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Author Topic: The Bible and Veneration  (Read 54942 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 16, 2007, 05:24:24 PM »

I was contemplating on the love Protestants have for the Bible and how much this reflects on the love and veneration we have for icons, saints, relics, the Cross, the Bible, Holy Tradition, etc.  But then, it worries me to see some groups of Protestants call the Bible the "Word of God" as if it wasn't a mere "word" of Scripture, but the actual Logos Himself.

I was wondering what do Protestants think of the Bible?  Is this the only exception to something venerable other than God?  Or is it in some twisted way "worshiped" as the actual "Second Person" of the Trinity, a form of "Bibliolatry?"

Thank you.

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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2007, 06:58:13 PM »

In my Protestant days, I didn't see the Bible as Christ, but as the words of God given to man.  It was treated reverently--don't put things on top of it, etc.--but not worshipped.
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2007, 09:49:39 PM »

I wouldn't say that the Bible is worshiped in the Orthodox church either.  In fact the proper word is veneration (proskinisis), so...(I thought terminology might be important for this particular discussion...clarity is good I think)
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2007, 10:30:15 PM »

I wouldn't say that the Bible is worshiped in the Orthodox church either.  In fact the proper word is veneration (proskinisis), so...(I thought terminology might be important for this particular discussion...clarity is good I think)

I never meant to say that we worship the Bible.  I did use the word "venerate".

At the same time, when a lot of Protestants keep saying "The Word of God" all the time referring to the Bible, and then jump back and talk about the "Word of God Incarnate" in Jesus simultaneously, I worry about what some Protestants think, not all, as if there's a connection that should be considered, which is probably why they think nothing else should be "venerated."

God bless.
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2007, 12:30:44 AM »

From my experience, I think Protestants define the title "Word" differently when they use it in reference to the Bible and when they use it in reference to Christ.  The Bible is the Word of God, but not in the same way that Christ is the Word of God.  I can see how this would be confusing to those who aren't as well versed in the different uses of the same word.
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2007, 07:32:23 AM »

From my experience, I think Protestants define the title "Word" differently when they use it in reference to the Bible and when they use it in reference to Christ.  The Bible is the Word of God, but not in the same way that Christ is the Word of God.  I can see how this would be confusing to those who aren't as well versed in the different uses of the same word.

For the most part I agree; although, I have run into several Southern Baptists who do not make that distinction.  Perhaps, it helps explain the fundamentalism, but it is also slightly bothersome on another hand too.
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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2007, 08:57:47 AM »

For the most part I agree; although, I have run into several Southern Baptists who do not make that distinction.  Perhaps, it helps explain the fundamentalism, but it is also slightly bothersome on another hand too.

These are the ones I'm very curious about.  If they don't make the distinction, either they don't worship Christ or they worship the Bible.

As for those who do make the distinction, do some realize the inconsistency of venerating the Bible and yet ignoring the veneration of at least other writings, let alone relics and icons?
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2007, 09:46:05 AM »

From my experience, I think Protestants define the title "Word" differently when they use it in reference to the Bible and when they use it in reference to Christ.  The Bible is the Word of God, but not in the same way that Christ is the Word of God.  I can see how this would be confusing to those who aren't as well versed in the different uses of the same word.

This is accurate re: their stance, and I pretty much agree: the Bible is the [written] Word of God--a written icon of the Faith, as it were--while Christ is the incarnate Logos--THE Word of God.  Some Evangelicals need to be reminded that verses like Heb. 4:12 refer not to Scripture but to Christ.
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« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2007, 02:37:30 PM »

Quote
These are the ones I'm very curious about.  If they don't make the distinction, either they don't worship Christ or they worship the Bible
Personally, the few I ran into, I think that they simply did not consider the issue as they didn't have enough education to consider it and not enough guidence for it to be corrected externally.  That said, I wish at the time I had pursued a line of questioning as to their reasons.
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« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2007, 03:05:09 PM »

+ Irini nem ehmot,

From my experience, I think Protestants define the title "Word" differently when they use it in reference to the Bible and when they use it in reference to Christ.  The Bible is the Word of God, but not in the same way that Christ is the Word of God.  I can see how this would be confusing to those who aren't as well versed in the different uses of the same word.

