to save you?


Excellent inquirery my friend.

THAT is the crux of the matter.
That is the premise for Christian unity, and love the means.
It is, where had, the common salvation.

It's not that the all the other things don't matter. It's not that other issues aren't deserving of inquirers. It's that they are not in and of themselves essential to coming to faith in Christ. We, true believers among various Christian churches (including the Orthodox), are primarily divide over non-essentials.

When it comes to saving faith and knowledge (that absolutely necessary in order to be pardoned for sins and reconciled with God through Christ) let us be united. As we walk together on the things about which we do agree then we provide an atmosphere of "like-mindedness" that the Spirit can work through to lead us and guide us into all truth (whether backward or forward respectively).
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 03, 2009, 09:07:16 PM
Christ is the apostle sent by the Father, ...

Excellent pieces of writing, but I didn't espy a single word in any of them about priesthood. Are you and I misunderstanding each other here? using the same words with different meanings?

No, at least not in looking for words: I was going to post more on the thread but work intervened and I didn't get the chance.  I'll try soon.

Quote
I was going to add to my previous post, that as you start at the beginning and move forwards to today, incorporating all the changes (which we agree happened) as parts of the fulness of faith in the church which is the bulwark of truth; and as we move from today backwards towards the simplicity of aiming to require only what is recorded in the New Testament - does our pared down faith still contain enough to save us, and does your changed faith retain enough to save you?

There is a difference: you say that these developed, were added later.  We point to them being there from the beginning.

Quote
My belief is that the answer in both cases is Yes - providing of course it is believed and practised in sincerity before God. You view our faith as impoverished for lacking the riches of Holy Tradition; we see yours as encrusted with accretions which carry the danger of eclipsing Christ, making him harder to find and lay hold of. So a lot of Orthodox think Baptists are not saved, and a lot of Baptists think Orthodox are not saved. If our churches endure till the eschaton, their members will probably still think the same about each other. But the vital question is: "What must I do to be saved?" Does our faith contain enough of the answer? Or does your faith still leave enough of the answer accessible?  I have suggested my reply a few lines or so up this post: what is yours?
Acquire the Spirit of Peace and a thousand around you are saved.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 03, 2009, 10:40:20 PM
...we see yours as encrusted with accretions which carry the danger of eclipsing Christ, making him harder to find and lay hold of...

[light hearted sarcasm] You know, I just love it when people make this assertion. [/light hearted sarcasm]

I would love for SOMEONE, PLEASE to PROVE this!!!!  Please, somebody out there, show me an Orthodox who can't see the forest for the trees, someone who can't see Christ for all the "accretions!"  Because, I'll tell ya, I've known a WHOLE lot of Orthodox in my time (having essentially been a member of five or six separate parishes and visiting countless others), and I have NEVER seen anyone who has had this issue.  It's a heck of an assertion without one stitch of proof.  You're opinion is that we can't see Christ, but you are not us, you are not among us, you are not of us, you know not our faith.  So, please, explain to me how it is that you know this. 

Just curious...  :)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on February 03, 2009, 10:45:35 PM

I was going to add to my previous post, that as you start at the beginning and move forwards to today, incorporating all the changes (which we agree happened) as parts of the fulness of faith in the church which is the bulwark of truth; and as we move from today backwards towards the simplicity of aiming to require only what is recorded in the New Testament - does our pared down faith still contain enough to save us, and does your changed faith retain enough to save you?


Excellent inquirery my friend.

THAT is the crux of the matter.
That is the premise for Christian unity, and love the means.
It is, where had, the common salvation.

It's not that the all the other things don't matter. It's not that other issues aren't deserving of inquirers. It's that they are not in and of themselves essential to coming to faith in Christ. We, true believers among various Christian churches (including the Orthodox), are primarily divide over non-essentials.

When it comes to saving faith and knowledge (that absolutely necessary in order to be pardoned for sins and reconciled with God through Christ) let us be united. As we walk together on the things about which we do agree then we provide an atmosphere of "like-mindedness" that the Spirit can work through to lead us and guide us into all truth (whether backward or forward respectively).
It doesn't work that way. Our eye's are on our faces so we can see and not stumble. We don't walk backwards, we walk forward.  ;) That is why sanctification is an event that occurs in this life and because it occurs here. The body of Christ is also here. Because the body of Christ includes his saints.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 03, 2009, 11:00:31 PM
such things predate Constantine by centuries.   

I didn't realise that was the point you were making. Sorry. I only said that, among Protestants, the time of Constantine is seen as the time when things really accelerated, shifted into a new gear if you like. I didn't mean that there was no change prior to that - change that we see as deterioration.

Quote
how do you explain the Epistle to the Hebrews? 

Sorry again. I don't grasp what you are asking. What do you mean by 'explain'?

Quote
St. Clement likewise, indicates that before the Apostles departed, that they taught of Christian priesthood, and in unequivocal terms. 

Which Clement? I have the Corinthian epistle of Clement of Rome. Can you point me to the passage you have in mind? Then I'll look it up.

I get the feeling that however long we extend this conversation - and even if it could be more leisurely and lively by being face to face - we'd never reach agreement, because we are moving in opposite directions. You see the developments (which we all agree happened) as the unfolding of the fulness of faith, the establishing of Holy Tradition, and you see this all leading you forward towards the fully developed church, against which Hell's gates cannot prevail and which has been led into all truth by the ongoing working of the Spirit of God. On the other hand, we see the simplicity of the New Testament as normative and desirable, as the pattern God established and would have us reproduce today. So whereas you start at the beginning and move forward, we start at the end and (at least aim to) move backward

Does that make sense? It may not be a very good metaphor, but I cannot off-hand think of a better. The trouble is, in moving in opposite directions from each other, we never actually meet, not even in the time of Ignatius of Antioch of blessed memory. Perhaps we pause for a fleeting moment of mutual recognition in the time of the pastoral epistles.




I have to say that this strikes me, first, as being completely backward itself, contrary to all of God's creation and law.  If you've seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (or at least the previews for it), the entire premise making him unique is that he grew YOUNGER, rather than older.  It was contrary to God's creation.  Same thing applies here.  Show me where in God's creation something starts at the end and moves backward.  We don't start with the result and arrive at the question.  We don't start at the end and arrive at the beginning.  I can think of only one exception... Jeopardy (where the answer IS the question), the game show.  How is it that this makes any logical sense.  I understand that it's a metaphor, but it's a metaphor because, for you, in contains some truth.  I'm pointing out the backwardness and lack of logic not in the metaphor, but in your "truth."
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on February 04, 2009, 01:50:28 AM
Where (and/or when) would you say that we went wrong?

In Acts 20 Paul addresses the elders or presbyters of the church in Ephesus and says, "I know that after my departure... from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them." These were elders among whom Paul had worked for two years (Acts 19.10), so we may safely say that things began to go wrong even among those duly appointed church leaders whom the apostles knew, taught and worked with. That takes us to the time of the writings of Ignatius and Justin Martyr among other early writings.

(This is not a comment on the teachings of those post-apostolic writers, but it does point in the direction of sola scriptura as the only safe base for faith and life.)

If you want to go back even before that, a good look at the views which the early Jerusalem church held about the Law of Moses might be a place to start.

Or if you prefer the writings of John, turn to 3 John 9-10 and consider Diotrephes, who was playing an important leading rôle in the church to which Gaius belonged; or the errors into which some of the churches in Revelation 2-3 were already falling.

That said, it is still true (I believe) that the time of Constantine the Great is considered to be when the landslide really accelerated.


David Young,

The People Saint Paul was talking about were "future Heretics". We know who these men were, and as the Church keeps moving through time......we will eventually know who they are.

Read up on "the Judaizers", "Ebionites", "Nicolaitan", "Valentinus", "Basilides", "Cerinthus", "Marcion", "Saballius", "Arianism"....ect.


Cerinthus (This biography has a strong Augustinian and Reformed Anglican bias, but it still had things in it that were usefull),

  "Cerinthus, a traditional opponent of St. John. It will  probably always remain an open question whether his fundamentally Ebionite
sympathies inclined him to accept Jewish rather than gnostic additions. Modern
scholarship has therefore preferred to view his doctrine as a fusing together
and incorporating in a single system tenets collected from Jewish, Oriental, and
Christian sources; but the nature of that doctrine is sufficiently clear, and
its opposition to the instruction of St. John as decided ad that of the
Nicolaitanes. Cerinthus was of Egyptian origin, and in religion a Jew. He
received his education in the Judaeo-Philonic school of Alexandria. On leaving
Egypt he visited Jerusalem Caesarea, and Antioch. From Palestine he passed into
Asia and there developed της αυτου απωλειας βαραθρον (Epiph. xxviii. 2).
Galatia, according to the same authority, was selected as his headquarters,
whence he circulated his errors. On one of his journeys he arrived at Ephesus,
and met St. John in the public baths. The Apostle, hearing who was there, fled
from the place as if for life, crying to those about him: "Let us flee, lest the
bath fall in while Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is there."
.....................skipped a paragraph........Unlike Simon Magus and Menander,
Cerinthus did not claim a sacred and mystic power. Caius the Presbyter can only
assert against him that he pretended to angeilic revelations (Eus., Theod.). But
his mind, like theirs, brooded over the co-existence of good and evil, spirit
and matter; and his scheme seems intended to free the "unknown God" and the
Christ from the bare imputation of infection through contact with nature and
man. Trained as he was in the philosophy of Philo, the Gnosis of Cerinthus did
not of necessity compel him to start from -opposition- in the sense of
malignity-of evil to good, matter to spirit. He recognized opposition in the
sense of difference between the one active perfect principle of life-God-and
that lower imperfect passive existence which was dependent upon God; but this
fell far short of malignity. He therefore conceived the material world to have
been formed not by "the First God," but by angelic Beings of an inferior grade
of Emanation (Epiph.). More precisely still he described the main agent as a
certain power (δυναμις) separate and distinct from the "principality" (η υπερ τα
ολα αυθεντεια, V. Suicer, Thes.s.v. αυθ.) and ignorant of τον υπερ
παντα θεον. He refused in the spirit of a true Jew to consider the "God of the
Jews" identical with that author of the material world who was alleged by
Gnostic teachers to be inferior and evil. He preferred to identify him with the
Angel who delivered the Law (Epiph. and Philastr.). Neander and Ewald have
pointed out that these are legitimate deductions from the teaching of Philo. The
conception is evidently that of an age when hereditary and instinctive reverence
for the law served as a check upon the system maker. Cerinthus is a long way
from the bolder and more hostile schools of later
Gnosticism.................skipped a paragraph..............The Chiliastic
eschatology of Cerinthus is very clearly stated by Theodoret, Caius,
Dionysius(Eus.), and Augustine, but not alluded to by Irenaeus. His silence need
perhaps cause no surprise: Irenaeus was himself a chiliast of the spiritual
school, and in his notes upon Cerinthus he is only careful to mention what was
peculiar to his system. The conception of Cerinthus was highly coloured. In his
"dream" and phantasy the Lord shall have an earthly Kingdom in which the elect
are to enjoy pleasures, feasts, marriages, and sacrifices. Its capital is
Jerusalem and its duration 1000 years: thereafter shall ensue the restoration of
all things. Cerinthus derived this notion from Jewish sources. His notions of
eschatology are radically Jewish: they may have originated, but do not
contain, the Valentinian notion of a spiritual marriage between the souls of the
elect and the Angels of the Pleroma.
Other peculiar features of his teaching may be noted.
He held that if a man died unbaptized, another was to be baptized in his stead
and in his name, that at the day of resurrection he might not suffer punishment
nd be made subject to the εξουσια κοσμοποιος (cf. I. Cor. xv. 29). He had
learned at Alexandria to distinguish between the different degrees of
inspiration, and attributed to different Angels the dictation severally of the
words of Moses and of the Prophets; ......................skipped a
paragraph................The Chiliasm of Cerinthus was an exaaeration of
language so ingenuously as the Apocalpse. The conclusion was easy that Cerinthus
had but ascribed the Apocalypse to the Apostle to obtain credit and currency for
his own forgery. The "Alogi" argued upon similar grounds against the Fourth
Gospel. It did not agree with the Synoptists, and though it did not agree with
the Synoptists, and though it disagreed in every possible way with the alleged
doctrines of Cerinthus, yet the false-hearted author of the Apocalypse was, they
asserted, certainly the writer of the Gospel." [1]


 


And Sola Scriptora is a noval doctrine. Show me in Scripture where it says "Sola Scriptora"?



The genuine tradition of Apostolic doctrine!

"Polycarpus (1) bp. of Smyrna, one of the most prominent figures in the church of the 2nd cent. He owes this prominence less to intellectual ability, which does not appear to have been pre-eminent, than to the influence gained by a consistent and unusually long life. Born some 30 years before the end of the 1st cent., and rasied to the episcopate apparently in early manhood, he held his office to the age of 86 or more. He claimed to have known at least one apostle and must in early life have met many who could tell things they had heard from actual disciples of our Lord. The younger generation, into which he lived on, naturally recognized him as a peculiarly trustworthy source of information concerning the first age of the Church. During the later years of his life Gnostic speculation had become very active and many things unknown to the faith of ordinary Christians were put forth as derived by secret traditions from the Apostles. Thus a high value was attached to the witness Polycarp could give as to the genuine tradition of apostolic doctrine, his testimony condemning as offensive novelties the figments of the heretical teachers. Irenaeus states (iii.3) that on Polycarp's visit to Rome his testimony converted many disciples of Marcion and Valentinus. Polycarp crowned his other services to the church by a glorious martyrdom." [2]



David,

The Gates of Hades will not prevale!!! You can't depend on your human reason alone. Trust that Jesus Preserved the Church. And trust that we must have actual communion with it. A mere imitation is not enough. This is what Peter Guilquest and them found out some decades ago. And this is what I found out when I followed David Bercot's movement some years ago.

A mere imitation is not enough!!! Jesus wants actual communion.






JNORM888

[1] pages 154-156 edited by Henry Wace & William C. Piercy, in the book "A dictionary of early Christian Biography"

[2] page 846 from the book "A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography: A Reference Guide to over 800 Christian men and women, Heretics, and Sects of the first six centuries" edited by Henry Wace & William C. Piercy. Originally published in London 1911 by John Murray, republished by Hendrickson publishers 1999
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on February 04, 2009, 01:55:13 AM
And Sola Scriptura is a noval doctrine. Show me in Scripture where it says "Sola Scriptura"?

Would not that have required the Holy Scriptures to have been written in Latin?  ;)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: prodromas on February 04, 2009, 02:09:28 AM
And Sola Scriptura is a noval doctrine. Show me in Scripture where it says "Sola Scriptura"?

Would not that have required the Holy Scriptures to have been written in Latin?  ;)

*Steals joke and puts it in arsenal of ever growing convoluted theological jokes* :D
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: John of the North on February 04, 2009, 02:12:43 AM
And Sola Scriptura is a noval doctrine. Show me in Scripture where it says "Sola Scriptura"?

Would not that have required the Holy Scriptures to have been written in Latin?  ;)

BLASPHEMER! The Holy Scriptures were clearly written in King James English!
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on February 04, 2009, 02:59:41 AM
You believe in O.S.A.S.(once saved always saved) for individuals,

You are putting words into my mouth - or rather, on to my keyboard. I have not written that I believe in eternal security; rather, I said I am agnostic on that question (actually I wrote 'apophatic'). But I have attempted to give a clearer description of the doctrine - without committing myself to it - out of fairness to those who do hold it, because the way it is described on the forum is a caricture of the classic Calvinist teaching.

Quote
We don't see Jesus telling Saint Paul to go start a body separate from the one He started some years earlier. No! We see Jesus telling Saint Paul to go and see a christian from the original body that he started.

Ah! I think I see what you mean. Before I attempt a reply, you'd better tell me whether I am understanding you better now. You mean a sort of institutional or organisational continuity in time and space, whereby the true church spread and continues to spread from the beginning to all its branches, twigs and outermost leaves, and that it is in this body that Christ dwells in his Spirit - that this body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. Of course, I don't share that view - but is it what you are arguing for?


I am arguing for both Physical & spiritual continuity. A composite of both. It's either the Church was preserved or She was destroyed only to come back to life some many many many centuries later. Somewhat like the late Saint Augustinian doctrine of the destruction/annihilation of free will after the fall of Adam, only for it to be ressurected again some time later in the future.

But in this case we are talking about the Church. Was the Church preserved or annihilated?

I believe the Church to be dynamic......not static.....not trapped in the 1st century alone. Just as a Tree grows....so also the Church. And just as a tree trunk has rings everytime it goes through a time of turbulance through the seasons. In like mannor.......we can see the rings of the Church everytime she goes through a time of turbulance throughout the centuries.

It is said that a person can tell how old a tree is by counting the number of rings it has. Well, we can look at the historicl record of the Church .......just by looking at Her rings.




JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: jnorm888 on February 04, 2009, 03:56:38 AM

Quote from: Cleopas
Perhaps those churches outside the empire stayed true, but they eventually faded into oblivion. Either way the now State led portion gained prominence and reserved unto itself the title of the "one, holy, and apostolic church" to the exclusion of all others.

Why omit the word Catholic, which means Universal?   ??? Are you saying that the Church after Nicaea wasn't Catholic?  Then what was the One True Church in the middle of the 4th Century AD?

In the sense you mean it, as a singular visible universal institutional body, no, it was not. Whatever may have remained of that before Nicaea, it was officially severed with and following Nicaea. The "church in the empire" had effectively seperated from the church "outside the empire" by submission to Constantine, and that apart from their outside brethren. It could not have been then, in any physical or organizational sense, any longer universal.

