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Author Topic: What's up with the disdain for the "Born Again" Experience?  (Read 26286 times) Average Rating: 0
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Marc1152
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« Reply #270 on: August 30, 2009, 10:04:19 PM »

I suppose some clarification is in order here. As mentioned above, by "belief" (in regards to conversion and baptism) I refer to saving faith specifically. Saving faith involves, indeed requires, that one know right from wrong, good from evil. Without such inner ability or distinguishment, the person is not yet sufficiently able to acknowledge, confess, nor be repentant for their sins. Therefore, not discerning good from evil, they are not held accountable for what they cannot (yet) know or understand.


Except in the case of Infants who's innocence the Lord sets as the example of how we should all be. Plus, he harshly admonishes those who would keep such from him. We are able to be grafted onto the vine either way., via a proclamation of faith or through the innocence of a babe.

Finally, it is clear that Infants were never excluded from Baptism. It  was performed consistently and from the first moments of the Church's existence by the Apostles and those with them and those after them. The claim that there was a secret "Believers Baptism" performed by the Apostles has no credability and seems far fetched.
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« Reply #271 on: August 31, 2009, 02:57:50 AM »

Matt. 21 (15-16):

But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read,

     ‘ Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings
      You have perfected praise’
?”


This theme is frequently raised in the Vigil for Palm Sunday.
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« Reply #272 on: September 04, 2009, 08:40:42 PM »


I have already given it. It is the very words of Our Lord, both parts thereof, taken (as given) together.

He said believe and be baptized, not be baptized and believe. Baptism is contingent upon belief, and not belief or faith in general, but saving faith in the person and redemptive work of Christ.
Without doing a full study of the etymology of the word "kai," I will say that from my knowledge, and asking my husband and our friend Dan (both of whom know their biblical Greek quite well), there is NO indicator of time in the word "kai."  You CANNOT substitute the word "then" for "and."  So, the way you are reading it, you could substitute such that it would read "believe THEN be baptized."  But this is not the case.  You are reading the MODERN meaning of the ENGLISH word "and" into the Scripture.  In English, if you were correct, we could substitute "then."  But in the Greek, we cannot.  You are reading your own meaning.  Had Mark meant for there to be a time contingency or a specific order indicated, he would not have used "kai."  That is just offhand.  If you like, though, we could certainly do a more thorough study.

Quote
Evidently Matthew understood Christ's words in like fashion. For he records the Lord saying to "go and make converts" baptizing them (the converts made), and instructing them (the converts made) in all things. Matthew then, also, places conversion ahead of, yet linked with, baptism.
Funny, because my reading of that is totally different.  If we are to follow your logic of exegesis as in the case of "believe and be baptized," baptizing comes first and knowledge second.

Quote
Further more, the compounded witness of Scripture as found in apostolic practice, and instruction, bears out this understanding of our Lord's words. For example ...

Peter enjoined the masses of Pentecost to repent (an act and evidence of saving faith) and be baptized (Acts 2:38). Baptism then was joined with, and consequent of, saving faith.

Philip instructed the Eunuch that in order to be baptized he must first "believe with all his heart" (Acts 8:36). Again, this showing belief rightly precedes the baptismal rite.

After all, what is baptism to one who has an unbelieving or impenitent heart, besides hypocrisy and the act of merely getting wet?
In the case of adults, we absolutely agree that they must first believe with some cognizant knowledge of the faith, which is what is exemplified by the quotes above.  But to read more into those quotes (by trying to apply them to infants) is taking them out of context and misapplying them.

Quote
I suppose some clarification is in order here. As mentioned above, by "belief" (in regards to conversion and baptism) I refer to saving faith specifically. Saving faith involves, indeed requires, that one know right from wrong, good from evil. Without such inner ability or distinguishment, the person is not yet sufficiently able to acknowledge, confess, nor be repentant for their sins. Therefore, not discerning good from evil, they are not held accountable for what they cannot (yet) know or understand.
So do you think John the Baptist would have leaped for joy at the sound of anyone else's voice?  Would he have leaped for joy had he heard the voice of the evil one?  No.  Because he knew right from wrong.  More importantly, he recognized his savior.  What is more important than that?!  I would say that leaping for joy at the presence of your savior is definitely knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil.  Or maybe it was just a coincidence. 

Quote
For biblical proof that infants and small children do not yet have such innate knowledge or understanding, read Deuteronomy 1:39   below:

Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.
Okay, knowledge of good and evil... all well and good... but I have posited that by recognizing the presence of his savior, John the Baptist indeed had that knowledge.  You have not shown me that infants do not have faith yet.

Quote
By communicate I simply meant to express or affirm one's faith -- not necessarily to verbalize, much less give technical explanation for it. Still, since one must first believe with all their heart (per Phillip to the Eunuch) in order to be baptized, and knowing God is no respecter of persons, then one must conclude that belief must be attested to in some form, either directly or indirectly, to validate entrance into the baptismal waters.
I understand and appreciate what you are trying to say here, however (at the risk of sounding like a broken record), you have not shown me how an infant is incapable of showing their faith, considering that Christ told us to have the faith of infants (and yes, paidia can be translated as "infants")

Quote
Our friend and Baptist Englishman, David Young, has already answered that well. To which I concur.
Would you mind redirecting me to wherever that answer is?  I seem to recall that it only ever came down to "well that's what I think," not with any reliable or factual evidence.  Maybe I am misremembering, but I think what he ended up with was something to the extent of "we all know households without infants."  My response to which would basically be yes, in 2009 we know households (which these days rarely have more then ten people in them) without infants.  However, in Jewish times, when it was customary to have many, many people in the "household," and whatnot, it is really, really a stretch to assume that NONE of the households (because we know, of course, that there was more than one) which the apostles baptized had NO infants.  That's a HUGE stretch.  Not to mention that the etymology of the word reveals that the usage has always included infants.  Beyond that, I don't believe there was a response from you or David.  Care to have a go?   angel

Quote
Nay! In no wise. For "of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14). They need not be baptized for that statement of fact to be true. Children are covered in the loving grace of our Lord.

David knew this truth, for he declared when his bastard infant had died, that he would go some day to be with his child, but his child would not be returning to him (2 Samuel 12:22-23). Indeed, of such is the kingdom of heaven.
You have rejected the connection between circumcision and baptism but look to the Old Testament to prop up your argument against something that didn't even exist yet (baptism)?  If your logic were true, then why were children circumcised?

Quote
And let us note that "such" includes not merely the baptized infants of Christian parentage, but all such who pass from this life (whatever their respective age) as of yet morally unawakened and accountable for their sins, whether baptized or no. Hence, infant baptism is a needless exercise of futility, a difference which makes no real difference, a mere formality, and a non-sequitor.
Well of course it is for someone who believes baptism to be nothing more than a declaration of one's commitment to God!  But for us who believe that baptism is something God does for us (which is how the Church has ALWAYS believed, whether you accept it or not), it is imperative.  Further, if it is needless, makes no difference, a non-sequitor, why are you so against it?  It couldn't be hurting anything in that case.

