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Author Topic: Why Evangelicals Turn to the Church Fathers  (Read 12438 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ortho_cat
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« Reply #45 on: January 04, 2010, 04:41:14 PM »

How do evangelicals determine what teaching (or writing) is useful from the Church Fathers, and what isn't?
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« Reply #46 on: January 04, 2010, 04:48:07 PM »

Therefore, I was formally sent into the ministry by the local church with which I was in membership (Borough Green) in 1973.

So your authority was given to you by your fellow parishioners, at a church in which you no longer serve?  Can you see how this would appear that the authority is "below to above" rather than from "above to below"?
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« Reply #47 on: January 04, 2010, 05:50:43 PM »

But doesn't it bother you that  ... you end up giving the Gospel according to David Young?

It would concern me very greatly, and I earnestly hope that I preach in the fear of God, and only such truths as have been revealed in scripture.
I'm going to connect something you said in the "mindset" thread here, to try and make a point.  Bear with me.  You said:
Quote
By the way, someone wrote that I said I do not subscribe to OSAS. This is true, but it must not be taken as an assertion of its opposite, i.e. the belief that one can indeed lose one's present salvation. What I said was that I am apophatic on this matter: I can see scriptures which seem to point different ways, and I do not have a firm unalterable conviction on this question.
I find this interesting because you yourself note that the Scriptures can point in different ways, and that you have no firm conviction on this one particular question.  Therein lies the danger.
1. The Scriptures can point in different ways.  So which way do you choose when you preach?  And I'm not speaking specifically of OSAS.  I am speaking in generalities using the above OSAS example.  When the Scriptures can point different ways, which way do you choose?  This is how you end up at the Gospel according to David Young.  In your preaching, you must choose.  In our faith, we do not choose.  We teach according to what has been taught from the beginning and handed down through the saints. 

2.  OSAS may not be of consequence for you.  But what of those to whom it is of consequence?  How do you preach to them?  What do you teach them?  And by whose authority do you deliver an answer to a question which you admittedly don't know the answer to?  Again, I'm using the OSAS example to demonstrate the larger issue to which Alveus Lacuna was referring.

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by what authority do you perform your exegeses?

This sounds ominously like a certain question that was once put to our Lord, but I shall attempt to offer a reply - even though I can't entirely ward off the feeling of a whiff or tincture of sarcasm in the way the question is put. I hope I am mistaken.

As you know if you have read my other posts, Baptist ecclesiology places great emphasis on the autonomy of a properly functioning local church. Such churches are in fellowship with each other, but do not exercise authority over each other. Therefore, I was formally sent into the ministry by the local church with which I was in membership (Borough Green) in 1973. That was in Kent; as you know I now live in Wales and am not in a pastorate, but rather working for a missionary society. Nonetheless I often preach, both when the minister of my present home church is not preaching for whatever reason (illness, holiday, preaching elsewhere), and in other churches in Wales, England, Albania and Kosova which kindly invite me.
This sounds like how our Orthodox clergymen begin their journey.  No man is an island, right?  The thought of leaving a church out there on its own, to do whatever it wishes, is a sort of scary one to me.  I guess that's why there are now, literally, thousands of Protestant denominations.

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I have sought to ensure that my home church recognises God's call and grace upon my ministry;
Can you explain this, please?  What do you mean by "ensure?," and how does one "ensure" recognition?  In the Orthodox Church, the Bishop/synod ensures that a priest's authority is recognized in all matters.  When a priest travels, an official letter is sent saying that they are, indeed, a priest in good standing and have the blessing to serve and preach.

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in other churches, I go only at the invitation of the officers (pastor, elders, deacons, whatever) of those churches. If I were ever to move back into pastoral charge of one local church, it would be with my home church's approval and blessing , and at the invitation of the leaders and members of the church to which I was going.
I'm confused... You submit to the authority of your church, but reject the idea of us submitting to the authority of ours?

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What applies to my preaching at my home church and at others, applies equally when I lead the congregation at the Breaking of Bread.

That is how it works in Baptist churches.

