Author Topic: Why don't Protestants believe in the Christian ministerial priesthood?  (Read 735 times)

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Offline Xavier

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1. St. Paul the Apostle says he was called; "to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit." (Rom 15:16, NASB), so why do Protestants deny there is a truly ministerial priesthood in the New Covenant, exercised by the bishops and presbyters of the Church, in which the deacons function similarly to the Levites of old? Already in the Prophet Isaiah we read, that in the New Covenant, God would ordain priests and choose Levites for His service, "I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites," says the LORD." (66:21)

We know Jesus is our great High Priest, of the order of Melchisedech, who had offered a sacrifice under the form of bread and wine to God most High (Gen 14, Psa 110 etc). It follows that by the very fact of giving His Apostles the right and duty to offer the fulfilment of that sacrifice saying "Do this in memory of Me (Luk 22:19), God instituted His Apostles as ministerial priests of the New Covenant, as St. Paul says he too was called to be.

2. In the early Church, it was very common, nay universal, to recognize these 3 grades or degrees pertaining to the Christian priesthood as distinct yet united: St. Ignatius of Antioch, disciple of St. John the Apostle, writing in A.D. 107, is typical: "See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it." http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0109.htm

Acts 20:28 "the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the Church of God" - sometimes translated "overseers" in some modern translations, reflecting an anti-clerical bent.

Similarly Titus 1:5 says presbyters or simple priests must be ordained in fact; showing they are priests. But some translate appoint for ordain, elders for presbyters, and the priesthood in the New Covenant is masked by these translations. In the early Church, bishops alone would ordain a presbyter or simple priest, reflecting the monarchy of God the Father; and 3 bishops would consecrate a bishop - who was seen as reflecting the office of high priest for his flock - to manifest the unity of the Holy Trinity and His grace given in ordination.

3. So how come Protestants don't believe in the Christian ministerial priesthood? Is it because St. Peter says we are a royal priesthood? But he is citing the old testament there, and there was in fact a royal priesthood among the people of Israel beside the ministerial priesthood. Ex 19:6 "And you shall be to me a priestly kingdom, and a holy nation". It only stands to reason there would be the same in the Church. The Levites and priests were ministerial priests; royal or kingly priesthood was shared in by all.

Similarly, St. Paul in the epistle to the Hebrews says when there is a change of the priesthood, there is of the covenant as well. So now that we have a new covenant, we have a new priesthood. Just like the priest Melchisedech was recognized as a priest by what he offered, bread and wine, so can we recognize the Apostles are true priests by their perpetual offering under the form of the same, bread and wine, though now with what was prefigured having become the reality itself. Since Christ commanded the Apostles to make this offering, it follows that His Word made them priests.

So, do you believe St. Paul and the other Apostles were true ministerial priests of the New Covenant?
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 02:23:10 AM by Xavier »
Locution, Aug 18, 2014: "They will realize that I have released an ocean of graces which have changed their darkness into light. They will realize that they have been freed from the past century of diabolical control. They will also know that this great gift has come through the consecration of Russia made by the Holy Father in communion with all the bishops in the world. http://locutions-forever.org/locutions/show/2014-08-18/1-the-overcoming-of-separation

Offline RaphaCam

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It was a historical aggravation of Luther's emphasis on priesthood of all believers.
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Offline Alpha60

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1. St. Paul the Apostle says he was called; "to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit." (Rom 15:16, NASB), so why do Protestants deny there is a truly ministerial priesthood in the New Covenant, exercised by the bishops and presbyters of the Church, in which the deacons function similarly to the Levites of old? Already in the Prophet Isaiah we read, that in the New Covenant, God would ordain priests and choose Levites for His service, "I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites," says the LORD." (66:21)

We know Jesus is our great High Priest, of the order of Melchisedech, who had offered a sacrifice under the form of bread and wine to God most High (Gen 14, Psa 110 etc). It follows that by the very fact of giving His Apostles the right and duty to offer the fulfilment of that sacrifice saying "Do this in memory of Me (Luk 22:19), God instituted His Apostles as ministerial priests of the New Covenant, as St. Paul says he too was called to be.

2. In the early Church, it was very common, nay universal, to recognize these 3 grades or degrees pertaining to the Christian priesthood as distinct yet united: St. Ignatius of Antioch, disciple of St. John the Apostle, writing in A.D. 107, is typical: "See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it." http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0109.htm

Acts 20:28 "the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the Church of God" - sometimes translated "overseers" in some modern translations, reflecting an anti-clerical bent.

Similarly Titus 1:5 says presbyters or simple priests must be ordained in fact; showing they are priests. But some translate appoint for ordain, elders for presbyters, and the priesthood in the New Covenant is masked by these translations. In the early Church, bishops alone would ordain a presbyter or simple priest, reflecting the monarchy of God the Father; and 3 bishops would consecrate a bishop - who was seen as reflecting the office of high priest for his flock - to manifest the unity of the Holy Trinity and His grace given in ordination.

3. So how come Protestants don't believe in the Christian ministerial priesthood? Is it because St. Peter says we are a royal priesthood? But he is citing the old testament there, and there was in fact a royal priesthood among the people of Israel beside the ministerial priesthood. Ex 19:6 "And you shall be to me a priestly kingdom, and a holy nation". It only stands to reason there would be the same in the Church. The Levites and priests were ministerial priests; royal or kingly priesthood was shared in by all.