I've always been curious about this and I'm glad it has come up.  I, personally, have always had a problem with referring to the Bible as the 'Word of God' because, as Mina points out, it seems to me that there is only one 'Word of God', Christ.  By calling the Bible the 'Word of God', it seems, in my mind, to make the Bible inerrant and infallible, which I'm not so sure is the case.  The fact that there are discrepancies found in the Bible is a testament to the 'errancy' (if you will) of the text.  The texts were composed by men inspired by the Holy Spirit, but still contain each individuals point of view, bias and knowledge of science, astronomy, politics and what have you of the time.  I typically refer to the Bible as inspired text that contains the words of God.  Now, my question is, is this (for lack of a better term) Orthodox?  I mean, I acknowledge the authority of the Scripture, but for me, it is not the be all and end all (as Sola Scriptura would have us believe).  It is the foundation (as the rest of Holy Tradition is) on which the Church is grounded, but it cannot be used in a vacuum so to speak.  Your thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
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« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2007, 06:58:21 PM »

When I was in college, I had a professor who referred to Jesus as the Incarnation of God and the Bible as the Inscripturation of God. His idea was that as God dwelt within a body while Jesus was on Earth, after the Ascension God disappeared from the Earth until the Bible was written, and then He dwelt within the pages of Scripture.

I thought for a while that he was clearly deranged until my priest (before I told him this story) mentioned that he had a professor in his Lutheran seminary who used the same word Inscripturation. Apparently this bizarre heresy is more widespread than I originally thought.
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2007, 12:23:14 AM »

When I was in college, I had a professor who referred to Jesus as the Incarnation of God and the Bible as the Inscripturation of God. His idea was that as God dwelt within a body while Jesus was on Earth, after the Ascension God disappeared from the Earth until the Bible was written, and then He dwelt within the pages of Scripture.

I thought for a while that he was clearly deranged until my priest (before I told him this story) mentioned that he had a professor in his Lutheran seminary who used the same word Inscripturation. Apparently this bizarre heresy is more widespread than I originally thought.
The first thing that comes to mind is this:  I wonder how closely this parallels the 18th-19th(?) Century Russian heresy of the worshippers of the Holy Name.  My limited knowledge is that these heretics taught that even the Name of Christ is Divine and worthy of our worship.
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2007, 02:00:50 PM »

I've always tried to resist the "bilbliolatry" label when describing protestant doctrine. It's a gross oversimplification that we as Orthodox should be particularly wary of since we've had to suffer similar invectives over the ages ("you worship Mary", "you worship icons", etc., etc.). But sometimes I really have to wonder whether or not many die-hard sola scriptura evangelicals find the printed word holier than Christ himself. I think specifically of groups like the "sola KJV" crowd and a plethora of self-styled prophets on the web, one of whom listed 100 Catholic "heresies", which included such ludicrous objections as trivial as the use of candles in worship. I was listening to Hank Hanegraaff's radio show back when "Passion of the Christ" hit theatres, and more than one caller voiced anxiety over such innocuous elements as the flashback scene with Jesus and His Mother sharing some tenderly humorous moments. Many more complained about the extent of Mary's very presence in the film.  "But that's not in the Bible!" was the common denominator. Thankfully, Hank himself was a bit more level-headed pertaining to that subject. It was one of the few times I didn't shake my head or talk back to the radio. Case in point; when the movie "Luther" was being discussed. I almost had to pull off the road.
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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2007, 09:17:55 AM »

Just came across this during the course of my research for a final essay:

Dr. Robert W. Wall:

Quote
[V]arious biblical writings, picked up time and again, preserved and then canonized by the faith community, were brought together in their final form to function in two formative ways: first, as a rule whose teaching regulates the church's theological understanding; and, second, as a sacrament whose use mediates God's salvific grace to those who actually use Scripture. Even as the Word made flesh was "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14), so now....the word made text mediates the grace and truth of the Son to those who seek him in faith.

'The Significance of a Canonical Perpsective of the Church's Scripture', in The Canon Debate, ed. L.M. McDonald & J.A. Sanders (Massachusetts: 2002, Hendrickson Publishers), 528.
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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2007, 10:53:17 AM »

I was listening to Hank Hanegraaff's radio show back when "Passion of the Christ" hit theatres, and more than one caller voiced anxiety over such innocuous elements as the flashback scene with Jesus and His Mother sharing some tenderly humorous moments.

What a shame. The table-making scene was one of my favorite parts. It brought tears to my eyes.
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« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2011, 01:22:05 PM »

I realise this thread is a few years old but i felt i had to add my part to it, if only for posterity.

In a similar way that Protestants often misunderstand the Orthodox terminology and practise as much of it is known and therefore not explicitly stated unless asked. This phrase is very similar in that, when we refer to the word of God, meaning the scriptures, as Peter said already, it's the inspired God-breathed words and mostly everyone would know this even though they wouldn't state it explicitly every time the phrase is used. 'The Word' of God is hardly ever used unless in bible study, readings or specific preaching, because The Word became flesh (Jesus) and is now Christ. Therefore it is highly unlikely when any Protestant refers to 'the word of God', they mean The Word.