I admit and agree that a spiritual universality existed between believers within and believers without the empire, as had always been, and always will be the case. Our union as individual believers with Christ creates spiritual unon with all others in Christ, so the universal nature of the church persists in as much as believers persist. But the organizational unity of the church perished, and was (if not before) dealt the fatal wound that made it so at Nicaea.

Not true,

The Assyrian Church of the East officially went there own way around 417 A.D. That was the 3rd council. And they still exist, so no.....they wasn't wiped out.

The Church believed herself to be a singular visible universal institutional body way before the Council of Nicea. You can see this in the 2nd century with Saint Irenaeus. You can also see this in the 3rd century with Saint Cyprian.

It's been a while since I read the letters of Saint Ignatius (about 110 A.D.) but I think you can see the same thought in his works as well.



There is no way to justify what you want to justify.



JNORM888
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 04, 2009, 04:39:59 AM
you say that these developed, were added later.  We point to them being there from the beginning.

But your beginning is a bit later than our end. There is a lacuna.

Quote
Acquire the Spirit of Peace and a thousand around you are saved.

I recognise the quotation but can't quite place it. Was it St Seraphim of Sarov? I hesitate to dissent from one greater than me, whoever it was, but I think we must add that the Gospel must be preached as well as shown forth in our lives, if people are to be saved through our witness.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 04, 2009, 06:09:09 AM
Please, somebody out there, show me an Orthodox who can't see the forest for the trees, someone who can't see Christ for all the "accretions!"

...The South Albanians alone neither troubled to do this nor to translate the Scriptures. They left all Church matters in Greek hands, and threw in their lot with the Greeks when the final split between the two Churches took place … A large proportion of the priests are Greek, and there is a tendency to replace Albanians by Greeks in the higher posts. Sermons in Albanian are strictly prohibited.

Orthodox Good Friday was very solemn, and everyone flocked to church in black. Avlona has a large Christian population, all Orthodox. The service lasted the whole day; a painted crucifix, draped with black, stood in the middle of the church, and each one kissed the foot on entering. Halfway through the service it was removed, and a table put in its place, on which lay a bier, covered with a black cloth, painted with the body of the dead Christ, for no images are allowed by this church. Two priests carried the bier round the church on their heads, preceded by an incense-bearer, walking backwards, and followed by a procession. The service was all in Greek, and the singing a tuneless nasal yowl. In the late evening the church was crammed to suffocation, and as each one held a lighted candle, it was a glare of yellow light and foggy with smoke. ... The raucous voices, barbaric music, and gaudy, shabby trappings, dim through the smoke, made a dramatic scene which culminated when the priests lifted the bier and carried it from the church; there was a wild scramble of men and boys, who all strove to shove a shoulder under it, if only for a second, as it was borne all round the building, and the whole congregation followed with twinkling candles.

- “The Burden of the Balkans”, by M E Durham (Thomas Nelson, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, & New York)

The Christian Albanians of the south belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church, and here a Greek bishop once even excommunicated the Albanian language, and priests taught that it was useless to pray in Albanian, as Christ does not understand it.

- “People of All Nations” Vol I, page 58 (London: Educational Book Company, ed. J A Hammerton)

Blessing of the Waters. Orthodox custom... takes place on Epiphany, January 6, every year, and is symbolic of the baptism of Christ. It is known to the Orthodox Church as the Great Consecration. The officiating priest plunges a cross into a river and it is retrieved by eager bystanders, usually young men, who dive into the icy water after it. The first person to retrieve the cross is considered particularly lucky. The wet cross is used to sprinkle the now holy water over the believers as a blessing. Water from the river, sea or harbour in question is then considered consecrated for that year... Diving for the cross is also known in the isles of Greece...

- "A Dictionary of Albanian Religion, Mythology, and Folk Culture" Robert Elsie (New York University Press, 2001)

I hasten to add that I could cite equally foolish practices from churches that call themselves Protestant, and not for a single moment am I suggesting or suspecting that your personal religion is like all this. My contention is this: that what we call accretions, and you call the fulness of the faith, carries the risk of obscuring Christ by beliefs and practices which are not found in scripture.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 04, 2009, 06:43:35 AM
you say that these developed, were added later.  We point to them being there from the beginning.

But your beginning is a bit later than our end. There is a lacuna.

Hardly.

St. Clement writes around 95, the Didache even earlier. St. Ignatius is around 105, St. Polycarp writes shortly thereafter  St. John's Gospel, his Epistles, and Revelation are written around the same time. In other words, overlap.

Put it this way: Christ ascends around 30.  The first writing that are now in the NT, the Epistles to the Thessalonians, isn't written for two decades later, and the Synoptic Gospels not for another decade or so after that.  The Church Historian St. Luke, in his prologue states quite plainly that he himself had not seen the Lord.  As far as personal testimony of the Faith, he is on the same level as SS Clement and Ignatius who did not know the Lord during His earthy sojourn (as neither did St. Paul. btw. there is a question of St. Igantius, he is often identified as the child Christ uses as an example of Faith) but received the Faith directly from His disciples.  There's your lacuna: and atheists, Muslims and other enemies of the Gospel exploit it ruthlessly.

And of course, there's the little problem that the Apostles handed the Scripture to the Apostolic Fathers.  The Fathers Clement and Igantius were among the audience to whom the Apostles addressed the NT.

Quote
Acquire the Spirit of Peace and a thousand around you are saved.

Quote
I recognise the quotation but can't quite place it. Was it St Seraphim of Sarov? I hesitate to dissent from one greater than me, whoever it was, but I think we must add that the Gospel must be preached as well as shown forth in our lives, if people are to be saved through our witness.

Very good!  St. Serphim it is!  But how does that contradict the boldface?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 04, 2009, 07:15:32 AM
Please, somebody out there, show me an Orthodox who can't see the forest for the trees, someone who can't see Christ for all the "accretions!"

...The South Albanians alone neither troubled to do this nor to translate the Scriptures. They left all Church matters in Greek hands, and threw in their lot with the Greeks when the final split between the two Churches took place … A large proportion of the priests are Greek, and there is a tendency to replace Albanians by Greeks in the higher posts. Sermons in Albanian are strictly prohibited.

Orthodox Good Friday was very solemn, and everyone flocked to church in black. Avlona has a large Christian population, all Orthodox. The service lasted the whole day; a painted crucifix, draped with black, stood in the middle of the church, and each one kissed the foot on entering. Halfway through the service it was removed, and a table put in its place, on which lay a bier, covered with a black cloth, painted with the body of the dead Christ, for no images are allowed by this church. Two priests carried the bier round the church on their heads, preceded by an incense-bearer, walking backwards, and followed by a procession. The service was all in Greek, and the singing a tuneless nasal yowl. In the late evening the church was crammed to suffocation, and as each one held a lighted candle, it was a glare of yellow light and foggy with smoke. ... The raucous voices, barbaric music, and gaudy, shabby trappings, dim through the smoke, made a dramatic scene which culminated when the priests lifted the bier and carried it from the church; there was a wild scramble of men and boys, who all strove to shove a shoulder under it, if only for a second, as it was borne all round the building, and the whole congregation followed with twinkling candles.

- “The Burden of the Balkans”, by M E Durham (Thomas Nelson, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, & New York)

The Christian Albanians of the south belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church, and here a Greek bishop once even excommunicated the Albanian language, and priests taught that it was useless to pray in Albanian, as Christ does not understand it.

- “People of All Nations” Vol I, page 58 (London: Educational Book Company, ed. J A Hammerton)

Blessing of the Waters. Orthodox custom... takes place on Epiphany, January 6, every year, and is symbolic of the baptism of Christ. It is known to the Orthodox Church as the Great Consecration. The officiating priest plunges a cross into a river and it is retrieved by eager bystanders, usually young men, who dive into the icy water after it. The first person to retrieve the cross is considered particularly lucky. The wet cross is used to sprinkle the now holy water over the believers as a blessing. Water from the river, sea or harbour in question is then considered consecrated for that year... Diving for the cross is also known in the isles of Greece...

- "A Dictionary of Albanian Religion, Mythology, and Folk Culture" Robert Elsie (New York University Press, 2001)

I hasten to add that I could cite equally foolish practices from churches that call themselves Protestant, and not for a single moment am I suggesting or suspecting that your personal religion is like all this. My contention is this: that what we call accretions, and you call the fulness of the faith, carries the risk of obscuring Christ by beliefs and practices which are not found in scripture.


What is obsuring Christ in these passes is obsure.  What makes you think the people in it don't know Christ?

Btw, your sources (except the last) are dated, something you all (Baptists, Evangelicals, etc.) share with the JWs.  It makes discussion difficult.

A few things on that: Albanian was forbidden by Ottoman law.  Once they defeated Albania, who under George Skanderbeg had defeated the Ottomans five times, they ruthlessly tried to assimilate the Albanians by Islam and the Turkish language.  Those who stuck to the Gospel were given only Greek priests, and were forced to speak Greek.  Hence the late development of Standard Albanian.  The Phanariots who ran the hierarchy are one reason why the Greeks revolted and set up the autocephalous CoG.

The services you mention are all standard in the universal Orthodox Church.  My children from a young age could identify the services by such "accretions," which is what they hang the Biblical verses on the event on.

And I can multiply the examples of those who came to know Christ through such "accretions." 

You have seen, no doubt, the Dome of the Rock, that beautiful building where the Temple stood in Jerusalem.  al-Maqdisi, an early Muslim historian from Jerusalem tells that one day he openly expressed disapproval on the expense of building the ediface.  His uncle contradicted him: the caliph, he told him, saw that many of the Muslims, coming into the Churches, were struck with awe at the images they saw and left Islam and received baptism (the Dome follows the architecture of bapistries and marytrium): a dirty little secret is that the early Muslims defected by the tens of thousands, and the caliphs even demanded that the Emperor hand over those who had fled to the empire.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 04, 2009, 07:36:27 AM
1 Corinthians 10 tells us that they all ate the supernatural food, but with most of them God was not pleased. The idea that it is possible to partake of the food and at the same time to lack the reality is therefore not peculiar to me, nor is it new. It existed in the days of the apostles.

There is a thread entitled something like, “Why do Protestants reject Orthodoxy?” and I think that some Protestants reject Orthodoxy not because of what it is, but because of what it seems to be, what it looks like.

Also, as has often been pointed out on these fora, western Christianity is a very cerebral thing, deriving much from aristotelian logic. Scholasticism was welcomed, nurtured and developed among us. (I do not say that is a good thing: I merely refer to the fact.) We have always, but especially in our formative period in the 16th and 17th centuries been fond of writing detailed Confessions of Faith. Orthodoxy is not like that; it offers a much more outward, visual approach, involving much symbolism which Orthodox understand but we do not know about.

I realise that the quotations on my earlier post do not portray Orthodoxy at its purest and best, but even at its best it looks, to us, like a lot of ritual and ceremonial. Indeed, it has these: no-one disagrees on that. You say it is helpful, we say it is risky.

I think it is not unfair of us, bearing such passages as 1 Corinthians 10 in mind, to state that there is and always has been a risk of people joining religious rituals and ceremonies without partaking of the inward reality. If you could, for a moment, imagine yourself (as converts from Evangelicalism surely can) into our logical, confessional, didactic mindset as western Christians, you might get a momentary glimpse of what Orthodoxy looks like to people of our bent. Not for one moment have I said that Orthodox do not see Christ because of the accretions; indeed, I find him warmly and lovingly presented in your books and in some writings from people on these fora. But I also believe that some Orthodox fall into the trap of 1 Corinthians 10 (eating the food while God is not pleased with them). That chapter deals with baptism and the Lord’s Supper, but the principle works in other areas too. Veneration of the saints can lead to worship of them (otherwise you wouldn’t need to keep warning against it); prayers to the saints can reduce prayer offered to God, and can make the Lord seem remote when he has in fact invited us to come boldly; sacramental theology can give place to superstition (e.g. that the Eucharist somehow gives magical protection even if we continue in sin, idolatry and strife, as was happening in Corinth).

Of course it is equally possible for people to take Communion in our minimalistic manner, and do so unworthily, without discerning the body. I am not saying our methods are free from risk, yours are laden with risks. I, and Cleopas I think, are only saying that from our point of view your Tradition carries that risk, and that some fall into it.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 04, 2009, 07:45:45 AM
your sources (except the last) are dated... It makes discussion difficult.

I don't think it does. My contention is not that Orthodoxy as practised today among Orthodox people in the West (America or wherever) resembles the descriptions given in earlier literature. Indeed, as it is a minority faith there, I assume you must have a genuine personal conviction that Orthodoxy is the truth, otherwise you would simply attend a more convenient sort of church (for nearness, cultural assimilation, parking facilities, size of congregation, or whatever) or would discontinue church-going altogether. In other communities, where Orthodoxy is the almost universal faith, it is easier for people to inherit and perpetuate family, village or national tradition (small t) without that genuine personal conviction and without the inner reality we all seek in Christ. What I am saying is, that Orthodoxy carries the risk of obscuring Christ by the rituals which encrust it, and that in some places, at some times, in some people that risk becomes a reality.

I added that I was not saying "your" (I was replying to GreekChef) faith is like that. I am quite aware that people continue attending Baptist, Methodist etc churches because their parents and grandparents did so, but lack the inner experience and conviction of their forebears. It is beyond me why they do it, but I know they do. Don't tell me I can't see into their hearts: I have actually had a Baptist deacon tell me after a service where I preached that they don't believe the Gospel or their own hymns in his church. But they still kept going, and they still sang them. Tragically, it happens.

Nor am I saying that Evangelical practice carries no risk and always leads people direct to Christ. But our pitfalls are different. See my post between this one and the earlier one which you quote at length on that.

By the way, you are remarkably well informed about Albania. May I ask why?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 04, 2009, 08:25:15 AM
your sources (except the last) are dated... It makes discussion difficult.

I don't think it does.

Actually I had more in mind when the comparisons are made to Holy Week services and Babylonian religion.  The sources often used are hopelessly dated (read, wrong).  One of my favorites is the JW idea that the Trinity came from all the "Trinities" in Egyptian mythology.  This comes from Sir Wallace Budge (July 27, 1857 – November 23, 1934), who recast Egyptian religion in his own Protestant KJV mould, i.e. the "Egyptian Trinities" were borrowed from Christianity, not the reverse.  (Btw, Budge deserves credit for insisting, in the face of the white supremacist school dominant in Egyptology of the day, that Egyptian civilization had African roots).  Btw, my degrees are in Near Eastern Studies, my original major was Egyptology.

Your quotes don't directly fall into that, but I've learned to be careful.

Quote
My contention is not that Orthodoxy as practised today among Orthodox people in the West (America or wherever) resembles the descriptions given in earlier literature.

LOL. I've been to places (in the US and elsewhere) where it does.  I'm just wary as an intellectual-I was converted to Orthodoxy by the Encyclopedia Britannica-that I don't have the child-like Faith that these people do.  Christ didn't hold up the philosopher as an example of Faith.  In fact, last week our priest pointed out the contrast between St. Paul's appeal on Mars Hill, his decision to preach only Christ crucified iin Corinth, where he actually managed to found a Church.

Quote
What I am saying is, that Orthodoxy carries the risk of obscuring Christ by the rituals which encrust it, and that in some places, at some times, in some people that risk becomes a reality.


I haven't seen it yet.  And I've got plenty of counter examples: one, an extended family who went from being lapsed followers of the Vatican to devout Orthodox after attending grandma's Orthodox funeral.  Yes, these dry bones can live.

Quote
I added that I was not saying "your" (I was replying to GreekChef) faith is like that. Nor am I saying that Evangelical practice carries no risk and always leads people direct to Christ. But our pitfalls are different. See my post between this one and the earlier one which you quote at length on that.

By the way, you are remarkably well informed about Albania. May I ask why?

Our parish has had a couple families on mission in Albania.  One was going to Kosovo but that didn't work out.  One of our members, Lynette Kathrine, we are sure will be canonized:
http://www.antiochian.org/node/17601
Maybe it would not be out of place to briefly tell of her death.  Once, there was a death of one of the Albanians, and Lynette and Nathan (her husband) were distressed that the attitude of the Albanians was like one without hope, without witness to the Resurrection.  Immediately thereafter, Lynette started to show the signs of the cancer that would kill her.  She insisted on staying in Albania, coming back only when her own mother began to die of cancer in the states.  She went back to die in Albania, and every witness I've talked to has said what a blessed testimony her death was of the power of Christ, His Resurrection and the Orthodox Faith.

The day she died was Sunday.  In Church, just as great canon began that day, my son had to go to the bathroom and he asked me to come with him.  I was waiting for him, when I heard the AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! signaling that the consecration of the Eucharist had just taken place. I looked up and happened to notice the time.  After the DL and Sunday school, the priest's wife told me that Lynette had passed and said the time.  Doing the calculations, I realized that she had given up the ghost at the exact time her parish, our parish, was receiving the Holy Spirit on the Gifts.

We later got an email from another parisioner in India, where he and his wife run a medical mission.  I don't quite remember the details, but it was something to the effect that he had gone asleep exhausted because of the number of patients.  He said he had a dream in which he saw Lynette and she gave him words of encouragement.  He awoke, realizing that he had not heard about Lynette for sometime.  He later checked his email and learned that she had died at that time.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 04, 2009, 09:23:20 AM
Please, somebody out there, show me an Orthodox who can't see the forest for the trees, someone who can't see Christ for all the "accretions!"