Similarly, St. Paul in the epistle to the Hebrews says when there is a change of the priesthood, there is of the covenant as well. So now that we have a new covenant, we have a new priesthood. Just like the priest Melchisedech was recognized as a priest by what he offered, bread and wine, so can we recognize the Apostles are true priests by their perpetual offering under the form of the same, bread and wine, though now with what was prefigured having become the reality itself. Since Christ commanded the Apostles to make this offering, it follows that His Word made them priests.

So, do you believe St. Paul and the other Apostles were true ministerial priests of the New Covenant?

I think all right believing Orthodox would share your sentiments here as well as your frustration.  Its completely correct and an example of full alignment between EO, OO, Assyrian and RC dogmatics.  All of the ancient apostolic churches which still have a priesthood could agree on this sentiment (in the case of the priestless Russian Old Believers, perhaps Hawkeye could share with us their perspective on this issue, given their unique belief that the Christian ministerial priesthood became extinct due to the tragic mass murder of Old Rite Russian Orthodox bishops during the Nikonian Schism, a belief which to me seems more rational and justifiable than the Protestant rejection of a ministerial priesthood).

Of course the Protestants don’t actually reject the ministerial priesthood, they still have clergy, and some are even called Priests.  However, they reject its sacramental character, and create euphemisms to replace the word Priest and Bishop, like “Minister” or the Anglican broad-church dodge of calling the parish priest “Vicar” regardless of whether or not he is a Vicar, or a Rector in posession of the benefice, or a mere Curate (and thus avoids subjecting the low church evangelical party to the dreaded word “priest”).  Anglicanism’s tragedy is that it is too polite; fear of giving offence prevents it from correcting its own errors; this is of course a consequence of the English Civil War, the Settlement, the Glorious Revolution and the dominance of Latidudinarians in the 18th century Anglican episcopate, which resulted in the highly controversial Anglo Catholicism of the 19th century being answered with an undefined expression of civility.  Unitarian Universalism went down a similiar road at a faster pace; they were still nominally Christian when the two denominations merged in the 1950s, and now they are basically devoid of doctrine.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 05:17:20 AM by Alpha60 »
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Offline David Young

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The question is based on a shaky foundation. In theory, Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists &c believe in 'the priesthood of all believers' - and that is what the opening question is doubtless exploring.We believe all priesthood as such ended with the Lord Jesus Christ. His offering at Calvary was sufficient, complete, final and unrepeatable. Hence, no priests today.
 
But in practice, a lot of churches have adopted a very priestly attitude to the administration of baptism and the Lord's Supper, an attitude no doubt inherited from mediæval Rome and passed on via descent from the Anglican Church. They require an 'ordained' man (or even woman, despite the biblical prohibition on women teachers and leaders of the churches) for the exercise of those functions, which, if not priestly DOCTRINE is at the very least a priestly PRACTICE and attitude.

Having said that, if a local church has duly appointed ministers, pastors, elders, it seems orderly for them to administer the two sacraments/ordinances; but if the church lacks such an officer, for any temporary local reason, there is no theological bar to the administration being performed by a man who is not an officer of the church.

You would probably see it as blasphemous, but we did it with reverence. Meeting in Gjirokastër in about 1997 for an evening meal which included bread and red wine, before we began eating the meal as such, we used some of the bread and wine to remember the Lord's death until he comes - that is, to take Communion (or if you prefer, the Eucharist). I can see no theological reason against a small group of believers doing so, and I believe the Lord was reverently honoured. We then turned to the bread, wine, cheese, onions and whatever else was on the same perfectly ordinary table, and enjoyed a meal together.
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Offline JTLoganville

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It was a historical aggravation of Luther's emphasis on priesthood of all believers.
More a misappropriation and distortion.

For Lutherans, the foundational doctrines are set forth in the Book of Concord, which, in addition to Luther's Small and Larger Catechism contains the A.D. 1530 Confession of Augsburg (AC) and the Apology (defense) of that Confession.   In most Lutheran circles the AC carries the highest weight of authority.

The AC's central teaching is ¶IV on Justification.  The very next section, on the Office of Ministry, declares that clerical orders are necessary "to secure these gifts".  The Apology goes farther by stating that in so far as Ordination is necessary to provide Baptism, Eucharist, and Penance Ordination itself could be regarded as a Sacrament.

What I have presented is, unfortunately, a minority view within Lutherans (and one of many reasons why I am no longer Lutheran, but Orthodox) and an even tinier minority within Protestantism which seems to be an a Babylonian captivity to Zwingli and the enthusiasts.

 

Offline Volnutt

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The question is based on a shaky foundation. In theory, Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists &c believe in 'the priesthood of all believers' - and that is what the opening question is doubtless exploring.We believe all priesthood as such ended with the Lord Jesus Christ. His offering at Calvary was sufficient, complete, final and unrepeatable. Hence, no priests today.

I'm not sure that a priesthood actually conflicts with the sufficiency of Christ since every act of the Christian's life is already a participation in that one accomplished work to one extent or another, isn't it?
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Offline mikeforjesus

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The lectures below from suscopts.org defend well the priesthood which the orthodox believe because the lectures understand why the protestants have objections. However despite these evidences one could have objection simply because of what seems a corruption of the priesthood from early times to be seen as taking christ place and making the priest's judgement infallible over one's soul or limiting God's judgement to the priests . Should not the priest if his judgement is really perfect know that some protestants are saved even if he does not know who so not judge them?  it is good that some seem not to judge them anymore and they may have never judged them but I thought they do but still if we believe their judgement is perfect they would be able to be sure some protestants will be able to be saved even if they do not know who. Why are the descendants of the apostles not like the apostles in knowing what God thinks of them and yet we claim to do miracles? even if God allows us to do miracles why are there still no miracles confirming that all must be orthodox?  before the Holy Spirit was able to reveal to them who should be chosen for apostleship like Matthias now it is just the judgement of the congregation and who seems best qualified.