Quote
Again, children develop inner knowledge of right or wrong, good and evil. Once sufficiently developed (a point known precisely only to God, and evidently unique to each individual) they become personally aware of and responsible for their actions in the sight of God. Then, and not before, does their belief and baptism become necessary for reception of eternal life. Then, if we should hinder them from faith and obedience would we serve to prevent them from coming to Christ, and not before.

I'm not going to continue to repeat myself, cause I think y'all will just get tired of reading it.  You know what I'd say to this.  The question is, what do you say?  Smiley

I want to add, by the way...
I can't remember whether it was you, Cleopas, or David Young who said the word "paidia" is only translated as "children."  That is incorrect.  It is AT LEAST translated as "little children," if not as "infants."  In fact, when my husband told me that, I wasn't sure I believed him, so I looked it up in my Bible Works program.  And sure enough, the FIRST translation given was "infant."  So...
Matthew 18:2-3
 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."


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« Reply #273 on: September 05, 2009, 12:15:15 AM »

^ Just noticed that Presbytera Mari has 666 posts!  Shocked Quick, post another!  laugh
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« Reply #274 on: September 05, 2009, 07:16:56 AM »

I can't remember whether it was you, Cleopas, or David Young who said the word "paidia" is only translated as "children." 

I suspect you may be half-remembering a post of mine, in which I said that Justin Martyr's reference to people in their 60s having been disciples since infancy was translated "childhood" in the book I have - or it may have been "since they were infants/children". Other than that, a search for the word paidia (transliterated, as I still can't get Greek characters on to the forum) would locate the quote.

David
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« Reply #275 on: September 05, 2009, 08:41:30 AM »

My point was that you will find many people in Baptists churches who say things like, "I knew when I was 5 years old that I loved Jesus and wanted to follow him," and who have never turned away from that - though their baptism would come somewat later than that. We have no problem with Justin Martyr's words about being a disciple from childhood - if that be the correct translation.
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« Reply #276 on: September 05, 2009, 12:53:20 PM »

I can't remember whether it was you, Cleopas, or David Young who said the word "paidia" is only translated as "children." 

I suspect you may be half-remembering a post of mine, in which I said that Justin Martyr's reference to people in their 60s having been disciples since infancy was translated "childhood" in the book I have - or it may have been "since they were infants/children". Other than that, a search for the word paidia (transliterated, as I still can't get Greek characters on to the forum) would locate the quote.

David


I think Protestants have blinded themselves from that fact that we, as a people, are in Covenant with God and not simply a personal relationship. People aren't simply 'individuals in a void' but people in community and hopefully a community in a Covenant with God. We enter this Covenant through Baptism as the early Christians attest (St. Cyprian).
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« Reply #277 on: September 06, 2009, 03:30:02 AM »

that fact that we, as a people, are in Covenant with God and not simply a personal relationship. People aren't simply 'individuals in a void' but people in community and hopefully a community in a Covenant with God.

Leaving aside the matter of baptism, which is a separate issue, I have to agree that there is a good deal of truth in what you say. But I should add more by way of explanation.

There is in any religion a rift, or at least marked differences, between popular piety and official formal teaching and practice. You are right if you are saying that in popular piety Evangelicals emphasise the personal relationship a person can have with God in Christ, and under-emphasise the aspect of the church being a covenant community, the body of Christ. If you read our official books of theology, you will find that the covenant, body-of-Christ dimension is a very real integral part of Evangelical teaching. But yes, popular piety homes in on the individual’s personal relationship with Christ.

I believe your Church, the Orthodox, leans towards the opposite danger, an over-emphasis on the corporate dimension to the weakening of the personal individual relationship with God. Again, I refer to popular piety, not to your official formularies or dogmas. 

So that, just as you get the distorted religion of the Evangelical who never commits himself to a local church and seems quite satisfied to have a ‘personal relationship with Jesus Christ’, so you get the Orthodox member who has a relationship with the church and never penetrates to knowing the Lord in a personal, experienced relationship and daily walk.

Now I know you believe you have the fulness of truth and are maintaining NT religion and are the only true church, so I don’t expect you to say I am right (though I believe I am). But if indeed everything is just right in Orthodoxy, relationships properly balanced, dogmas correctly held in balance with each other – then (if I may say so) you are certainly not a NT church! For the NT epistles do not portray such a church, but rather one with many errors, both moral and doctrinal, needing to be corrected, and even leaders acting quite wrongly (like Diotrephes – 3 John) or being about to go astray (like Ephesus – Acts 20).
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« Reply #278 on: September 06, 2009, 05:13:27 AM »

so the Church Christ has made on wich the gates of hell will not prevail was only valid or good only untill the apostles died?
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« Reply #279 on: September 06, 2009, 05:33:57 AM »

so the Church Christ has made on wich the gates of hell will not prevail was only valid or good only untill the apostles died?

Gates keep captives in and rescuers out. The church of Jesus Christ has always rescued Satan's captives from his realm and brought them to the kingdom of light: the gates of Satan's realm have failed to prevail, and always will. The church will always rescue the Devil's captives, till the eschaton.
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« Reply #280 on: September 06, 2009, 07:16:23 AM »

the gates of hell represent , the council of hell , the `wisedom` of hell , wich produces lies , disunity , heresies , and the heresies have not prevailed against the Church , but the truth is intact , we prevailed among many heresies see the Councils.

1 John 2:21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

no lie is of the truth.
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« Reply #281 on: September 06, 2009, 12:15:15 PM »

lies , disunity , heresies ,

Lots of gates have kept me out of places I wished to enter; lot of gates are keeping people in who would love to escape. No gate has ever produced lies, heresies or disunity in me.

No gate has ever held council against me.
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« Reply #282 on: September 06, 2009, 02:14:53 PM »

so the Church Christ has made on wich the gates of hell will not prevail was only valid or good only untill the apostles died?

Gates keep captives in and rescuers out. The church of Jesus Christ has always rescued Satan's captives from his realm and brought them to the kingdom of light: the gates of Satan's realm have failed to prevail, and always will. The church will always rescue the Devil's captives, till the eschaton.


What did the church fathers say about that verse?






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« Reply #283 on: September 06, 2009, 03:04:17 PM »

The venerable St. Bede gives us the following explanation of the "Gates of Hades":
The gates of Hades are depraved teachings, which by seducing the imprudent draw them down there. The gates of Hades are also the torments and blandishments of persecutors, which, either by frightening or by cajoling any of the weak away from the stability of the faith, open to them the entrance into everlasting death. But also the wrong-headed works of the unfaithful, or their silly conversations, are surely the gates of Hades, inasmuch as they show their hearers and followers the path of perdition. Many are the gates of Hades, but none of them prevails over the Church that has been founded upon the Rock. [Hom. 1.20, op. cit., 201.]

