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Author Topic: The Nicene Creed and the Filioque  (Read 4060 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ben
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« on: November 26, 2003, 06:16:16 PM »

I read this and thought it was very interesting, it is kind of long, but worth the read in my opinion.

Since orthodoxchristianity.net does not have a Lutheran/Orthodox discussion forum or a Protestant/Orthodox discussion forum I thought that this would fit best in the Free-For-All forum.

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The Nicene Creed and the Filioque:
A Lutheran Approach

http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/djw/lutherantheology.filioque.html

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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2003, 08:01:31 PM »

Vicki the article was not representing Orthodox teaching on the filioque, but a Lutheran approach to the issue. If they misquoted anyone or took something out of context, thats their fault, but I still think it is a interesting article and since its from a Lutheran approach I think its even more interesting.
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2003, 09:44:34 PM »

lol, Vicki, I know....I am just pointing out that I didn't read it to get a clear understanding of the Orthodox teaching on the issue, if I wanted the clear Orthodox teaching I would have probably read, as you suggested, St. Photios's "On the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit". I read it to understand the Lutheran approach to an issue that has divided Orthodoxy and Catholicism for over 1000 years.
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2003, 11:56:25 PM »

The ELCA is notoriously liberal and even (I believe) ordains female pastors.

They won't mention the filioque with Orthodox Christians around, but they still believe in it.

Who cares?

Lutheranism is so heretical already, why should we be concerned with its attitude toward the filioque?
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2003, 02:35:31 AM »

The ELCA is notoriously liberal and even (I believe) ordains female pastors.

They won't mention the filioque with Orthodox Christians around, but they still believe in it.

Who cares?

Lutheranism is so heretical already, why should we be concerned with its attitude toward the filioque?

Linus...I agree with you that Lutheranism is heretical and of course what they do or believe shouldn't really get to us, but they are still our brothers and sisters in Christ and their opinions still count.

I am sorry for posting the link, but you always hear about the Filioque from a Catholic or Orthodox presepective, it was interesting to see it from a Lutheran approach, even tho is was almost identical to the modern Catholic post-Vat2 approach .

I just thought it was interesting....but you are right Lutheranism is heretical...we shouldn't be concerned. But Catholicism is also in heresy, according to Orthodox teaching, yet Orthodox-Catholic dialouge is very big these days.

Why not just be like those at ROAC and declare everyone heretics and leave them all out of the picture? I don't think the why should we be concerned with its attitude approach works very well.
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2003, 09:52:16 AM »

I agree with Ben.  It is useful to know issue from a Protestant stand point.  It is not that we should in any way give support to it, but if we are ever challenged, it is good to know where the other side stands.  A key tactic in debates is to know the other sides position well enough that you can refute its points.

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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2003, 07:31:54 PM »

Vicki

I don't know about the early Lutherans but the followers of Jan Hus, an earlier reformer did contact the Orthodox and I think they managed to get one of their bishops consecrated by the EO.

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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2003, 08:23:38 PM »

IIRC, someone once told me, and I never verified this, so if anyone knows, I would appreciate verification, that at the time Martin Luther nailed the aforesaid 95 Theses to the door, the Lutheran following  tries to engage in a dialogue with the Orthodox Church, to unite with them, ON THE TERMS OF LUTHER, but the Orthodox Church was having none of it, efharisto, so they went their own way. Any truth to this?

I too have heard this.  Lutherans seemed surprised that Orthodox would not accept Christianity on Lutheran terms.  I think my source was "The Orthodox Church" by Bishop Kallistos.  Will try to find the reference for you.
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2003, 04:36:17 AM »

Luther had his chance from The Christian Activist.

John.
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2003, 01:19:00 PM »