Christ is the High Priest. If the high priest accepts you so should the priest but he may not and christ may accept you.  Though I agree the passage referring to levites probably refers to the priesthood because incense is offered it is understandable for them to dismiss it as something not clear or for me I believe it refers to the priesthood but it does not mean they have become the mediators between us and God they just help us to benefit from Christ's mediation ? The true incense is the offering up your life as a sacrifice to God. Why do the orthodox offer incense? why can't they just pray? why does God want incense?
Unfortunately many christians do not understand many prophesies of the old testament but that does not mean they are unbelievers but I suppose their faith could be shaken without knowledge and even if not they should however have great knowledge to be strong believers and effective. They are not unbelievers because they don't understand the whole bible because they are convinced by so many prophesies that Jesus is the Messiah and by the fellowship they found with God in accepting Him. The Jews probably believe God has left the world because of their sins but not totally which He will be present with them again when the messiah comes as He was with them with the prophets. But this is wrong as their bible says God does not abandon the children because of the parents sins. But everyone can get to know God and know the truth.

The reason protestants may dismiss the priesthood is simply because even though they may believe in it they may not feel compelled as need to join the church and they do not believe they should have to be subject to anyone except God unless God shows them they must. They need only convincing. It is not easy to swallow that a person needs a priest to come to God. They would not leave their family and deny Christ as sufficient to the world unless they know absolutely they need the priest


https://www.suscopts.org/messages/lectures/sacrament2.pdf


https://www.suscopts.org/messages/lectures/sacrament3.pdf
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 02:21:10 AM by mikeforjesus »

Offline mikeforjesus

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I forgot to mention that it is clear that the church wanted there to be rulers and shepherds over the church but where does it say in the bible that such rulers are not just helpers? where does it say only they can offer the communion ? The bible talks about Bishops and they are rulers but protestants see them as just elders..
but if they are just helpers you ask why submit to them? because you should submit to all but clearly they have a place not everyone can take since they are made rulers so I suppose they have more authority so one should not take them lightly but they can still err and christ accept you. Our church believes God chooses the rulers for if He did not such rulers would not help the church. But how can we be sure He still does and the congregation should not be the one choosing who should rule over them?
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 02:35:03 AM by mikeforjesus »

Offline mikeforjesus

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I forgot to mention that it is clear that the church wanted there to be rulers and shepherds over the church but where does it say in the bible that such rulers are not just helpers? where does it say only they can offer the communion ? The bible talks about Bishops and they are rulers but protestants see them as just elders..
but if they are just helpers you ask why submit to them? because you should submit to all but clearly they have a place not everyone can take since they are made rulers so I suppose they have more authority so one should not take them lightly but they can still err and christ accept you. Our church believes God chooses the rulers for if He did not such rulers would not help the church. But how can we be sure He still does and the congregation should not be the one choosing who should rule over them?

I do not mean people should choose as who knows if the congregation really knows what is good for them. Unfortunately in the last days people will choose teachers for themselves. It seems there should not be any rulers unless they are from God. I guess this is why protestants preachers are not rulers. People go to them only because they respect them.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 02:40:59 AM by mikeforjesus »

Offline iohanne

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The question is based on a shaky foundation. In theory, Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists &c believe in 'the priesthood of all believers' - and that is what the opening question is doubtless exploring.We believe all priesthood as such ended with the Lord Jesus Christ. His offering at Calvary was sufficient, complete, final and unrepeatable. Hence, no priests today.

Surely it cannot end, in some sense, because then what would be meant by the lines: "John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (Apocalypse 1:4-6) ?

Or, in a similar vein: "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ [...] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." (1 Peter 2:5,9-10)

In Isaias, the prophet speaks of the eschatological age and the in-gathering of all peoples into the worship of Israel: "That I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the Lord." (Isaias 66:18-21)

Paul teaches us that Christians do offer liturgical service, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1)

There is priesthood, sacrifice and redemption even in the very bodies of Christians when Paul speaks to the Corinthians: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you." 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

So then, I am much more inclined to believe in the priesthood of all believers than in a notion that priesthood ended with Christ.

But in practice, a lot of churches have adopted a very priestly attitude to the administration of baptism and the Lord's Supper, an attitude no doubt inherited from mediæval Rome and passed on via descent from the Anglican Church. They require an 'ordained' man (or even woman, despite the biblical prohibition on women teachers and leaders of the churches) for the exercise of those functions, which, if not priestly DOCTRINE is at the very least a priestly PRACTICE and attitude.

You would probably see it as blasphemous, but we did it with reverence. Meeting in Gjirokastër in about 1997 for an evening meal which included bread and red wine, before we began eating the meal as such, we used some of the bread and wine to remember the Lord's death until he comes - that is, to take Communion (or if you prefer, the Eucharist). I can see no theological reason against a small group of believers doing so, and I believe the Lord was reverently honoured. We then turned to the bread, wine, cheese, onions and whatever else was on the same perfectly ordinary table, and enjoyed a meal together.