Here is what Blessed Theophylact has to say on the matter:

"The gates of hades are those persecutors who from time to time would send the Christians to hades. But the heretics, too, are gates leading to hades. The Church, then, has prevailed over many persecutors and heretics. The Church is also each one of us who has become a house of God. For if we have been established on the confession of Christ, the gates of hades, which are our sins, will not prevail against us. It was from these gates that David, too, had been lifted up when he said, "O Thou that dost raise me up from the gates of death." From what gates, O David? From those twin gates of murder and adultery."

Since Christ is the Way , The Truth and the Life and the door(gate) to the kingdom of heaven so the gates of hell represents the way of hell , wich is sins , heresies and lies.The gates of hell from Mat16:18-19 represents the Counsel of Hell , the counsel of deceivement  wich fabricates lies and heresies, and if anyone enters by this doors(gates) founds hell.Also the gates of hell represents the tongue of the heretics and heresies.The gates of hell are identified with the Antichrist and the False Prophet aswell.
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« Reply #284 on: September 06, 2009, 05:04:08 PM »

The venerable St. Bede ...  Blessed Theophylact

Have you ever been to Greece by road? Or on foot? It has happened to me thus a number of times. They kept a huge double metal gate across the road into and out of Greece, locked with a chain and padlock. Every so often, the Greek officials opened it for a short while and let a trickle of people through, then locked it again.

I got a phone call once, saying I was to return home quickly as someone had been taken seriously ill and was not expected to live. (She didn't.) The obvious airport to get home from was Thessalonica, so I had to get into Greece - through the locked gates. These prevailed against me: they kept me out.

The gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ: we shall always have power from God to storm the gates and rescue souls from hell and from eternal loss.

Never mind Bede and Blessed Theophylact: the meaning of the sentence is plain, not obscure. The gates cannot prevail against us, for Jesus is Lord.
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« Reply #285 on: September 06, 2009, 06:09:58 PM »

that fact that we, as a people, are in Covenant with God and not simply a personal relationship. People aren't simply 'individuals in a void' but people in community and hopefully a community in a Covenant with God.

Leaving aside the matter of baptism, which is a separate issue, I have to agree that there is a good deal of truth in what you say. But I should add more by way of explanation.

There is in any religion a rift, or at least marked differences, between popular piety and official formal teaching and practice. You are right if you are saying that in popular piety Evangelicals emphasise the personal relationship a person can have with God in Christ, and under-emphasise the aspect of the church being a covenant community, the body of Christ. If you read our official books of theology, you will find that the covenant, body-of-Christ dimension is a very real integral part of Evangelical teaching. But yes, popular piety homes in on the individual’s personal relationship with Christ.

I believe your Church, the Orthodox, leans towards the opposite danger, an over-emphasis on the corporate dimension to the weakening of the personal individual relationship with God. Again, I refer to popular piety, not to your official formularies or dogmas. 

So that, just as you get the distorted religion of the Evangelical who never commits himself to a local church and seems quite satisfied to have a ‘personal relationship with Jesus Christ’, so you get the Orthodox member who has a relationship with the church and never penetrates to knowing the Lord in a personal, experienced relationship and daily walk.

Now I know you believe you have the fulness of truth and are maintaining NT religion and are the only true church, so I don't expect you to say I am right (though I believe I am). But if indeed everything is just right in Orthodoxy, relationships properly balanced, dogmas correctly held in balance with each other – then (if I may say so) you are certainly not a NT church! For the NT epistles do not portray such a church, but rather one with many errors, both moral and doctrinal, needing to be corrected, and even leaders acting quite wrongly (like Diotrephes – 3 John) or being about to go astray (like Ephesus – Acts 20).


I think you keep making the same miss representation. The claim we make is that we are the Actual Church..The Historical Church. We can prove that claim. No serious scholar with a reputation to protect would challenge the Historical Record concerning this.

"True Church" is a different question... We also know that the Historical , Ancient Church cant be prevailed against. We have scriptural assurance of that, but I understand that Protestants have been led to believe that the Historical Church at some point dissolved or disappeared or became corrupted beyond recognition. I really don't know what you've been told.

We also don't claim we are beyond error. The Church has fallen people as it's members. One of our justidictions just went through a terrible episode of financial scandal and we can all look up some past  errors. But The Church ALLWAYS arights itself eventually. The Church is like a boat. iI can turn on it's side but has mechanisms that provides the buoyancy to turn it upright and it can never sink.    
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« Reply #286 on: September 06, 2009, 06:26:27 PM »

Never mind Bede and Blessed Theophylact: the meaning of the sentence is plain, not obscure. The gates cannot prevail against us, for Jesus is Lord. 


     Us ?
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« Reply #287 on: September 06, 2009, 07:06:37 PM »

Never mind Bede and Blessed Theophylact: the meaning of the sentence is plain, not obscure. The gates cannot prevail against us, for Jesus is Lord. 


     Us ?

The baptist's subscribes to the church as being a community of believers regardless of denomination or creed.
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« Reply #288 on: September 06, 2009, 10:08:08 PM »

Never mind Bede and Blessed Theophylact: the meaning of the sentence is plain, not obscure. The gates cannot prevail against us, for Jesus is Lord. 


     Us ?

The baptist's subscribes to the church as being a community of believers regardless of denomination or creed.

Yes, I knew that.. It's "invisible".
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« Reply #289 on: September 07, 2009, 04:21:07 AM »

The venerable St. Bede ...  Blessed Theophylact

Have you ever been to Greece by road? Or on foot? It has happened to me thus a number of times. They kept a huge double metal gate across the road into and out of Greece, locked with a chain and padlock. Every so often, the Greek officials opened it for a short while and let a trickle of people through, then locked it again.

I got a phone call once, saying I was to return home quickly as someone had been taken seriously ill and was not expected to live. (She didn't.) The obvious airport to get home from was Thessalonica, so I had to get into Greece - through the locked gates. These prevailed against me: they kept me out.

The gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ: we shall always have power from God to storm the gates and rescue souls from hell and from eternal loss.

Never mind Bede and Blessed Theophylact: the meaning of the sentence is plain, not obscure. The gates cannot prevail against us, for Jesus is Lord.


You obviously reject the meaning of what that means , and what the majority of fathers if not all though they meaned.Your example has nothing to do with this.

Remmeber the words : Who is not against us , is for us.

this gates of hell represent the heretics and heretic teachings,sins , etc , as I said;
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« Reply #290 on: September 07, 2009, 08:34:21 AM »

The baptist's subscribes to the church as being a community of believers regardless of denomination or creed.

Thank you - and almost correct. It depends what you mean by "believers" and "creed". I assume you mean Christian believers (not for example people who deny our Lord's virgin birth, deity, humanity, bodily resurrection, lordship; nor the doctrine of the Trinity) and I assume you mean "denominational confession of faith" (or lack of it) in which non-central distinctives are set out.

So yes, by "us" I do not mean Baptists, I mean the church of Jesus Christ, of which we are a part.
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« Reply #291 on: September 07, 2009, 05:01:38 PM »

The baptist's subscribes to the church as being a community of believers regardless of denomination or creed.

