Well, OrthodoxPilgrim, your interlocutor seems to be of the Sola Scriptura brand of Protestant who has lost the bearings of Apostolic Christianity. Bereft of an apostolic episcopate (the 'guardians') they seem to deny that Christ delivered the Truth intact and complete to His apostles.
First off, thank you for taking the time to respond to my query...I really appreciate whatever input I can get from around here.
I do not know what he thinks and I am not going to try to guess what his opinions are...I am not going to turn this thread into a bashing fest of a person whom I ardently disagree with but nonetheles respect. Having said that, it is probably good to know that his wife is pursuing ordination within the ANglican Church.....and since there are no parallels to such a practise in Scripture, he feels that these sorts of innovations are perfectly fine......again, I don't know what his opinions are but considering that since this is what his life situation is, I feel that he MAY be speaking from where he is in life and his rendering of what the Apostolic faith is because of those life experiences.
The use of terms such as "biblical scholars" by which they replace the Deposit of Faith with their myriad interpretation, made without Holy Apostolic Tradition as a guide, are indicative of their lack of understanding of the New Testament Church created at Pentecost and continuing today in Orthodoxy.
Uhh....the term "Bibilical scholar" is a term that refers to a person who studies Biblical literature and issues realated to the Bible such as the formation of the canon, studies of comparative literature, theology and Patristics...there are Orthodox Biblical scholarsm (eg. Very Rev. Paul Nadim Tarazi and Dr. John Barnet of St. Vladimir's Seminary) and Protestant Biblical Scholars (like Ben Witherington III or Rev. N.T. Wright) .....so I don't see where you're going with this.
The Church fathers did not 'develop' new ways of understanding, by which I take it your questioner mean re-interpret the Way, but expressed pious teachings to which we may refer.
Well....my understanding of Church history is that the Fathers did indeed break new grounds in elucidating and clarifying the Apostolic, Orthodox Faith...this "new ground" does not necessarily mean a strange "re-interpretation" of the one true Faith...but rather a re-packaging of sorts and in turn, developed a more stronger mode of elucidating and explaining the same, ageless and timeless faith that our Lord taught the Holy Apostles.....we see this very clearly as we read through the centuries of Patristic literature....there is indeed a form of "development" but not in the same context as the Protestants understand it.
This is exactly what I feel we as Orthodox faithful must continue. As Orthodoxy expands into America and feels a strong resurgence within NOrth America, Orthodox theologians and scholars must "be ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you ." (1 Peter 3:15)......this does not mean that we must re-develop the ageless Apostoic faith of the Orthodox Church..rather, we must be able to use our God given intellectual faculties to use new forms of methodology and further defend the Orthodox faith......And for those like me who are indeed called into the Orthodox faith, we are definitely in good company with the likes of Justing MArtyr and the Apostle Paul himself who even at times employed Pagan philosophies to articulate Biblical truths (cf. Acs 17:28 when he quotes the Greek Stoic poet Aratus when he says, ""As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'"")...we dare not say that the Holy Apostle and and Justing Martyr were carelessly innovating the faith...rather, they used methodology that was present in their day to articulate and emphasize timeless Biblical truths....this is what many feel is lacking in the Orthoox Church to this day.....Orthodox faithful it seems, feel that since all the work has been done in the first eight centuries of the church, there is really no need for doing much other than regurgitating what the Holy Fathers say with some added commentaries here and there......and I feel we must do WAY more than that, especially during a time when Orthodoxy is growing and is catching the atention of many Protestant professors who perceive the Orthodox Church to be a threat of sorts.....
We and they do/did not engage in scholastic debate.
And I feel that it is time that we do engage with our Protestant brothers and sisters if we need to see any sort of improvement in our understandings of each other....
We have no need to add or subtract anything.
I know...and that (among many reasons) is exactly why I am close to embracing Orthodoxy
I respect our Fools for Christ far more than all the Protestants who want Jesus for a "friend".
Indeed, if these folks properly interpreted Scripture Alone - in the preserved apostolic understanding of the Church- they would BE Orthodox!
If being 'insular' means inoculated against heretical deviations from the Way, it is a label I will readily accept.
Amen to that.....That was exactly what I was thinking when he mentioned that to me as well......
In conclusion, I guess what I am saying still is: Many within and out of the Church feel that we as Orthodox have not yet contributed much to theological and Biblical scholarship and one of the reasons why many feel this is so is because of our extremely "insular" approach to our own faith.....as someone who isn't even yet an Orthodox and someone who has studied the faith can say with utter confidence: We do not need to be so insular, we can be brave and be intellectual in approaching matters pertaining to the faith and one can be confident that Orthodoxy can indeed stand on its own two feet and defend itself well.......it is just that, even now with your reply, it seems that the Orthodox Church (or atleast some quarters of it) prefer to remain insular...and I do not understand why......and I do get the whole "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach, but being "open" intellectually does not necessarily automatically mean a defunct or a broken faith system.......and I feel that many Church Fathers and Holy Apostles who with the help of the Holy Spirit used their minds and mouths to defend the True Faith would agree with me on this.
O Holy Saints, O Mother of God, pray for us in helping us to Love our God with all our mind, heart and strength.
+ the Pilgrim