...The South Albanians alone neither troubled to do this nor to translate the Scriptures. They left all Church matters in Greek hands, and threw in their lot with the Greeks when the final split between the two Churches took place … A large proportion of the priests are Greek, and there is a tendency to replace Albanians by Greeks in the higher posts. Sermons in Albanian are strictly prohibited.

Orthodox Good Friday was very solemn, and everyone flocked to church in black. Avlona has a large Christian population, all Orthodox. The service lasted the whole day; a painted crucifix, draped with black, stood in the middle of the church, and each one kissed the foot on entering. Halfway through the service it was removed, and a table put in its place, on which lay a bier, covered with a black cloth, painted with the body of the dead Christ, for no images are allowed by this church. Two priests carried the bier round the church on their heads, preceded by an incense-bearer, walking backwards, and followed by a procession. The service was all in Greek, and the singing a tuneless nasal yowl. In the late evening the church was crammed to suffocation, and as each one held a lighted candle, it was a glare of yellow light and foggy with smoke. ... The raucous voices, barbaric music, and gaudy, shabby trappings, dim through the smoke, made a dramatic scene which culminated when the priests lifted the bier and carried it from the church; there was a wild scramble of men and boys, who all strove to shove a shoulder under it, if only for a second, as it was borne all round the building, and the whole congregation followed with twinkling candles.

- “The Burden of the Balkans”, by M E Durham (Thomas Nelson, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, & New York)

The Christian Albanians of the south belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church, and here a Greek bishop once even excommunicated the Albanian language, and priests taught that it was useless to pray in Albanian, as Christ does not understand it.

- “People of All Nations” Vol I, page 58 (London: Educational Book Company, ed. J A Hammerton)

Blessing of the Waters. Orthodox custom... takes place on Epiphany, January 6, every year, and is symbolic of the baptism of Christ. It is known to the Orthodox Church as the Great Consecration. The officiating priest plunges a cross into a river and it is retrieved by eager bystanders, usually young men, who dive into the icy water after it. The first person to retrieve the cross is considered particularly lucky. The wet cross is used to sprinkle the now holy water over the believers as a blessing. Water from the river, sea or harbour in question is then considered consecrated for that year... Diving for the cross is also known in the isles of Greece...

- "A Dictionary of Albanian Religion, Mythology, and Folk Culture" Robert Elsie (New York University Press, 2001)

I hasten to add that I could cite equally foolish practices from churches that call themselves Protestant, and not for a single moment am I suggesting or suspecting that your personal religion is like all this. My contention is this: that what we call accretions, and you call the fulness of the faith, carries the risk of obscuring Christ by beliefs and practices which are not found in scripture.


The first "foolish practice" that you show here (described ridiculously by someone who obviously has NO CLUE what is going on, and thus thinks it pointless) is called the APOKATHELOSIS, or the "taking down from the cross," commemorating the crucifixion, removal from the cross, and burial in the tomb of Christ (and you say we don't stress the crucifixion enough--- you should try attending this service).  Yet you did not show how this could possibly obscure Christ.  It does nothing but GLORIFY him.  Just because the service was in Greek means nothing.  And that "tuneless yowl" that they heard, was, in fact, some of the most beautiful, edifying music ever written on earth in all times.  The "Simeron Krimateh" is an incredible hymn, which moves me to tears in faith every time I hear it... in Greek (which I don't speak fluently, by the way).

The other "foolish practice" is the blessing of the waters, and yes, it is done every year here in the states as well.  It is a beautiful and solemn practice.  This (again, ridiculous) account makes it sound like superstition, which it is far from.  There is no "luck" involved (we don't believe in luck).  It is a blessing to be the one to catch it.  It is an honor to bear the cross of Christ.  And yes, the Cross is used to sprinkle the holy water over the people.  But diving for the cross is not what made the water holy.  There is AN ENTIRE SERVICE that your "author" seems to have left out (conveniently).  All of which is done, again, in COMMEMORATION, with Christ at the center of every inch and every minute of it.  Show me the obscuring...

If the point here is that it is all in Greek, you can take that up with my mother.  She's a convert and doesn't speak Greek.  Or Handmaiden, for that matter, as she doesn't either.  Or my friend Jerry, who also doesn't.  Or the thousands of others who don't speak it, but still understand what is happening in front of them because they take the time to learn.  Now, here in the states, things in most Greek Orthodox churches are done in Greek AND English (and this is all widely debated and a topic for another thread).  Our bishop, in particular, believes firmly that the Gospel and Epistle and sermon should ALWAYS be given in English (Greek, too, if needed, but at least English), because it is the language of the people.  In Chicago, this is different in every parish because some parishes are still 99% Greek.  I don't understand what the problem is with the Albanians leaving everything in Greek.

Don't know if you know this or not, but the existence of the Slavonic language is due ENTIRELY to the Church-- Ss. Cyril and Methodios, as a matter of fact. 

So, still, I don't see what the problem is.  I have yet to see how anything we do obscures our view of Christ.  You're going to have to show me some ACTUAL evidence of how our faith, practiced properly (not some bastardization thereof-- you are the one who always says we have to compare the best of Orthodoxy and Protestantism, right?), obscures Christ.  This is still a baseless, and frankly, absurd claim, in my book, considering that there is no evidence to back it up and PLENTY of evidence to the contrary.  Saying that something "carries the risk" is a total cop-out in my book, without providing evidence.  It's a straw man.  As for them "not being found in Scripture," there are plenty of threads for that, and it doesn't need to be debated here. 

You have shown me only two problems here: 1) there are some ignorant Albanian priests out there if they say God doesn't understand Albanian (this is their personal sin, NOT a problem with Orthodoxy), and 2) You need to find some more trustworthy authors who actually know what they're talking about.  As I have said many times, trustworthy sources.  Maybe actually reading about these things from someone who believes them, or at least understands them, would be a better idea then going to Protestant resources who so obviously have an agenda.  To me, the above smacks of asking a gas station attendant how to do brain surgery (not that a gas station attendant is an idiot, just that he would have no basis of expertise from which to teach).
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 04, 2009, 09:35:04 AM

I think it is not unfair of us, bearing such passages as 1 Corinthians 10 in mind, to state that there is and always has been a risk of people joining religious rituals and ceremonies without partaking of the inward reality. If you could, for a moment, imagine yourself (as converts from Evangelicalism surely can) into our logical, confessional, didactic mindset as western Christians, you might get a momentary glimpse of what Orthodoxy looks like to people of our bent. Not for one moment have I said that Orthodox do not see Christ because of the accretions; indeed, I find him warmly and lovingly presented in your books and in some writings from people on these fora. But I also believe that some Orthodox fall into the trap of 1 Corinthians 10 (eating the food while God is not pleased with them). That chapter deals with baptism and the Lord’s Supper, but the principle works in other areas too. Veneration of the saints can lead to worship of them (otherwise you wouldn’t need to keep warning against it); prayers to the saints can reduce prayer offered to God, and can make the Lord seem remote when he has in fact invited us to come boldly; sacramental theology can give place to superstition (e.g. that the Eucharist somehow gives magical protection even if we continue in sin, idolatry and strife, as was happening in Corinth).

This is like saying that because driving carries risks, we should stay home and never drive.  Or because I might burn myself I shouldn't cook dinner.  Or because I might trip and fall I shouldn't walk to the mailbox to get the mail.  Or because I could slip and hit my head I should never shower.  Or because I might get a paper cut I should never read a book.  Or because I might electrocute myself I should never turn on my computer.

Come on, let's be a little realistic.  If it was such an overwhelming risk that it becomes the cautionary tale you think it is, then explain to me why the vast majority of Orthodox are God-fearing, Christ-loving people.  You may not have had this experience, because you know little of Orthodoxy and basically no actual Orthodox people.  But I do.  And your cautionary tale is just a rationalization, an excuse that Protestants use to believe what they wish and deny anything and everything that Orthodoxy teaches.  Show me some real evidence and then we can talk.  :)


Quote
Of course it is equally possible for people to take Communion in our minimalistic manner, and do so unworthily, without discerning the body. I am not saying our methods are free from risk, yours are laden with risks. I, and Cleopas I think, are only saying that from our point of view your Tradition carries that risk, and that some fall into it.

Laden with risk?  [sarcasm] Love it! [/sarcasm]
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 04, 2009, 09:48:17 AM
your sources (except the last) are dated... It makes discussion difficult.

I don't think it does. My contention is not that Orthodoxy as practised today among Orthodox people in the West (America or wherever) resembles the descriptions given in earlier literature. Indeed, as it is a minority faith there, I assume you must have a genuine personal conviction that Orthodoxy is the truth, otherwise you would simply attend a more convenient sort of church (for nearness, cultural assimilation, parking facilities, size of congregation, or whatever) or would discontinue church-going altogether. In other communities, where Orthodoxy is the almost universal faith, it is easier for people to inherit and perpetuate family, village or national tradition (small t) without that genuine personal conviction and without the inner reality we all seek in Christ. What I am saying is, that Orthodoxy carries the risk of obscuring Christ by the rituals which encrust it, and that in some places, at some times, in some people that risk becomes a reality.

I added that I was not saying "your" (I was replying to GreekChef) faith is like that. I am quite aware that people continue attending Baptist, Methodist etc churches because their parents and grandparents did so, but lack the inner experience and conviction of their forebears. It is beyond me why they do it, but I know they do. Don't tell me I can't see into their hearts: I have actually had a Baptist deacon tell me after a service where I preached that they don't believe the Gospel or their own hymns in his church. But they still kept going, and they still sang them. Tragically, it happens.

Nor am I saying that Evangelical practice carries no risk and always leads people direct to Christ. But our pitfalls are different. See my post between this one and the earlier one which you quote at length on that.

By the way, you are remarkably well informed about Albania. May I ask why?

Let's put aside the fact that you have no proof (other than Albania, a country ravaged by communism where religion was FORCED out) that people in native Orthodox countries have nothing in their hearts for Christ and attend because of family tradition.  Sure, it happens, but I would love to know how you think you know that the majority of them are this way.

Putting that aside, even if it is true (which I do NOT contend that it is any more true than it is of Protestants in Protestant countries), explain what that has to do with "rituals encrusting" our faith?  How does the one relate to the other?  You have yet to show how the "encrusting" of rituals makes this risk more (any more than Protestant worship in Protestant countries).  The one has nothing to do with the other.  They are two different issues.  Show me proof of the obscuring of Christ by rituals. 
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 04, 2009, 09:50:28 AM
Maybe it would not be out of place to briefly tell of her death...

This is superb, and most moving. Would you allow me to print it for others to read?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 04, 2009, 09:52:30 AM
Maybe it would not be out of place to briefly tell of her death...

This is superb, and most moving. Would you allow me to print it for others to read?

I agree, and I'm moved, David, that you are wanting to print it even though she was Orthodox!

 :)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 04, 2009, 09:56:07 AM
a better idea then going to Protestant resources who so obviously have an agenda. 

You sound as if my maunderings are rendering you impatient.  :(

Actually I deliberately chose authors and publishers who, as far as I know, had / have no personal religion. Edith Durham and Robert Elsie are, I believe, regarded as unusually well-informed authorities on Albanian matters.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 04, 2009, 10:03:28 AM
a better idea then going to Protestant resources who so obviously have an agenda. 

You sound as if my maunderings are rendering you impatient.  :(

Actually I deliberately chose authors and publishers who, as far as I know, had / have no personal religion. Edith Durham and Robert Elsie are, I believe, regarded as unusually well-informed authorities on Albanian matters.

I'm not impatient, just passionate.  :)  Don't worry! 

Either way, their characterization and lack of knowledge proves them to be biased, or at the very least unreliable (definitely the latter, possibly both).
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on February 04, 2009, 10:18:17 AM
Whats wrong with southern Albanians speaking Greek? Many of them were Greek. In 1922, when the border between Albania and Greece was set up, Greeks living north of the border were incorporated into Albania, in what is called Northern Epirus by Athens, whereas Albanians living south of the border were incorporated into Greece. Most of these Albanians left Greece in 1944.

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 04, 2009, 11:06:56 AM
Whats wrong with southern Albanians speaking Greek?

Nothing. I have often thought that if I were young and free, I should greatly enjoy a chance to live in one of the Greek-speaking villages south of Gjirokastër for some months so as to improve my sadly rudimentary Greek. (I believe the dialect is somewhat palatalised, if that is the correct word: words like tsipouro and kairos get their first letters pronounced like an Albanian q.) Anyway, that's by the way. Nothing wrong at all, but Greek was used in church in places where the people were not Greek-speaking. I think people should worship God in the language of their home and heart.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 04, 2009, 12:39:55 PM
Maybe it would not be out of place to briefly tell of her death...

This is superb, and most moving. Would you allow me to print it for others to read?

Be my guest.  It's not my story, I'm just relating it.  There are accounts, perhaps on line, by those who were there:

For example:

The Death of Lynette Hoppe, Missionary to Albania
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon


This afternoon (Sept 7) Denise and I put our daughter and her family on the plane to Albania, where they will serve as Orthodox Christian missionaries. They will be joining the Hoppe Family, also from our parish, and the other American missionaries who work under the episcopal authority of Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana.

Only recently did I meet the Archbishop. Indeed, today it is exactly two weeks ago, when I entered the cathedral in Tirana and was introduced to him. The Archbishop kindly invited me to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy with him. On the following Sunday I did so again, and I also accepted his invitation to preach at the Divine Liturgy in the cathedral that Sunday morning.

The Archbishop, who holds the Primatial See in Albania and currently serves as the president of the World Council of Churches, is a man of vast intellect and great heart. Under his brave and wise pastoral leadership the Church in Albania has made great strides since the fall of Communism in that poor country. I am happy to place this part of my family under the pastoral care of so godly a priest.

I went to Albania, as most of you know, to be with one of the parishioners from our little church in Chicago, Lynette Hoppe, whose family has served as missionaries in that country for the past nine years. Lynette was dying, and she had asked me, when I spoke to her by phone just days before, to come and help her die. This being one of the things that priests do, and Lynette being one of my favorite parishioners, I hastened to comply.

I was blessed to be with Lynette and her family during the closing days of her life. In addition to her husband Nathan and her children, Tristan and Catherine, Lynette was surrounded by her father, her older sister, and her three younger brothers, along with Gaye Buchanan and her daughter, Lynette's goddaughter, Rebecca. Gaye herself (the wife of Dr. Tom Buchanan, a Touchstone Senior Editor) has been Lynette's close friend since their college days at Wheaton. Father Luke Veronis, formerly a missionary to Albania, likewise ministered to Lynette during most of that time.

On each of the closing days of her life, including the Sunday on which she died, Lynette was strengthened with the Sacred Viaticum, faithfully carried to her by the priests from the cathedral. The Archbishop also came by to pray with her.

All of us prayed with her constantly during that time. Lynette was blessed to come from a strong family of Evangelical missionaries to Africa. Her father, sister, and brothers led us in singing scores of classical Protestant hymns over the several days, many of their lines assuming new dimensions in my mind by reason of the context. We also sang Orthodox hymns from time to time, including the Cherubic Hymn. (I recalled that St. Elizabeth the New Martyr died while singing that hymn down in the mine shaft where she had been thrown by the Bolsheviks.) The Psalms and other parts of the Holy Scriptures (2 Corinthians 4 & 5 come prominently to mind) were read to Lynette over and over, as we prepared her to meet the Lord.

The final crisis came on Sunday, August 27. By mid-afternoon it was obvious that this was Lynette's last day on earth. Her family and the other American missionaries to Albania filled the room where she sat propped up on a reclining chair. Although she struggled for breath, Lynette did not fight death. She demonstrated the faith, serenity, and deep trust in God that we had always seen in her. On one of the days when I counseled with her last year, I encouraged Lynette not to let the memory of the sufferings of our Lord depart from her mind, and she told me that this had been a great source of strength to her. I rather suspect that this was the subject of that dear soul's final conscious thoughts.

I gave Lynette final Absolution and stayed right at her ear during the final hour or so of her life, praying the Jesus Prayer and gently saying other things to fill her with hope. When Lynette's breath and pulse stopped at 5:14 pm, I placed the Church's stole on her head and prayed the ancient admonition, "Go Forth, Christian Soul, out of this world . . ." Then we all started singing the Trisagion for the Departed. When we finished, I read everybody the 1st Epistle to the Thessalonians 4:13-18. They all gave it a hearty "Amen!"

Something happened about thirty minutes after Lynette died that I have never otherwise seen. Dead already for 30 minutes, Lynette began to smile. Everyone saw it. She was buried with that smile. It was certainly the death of a holy one, precious in the sight of the Lord.

Two days later three bishops, many priests, and hundreds of the faithful laid our sweet Lynette to rest, still wearing that smile. You may see pictures of the funeral at prayforlynette.org.

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/ReardonHoppeAlbania.php

http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/features/lynettes_hope
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on February 04, 2009, 12:51:02 PM
Whats wrong with southern Albanians speaking Greek?

Nothing. I have often thought that if I were young and free, I should greatly enjoy a chance to live in one of the Greek-speaking villages south of Gjirokastër for some months so as to improve my sadly rudimentary Greek. (I believe the dialect is somewhat palatalised, if that is the correct word: words like tsipouro and kairos get their first letters pronounced like an Albanian q.) Anyway, that's by the way. Nothing wrong at all, but Greek was used in church in places where the people were not Greek-speaking. I think people should worship God in the language of their home and heart.

There were many apostles sent out from the time of Pentecost. They spoke in various "tongues" we call languages. Now it seems that the church tried to spread the seeds of Christianity through the world but the world didn't listen. Now that you have found where the people that heard the good news and accepted it are. You grudge us because of your ancestors mistakes. I see. :laugh:
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 04, 2009, 12:53:19 PM
Whats wrong with southern Albanians speaking Greek?

