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Author Topic: The Willful Ignorance of Protestantism  (Read 17819 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #135 on: November 04, 2006, 04:46:55 AM »

It is rather scary that a church which claims to have Apostolic Succession would allow female priests and yoga meditation within its walls. Anglicanism, in placing human reason and personal interpretation over the patristic witness, is flawed from the start.
The case is much different for the Oriental Orthodox Churches. We have a 2,000-year-old theological, liturgical, and ecclesiological tradition. We are not anti-Chalcedonian but pre-Chalcedonian.
It's hard enough keeping the Orthodox faith strong and growing in the Western world, why not have all Orthodox Christians unite? Our hierarchs have not always been right on every decision, why not realize that the schism of Chalcedon was an unfortunate mistake? Love and our common faith should matter more than whatever may have divided us in the past.

Peace.

AFAIK, Anglo-Catholics don't have female priests or allow yoga in church.  Try again and see if you can correctly articulate your arguement.
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« Reply #136 on: November 04, 2006, 04:54:03 AM »

AFAIK, Anglo-Catholics don't have female priests or allow yoga in church.  Try again and see if you can correctly articulate your arguement.

But isn't that still within the Anglican Communion, which does allow female priests and yoga in the church? My point is rather simple, that adherence to the patristic witness would not allow for such peculiarities. Being "high church" would still make Anglo-Catholicism a product of Western thought, which is not patristic in nature.

The Anglican Church has considered itself the middleground between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Have either the Roman Church or the Protestant reformers preserved the Apostolic faith?
If there's more to the Orthodox faith than the ritualism of the liturgy, then there isn't a meaningful difference between "high church" Anglicans and other Anglicans. A Western approach, rather than a patristic one, would make any religious movement flawed from the start. 

Quote
Since the 1970s at least the Anglo-Catholic party in the Anglican church has been fracturing in two divergent directions, though in retrospect the tensions could be traced back to Charles Gore's work in the 19th century. The Oxford Movement had been inspired in the first place by a rejection of liberalism and latitudinarianism in favour of holding to the traditional faith of the "Church catholic", defined by the teachings of the Church Fathers and the common doctrines of the (Roman) Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy. Thus until the 1970s most Anglo-Catholics, emphasising the need to stay in line with tradition and the doctrines of Rome and the East, would have rejected such innovations as the possibility of women receiving Holy Orders. However, Gore's work, bearing the mark of liberal Protestant higher criticism, paved the way for an alternative form of Anglo-Catholicism influenced by liberal theology. Thus, in recent years, many Anglo-Catholics have accepted the ordination of women. Furthermore, in many places, Anglo-Catholic parishes also drew a large following of gay communicants, and many Anglo-Catholic parishes have been at the forefront of inclusion and acceptance for openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people — including non-celibates — in the priesthood and throughout the Church. Many Anglo-Catholics have embraced other aspects of liberalism such as the use of contemporary and inclusive language in Bible translations and the liturgy. Thus today there are two strands of Anglo-Catholicism.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Catholicism
Does this sound like the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?

I'm lost for words as to why the Church of England would be defended by Orthodox Christians on an Orthodox forum. Would this happen at Saint Euphrosynos Cafe? What's next, a defense of the filioque and papal supremacy by Orthodox Christians?

Peace.
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« Reply #137 on: November 04, 2006, 05:55:16 AM »

Anglo-Catholics are Conservative Protestants who are not "Sola Scriptura". Your premise is false.
That depends on whether one is an Evangelical Anglican, or a supporter of the Oxford Movement.
Anglo-Catholicism came out of the Oxford Movement, the Evangelicals did not. So the Anglo-Catholics being non-Sola Scriptura and Conservative does not "depend" in any way "on whether one is Evangelical Anglican or from the Oxford Movement".
Your premise remains false.
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« Reply #138 on: November 04, 2006, 06:23:03 AM »

Brian,

I have to admit that the original Lutherans, who are immediate offspring of the Roman Catholics as opposed to the Evangelicals who came in much later, are much less carnal in their worship.  I would also confess that since becoming Orthodox, I have developed a tendency to lump together all the groups that formed after 1517 into one denomination and dare call it "Protestants" in much the same way that a typical Christian would lump together the various forms of Islam.  For this, I apologize.  I suppose that slight differences in doctrine become irrelevant when one discovers a totally different brand of Christianity.  Take note that I am not the only one who sees it this way.  The chart in the following doesn't even mention the names of the splinter groups!

