Author Topic: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?  (Read 3927 times)

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Offline Bluesparkles

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Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« on: September 04, 2007, 05:06:15 PM »
Hi everyone,

I have been looking into Orthodox Christianity and I notice that you guys claim to be the one true church that has had a continuous line since the time of Peter.

I am wondering where can I get non-biased sources who also support this claim?


No personal opinions please, just sources.

Thank you.

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2007, 05:23:06 PM »
There is no such thing as an unbiased source. You have to read many sources and form your own opinion.

You might want to read two good books though to get you started, written by Anglicans:

The Early Church by Chadwick
Early Christian Doctrines by JND Kelley
« Last Edit: September 04, 2007, 05:23:38 PM by Anastasios »
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Offline drewmeister2

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2007, 05:27:31 PM »
Hi everyone,

I have been looking into Orthodox Christianity and I notice that you guys claim to be the one true church that has had a continuous line since the time of Peter.

I am wondering where can I get non-biased sources who also support this claim?


No personal opinions please, just sources.

Thank you.

I was like you too when I first started out my search into Orthodoxy from Roman Catholicism.  I wanted one thing that would prove to me in an instant (like a science experiment or something), if Orthodoxy was True or not.  I wanted some 100% money-back guarantee that it was right.  But I never found it, primarily because as Anastasios said, there is no such thing that will prove it to you like that.  Ultimately, I had to go out and experience Orthodoxy, through the writings of various Eastern Fathers and Orthodox Saints, and truly get a feel of it, until I could say, this is the Faith of the Fathers and of the Apostles.  I believe some people told me the same thing I am telling you now, and I didn't believe them because I wasn't humble enough to listen, but if you have that humility take my word for it, there is no one thing that will prove Orthodoxy is right. 

Andrew
« Last Edit: September 04, 2007, 05:30:19 PM by drewmeister2 »
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Offline Bluesparkles

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 05:37:10 PM »
I was like you too when I first started out my search into Orthodoxy from Roman Catholicism.  I wanted one thing that would prove to me in an instant (like a science experiment or something), if Orthodoxy was True or not.  I wanted some 100% money-back guarantee that it was right.  But I never found it.  Ultimately, I had to go out and experience Orthodoxy, through the writings of various Eastern Fathers and Orthodox Saints, and truly get a feel of it, until I could say, this is the Faith of the Fathers and of the Apostles.  I believe some people told me the same thing I am telling you now, and I didn't believe them because I wasn't humble enough to listen, but if you have that humility take my word for it, there is no one thing that will prove Orthodoxy is right. 


Thank you for your honest and heartfelt answer. I have actually done my own research when a friend initially introduced me to Orthodox Christianity. I have read the readings and such. So I have come to the conclusion that this is not the church of the apostles. But then someone told me to come here and you all would provide me with Un-Orthodox sources to prove this claim. So here I am. But, I was just curious as to what you would say. Ive already sought it out.

Thank you for answering so respectfully.

Offline drewmeister2

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2007, 05:40:23 PM »

Thank you for your honest and heartfelt answer. I have actually done my own research when a friend initially introduced me to Orthodox Christianity. I have read the readings and such. So I have come to the conclusion that this is not the church of the apostles. But then someone told me to come here and you all would provide me with Un-Orthodox sources to prove this claim. So here I am. But, I was just curious as to what you would say. Ive already sought it out.

I wish I could help more with non-Orthodox sources, but the books Anastasios recommended I'm sure are good :)

May I ask if you have been to a Divine Liturgy?  Once I started to go to Divine Liturgies, my heart changed very much towards the East.
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2007, 05:44:49 PM »
If you would like some further sources after you examine the above books, I will be happy to provide them. The books above will not prove that Orthodoxy per se is the Apostolic Church, but I believe they do demonstrate that the Ancient Church was nothing like Protestantism of today.  If you are Roman Catholic, then I would have to move to later sources and works.

For now, I would suggest you check those books out and read some of the threads. I don't think anything is going to convince you of Orthodoxy's truthfulness; only God can do that.  Perhaps, though, if you'd like to discuss certain things specifically, check out the older threads on whatever topic interests you and resurrect them (post new posts in them) for discussion if some aspect of your thought was not adequately addressed.

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Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism and may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching. Also, I served as an Orthodox priest from 2008-2013, before resigning.

Offline Bluesparkles

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2007, 05:45:55 PM »
I wish I could help more with non-Orthodox sources, but the books Anastasios recommended I'm sure are good :)

May I ask if you have been to a Divine Liturgy?  Once I started to go to Divine Liturgies, my heart changed very much towards the East.

Actually, no I have not.

My friend did assist I at least go to one service. Who knows, maybe I'll go to see what it is like.

Offline drewmeister2

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2007, 05:52:54 PM »
Actually, no I have not.

My friend did assist I at least go to one service. Who knows, maybe I'll go to see what it is like.