I hope I can shed some light on this Lutheran -Orthodox dialogue.  About one generation after Luther's death, a group of Lutheran theolgians at the University of Tuebingen in Germany sent a copy of the Augsburg Confession (in Greek!) to His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch, Jerimias II, and asked him to read it, evaluate it, and give them his opinions regarding whether there could be any future union between Lutherans and Orthodox.  This dialogue, most of which was very theological, polite and very in depth, continued for a number of years.  Constantinople even sent at an Orthodox deacon to Germany to live amongst the Lutherans and gather information firsthand.  The Lutherans in return sent some Lutheran clergy to Constantinople to meet with Jeremias II.  As might be expected, the results of this Lutheran-Orthodox dialogue eventually came to nothing, largely because the Lutherans were absolutely HORRIFIED at the the Orthodox idea of "synergy" or cooperation with God.  Lutherans, being good Augustinians, believed in the total depravity of man, and the thought that man could in any way cooperate with God in his salvation was anathema to them.  In addition, the Lutherans refused to accept Holy Tradition in its totality, wanting to keep bits and pieces of it, but rejecting other parts, all based on whether these traditions 'agreed with the Bible" or not.  Several years ago, a Greek Orthodox priest, the very reverend Father George Mastrantonis wrote a book about his subject called, "Augsburg and Constantinople".  It was published by Holy Cross Press in Brookline.  I don't think it is in print anymore, but it is EXCELLENT.  In addition to having a very impressive Orthodox education (both in Greece and America), Father George also studied at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Saint Louis and earned a Master's in Sacred Theology from that institution.  Perfectly at home in Orthodoxy and well versed in the nuances of Protestant theolgy, Father George Mastrantonis is probably the BEST source I have ever read from pointing out the differences between Lutheranism (and Protestantism in general) and Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2003, 01:39:57 PM »

Here are excerpts from the dialogue between Patriarch Jeremiah II and the Lutheran theologians of Tuebingen, Germany.

The point I was making in my first post to this thread is that the filioque is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the things that are wrong with Lutheranism, and certainly not the most significant problem. I say that not as someone who knows nothing about Lutheranism.

I am a former Lutheran, having belonged to both the ELCA and the LCMS.

I even wrote my university senior seminar paper on the Sacramentarian Controversy, the dispute between the Lutherans and Zwinglians over the nature of the Eucharist, and Philip of Hesse's attempt to bring the two sides together in his castle at Marburg.

Until one deals with the more fundamental errors of Lutheranism, the filioque remains a peripheral issue.

Deal with the first and, chances are, the second will take care of itself.
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2003, 02:42:52 PM »

Here are excerpts from the dialogue between Patriarch Jeremiah II and the Lutheran theologians of Tuebingen, Germany.

The point I was making in my first post to this thread is that the filioque is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the things that are wrong with Lutheranism, and certainly not the most significant problem. I say that not as someone who knows nothing about Lutheranism.

I am a former Lutheran, having belonged to both the ELCA and the LCMS.

I even wrote my university senior seminar paper on the Sacramentarian Controversy, the dispute between the Lutherans and Zwinglians over the nature of the Eucharist, and Philip of Hesse's attempt to bring the two sides together in his castle at Marburg.

Until one deals with the more fundamental errors of Lutheranism, the filioque remains a peripheral issue.

Deal with the first and, chances are, the second will take care of itself.

I'm tempted to say the same about non Anglo-Catholic Anglicanism.

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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2003, 03:02:19 PM »

Here are excerpts from the dialogue between Patriarch Jeremiah II and the Lutheran theologians of Tuebingen, Germany.

The point I was making in my first post to this thread is that the filioque is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the things that are wrong with Lutheranism, and certainly not the most significant problem. I say that not as someone who knows nothing about Lutheranism.

I am a former Lutheran, having belonged to both the ELCA and the LCMS.

I even wrote my university senior seminar paper on the Sacramentarian Controversy, the dispute between the Lutherans and Zwinglians over the nature of the Eucharist, and Philip of Hesse's attempt to bring the two sides together in his castle at Marburg.

Until one deals with the more fundamental errors of Lutheranism, the filioque remains a peripheral issue.

Deal with the first and, chances are, the second will take care of itself.

I'm tempted to say the same about non Anglo-Catholic Anglicanism.

Boswell

And in terms of historic Anglicanism I think you would be justified in doing so, Boz.

Not that I am any kind of authority on Anglicanism . . .
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2003, 04:47:30 PM »

I'd say off-hand that, except for maybe some teeth-gritting A-Cs, Anglicans wouldn't have a problem backing off from asserting that the Spirit proceeds from the Son. There might be a problem getting Anglicans to assert that the Spirit does not proceed from the Son in any way, which really seems to be the Eastern position as of now.
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« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2003, 08:06:44 PM »

Keble,

Quote
I'd say off-hand that, except for maybe some teeth-gritting A-Cs, Anglicans wouldn't have a problem backing off from asserting that the Spirit proceeds from the Son. There might be a problem getting Anglicans to assert that the Spirit does not proceed from the Son in any way, which really seems to be the Eastern position as of now.

This isn't correct.  In an "economic" sense (or often called "temporal" though this can be misleading) the Holy Spirit does "proceed" from the Son - the Latin Fathers sometimes spoke in this way, the Eastern Fathers typically with more precision, speaking of the procession from the Father (which is what the Nicene Creed was addressing; a "trancendent triadology", different from how the Holy Spirit is manifested by the Son) through the Son, when they would speak of such a manifestation of the Holy Spirit via God the Word.