Nothing. I have often thought that if I were young and free, I should greatly enjoy a chance to live in one of the Greek-speaking villages south of Gjirokastër for some months so as to improve my sadly rudimentary Greek. (I believe the dialect is somewhat palatalised, if that is the correct word: words like tsipouro and kairos get their first letters pronounced like an Albanian q.) Anyway, that's by the way. Nothing wrong at all, but Greek was used in church in places where the people were not Greek-speaking. I think people should worship God in the language of their home and heart.

Actually, Archbishop Anastasios, himself a Greek (the EP had to send someone to reconstruct the Church, as only fewer than a dozen priests survived communism, the camps, etc), is quite insistent on Albanian beling used and developed in the Church.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 04, 2009, 02:12:26 PM
Now that you have found where the people that heard the good news and accepted it are. You grudge us because of your ancestors mistakes.

I don't quite understand what you are trying to say, but I guess it is still on the theme of the use of Greek.

If so, you should know that I certainly do not begrudge you the use of Greek, and have already said I would love to have time and opportunity to learn it better than I have by living for some months in a Greek-speaking village.

I do not begrudge any people the use of their native tongue, and I emotionally regret linguistic repression wherever I see it - English repression of Welsh, French of Breton, and any other religious, political, cultural or imperialist instance. I see language death as a sad cultural impoverishment, whatever the reason for which it occurs. People should be allowed full, comprehensive and permanent use of their native tongue, of course including Greek. This includes native Albanian speakers.

But I fear we have wandered away from discussion of theology into politics, and I shall have no more to contribute on this.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 04, 2009, 02:14:59 PM
Archbishop Anastasios, himself a Greek ...

I have read some of his autobiographical writing and I found him an impressive man.

As a matter of interest, it has been said that if he said in Greece the things he says in Albania, he wouldn't get away with it. I cannot comment on whether this is true.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on February 04, 2009, 02:45:56 PM
Please, somebody out there, show me an Orthodox who can't see the forest for the trees, someone who can't see Christ for all the "accretions!"

...The South Albanians alone neither troubled to do this nor to translate the Scriptures. They left all Church matters in Greek hands, and threw in their lot with the Greeks when the final split between the two Churches took place … A large proportion of the priests are Greek, and there is a tendency to replace Albanians by Greeks in the higher posts. Sermons in Albanian are strictly prohibited.

Orthodox Good Friday was very solemn, and everyone flocked to church in black. Avlona has a large Christian population, all Orthodox. The service lasted the whole day; a painted crucifix, draped with black, stood in the middle of the church, and each one kissed the foot on entering. Halfway through the service it was removed, and a table put in its place, on which lay a bier, covered with a black cloth, painted with the body of the dead Christ, for no images are allowed by this church. Two priests carried the bier round the church on their heads, preceded by an incense-bearer, walking backwards, and followed by a procession. The service was all in Greek, and the singing a tuneless nasal yowl. In the late evening the church was crammed to suffocation, and as each one held a lighted candle, it was a glare of yellow light and foggy with smoke. ... The raucous voices, barbaric music, and gaudy, shabby trappings, dim through the smoke, made a dramatic scene which culminated when the priests lifted the bier and carried it from the church; there was a wild scramble of men and boys, who all strove to shove a shoulder under it, if only for a second, as it was borne all round the building, and the whole congregation followed with twinkling candles.

- “The Burden of the Balkans”, by M E Durham (Thomas Nelson, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, & New York)

The Christian Albanians of the south belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church, and here a Greek bishop once even excommunicated the Albanian language, and priests taught that it was useless to pray in Albanian, as Christ does not understand it.

- “People of All Nations” Vol I, page 58 (London: Educational Book Company, ed. J A Hammerton)

Blessing of the Waters. Orthodox custom... takes place on Epiphany, January 6, every year, and is symbolic of the baptism of Christ. It is known to the Orthodox Church as the Great Consecration. The officiating priest plunges a cross into a river and it is retrieved by eager bystanders, usually young men, who dive into the icy water after it. The first person to retrieve the cross is considered particularly lucky. The wet cross is used to sprinkle the now holy water over the believers as a blessing. Water from the river, sea or harbour in question is then considered consecrated for that year... Diving for the cross is also known in the isles of Greece...

- "A Dictionary of Albanian Religion, Mythology, and Folk Culture" Robert Elsie (New York University Press, 2001)

I hasten to add that I could cite equally foolish practices from churches that call themselves Protestant, and not for a single moment am I suggesting or suspecting that your personal religion is like all this. My contention is this: that what we call accretions, and you call the fulness of the faith, carries the risk of obscuring Christ by beliefs and practices which are not found in scripture.


Aside from the whole language issue, how do any of the above practices you cited take away from Christ? If anything, all the practices you cited point towards Christ.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 04, 2009, 02:51:20 PM
Christ is the apostle sent by the Father, ...

Excellent pieces of writing, but I didn't espy a single word in any of them about priesthood. Are you and I misunderstanding each other here? using the same words with different meanings?


I've had some time to post a little on this.  Lord willing, more coming.

To understand Apostolic Succession, you have to first know, who is an Apostle.

First, there is Christ Himself, the font of the Apostolate and the priesthood.

Hebrews 3:1 ὅθεν, ἀδελφοὶ ἅγιοι, κλήσεως ἐπουρανίου μέτοχοι κατανοήσατε τὸν ἀπόστολον καὶ ἀρχιερέα τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν,
Therefore, holy brothers, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Hening on February 04, 2009, 03:57:57 PM

1) By what objective criterion do you conclude that Mormonism is a sect?  And that it does not have a just claim as one of Christ's churches?

Mormonism adopted the name of Jesus Christ in their title in the recent past in order to attract waylayed Christians to their Church.  There are levels of wisdom in the temple that you earn as an active member.  The ultimate goal of a Mormon is to become a god.  God himself, was once mortal according to this cult.  He had two sons, can you guess their names?  Jesus and Satan.  Both tried to come up with a plan to save the human race and allow them to become gods.  Satan's plan was tossed aside for that of Jesus.  You must work towards temple status on this earth and then continue in the afterlife to work towards becoming a god.  This is why Mormons believe that they can convert the dead and keep such an amazing genealogy.

Their faith, much like Islam, is all based on the testimony of one man.  This same man (Joseph Smith) is coming back to judge the living and the dead in one of the south western US states.  Joseph Smith was given the information (which is a parallel to Masonic wisdom and practice) from space travelers, who themselves are on their way to becoming gods.  Also like Islam, they append the faith to an Old and New Testament foundation.  Mormonism has nothing to do with Christ being the savior and the only way to the Father.  Satan is just a poor soul that always loses out when it comes to impressing the gods to his cool brother, Jesus.  God the Father earned his post among other gods starting out as a humanoid on another planet.

Does this sound remotely like Christianity?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Rosehip on February 04, 2009, 04:43:46 PM
As I wade through this thread, and even muse on my own experiences since becoming Orthodox, my only conclusion is that Orthodoxy is so BLATANTLY and POWERFULLY Christian that it is almost too overwhelming (and therefore, often misunderstood) for those who do not live it and experience it first hand. Every single act, ritual,gesture, whatever, directs one to Christ, in a way no other religion that I know of does. But it takes a spirit of humility to understand...
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 04, 2009, 05:35:16 PM
quotes from several!

A number of you have asked for proof that ritual carries the risk of ritualism, and have requested examples of those who have fallen into that risk, presumably of named persons. Of course that is something that cannot be done, for God alone can see the heart. You ask the impossible. The principle can be proved from scripture, both Old and New Testaments, where people worshiped God with their lips but their hearts were far from him: doing the right rite, but not believing and obeying Him. I also gave an example from a Baptist church near here, though without naming it. But you can't expect me to write, "Brother So-and-So is a hypocrite really, you know," or "Mrs Bloggs hasn't a clue what her religion is really all about, she just goes through the motions." Even if I did - which I wouldn't - you'd probably come down on me like a ton of bricks. No - you ask the impossible. But I think the principle is proved in Holy Writ - and I dare say the Fathers have things to say about such people too.

What I can say is this - and I know I have said it before. Try for a moment to think of things the other way round. Imagine you have been an Evangelical all your life. (Some of you were, till you became Orthodox.) So here you are, brought up from the cradle in our minimalist style of church life - plain, unadorned buildings; pastor in the same sort of clothes as any other man; ordinary bread roll from the baker on the Communion table; and so on. And suddenly you encounter Orthodoxy. One of you wrote a few lines further up that Edith Durham (who was English) wrote as she did about Orthodoxy because she didn't know or understand it. Yet she is widely regarded as one of the foremost authorities on Albanian culture, and gained the affection and respect of the Albanians - even though they didn't understand her all the time either ("Why do you wear a straw hat on your head, Miss Durham? Is it part of your religion?").

Anyway, there you are, a good, life-long Evangelical, and you visit Albania, Greece or wherever for the first time and encounter Orthodoxy. You know from scripture that a man can go through the motions of worship without knowing the Lord, and here you see one of the most developed, symbolic rituals ever devised. So how do you react? You assume that the greater the ritual, the greater the risk of ritualism. I submit that regarding some of the worshippers you would be right, that they have fallen into the trap of ritualism, of a superstitious attitude towards the rites  - but it cannot be proved, of course. You  believe it would be mistaken, and that they all know perfectly well what they are doing, what all the ceremony and symbolism means, and that they have spiritually entered into the inner divine meaning and experience of it all. But just as I cannot prove that some do it, neither can you prove that none does it. As the scripture somewhere testifies, "the Day will reveal it."

That you understand the meaning of it all I do not question; that all cradle Orthodox do, and that they find a personal union with Christ, I doubt. Dash it all! If you can be a Baptist and be unsaved, why can't a man be Orthodox and remain unsaved? But we must leave it: it cannot be proven either way. Neither of us can append QED to his post.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 04, 2009, 10:29:23 PM

1) By what objective criterion do you conclude that Mormonism is a sect?  And that it does not have a just claim as one of Christ's churches?

Mormonism adopted the name of Jesus Christ in their title in the recent past in order to attract waylayed Christians to their Church.  There are levels of wisdom in the temple that you earn as an active member.  The ultimate goal of a Mormon is to become a god.  God himself, was once mortal according to this cult.  He had two sons, can you guess their names?  Jesus and Satan.  Both tried to come up with a plan to save the human race and allow them to become gods.  Satan's plan was tossed aside for that of Jesus.  You must work towards temple status on this earth and then continue in the afterlife to work towards becoming a god.  This is why Mormons believe that they can convert the dead and keep such an amazing genealogy.

Their faith, much like Islam, is all based on the testimony of one man.  This same man (Joseph Smith) is coming back to judge the living and the dead in one of the south western US states.  Joseph Smith was given the information (which is a parallel to Masonic wisdom and practice) from space travelers, who themselves are on their way to becoming gods.  Also like Islam, they append the faith to an Old and New Testament foundation.  Mormonism has nothing to do with Christ being the savior and the only way to the Father.  Satan is just a poor soul that always loses out when it comes to impressing the gods to his cool brother, Jesus.  God the Father earned his post among other gods starting out as a humanoid on another planet.

Does this sound remotely like Christianity?

Of course Mormonism is a sect.  That was never the question.  I know what Mormons believe, and of course it's not Christianity.  THat's not the point.

The point is the criterion by which we judge and the authority by which we judge.  As Orthodox, we don't judge by our personal opinion based on our personal interpretation of their theology in comparison to our personal interpretation of the Scriptures.  The Church judges in Her perfect wisdom and knowledge, not us.  The Church judges by the authority given to Her as Christ instituted.  There is no personal opinion on the matter of any one bishop, any one priest, or any one lay person. 

By comparison, David Young was making his judgment of their status as "sect" based on... what?  His judgment was based solely on his personal interpretation of their theology in comparison with his personal interpretation of Scripture.  Of course we agree with him that they are a sect, but we arrive at it by completely different means.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 04, 2009, 10:54:50 PM
quotes from several!

A number of you have asked for proof that ritual carries the risk of ritualism, and have requested examples of those who have fallen into that risk, presumably of named persons. Of course that is something that cannot be done, for God alone can see the heart. You ask the impossible. The principle can be proved from scripture, both Old and New Testaments, where people worshiped God with their lips but their hearts were far from him: doing the right rite, but not believing and obeying Him. I also gave an example from a Baptist church near here, though without naming it. But you can't expect me to write, "Brother So-and-So is a hypocrite really, you know," or "Mrs Bloggs hasn't a clue what her religion is really all about, she just goes through the motions." Even if I did - which I wouldn't - you'd probably come down on me like a ton of bricks. No - you ask the impossible. But I think the principle is proved in Holy Writ - and I dare say the Fathers have things to say about such people too.

What I can say is this - and I know I have said it before. Try for a moment to think of things the other way round. Imagine you have been an Evangelical all your life. (Some of you were, till you became Orthodox.) So here you are, brought up from the cradle in our minimalist style of church life - plain, unadorned buildings; pastor in the same sort of clothes as any other man; ordinary bread roll from the baker on the Communion table; and so on. And suddenly you encounter Orthodoxy. One of you wrote a few lines further up that Edith Durham (who was English) wrote as she did about Orthodoxy because she didn't know or understand it. Yet she is widely regarded as one of the foremost authorities on Albanian culture, and gained the affection and respect of the Albanians - even though they didn't understand her all the time either ("Why do you wear a straw hat on your head, Miss Durham? Is it part of your religion?").

Anyway, there you are, a good, life-long Evangelical, and you visit Albania, Greece or wherever for the first time and encounter Orthodoxy. You know from scripture that a man can go through the motions of worship without knowing the Lord, and here you see one of the most developed, symbolic rituals ever devised. So how do you react? You assume that the greater the ritual, the greater the risk of ritualism. I submit that regarding some of the worshippers you would be right, that they have fallen into the trap of ritualism, of a superstitious attitude towards the rites  - but it cannot be proved, of course. You  believe it would be mistaken, and that they all know perfectly well what they are doing, what all the ceremony and symbolism means, and that they have spiritually entered into the inner divine meaning and experience of it all. But just as I cannot prove that some do it, neither can you prove that none does it. As the scripture somewhere testifies, "the Day will reveal it."

That you understand the meaning of it all I do not question; that all cradle Orthodox do, and that they find a personal union with Christ, I doubt. Dash it all! If you can be a Baptist and be unsaved, why can't a man be Orthodox and remain unsaved? But we must leave it: it cannot be proven either way. Neither of us can append QED to his post.

David, no one is disputing that there are some Orthodox out there who just go through the motions, so to speak.  Sure there are.  Just as there are some Baptist out there that do as well.  What we were asking you to prove was that the ritualism itself is what carries the elevated risk of causing this.  The closest you came in the way to proof was the reference to the OT and NT, and again you stated that this can happen in Baptist churches too.  So... it seems that the answer is as you stated... you can't prove it.  So the question is, why assert it, then?  I'm sincerely asking you to examine why, when you cannot prove the over-generalized statement you have made, you would think it to begin with.  Where did this come from?  What caused this?  Why do you think this?  Maybe therein lies the proof (or disproof) you are looking for. 

We do realize that people are unfamiliar with our way of life and worship.  Believe me, I am acutely aware of it, having ALWAYS been the outcast from first grade until I went to the seminary at age 22 for being so different.  What YOU (or Protestants in general, if you like) must realize is that just because you are unfamiliar with it DOESN'T MAKE IT WRONG.  It just means that you didn't know and are making a snap judgment based on first glance.  That's all.  Period.  The end.  I think we can all (myself included) admit that there is much out there that we don't know about, and just because we don't know doesn't make it inherently bad.   

Of course a person can be Orthodox and remain unsaved.  This is one of the MOST accepted thoughts in Orthodoxy!  It is exactly WHY we scream so loudly against the idea of OSAS.  Because we CAN remain unsaved.  It is why we don't get cocky and assume we are assured of salvation.  Because we CAN remain unsaved.  It's exactly what I was talking about before about constantly struggling in our journey of falls and rises... because we CAN remain unsaved.  Ritualism is just one way that we can remain unsaved... and you are kidding yourself if you think it's unique to Orthodoxy (which I know you said you don't... you just think it's MORE risky... again without any kind of proof, but we'll leave that aside for a moment).  Honestly, the fact that we CAN remain unsaved is one of the ideas that frightens me the most-- that I CAN lose the kingdom because of my repulsive sins.  It strikes awe and wonder in my heart and moves me to tears to think of God's mercy, that, in the terrible state of sin that I am in, He accepts my confessions and forgives me as a penitent and then allows me, his lowly handmaiden, to be united with Him by receiving Him in Holy Communion!

As far as risk is concerned, as we've stated before, everything in life carries risk when it is used out of balance.  In my Sunday School class, we've been talking about pre-marital sex.  Sex is a gift God gave us to enjoy, but when done out of marriage, it is thrown out of balance, and carries all kinds of risks... spiritual and physical.  All things carry risk.  The knee jerk reaction based on unfamiliarity is unnecessary.

So what it basically comes down to is that this is still a baseless generalization with no evidence to back it up.  I'm afraid it is simply propaganda, friend, that you have fallen prey to. 
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 04, 2009, 10:55:35 PM
As I wade through this thread, and even muse on my own experiences since becoming Orthodox, my only conclusion is that Orthodoxy is so BLATANTLY and POWERFULLY Christian that it is almost too overwhelming (and therefore, often misunderstood) for those who do not live it and experience it first hand. Every single act, ritual,gesture, whatever, directs one to Christ, in a way no other religion that I know of does. But it takes a spirit of humility to understand...