http://www.saintignatiuschurch.org/timeline.html#timechart

Anyway, you have made it perfectly clear that you are a Lutheran.  We appreciate that.  You have also expressed the importance of being specific when conversing with "Protestants."  I now realize that there is no single approach to introducing Orthodoxy in the West.  It is imperative therefore that we employ specific methods for each "Protestant" denomination.  More importantly, after opening your mind to Orthodoxy, I suppose that you are in the best position to suggest as to how we Orthodox could effectively share what we know to your Lutheran brethren.  For instance, Where do we begin?  Do we go about discussing Church history, or is questioning the validity of the juridic concept of atonement a valid starting point?  Finally, it would also help us if you could relate your experience and identify the points of interest which led you to explore the Orthodox Church.

Dear Theognosis,

Sorry for the delay in responding.  I've been very busy the last few days.

Your apology is noted, and accepted.  I sincerely appreciate your openness to the counter-arguments, a true sign of intellectual maturity.  I in turn apologize if my tendency to 'stick the barbs in' has caused any offense or hurt on your part.  I have a tendency towards the caustic, but it is never meant to be hurtful.  In the same spirit, we can hopefully move on to a more balanced discussion of Protestantism, one that might yield productive insights.  I think your question on how Orthodox should approach people in specific denominations such as Lutheranism is excellent and worth discussing in depth.  I may not be the best person for that but I am happy to contribute what I can.  As OzGeorge has noted, however, that discussion is better had on other threads than this one.  However, I do think we still need to discuss exactly what we mean when we use the term 'Protestant'. (I note, now in jest, that you STILL haven't defined it. Wink)  In any event, I certainly agree with you that there are SOME Protestants who have taken to a carnal, dramatic approach in recent years - it is rather complicated.  So in order to be more precise, let me spend some time discussing my views on how the term may be used.

One can use the term 'Protestant' in many different ways and for different purposes, and this is the problem.  Errors in use usually occur, as on this thread, when one has in mind one definition but is speaking to another definition.  For example, many of the criticisms on this thread leveled at Protestants are of an attitudinal or doctrinal quality, the accuser criticizes Protestant ignorance or Protestant emphasis on particular beliefs.  And yet the definition that seems to be operative is broad and historical, encompassing many attitudes and many docrines (even contradictory doctrines).  As a result, the charge of overgeneralization is perfectly legitimate.  Here are all the many ways I have seen the term 'Protestant' used.  There may be others as well.

(1) As a general label denoting all Christians of a particular branch of (western) Christianity.  This definition tends to operate by elimination.  If a denomination or sect calls itself Christian, is of western creation, and is not Roman Catholic, then it is by definition Protestant.  Under this definition even Oneness Pentecostals and Unitarian-Universalists are Protestant.  Some might even include Mormons, Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses under this label depending on how one also defines 'Christian'.

(2) As a general historical label denoting all Christians who can trace a lineal relationship to the Reformation.  Under this definition all those western Christian groups who identify themselves with one of the four Reformation traditions - Lutheran, Reformed (Calvinist), Anabaptist, or Anglican - are Protestants.  Groups such as the Quakers (Society of Friends) wouldn't likely count since they generally see themselves as distinct even though they arise from Anabaptist roots.  Nor would groups like Mormons even though Joseph Smith came from a Protestant matrix.

(3) As a specific historical label more restrictive than (2) and including only the Lutheran and Reformed traditions of the Reformation, since Anglicans have always been of a different character of 'protest', and Anabaptists were never reformers but radicals, and thus opposed by the Reformers as well as the Catholics.  Obviously those groups that are offshoots of the Anabaptist or Anglican traditions, including Mennonites, Methodists, and Pentecostals, would not qualify as Protestant under this definition.

(4) As a very restrictive historical label applying only to Lutherans, since they (we) were the original issuers of the protestio.