What do you mean by this, please?
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« Reply #48 on: January 04, 2010, 06:51:26 PM »

I think it's good overall that Evangelicals turn to the Fathers. The pastor of my former church often used the Fathers and a good many Catholic writings to back up what he was saying.

The problem is, they are used in a typical buffet-style manner. Evangelicals will quote things that back what they're saying, giving an air continuity with "the ancient church", but ignore what disagrees. Evangelicals don't hold the Fathers up as the main interpreters of the Faith, but rather use quotes from the Fathers as additional exhibits to argue for one's infallible "personal understanding".

I was speaking with a friend the other day (a fellow Orthodox convert) who felt very sure of his former belief system in part because of books that quoted extensively from the Fathers. For example, one of them quoted extensively from St Justin Martyr's First Apology to defend Christian (Evangelical) beliefs, but omitted the section on the Eucharist, which obviously speaks of the real body and blood of Christ.

All that to say, it's good that Evangelicals are reading the Fathers, but it's not good when the Fathers are ripped out of the Church tradition and used higgledy-piggledy to defend wrong Evangelical beliefs.
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« Reply #49 on: January 04, 2010, 07:34:53 PM »

I think it's good overall that Evangelicals turn to the Fathers. The pastor of my former church often used the Fathers and a good many Catholic writings to back up what he was saying.

The problem is, they are used in a typical buffet-style manner. Evangelicals will quote things that back what they're saying, giving an air continuity with "the ancient church", but ignore what disagrees. Evangelicals don't hold the Fathers up as the main interpreters of the Faith, but rather use quotes from the Fathers as additional exhibits to argue for one's infallible "personal understanding".

I was speaking with a friend the other day (a fellow Orthodox convert) who felt very sure of his former belief system in part because of books that quoted extensively from the Fathers. For example, one of them quoted extensively from St Justin Martyr's First Apology to defend Christian (Evangelical) beliefs, but omitted the section on the Eucharist, which obviously speaks of the real body and blood of Christ.

All that to say, it's good that Evangelicals are reading the Fathers, but it's not good when the Fathers are ripped out of the Church tradition and used higgledy-piggledy to defend wrong Evangelical beliefs.

All very true. Oftentimes, when protestants refer to the fathers it is when they want to emphasize the importance of scripture (For example, my signature line may be used in attempt to defend sola scriptura). It is very baffling, however, when we realize what is actually being done here. By filtering the writings of the early church fathers through their own denomination's eyes, they are in fact trying to make the tail wag the dog.  Instead of viewing the newer traditions in light of the old, they are doing it the other way around!  Make no mistake, any particular evangelical denomination uses its own traditions when formulating biblical doctrine, although they will adamently deny it. it is impossible to read scripture and come up with an interpretation thereof without reading into it a particular context or tradition.  

Ironically enough, the verse that is most often used against us is very well appropriate here in our defense of apostolic biblical interpretation:

"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 07:38:07 PM by Ortho_cat » Logged
David Young
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« Reply #50 on: January 06, 2010, 08:30:18 AM »

1. The Scriptures can point in different ways.  So which way do you choose when you preach?  ... When the Scriptures can point different ways, which way do you choose?  This is how you end up at the Gospel according to David Young.  In your preaching, you must choose. 

There are many points in your thoughtful post, and I shan't attempt to answer them all in a single post. First of all, God forbid that I should be found to be preaching a "gospel according to David Young"! Would that not risk the apostle's anathema?

One principle by which I abide is not to contradict the tenets of a church which kindly invites me to preach. This is required by simple courtesy if nothing else. So when in a Pentecostal, I do not deny second-blessing teaching regarding 'the baptism in the Holy Spirit', though it is a not a belief I hold. When in an Anglican or Methodist, I do not speak of believers' baptism. And so on.

To take an example: some people believe that the weekly sabbath is binding upon all men, Jew and Gentile alike, as a creation ordinance; others believe it was a national sign of Israel being God's people under the Old Covenant, is not required of Gentiles, and in any case was never transferred from Saturday to Sunday. I do not therefore go to a church and tell them what I believe about Sundays - unless, of course, I happen to know the pastor's views and they happen to coincide with mine.