Beautifully said, Rosehip!
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 04, 2009, 11:00:24 PM

Aside from the whole language issue, how do any of the above practices you cited take away from Christ? If anything, all the practices you cited point towards Christ.

David Young,

I know that you attempted to answer the rituals question in your last post.  But I'm going to ask you to take another look at Handmaiden's question.  Again, maybe herein lies the proof (or disproof).  You thought we were looking for "WHO" fell away as a result of ritual.  We are not looking for who.  We are, in fact, looking for HOW.  As Handmaiden said, HOW do any of our rituals take away from Christ?  If you say that they distract, please explain HOW they distract.  This is what we're trying to get you to examine.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 05, 2009, 12:31:18 AM
quotes from several!

A number of you have asked for proof that ritual carries the risk of ritualism, and have requested examples of those who have fallen into that risk, presumably of named persons. Of course that is something that cannot be done, for God alone can see the heart. You ask the impossible. The principle can be proved from scripture, both Old and New Testaments, where people worshiped God with their lips but their hearts were far from him

The problem is reading scripture can be just as empty an experience.  I know plenty of atheists who study scripture who don't believe a word: the academies are full of them.  I myself have the problem of reading too much for apologetics, and worse yet, polemics, not enough for devotions.

As Satan showed in the Temptation in the Desert, he knows (savoir, wissen, scire, saber) his scripture, he just doesn't know (γνωρίζω, connaitre, kennen, cogniscire) it.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 05, 2009, 06:03:40 AM
MORE ON SUPERSTITION AND SALVATION

I think it is unlikely that we shall reach intellectual agreement on the matters we have been discussing. However, although you cannot agree with me as an Evangelical, can you at least begin to understand “where we are coming from”? Can you begin to see why, with our background and practices, Orthodoxy gives us the appearance of being encrusted with additional beliefs and practices which impede the way to the centre which is (we all agree) Christ himself? If we can understand each other better, valuable progress has been made.

If I may make a brief excursus into a personal practice, let me say that I am sure that some Evangelicals would frown or be horrified at one or two of my own religious practices, and would deem me dangerously at risk of sliding into superstition. I have made a point of going to pray at Dodoni, which was a place of worship in what is now northern Greece even before the Greeks arrived. Also, I have on a number of occasions taken a 2½-hour or so walk in order to pray at Rhos-y-beddau in the Berwyn Mountains, which was a place of worship at least as long ago as 3500 years. Why pray at pre-Christian sites where pagan rituals were enacted? Certainly not because I think it changes in any way God’s hearing or answering my prayers: but because these “superstitious” practices help me to make those times of prayer special: and in fact I usually do this sort of thing only at times of special need, even crisis.

I realise this is not the same as what you do, because you believe that your “accretions” (as I have called them) are part of Holy Tradition handed down initially orally from the Apostles; but the principle is the same, namely that outward acts can and do enhance our inward intensity, or (if you like) work a sacramental effect.

I can readily see that those who understand what they are doing in your Faith can indeed be helped by such ceremonies. But let me refer to Sergei Bulgakov's "Oration on the Day of Remembrance of the First among the Apostles, Peter and Paul":

And if in early times this preaching was directed primarily at external paganism, in the present day it is directed also at the paganism which arises within Christendom, at that theomachy and Christomachy which is taking place in the entire world...

Now I am quite aware that he is in no way addressing the matters we have been discussing: I draw your attention only to his belief that new paganism can arise within Christendom. I think we should be on our guard against it, for the risk is there.

Now there is a thread entitled something like, “Is there salvation outside of Orthodoxy?” Initially my question would have been the opposite: “Is there salvation inside Orthodoxy?” With your “superstitious accretions” as I saw them, your different use of words, especially the words save and salvation, with your lack of our emphasis on assurance of salvation, I wondered whether there was enough truth left within your church to save the soul. Then I began to read... You know the rest.

But let me share with you one other factor which convinced me that there is salvation inside Orthodoxy, for this line of thought may help you believe the same about us. There have been some impressive and moving posts on these threads about the persecution endured by Orthodox people under Communism, but in itself this proves nothing beyond their personal nobility, for Fascists, Communists and Moslems are ready to suffer and die for their creeds. But I have seen not only the steadfastness of many Orthodox under persecution, but also the active providence of God among them. I have bewailed the small amount of literature you have produced in English about these sufferings, but the little I have been able to get my hands on has contained striking instances of God’s close and effective involvement with you. As one post said, He has preserved you. He has been among you of a truth.

Now my point is this: if you were to read similar literature recording the sufferings of Evangelical people, you would find identical examples of God’s providence and preservation, both of individuals and of the churches as the Lord’s Body on earth. I cannot see these same events as being God in one case, and pure chance, or unaided humanity, or worse the deceiving Devil, on the other. I can draw no other conclusion that God has accepted people in both forms of Christianity.

Finally, there have been several posts on this thread which I have not yet had time to read, before composing this. I shall turn my willing attention to them later.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 05, 2009, 07:37:16 AM
Lynette
http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/ReardonHoppeAlbania.php

Many thanks. This is superb. I have e-mailed the article http link to Albania and various colleagues in Britain.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 05, 2009, 10:06:51 AM
we don't judge by our personal opinion based on our personal interpretation of their theology in comparison to our personal interpretation of the Scriptures.  ... David Young ... his judgment was based solely on his personal interpretation of their theology in comparison with his personal interpretation of Scripture.  Of course we agree with him that they are a sect, but we arrive at it by completely different means.

You see why I wrote somewhere the other day that we're wrong when we're wrong, and still wrong even when we're right!

I wrote at length somewhere - probably repeatedly - about our adherence to hundreds of years of Protestant theology, and our regard for the pronouncements of the councils of the undivided church in the first ca 450 years of its existence. (That was the great theologically productive period; after that theological activity played a lesser part in the church's life.) I don't think I do base my theology on purely personal opinion, thus becoming Pope Wulfsige I or some such in my own mind. I am well aware of the nutty ideas that go round when people do that sort of thing. I think sects are sects because they differ from Christian theology. If you take Mormons, JWs, Christadelphians etc etc and compare them only with what Protestants and Orthodox hold in common, their beliefs are bent by that plumbline.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 05, 2009, 10:37:04 AM
What we were asking you to prove was that the ritualism itself is what carries the elevated risk of causing this.  ...Where did this come from?  ... Ritualism is just one way that we can remain unsaved... you just think it's MORE risky... again without any kind of proof,

1) Where did it come from?

Everyone says it: that is, everyone on my side of the fence. That is the starting point of where the impression comes from. I am answering the question, not justifying the answer.

2) Ritualism is just one way that we can remain unsaved

Then we agree that the risk is there.

3) any kind of proof

I doubt it is susceptible to proof in the sense of objective statistics. I think it could be argued that - if Christ is to be obscured - on balance Orthodoxy carries a greater risk of this happening by means of ritualism than Evangelicalism does.

4) So why do we Evangelicals think ritualism is a risk which is greater in Orthodoxy than it is in Evangelicalism?

You are, I think, leading us more deeply in theology than I have penetrated, and I shan't really believe my own answers. They are ideas for us to mull over. The question of why people are not saved is one I cannot answer. Some say it is simply because they are not among the elect. Even if you put them under the hebdomadal preaching of Billy Graham, John Wesley, John Chrysostom and the Apostle Paul in rotation, they would not respond. I am not saying I believe that, but it is an answer which many give.

But certainly your question penetrates to the matter of the effect of original sin. Has man's free will in regard to salvation been totally obliterated (the doctrine of 'total depravity') or does man retain the ability in his human nature to respond to the Gospel? I know the Orthodox answer, and I know the Augustinian answer.

I am not rambling off the point, or "side-stepping" as you sometimes feel I do. The question of why any person in a Baptist or Orthodox church remains unconverted draws its answer at least partly from one's view of the effect of the Fall.

But if, for the sake of argument, we concede the Orthodox / Arminian position, that man does retain the ability to respond to the Gospel, we are faced with a different set of questions: Why do some people desire to find God and others don't? And what aspects of the different forms of Christianity hinder that finding in those various forms? (Allowing, please, for a moment that there are different forms.) And to what extent does the attractiveness and clarity of the church's presentation of Christ play a part in that person's desiring to find Him, and actually finding Him?

Our Lord's parable tells us that there are things which spring up and choke the progress of the Word in our lives. Can religious ritual be one of them? If person A sees person B praying to the saints, kissing icons, using a dead or generally unknown language in ritual, being united with Christ by eating his body and drinking his blood, can person A be deflected from Christ into observing only these outer practices? I say that he can: I do not say that you have - indeed, your writings make me more assured of your salvation than you are yourself! But I am saying (a) that that risk does exist; and (b) that it is a stronger presence in your sumptuous liturgies than it is in our plain, minimalist churches.

That is partly why so many Evangelicals begin by assuming (and continue to assume) that probably virtually no Orthodox are saved at all! They have not joined this Net; they have not read your writers. But the ritual they see, and their lack of contact with believing Orthodox, plays a large part in sustaining their impressions.

Now I did write on one thread that the fault does not lie all on our side for our misconceptions, for it can be extremely difficult to get Orthodox people to respond to approaches from us, and so we do not get the opportunity we need to revise our perceptions. I listed some of the rebuffs I have had - but you only need to read Peter Gillquist to believe me. The Orthodox habit of saying that we are not Christians does drive us to the idea that Orthodox do not understand what a Christian is. What happens on this Net needs to happen much more widely, and in many other ways, especially in personal face to face contact. But I have also written that before.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 05, 2009, 11:52:36 AM
What we were asking you to prove was that the ritualism itself is what carries the elevated risk of causing this.  ...Where did this come from?  ... Ritualism is just one way that we can remain unsaved... you just think it's MORE risky... again without any kind of proof,

1) Where did it come from?

Everyone says it: that is, everyone on my side of the fence. That is the starting point of where the impression comes from. I am answering the question, not justifying the answer.

Well... that is an answer...  You realize that this answer displays a surprisingly shocking lack of thinking for oneself on your side of the fence?  Maybe someone should give some thought and research to it before continuing to spew it to others (I don't mean you, I mean those who don't bother to look into it and just repeat it).

Quote
2) Ritualism is just one way that we can remain unsaved

Then we agree that the risk is there.
Oh for heaven's sake... :)  I'm not agreeing to this in the way you want me to agree.  As I said, of course there is a risk, but no more so than there is in Evangelicalism.  In fact, I'd say less risk than in Evangelicalism.  In the Evangelical Churches, you don't really have to do anything in Church.  You come, listen, sing, raise your hands maybe (yes, pray, obviously--- I'm not saying any of this to be demeaning, I'm trying to make a point).  Orthodox worship involves ALL FIVE senses in an extremely intense way--- we hear the music and the liturgy (and sing along), we smell the incense, we touch the icons (venerating them and the priest's hand-- the living icon), we receive Holy Communion (touch and taste), we see the icons, Church, Liturgy, etc.  You get the idea.  This is specifically so that we DON'T just go through the motions.  It is difficult to be confronted, so to speak, in all sensory areas of our physical being, and NOT participate.  We worship Christ with our bodies, not just our souls.  We use the matter that He created and sanctified TO HIS GLORY, as He intended.  We HAVE to participate.  The Liturgy (litourgia) is the "work of the people."  If we don't participate, it doesn't happen.  It's not dependent on one person doing everything (the preacher in your case, or the choir) with everyone else just paying attention and singing along.  No.  Liturgy is WORK.  It's HARD WORK.  Most of us spend our Sunday afternoons taking our PLN (post liturgical nap-- an extremely common term here in the US, because it is well known that we are all tired after Liturgy from doing battle), in fact, because it IS such hard work!!!  How hard do you work in your worship, as a layperson?  I find it far more risky to fall away in a worship service where I don't have to do anything. 

Entire books have been written about how to participate in an Orthodox Liturgy.  My favorite is "Living the Liturgy" by Father Stanley Harakas.  You should read it.  You might find it quite enlightening and enriching, to see what depth of worship there is in the Liturgy, unmatched in any other worship service in any faith in all the world.


Quote
3) any kind of proof

I doubt it is susceptible to proof in the sense of objective statistics. I think it could be argued that - if Christ is to be obscured - on balance Orthodoxy carries a greater risk of this happening by means of ritualism than Evangelicalism does.
I'm not asking for statistics, David.  You gave what you felt were two anecdotal answers to the question (from Albania).  I presume you thought these two stories would answer the question.  In fact, they did not.  All they were were uneducated, biased descriptions of that ritualism.  But they did not actually answer the question.  What Handmaiden and I are saying is HOW do those services portray the risk?  The mere presence of ritual is not a risk!!!!  You'll have to show me how those particular rituals that you gave as examples are risky.  Up to now you have not done this.

Quote
4) So why do we Evangelicals think ritualism is a risk which is greater in Orthodoxy than it is in Evangelicalism?

You are, I think, leading us more deeply in theology than I have penetrated, and I shan't really believe my own answers. They are ideas for us to mull over. The question of why people are not saved is one I cannot answer. Some say it is simply because they are not among the elect. Even if you put them under the hebdomadal preaching of Billy Graham, John Wesley, John Chrysostom and the Apostle Paul in rotation, they would not respond. I am not saying I believe that, but it is an answer which many give.
I think the only answer you have been able to give to this question is, "because there is MORE ritualism in Orthodoxy, thus more risk."  But as I said, the mere presence of ritualism is not a risk.  You have to prove how OUR ritualism, as opposed to YOURS (which I'm sure you will admit that you have-- the refusal of ritualism in itself IS a ritual) is OBSCURING CHRIST.  This is what you asserted, this is what you must prove.  Not why some are saved and others aren't.  HOW DO OUR RITUALS OBSCURE CHRIST?  This is not a quantity question (who, or how many), this is a quality question (HOW do OUR rituals...).  Am I maybe being clearer than I was before?

Quote
But certainly your question penetrates to the matter of the effect of original sin. Has man's free will in regard to salvation been totally obliterated (the doctrine of 'total depravity') or does man retain the ability in his human nature to respond to the Gospel? I know the Orthodox answer, and I know the Augustinian answer.
To be honest, I'm a little lost with this line of thinking.  I don't see how original sin relates to ritualism obscuring Christ, so I will ask you to, for the moment, put it aside and stick to the current question.  Maybe another thread would be the place for discussion of original sin.

Quote
I am not rambling off the point, or "side-stepping" as you sometimes feel I do.
LOL, it does kind of feel like that's what's happening here!   :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Quote
The question of why any person in a Baptist or Orthodox church remains unconverted draws its answer at least partly from one's view of the effect of the Fall.
Again, I think we can leave this question to another thread for the moment so that we may answer what we have been discussing and move on to this later...

Quote
But if, for the sake of argument, we concede the Orthodox / Arminian position, that man does retain the ability to respond to the Gospel, we are faced with a different set of questions: Why do some people desire to find God and others don't? And what aspects of the different forms of Christianity hinder that finding in those various forms? (Allowing, please, for a moment that there are different forms.) And to what extent does the attractiveness and clarity of the church's presentation of Christ play a part in that person's desiring to find Him, and actually finding Him?
Okay, this question is a tad closer.  See below.

Quote
Our Lord's parable tells us that there are things which spring up and choke the progress of the Word in our lives. Can religious ritual be one of them? If person A sees person B praying to the saints, kissing icons, using a dead or generally unknown language in ritual, being united with Christ by eating his body and drinking his blood, can person A be deflected from Christ into observing only these outer practices? I say that he can: I do not say that you have - indeed, your writings make me more assured of your salvation than you are yourself! But I am saying (a) that that risk does exist; and (b) that it is a stronger presence in your sumptuous liturgies than it is in our plain, minimalist churches.
But we do NOT make the Gospel relevant... I say this because that is exactly what the Divine Liturgy is... It is the GOSPEL IN ACTION (in both the literal and spiritual sense).  WE do not make the GOSPEL relevant.  The Gospel is inherently relevant.  It is ALWAYS relevant, in all times and all places.  If it is preached earnestly, reverently, with zeal of faith and with love, then indeed, it will be welcomed into the hearts of the people.  This is where the sermon comes in, as far as our worship services.  That is why the Liturgy is structured the way that it is.  The first half is the instructive part-- with the Epistle, Gospel, and Sermon.  This goes a little bit to discussion of the purpose of the ritual, the purpose of the Liturgy.  Instruction is only ONE part.  And if the person who walked in off the street comes in to see communion and doesn't understand what's happening, then, frankly, they should have arrived earlier, at the beginning of the Liturgy.  We're not going to rewind, or stop and explain, because the person was late.  They should have gotten there on time (and this goes for Orthodox, too, as we all know punctuality is not something that is stressed in many Orthodox cultures).

Our responsibility is really to DEMONSTRATE the Gospel, which is EXACTLY what we do in the Divine Liturgy and in our daily lives-- and in a myriad of ways.  Our worship is only part of how we do it.  You cannot judge Orthodoxy based on one little thing taken out of context.  You must look at the whole.  The whole of the Liturgy, the whole of the lifestyle, the whole of belief.  A person walking in off the streets into an Evangelical service can be just as confused as you say one walking into an Orthodox service can.  The key is, what do they do about it?  THIS is the question we cannot answer.  That is up to each individual, which is why I will say:

Our responsibility is NOT to spoon-feed it to the people.  They must, have you have stressed so many times before, grab hold of it and believe themselves.

Quote
That is partly why so many Evangelicals begin by assuming (and continue to assume) that probably virtually no Orthodox are saved at all!
You know what happens when we assume...