Thank you - and almost correct. It depends what you mean by "believers" and "creed". I assume you mean Christian believers (not for example people who deny our Lord's virgin birth, deity, humanity, bodily resurrection, lordship; nor the doctrine of the Trinity) and I assume you mean "denominational confession of faith" (or lack of it) in which non-central distinctives are set out.

So yes, by "us" I do not mean Baptists, I mean the church of Jesus Christ, of which we are a part.

So  The Church is merely symbolic? It is a loosely defined community that does not exist physically in and of itself ( at least anymore) but is rather a fuzzy grey poorly defined idea.  And who makes the list of qualifications you just listed? Is it up for grabs, some people adding and other people subtracting from it? What would an Orthodox List be composed of it we believed in such nonsense. How's about the Eucharist? How's about the Liturgy? Where's the Priesthood on your list? ........etc.

The Church is not an idea, it's a real place with real members. Just like Jesus is a real person and not just a set of teachings. One God, that actually exists. One Church, that actually exists.   
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« Reply #292 on: September 07, 2009, 06:08:23 PM »

Yes, the criteria for being a member of the church according to protestant belief is that one professes Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Saviour.

This sounds fine at the surface, however the problem is that different individuals in different denominations have different impressions and beliefs about who Jesus is and what he did. Some believe he wasn't actually God, some believe he is just your "buddy" who is there to help you when times get tough. Herein lies the problem with conflicting doctrine. (or a lack thereof!)  It changes the very core about what one believes and how one relates to Jesus himself. (or "leaves it open" for each to determine what Jesus means to them)  So that when someone says to me all that matters is that you have a "personal relationship with Jesus" I respectfully say, "who's Jesus"?

I have to say that the Orthodox Church does not claim that everyone who is a member of the visible Church are members of the body of Christ. There may be members outside of the visible Church that are part of the Body, and there may those inside the visible Church who are not. To what extent and in what sense those outside of the visible Church may be part of the body of Christ we cannot say, however.
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« Reply #293 on: September 07, 2009, 06:33:41 PM »

Yes, the criteria for being a member of the church according to protestant belief is that one professes Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Saviour.


Not my Protestant Church, no. Sorry to be picky, but the point that Protestant Churches are all different from each other has been made so many times that it shouldn't really still be being overlooked.

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« Reply #294 on: September 07, 2009, 06:58:35 PM »

ok, I am referring to evangelical protestantism (e.g. baptist). I thought that Anglicanism was one of the principal varieties of Christianity, and not considered protestant.
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« Reply #295 on: September 07, 2009, 07:07:39 PM »

ok, I am referring to evangelical protestantism (e.g. baptist). I thought that Anglicanism was one of the principal varieties of Christianity, and not considered protestant.

Mmm. I'd say we were Protestant, but I take your point. Mind you, I'd not usually think of Baptists as Evangelical, and certainly not Baptists of David's stripe. We all evangelise to some extent.
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« Reply #296 on: September 07, 2009, 07:11:01 PM »

Btw, trying to think about the difference between the Orthodox attitude towards Church members/potential converts, and the attitude of some hard-line evangelicals, I came across this quotation. It refers to a non-Orthodox person's (very favourable) impression of the Orthodox Mass in a London Church:

Quote

The overall impression, however, is that God's in his heaven, is numinous and ineffable; and Jesus definitely doesn't want you for a sunbeam. Now that's what I call good news.


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« Reply #297 on: September 08, 2009, 06:47:03 AM »

Yes, the criteria for being a member of the church according to protestant belief is that one professes Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Saviour.

OK as far as it goes, but we do not assume that everyone's profession is genuine. The Old and New Testaments both warn of the possibility of a profession with the lips which is not matched with a belieivng, obedient heart.

Quote
Some believe he wasn't actually God,

Not OK. No-one who denied the deity of Christ would be accepted as an Evangelical or Protestant.

Quote
some believe he is just your "buddy" who is there to help you when times get tough.

One does seem to come across this attitude - regrettably. Whereas I cannot look on the heart and know for sure whether such a person is saved or not, at the very best it is a shallow and immature view of a relationship with Christ. I need to call to mind the word that is written, "The Lord knows those who are his."


Quote
conflicting doctrine (or a lack thereof!)  ... changes the very core about what one believes and how one relates to Jesus

Not so: here you are indeed missing the point. The core issues are agreed by all true Christians. Denominational distinctives are not regarded as core matters, except by a few small extremist groups of hard-line, intransigent character. One must relate to Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me, to whom reverence and worship are due.
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« Reply #298 on: September 08, 2009, 06:08:47 PM »

Let's be real here. I'd say that issues such as baptism, communion, and salvation are indeed core issues which define who Christ is, what he did for us, and the nature of our relationship with Him.  Different sects of protestantism are all over the board concerning these issues; this is a fact. All these critical elements were designed by Christ to have a specific purpose, intention, and even a proper interpretation. He handed down these teachings to his apostles, which in turn handed them down to their disciples, and so on. To deny this is to call into question the ability of the Holy Spirit to protect and preserve the truth throughout the history of Christianity. What do I mean by "the truth"? Simply this; there is a true interpretation of salvation, communion, and baptism. Unfortunately, people with good intentions (or even a good education) can sit down with their Bible, in an attempt to find "the truth", and read into it whatever they want regarding these matters. Such issues should NOT be subject to private interpretation, and can only be properly interpreted within the context of those who have preserved the true teaching handed down by Christ.
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« Reply #299 on: September 08, 2009, 06:23:14 PM »

Let's be real here. I'd say that issues such as baptism, communion, and salvation are indeed core issues which define who Christ is, what he did for us, and the nature of our relationship with Him.  Different sects of protestantism are all over the board concerning these issues; this is a fact. All these critical elements were designed by Christ to have a specific purpose, intention, and even a proper interpretation. He handed down these teachings to his apostles, which in turn handed them down to their disciples, and so on. To deny this is to call into question the ability of the Holy Spirit to protect and preserve the truth throughout the history of Christianity. What do I mean by "the truth"? Simply this; there is a true interpretation of salvation, communion, and baptism. Unfortunately, people with good intentions (or even a good education) can sit down with their Bible, in an attempt to find "the truth", and read into it whatever they want regarding these matters. Such issues should NOT be subject to private interpretation, and can only be properly interpreted within the context of those who have preserved the true teaching handed down by Christ.



I'm struggling here. I think your logic is circular.
 
You take as your premise the claim that Christ's teachings were designed, by Christ, to be handed down in a particular form. You say that these teachings have a particular, correct interpretation.

Then, you indicate that only those who have recognized a particular, correct interpretation can be considered to have inherited Christ's teachings.

You are saying, in effect, that your can prove your interpretations are correct, because you have inherited exactly what Christ designed to be handed down to you. And how do you know you inherited exactly what Christ designed to be handed down to you? You know because your interpretations are correct.