(5) As a doctrinal label to varying degrees of specificity.  Here a Protestant would not be defined historically but rather doctrinally.  A very restrictive doctrinal tag would require confession of all the solas.  However even here there are significant differences between Protestants on the nature of free will, whether Calvinists, Arminians, or Lutherans.  A looser and more common standard might simply affirm sola scriptura, sola gratia, and sola fide as the primary standard for being a Protestant, though the actual views on sola scriptura are quite nuanced between traditions.  For example Lutherans dont believe that sola scriptura means that all beliefs and practices must be explicitly present in scripture to be valid - there is still a place for historical developments as with the Catholics and Orthodox.  Other doctrinaire Protestants do take the view that if it isn't in Holy Scripture, then it shouldn't be adhered to at all.  While most Protestants probably hold to a substitutionary atonement view, there are various competing views here throughout history, including Christus Victor.  I think it is true that the Orthodox have the fuller teaching here, but it is incorrect to claim that all Protestants are Anselmians exclusively.  In short, regardless of what YOU THINK Protestants believe, it is actually VERY difficult to make assumptions about what constitutes true Protestant belief, even when considering the foundational solas.  And those who do go around making those sorts of assumptions...well you know what they say about those who ass/u/me.

(6) Finally one might be able to define a category for Protestant practice, liturgy, ritual, art, and aesthetic, as distinct from the Catholic approach.  Obviously this will again depend on which of the above definitions one is using, which traditions are included and which are not.  Anglicans look very Catholic in their approach, while most of the mainline Protestant groups are more minimalist.  It really depends.  However, I would claim that Protestants in general are (or at least have been) almost Japanese in their minimalism and simplicity.  And in my experience God can be found in the minimal as well as the maximal.

So this is why I found the charge of artistic carnality to be so outrageous, coming from an Orthodox source especially.  As I said, there are certainly Protestants (depending on definition) who have confused the dramatic and carnal with the spiritual.  And I tend to decry those congregations that have turned to guitars and tambourines, scripturally shallow modern Christian music, and preacher centeredness over traditional choir, organ, and scripturally-based hymns.  Certainly I find the current spread of megachurches with latte and popcorn, or the arising of "Prosperity Gospels" to be a travesty and an insult to Christ.  Perhaps one can find salvation in such places, but I am skeptical.  Nevertheless, what I think really doesn't matter - it is in God's hands.  But I think we must certainly acknowledge religious secularism, the loss of the sense of the vertical, and the loss of the sense of the virtuous as the psycho-spiritual diseases of our times.  I suspect that Orthodox are not totally immune from this, though I have found in my explorations that Orthodox have perhaps more resistance than most, and that is a major reason for my turn towards Orthodoxy.

One more comment on the issue of carnality in art.  It is without a doubt that the most carnal art ever produced in the last century (apart from advertising) came from that abhorent school called socialist realism.  Carnality is not a purely western phenomenon, even if socialism, that most carnal of political ideologies, originated in the west.  It certainly found fertile enough soil in the east.  While capitalism at its worst seeks to make the heart into a commodity, the ultimate in kitsch, socialism seeks to deny the heart altogether.  Adam Smith realized that capitalism could not operate properly apart from the morally and spiritually stabilizing influence of the heart - we often forget that in our modern world, and then the carnal truly does take over.  However, when capitalism does operate properly it acts as a partial antidote for one of the most pernicious sins at the center of the human condition - envy.  [As an aside, I recommend reading "Business As a Calling" for a discussion of the positive moral aspects of capitalism and the defeat of envy.  It's a short book worth picking up used if you can.]  Anyway, this conflict over the vertical and the virtuous is at the heart of our culture wars, and this war extends into the inner sanctum as well, as we have seen every denomination challenged from within.

So to summarize a few conclusions.  First, the term 'Protestant' is a practically meaningless term unless explicitly defined.  In particular one often sees an implicit definition that is historical mixed up with a criticism based on perceived doctrine.  This is an incorrect approach in every case, particularly since it is questionable to what extent one may even generalize from denominational labels these days.  Intra-denominational diversity is a real problem.  Unfortunately this applies even to Lutherans.  For example, doctrinally speaking the most traditionally 'Protestant' groups nowadays are the fundamentalists and the Pentecostals.  Now Pentecostals are not particularly big on theology and catechesis, and yet in surveys of members' beliefs they tend to score higher than mainline denominations in their adherence to traditional Protestant doctrines such as sola fide.  Within most mainline denominations only around 20-30% would pass the test of Luther or Calvin, so far has theological knowledge fallen out of favor in the quest to be 'relevant' in society.  And yet as I pointed out above, Pentecostalism may not even qualify as Protestant under some definitions.  Such is the importance of defining terms and applying that definition consistently.