Quote
They have not joined this Net; they have not read your writers. But the ritual they see, and their lack of contact with believing Orthodox, plays a large part in sustaining their impressions.
There's nothing we can do about that.  We are not going to change our worship because some people out there may get the wrong impression.  This is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. 

Quote
Now I did write on one thread that the fault does not lie all on our side for our misconceptions, for it can be extremely difficult to get Orthodox people to respond to approaches from us, and so we do not get the opportunity we need to revise our perceptions. I listed some of the rebuffs I have had - but you only need to read Peter Gillquist to believe me. The Orthodox habit of saying that we are not Christians does drive us to the idea that Orthodox do not understand what a Christian is. What happens on this Net needs to happen much more widely, and in many other ways, especially in personal face to face contact. But I have also written that before.

Yes, you have, and this is a discussion for a different thread entirely.  All that I will write here is that it goes both ways.  Did it ever occur to you that we don't go seeking out others to talk about our faith because, nine times out of ten it is met with nothing more than "you're going to hell!"  Why would we want to enter into dialogue that is, not, in fact, diologue, but rather a monologue of us saying what we believe and others, out of lack of knowledge and pure stubbornness and pride, refusing to hear it!?!  And, in our experience, nine out of ten approaches from your side of the fence have been for the purposes of judging and converting us!  Why would we want to expose ourselves to that?  We're happy where we are.  And we do the most important thing-- more important than approaching Protestants (which I still think is a completely ludicrous idea, no offense)-- we PRAY FOR THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH.  This is the single, most important, most powerful thing we can do.  Do YOU all pray for unity of the church on your side?  Probably not, since you seem to have the (albeit mistaken) idea that the Church is unified.  Again, a topic for another thread.  Oh, wait, that is this thread, isn't it?  :)  I actually forgot, we've gone so far from the original post.  :)

I want to say one other thing.  If a person falls into ritualism, where they are going through the motions and not worshipping with their heart, this is a personal problem unique to them.  The misuse or abuse of the Liturgy by an individual believer does not mean that the Liturgy itself is inherently bad.  This is what you have asserted, however.  That the ritual itself of the Liturgy is bad.  This is what you must prove.  To throw out the Liturgy (the thought of which makes me devastatingly sad) would be a PERFECT example of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, which many Orthodox will tell you is exactly what Protestantism did.  It was a knee-jerk reaction to the problems in the Catholic Church (which were ABUSES), and became more extreme and more extreme and more extreme as time went (I think Luther would be appalled at some Protestant practices and beliefs-- like the refusal to accept the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, which he himself believed).  It totally threw out the baby with the bathwater.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Alveus Lacuna on February 05, 2009, 03:32:04 PM
I wrote at length somewhere - probably repeatedly - about our adherence to hundreds of years of Protestant theology, and our regard for the pronouncements of the councils of the undivided church in the first ca 450 years of its existence. (That was the great theologically productive period; after that theological activity played a lesser part in the church's life.)

So you readily admit that you are also adhering to a theological tradition yourself?  By what criterion to you decide to accept certain councils and reject others?  Again, this is not a buffet.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Mark of Ephesus on February 05, 2009, 04:20:02 PM
The question was raised in another thread, and I think it bears exploration, of the existence of a one true church...

David Young said the following:
Quote
Could it boil down to this? That we start from quite different ground, but each is assuming the other can be brought round to his/her own point of view.

Your belief is that there exists such a thing as "the only true church". I know I put that rather crassly, but you know what I mean.

I start from the belief that there exists no such thing as "the only true Church".

As far as I know, there are only two claimants to the title: Rome and Orthodoxy. (I am not aware of such bodies as Copts, Waldensians etc making that claim.)  Let me say at once that, if I believed there was such an entity as the only true church, I think you have a much stronger case than Rome and I would 'vote' for Orthodoxy every time. You win (I think) every argument...

...except the basic one, which is: Does such a thing exist in the first place?


As you know, our view is that - as you rightly say yourselves - the Lord has only one Body; but we believe that body is made up of all the redeemed, invisibly joined in union with Christ by his indwelling Spirit, whether they come to him through Orthodoxy (as you have, it seems (I say that, only because you rightly say that in the final analysis only God knows who is saved, not because I imply any doubt on my part of your salvation)), through Methodism (as I did), and so on.
Emphasis mine


I'm going to sleep on this tonight, as it is getting late.  But I would love to see responses to the question.  Anyone wanna take a stab at it?

God bless!
Presbytera Mari


I believe and confess that the Holy Orthodox Faith is the one True Church and Faith handed down, inviolate and pure from the Apostles.
(Anything else is just a cheap imitation, don't settle for look-alikes!) :)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on February 05, 2009, 05:04:35 PM
I believe and confess that the Holy Orthodox Faith is the one True Church and Faith handed down, inviolate and pure from the Apostles.
(Anything else is just a cheap imitation, don't settle for look-alikes!) :)
That's nice.  So how does a mere statement of what you believe (and what I hope all Orthodox believe) actually contribute to this thread? ???  You haven't provided any new arguments for why you believe as you do and why those who don't should.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Mark of Ephesus on February 05, 2009, 06:37:30 PM
I believe and confess that the Holy Orthodox Faith is the one True Church and Faith handed down, inviolate and pure from the Apostles.
(Anything else is just a cheap imitation, don't settle for look-alikes!) :)
That's nice.  So how does a mere statement of what you believe (and what I hope all Orthodox believe) actually contribute to this thread? ???  You haven't provided any new arguments for why you believe as you do and why those who don't should.


I wasn't trying to do anything OTHER than making a statement about what I believe. 

1. Why?  Because I am blessed to realize the truth.
2. Why should those that don't?  Because any other belief is in error.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on February 05, 2009, 06:42:30 PM
I believe and confess that the Holy Orthodox Faith is the one True Church and Faith handed down, inviolate and pure from the Apostles.
(Anything else is just a cheap imitation, don't settle for look-alikes!) :)
That's nice.  So how does a mere statement of what you believe (and what I hope all Orthodox believe) actually contribute to this thread? ???  You haven't provided any new arguments for why you believe as you do and why those who don't should.


I wasn't trying to do anything OTHER than making a statement about what I believe. 

1. Why?  Because I am blessed to realize the truth.
2. Why should those that don't?  Because any other belief is in error.
Others have provided cogent arguments why any other belief is in error.  Can you?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 05, 2009, 06:44:40 PM
So you readily admit that you are also adhering to a theological tradition yourself? 

Yes.

Quote
By what criterion to you decide to accept certain councils and reject others? 

Well... I suppose it's part of that theological tradition. Despite what people say about our personal papal aspirations, I for one am not following a uniquely personal conviction.

Quote
Again, this is not a buffet.

The creeds issued by early, ecumenical councils do seem to enjoy universal acceptance. As I wrote in an earlier post, the period till about 450 AD was the first theologically creative period in the early church. At this stage I know too little to explain in detail: to look back to them is part of the tradition shared by Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox.

Gracanica I was there a few months ago.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 05, 2009, 07:03:38 PM
this answer displays a surprisingly shocking lack of thinking for oneself ... someone should give some thought and research to it before continuing to spew it to others

I fear we are talking about different things. You may say that it is all in my imagination, but it seems to me that there are areas of the world - and have historically been periods of time - where Orthodoxy holds sway, where people are poorly educated or perhaps illiterate, where priests are poorly trained and in any case in very short supply, where preaching extends at a maximum to seven minutes and may in fact not be given at all, where churches have to hold services on a monthly rota because there are insufficient priests even for one service a Sunday in each church - but where the people are invited to go through certain rituals: baptism, Eucharist, chrismation, lenten fasting, liturgy &c.. I believe they can fix their faith upon doing the right thing, and not reach understanding of what it all symbolises. Especially in such circumstances, the greater the ritual, the greater the risk of ritualism - that is, of fixing one's hopes of salvation upon performing the outward rites.

When an Evangelical comes into such a community and finds he is publicly cursed from the pulpit, along with any kind-hearted people who offer him accommodation, and it is published that he is a son of Judas Iscariot, it is not entirely "a surprisingly shocking lack of thinking for oneself" if he erroneously concludes that the very system is not Christian.

But may I tentatively suggest that you and I will probably not reach complete agreement on the question of the risk of ritualism? Also I fear I may perhaps have written all I can think of on the subject without becoming crushingly repetitive. It would be better if we could each, with a reluctant sigh, cross out the hoped-for QED at the end of our post and take a glass of raki together in Christian fellowship.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: PeterTheAleut on February 05, 2009, 07:23:04 PM
I believe and confess that the Holy Orthodox Faith is the one True Church and Faith handed down, inviolate and pure from the Apostles.
(Anything else is just a cheap imitation, don't settle for look-alikes!) :)
That's nice.  So how does a mere statement of what you believe (and what I hope all Orthodox believe) actually contribute to this thread? ???  You haven't provided any new arguments for why you believe as you do and why those who don't should.


I wasn't trying to do anything OTHER than making a statement about what I believe. 

1. Why?  Because I am blessed to realize the truth.
2. Why should those that don't?  Because any other belief is in error.
Others have provided cogent arguments why any other belief is in error.  Can you?
Otherwise, you're spouting nothing but your own prideful triumphalism.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: LBK on February 05, 2009, 07:25:03 PM
Dear David

A short post for now: Regarding the notion of "ritualism" and "accretions": Let me assure you that there is nothing in Orthodoxy (doctrine, theology or praxis) that is random or accidental. Everything has a meaning. Everything has a purpose. Everything is linked. Scripture, doctrine, iconography, liturgy, hymnody, vestments, everything. EVERYTHING. Pull out even one of these elements, and it is no longer the fullness of the faith. This is the great tragedy of the Reformation. In its attempt to remove the accretions of Rome (true accretions, such as the selling of indulgences, papal supremacy, etc), the protestant faith emasculated itself, becoming a shadow of the Apostolic faith.

Have you ever been to an Orthodox liturgy, David? Or, better still, to an Orthodox vigil (the evening service of Vespers and Matins), conducted in a language you can understand? Have you ever been moved to venerate an icon? Or at least to learn about what iconography is, and why it is an integral and indispensible part of Orthodox worship? Have you read and contemplated the priestly prayers intoned inaudibly during the Liturgy while the priest is in  the altar, prayers that those in the nave do not hear aloud? Have you read and pondered on each prayer a priest intones when putting on each item of his vestments in preparation for serving? Were you even aware of the existence of such things? If not, I, and others, can certainly help in this department.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Mark of Ephesus on February 05, 2009, 08:48:39 PM
I believe and confess that the Holy Orthodox Faith is the one True Church and Faith handed down, inviolate and pure from the Apostles.
(Anything else is just a cheap imitation, don't settle for look-alikes!) :)
That's nice.  So how does a mere statement of what you believe (and what I hope all Orthodox believe) actually contribute to this thread? ???  You haven't provided any new arguments for why you believe as you do and why those who don't should.


I wasn't trying to do anything OTHER than making a statement about what I believe. 

1. Why?  Because I am blessed to realize the truth.
2. Why should those that don't?  Because any other belief is in error.
Others have provided cogent arguments why any other belief is in error.  Can you?
Otherwise, you're spouting nothing but your own prideful triumphalism.



You guys are a piece of WORK!  I give a profession of Faith to express my fervent belief in Orthodoxy, and I get slammed.  You should be ashamed of yourself.

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: scamandrius on February 05, 2009, 09:08:15 PM
[. I believe they can fix their faith upon doing the right thing, and not reach understanding of what it all symbolises. Especially in such circumstances, the greater the ritual, the greater the risk of ritualism - that is, of fixing one's hopes of salvation upon performing the outward rites.

Until we reach theosis we can only approach God through symbols and through the mysteries.  We cannot just reach Him and enter into His presence because of our sin. It takes time.  That should not discourage ritual, though.  I think you lack what ritual really is.  It is not an antiquated rule book.  It is a means by which we recreate or re-present, in sacred time, which encompasses past, present and future all together.  That is why the verbs, for the most part, in a Divine Liturgy or the Offices are in the present tense, because everything is happening or re-happening now and we are drawn into a timelessness that we can otherwise not recreate on our own.  This is God's work here. 

Frequently you have said that you and others who share your belief shy away from such things as "ritual" because it could possibly, not always, but has only the possibility in taking away from what is due to God and so you bound yourselves to individual whims.  How does what you do as an individual automatically give greater glory to the majesty of God than the "rituals" that we Orthodox use each week?  Individual whims are just as or even more prone to corruption.  But we have on our side the witness of the Church, the Fathers and the Spirit.   You have only your own individual belief which can change at a moment's notice.  Which approach, above all, lacks humility?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on February 05, 2009, 09:39:36 PM
He doesn't know what he is saying. They have rituals too. they baptize. Why baptize at all if everything is spiritual?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Marc1152 on February 05, 2009, 09:48:34 PM
...we see yours as encrusted with accretions which carry the danger of eclipsing Christ, making him harder to find and lay hold of...

[light hearted sarcasm] You know, I just love it when people make this assertion. [/light hearted sarcasm]

I would love for SOMEONE, PLEASE to PROVE this!!!!  Please, somebody out there, show me an Orthodox who can't see the forest for the trees, someone who can't see Christ for all the "accretions!"  Because, I'll tell ya, I've known a WHOLE lot of Orthodox in my time (having essentially been a member of five or six separate parishes and visiting countless others), and I have NEVER seen anyone who has had this issue.  It's a heck of an assertion without one stitch of proof.  You're opinion is that we can't see Christ, but you are not us, you are not among us, you are not of us, you know not our faith.  So, please, explain to me how it is that you know this. 

Just curious...  :)

The problem here is that we have totally different World Views staring at each other trying to make sense of practices through the lens of alien paradigms .

Orthodoxy is Eastern. It involves actual practice, physically not just mentally. The purpose is Theosis, to become more Like the Lord and to acquire the Holy Spirit.
If you were a Zen Buddhist ( Also "Eastern") you could not just read about meditating, or discuss meditating or agree that meditating is good. You would have to actually practice meditation.

In the West you believe, then go to Church to express your belief and gain encouragement to continue to believe. Perhaps you are motivated to develop in the Virtues and be moral and serve the poor etc. But there is no notion of Theosis, of actual transformation of body and soul by means of the salvic pratices of the Church. That is why so much of what we do looks like "Rituals" ( ie "Empty Rituals) to Protestants.

In the West, you build yourself up more and more like ascending a pyramid. Bigger.. better ..stronger... till you reach the top. It corresponds to what we find in secular society. It is also why some Protestant groups have morphed into little more than health wealth and happiness cults.

But in the East the paradigm looks more like a funnel, the inverse of a pyramid. We look to empty ourselves. Recede from the World more and more, living for others. It's an ascetical practice that does not compute to the Western mind set very well until they actually show up at our door step and are willing to immerse themselves.


Marc
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on February 05, 2009, 09:58:10 PM
I think the other thing to take into consideration David is that a large amount of your exposure to Orthodoxy has been in a country whose government tried to anhilate anything to do with God. I think everyone here will agree that some of the churches in Albania may not be the best example of what a healthy Orthodox parish is like. (No offense intended to our Orthodox brothers and sisters in Albania.)

However, you live on an island where healthy Orthodox parishes do exist, and they are not under fear of being killed. (Always a good thing.  :) )

As others have suggested before, and I shall suggest again, you need to visit an Orthodox Church. If you can't get there for Liturgy, go for Vespers. (Vespers is my personal favorite service.)

Go and soak it all in.

Then come back and talk to us about empty ritual.  ;)  ;D

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: John of the North on February 05, 2009, 09:58:22 PM
I believe and confess that the Holy Orthodox Faith is the one True Church and Faith handed down, inviolate and pure from the Apostles.
(Anything else is just a cheap imitation, don't settle for look-alikes!) :)
That's nice.  So how does a mere statement of what you believe (and what I hope all Orthodox believe) actually contribute to this thread? ???  You haven't provided any new arguments for why you believe as you do and why those who don't should.


I wasn't trying to do anything OTHER than making a statement about what I believe. 

1. Why?  Because I am blessed to realize the truth.
2. Why should those that don't?  Because any other belief is in error.
Others have provided cogent arguments why any other belief is in error.  Can you?
Otherwise, you're spouting nothing but your own prideful triumphalism.



You guys are a piece of WORK!  I give a profession of Faith to express my fervent belief in Orthodoxy, and I get slammed.  You should be ashamed of yourself.



If you can't stand the heat...
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on February 05, 2009, 10:01:27 PM
You guys are a piece of WORK!  I give a profession of Faith to express my fervent belief in Orthodoxy, and I get slammed.  You should be ashamed of yourself.

Not for nothing Mark, but you weren't really adding anything new to the conversation. The question of whether or not Orthodox believe if we are the One, True, Church is not the issue.

The issue is proving this fact to our Protestant friends.

You did nothing to advance the conversation in that direction, and it was obvious you haven't been following the conversation. If you're not going to advance the conversation, don't participate.

We're not here to declare the obvious.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Mark of Ephesus on February 05, 2009, 10:37:54 PM
I believe and confess that the Holy Orthodox Faith is the one True Church and Faith handed down, inviolate and pure from the Apostles.
(Anything else is just a cheap imitation, don't settle for look-alikes!) :)
That's nice.  So how does a mere statement of what you believe (and what I hope all Orthodox believe) actually contribute to this thread? ???  You haven't provided any new arguments for why you believe as you do and why those who don't should.


I wasn't trying to do anything OTHER than making a statement about what I believe. 

1. Why?  Because I am blessed to realize the truth.
2. Why should those that don't?  Because any other belief is in error.
Others have provided cogent arguments why any other belief is in error.  Can you?
Otherwise, you're spouting nothing but your own prideful triumphalism.