Secondly, I see the pulpit as quite different from a discussional Bible study. The pulpit is for declaring the word of God. If a matter is uncertain, either because there are some matters which are darker, or less fully and clearly revealed, than others, or because I myself am uncertain (as the matter of OSAS), it would not be a subject I would preach about. The pulpit is a place for certainty.

Thirdly, if I were in pastoral charge of one church again, then I would teach the people what I believed to be the correct interpretation in matters of faith and belief, such as Sunday/sabbath, baptism, etc. But even then, these would by no means be merely DMY's personal musings: they always fall with the spectrum of Evangelical life and doctrine (our tradition, if you like). As far as I am aware, none of my beliefs is unique to me: if it is, I am almost certainly in error and need it pointed out pretty quick.
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« Reply #51 on: January 06, 2010, 09:57:16 AM »

your authority was given to you by your fellow parishioners... Can you see how this would appear that the authority is "below to above" rather than from "above to below"?

Yes: we don't see it like that, but I do see how it could appear thus. Firstly, we regard the "parishioners" as the Body of Christ, not just a bunch of individuals who have chosen to operate together like any other society. Secondly, I did emphasise that it needs to be a properly functioning church, with proper church offices (e,g, pastor, elders, deacons). In that way, the decision is made by the Body of Christ, led by its leaders, regarding a person whom they genuinely know.

Now of course any system is open to abuse, ours no less than others, for all churches consist of human beings, and many religious leaders over the centuries have been, and remain, worldly, ambitious, biassed, self-seeking, vindictive or whatever - from popes down to Baptist church-secretaries! It is too easy for a man of dominant, persuasive and charming personality to endear himself to a small, ill-led congregation of simple folk and to get himself appointed to some position for which God has not called or equipped him - a "big fish in a small pond". But even then, his unsuitability would soon be noticed by neighbouring churches, and his influence is unlikely to extend beyond his own dominated coterie.

Such things ought not to happen: but neither should Benedictine monks conspire together to murder their abbot, nor popes spend their time wenching and hunting - but sadly these things have happened. So yes - our system is open to abuse, but we believe it is the one which the apostles left behind after their deaths, not simply one which we've dreamt up pragmatically, and when operated in humility and grace it sustains the life of the churches.
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« Reply #52 on: January 06, 2010, 10:11:08 AM »

In our faith, we do not choose. 

Yes you do: you have chosen to submit to the teaching of Holy Orthodoxy. I am far more aware now than I was when I got drawn into this forum, of the reasons for your choice, and I see them as good reasons - 'good' in the sense of well-thought-out, consistent and worthy of respect. But still you have had to make the choice to become, or to remain, Orthodox, and not become atheist, Baptist, Moslem or whatever.

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OSAS may not be of consequence for you.  But what of those to whom it is of consequence?  How do you preach to them?  What do you teach them?  And by whose authority do you deliver an answer to a question which you admittedly don't know the answer to? 

The question is dislocated from its proper context. I wouldn't preach to them. How could I, when I see the pulpit as the place to declare with certainty? But I would indeed be willing to counsel them in personal conversation. But how to go about it would surely depend on the condition and need of the individual troubled soul. Is he someone who fears he has lost his salvation because of unforgivable sin? (The most usual reason, I think.) Or is he someone wanting to lead a life of brinkmanship, thinking he can treat sin lightly because now he's saved he can't lose it? Or is he merely an intellectual speculator who is not really troubled at all, but wishes to explore the less clear teachings of scripture, possibly even peering into the secret things which belong only to God? I cannot answer your question, but I hope that, if approached, I would be helped by God's Spirit to give a word of comfort to the fearful, or of warning to the frivolous.

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by what authority do you perform your exegeses?