[Side note:  there is much that may be considered carnal in Pentecostalism in my (outsider) opinion, though I think it is unrelated to their fidelity to traditional Protestant thought - this would be an interesting area to explore.]

My apologies, Theognosis, for the length of my answer.  I haven't even gotten to your other points.  Let me address those on the next post.

Sincerely in Christ,
Brian
« Last Edit: November 04, 2006, 06:31:10 AM by Brian » Logged
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« Reply #139 on: November 04, 2006, 08:45:26 AM »


I'm lost for words as to why the Church of England would be defended by Orthodox Christians on an Orthodox forum. Would this happen at Saint Euphrosynos Cafe? What's next, a defense of the filioque and papal supremacy by Orthodox Christians?

Peace.

Now THAT is funny. Most there think we are all heretics here, you foremost among us in error. Why don't you go there and take over the forum as you do here?

Lord have mercy on any inquirers who visit us and see this inanity.

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« Reply #140 on: November 04, 2006, 09:00:50 AM »

I'm lost for words as to why the Church of England would be defended by Orthodox Christians on an Orthodox forum. Would this happen at Saint Euphrosynos Cafe? What's next, a defense of the filioque and papal supremacy by Orthodox Christians?

You have to watch out for that slippery slope, first we're arguing that not all protestants are the same, next we'll be defending the filioque and papal supremacy, and before long we will be taking the posistions of those arc-heretics themselves and denying the Most Holy and Oecumenical Synods of the Church...oh wait...
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« Reply #141 on: November 04, 2006, 09:20:37 AM »

It is rather scary that a church which claims to have Apostolic Succession would allow female priests and yoga meditation within its walls. Anglicanism, in placing human reason and personal interpretation over the patristic witness, is flawed from the start.

(rummages around for his Canterbury cap)

Well, I don't know about personal interpretation in this; one can hardly reduce the counciliar decisions of a church to personal interpretation. And as for human reason, well, it is there in the patristic witness too. Indeed, one of the cardinal points of Anglicanism is that since the church fathers are, like us, theologians arguing (like us) about various matters, then (like ours) their arguments can and should be subject to reconsideration.

See, here's the problem: it's perfectly obvious to me (an Anglican) that you don't know anything substantial about my church. But you will not back down from your assumed position of superiority, so you grasp the first point that comes along and wave it about as if it were some sort of all-refuting argument, which it (so far) never is. It's the very behavior the word "sophomoric" was coined to describe. Yet you rashly go on about "willful ignorance", blythely ignoring two points:
  • Your arguments are apparently grounded in the belief that you don't need to know much about any particular Protestant body.
  • The truth is that there are plenty of Protestant theologians (and even clerics and laymen) out there who do study patristics, but who come to conclusions that differ from yours.

Meanwhile the Protestant version of you is going around saying how, if you really looked at tradition, you would see it is a lot of manmade nonsense.
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« Reply #142 on: November 04, 2006, 09:36:31 AM »

Why don't you go there and take over the forum as you do here?

Matthew777 has not "taken over" here. Perhaps his posts are standing out to you, but have a read of some of the insightful, informative, well thought out and well written posts others have made.

Matthew777 has made an assertion in starting this thread, and he is being challenged to defend it. As Christians, we know that there are no "idle words" and that we will be called to account for everything we have said. How much moreso for things we have said in broadcast to an international audience on the internet?

Unless we call people to account here on this forum for they say on it, the forum will just descend into a soapbox for trolls and whackos posting their stupid ideas with no one challenging them.

This is why I am insisting that this thread stay on track.


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« Reply #143 on: November 04, 2006, 09:47:47 AM »

Matthew777 has not "taken over" here. Perhaps his posts are standing out to you, but have a read of some of the insightful, informative, well thought out and well written posts others have made.

Matthew777 has made an assertion in starting this thread, and he is being challenged to defend it. As Christians, we know that there are no "idle words" and that we will be called to account for everything we have said. How much moreso for things we have said in broadcast to an international audience on the internet?