You guys are a piece of WORK!  I give a profession of Faith to express my fervent belief in Orthodoxy, and I get slammed.  You should be ashamed of yourself.



If you can't stand the heat...


Yep. Real Christian of you.  Have you ever stopped to think that maybe, just maybe I misunderstood what was going on?
But that's OK, don't make a mistake or my ORTHODOX BROTHERS WILL SLAM ME.  (what a wonderful example to the heterodox)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: username! on February 05, 2009, 10:43:49 PM
I believe and confess that the Holy Orthodox Faith is the one True Church and Faith handed down, inviolate and pure from the Apostles.
(Anything else is just a cheap imitation, don't settle for look-alikes!) :)
That's nice.  So how does a mere statement of what you believe (and what I hope all Orthodox believe) actually contribute to this thread? ???  You haven't provided any new arguments for why you believe as you do and why those who don't should.


I wasn't trying to do anything OTHER than making a statement about what I believe. 

1. Why?  Because I am blessed to realize the truth.
2. Why should those that don't?  Because any other belief is in error.
Others have provided cogent arguments why any other belief is in error.  Can you?
Otherwise, you're spouting nothing but your own prideful triumphalism.



You guys are a piece of WORK!  I give a profession of Faith to express my fervent belief in Orthodoxy, and I get slammed.  You should be ashamed of yourself.



If you can't stand the heat...


Yep. Real Christian of you.  Have you ever stopped to think that maybe, just maybe I misunderstood what was going on?
But that's OK, don't make a mistake or my ORTHODOX BROTHERS WILL SLAM ME.  (what a wonderful example to the heterodox)

But it was perfectly ok for you to slam your Orthodox brother in another thread, the Ecumenical Patriarch?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Mark of Ephesus on February 05, 2009, 10:47:42 PM
I believe and confess that the Holy Orthodox Faith is the one True Church and Faith handed down, inviolate and pure from the Apostles.
(Anything else is just a cheap imitation, don't settle for look-alikes!) :)

   
That's nice.  So how does a mere statement of what you believe (and what I hope all Orthodox believe) actually contribute to this thread? ???  You haven't provided any new arguments for why you believe as you do and why those who don't should.


I wasn't trying to do anything OTHER than making a statement about what I believe. 

1. Why?  Because I am blessed to realize the truth.
2. Why should those that don't?  Because any other belief is in error.
Others have provided cogent arguments why any other belief is in error.  Can you?
Otherwise, you're spouting nothing but your own prideful triumphalism.



You guys are a piece of WORK!  I give a profession of Faith to express my fervent belief in Orthodoxy, and I get slammed.  You should be ashamed of yourself.



If you can't stand the heat...


Yep. Real Christian of you.  Have you ever stopped to think that maybe, just maybe I misunderstood what was going on?
But that's OK, don't make a mistake or my ORTHODOX BROTHERS WILL SLAM ME.  (what a wonderful example to the heterodox)

But it was perfectly ok for you to slam your Orthodox brother in another thread, the Ecumenical Patriarch?

I apologized for that, and that was not intentional. Big Difference. I guess forgiveness is a problem here as well.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: LBK on February 05, 2009, 10:56:28 PM
C'mon, kiddies, grow up. What sort of an example are you giving to the non-Orthodox posters? Especially on a thread called "One True Church".  ::)
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 05, 2009, 11:33:46 PM
MORE ON SUPERSTITION AND SALVATION

I think it is unlikely that we shall reach intellectual agreement on the matters we have been discussing. However, although you cannot agree with me as an Evangelical, can you at least begin to understand “where we are coming from”?

Having been there, done that, I can do more than begin to understand.

I've learned better.

Quote
Can you begin to see why, with our background and practices, Orthodoxy gives us the appearance of being encrusted with additional beliefs and practices which impede the way to the centre which is (we all agree) Christ himself? If we can understand each other better, valuable progress has been made.

Let's give a concrete example: worship.  I was shocked, when I went to an Evangelical service after years of Divine Liturgy, to realize how LITTLE scripture is in the "service."  Except for the sermon references to verse numbers (something I find annoying: the numbering is a medieval encrustation on the text. Rather than rattling off numbers, how about engaging the texts), not much Bible.  Fr. Constantine Nasr has gone through the entire Divine Liturgy, alongside which he places the Scripture from which the DL either reporduces verbatim or alludes to.  An extremely large part is nothing but scripture.  I recall that it was not until I had embraced Orthodoxy that it clicked that the Western Rite communion prayer "O Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I will be healed," a response I loved whenever I visited friends' liturgy, was adapted scripture (Luke 7:7).

Quote
If I may make a brief excursus into a personal practice, let me say that I am sure that some Evangelicals would frown or be horrified at one or two of my own religious practices, and would deem me dangerously at risk of sliding into superstition. I have made a point of going to pray at Dodoni, which was a place of worship in what is now northern Greece even before the Greeks arrived. Also, I have on a number of occasions taken a 2½-hour or so walk in order to pray at Rhos-y-beddau in the Berwyn Mountains, which was a place of worship at least as long ago as 3500 years. Why pray at pre-Christian sites where pagan rituals were enacted? Certainly not because I think it changes in any way God’s hearing or answering my prayers: but because these “superstitious” practices help me to make those times of prayer special: and in fact I usually do this sort of thing only at times of special need, even crisis.

I realise this is not the same as what you do, because you believe that your “accretions” (as I have called them) are part of Holy Tradition handed down initially orally from the Apostles; but the principle is the same, namely that outward acts can and do enhance our inward intensity, or (if you like) work a sacramental effect.

You're beginning to understand.

Quote
I can readily see that those who understand what they are doing in your Faith can indeed be helped by such ceremonies. But let me refer to Sergei Bulgakov's "Oration on the Day of Remembrance of the First among the Apostles, Peter and Paul":

And if in early times this preaching was directed primarily at external paganism, in the present day it is directed also at the paganism which arises within Christendom, at that theomachy and Christomachy which is taking place in the entire world...

Now I am quite aware that he is in no way addressing the matters we have been discussing: I draw your attention only to his belief that new paganism can arise within Christendom. I think we should be on our guard against it, for the risk is there.

St. Simeon the New Theologian got his title just from dealing with this problem.  It is also the reason why see speak of convertion even after the water and chrism has long dried.  St. Sisoes the Great's life demonstrates convertion is not an event in Orthodoxy, but a process:
Quote
Unusually strict with himself, St. Sisoes was very merciful and sympathetic toward his neighbors, and received everyone with love. The Venerable Saint taught his visitors humility. Asked by the monastics whether for a monk who had fallen into sin one year of repentance was sufficient, St. Sisoes replied: “I believe in the mercy of our Man-loving God, and if a man should repent with all his soul, God will accept his repentance in three days.”

As Venerable St. Sisoes lay on his deathbed, the disciples gathered around their elder noticed that his face had become radiant. They asked the dying man what he beheld. Abba Sisoes replied that he was looking upon the Holy Prophets and Apostles. His disciples asked him “With whom are you conversing?” He answered that the Angels had come for his soul, and that he was asking them for but a little more time in which to repent. His disciples objected: “Father, you are not in need of repentance.” However, with great humility, the Saint replied: “Truly, I do not know whether I have even begun to repent.” As soon as he had uttered those words, his face became so radiant that the brethren could not dare look upon it. The Venerable Saint had just managed to relate to them that he beheld the Lord Himself, when his Holy Soul departed for the Heavenly Kingdom.
http://www.stjohndc.org/Russian/saints/e_0107c.htm

so we are well aware of the problem of the unconverted Christian.

Quote
Now there is a thread entitled something like, “Is there salvation outside of Orthodoxy?” Initially my question would have been the opposite: “Is there salvation inside Orthodoxy?” With your “superstitious accretions” as I saw them, your different use of words, especially the words save and salvation, with your lack of our emphasis on assurance of salvation, I wondered whether there was enough truth left within your church to save the soul. Then I began to read... You know the rest.

But let me share with you one other factor which convinced me that there is salvation inside Orthodoxy, for this line of thought may help you believe the same about us. There have been some impressive and moving posts on these threads about the persecution endured by Orthodox people under Communism, but in itself this proves nothing beyond their personal nobility, for Fascists, Communists and Moslems are ready to suffer and die for their creeds. But I have seen not only the steadfastness of many Orthodox under persecution, but also the active providence of God among them. I have bewailed the small amount of literature you have produced in English about these sufferings, but the little I have been able to get my hands on has contained striking instances of God’s close and effective involvement with you. As one post said, He has preserved you. He has been among you of a truth.

Now my point is this: if you were to read similar literature recording the sufferings of Evangelical people, you would find identical examples of God’s providence and preservation, both of individuals and of the churches as the Lord’s Body on earth. I cannot see these same events as being God in one case, and pure chance, or unaided humanity, or worse the deceiving Devil, on the other. I can draw no other conclusion that God has accepted people in both forms of Christianity.

He may have, but He hasn't accepted both forms of Christianity.  As to your paradox, I can only repeat what Fr. Corapi says: "the Baptists do so much with so little of the Church."

we don't judge by our personal opinion based on our personal interpretation of their theology in comparison to our personal interpretation of the Scriptures.  ... David Young ... his judgment was based solely on his personal interpretation of their theology in comparison with his personal interpretation of Scripture.  Of course we agree with him that they are a sect, but we arrive at it by completely different means.

You see why I wrote somewhere the other day that we're wrong when we're wrong, and still wrong even when we're right!

I wrote at length somewhere - probably repeatedly - about our adherence to hundreds of years of Protestant theology, and our regard for the pronouncements of the councils of the undivided church in the first ca 450 years of its existence. (That was the great theologically productive period; after that theological activity played a lesser part in the church's life.) I don't think I do base my theology on purely personal opinion, thus becoming Pope Wulfsige I or some such in my own mind. I am well aware of the nutty ideas that go round when people do that sort of thing. I think sects are sects because they differ from Christian theology. If you take Mormons, JWs, Christadelphians etc etc and compare them only with what Protestants and Orthodox hold in common, their beliefs are bent by that plumbline.

You admit to adhereing to hundreds of years of Protestant theology (dare I say, tradition) a millenium and a half after the Apostles, yet begrudge us (as we see it) our adherence to the two millenium of the continuous witness of the Fathers since the Fathers.  It is not an ecrustation to hold your interpretation of Scripture against how the Church has always understood it.  She knows it better than we do.  The problem with Evangelicals is that they seem to be reinventing the wheel, over and over (and I'm afraid, redesigning and deforming it in the process).
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 06, 2009, 06:22:17 AM
nothing in Orthodoxy is random or accidental. Everything has a meaning. Everything has a purpose.

I hope this addresses other posts as well as LBK's from which I draw the quotations.

I am fully ready to believe that the richly symbolic ceremony which you practise is meaningful, helpful and edifying for some people, and that they genuinely find and experience Christ in it. I have no wish at all to draw any such away from it. I also think that our more cerebral, didactic approach, on the other hand, is helpful to other people, especially those of a western mindset and culture. By this means they find an open pathway to the knowledge and experience of Christ.

To some extent I guess my personality falls mainly into the 'cerebral' Protestant approach, but I appreciate the more 'symbolic' approach as well; which is presumably why I like to pray at special times at very ancient places of worship, where men have at least reached out for God (Acts 17.27) from time immemorial, or in some 1000-year-old Orthodox or Anglican church (which can't happen if it is locked and has to be opened by a key-holder who hovers whilst one admires the frescoes, carvings and icons: but some are open, and one is usually alone then to pray and think).

The reason I said that we seem to be talking about different things is that the Orthodoxy you describe and the Orthodoxy I described in my earlier post both (I believe) exist. Even in Crete, when I was staying at Ntouliana, I was unable to worship at the village's Orthodox church because it was not the right Sunday of the month for a service to be held. If that be true of Crete, how much more of less privileged lands? And just as Protestantism obviously carries within itself the risk of morphing into the repulsive or puerile mutations which get described on these threads, so too Orthodoxy can descend into ritualism, and (I think - I cannot prove people's hearts) really does so descend in some worshippers' lives, in some times and some places. They come to believe that the attendance at and performance of the ceremonies is enough to put them right with God, without understanding the need for inward conversion and ongoing synergy in what we call sanctification and you (I believe) call theosis. Like the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, it is a case of ""Do you understand?" ... "How can I, unless someone guides me?""

For many of us Evangelicals, this is the only Orthodoxy we have ever encountered. That is why I said it is a bit unfair to say we are guilty of "a surprisingly shocking lack of thinking for oneself". We have never encountered your sort: how then are we to know that it exists? I only stumbled across it myself by chance, because I thought I ought to understand something of Orthodoxy for my work - and then Rosehip posted two of my articles, the forum wrote to me, and (as Kevin Arnold so often says) "and there you have it."

Quote
Have you ever been to an Orthodox liturgy, David?

Tomorrow morning; and again when next in Gjirokastër (May or June).

Quote
Or, better still ... Vespers and Matins... Have you read and contemplated the priestly prayers ? ... I, and others, can certainly help in this department.

I used very much to enjoy the midnight service before Christmas Day or before New Year's Day when I attended a church which practised it (i.e. when I was the pastor!), but my present church does not hold such. If this is the sort of thing you would recommend, I should gladly enter it in my diary for Christmas or New Year's Eve, and perhaps take my daughter if she wished to come: she virtually never attends church, but enjoys the Anglican midnight service on Christmas Eve.

I have read the Liturgy of John Chrysostom. Is this what you have in mind?

Finally, I do not think we have wandered off the theme of "The only true church?" for if what I say is true, then our churches and your churches are both Christian churches but with widely different approaches. It is my contention that people find Christ and are saved in both of them, and surely where Christ is among people who gather in his name, who confess their faith in baptism and remember the Lord at his Table, that is a Christian church?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 06, 2009, 06:34:48 AM
you bound yourselves to individual whims.  ... Individual whims are just as or even more prone to corruption.  ... You have only your own individual belief which can change at a moment's notice. 

Not individual whims: as I wrote elsewhere, we aim to base our worship on the patterns we see in scripture. Acts talks about the apostles' doctrine, the breaking of bread, fellowship, prayers; the pastoral epistles talk about preaching and teaching; and these of course are only two places. There is more. We aim to pracrise what we see in scripture, not what our whim fixes temporarily upon.

Quote
Which approach, above all, lacks humility?

Neither. Any religion carries the possibility of pride. There are humble Orthodox and humble Evangelicals, and proud Orthodox and proud Evangelicals.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 06, 2009, 07:11:29 AM
ONE TRUE CHURCH?

To bring the conversation back towards its title, but to build on the previous exchanges, which are, I believe, relevant, my contention is that there is not only "one true church" and yours is that there is only "one true church". For me to succeed, I have to persuade you that, to take just one example, the Baptist church I attend here in Wrexham is in fact a Christian church: then I can put QED on my post, for I shall have won my case. For you to succeed, you have to prove that we (like other non-Orthodox) are not a real Christian church. Then you can put QED. Over to you...
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 06, 2009, 08:53:31 AM
ONE TRUE CHURCH?

To bring the conversation back towards its title, but to build on the previous exchanges, which are, I believe, relevant, my contention is that there is not only "one true church" and yours is that there is only "one true church". For me to succeed, I have to persuade you that, to take just one example, the Baptist church I attend here in Wrexham is in fact a Christian church: then I can put QED on my post, for I shall have won my case. For you to succeed, you have to prove that we (like other non-Orthodox) are not a real Christian church. Then you can put QED. Over to you...

QED?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 06, 2009, 09:39:50 AM
QED?

Perhaps you will repeat what has been said frequently before, that you know where the church is, you do not know where it is not; or putting it another way, you know there is salvation in Orthodoxy, you do not know whether there is salvation outside Orthodoxy. If that must remain your immutable position, then neither of us will reach the point of putting quod erat demonstrandum at the end of the conversation, for I shall remain unable to convince you that the church where I worship is really Christian, and you will remain unable to convince me that yours is the only locus of salvation.

However, we have perhaps been foolish in that we have embarked upon this undoubtedly stimulating discussion (which has certainly made me think) without defining our terms. What does "Christian" mean?

For us Evangelicals it has two meanings:

- it is synonymous with saved, born again, converted, a child of God and such terms: that is, it denotes an inward matter. This is probably how we use it most often.

- it means subscribing to Christian doctrine, however that be defined.

I turn to the second of these definitions. Is there such a thing as an agreed summary of Christian doctrine? Someone posted some days ago the assertion that we (Protestants) and you (Orthodox) might all subscribe to the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, but that we give the words different meanings. I doubt that that is true. I took the trouble to read them both through, and the only word I think we would disagree on is the word "unto" in the phrase "one baptism unto remission of sins". We do, I think, differ on exactly how the sacrament of baptism 'works', but even the most zwinglian Protestant would, I think, acknowledge a link between the symbolism of the rite and the washing away of sin.  I will not go into the question of whether baptism of infants and baptism of believers are arguably variations of or within the performance of same rite, for there is a thread on that anyway and I have expatiated on it at length.

If you could for a moment be persuaded that the preposition "unto" (sadly I do not have the original Latin or Greek (which was it?)) can bear more than one precise meaning, then I think you would need to concede that you and we are in agreement thus far, and that therefore we here are indeed a Christian church, as I readily concede that you are. I do not think that we need to look at later summaries of Christian or denominational belief, such as the Decrees of Dositheus or the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.

But before we conclude the debate, we perhaps ought to decide whether we are discussing the matter under my first or my second definition above.