No, if I'm to be honest, I'm inclined to agree with you to a certain extent in that I wouldn't consider it a sin or blasphemous for a group of lay Christians who happen to be sharing some wine and bread to pray first, to also give thanks communally, remember Christ and then partake. And obviously its a "communion" in a certain sense, an expression of koinonia... but I also feel that in the New Testament, Paul is already attempting to regulate behaviour at the Eucharistic meal and that the earliest Fathers already evince a concern for communion with the bishop and his presidency. This, for example isn't medieval Rome at all but St. Ignatius writing in the early 2nd century:

"See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God.Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is administered either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ch 8 )

The way I can best express my hesitation is that I feel it is my priestly duty as part of the baptised laity to be attentive to these precedents set by the saints who handed down the faith and be obedient to the bishops. Especially in times where we are not being persecuted and have the luxury of a hierarchy to serve our spiritual needs, I can, with a clean conscience, obey St. Ignatius in his letter and do nothing without the bishop who I have to follow, "even as Jesus Christ does the Father". This and I feel that it would be part of my priestly duty to take very reverential care for how the wine and the bread are to be treated after they were prayed over. There are those two lines about not throwing pearls before swines and not giving what is holy to dogs. This scrupulosity, perhaps you might characterise it, is why I would be anxious about any kind of universal, growing trend of impromptu eucharists.

Perhaps, I might suggest, it is also the fact that the eucharist is not thought of in sacrificial terms and in terms where it has been changed and must be treated with a certain amount of care which could explain why Protestants do not believe in the ministerial priesthood?
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 06:10:13 AM by iohanne »

Offline Alpha60

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The question is based on a shaky foundation. In theory, Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists &c believe in 'the priesthood of all believers' - and that is what the opening question is doubtless exploring.We believe all priesthood as such ended with the Lord Jesus Christ. His offering at Calvary was sufficient, complete, final and unrepeatable. Hence, no priests today.


The word Priest is an Old English rendering of Presbyter, and the NT talks about ordaining them.  But you’re also reacting to the scholastic error that disconnects the rational sacrifice of the Eucharist from the sacrifice on the Cross, when the reality is that the Divine Liturgy is a direct participation in the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord.

This is the ancient view of the Church; no one in antiquity held to the Protestant eisegesis you describe.

Theodore of Mopsuestia went so far as to say the Prothesis turned the Holy Gifts into the deceased body and blood of our Lord, and that this was then resurrected by the Holy Ghost in the Epiklesis.  This is an extreme interpretation of the Eucharist, but given the Protestant enthusiasm for literalism in scriptural interpretation, it should be noted that Theodore was the literalist exegete par excellence, in many respects I think one could say he was Antioch’s literalist answer to the typological, mystical interpretation presented by Origen and the Alexandrian school.

Orthodox members here will note that I am often on record complaining about the Fifth Ecumenical Council anathematizing both Origen and Theodore; I have a strong inclination to venerate them as saints, owing to the excellence of their theological studies, the holiness of their friends and pupils, and the irredutable fact that they were not schismatic and died in the peace of the Church.

Why is it that Protestants seem only ever to protest the wrong things?  There are thousands of issues worth protesting which, unlike the issue of the Priesthood, which is a sacrament, and which we see in the Gospels and Acts, and read the qualifications for in the Pastoral Epistles of St. Paul, or disputing the reality of the Eucharist in contradiction to the actual words of our Lord.

You could legitimately protest the anathematization of dead people at the Second Ecumenical Council, the lack of unity between the Eastern churches despite Rome having concluded that all of us share a common Christology, you could protest the destruction of the liturgy in the Western Churches since Vatican II, rather than copying and participating in that destruction via ICEL, et cetera.   

And most especially, you could protest Pentecostals and Charismatics, and cults like the SDAs, or the deadly JWs and Christian Scientists, who have killed thousands of people by teaching refusal of medical treatment.  People including the likes of Jim Henderson.

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But in practice, a lot of churches have adopted a very priestly attitude to the administration of baptism and the Lord's Supper, an attitude no doubt inherited from mediæval Rome and passed on via descent from the Anglican Church.


This is an amusingly Anglo Centric argument given that in the US several of the largest mainline denominations are descended from German, Dutch, Scandinavian and Scottish churches which had nothing to do with Anglicanism and Anglican theology.   Maybe if you had said “via descent from the Anglican and Lutheran churches,” but then, we have to note, even the Reformed churches demand ordinarion for the celebration of these sacraments.

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They require an 'ordained' man (or even woman, despite the biblical prohibition on women teachers and leaders of the churches) for the exercise of those functions, which, if not priestly DOCTRINE is at the very least a priestly PRACTICE and attitude.


The same Scripture that does preclude female priests and bishops also mandates their ordination.  A brief comment in Romans aside, what you refer to is literally an instruction to St. Timothy from St. Paul concerning the qualification for ordinands, allowing St. Timothy to exercise the Episcopal office and provide churches with priests.  And nowhere by the way does the NT disavow a hieratic function for presbyters and episcopoi.  And we see ordination in all four Gospels and the book of Acts.

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Having said that, if a local church has duly appointed ministers, pastors, elders, it seems orderly for them to administer the two sacraments/ordinances; but if the church lacks such an officer, for any temporary local reason, there is no theological bar to the administration being performed by a man who is not an officer of the church.


