Sorry for the delay here. Work is requiring we use up all of our vacation time before the end of the year, so we took a last minute impromptu vacation to visit some family. and I lost my password.
I never found and read the forum rules, but that’s fine. I’m sure they’re basic, no being slanderous, no attacking, no proselytizing, no intentionally misrepresenting the faith, etc. etc.. Nothing that’ll cause me any pains.
For the sake of explanation I will probably be using the term “Apostolic Churches” frequently. So I figured I’d better define it. I define Apostolic churches as any church that claims to have apostolic succession of Bishops back to the Apostles. (Roman Catholics, World EO, Traditionalist EO, OO, Assyrian, Old Catholics, TAC, Utrecht Catholics, Anglican, apostolic Lutherans, etc.. etc.. (I use the word ‘claim’ on purpose. I’m sure we’d agree that some lines may be dubious. I don’t wish to debate or dissect it right now so I used ‘claim’).
One of my stumbling blocks in converting to Orthodoxy (OCA) is that I bought into the old simplified church history story. The one that goes ‘there was one church with one set of beliefs for the first one thousand years of church history, then the Catholics left, and then the rest of Christianity came out of the corrupt Western church.” But upon reading more and more of the early church fathers, I found this story to be way oversimplified, to the point of being misleading and wrong. Every apostolic church can cherry pick their teachings out of the early church fathers. The EO can go back and cherry pick their teachings, the Roman Catholics can go back and cherry pick their teachings, the OO can go back and cherry pick their teachings, the Assyrians can go back and cherry pick their teachings. The first question I can’t answer is why should I believe one set of cherry pickings over another? Every apostolic church can justify their teachings by cherry picking. Why should I chose one over the other? The usual EO answer I get to this question is ‘don’t worry others are just cherry picking, ours is the true faith.’ For me, this doesn’t answer the question because it’s the same answer any other member of any other apostolic church can give. The second answer I get is ‘I need to understand that no individual father is right all the time, some had personal beliefs and some we’re in fact wrong.’ Once again for me this doesn’t answer the question because it’s the same answer any other member of any other apostolic church can give. The third and follow-up answer I get is ‘it’s the teaching of the fathers that we’re accepted by the church that we believe.’ Once again, this really doesn’t answer it. It really puts the cart before the horse. If I don’t know which church is the church, then how do I determine which early church fathers to accept. Plus it is the same canned answer that any other member of any other apostolic church can give.
In my limited reasoning abilities, I see many apostolic churches, all having some diverse beliefs. They can all back up there diverse beliefs by early church fathers. I can only see one answer. There was diversity of beliefs in the early church. And if there was a diversity of beliefs in the early church, why should there not be a diversity of beliefs in today’s church. (I don’t open it up to include all the name it and claim it that happens these days. Just traditional/apostolic Christianity.)
Lets try it this way? Why should I not be a Oriental Orthodox Christian. (had I known they existed before I converted to the OCA, I’m not sure I would have converted??) IMO they are the closest to the EO. 99% the same, just one definition about Christology. They can support their teachings in pre-schism saints. Plus, this one difference has been pretty much settled upon in ecumenical meetings. Being written off as different terminology driven by a different language. (obviously the Traditionalist don’t agree with the settlements.) So if this was the only difference and its being written off as not being different, then why not join the OO?
I pray more words don't offend.
St. Jacob Bar Hebraeus
“When I had given much thought and pondered on the matter, I became convinced that these quarrels of Christians among themselves are not a matter of factual substance, but rather one of words and terms. For they all confess Christ Our Lord to be perfect God and perfect human, without any commingling, mixing, or confusion of the natures. This bipinnate 'likeness' ( Phil. 2:6-7) is termed by one party a 'nature', by another 'a hypostasis' and by yet another a 'person'. Thus I saw all the Christian communities, with their different Christological positions, as possessing a single common ground that is without any difference. Accordingly I totally eradicated any hatred from the depths of my heart, and I completely renounced disputing with anyone over confessional matters.”