If your friend is Orthodox, maybe go with him, then he can be there to explain things to you in the Liturgy :).  When the Russians were looking to see which religion to adopt, ambassadors from Russia went to many Liturgies of different religions.  When they went to an Orthodox Divine Liturgy, they said it was Heaven on Earth.  So hopefully if you go you will have the same experience.  Do not worry, if you genuinely seek the Truth, over time it will become more apparent to you.  To be honest, I knew deep down Orthodoxy was True after only a few weeks of looking into it, but I didnt really accept it til about a year later as I was attached to Catholicism.   
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2007, 05:58:10 PM »
Actually, no I have not.

My friend did assist I at least go to one service. Who knows, maybe I'll go to see what it is like.

 I would echo your friend's advice. Fr. Peter Gillquist, himself a convert, advises the curious to attend the Divine Liturgy around 3-4 Sunday's in a row just to get the 'feel' of it. If you're coming from a Protestant background, chances are you'll be...let's say, really wowed.  ;)
 As far as books go, gosh; you can easily get bogged down fast with all the great books out there. So here's my pick to help bog you down  :D, The Orthodox Study Bible...

 In Christ,
 Gabriel
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Offline Bluesparkles

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2007, 06:07:42 PM »
If your friend is Orthodox, maybe go with him, then he can be there to explain things to you in the Liturgy :).  When the Russians were looking to see which religion to adopt, ambassadors from Russia went to many Liturgies of different religions.  When they went to an Orthodox Divine Liturgy, they said it was Heaven on Earth.  So hopefully if you go you will have the same experience.  Do not worry, if you genuinely seek the Truth, over time it will become more apparent to you.  To be honest, I knew deep down Orthodoxy was True after only a few weeks of looking into it, but I didnt really accept it til about a year later as I was attached to Catholicism.   

It couldn't hurt to attend a service. My friend also stated it was heaven on earth. I believe if this is the church God hopes for me to be in then it will happen. You are right when you say if you earnestly seek the truth then that is what you shall find.

Thank you all for responding and have a great day/night! :)


Offline Fr. George

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2007, 06:09:20 PM »
Thank you for your honest and heartfelt answer. I have actually done my own research when a friend initially introduced me to Orthodox Christianity. I have read the readings and such. So I have come to the conclusion that this is not the church of the apostles. But then someone told me to come here and you all would provide me with Un-Orthodox sources to prove this claim. So here I am. But, I was just curious as to what you would say. Ive already sought it out.

Thank you for answering so respectfully. 

It does make sense that if you're reading some Orthodox authors without the belief that the Orthodox Church is the Apostolic Church, that you would think it isn't.  It can be a hard thing to wrap one's head around...

I don't have my history books with me here in the office (they're back home), but I'll try to remember and give you some references.

Kelly and Chadwick are two fine scholars in the subject of the history of Christianity, and I definitely second Anastasios' recommendations above.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2007, 06:10:02 PM by cleveland »
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Offline lubeltri

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2007, 06:19:40 PM »
It is a fruitless effort to choose a church chiefly by historical investigation---I tried. My efforts got me as far as Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy and no further. If it were clear, we would not have equally astute and knowledgeable people on both sides---church historians among them. The historical arguments are useful only AFTER the confirmation/chrismation as polemical material. Only God could write an unbiased history.

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2007, 06:20:30 PM »
Actually, no I have not.

My friend did assist I at least go to one service. Who knows, maybe I'll go to see what it is like.
Come and see....
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Offline Bluesparkles

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2007, 06:26:51 PM »
It is a fruitless effort to choose a church chiefly by historical investigation---I tried. My efforts got me as far as Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy and no further. If it were clear, we would not have equally astute and knowledgeable people on both sides---church historians among them. The historical arguments are useful only AFTER the confirmation/chrismation as polemical material. Only God could write an unbiased history.

Yes, that is true. But, I do not think it should be claimed that this is the one true church from the time of the apostles if there is no way to successfully prove it.


Offline Fr. George

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2007, 06:38:16 PM »
Yes, that is true. But, I do not think it should be claimed that this is the one true church from the time of the apostles if there is no way to successfully prove it. 

Oh, there are ways to prove it - there are countless men and women throughout the ages who have converted because of their historical inquiry into the Church - these stand as a witness that proof can be found. But you won't find an "unbiased" source (since technically they don't exist).  Start where we've pointed you (and other sources to come), and then dive deeper into the rabbit hole, and explore some of the miraculous phenomena like the Holy Fire or the wonder-working saints and icons.
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Offline drewmeister2

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2007, 06:38:34 PM »
Yes, that is true. But, I do not think it should be claimed that this is the one true church from the time of the apostles if there is no way to successfully prove it.




Well, then no Church would be able to claim they are the one true Church.  If that's the case, then that means there is no such thing really as Truth.  You can't have one Church teach one thing and another Church teaching something different and both Churches be right :).
« Last Edit: September 04, 2007, 06:39:08 PM by drewmeister2 »
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Offline Bluesparkles

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2007, 06:48:19 PM »

Well, then no Church would be able to claim they are the one true Church.  If that's the case, then that means there is no such thing really as Truth.  You can't have one Church teach one thing and another Church teaching something different and both Churches be right :).