As a good Protestant (if I am such), I ought to reply, with Luther, that my conscience is bound by the Word of God, the scriptures. I hope this is in fact true, but it's not really what you mean, is it? As I have written elsewhere on this thread, I should be deeply concerned if my beliefs did not fall within the spectrum of Evangelical belief as held through the centuries. Also, if they did not, I would soon find the doors to churches closing to my ministry, both within the Albanian work and with preaching simply as DMY.
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« Reply #53 on: January 06, 2010, 10:32:49 AM »

The thought of leaving a church out there on its own, to do whatever it wishes, is a sort of scary one to me.

Yes. It ought not to happen, but it would be foolish, nay mendacious, to pretend it doesn't. Such isolationist churches tend to be viewed with suspicion and caution. It can become quite cultic, if such a church has powerful leaders and a large, wealthy congregation. It is a distortion of true Evangelical life and fellowship, but it does exist.

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I have sought to ensure that my home church recognises God's call and grace upon my ministry;
Can you explain this, please?  What do you mean by "ensure?," and how does one "ensure" recognition?  ... I'm confused... You submit to the authority of your church, but reject the idea of us submitting to the authority of ours?

Let me address the second part first, as it seems easier. I don't know how I gave the impression that I reject the idea of you submitting to the authority of your church, but let me correct the impression. Every Christian should submit to the authority of the church he belongs to. I certainly do not reject the idea of your doing do. Sorry to have clumsily made myself misunderstood. Your authority structure is different from ours, but we would both be wrong not to submit to the one we find ourselves in.

How I personally ensure it is not very important, as they have known me since 1977, and they so often have me preach, take mid-week Bible studies, and preside at the Lord's Table, that their recognition of my calling is obvious from those things. However, we have another man who has recently begun to preach - hitherto only in our own church, as far as I know - and I have ensured that formal recognition of his calling, gifts and grace should be an agendum at a members' meeting in the near future. This will be duly minuted, and he will go out, if invited, to other churches, knowing he is not a self-appointed maverick, but operating as part of the life of the Body of Christ at Bradley Road. When one of us is preaching the coming Sunday at a different church, I try to ensure that this is prayed for at our mid-week prayer meeting, for such visits should be seen not as private excursions, but as part of the life and ministry of our own local church, our ministry in the area where we are placed.

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What applies to my preaching ... applies equally when I lead the congregation at the Breaking of Bread.
What do you mean by this, please?

I mean that, when I preside at Communion services, whether at my church in Bradley Road or in other churches, I do so at the invitation of, and therefore in a sense under the authority of (or to use your phrase, in submission to), the leaders of those churches. When I preach but the local leaders prefer to 'do' the Communion service themselves, I am perfectly happy to sit in the pews (for we have such!) and be one of the congregation.
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« Reply #54 on: January 06, 2010, 11:47:53 AM »

Evangelicals will quote things that back what they're saying, giving an air continuity with "the ancient church", but ignore what disagrees.

I think three points might be worth making:

1. We do not see the Fathers as belonging to Rome or to Orthodoxy, but as the heritage of the whole church, Orthodox, Roman, Protestant. They wrote before the great, permanent divisions.

2. Our use of them is not that different from our use of Luther, Calvin, Wesley, the Puritans, or for that matter Hus, Wycliffe and so on; nor indeed of the great Catholic authors (one thinks especially of Bernard of Clairvaux of course). We read to benefit our souls, to nourish them. If a writer ministers Christ to us, we do not have to agree with all his beliefs before we can derive spiritual blessing from him. I was discussing reading with a Pentecostal pastor some time back. He said to me, "You draw water from many wells." Someone (not very prettily) made the analogy of eating fish: one leaves the bones on the side, but still enjoys the flesh. If we set aside some parts of a writer's opus, it does not mean we hold him in low respect, nor that we are merely misusing him as a proto-Evangelical as if to legitimise our own position, but because we see and enjoy Christ in other parts of his works.