I've certainly never been involved in a conversation where another believer has mixed up the two and we've had to clarify and i've certainly heard preaching where the distinction is made.
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« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2011, 01:52:04 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

From my experience, I think Protestants define the title "Word" differently when they use it in reference to the Bible and when they use it in reference to Christ.  The Bible is the Word of God, but not in the same way that Christ is the Word of God.  I can see how this would be confusing to those who aren't as well versed in the different uses of the same word.

I would argue differently.  In the jumble of heresies which the Protestants spontaneously, intentionally, or coincidentally have revived in their congregations, they have mixed up legitimate Christology with falsehoods of misunderstanding.

The Church teaches that the Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, is the vocalization of the Father, that is, the Word is the begotten expression of the Will of the Father.  The Father does not literally "speak" He not having a mouth, however, the Word, is the speaking of the Father in that the Word effects the economy of God into existence, as attested in the Gospel of John 1:3.

I believe that when Protestants mistakenly conflate the Word of God in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the word of God as spoken and revealed in the Scriptures, it is because they are conflating these two similar concepts. If the Second Person of the Trinity is the Word of God [i.e., the maifesation of trhe WIll of God] and Jesus is also the Word of God, folks mistakenly make Jesus to become the Bible. They don't seem to understand that the Bible is a symbolic representation of God, like all literature and writing is a symbol of the thought it conveys, and that Jesus as the Word is a hypostatic manifestation of the thought and Will of God the Father. Both the Bible and the Word (as a Person) reveal the depth of God, however it is because the written word reflects a symbolic image of the actual Word of God, who in His Incarnation, is an actual refection of the Invisible God. We read the Bible to find Jesus Christ, and in the process maybe some folks get mixed up and take the mirror image for the actual.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2011, 02:22:40 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

From my experience, I think Protestants define the title "Word" differently when they use it in reference to the Bible and when they use it in reference to Christ.  The Bible is the Word of God, but not in the same way that Christ is the Word of God.  I can see how this would be confusing to those who aren't as well versed in the different uses of the same word.

I would argue differently.  In the jumble of heresies which the Protestants spontaneously, intentionally, or coincidentally have revived in their congregations, they have mixed up legitimate Christology with falsehoods of misunderstanding.

The Church teaches that the Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, is the vocalization of the Father, that is, the Word is the begotten expression of the Will of the Father.  The Father does not literally "speak" He not having a mouth, however, the Word, is the speaking of the Father in that the Word effects the economy of God into existence, as attested in the Gospel of John 1:3.

I believe that when Protestants mistakenly conflate the Word of God in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the word of God as spoken and revealed in the Scriptures, it is because they are conflating these two similar concepts. If the Second Person of the Trinity is the Word of God [i.e., the maifesation of trhe WIll of God] and Jesus is also the Word of God, folks mistakenly make Jesus to become the Bible. They don't seem to understand that the Bible is a symbolic representation of God, like all literature and writing is a symbol of the thought it conveys, and that Jesus as the Word is a hypostatic manifestation of the thought and Will of God the Father. Both the Bible and the Word (as a Person) reveal the depth of God, however it is because the written word reflects a symbolic image of the actual Word of God, who in His Incarnation, is an actual refection of the Invisible God. We read the Bible to find Jesus Christ, and in the process maybe some folks get mixed up and take the mirror image for the actual.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
However, I think you're missing something. I spoke from my experience. Unless you're also speaking from experience, I'm not sure I can see your response as a successful rebuttal, since you would only be speaking from theory.
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« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2011, 02:33:23 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

From my experience, I think Protestants define the title "Word" differently when they use it in reference to the Bible and when they use it in reference to Christ.  The Bible is the Word of God, but not in the same way that Christ is the Word of God.  I can see how this would be confusing to those who aren't as well versed in the different uses of the same word.

I would argue differently.  In the jumble of heresies which the Protestants spontaneously, intentionally, or coincidentally have revived in their congregations, they have mixed up legitimate Christology with falsehoods of misunderstanding.

The Church teaches that the Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, is the vocalization of the Father, that is, the Word is the begotten expression of the Will of the Father.  The Father does not literally "speak" He not having a mouth, however, the Word, is the speaking of the Father in that the Word effects the economy of God into existence, as attested in the Gospel of John 1:3.