I think you must either accept the flaw in your logic (and accept, in fact, that this is a matter of conscience and faith, not proof), or come up with a more consistent argument.

(Btw, I finally pm'd you! Hope it's ok)

Liz.

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« Reply #300 on: September 08, 2009, 07:14:39 PM »


Not so: here you are indeed missing the point. The core issues are agreed by all true Christians. Denominational distinctives are not regarded as core matters, except by a few small extremist groups of hard-line, intransigent character.

I would beg to differ, David. Consider some of the great battles against heresies fought by the early Church, such as the use of the term homoousios versus homoiousios on the nature of Christ. The difference in linguistic terms was but one letter, indeed, but one jot or tittle, yet, such a seemingly minute difference set the course of true Christianity. If the Arians had prevailed, i.e. those who could not regard Christ as fully God, as well as fully man, then Christianity would be but a sect which would likely have died out many centuries ago.

Other "denominational" differences are, at their heart, of a Christological nature, be they the iconoclasm of many protestant groups, the filioque added to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed, the retention of many Old Testament laws and observances such as infant circumcision, and observance of the Shabat, or the regard of the Eucharistic body and blood of Christ as a mere symbol, not as His true and actual presence. These are not mere trifles.

If I'm not mistaken, it was Queen Elizabeth I who is credited with saying: There is but one faith, and one Lord Jesus Christ. The rest is dispute about trifles. An understandable statement, given that she would have had little, if any chance to have been aware of the full history of the Church, but, sadly, how wrong she was. If Elizabeth indeed uttered these words, the irony, of course, is that she was a rather uncompromising persecutor of Roman Catholics, including her own cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots.



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« Reply #301 on: September 08, 2009, 07:26:44 PM »



If I'm not mistaken, it was Queen Elizabeth I who is credited with saying: There is but one faith, and one Lord Jesus Christ. The rest is dispute about trifles. An understandable statement, given that she would have had little, if any chance to have been aware of the full history of the Church, but, sadly, how wrong she was. If Elizabeth indeed uttered these words, the irony, of course, is that she was a rather uncompromising persecutor of Roman Catholics, including her own cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots.


Elizabeth I may not have known a great deal about the early history of the Church. She read Greek fluently and was extremely well educated in the Humanist tradition (involving recourse to early Church sources), so I doubt she knew as little as you imply. Why do you think she would have had little opportunity to study the full history of the Church? In my view, the more recent Church history would have given Elizabeth ample reason to feel strongly that too much time had been spent, and blood shed, over unresolved arguments about the nature of faith. As you say she was 'a rather uncompromising persecutor of Roman Catholics, including her own cousin, Mary Queen of Scots', could you tell us what yardstick you're using there? Compared to the vast majority of her peers, she was not intolerant. More importantly, Elizabeth's execution of Mary was not the direct result of Mary's Catholicism. Mary was the legitimate daughter of Henry VII's sister. Elizabeth's legitimacy was questionable. Many, many, many people supported Mary's claim for reasons that had little to do with religion.
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« Reply #302 on: September 08, 2009, 08:32:40 PM »



If I'm not mistaken, it was Queen Elizabeth I who is credited with saying: There is but one faith, and one Lord Jesus Christ. The rest is dispute about trifles. An understandable statement, given that she would have had little, if any chance to have been aware of the full history of the Church, but, sadly, how wrong she was. If Elizabeth indeed uttered these words, the irony, of course, is that she was a rather uncompromising persecutor of Roman Catholics, including her own cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots.


Elizabeth I may not have known a great deal about the early history of the Church. She read Greek fluently and was extremely well educated in the Humanist tradition (involving recourse to early Church sources), so I doubt she knew as little as you imply. Why do you think she would have had little opportunity to study the full history of the Church? In my view, the more recent Church history would have given Elizabeth ample reason to feel strongly that too much time had been spent, and blood shed, over unresolved arguments about the nature of faith. As you say she was 'a rather uncompromising persecutor of Roman Catholics, including her own cousin, Mary Queen of Scots', could you tell us what yardstick you're using there? Compared to the vast majority of her peers, she was not intolerant. More importantly, Elizabeth's execution of Mary was not the direct result of Mary's Catholicism. Mary was the legitimate daughter of Henry VII's sister. Elizabeth's legitimacy was questionable. Many, many, many people supported Mary's claim for reasons that had little to do with religion.

You make some good points, here, Liz.

For many years, I have realised one thing; we human beings take sides in history: history we often don't fully understand; history that we have often sought to understand within the limitations of our own prejudices.

I don't think that any of this is unnatural, but care needs to be taken that we don't forget that we are fallible human beings, who make choices based to a great extent on limited knowledge and understanding of the past. I look at it this way; while I have chosen the path that led me to Orthodoxy, I think it would be spiritually dangerous for me to consider this any more than a personal decision. It's not like I have been singled out for some kind of Divine "special treatment" that makes me more enlightened than those who are not Orthodox. 

Touching on this subject, I love this passage which is quoted from Encountering the Mystery by His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch;

The Orthodox Church as Church claims to have received the fullness of truth through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This truth is treasured and nurtured within the community of saints. Nevertheless, for human beings as individuals, knowledge of the divine truth is a gradual process in an endless development. Each person who journeys along this way sometimes steps on unsure ground and never on an equal footing with others.  Therefore, one can never accuse another of mistakes or missteps along the way. Religious leaders are responsible for reminding people that each person receives truth in accordance with one’s communal experience and well as in accordance with one’s personal readiness and capacity. The divine truth exists and has been fully revealed. Nevertheless, penetration into this fullness of truth will vary from one person to another.  This is not a narrowly doctrinal vision of theological truth. However, it is an essentially spiritual vision for worldly reality, one that removes arrogance from authority and opens new ways of approaching believers of other religions. It presupposes magnanimity and charity, faith and hope, tolerance and reconciliation. It opposes forceful conversion and conflict, imposition and intolerance, aggression and violence.

The humble realization on our part that we understand and experience divine truth gradually and incrementally modifies our self-confidence. It also moderates our self-sufficiency when we presume to speak the mind of God and express the will of God. Moreover, it prevents us from submitting to the tragic temptation of attributing to God intentions and decisions that are purely ours, a temptation tantamount to the sin of idolatry.


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« Reply #303 on: September 08, 2009, 09:15:39 PM »



If I'm not mistaken, it was Queen Elizabeth I who is credited with saying: There is but one faith, and one Lord Jesus Christ. The rest is dispute about trifles. An understandable statement, given that she would have had little, if any chance to have been aware of the full history of the Church, but, sadly, how wrong she was. If Elizabeth indeed uttered these words, the irony, of course, is that she was a rather uncompromising persecutor of Roman Catholics, including her own cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots.