Unless we call people to account here on this forum for they say on it, the forum will just descend into a soapbox for trolls and whackos posting their stupid ideas with no one challenging them.

This is why I am insisting that this thread stay on track.

Amen brother, couldn't agree more.
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« Reply #144 on: November 04, 2006, 09:48:43 AM »

So it would appear to US. But to visitors?

I'll be taking another long vacation until this is over or M777 starts over with the Lord's first two new commandments.
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« Reply #145 on: November 04, 2006, 09:57:11 AM »

So it would appear to US. But to visitors?
This is one thread in one forum on a Board with nine thousand, three hundred and fifty six threads in fifteen public and two private forums.

I'll be taking another long vacation until this is over or M777 starts over with the Lord's first two new commandments.
That's OK, but as long as this thread stays on track and people respond appropriately to Matthew's assertion, on what crietria should I close it?

If anyone else would like to input into how I should moderate this thread, please pm me so that the thread stays on topic.
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« Reply #146 on: November 04, 2006, 05:54:26 PM »

Anglo-Catholicism came out of the Oxford Movement, the Evangelicals did not.

My point in that post was to contrast Anglo-Catholicism with Evangelical Anglicans. And there is a third strand which I had previously not mentioned, the radically liberal Anglicans, whose views I find truly scary.

Peace.
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« Reply #147 on: November 04, 2006, 06:13:46 PM »

    And as for human reason, well, it is there in the patristic witness too.

    As Blessed Seraphim of Platina stressed, the goal of an Orthodox Christian is to forsake his own reason, in search of the patristic mind. Western thought does not enhance our understanding of Scripture and theology, but corrupts it. As Tertullian inquired, "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?"

    See, here's the problem: it's perfectly obvious to me (an Anglican) that you don't know anything substantial about my church.

    It's obvious to me that if you understood the Orthodox faith, you would earnestly seek it.

    But you will not back down from your assumed position of superiority, so you grasp the first point that comes along and wave it about as if it were some sort of all-refuting argument, which it (so far) never is.

    As a human being, I am in no way superior to you nor any other individual. As Jesus Christ maintained, "No one is good but God." But as for my chosen faith, I am obliged to believe that the Orthodox Church is superior to all other religious movements, in more ways than one.

    • Your arguments are apparently grounded in the belief that you don't need to know much about any particular Protestant body.

    I've read in depth how the various major Protestant bodies were formed and what they believe. George Fox, John Wesley, and Martin Muther are men I've long respected and admired. That does not mean, however, that I agree with most of their theological views, nor with their approach to Scripture and Tradition. I find that Confessional Lutherans, however, share more in common with the Orthodox Church, in the things that matter most, than Roman Catholics do.

    • The truth is that there are plenty of Protestant theologians (and even clerics and laymen) out there who do study patristics, but who come to conclusions that differ from yours.

    There is a difference between picking and choosing which church fathers are compatible with one's pre-existing theology, and seeking the consensus of the fathers, and the faith which is based on that consensus.

    I'm sorry if I seem like the willfully ignorant one. I'm open to learning about Protestantism, and always have been. But I'm not about to acknowledge it as equally legimite as Orthodox Christianity.

    "The purpose of an open mind is to close it, on particular subjects. If you never do — you've simply abdicated the responsibility to think" -
    William F. Buckley Jr.

    Peace. [/list]
    « Last Edit: November 04, 2006, 06:21:04 PM by Matthew777 » Logged

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    « Reply #148 on: November 05, 2006, 01:12:27 AM »

    Well, except that it is extremely presumtuous for you to assume that they are "picking and choosing" in the manner you accuse them of. Perhaps it is the case that They are picking out and chooisng what is right from what is wrong.

    As for your glurge about the patristic mind, the patristic mind is yet, a mind.
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    « Reply #149 on: November 05, 2006, 01:35:19 AM »

    I'm sorry if I seem like the willfully ignorant one.
    Apology accepted.

    Moderation:
    Since this thread is now going nowhere except in circles, I'm locking it, and would direct anyone who wishes to discuss the practicalities of Orthodox Christians missioning to Protestants to the thread:
    http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10089.0.html
    where some very insightful replies have already been posted by both Orthodox and non-Orthodox posters.
    George

    « Last Edit: November 05, 2006, 01:38:42 AM by ozgeorge » Logged

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