I believe that when Protestants mistakenly conflate the Word of God in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the word of God as spoken and revealed in the Scriptures, it is because they are conflating these two similar concepts. If the Second Person of the Trinity is the Word of God [i.e., the maifesation of trhe WIll of God] and Jesus is also the Word of God, folks mistakenly make Jesus to become the Bible. They don't seem to understand that the Bible is a symbolic representation of God, like all literature and writing is a symbol of the thought it conveys, and that Jesus as the Word is a hypostatic manifestation of the thought and Will of God the Father. Both the Bible and the Word (as a Person) reveal the depth of God, however it is because the written word reflects a symbolic image of the actual Word of God, who in His Incarnation, is an actual refection of the Invisible God. We read the Bible to find Jesus Christ, and in the process maybe some folks get mixed up and take the mirror image for the actual.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
However, I think you're missing something. I spoke from my experience. Unless you're also speaking from experience, I'm not sure I can see your response as a successful rebuttal, since you would only be speaking from theory.
Honestly, I don't recall Protestants giving much thought to Christ as God the Word to make any confusion with the Word of God possible.  That's possibly not by chance: many (most?) Protestants seem almost gnostic in their orientation, and John wrote his Gospel in part to take the gnostics head on.
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« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2011, 02:33:48 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


However, I think you're missing something. I spoke from my experience. Unless you're also speaking from experience, I'm not sure I can see your response as a successful rebuttal, since you would only be speaking from theory.

I am very much speaking from experience, while surely not all Protestants make this conflation, many in fact do.  Many do in fact speak interchangeably regarding either the Word or the Bible.  I am not saying that Protestants physically mix up the Bible and Jesus Christ, however it seems clear that conceptually they do.  What I mean by this is that folks are under the assumption that Jesus Christ is somehow LIMITED by what is written of Him in the Scriptures, or that ONLY through the Scriptures can we know Jesus Christ, which is of course not true at all.  Jesus Christ is real, and exists on His own, entirely separate from the Scriptures.  The Scriptures speak of Him, but He can always speak for Himself.  We in Orthodox seek a relationship with Him directly, whereas it seems many Protestants seem to equate a relationship with the Bible as having a relationship with Jesus Christ.  How can that be? This is what I was insinuating when I said folks mix up the mirror image for the actual.  The Bible reflects Jesus Christ, but we can know Him directly.  I would further argue that in making the Communion a symbol, they have somehow made the Bible actual, when it is the other way around. Through the Holy Communion we know Jesus Christ in a very real and actual way, and through the Bible we re unveiled a symbolic representation, whereas Protestants seem to think that the Communion is the symbol, and that the Scriptures are the actual revelation of Jesus Christ.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2011, 08:09:33 PM »

I believe that when Protestants mistakenly conflate the Word of God in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the word of God

You can believe that all you want but it's not true. We don't conflate anything, there is a clear difference and if you think simply because The Word of God and the word of God are similarly worded, that Protestants somehow can't differentiate then i hope i've been able to correct that misunderstanding.
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« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2011, 08:39:32 PM »

I believe that when Protestants mistakenly conflate the Word of God in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the word of God

You can believe that all you want but it's not true. We don't conflate anything, there is a clear difference and if you think simply because The Word of God and the word of God are similarly worded, that Protestants somehow can't differentiate then i hope i've been able to correct that misunderstanding.
I once read that there is a (probably baptist) illustrated book for children that quotes the Gospel of John: "in the beginning was the Word..."

The image next to the text depicts a copy of the Scriptures floating above the earth.
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« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2011, 09:18:39 PM »

This seems like a good place to share this podcast from Ancient Faith Radio: Can We Really Know God?

In it, Fr. Michael Reagan makes a point that really rings true with me, as someone who was raised in a Protestant (Presbyterian) church: Because they reject the sacramental mysteries, true communion with God is replaced by necessity with "Bible studies", because the Protestants lack very much else by which they might come to know God. Over time, this has morphed in modern Protestantism into the sort of situation that we see now, wherein it is only the Bible that is seen as having any sort of power or authority, despite what is written in the Bible itself regarding the relationship of the scriptures to this concept of knowing God (Fr. Michael brings several examples; listen to the podcast, please...it is very enlightening).

Without necessarily accusing the Protestants of conflating the Word of God (Christ) with the scriptures, I think it is harder to refute Fr. Michael's observation. It is a reality that I experienced myself, and am forever indebted to God for bringing me out of.
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« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2011, 09:39:55 PM »

I believe that when Protestants mistakenly conflate the Word of God in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the word of God

You can believe that all you want but it's not true. We don't conflate anything, there is a clear difference and if you think simply because The Word of God and the word of God are similarly worded, that Protestants somehow can't differentiate then i hope i've been able to correct that misunderstanding.
I once read that there is a (probably baptist) illustrated book for children that quotes the Gospel of John: "in the beginning was the Word..."