Elizabeth I may not have known a great deal about the early history of the Church. She read Greek fluently and was extremely well educated in the Humanist tradition (involving recourse to early Church sources), so I doubt she knew as little as you imply. Why do you think she would have had little opportunity to study the full history of the Church? In my view, the more recent Church history would have given Elizabeth ample reason to feel strongly that too much time had been spent, and blood shed, over unresolved arguments about the nature of faith. As you say she was 'a rather uncompromising persecutor of Roman Catholics, including her own cousin, Mary Queen of Scots', could you tell us what yardstick you're using there? Compared to the vast majority of her peers, she was not intolerant. More importantly, Elizabeth's execution of Mary was not the direct result of Mary's Catholicism. Mary was the legitimate daughter of Henry VII's sister. Elizabeth's legitimacy was questionable. Many, many, many people supported Mary's claim for reasons that had little to do with religion.

You make some good points, here, Liz.

For many years, I have realised one thing; we human beings take sides in history: history we often don't fully understand; history that we have often sought to understand within the limitations of our own prejudices.

I don't think that any of this is unnatural, but care needs to be taken that we don't forget that we are fallible human beings, who make choices based to a great extent on limited knowledge and understanding of the past. I look at it this way; while I have chosen the path that led me to Orthodoxy, I think it would be spiritually dangerous for me to consider this any more than a personal decision. It's not like I have been singled out for some kind of Divine "special treatment" that makes me more enlightened than those who are not Orthodox. 

Touching on this subject, I love this passage which is quoted from Encountering the Mystery by His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch;

The Orthodox Church as Church claims to have received the fullness of truth through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This truth is treasured and nurtured within the community of saints. Nevertheless, for human beings as individuals, knowledge of the divine truth is a gradual process in an endless development. Each person who journeys along this way sometimes steps on unsure ground and never on an equal footing with others.  Therefore, one can never accuse another of mistakes or missteps along the way. Religious leaders are responsible for reminding people that each person receives truth in accordance with one’s communal experience and well as in accordance with one’s personal readiness and capacity. The divine truth exists and has been fully revealed. Nevertheless, penetration into this fullness of truth will vary from one person to another.  This is not a narrowly doctrinal vision of theological truth. However, it is an essentially spiritual vision for worldly reality, one that removes arrogance from authority and opens new ways of approaching believers of other religions. It presupposes magnanimity and charity, faith and hope, tolerance and reconciliation. It opposes forceful conversion and conflict, imposition and intolerance, aggression and violence.

The humble realization on our part that we understand and experience divine truth gradually and incrementally modifies our self-confidence. It also moderates our self-sufficiency when we presume to speak the mind of God and express the will of God. Moreover, it prevents us from submitting to the tragic temptation of attributing to God intentions and decisions that are purely ours, a temptation tantamount to the sin of idolatry.




What a wonderul quote! Thanks for sharing it.

Selam
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« Reply #304 on: September 08, 2009, 09:41:36 PM »

Let's be real here. I'd say that issues such as baptism, communion, and salvation are indeed core issues which define who Christ is, what he did for us, and the nature of our relationship with Him.  Different sects of protestantism are all over the board concerning these issues; this is a fact. All these critical elements were designed by Christ to have a specific purpose, intention, and even a proper interpretation. He handed down these teachings to his apostles, which in turn handed them down to their disciples, and so on. To deny this is to call into question the ability of the Holy Spirit to protect and preserve the truth throughout the history of Christianity. What do I mean by "the truth"? Simply this; there is a true interpretation of salvation, communion, and baptism. Unfortunately, people with good intentions (or even a good education) can sit down with their Bible, in an attempt to find "the truth", and read into it whatever they want regarding these matters. Such issues should NOT be subject to private interpretation, and can only be properly interpreted within the context of those who have preserved the true teaching handed down by Christ.



I'm struggling here. I think your logic is circular.
 
You take as your premise the claim that Christ's teachings were designed, by Christ, to be handed down in a particular form. You say that these teachings have a particular, correct interpretation.

Then, you indicate that only those who have recognized a particular, correct interpretation can be considered to have inherited Christ's teachings.

You are saying, in effect, that your can prove your interpretations are correct, because you have inherited exactly what Christ designed to be handed down to you. And how do you know you inherited exactly what Christ designed to be handed down to you? You know because your interpretations are correct.

I think you must either accept the flaw in your logic (and accept, in fact, that this is a matter of conscience and faith, not proof), or come up with a more consistent argument.

(Btw, I finally pm'd you! Hope it's ok)

Liz.



I think we all agree that there is a correct intepretation to Christ’s teachings about salvation, baptism, and communion. Otherwise, then we could all be equally “correct”, and it all devolves into some sort of vague spiritual relativism. That is obviously not what Christ had in mind.

With this being said, the Bible must be interpreted according to the context within which it was written.  Otherwise, there is no precedent established. The only way that heresies were condemned in the early Church was to compare the claims that the heretics made (which often originated from scripture itself) against the tradition which was handed down to them.  If their claims matched with the tradition, they were accepted.  If not, they were rejected.  That is how the gnostics who claimed to have “secret knowledge” about Jesus were dispelled (which ironically have again resurfaced again as of late).

We could sit here all day and argue what one verse means to us, while using a modern day context, and never come to a resolution. Eventually someones going to have to point to tradition as the ultimate litmus test.

I claim that the truth concerning Jesus has flowed through the vessel of Christ’s Church by the power of the Holy Spirit from Pentecost up to the present day, continuously and uncorrupted.  The way I see it, there is no other way to approach it.  Either the Holy Spirit abandoned the Church (if that’s the case, then we’re all hopeless souls) or He was always there from the beginning, and is still present today. If you believe the former, then that leaves you with two simple options, the EOC or the RCC.

The Holy Spirit is Truth and the purveyor of truth.  What was truth 2000 years ago is still the same truth today. Truth doesn’t change according to societal shifts.  I invite anyone to compare these two apostolic churches, side by side, taking a purely historical look, and try to determine which one has upheld the most consistent views and practices concerning doctrine, belief, and worship.  I don’t think you’ll have to look very hard.
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« Reply #305 on: September 08, 2009, 09:47:35 PM »



If I'm not mistaken, it was Queen Elizabeth I who is credited with saying: There is but one faith, and one Lord Jesus Christ. The rest is dispute about trifles. An understandable statement, given that she would have had little, if any chance to have been aware of the full history of the Church, but, sadly, how wrong she was. If Elizabeth indeed uttered these words, the irony, of course, is that she was a rather uncompromising persecutor of Roman Catholics, including her own cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots.


Elizabeth I may not have known a great deal about the early history of the Church. She read Greek fluently and was extremely well educated in the Humanist tradition (involving recourse to early Church sources), so I doubt she knew as little as you imply. Why do you think she would have had little opportunity to study the full history of the Church? In my view, the more recent Church history would have given Elizabeth ample reason to feel strongly that too much time had been spent, and blood shed, over unresolved arguments about the nature of faith. As you say she was 'a rather uncompromising persecutor of Roman Catholics, including her own cousin, Mary Queen of Scots', could you tell us what yardstick you're using there? Compared to the vast majority of her peers, she was not intolerant. More importantly, Elizabeth's execution of Mary was not the direct result of Mary's Catholicism. Mary was the legitimate daughter of Henry VII's sister. Elizabeth's legitimacy was questionable. Many, many, many people supported Mary's claim for reasons that had little to do with religion.