That’s a dubious argument from an NT perspective; there are no examples of self-appointed church leaders.  St. Paul was called directly by God, but clearly received and ordained by the Apostles, just like St. Matthias and the Deacons.  And we also have the first century Didache and the writings of St. Ignatius the Martyr, who was the disciple of St. John and who wrote, before being fed to lions in AD 90 or thereabouts, “Let nothing be done without the bishop.”

St. Irenaeus, who derived apostolic succession from St. John and Irenaeus through Sts. Polycarp and Justin Martyr further clarified this apostolic succession is required to ensure continuity of the faith, and in order to put to rest the bogus claims of secret apostolic initiation made by the Gnostics.

And it would be not entirely unfair to draw a link between Protestantism and Gnosticism, given that Protestants themselves did it.  I have an early 20th century Protestant text which amounts to a hagiographic apologia for the deeply heretical Key of Truth, the fragmentary book of doctrine of the Gnostic Paulicans in Armenia, who were converted, to the despair of the author, to Holy Orthodoxy in the 19th century; the author lauded the Paulicans as “true Protestants” persecuted by the evil and ubiquitous Catholics and their devious Orthodox patsies.  Since this, and the Trail of Blood, and the writings of Ellen White, draw a connection between Protestantism and Gnostic sects, I feel somewhat more comfortable referring to the work of Orthodox writers who identified Protestantism as containing Gnostic views, in its rejection of the physical means of grace in favor of a soteriological model that primarily rests upon intellectual assent and requires a salvific knowledge of “the Bible,” which, by the way, was edited by and its contents determined by, fully ordained Orthodox bishops and Patriarchs, with apostolic succsssion, chielfy St. Athanasius, but also the Cappadocians and Eusebius of Caesarea, and Pope Gelasius I of Rome.

Quote

You would probably see it as blasphemous, but we did it with reverence.

Meeting in Gjirokastër in about 1997 for an evening meal which included bread and red wine, before we began eating the meal as such, we used some of the bread and wine to remember the Lord's death until he comes - that is, to take Communion (or if you prefer, the Eucharist). I can see no theological reason against a small group of believers doing so, and I believe the Lord was reverently honoured. We then turned to the bread, wine, cheese, onions and whatever else was on the same perfectly ordinary table, and enjoyed a meal together.

The Orthodox Church has provisions for laity to baptize in life or death scenarios.

Regarding the meal you describe, alas, you had nothing even close to a Eucharist, so I am not sure I could call it blasphemy.  Had you donned mock-vestments and made a parody of the Divine Liturgy, which some wicked people have done (and there is a degree in some branchss of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in which a Papal Tiara is trampled upon), that would be umambiguous blasphemy.

Rather I regard the sort of Plymouth Brethren-style communal meals held by some Protestants as acts performed in ignorance, which they ought not to do, but since you did not have a truely ordained Priest to invoke the Holy Spirit on the bread and wine, changing it into the precious body and blood of Christ our Lord, and since your ecclesiastical status is ambiguous, the Eucharist was not defiled.

The tragedy isn’t what you did, but what you missed out on.   I’m not entirely comfortable talking about the spiritual experience of the Eucharist and what has happened to me, but suffice it to say, I know you love and honour our Lord, and if I were in your position, I would hasten to the baptismal font of the Holy Orthodox Church, or, very likely, the sacred Chrism, since I expecr your baptism would be considered valid, depending on who you asked, so that you could partake of the true Eucharist and experience that splendour.   We are not joking when we say in the Divine Liturgy that Heaven and Earth are momentarily brought together.

Other moments in the Church like Vespers are filled with holiness, but the Eucharistic liturgy is an actual direct physical encounter with God incarnate.  Protestants who laugh at us or accuse us of worshipping bread and wine, I feel so sorry for, because in their Puritanical zeal they are inadvertantly cutting themselves off.

I would note that I personally and privately suspect that some if not all Catholic masses, probably not all due to liturgical abuse preventing prayer, have a real Eucharist; I would observe the experiential commentary by Catholics who participate in one of the traditional Latin Rites such as a Tridentine mass exhibit a very high degree of correlation with reported Orthodox experiences, particularly once one learns the variant terminology Roman Catholics tend to use when talking about liturgy.

There is also a remote possibility of validity in some liturgical Protestant churches although I lack sufficient information to comment on it.

For best results, the safest course of action is to use an Eastern or Oriental Orthodox church.   But I feel obliged to state my view on the RC church lest someone make a post containing the fallacious argument that the sectarian division between Catholics and Orthodox somehow disproves and invalidates our entire doctrine.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 11:50:13 AM by Alpha60 »
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Offline Alpha60

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The question is based on a shaky foundation. In theory, Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists &c believe in 'the priesthood of all believers' - and that is what the opening question is doubtless exploring.We believe all priesthood as such ended with the Lord Jesus Christ. His offering at Calvary was sufficient, complete, final and unrepeatable. Hence, no priests today.

Surely it cannot end, in some sense, because then what would be meant by the lines: "John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (Apocalypse 1:4-6) ?

Or, in a similar vein: "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ [...] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." (1 Peter 2:5,9-10)

In Isaias, the prophet speaks of the eschatological age and the in-gathering of all peoples into the worship of Israel: "That I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the Lord." (Isaias 66:18-21)

Paul teaches us that Christians do offer liturgical service, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1)

There is priesthood, sacrifice and redemption even in the very bodies of Christians when Paul speaks to the Corinthians: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you." 2 Corinthians 4:7-12

So then, I am much more inclined to believe in the priesthood of all believers than in a notion that priesthood ended with Christ.