The image next to the text depicts a copy of the Scriptures floating above the earth.

Like this?



You can do a Google Images search for "in the beginning was the word" for many more anecdotal examples. There are a lot more pictures of Bibles than there are of Christ.

Unfortunately I think many people do conflate Christ and the Bible, and this is kind of how they view Him/it:



"The Word became text and was shelved among us..."
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« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2011, 11:15:41 PM »

 ^  Grin  Great post, even the unnerving picture.
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« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2011, 11:45:33 PM »

I don't think any protestants worship the bible as God.
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« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2011, 12:32:59 AM »

I believe that when Protestants mistakenly conflate the Word of God in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the word of God

You can believe that all you want but it's not true. We don't conflate anything, there is a clear difference and if you think simply because The Word of God and the word of God are similarly worded, that Protestants somehow can't differentiate then i hope i've been able to correct that misunderstanding.
You do realize that HabteSelassie was talking about his experience of some Protestants? Maybe you and those Protestants you know don't conflate the two (which is also what I experienced as a Protestant), but it's possible that Habte has met other Protestants who do. You therefore haven't corrected any misunderstanding with your hasty generalization.
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« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2011, 01:03:43 AM »

I don't think any protestants worship the bible as God.

Why bother with what they really believe when we can spin countless tales about Protestant fertility deities, book-worshipers, and, don't forget, that wonderful catch-all "gnosticism"?
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« Reply #28 on: October 29, 2011, 05:06:51 AM »

I believe that when Protestants mistakenly conflate the Word of God in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the word of God

You can believe that all you want but it's not true. We don't conflate anything, there is a clear difference and if you think simply because The Word of God and the word of God are similarly worded, that Protestants somehow can't differentiate then i hope i've been able to correct that misunderstanding.
You do realize that HabteSelassie was talking about his experience of some Protestants? Maybe you and those Protestants you know don't conflate the two (which is also what I experienced as a Protestant), but it's possible that Habte has met other Protestants who do. You therefore haven't corrected any misunderstanding with your hasty generalization.

I'm sure Habte can answer for himself.
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« Reply #29 on: October 29, 2011, 05:17:43 AM »


I am very much speaking from experience.  .  .


You didn't make this clear in your post before this one.
I'm sure you might have come across Protestants who believe this but by far, it's not the majority, certainly not "many".
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« Reply #30 on: October 29, 2011, 07:31:36 AM »

When I was in college, I had a professor who referred to Jesus as the Incarnation of God and the Bible as the Inscripturation of God. His idea was that as God dwelt within a body while Jesus was on Earth, after the Ascension God disappeared from the Earth until the Bible was written, and then He dwelt within the pages of Scripture.

I thought for a while that he was clearly deranged until my priest (before I told him this story) mentioned that he had a professor in his Lutheran seminary who used the same word Inscripturation. Apparently this bizarre heresy is more widespread than I originally thought.

You mentioned something here that I think is very relevent to this disscussion and I'm not sure that others here saw it,and it was something your professor said. If his view of Christ is that God simply "dwelt" within a body,this thinking clearly has implacations on both one's view of the Bible,and Christ himself. We need to understand that the Body of Christ is NOT segragated, God did not possess a Body, The Physical body of Christ was just as much God as His Spirit was,meaning the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ IS Divine.
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« Reply #31 on: October 29, 2011, 07:51:02 AM »


I am very much speaking from experience.  .  .


You didn't make this clear in your post before this one.
I'm sure you might have come across Protestants who believe this but by far, it's not the majority, certainly not "many".
I'm going to have to side with HabteSelassie on this one. "many" is correct. It is true that Protestants who actually think about such things will understand and articulate the difference, but to the average pew-warmer, there is little if any distinction.

This thinking seems to come across in various ways. There is one interesting point that I notice regularly is in the credal statements of various denominations and para-church organizations. In some churches point number one is about God - Who He is. In others, point number one is about the Scriptures - thus (possibly inadvertently) placing the Scriptures ahead of God! It's no wonder there is confusion in the ranks.
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« Reply #32 on: October 29, 2011, 10:08:41 AM »


I am very much speaking from experience.  .  .


You didn't make this clear in your post before this one.
I'm sure you might have come across Protestants who believe this but by far, it's not the majority, certainly not "many".
I'm going to have to side with HabteSelassie on this one. "many" is correct. It is true that Protestants who actually think about such things will understand and articulate the difference, but to the average pew-warmer, there is little if any distinction.