This differs, however, from the filioque doctrine that was taught by Augustine, and which became a cause in the Papacy's schism from the Church of Christ.

Admittedly, the RC's have toned it down in recent times, even popularizing the phrase "proceeding from the Father and the Son as one principle", though this may just be an attempt at burying the controversy by way of a vague term (since one could say such is simply an "economic" affirmation, or all the while hold to an understanding condemned by the Orthodox Church on numerous occassions.)

At the end of the day, the phrase does not belong in the Symbol of Faith, for the following reasons:

i) it's an un-canonical interpolation, and on this basis alone is divisive (and worthy of condemnation - it's not simply divisive in the sense of "oh, why bother with something that'll upset those cranky Byzantines?")

ii) it's been the banner of a heretical (different than what the Church has always believed, which includes here the right-believing Latins) triadology.

iii) even if softened and defended on the basis of solely expressing a "economic" or "temporal" triadology, is still bad news, since it destroys the parallelism of the genuine Symbol of Faith (relation of the Word with the Father/relation of the Holy Spirit with the Father), which was intended to discuss the "origin" of Persons in the Holy Trinity (or in the case of the Father, His being un-originate) in eternity.  If an elaboration of the mission and/or manifestation of the Holy Spirit is what is intended, then a separate statement on this (such as "proceeding from the Father, sent by the Son for our salvation" or perhaps "through the Son" as some Father spoke) would be in order, not something that just ruins this parallelism and can create confusion.  Suffice it to say, something like this would require the consent of Christ's Church, and I seriously doubt it would happen (since it's unnecessary, and could itself be misunderstood - at least if it were to happen without an ajoining, clear condemnation of heretical filioquism).

btw., this subject is addressed very well (including the Patristic differntiation between the energetic/temporal manifestation of the Holy Spirit through God the Son, and the eternal/essential procession of the Holy Spirit from God the Father) in the book Teachings of the Orthodox Church published by Dormition Skete.

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« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2003, 08:26:09 PM »

[which became a cause in the Papacy's schism from the Church of Christ]

We in the West have a slightly different take on this.

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« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2003, 09:04:26 AM »

Keble,

Quote
I'd say off-hand that, except for maybe some teeth-gritting A-Cs, Anglicans wouldn't have a problem backing off from asserting that the Spirit proceeds from the Son. There might be a problem getting Anglicans to assert that the Spirit does not proceed from the Son in any way, which really seems to be the Eastern position as of now.

This isn't correct.  In an "economic" sense (or often called "temporal" though this can be misleading) the Holy Spirit does "proceed" from the Son - the Latin Fathers sometimes spoke in this way, the Eastern Fathers typically with more precision, speaking of the procession from the Father (which is what the Nicene Creed was addressing; a "trancendent triadology", different from how the Holy Spirit is manifested by the Son) through the Son, when they would speak of such a manifestation of the Holy Spirit via God the Word.

Could we have citations of specific fathers, please? No offense, but this comes across as a hash of theology-speak. And I'd prefer links to CCEL[/org] or some other online source, so I can see the quotes in context.

Quote
This differs, however, from the filioque doctrine that was taught by Augustine, and which became a cause in the Papacy's schism from the Church of Christ.

And when did Augustine set forth such a doctrine?

Quote
At the end of the day, the phrase does not belong in the Symbol of Faith, for the following reasons:

i) it's an un-canonical interpolation, and on this basis alone is divisive (and worthy of condemnation - it's not simply divisive in the sense of "oh, why bother with something that'll upset those cranky Byzantines?")

Um, since East and West chose schism over council, isn't this a moot point? Neither its inclusion or its condemnation can be canonical, because a council is impossible. Parochialism prevents it.

Quote
ii) it's been the banner of a heretical (different than what the Church has always believed, which includes here the right-believing Latins) triadology.

Well, to be picky about it, you don't have the authority to say this, lacking a proper council to say it.

This is getting back to why the Anglicans could do without the filioque: it's not clear that it has any practical import of its own right. It seems largely to exist as a point of dispute and speculation. So far I have yet to be convinced of a Orthodox argument about the supposed implications of accepting the theory because frankly they seem to be just making up reasons to reject the "doctrine", reasons which don't have to have anything to do with any actual believer.