But in practice, a lot of churches have adopted a very priestly attitude to the administration of baptism and the Lord's Supper, an attitude no doubt inherited from mediæval Rome and passed on via descent from the Anglican Church. They require an 'ordained' man (or even woman, despite the biblical prohibition on women teachers and leaders of the churches) for the exercise of those functions, which, if not priestly DOCTRINE is at the very least a priestly PRACTICE and attitude.

You would probably see it as blasphemous, but we did it with reverence. Meeting in Gjirokastër in about 1997 for an evening meal which included bread and red wine, before we began eating the meal as such, we used some of the bread and wine to remember the Lord's death until he comes - that is, to take Communion (or if you prefer, the Eucharist). I can see no theological reason against a small group of believers doing so, and I believe the Lord was reverently honoured. We then turned to the bread, wine, cheese, onions and whatever else was on the same perfectly ordinary table, and enjoyed a meal together.

No, if I'm to be honest, I'm inclined to agree with you to a certain extent in that I wouldn't consider it a sin or blasphemous for a group of lay Christians who happen to be sharing some wine and bread to pray first, to also give thanks communally, remember Christ and then partake. And obviously its a "communion" in a certain sense, an expression of koinonia... but I also feel that in the New Testament, Paul is already attempting to regulate behaviour at the Eucharistic meal and that the earliest Fathers already evince a concern for communion with the bishop and his presidency. This, for example isn't medieval Rome at all but St. Ignatius writing in the early 2nd century:

"See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God.Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is administered either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ch 8 )

The way I can best express my hesitation is that I feel it is my priestly duty as part of the baptised laity to be attentive to these precedents set by the saints who handed down the faith and be obedient to the bishops. Especially in times where we are not being persecuted and have the luxury of a hierarchy to serve our spiritual needs, I can, with a clean conscience, obey St. Ignatius in his letter and do nothing without the bishop who I have to follow, "even as Jesus Christ does the Father". This and I feel that it would be part of my priestly duty to take very reverential care for how the wine and the bread are to be treated after they were prayed over. There are those two lines about not throwing pearls before swines and not giving what is holy to dogs. This scrupulosity, perhaps you might characterise it, is why I would be anxious about any kind of universal, growing trend of impromptu eucharists.

Perhaps, I might suggest, it is also the fact that the eucharist is not thought of in sacrificial terms and in terms where it has been changed and must be treated with a certain amount of care which could explain why Protestants do not believe in the ministerial priesthood?

This is a very good and correct post, which due to fatigue I failed to notice, and I wish to associate myself with the sentiments contained therein, and express complete agreement with them, to the extent this makes my own reply rather superfluous.  Unfortunately it is too late for me to delete my reply, but Rev. Young might well gloss over it and read iohannes instead, as he did a much better job on this point apologetically and otherwise.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 11:54:26 AM by Alpha60 »
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Offline David Young

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I'm not sure that a priesthood actually conflicts with the sufficiency of Christ ...

Quite. It's not the sufficiency of Christ himself that is the focus. The teaching (whether one agrees with it or not) is easy to grasp - i.e. the opening question of the thread can be succinctly answered. We believe that Christ's sacrifice at Calvary, offered to God as propitiation for our sins, was sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world, for all time, and was therefore final, making no further sacrifices for sin necessary. Therefore, with no need for further sacrifice, there is no need for a priesthood. Priests were no longer needed after Calvary, and this came into effect when the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD.
"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15

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This is an amusingly Anglo Centric argument given that in the US several of the largest mainline denominations are descended from German, Dutch, Scandinavian and Scottish churches which had nothing to do with Anglicanism and Anglican theology.   Maybe if you had said “via descent from the Anglican and Lutheran churches,” but then, we have to note, even the Reformed churches demand ordination for the celebration of these sacraments.

A good point. You are right. Despite their small numbers (by comparison), the 'Plymouth Brethren' have been remarkably influential, and I dare say the strand of thinking I have posted here derives partly or largely from their thinking. It is widespread among us Baptists, but I am not sufficiently well informed about Baptist history to know whether we have always thought like this, or whether it has grown up more recently, perhaps indeed from Brethren influence.

In re the NT passages which speak of Christians as 'a priesthood' with their 'priestly service', 'priests to our God', I think this is a different debate, or I may have misunderstood the focus of the discussion. I thought we were thinking about a priesthood who principally officiate at the sacraments/ordinances (for us, only two, namely baptism and the Lord's Supper). I don't feel competent, without a lot of thought and, alas, time, to respond to the question of what manner of 'priesthood' (different from those who officiate at the altar - which piece of furniture we don't have, of course) is true of every Christian individually, or of the whole body of believers corporately. I fear I shall have to let that one pass, maybe for another time (the winter?).
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 11:20:30 AM by David Young »
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I'm not sure that a priesthood actually conflicts with the sufficiency of Christ ...

Quite. It's not the sufficiency of Christ himself that is the focus. The teaching (whether one agrees with it or not) is easy to grasp - i.e. the opening question of the thread can be succinctly answered. We believe that Christ's sacrifice at Calvary, offered to God as propitiation for our sins, was sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world, for all time, and was therefore final, making no further sacrifices for sin necessary. Therefore, with no need for further sacrifice, there is no need for a priesthood. Priests were no longer needed after Calvary, and this came into effect when the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD.