This thinking seems to come across in various ways. There is one interesting point that I notice regularly is in the credal statements of various denominations and para-church organizations. In some churches point number one is about God - Who He is. In others, point number one is about the Scriptures - thus (possibly inadvertently) placing the Scriptures ahead of God! It's no wonder there is confusion in the ranks.

If this is your evidence for "many" then i need to know which credal statements exactly please?
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« Reply #33 on: October 29, 2011, 10:19:44 AM »

It might be more helpful, rather than taking sides, if we simply explored the reasons for our beliefs.
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« Reply #34 on: October 29, 2011, 10:50:35 AM »


I am very much speaking from experience.  .  .


You didn't make this clear in your post before this one.
I'm sure you might have come across Protestants who believe this but by far, it's not the majority, certainly not "many".
I'm going to have to side with HabteSelassie on this one. "many" is correct. It is true that Protestants who actually think about such things will understand and articulate the difference, but to the average pew-warmer, there is little if any distinction.

This thinking seems to come across in various ways. There is one interesting point that I notice regularly is in the credal statements of various denominations and para-church organizations. In some churches point number one is about God - Who He is. In others, point number one is about the Scriptures - thus (possibly inadvertently) placing the Scriptures ahead of God! It's no wonder there is confusion in the ranks.

If this is your evidence for "many" then i need to know which credal statements exactly please?
The "many" comes in great part from my 50+ years in an Evangelical Protestant church and my continued association with many friends and relatives. The credal statements to which I refer have been noticed over a number of years as I have examined the beliefs of various denominations and organizations. I would suggest that you simply look up a variety of denominations and para-church organizations that have a presence in your home town or are otherwise known to you.

It doesn't surprise me that you (or anyone else, I don't mean it to be taken as exclusively you personally) might question my statement. What I discovered was not what I expected to find. It took me by surprise, too.

Please accept my apologies if my wording "have to side with H..S.." seemed aggressive. It was not intended to mean more than "I agree with".
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« Reply #35 on: October 29, 2011, 12:00:31 PM »

Sometimes, in the part of Scriptures and God, I feel there are three groups of Protestants:

1.  Those who can recognize the difference
2.  Those who can't recognize the difference
3.  Those who probably can recognize the difference, but their teachings imply and could lead to a logical conclusion that they can't, maybe even confuse their own congregation.
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« Reply #36 on: October 29, 2011, 02:08:01 PM »


I am very much speaking from experience.  .  .


You didn't make this clear in your post before this one.
I'm sure you might have come across Protestants who believe this but by far, it's not the majority, certainly not "many".
I'm going to have to side with HabteSelassie on this one. "many" is correct. It is true that Protestants who actually think about such things will understand and articulate the difference, but to the average pew-warmer, there is little if any distinction.

This thinking seems to come across in various ways. There is one interesting point that I notice regularly is in the credal statements of various denominations and para-church organizations. In some churches point number one is about God - Who He is. In others, point number one is about the Scriptures - thus (possibly inadvertently) placing the Scriptures ahead of God! It's no wonder there is confusion in the ranks.

If this is your evidence for "many" then i need to know which credal statements exactly please?
Define "many". To my understanding, "many" does not mean "majority" or "strong minority" or a percentage of any kind. "Many" simply means a large number. 1000 people may be a very minuscule portion of a population of 100,000,000, but they will certainly fill up a large banquet room.

You do realize that you're also arguing with those who have experience? You can argue theory all you want and say that Protestants don't conflate the Bible with Christ, but some of us have actually met Protestants who do conflate the two. To argue theory with such who have experience is analogous to bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Protestantism is also not as monolithic as you would like to think it is.
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« Reply #37 on: October 29, 2011, 02:09:25 PM »

I believe that when Protestants mistakenly conflate the Word of God in the Person of Jesus Christ, and the word of God

You can believe that all you want but it's not true. We don't conflate anything, there is a clear difference and if you think simply because The Word of God and the word of God are similarly worded, that Protestants somehow can't differentiate then i hope i've been able to correct that misunderstanding.
You do realize that HabteSelassie was talking about his experience of some Protestants? Maybe you and those Protestants you know don't conflate the two (which is also what I experienced as a Protestant), but it's possible that Habte has met other Protestants who do. You therefore haven't corrected any misunderstanding with your hasty generalization.