You make some good points, here, Liz.

For many years, I have realised one thing; we human beings take sides in history: history we often don't fully understand; history that we have often sought to understand within the limitations of our own prejudices.

I don't think that any of this is unnatural, but care needs to be taken that we don't forget that we are fallible human beings, who make choices based to a great extent on limited knowledge and understanding of the past. I look at it this way; while I have chosen the path that led me to Orthodoxy, I think it would be spiritually dangerous for me to consider this any more than a personal decision. It's not like I have been singled out for some kind of Divine "special treatment" that makes me more enlightened than those who are not Orthodox. 

Touching on this subject, I love this passage which is quoted from Encountering the Mystery by His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch;

The Orthodox Church as Church claims to have received the fullness of truth through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This truth is treasured and nurtured within the community of saints. Nevertheless, for human beings as individuals, knowledge of the divine truth is a gradual process in an endless development. Each person who journeys along this way sometimes steps on unsure ground and never on an equal footing with others.  Therefore, one can never accuse another of mistakes or missteps along the way. Religious leaders are responsible for reminding people that each person receives truth in accordance with one’s communal experience and well as in accordance with one’s personal readiness and capacity. The divine truth exists and has been fully revealed. Nevertheless, penetration into this fullness of truth will vary from one person to another.  This is not a narrowly doctrinal vision of theological truth. However, it is an essentially spiritual vision for worldly reality, one that removes arrogance from authority and opens new ways of approaching believers of other religions. It presupposes magnanimity and charity, faith and hope, tolerance and reconciliation. It opposes forceful conversion and conflict, imposition and intolerance, aggression and violence.

The humble realization on our part that we understand and experience divine truth gradually and incrementally modifies our self-confidence. It also moderates our self-sufficiency when we presume to speak the mind of God and express the will of God. Moreover, it prevents us from submitting to the tragic temptation of attributing to God intentions and decisions that are purely ours, a temptation tantamount to the sin of idolatry.




Wow. there's alot of spiritual meat in there. I'll need at least a couple more passes to fully digest that!  Cheesy
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« Reply #306 on: September 09, 2009, 06:32:23 AM »



If I'm not mistaken, it was Queen Elizabeth I who is credited with saying: There is but one faith, and one Lord Jesus Christ. The rest is dispute about trifles. An understandable statement, given that she would have had little, if any chance to have been aware of the full history of the Church, but, sadly, how wrong she was. If Elizabeth indeed uttered these words, the irony, of course, is that she was a rather uncompromising persecutor of Roman Catholics, including her own cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots.


Elizabeth I may not have known a great deal about the early history of the Church. She read Greek fluently and was extremely well educated in the Humanist tradition (involving recourse to early Church sources), so I doubt she knew as little as you imply. Why do you think she would have had little opportunity to study the full history of the Church? In my view, the more recent Church history would have given Elizabeth ample reason to feel strongly that too much time had been spent, and blood shed, over unresolved arguments about the nature of faith. As you say she was 'a rather uncompromising persecutor of Roman Catholics, including her own cousin, Mary Queen of Scots', could you tell us what yardstick you're using there? Compared to the vast majority of her peers, she was not intolerant. More importantly, Elizabeth's execution of Mary was not the direct result of Mary's Catholicism. Mary was the legitimate daughter of Henry VII's sister. Elizabeth's legitimacy was questionable. Many, many, many people supported Mary's claim for reasons that had little to do with religion.

You make some good points, here, Liz.

For many years, I have realised one thing; we human beings take sides in history: history we often don't fully understand; history that we have often sought to understand within the limitations of our own prejudices.

I don't think that any of this is unnatural, but care needs to be taken that we don't forget that we are fallible human beings, who make choices based to a great extent on limited knowledge and understanding of the past. I look at it this way; while I have chosen the path that led me to Orthodoxy, I think it would be spiritually dangerous for me to consider this any more than a personal decision. It's not like I have been singled out for some kind of Divine "special treatment" that makes me more enlightened than those who are not Orthodox. 

Touching on this subject, I love this passage which is quoted from Encountering the Mystery by His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch;

The Orthodox Church as Church claims to have received the fullness of truth through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This truth is treasured and nurtured within the community of saints. Nevertheless, for human beings as individuals, knowledge of the divine truth is a gradual process in an endless development. Each person who journeys along this way sometimes steps on unsure ground and never on an equal footing with others.  Therefore, one can never accuse another of mistakes or missteps along the way. Religious leaders are responsible for reminding people that each person receives truth in accordance with one’s communal experience and well as in accordance with one’s personal readiness and capacity. The divine truth exists and has been fully revealed. Nevertheless, penetration into this fullness of truth will vary from one person to another.  This is not a narrowly doctrinal vision of theological truth. However, it is an essentially spiritual vision for worldly reality, one that removes arrogance from authority and opens new ways of approaching believers of other religions. It presupposes magnanimity and charity, faith and hope, tolerance and reconciliation. It opposes forceful conversion and conflict, imposition and intolerance, aggression and violence.

The humble realization on our part that we understand and experience divine truth gradually and incrementally modifies our self-confidence. It also moderates our self-sufficiency when we presume to speak the mind of God and express the will of God. Moreover, it prevents us from submitting to the tragic temptation of attributing to God intentions and decisions that are purely ours, a temptation tantamount to the sin of idolatry.




Thanks, these passages will give me a great deal to think about. I agree with you about how human beings relate to history (I was trying to say something like that by giving the alternative view of history, but you did it much better!). What you quote about the mystery of truth is, I think, crucial. Thank you again for adding this clarity.
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Liz
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« Reply #307 on: September 09, 2009, 06:42:08 AM »


I think we all agree that there is a correct intepretation to Christ’s teachings about salvation, baptism, and communion. Otherwise, then we could all be equally “correct”, and it all devolves into some sort of vague spiritual relativism. That is obviously not what Christ had in mind.


I think we could all be partially incorrect. I am sure there is a correct interpretation of Christ's teachings. But I think of Platonic ideals here (sorry, but it's helpful). I suspect we are all trying to glimpse The Truth from the mosaic fragments of truth that we have. Sometimes we do catch a glimpse, and we sense the real mystery of it.

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With this being said, the Bible must be interpreted according to the context within which it was written.  Otherwise, there is no precedent established.


Need there be precedent? We are not lawyers.

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The only way that heresies were condemned in the early Church was to compare the claims that the heretics made (which often originated from scripture itself)

I take issue with this. Heresies do not originate from Scripture. They originate from human error in dealing with Scripture.

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against the tradition which was handed down to them.  If their claims matched with the tradition, they were accepted.  If not, they were rejected.  That is how the gnostics who claimed to have “secret knowledge” about Jesus were dispelled (which ironically have again resurfaced again as of late).