RIght now it's like democrats and republicans. An actual council would be numerically dominated by the West, so from an Eastern point of view it cannot be allowed to happen.
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« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2003, 10:08:30 PM »

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Seraphim Reeves: This differs, however, from the filioque doctrine that was taught by Augustine, and which became a cause in the Papacy's schism from the Church of Christ.

Quote
Keble: And when did Augustine set forth such a doctrine?

According to Volume 2 - The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700) - of Jaroslav Pelikan's The Christian Tradition:A History of the Development of Doctrine, pp. 188-189, St. Augustine set out the doctrine of the filioque in his treatise, On the Trinity.

Pelikan says, however, that St. Augustine derived the notion of the dual procession of the Holy Spirit (at least in part) from St. Hilary of Poitiers, who also wrote a treatise called The Trinity.

Pelikan says this of St. Hilary's work: "For although he was still somewhat equivocal in his doctrine of the full deity of the Holy Spirit, he was more explicit in his doctrine of the Holy Spirit as 'proceeding from the Father and the Son [ (a) Patre et Filio auctoribus]' " (Vol. 2, p. 188).
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« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2003, 01:15:26 PM »

Linus,

Quote
According to Volume 2 - The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700) - of Jaroslav Pelikan's The Christian Tradition:A History of the Development of Doctrine, pp. 188-189, St. Augustine set out the doctrine of the filioque in his treatise, On the Trinity.

Pelikan says, however, that St. Augustine derived the notion of the dual procession of the Holy Spirit (at least in part) from St. Hilary of Poitiers, who also wrote a treatise called The Trinity.

Pelikan says this of St. Hilary's work: "For although he was still somewhat equivocal in his doctrine of the full deity of the Holy Spirit, he was more explicit in his doctrine of the Holy Spirit as 'proceeding from the Father and the Son [ (a) Patre et Filio auctoribus]' " (Vol. 2, p. 188).

I think "in part" would be the important qualification here - and I would say it was a very "small part" at that.

I can see the similarity of Augustine's teaching with that of St.Hilary - for example, St.Hilary wrote (in his On the Trinity) the following...

The Spirit of Truth proceeds from the Father;  He is sent by the Son and receives from the Son.  Now, all that belongs to the Father belongs to the Son, and for that reason He who receives from Him is the Spirit of God; but, at the same time, He is the Spirit of Christ.  The Spirit possesses the same nature as the Son and both are identical in nature with the Father.  He is the Spirit of Him Who raised Christ from the dead;  but this is no other than the Spirit of Christ.  The divine Persons of Christ and the Father can be shown to differ in some respects if also it can be shown that the Spirit which is from God the Father is not the very Spirit of Christ. (On the Trinity VIII, 26)

But I cannot describe Him [the Holy Spirit] whose plea for me I cannot describe.  As in the revelation that Thy Only-begotten was born of Thee before times eternal, when we cease to struggle with the ambiguitites of language and difficulties of thought, the one certainty remains;  so I hold fast that the Spirit is from Thee and through Him, although I cannot comprehend it with my intellect... (On the Trinity XII,  56)

Thus, while St.Hilary does speak quite forcefully and clearly about the Holy Spirit in some sense coming forth from the Son, it is equally clear he understands this in a way which does not fall outside of the Patristic consensus, which can be summarized as "proceeding from the Father, through the Son"...indeed, he says this explicitly.

Where Augustine differs radically from St.Hillary, is in his giving explanation as to how the "begotteness" of the Son differs from the "procession" of the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps the one part of Augustine's theory (which would become dogma for later RC's, and the bone of contention between the Papacy and the Orthodox Church) which owes most to St.Hilary (since much of it, indeed the most troubling parts, does not) is St.Hilary's meditation on the commonality of God the Father and God the Son - latter apologies for the Filioque would be based upon this idea (God the Son having what God the Father does).  Of course for St.Hilary, this commonality is the Divine Nature, not the procession.

I also find it odd that Pelikan seems to imply some kind of ambiguity in St.Hilary's thought regarding the Deity of the Holy Spirit - these two quotes alone demonstrate this was not the case.  Am I misunderstanding him (Pelkan)?

Seraphim
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« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2003, 09:06:00 PM »

Seraphim -

I don't think Pelikan was implying that St. Hilary denied the deity of the Holy Spirit, or that he doubted it even, but rather that he was less clear on that subject than he was on the dual procession.

I also agree that St. Augustine carried the dual procession idea much further than St. Hilary ever did; but it is a fact that Augustine was influenced by what St. Hilary wrote. As Pelikan points out, Hilary is the only Father cited in St. Augustine's On the Trinity.
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