3. If people look to the Fathers for confirmation of doctrine, I cannot see that this is altogether so bad a thing as you seem to be thinking. To find continuity of doctrine on the great truths we all hold in common through the long centuries, and in widely different places and cultures, is surely a good thing, not a bad one? There is a place (this forum is one, is it not?) for examining and discussing our different interpretations and emphases in a spirit of mutual respect and friendship, but is it not an even better thing to confirm the wide swathes of agreement between us by citing the Fathers, the mediævals, the moderns, the east, the west, and so on?
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« Reply #55 on: January 06, 2010, 01:30:12 PM »

1. We do not see the Fathers as belonging to Rome or to Orthodoxy, but as the heritage of the whole church, Orthodox, Roman, Protestant. They wrote before the great, permanent divisions.

Our squabble would obviously be that those divisions put some people outside the Church, but that's neither here nor there. I understand that viewpoint, as I used to share it.

2. Our use of them is not that different from our use of Luther, Calvin, Wesley, the Puritans, or for that matter Hus, Wycliffe and so on; nor indeed of the great Catholic authors (one thinks especially of Bernard of Clairvaux of course). We read to benefit our souls, to nourish them. If a writer ministers Christ to us, we do not have to agree with all his beliefs before we can derive spiritual blessing from him. I was discussing reading with a Pentecostal pastor some time back. He said to me, "You draw water from many wells." Someone (not very prettily) made the analogy of eating fish: one leaves the bones on the side, but still enjoys the flesh. If we set aside some parts of a writer's opus, it does not mean we hold him in low respect, nor that we are merely misusing him as a proto-Evangelical as if to legitimise our own position, but because we see and enjoy Christ in other parts of his works.

But how is it that the Fathers' consensus on some other issue, such as the Eucharist, is ignored?

That's what I feel is intellectually dishonest: the consensus is ignored in favor of a specific quote that agrees. It's prooftexting. For instance, St Augustine went too far with some of his ideas, and the Fathers' consensus went against him in some areas. But Protestants will pull out those quotes and use them to develop their theology, because St Augustine said it and that gives it authority.

Again, it's the buffet-style usage of the Fathers that seems very wrong to me. The Fathers must be used in the context of all the other Fathers. I never said the Fathers are the sole property of Rome or the Orthodox, but they must be used in their proper context - consensus - or people like Calvin come along and dream up some wild theology.

Obviously no single Father is infallible by himself (meanwhile I personally know many people who see Calvin virtually as a new prophet), but the consensus of the Fathers on a given doctrine is another matter. When Protestants disagree with the Fathers' consensus, it's passed off as "traditions of men" or some other overused phrase.

3. If people look to the Fathers for confirmation of doctrine, I cannot see that this is altogether so bad a thing as you seem to be thinking. To find continuity of doctrine on the great truths we all hold in common through the long centuries, and in widely different places and cultures, is surely a good thing, not a bad one? There is a place (this forum is one, is it not?) for examining and discussing our different interpretations and emphases in a spirit of mutual respect and friendship, but is it not an even better thing to confirm the wide swathes of agreement between us by citing the Fathers, the mediævals, the moderns, the east, the west, and so on?

It's not bad at the outset. I am happy when Protestants agree with the Fathers. What's bad is picking and choosing what bits of the Fathers we're going to agree with. The Fathers are not given inherent authority, that's the problem. Protestants generally feel free to ignore the Fathers when they disagree with their preconceived ideas. A traditional Lutheran would see the Fathers differently from a member of Joel Osteen's church. That can't be right - are the Fathers inherently authoritative or aren't they?

There is room for disagreement on non-dogmatic points, but when we get into wildly different beliefs about things such as Baptism and the Eucharist, we are talking about different religions, not different emphases.

The continuity must be universal, that's my point. The Apostles, the Fathers, and we in the modern Church must all agree, or something is wrong. If there ever is disagreement, most likely the problem is us, not the Fathers or Apostles. Sadly many don't see it that way.
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« Reply #56 on: January 06, 2010, 01:52:06 PM »

David, I will say that your consideration of the writings of the ECF's is refreshingly uncharacteristic compared to the other baptist ministers I have come across.
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« Reply #57 on: January 06, 2010, 02:04:53 PM »


Secondly, I see the pulpit as quite different from a discussional Bible study. The pulpit is for declaring the word of God. If a matter is uncertain, either because there are some matters which are darker, or less fully and clearly revealed, than others, or because I myself am uncertain (as the matter of OSAS), it would not be a subject I would preach about. The pulpit is a place for certainty.