Obviously whoever follows the bible would be right.
I get what your saying but you avoided that issue. It is fallacious to claim that this church was started from Peter when there is no proof. Yes there is proof of the church after the first 300 years after Christ's death. But before then there is no historical documents to say that this was the church that PETER founded. Thats what I want to know.

Offline drewmeister2

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2007, 06:53:13 PM »
Obviously whoever follows the bible would be right.
I get what your saying but you avoided that issue. It is fallacious to claim that this church was started from Peter when there is no proof. Yes there is proof of the church after the first 300 years after Christ's death. But before then there is no historical documents to say that this was the church that PETER founded. Thats what I want to know.

A couple quick thoughts.  First, Orthodox teach that Peter didn't found the Church, Christ did :).  Secondly, are there not many groups (non-religious) that claim they are the right ones without really offering any non-biased proof, and yet we still believe them?  Sometimes, believing someone or something is right and has the Truth, goes deeper than mind-reasoning, I certainly found that out for myself.  I don't believe Orthodoxy is true per se just by theological reasonings, but also because of Faith.  To develop this Faith that Orthodoxy is True takes time.  But to start, go to a Liturgy and the seed of Faith will be planted :).  Be patient, and things will become clearer if you truly persue Orthodoxy.  I wish there was a way to just show you that Orthodoxy was the True Faith, believe me it would save a lot of time, but Christ wants us to keep knocking, and if we persist, He will open the door for us.   
« Last Edit: September 04, 2007, 06:55:49 PM by drewmeister2 »
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Offline falafel333

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2007, 07:07:56 PM »
Obviously whoever follows the bible would be right.
I get what your saying but you avoided that issue. It is fallacious to claim that this church was started from Peter when there is no proof. Yes there is proof of the church after the first 300 years after Christ's death. But before then there is no historical documents to say that this was the church that PETER founded. Thats what I want to know.

Dear Bluesparkles,

It would make it so much easier if you gave us a little information about yourself, ie your own religious background and research. Also what is some of the information you have at the moment that have lead to your current conclusions? This would help immensely in addressing your concerns rather than just shooting in the dark.

First off, from what can already be gathered from your comments, it can often seem that the modern Orthodox church is a 4th or 5th century phenomenon, ie when all of the ecumenical councils began, the faith was clearly documented and there was an explosion of literature on various issues--well that's what the Davinci code and like fictitious sources would have you believe.

However, perhaps often an overlooked source are the 'Apostolic Fathers' who wrote in the first and second century. I believe a good study of their writings, which you can find in the sources already mentioned earlier or even on the web, try www.ccel.org and then church fathers, will lead you to the roots of Orthodox Christianity and how the Orthodoxy has maintained an unchanged faith since Christ.

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2007, 07:09:40 PM »
Obviously whoever follows the bible would be right. 

You'd be surprised about us Orthodox, then - while many claim that we have no Bibilical basis, our Liturgy is full of quotes and references to scripture, not counting the direct scripture that is read on a rotating basis (one reading from the Epistles/Acts, and one from the Gospels).  Our other services of the Daily cycle are also chock full of scriptural allusion and direct quotation.

Then there are the Saints, who wrote from a Biblical perspective using the Apostolic methodology while dealing with contemporary issues; there are the acts of the Great Councils which reconcile the clarifications of faith with the scriptural teaching of Christ and His apostles.

It is fallacious to claim that this church was started from Peter when there is no proof. Yes there is proof of the church after the first 300 years after Christ's death. But before then there is no historical documents to say that this was the church that PETER founded. Thats what I want to know. 

I think drewmeister made the best point: we believe our Church is Christ's.  (Remember Paul mentioning that we shouldn't be followers of Paul, Apollos, etc, but rather of Christ?)

If you want historical documents linking the Church to Peter, then you should focus on histories of Rome and Antioch in the 1st - 3rd centuries.  If you want documents linking to Paul, check out Greek and Asia minor History.  If you want documents linking to Andrew, check out Asia minor and the Balkains.

Get the picture?  All the Apostles went out with the commission to teach and baptize, and they all did.  Please don't limit yourself to Petrine primacy, but instead work with a wide lens, and you'll find all the historical evidence you need.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2007, 09:05:52 AM »
Okay, now that I'm home:

"Documents of the Christian Church", Bettenson & Munder, eds. Oxford University Press, 3rd Ed, 1999.
Great resource with documentation from all stages of the Church's life; the first section (Pages 1-97 or so) covers the Church from the 1st to the 4th/5th centuries.

The Christian Tradition - Volume 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600), Pelikan. Unoiversity of Chicago Press, 1975?
He's an Orthodox author, but that doesn't stop him from being a good one.

*gasp* AAAARRRRGH.  The rest of my Intro Church History books are with my sister back at school.  I'll see what I can do in the meantime.
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2007, 09:35:09 AM »
Pelikan wasn't Orthodox when he wrote those books though.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Any historical documents to prove this is the one true church?
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2007, 10:28:27 AM »
Pelikan wasn't Orthodox when he wrote those books though.

I had forgotten about that.  That makes it even better!
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