[And just an aside: I believe I posted some way up the page that I shall be at the Orthodox church in Handbridge "tomorrow". Having taken today (Friday) off work, I felt as if it was Saturday; I ought of course to have written "the day after tomorrow". ]
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ytterbiumanalyst on February 06, 2009, 10:00:24 AM
Then you can put QED.
Could you please define this term?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Sarah on February 06, 2009, 10:39:09 AM
"Q.E.D." is the abbreviation of the Latin phrase "quod erat demonstrandum" which means "which was to be shown or demonstrated."
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Tzimis on February 06, 2009, 11:28:36 AM
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- it is synonymous with saved, born again, converted, a child of God and such terms: that is, it denotes an inward matter. This is probably how we use it most often.

Your missing the literary aspect of the sacrament. When two people get married in the sacrament of marriage. They are joining spiritually as well as physically. Without the physical interaction there can't be a spiritual interaction. You can always look at your wife, but without the intimacy you can't call yourself married. ;)

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 06, 2009, 11:41:18 AM
QED?

Perhaps you will repeat what has been said frequently before, that you know where the church is, you do not know where it is not; or putting it another way, you know there is salvation in Orthodoxy, you do not know whether there is salvation outside Orthodoxy. If that must remain your immutable position, then neither of us will reach the point of putting quod erat demonstrandum at the end of the conversation, for I shall remain unable to convince you that the church where I worship is really Christian, and you will remain unable to convince me that yours is the only locus of salvation.

However, we have perhaps been foolish in that we have embarked upon this undoubtedly stimulating discussion (which has certainly made me think) without defining our terms. What does "Christian" mean?

For us Evangelicals it has two meanings:

- it is synonymous with saved, born again, converted, a child of God and such terms: that is, it denotes an inward matter. This is probably how we use it most often.

- it means subscribing to Christian doctrine, however that be defined.

I turn to the second of these definitions. Is there such a thing as an agreed summary of Christian doctrine? Someone posted some days ago the assertion that we (Protestants) and you (Orthodox) might all subscribe to the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, but that we give the words different meanings. I doubt that that is true. I took the trouble to read them both through, and the only word I think we would disagree on is the word "unto" in the phrase "one baptism unto remission of sins". We do, I think, differ on exactly how the sacrament of baptism 'works', but even the most zwinglian Protestant would, I think, acknowledge a link between the symbolism of the rite and the washing away of sin.  I will not go into the question of whether baptism of infants and baptism of believers are arguably variations of or within the performance of same rite, for there is a thread on that anyway and I have expatiated on it at length.

If you could for a moment be persuaded that the preposition "unto" (sadly I do not have the original Latin or Greek (which was it?))

Greek.  The West took no part in writing the Creed of the Second Council (where this appears) of 381.  Not until the filioque, which is all Latin (and heretical).
Ὁμολογῶ ἓν βάπτισμα εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν

εἰς

A primary preposition; to or into (indicating the point reached or entered), of place, time, or (figuratively) purpose (result, etc.); also in adverbial phrases -- (abundant-)ly, against, among, as, at, (back-)ward, before, by, concerning, + continual, + far more exceeding, for (intent, purpose), fore, + forth, in (among, at, unto, -so much that, -to), to the intent that, + of one mind, + never, of, (up-)on, + perish, + set at one again, (so) that, therefore(-unto), throughout, til, to (be, the end, -ward), (here-)until(-to),...ward, (where-)fore, with. Often used in composition with the same general import, but only with verbs (etc.) Expressing motion (literally or figuratively).


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can bear more than one precise meaning, then I think you would need to concede that you and we are in agreement thus far, and that therefore we here are indeed a Christian church, as I readily concede that you are. I do not think that we need to look at later summaries of Christian or denominational belief, such as the Decrees of Dositheus or the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.

In some ways we do: Protestantism wasn't dreamed of in the Early Church, and the Synod of Jerusalem was the first explicit dealing on the novelty of Protestantism.

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: David Young on February 06, 2009, 12:13:52 PM
Ὁμολογῶ ἓν βάπτισμα εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν

εἰς

Reply posted on Believers' Baptism thread. See you there?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Marc1152 on February 06, 2009, 04:44:20 PM
ONE TRUE CHURCH?

To bring the conversation back towards its title, but to build on the previous exchanges, which are, I believe, relevant, my contention is that there is not only "one true church" and yours is that there is only "one true church". For me to succeed, I have to persuade you that, to take just one example, the Baptist church I attend here in Wrexham is in fact a Christian church: then I can put QED on my post, for I shall have won my case. For you to succeed, you have to prove that we (like other non-Orthodox) are not a real Christian church. Then you can put QED. Over to you...

We are...factually.....the Ancient...Original Church. Your Church is not and we can easily prove it with historical evidence.

If then we are the Actual, Original Church you then must prove heresy in order for us not to also be the "True Church"... We merely need to demonstrate that you are not the Historical Church. The most you can hope for is to be like the True Church in your idea's, but you can never in a concrete way be the Original Church. You simply arent.

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: LBK on February 06, 2009, 06:22:36 PM
I am fully ready to believe that the richly symbolic ceremony which you practise is meaningful, helpful and edifying for some people, and that they genuinely find and experience Christ in it.

The form and structure of Orthodox liturgical worship is based on the worship of the synagogue, and the descriptions in the Book of Revelation. Can't get more historic or scriptural than that.

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I have no wish at all to draw any such away from it. I also think that our more cerebral, didactic approach, on the other hand, is helpful to other people, especially those of a western mindset and culture. By this means they find an open pathway to the knowledge and experience of Christ.

Cerebral and didactic. Hmmm. Attend an Orthodox vigil service, David, or vespers, or matins, keep your eyes and ears open, and then tell me whether or not that service is didactic, or unscriptural. The same goes for any other office, including the Divine Liturgy, and the sublime and incomparable Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete, which is part of the Great Compline service on the first four evenings of Great Lent, which begins on March 2 this year. The text of this canon is readily available online in English, if you cannot attend an Orthodox church for this service, I strongly recommend you at least read it.

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To some extent I guess my personality falls mainly into the 'cerebral' Protestant approach, but I appreciate the more 'symbolic' approach as well; which is presumably why I like to pray at special times at very ancient places of worship, where men have at least reached out for God (Acts 17.27) from time immemorial, or in some 1000-year-old Orthodox or Anglican church (which can't happen if it is locked and has to be opened by a key-holder who hovers whilst one admires the frescoes, carvings and icons: but some are open, and one is usually alone then to pray and think).

Very nice. But praying alone in an empty church, even if it were Aghia Sophia, does not come anywhere near to tasting what Orthodoxy is.

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Or, better still ... Vespers and Matins... Have you read and contemplated the priestly prayers ?

I used very much to enjoy the midnight service before Christmas Day or before New Year's Day when I attended a church which practised it (i.e. when I was the pastor!), but my present church does not hold such. If this is the sort of thing you would recommend, I should gladly enter it in my diary for Christmas or New Year's Eve, and perhaps take my daughter if she wished to come: she virtually never attends church, but enjoys the Anglican midnight service on Christmas Eve.

It should be obvious I was referring to Orthodox vigils, not Anglican ones.

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I have read the Liturgy of John Chrysostom. Is this what you have in mind?

It's a start. Does your copy have the priestly prayers, or is it simply the "layman's handbook", which usually omit the "inaudible" portions?

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...for if what I say is true, then our churches and your churches are both Christian churches but with widely different approaches.

The trouble is, is that your church has stripped out so much of what is needful, in the mistaken belief that these things were unnecessary. Orthodoxy has maintained this fullness, and has no need to "reverse-engineer" an idealised "church of the apostles" as so many protestants are constantly trying to do.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 06, 2009, 06:35:31 PM
The trouble is, is that your church has stripped out so much of what is needful, in the mistaken belief that these things were unnecessary. Orthodoxy has maintained this fullness, and has no need to "reverse-engineer" an idealised "church of the apostles" as so many protestants are constantly trying to do.

And for us the trouble is that your church has added so much to the faith -- outside of the revelation of Scripture itself.
You see us as taking away from the faith. But we see you as adding to it. Without clear Scriptural grounds for such additional practices, they cannot hold an authoritative place among us, or be considered properly part of the faith once for all delivered. They can be held in conjunction to the faith (when not in opposition thereto), but not on par therewith. For that, to us, is an adding to the word of the Lord.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Αριστοκλής on February 06, 2009, 06:43:39 PM
The trouble is, is that your church has stripped out so much of what is needful, in the mistaken belief that these things were unnecessary. Orthodoxy has maintained this fullness, and has no need to "reverse-engineer" an idealised "church of the apostles" as so many protestants are constantly trying to do.

And for us the trouble is that your church has added so much to the faith -- outside of the revelation of Scripture itself.
You see us as taking away from the faith. But we see you as adding to it. Without clear Scriptural grounds for such additional practices, they cannot hold an authoritative place among us, or be considered properly part of the faith once for all delivered. They can be held in conjunction to the faith (when not in opposition thereto), but not on par therewith. For that, to us, is an adding to the word of the Lord.
But Scripture is/was not the revelation of the logos, Christ is and said revelation is found in His Church.

It's not your fault, you're not 'wired' to recognize this.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 06, 2009, 07:23:55 PM
The trouble is, is that your church has stripped out so much of what is needful, in the mistaken belief that these things were unnecessary. Orthodoxy has maintained this fullness, and has no need to "reverse-engineer" an idealised "church of the apostles" as so many protestants are constantly trying to do.

And for us the trouble is that your church has added so much to the faith -- outside of the revelation of Scripture itself.
You see us as taking away from the faith. But we see you as adding to it. Without clear Scriptural grounds for such additional practices, they cannot hold an authoritative place among us, or be considered properly part of the faith once for all delivered. They can be held in conjunction to the faith (when not in opposition thereto), but not on par therewith. For that, to us, is an adding to the word of the Lord.

We have added nothing, friend.  What we have RETAINED has been there all along.  Nothing has been added.  Nothing taken away. 

It is historical inaccuracy, scholarly irresponsible, and frankly, unrealistic, to delude oneself by thinking that Protestants DID NOT take away from the faith.  We can trace our faith and practices to the apostles (and have evidenced a little of that on this forum).  We can also show where the beliefs and practices of Protestants are innovative, and contrary to what the apostles and their followers believed.  How, my friend, are we "adding to" the faith, when it is in line with the teachings and practices that the apostles left us?  And how are you NOT taking away from it, when we can prove such as I have said (and have proved it)? 

Basically, this just goes back to the Sola Scriptura argument.  It all does.  It's circular.  Until there is some understanding in that area, you will never understand or accept anything else we have to say.  You said once that our trump card is Tradition.  Yours is Sola Scriptura.  The only difference is, we can prove where Sola Scriptura is innovative and contrary to the belief of the apostles.  You CANNOT prove that about Tradition.  You can try, though.  I would be very happy to read it!
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: GreekChef on February 06, 2009, 07:26:01 PM
The trouble is, is that your church has stripped out so much of what is needful, in the mistaken belief that these things were unnecessary. Orthodoxy has maintained this fullness, and has no need to "reverse-engineer" an idealised "church of the apostles" as so many protestants are constantly trying to do.

And for us the trouble is that your church has added so much to the faith -- outside of the revelation of Scripture itself.
You see us as taking away from the faith. But we see you as adding to it. Without clear Scriptural grounds for such additional practices, they cannot hold an authoritative place among us, or be considered properly part of the faith once for all delivered. They can be held in conjunction to the faith (when not in opposition thereto), but not on par therewith. For that, to us, is an adding to the word of the Lord.
But Scripture is/was not the revelation of the logos, Christ is and said revelation is found in His Church.

It's not your fault, you're not 'wired' to recognize this.

YES!!  Scripture is NOT revelation.  It is a RECORD of revelation (and a fallible one at that, considering it was written by men and is the literal word not of God, but of man), not revelation itself.  And it becomes revelation when we use it!
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on February 06, 2009, 08:03:24 PM
Your missing the literary aspect of the sacrament. When two people get married in the sacrament of marriage. They are joining spiritually as well as physically. Without the physical interaction there can't be a spiritual interaction. You can always look at your wife, but without the intimacy you can't call yourself married. ;)



What a beautiful illustration.

Is it too early to nominate this for "Post of the Month"?
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 06, 2009, 08:28:08 PM
You can always look at your wife, but without the intimacy you can't call yourself married. ;)

Why not? That's precisely what you all contend Joseph did with Mary.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on February 06, 2009, 08:30:08 PM
Why not? That's precisely what you all contend Joseph did with Mary.

They were betrothed, not married.

That's the differance.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 06, 2009, 08:43:01 PM
Why not? That's precisely what you all contend Joseph did with Mary.

They were betrothed, not married.

That's the differance.

Oh, pish posh.  :P
NT era Jewish espousal was a legally binding covenant exchange for the purpose of matrimony, hence marriage.
Besides, the angel commanded Joseph not to "put away" Mary, but rather to end the espousal period (what you call betrothal) when he charged him to take her unto himself. Hence, we find here record of their espousal being concluded, which would render them (sex or no sex), even by modern betrothal standards, fully wed -- man and wife.

My point? The contention Demetrios G has made will not hold.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: SolEX01 on February 06, 2009, 08:46:30 PM
Oh, pish posh.  :P
NT era Jewish espousal was a legally binding covenant exchange for the purpose of matrimony, hence marriage.
Besides, the angel commanded Joseph not to "put away" Mary, but rather to end the espousal period (what you call betrothal) when he charged him to take her unto himself. Hence, we find here record of their espousal being concluded, which would render them (sex or no sex), even by modern betrothal standards, fully wed -- man and wife.

My point? The contention Demetrios G has made will not hold.

How would you know?  So, the Angel had the authority to marry two people?   ???  ::)

Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Cleopas on February 06, 2009, 08:56:26 PM

How would you know?  So, the Angel had the authority to marry two people?   ???  ::)

As to your 1st question -- Because I am familiar with Jewish wedding custom of that era, having learned from converted Jews.

As to your 2nd question -- No. The angel did not marry them. They were joined with the initiation/acceptance of the espousal contract/covenant.

But alas, we are digressing.  :-\
That was not my intention. :-X


Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: HandmaidenofGod on February 06, 2009, 09:18:25 PM
^I'm not going to get into this with you on this thread as many other threads have been dedicated to this topic.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: Αριστοκλής on February 06, 2009, 10:55:15 PM
The trouble is, is that your church has stripped out so much of what is needful, in the mistaken belief that these things were unnecessary. Orthodoxy has maintained this fullness, and has no need to "reverse-engineer" an idealised "church of the apostles" as so many protestants are constantly trying to do.

And for us the trouble is that your church has added so much to the faith -- outside of the revelation of Scripture itself.
You see us as taking away from the faith. But we see you as adding to it. Without clear Scriptural grounds for such additional practices, they cannot hold an authoritative place among us, or be considered properly part of the faith once for all delivered. They can be held in conjunction to the faith (when not in opposition thereto), but not on par therewith. For that, to us, is an adding to the word of the Lord.
But Scripture is/was not the revelation of the logos, Christ is and said revelation is found in His Church.

It's not your fault, you're not 'wired' to recognize this.

YES!!  Scripture is NOT revelation.  It is a RECORD of revelation (and a fallible one at that, considering it was written by men and is the literal word not of God, but of man), not revelation itself.  And it becomes revelation when we use it!
A record, yes...but not it is not ALL revelation. That is in His Church.
As to you closing statement...???????, huh.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 06, 2009, 11:02:04 PM

How would you know?  So, the Angel had the authority to marry two people?   ???  ::)

As to your 1st question -- Because I am familiar with Jewish wedding custom of that era, having learned from converted Jews.

Wow!  You don't look 2,000 years old.

We learned it from a converted Jew from that era named Paul and his friends.

Quote
As to your 2nd question -- No. The angel did not marry them. They were joined with the initiation/acceptance of the espousal contract/covenant.
not consumated.
Title: Re: One True Church?
Post by: ialmisry on February 06, 2009, 11:14:14 PM
The trouble is, is that your church has stripped out so much of what is needful, in the mistaken belief that these things were unnecessary. Orthodoxy has maintained this fullness, and has no need to "reverse-engineer" an idealised "church of the apostles" as so many protestants are constantly trying to do.

And for us the trouble is that your church has added so much to the faith

We added the NT. You don't seem to be bothered by that.

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-- outside of the revelation of Scripture itself.

We are the revelation of Scripture itself.

Quote
You see us as taking away from the faith. But we see you as adding to it.


You've added sola scriptura. It's not in the scriptura.

You've taken away the transmission of Tradition, which the Bible clearly mandates:

1 Corinthians 11:2 ἐπαινῶ δὲ ὑμᾶς ὅτι πάντα μου μέμνησθε καὶ, καθὼς παρέδωκα ὑμῖν, τὰς παραδόσεις κατέχετε.
Now I praise you, brothers, that you remember me in all things, and hold firm the traditions, even as I delivered them to you.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 ἄρα οὖν, ἀδελφοί, στήκετε καὶ κρατεῖτε τὰς παραδόσεις ἃς ἐδιδάχθητε εἴτε διὰ λόγου εἴτε δι' ἐπιστολῆς ἡμῶν.
So then, brothers, stand firm, and hold the traditions which you were taught by us, whether by word, or by letter.

2 Thessalonians 3:6 Παραγγέλλομεν δὲ ὑμῖν, ἀδελφοί, ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου [ἡμῶν] Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ στέλλεσθαι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ παντὸς ἀδελφοῦ ἀτάκτως περιπατοῦντος καὶ μὴ κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν ἣν παρελάβετε / παρελάβοσαν παρ' ἡμῶν. <