But if we are uncertain about God's plan of salvation, then isn't the rest simply frivolous?

I respect the fact that you say in so few words "I do not preach about subjects that I am unsure about". But what then is the difference between you and other evangelical pastors who boldly proclaim the "truth" about OSAS to their congregation week after week? Did they have some sort of private revelation? If you say that, in your opinion, no one can be sure about such matters, then how can any of us be "sure" that we have the correct interpretation about any important biblical teaching if we rely upon our own understanding? (or that of our congregation?)
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« Reply #58 on: January 06, 2010, 05:30:44 PM »

if we are uncertain about God's plan of salvation, then isn't the rest simply frivolous?

There is full and universal agreement on the fact that God saves those who truly repent and believe. The question is whether, having been brought into a 'state of grace', one can finally fall away from it and be lost. Opinion on that has been divided since long before Protestantism arose, certainly as far back as Gottschalk (Godescalc), and going further back at least as far as Augustine. I am not the one to provide the final solution to the riddle. Also, I am aware that we are wandering far from the theme of the renewed interest among Evangelicals in the Fathers.

In re the previous posts, I shall take a closer look at them tomorrow, but a brief glance engenders an initial impression that y'all are saying much the same as me, but are feeling differently about the same things because you are looking at them from a different perspective.
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« Reply #59 on: January 06, 2010, 05:55:03 PM »

if we are uncertain about God's plan of salvation, then isn't the rest simply frivolous?

There is full and universal agreement on the fact that God saves those who truly repent and believe. The question is whether, having been brought into a 'state of grace', one can finally fall away from it and be lost. Opinion on that has been divided since long before Protestantism arose, certainly as far back as Gottschalk (Godescalc), and going further back at least as far as Augustine. I am not the one to provide the final solution to the riddle. Also, I am aware that we are wandering far from the theme of the renewed interest among Evangelicals in the Fathers.

In re the previous posts, I shall take a closer look at them tomorrow, but a brief glance engenders an initial impression that y'all are saying much the same as me, but are feeling differently about the same things because you are looking at them from a different perspective.

Where is your proof that the heretic Gottschalk held to "Once saved always saved" or the "P" in the Calvinistic T.U.L.I.P.? Saint Agustine never held to the "P"/ASAS  doctrine. And yes I am able to prove it.......just so you know.



So who before the time of John Calvin believed in  OSAS? Where is your evidence?
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« Reply #60 on: January 06, 2010, 06:20:39 PM »

There is full and universal agreement on the fact that God saves those who truly repent and believe.

Believe in what?

I'm going to anticipate "Christ crucified" as a response, or something along those lines.  But don't the Holy Scriptures themselves speak of false 'christs'?  (See Matthew 24 for more details.)  Doesn't Paul warn against listening to anyone who preaches another 'christ'?

Quote from: 2 Corinthians 11:4 (KJV)
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

How do you determine which 'christs' are false and which is the true one?  To say by scripture alone is obviously not sufficient, and many of the false 'christs' are derived from incorrect exegesis of the Holy Scriptures.  We need another guide to contextualize what we are reading, and to make its meaning clear:

Quote from:  Acts 8:26-31 (KJV)
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.

Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.  And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

Who protects and guides the flock from these false christs?  Perhaps the apostolic overseers?

We do not see the Fathers as belonging to Rome or to Orthodoxy, but as the heritage of the whole church, Orthodox, Roman, Protestant. They wrote before the great, permanent divisions.

No offense intended, but what the heck are you talking about?  Do these groups with plenty of internal sects not qualify as "great divisions" when taken collectively?