I'm sure Habte can answer for himself.
I'm sure he can, too, but my comment was also a roundabout way of acknowledging the truth in what HabteSelassie said in a reply to me.
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« Reply #38 on: October 29, 2011, 02:17:51 PM »

This is the best way I've seen it put so far. I have found that in the un-Orthodox churches (because I've been in them), the problem is often not so much the percentage or overall number of people who might believe something that is clearly heretical (because that number is, in my experience, quite small in any given congregation), but that the doctrine lends itself to multiple interpretations that are not resolvable into some sort of consensus ("when we say _____, this is what we mean"). Hence, you have the multiplicity of situations you find in Protestants' understandings of the Bible and God, or in Catholics' understanding of the filioque, or whatever the issue is. It's a really messy, bad situation because it could very well be the case that nobody you know understands the issue in a problematic fashion, but the fact that the guy two pews over has some sort of strange idea and is still allowed to commune with you (or whatever the Protestant equivalent is, for those Protestants who are non-sacramental) hurts the faith of the entire community, because it gives the impression that there is no real difference between proper understanding and false doctrine. We all love Jesus, right?

Eventually it was this cognitive dissonance between being of one faith on paper and every man being an island unto himself in practice that led me to Orthodoxy (among many other reasons). How anyone in such a situation can stand it, I don't know.

Sometimes, in the part of Scriptures and God, I feel there are three groups of Protestants:

1.  Those who can recognize the difference
2.  Those who can't recognize the difference
3.  Those who probably can recognize the difference, but their teachings imply and could lead to a logical conclusion that they can't, maybe even confuse their own congregation.
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« Reply #39 on: October 29, 2011, 08:17:09 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

"Many" means a lot, not a percentage so much as enough for it so be relevant.  I was not trying to insinuate ALL Protestants believe this, and I wasn't trying to insinuate that any folks on this forum are believing this, but from my experience many Protestant Christians, Churches, preachers, books, televangelists, do believe this.  I've already explained myself above, in that I am not saying most folks literally believe that Jesus Christ IS the Bible.  What folks seem to do is use passages regarding the Word (who is Christ) and the Bible interchangeably, and this is an absolute error.  I feel these folks maybe believe that the Bible is THE authority to explain Christ, and so this is how they see the Bible as the Word of God, in that the Bible explains Christ.  The problem is that many folks seem to imply that ONLY the Bible speaks for Christ, or that Christ only speaks through the Bible and no where or in no way else. 

The real problem is not that most Protestants believe this, but that many do.  What is worse, is that even when it is a minority who misconstrue Jesus Christ the Word of God and the Holy Scriptures as the capital Word of God (rather than lowercase word of God), these are not necessarily openly corrected in their Protestant Churches.  That is the real issue, is that Protestant Churches do not always have a centralized belief system, and many preachers and congregations allow individuals to believe and even teach heresies that others may not believe.  In Orthodox we have ONE teaching, and ONE system. If ANY Protestants from ANY churches believe this misconception, than there is a problem within the chain of command communicating the proper teachings.  In Orthodox, the Church of Straight-Thinking, we strictly correct heresies.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #40 on: October 29, 2011, 08:55:55 PM »


I am very much speaking from experience.  .  .


You didn't make this clear in your post before this one.
I'm sure you might have come across Protestants who believe this but by far, it's not the majority, certainly not "many".
I'm going to have to side with HabteSelassie on this one. "many" is correct. It is true that Protestants who actually think about such things will understand and articulate the difference, but to the average pew-warmer, there is little if any distinction.

This thinking seems to come across in various ways. There is one interesting point that I notice regularly is in the credal statements of various denominations and para-church organizations. In some churches point number one is about God - Who He is. In others, point number one is about the Scriptures - thus (possibly inadvertently) placing the Scriptures ahead of God! It's no wonder there is confusion in the ranks.

If this is your evidence for "many" then i need to know which credal statements exactly please?
The "many" comes in great part from my 50+ years in an Evangelical Protestant church and my continued association with many friends and relatives. The credal statements to which I refer have been noticed over a number of years as I have examined the beliefs of various denominations and organizations. I would suggest that you simply look up a variety of denominations and para-church organizations that have a presence in your home town or are otherwise known to you.

It doesn't surprise me that you (or anyone else, I don't mean it to be taken as exclusively you personally) might question my statement. What I discovered was not what I expected to find. It took me by surprise, too.

Please accept my apologies if my wording "have to side with H..S.." seemed aggressive. It was not intended to mean more than "I agree with".

You think i have time to go looking up evidence to back up assertions you've made? You judge my time to be of less value than yours that you'd expect me to do that? The onus is on you to provide the citations to your own statements as i do my own.
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« Reply #41 on: October 29, 2011, 09:12:07 PM »


I am very much speaking from experience.  .  .


You didn't make this clear in your post before this one.
I'm sure you might have come across Protestants who believe this but by far, it's not the majority, certainly not "many".
I'm going to have to side with HabteSelassie on this one. "many" is correct. It is true that Protestants who actually think about such things will understand and articulate the difference, but to the average pew-warmer, there is little if any distinction.