Right, Christ is the one priest in an absolute sense, but the believer still has to continually participate in His sacrifice via repentance and sacrament. Mortal priests are only priests in a relative sense in that they help convey this atoning power of Christ to their flock.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 06:03:15 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline Sethrak

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I think it may be not believing that a person can be Ordained ~ that a person, place or thing can be Holy or Sacred ``` I don't think they accept the Blessing of the Bread as a Sacrament ```

But don't they call the translation of the Holy Books ~ The Holy Bible ```

Let me read some of the posts ~ maybe a person of that persuasion will give his understanding ```

Offline Sethrak

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Those are good explanations posted above ```

I've been to Protestant meeting ~ The Anglican in Canada the Anglican seemed almost a worship service ~ most others were meetings where there was singing ~ the song weren't Sharagans, Hymns ( prayers ) ~ just published songs ~ nice songs ~ but ```

I think they don't believe people or things can be Holy ~ Maybe God ~ they may have a different understanding of holy not that it doesn't exist ```

I have a relative who is Protestant but she says: No she's non denominational ~ same thing ~ I think ~ they use the protestant Bible and talk the same ```

They have words they call the Roman Church and I think they would apply them to Orthodox as well ```

Well ~ just some thoughts ~ I think more of them than I do of atheists ~ who are against all who love the Lord ~  But when there are no antichristians around ~ we become the target ~ not to the extent the Roman Church gets it ~ this I think at this moment ```


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I think more of them than I do of atheists ~ who are against all who love the Lord

What a nasty ~ ignorant broadbrush ~ of an entire group of people ~ that you have clearly never known well a single example of ```
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 08:00:41 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline Sethrak

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Yes Volnutt, that does sound harsh ~ it was more than I meant ~ and ~ does not say what I meant ```

What I was trying to say ~ was more: At times Protestants are attacking the Roman Church ~ and ~ while I disagree with the Roman Church is some ways ~ I feel and think we Orthodox are bunched into and are in the sights of their an their hate  during many attacks and I don't look upon the Roman Church as never to be spoken to or respected ```

If you'll forgive my poor choice of wording ~ I didn't intend to bunch Protestant in with atheists as that line taken out of context portrayed ```

If you ~ well ~ overlook this phrase and not measure me by it alone I will be grateful ```

seth
« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 11:43:42 AM by Sethrak »

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Protestants are attacking the Roman Church ~ and ... I feel and think we Orthodox are bunched into and are in the sights of their an their hate 

God forbid that we should hate Roman Catholics, even while we disagree with many of their dogmas! But you are right in saying that many Evangelicals see Roman Catholics and Orthodox as similar, or even almost the same. But do not forget that (it has been said) some Orthodox regard all Western Christians as similar, Roman and Protestant, and the Orthodox as being the ones who are different.
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Greetings David ~ thank you for responding ~ I don't claim to know how all Christians think ~ or how Orthodox think of the East or West ~ I see here in the states ~ that anyone who decides he has a different view of God ~ can say: I have been moved or told by the Spirit this or that and start his own church ``` These are still protestant ~ I would think ``` I'm not talking just about the services with the screaming and moaning or falling on the floor ~ rolling around like in a seizure and some wetting their pant ~ but those referring to Jesus, God and a Spirit as completely separate and having different authority and wills ```

There are people I know and very much like ~ when they speak of the Lord ~ I can tell " He" is first in their home and I feel sure is if I went to their Church it would be a prayer meeting ~ and I would recognize Our Lord ~ by the way the speak of him and pray to him ~ these people are not strange or different to me ~ they are fellow Christians ```

With Orthodox Christians ~ they are close brothers and sisters ~ we've gone to different schools together ~ we may not agree or hit it off on all topics ~ but we don't have to start from scratch when it comes to Our Lord ```

I know there are ~ there must be Protestants who think of and know the Lord as well as a persons in The Universal Church ~ but the ratio unalike ```

Some one was talking about: If we dropped a Bible and it was picked up by persons who had no contact with The Christian Church ~ the religion formed would not be recognizable as Christianity ```

I believe that ~ The Bible is our record ~ the Church created the Bible ~ The Bible did not create the Church ```

David ~ I hope you can pick through this and find what I mean ~ I'm sure I could say or write it more clearly ~ but

seth


Offline Volnutt

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Yes Volnutt, that does sound harsh ~ it was more than I meant ~ and ~ does not say what I meant ```

What I was trying to say ~ was more: At times Protestants are attacking the Roman Church ~ and ~ while I disagree with the Roman Church is some ways ~ I feel and think we Orthodox are bunched into and are in the sights of their an their hate  during many attacks and I don't look upon the Roman Church as never to be spoken to or respected ```

If you'll forgive my poor choice of wording ~ I didn't intend to bunch Protestant in with atheists as that line taken out of context portrayed ```

If you ~ well ~ overlook this phrase and not measure me by it alone I will be grateful ```

seth

I wasn't talking about Protestants. There are many atheists who are great people, you do them a disservice when you reduce them all to "enemies."
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Offline Sethrak

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I'm sure there are ~ Arnold claimed to be ~ in his words a heathen ~ he attended Holy BadaraK and supported the parrish as great and good man ~ almost made 100 ~ missed by about 6 months ~ I loved him , I love him still ~ the girls called him Uncle Arnold ( Arshod )  fought in Europe during WWII ``` You're right ~ shouldn't gather all doubter, kinda believers and aggressive atheists together ``

Atheism is a religion ~ do we agree on that ~ and followers of that religion attack Christians any chance they get ~ do we part company there ~ or ```

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It's not a religion. Atheistic secular humanism is a religion, atheistic Zen Buddhism is a religion, atheistic Wicca is a religion, atheistic Quakerism is a religion, etc.