Antinomianism
Audianism
Circumcellions
Donatism
Ebionites
Euchites/Messalians
Luciferians
Marcionism
Millennialism
Montanism
Pelagianism/Semipelagianism
Johannites
Mandaeism
Manichaeism
Paulicianism
Priscillianism
Naassenes
Notzrim
Sethian
Ophites
Valentianism
Adoptionism
Apollinarism
Arianism
Docetism
Macedonians (religious group)
Monarchianism
Monophysitism or Eutychianism
Monothelitism
Nestorianism
Patripassianism
Psilanthropism
Sabellianism
Bogomils
Bosnian Church
Catharism
Conciliarism
Free Spirit
Iconoclasm
Henricians
Waldensians
Phyletism

This is without even getting into the thousands of substantial Protestant sectarian movements, although many of the subscribe to a self-styled amalgam of the aforementioned heresies.  Which ones they adopt are of course chosen by their own consciences, based on their own interpretation of the Holy Scriptures.
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« Reply #61 on: January 06, 2010, 06:20:58 PM »

To say that Augustine's views regarding eternal security even remotely resembles "OSAS" is a gross distortion.
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« Reply #62 on: January 06, 2010, 06:46:20 PM »

I think that St. Theophan's commentary entitled, "Preaching Another Christ" sums this issue up rather succinctly:

Quote
Did you not read the warning words of the Lord in the Gospel: 'Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.' Do not think that the Lord refers here to those who do not know His name. No. He means exactly those who use His name as a cover for deception. This becomes obvious by His following words: 'On that day many will say to Me, ''Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?"' You see? They preach Christ, but Christ Himself urges us to guard ourselves from them. And on the Day of Judgment, He will tell them: 'I never knew you; depart from me you evil doers.' In their preaching, the Lord does not see Himself, but some other Christ, different from the true one who was sacrificed here on earth for our salvation. Do you realize now how it is possible for Christ not to be preached under the name of Christ? How then, without any discernment, do you cling to that false teacher of yours, who covers up his deception under Christ's name? Do you have any doubt that the words: 'For many will come in My name, and they will lead many astray' apply to him as well?

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« Reply #63 on: January 06, 2010, 08:53:28 PM »

How do evangelicals determine what teaching (or writing) is useful from the Church Fathers, and what isn't?

From my experience, whatever agreed with the teachings of the evangelicals I knew was considered useful; especially in combating the Trinitarian misunderstandings of JWs. But that which didn't agree with their specific teachings which actually became a bit of a moving feast was discarded as the Church Fathers' susceptibility to "pagan Greek philosophy". So it was all really just a pick and choose affair.
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« Reply #64 on: January 06, 2010, 08:58:10 PM »

IOW, heresy, pure and simple, in the sense of the original Greek word.
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« Reply #65 on: January 06, 2010, 08:59:58 PM »

IOW, heresy, pure and simple, in the sense of the original Greek word.

Indeed.
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« Reply #66 on: January 06, 2010, 10:58:06 PM »

How do evangelicals determine what teaching (or writing) is useful from the Church Fathers, and what isn't?

From my experience, whatever agreed with the teachings of the evangelicals I knew was considered useful; especially in combating the Trinitarian misunderstandings of JWs. But that which didn't agree with their specific teachings which actually became a bit of a moving feast was discarded as the Church Fathers' susceptibility to "pagan Greek philosophy". So it was all really just a pick and choose affair.
I agree with you entirely that Evangelicals in general display a characteristic of "proof texting" by quoting Scripture or any other authority that they have decided is valid often out of context. However, we Orthodox must not become too smug in bashing them. After all, we don't accept everything that every Church Father ever wrote, so some picking and choosing has been done as well. The difference, of course, is that we have the entire history of the Church which has had the time and wisdom to sift through all the writings and come up with a consensus of belief. And even at that, we don't always agree. Let's at least be thankful that those Evangelicals who have turned to the Church Fathers have aimed themselves in the right direction in the pursuit of truth - and pray that they succeed in finding it!
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« Reply #67 on: January 06, 2010, 11:45:26 PM »


I am curious as to how many times within the history of the Church that an earlier, more historical teaching was abandonded (or possibly adjusted) in favor of a newer, more modern teaching? I can't think of any example, but then again I'm not all that well versed with regards to Church history and doctrinal development. Anyone?
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« Reply #68 on: January 06, 2010, 11:46:14 PM »

How do evangelicals determine what teaching (or writing) is useful from the Church Fathers, and what isn't?