We could sit here all day and argue what one verse means to us, while using a modern day context, and never come to a resolution. Eventually someones going to have to point to tradition as the ultimate litmus test.


But yet we would still disagree. Why is it 'ultimate'?

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I claim that the truth concerning Jesus has flowed through the vessel of Christ’s Church by the power of the Holy Spirit from Pentecost up to the present day, continuously and uncorrupted.  The way I see it, there is no other way to approach it.  Either the Holy Spirit abandoned the Church (if that’s the case, then we’re all hopeless souls) or He was always there from the beginning, and is still present today. If you believe the former, then that leaves you with two simple options, the EOC or the RCC.

The Holy Spirit is Truth and the purveyor of truth.  What was truth 2000 years ago is still the same truth today. Truth doesn’t change according to societal shifts.  I invite anyone to compare these two apostolic churches, side by side, taking a purely historical look, and try to determine which one has upheld the most consistent views and practices concerning doctrine, belief, and worship.  I don’t think you’ll have to look very hard.


I invite anyone to compare people and lifestyles over two hundred years, let alone two thousand. I invite them to consider the differences between the Old and New Testaments.

But I do not believe the Holy Spirit ever left the Orthodox Church. I believe the Spirit is present in more places and more ways than we can know. Forgive me, but it's not like the joke in the 'Bad Joke' thread on the Free-for-all, in which the Spirit hasn't been to Rome since the 11th century!
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« Reply #308 on: September 09, 2009, 09:12:13 AM »

The core issues are agreed by all true Christians. Denominational distinctives are not regarded as core matters, except by a few small extremist groups of hard-line, intransigent character.
There must be a whole lot of "small extremist groups" then. I used to think like you did, David, that everyone more or less agreed on the "core doctrines" (though admittedly I hadn't really given much thought to what exactly those doctrines were), but I was wrong. I have met more and more people who call themselves Christian who believe things that make my hair stand on end! Shocked
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« Reply #309 on: September 09, 2009, 09:14:32 AM »

The core issues are agreed by all true Christians. Denominational distinctives are not regarded as core matters, except by a few small extremist groups of hard-line, intransigent character.
There must be a whole lot of "small extremist groups" then. I used to think like you did, David, that everyone more or less agreed on the "core doctrines" (though admittedly I hadn't really given much thought to what exactly those doctrines were), but I was wrong. I have met more and more people who call themselves Christian who believe things that make my hair stand on end! Shocked

It's true. I think there genuinely are more and more people who convert to/ invent something they call 'Christianity', which is nothing of the sort.
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« Reply #310 on: September 09, 2009, 09:19:54 AM »

The core issues are agreed by all true Christians. Denominational distinctives are not regarded as core matters, except by a few small extremist groups of hard-line, intransigent character.
There must be a whole lot of "small extremist groups" then. I used to think like you did, David, that everyone more or less agreed on the "core doctrines" (though admittedly I hadn't really given much thought to what exactly those doctrines were), but I was wrong. I have met more and more people who call themselves Christian who believe things that make my hair stand on end! Shocked

It's true. I think there genuinely are more and more people who convert to/ invent something they call 'Christianity', which is nothing of the sort.
Exactly.
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« Reply #311 on: September 09, 2009, 11:34:17 AM »

The core issues are agreed by all true Christians. Denominational distinctives are not regarded as core matters, except by a few small extremist groups of hard-line, intransigent character.
There must be a whole lot of "small extremist groups" then. I used to think like you did, David, that everyone more or less agreed on the "core doctrines" (though admittedly I hadn't really given much thought to what exactly those doctrines were), but I was wrong. I have met more and more people who call themselves Christian who believe things that make my hair stand on end! Shocked

It's true. I think there genuinely are more and more people who convert to/ invent something they call 'Christianity', which is nothing of the sort.
Exactly.

We don't even know what they mean by "Jesus Christ". Mormons say they are devoted to "Jesus Christ" but clearly they worship a strange God.. Jesus Christ the Great Teacher? Jesus Christ the Super Man? Jesus Christ who has a single nature?? On and on.
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« Reply #312 on: September 09, 2009, 11:39:16 AM »

The core issues are agreed by all true Christians. Denominational distinctives are not regarded as core matters, except by a few small extremist groups of hard-line, intransigent character.
There must be a whole lot of "small extremist groups" then. I used to think like you did, David, that everyone more or less agreed on the "core doctrines" (though admittedly I hadn't really given much thought to what exactly those doctrines were), but I was wrong. I have met more and more people who call themselves Christian who believe things that make my hair stand on end! Shocked

It's true. I think there genuinely are more and more people who convert to/ invent something they call 'Christianity', which is nothing of the sort.
Exactly.

We don't even know what they mean by "Jesus Christ". Mormons say they are devoted to "Jesus Christ" but clearly they worship a strange God.. Jesus Christ the Great Teacher? Jesus Christ the Super Man? Jesus Christ who has a single nature?? On and on.

To be fair, I suspect David is excluding these types when he speaks of 'true' Christians. I'll let him speak for himself, but I know I tend to think of Protestants as distinct from those who don't really hold any kind of Christian doctrine, but still call themselves 'Christians'.
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« Reply #313 on: September 09, 2009, 11:41:29 AM »

The core issues are agreed by all true Christians. Denominational distinctives are not regarded as core matters, except by a few small extremist groups of hard-line, intransigent character.
There must be a whole lot of "small extremist groups" then. I used to think like you did, David, that everyone more or less agreed on the "core doctrines" (though admittedly I hadn't really given much thought to what exactly those doctrines were), but I was wrong. I have met more and more people who call themselves Christian who believe things that make my hair stand on end! Shocked

It's true. I think there genuinely are more and more people who convert to/ invent something they call 'Christianity', which is nothing of the sort.
Exactly.

We don't even know what they mean by "Jesus Christ". Mormons say they are devoted to "Jesus Christ" but clearly they worship a strange God.. Jesus Christ the Great Teacher? Jesus Christ the Super Man? Jesus Christ who has a single nature?? On and on.

To be fair, I suspect David is excluding these types when he speaks of 'true' Christians. I'll let him speak for himself, but I know I tend to think of Protestants as distinct from those who don't really hold any kind of Christian doctrine, but still call themselves 'Christians'.

I understand that this is Christianity according to David, but that is a problem too. How about the Church down the road from David? Or the one around the corner from that one?
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« Reply #314 on: September 09, 2009, 11:50:36 AM »



I understand that this is Christianity according to David, but that is a problem too. How about the Church down the road from David? Or the one around the corner from that one?

I try to make up my mind on a case-by-case basis, and I try to be charitable, in case I'm missing or misunderstanding something. But, there are clearly groups who call themselves 'Christian', but who will argue against the Trinity. These, in my humble opinion, are simply not Christians. There is no way that denying the Trinity can be Christian. There are also people whose actions and attitudes leave me in grave doubt that they could possibly be Christian, although of course I cannot see into their souls and therefore cannot judge.
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