"Atheistic" is just an adjective that can be applied to a religion, just like "theistic" is. The religions of individual atheists differ.

And no, I don't agree that they "attack Christians any chance they get." Somebody like Richard Dawkins who makes money off attacks does, sure. But the average atheist probably doesn't care all that much about what Christians do until it seems like the Religious Right is about to impose some restriction on their life. They also probably have plenty of Christian friends and loved ones that they respectfully disagree with but would never want to hurt.

This kind of dehumanization is a source of a lot of problems today.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 07:58:07 PM by Volnutt »
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Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

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Don't you believe it ~ Atheism is a religion ~ Yes they deny being one but are as fervent ~ sometimes more fervent than most others ~ but they will stand and fight on the line that they are anything but a religion ```

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atheistic Quakerism
lol, I had no idea this actually existed
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

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atheistic Quakerism
lol, I had no idea this actually existed

It comes in Chalcedonian and Non-Chalcedonian varieties.
Mor Ephrem is a nice guy.  Just say sorry and it will all be ok. Say I had things that were inside troubling me but I didn't know how to express appropriately. I will not behave that way again but I am seeking help.

thank you so much Mor ephrem you are a hero!

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atheistic Quakerism
lol, I had no idea this actually existed

Oh, yes. It's kind of... odd

There was actually a court case in 1943 as to whether Daniel Seeger, a Quaker who defined God as nothing more than "my inner compulsion to do good," could count as a conscientious objector to the draft. I think he eventually won.
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Offline RaphaCam

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It comes in Chalcedonian and Non-Chalcedonian varieties.
Well, augustin used to claim to be an "Atheist Chalcedonian", but I don't think he was actually a practicing one.

There was actually a court case in 1943 as to whether Daniel Seeger, a Quaker who defined God as nothing more than "my inner compulsion to do good," could count as a conscientious objector to the draft. I think he eventually won.
There was a court case here of an Atheist chess player who tried conscienscious objection too on vaguely similar grounds, not many years ago... Brazil has mandatory conscription, but very very few are actually recruited. I never wore a uniform or held a gun, but I'm in the military reserve force. I also got pretty drunk the only time I had to attend a military base.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 10:46:57 PM by RaphaCam »
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

Anyhow when God was asked he said Eastern Orthodox is true Church and not Catholic Church. So come home and enjoy.

Offline juliogb

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Why don't Protestants believe in the Christian ministerial priesthood?


As far as I understand, some sort of ministerial priesthood exists within all protestant denominations, despite the official claims of ''no priestly class'', there is a separate class that doest everything that a regular priest does.

Offline Volnutt

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Why don't Protestants believe in the Christian ministerial priesthood?


As far as I understand, some sort of ministerial priesthood exists within all protestant denominations, despite the official claims of ''no priestly class'', there is a separate class that doest everything that a regular priest does.

In most denominations, anyway. Quakers tend to be pretty formally anarchic, as do the Plymouth Brethren I think.
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Offline RaphaCam

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I think we might differ "clergy" from "priestly class", and even if there may a grey area for many religions and denominations, signal that the latter doesn't exist in most Protestant denominations.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 02:39:51 PM by RaphaCam »
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

Anyhow when God was asked he said Eastern Orthodox is true Church and not Catholic Church. So come home and enjoy.

Offline David Young

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I think we might differ "clergy" from "priestly class"... in most Protestant denominations.

I think you are right, providing:

a) that you note the word 'most' - someone has already mentioned the Plymouth Brethren, as have I in an earlier post; but I wouldn't include Quakers as a Christian denomination, as they have discarded baptism and the Lord's Supper

b) that you are aware that with other denominations, such as us Baptists, some churches hold and practise a much 'higher' role for the 'ordained ministry' (clergy) than other churches in the same denomination: it differs from congregation to congregation

c) that you are aware of my contention in an earlier post, that these "most" denominations have a dogma of no priesthood, but many of the 'men in the pew' actually have an ill- or un-defined priestly sentiment towards the clergy: here in Britain, for example, I think the Methodists derived that from the Wesleyan Methodists, who in turn derived it from John Wesley, who was an Anglican clergyman.
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Offline RaphaCam

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I think we might differ "clergy" from "priestly class"... in most Protestant denominations.

I think you are right, providing:

a) that you note the word 'most' - someone has already mentioned the Plymouth Brethren, as have I in an earlier post; but I wouldn't include Quakers as a Christian denomination, as they have discarded baptism and the Lord's Supper

b) that you are aware that with other denominations, such as us Baptists, some churches hold and practise a much 'higher' role for the 'ordained ministry' (clergy) than other churches in the same denomination: it differs from congregation to congregation

c) that you are aware of my contention in an earlier post, that these "most" denominations have a dogma of no priesthood, but many of the 'men in the pew' actually have an ill- or un-defined priestly sentiment towards the clergy: here in Britain, for example, I think the Methodists derived that from the Wesleyan Methodists, who in turn derived it from John Wesley, who was an Anglican clergyman.
Sounds right.
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

Anyhow when God was asked he said Eastern Orthodox is true Church and not Catholic Church. So come home and enjoy.