So then Heaven and Earth has passed away and the Master is never coming back?
Let me first say that I have a great deal of respect for you personally and I am continually impressed with you knowledge.
You've certainly taught me a thing or two and I love and respect as much as ever brother.
You can argue all of these points, make a logical case for them but still be left in error. That is because you do not accept the Mystical Role of the Church.
Says who? I do accept the Church's mystical role, I just don't accept the changes the Church has made to the Traditions the Apostles have entrusted to Her. Had the Church kept EVERY Apostolic tradition and ONLY THOSE traditions without ANY ALTERATION WHATSOEVER I and every other Nazarene would have no issues with the Church.
It's like this: Orthodox (if I'm not mistaken) feel that the Church has the authority to make changes to the Traditions handed to Her by the Apostles as She sees fit. Nazarenes do not agree with this. We feel that what the Apostles entrusted to the Church is what is meant to be kept EXACTLY AS THEY GAVE IT until the return the King, NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS AND NOTHING ELSE. The Church has made changes to the Traditions: She has discarded some Traditions the 1st century believers once practiced, added new traditions that they NEVER practiced and altered some traditions so they are no longer practiced the way they were in the 1st century. That is the truth, Church records bear this out, and we don't accept this for the following reasons:
1) When you entrust something to someone for a time (and it is for a time - until Messiah returns), when you return you expect it to be in the EXACT SAME CONDITION it was in when you handed it over. The Jews failed to do this with the Torah, and from what we have seen the Church has also failed to do this with the Traditions of the Apostles because they are not identical to their original forms. In short we feel you've failed the Apostles in guarding their Holy Traditions.
2) If you regard the Apostolic Traditions as highly as you claim you do then why make changes? Weren't they good enough for you EXACTLY THE WAY THEY WERE? Why would you expect anything less than the very best from God and His Son? How can what you have instated be superior to what They have instated? Did you doubt your ability to follow through with what they have commanded and feel compelled to make it more acceptable to the godless pagans? You comprised, you gave in to people who were not willing to worship YHWH the way He commanded but the way they used to worship their gods. You Hellenized, Romanized and Paganized the precious Traditions entrusted to you, you made your own cultural traditions on par and in some cases superior to God's Traditions. So we're not convinced that they meant as much to you as you claimed and that you respected them as much as you claimed to.
The objections we have against the Church regarding Holy Traditions are very serious, but are really that unreasonable?
If you are not physically grafted on to the Body of Christ, your salvation is in Jeopardy. You are reduced to Protestant style apologetics which must fail in the end no matter how cogent or well said.
Just like there is One God, there is One Church.
There is One God but He consists of 3 Qnome, there is One Nation - Israel, but She consists of 12 tribes. There is nothing wrong with diversity within unity, what is wrong is when the majority group(s) seek to force the minority group(s) to do things their way when they are not required to, and it's especially bad when it concerns things commanded of them. The Jewish believers were guilty of this in the 1st century when they were the majority, and the Apostles rebuked them. The gentile believers have been doing the same since they became the majority, this is wrong too, you can't tell me it's wrong for us but not for you. Judaizing the Faith is a heresy, the Faith was "Jewish" enough, but paganizing the Faith is just as big a heresy, it's a heresy that the Church to this day has failed to condemn.
You want us to forsake things that God emphatically commanded us to do and adopt stuff that He clearly states is detestable for us. We can't wrap our heads around this. We don't understand your lack of fear regarding these things, we don't understand how you still haven't learnt from our own mistakes. Call us paranoid but we have been punished over and over throughout the centuries when we did things our way instead of His, so there is no way we are ever going to willingly and consciously take that chance again no matter how much you ridicule or scorn us. We can't make everybody happy, no one can, but really do not want to piss off the Big Guy, and sorry but we love Him more than we love you, and always will.
We love our Saviour and His Apostles, that's why we want to be EXACTLY like them and do things EXACTLY the way they did them, we believe the Church was capable of the same, and is capable is restoring the original practices. We just can't understand why you didn't and why you still won't. The only reason we can think of is this - you didn't and still don't want to because you love yourselves more. It's harsh but sorry that's the impression you've given us.
I'll leave you with this: many Messianic Jews believe that gentile believers should also follow the Jewish Christian customs and are intent on imposing them on their gentile converts, insisting on circumcision and other such matters. Me and my congregation do not agree with them, we do not believe in forcing such matters on gentiles, we don't believe we have the right to do this, God is the Judge, not us. But likewise we do not believe that gentiles have the right to force us to forsake our God-given customs, if it's wrong for us then it's wrong for everyone including you. If we wish to keep our customs we have the right to do so, if we wish to abandon them we have the right to do so, you however do not have the right to make go which ever way. Not allowing Jewish believers to observe their diet and holidays is discrimination because you allow everyone else. Yes they are religious but they were instated by the God you yourself worship, not by Vishnu or Muhammad's Allah. And BTW they are all about His Son anyway, and surely He knows better than anyone how best to celebrate Him.
And if i were 20 years younger................................ and ummmm not married.
The way I hear what you are saying is that if the Church were not acting as the Church you would join it. I realize that it's tough when your own ox is being gored.
I still think your World View is essentially Protestant. You pick and chose and decide what you like and don't like and then reformulate to make yourself more comfortable.
The Mystical role of the Church is not a slogan. There is something that operates within The Church that does not outside of it. For example, you say your group believes in the real presence of the Lord in the Eucharist. Forgive me but, so what? Your belief and $2.25 gets you a cup of coffee. The Lord is not present in any Eucharist outside of his Church. And we don't mean a big invisible conglomeration of people who have faith. We mean what the Apostles founded and passed on, physically. An actual Church, not an idea.
Orthodox Christianity is about the transformation of your soul. You are at the minimum cut off from the fundemetal vehicle for that transformation, the Eucharist. And that is just for starters.
The Church has the Authority to deal with questions as they arise. This ranges from the spiritual identity of Jesus Christ and includes such things as whether to allow Jewish Observances by Jews who have converted. The Church is Christ on Earth. It is fully guided by the Holy Spirit and when it errs it always is corrected. The changes you don't like are long standing and have stood the test of time. No matter how the arithmetic adds up for you personally, no matter how familiar a Jewish/Christian mixed religion is for you, it cut's you off from the Church itself which is never a wise thing.