This thinking seems to come across in various ways. There is one interesting point that I notice regularly is in the credal statements of various denominations and para-church organizations. In some churches point number one is about God - Who He is. In others, point number one is about the Scriptures - thus (possibly inadvertently) placing the Scriptures ahead of God! It's no wonder there is confusion in the ranks.

If this is your evidence for "many" then i need to know which credal statements exactly please?
Define "many". To my understanding, "many" does not mean "majority" or "strong minority" or a percentage of any kind. "Many" simply means a large number. 1000 people may be a very minuscule portion of a population of 100,000,000, but they will certainly fill up a large banquet room.

You do realize that you're also arguing with those who have experience? You can argue theory all you want and say that Protestants don't conflate the Bible with Christ, but some of us have actually met Protestants who do conflate the two. To argue theory with such who have experience is analogous to bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Protestantism is also not as monolithic as you would like to think it is.
Good idea, let's not argue theory. I'd be really surprised if Habteselasie has met 1000 people who have expressed this to him personally as a belief. I'd like approximate figures if that's okay, given that it's Habteselassie's "experience" i'd say he could come up with a rough number and then we would be discussing a few facts rather than "many" opinions. As i've already said, there probably are a few, one or two in every church who conflate them and it wouldn't surprise me if some of you have come across those few people who do.
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« Reply #42 on: October 29, 2011, 09:33:53 PM »

.  .  .  Protestant Churches do not always have a centralized belief system, and many preachers and congregations allow individuals to believe and even teach heresies that others may not believe.  In Orthodox we have ONE teaching, and ONE system. If ANY Protestants from ANY churches believe this misconception, than there is a problem within the chain of command communicating the proper teachings.  In Orthodox, the Church of Straight-Thinking, we strictly correct heresies.

I can see your point on this to a degree.
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« Reply #43 on: October 29, 2011, 09:55:02 PM »


You think i have time to go looking up evidence to back up assertions you've made? You judge my time to be of less value than yours that you'd expect me to do that? The onus is on you to provide the citations to your own statements as i do my own.
Do let me help you.

Take a look at these credal statements:
http://www.abaptist.org/general.html This one puts God in third place!
http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Statement_of_Fundamental_Truths/sft_short.cfm God in second place.
http://www.chog.org/our-beliefs Calls itself "Church of God" - but Who is He?
http://www.bible.ca/cr-AGC.htm
http://www.opc.org/beliefs.html Bible first, God second; they even have the nerve to include the word "orthodox" in their name!
http://www.billygraham.org/statementoffaith.asp Well-known and respected para-church organization
http://www.openarmsmissionwelland.com/site/about mission to the needy in my home town

These, of course, contrast with many churches - usually those with a clear historical connection to traditional sacramental churches, even though they may not regard themselves as "sacramental" now. (Many Methodist denominations as an example).

To save your asking me what "many" means, here's a link:
http://www.wordnik.com/words/many
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« Reply #44 on: October 29, 2011, 10:10:01 PM »

"If the Bible had never existed, could the Church exist?"

The answer to this question will indicate whether a person treats the Bible as God in effect. Most Protestants, I expect, would balk at such a question, because to them the Church flows from the Bible, not vice-versa.

An Orthodox person would say yes, because the Bible is not an existential necessity for the Church. It is a creation of the Church, given by God as a condescension (syncatabasis) for our weakness and lack of faith (see St. John Chrysostom's homilies on Genesis, IIRC).

I am not suggesting we become minimalists and get rid of everything that is deemed unnecessary, that is not my point. My point is, for Protestants everything comes back to the Bible because it is the sole source of divine revelation and thus is the only way to know God. To get rid of the Bible is to get rid of God, in effect, so the Bible's place in Protestantism is clear.

On the other hand, we all know the Church existed perfectly well before the New Testament existed. And I am almost certain that at least some backwater churches in the first centuries had no scriptures at all.

Jesus Christ is the sole captain of this ship, and the Holy Spirit is the wind in the sails. The Bible is the star chart, but the captain knows the stars like the back of his hand. The charts are there for we faithless seamen who still can't manage to trust and follow our captain's lead. (And that is important! But the charts are not the captain or the wind or the stars.)

To stretch the metaphor a bit further: The Fathers are the captain's old shipmates who were taught everything the captain knows, and are at least as reliable as the charts—in part because they studied the charts, in part because they spent so much time with the captain. So the charts are still very important and useful for many things, but they are not the ultimate source of anything, by any means.
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