From my experience, whatever agreed with the teachings of the evangelicals I knew was considered useful; especially in combating the Trinitarian misunderstandings of JWs. But that which didn't agree with their specific teachings which actually became a bit of a moving feast was discarded as the Church Fathers' susceptibility to "pagan Greek philosophy". So it was all really just a pick and choose affair.
I agree with you entirely that Evangelicals in general display a characteristic of "proof texting" by quoting Scripture or any other authority that they have decided is valid often out of context. However, we Orthodox must not become too smug in bashing them. After all, we don't accept everything that every Church Father ever wrote, so some picking and choosing has been done as well. The difference, of course, is that we have the entire history of the Church which has had the time and wisdom to sift through all the writings and come up with a consensus of belief. And even at that, we don't always agree. Let's at least be thankful that those Evangelicals who have turned to the Church Fathers have aimed themselves in the right direction in the pursuit of truth - and pray that they succeed in finding it!

Just to clarify; I wasn't bashing anyone. I was simply answering the question as to what was my own experience with the Evangelicals that I have known.
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« Reply #69 on: January 06, 2010, 11:51:27 PM »


I am curious as to how many times within the history of the Church that an earlier, more historical teaching was abandonded (or possibly adjusted) in favor of a newer, more modern teaching? I can't think of any example, but then again I'm not all that well versed with regards to Church history and doctrinal development. Anyone?

The one that springs to my mind is the development of the way a lot of Christians, if not most (myself included), now look at the Genesis account of Creation in less literal terms than was the norm in the past.
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« Reply #70 on: January 07, 2010, 03:40:33 AM »

How do evangelicals determine what teaching (or writing) is useful from the Church Fathers, and what isn't?

Whatever statement, sentence, paragraph, or letter that agrees with them will most likely be seen as useful, while everything that doesn't......which is most of it, will most likely be seen as not useful. And it various from each protestant group.





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« Reply #71 on: January 07, 2010, 03:46:06 AM »

I think it's good overall that Evangelicals turn to the Fathers. The pastor of my former church often used the Fathers and a good many Catholic writings to back up what he was saying.

The problem is, they are used in a typical buffet-style manner. Evangelicals will quote things that back what they're saying, giving an air continuity with "the ancient church", but ignore what disagrees. Evangelicals don't hold the Fathers up as the main interpreters of the Faith, but rather use quotes from the Fathers as additional exhibits to argue for one's infallible "personal understanding".

I was speaking with a friend the other day (a fellow Orthodox convert) who felt very sure of his former belief system in part because of books that quoted extensively from the Fathers. For example, one of them quoted extensively from St Justin Martyr's First Apology to defend Christian (Evangelical) beliefs, but omitted the section on the Eucharist, which obviously speaks of the real body and blood of Christ.

All that to say, it's good that Evangelicals are reading the Fathers, but it's not good when the Fathers are ripped out of the Church tradition and used higgledy-piggledy to defend wrong Evangelical beliefs.

I agree






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« Reply #72 on: January 07, 2010, 04:02:22 AM »

Evangelicals will quote things that back what they're saying, giving an air continuity with "the ancient church", but ignore what disagrees.

I think three points might be worth making:

1. We do not see the Fathers as belonging to Rome or to Orthodoxy, but as the heritage of the whole church, Orthodox, Roman, Protestant. They wrote before the great, permanent divisions.

2. Our use of them is not that different from our use of Luther, Calvin, Wesley, the Puritans, or for that matter Hus, Wycliffe and so on; nor indeed of the great Catholic authors (one thinks especially of Bernard of Clairvaux of course). We read to benefit our souls, to nourish them. If a writer ministers Christ to us, we do not have to agree with all his beliefs before we can derive spiritual blessing from him. I was discussing reading with a Pentecostal pastor some time back. He said to me, "You draw water from many wells." Someone (not very prettily) made the analogy of eating fish: one leaves the bones on the side, but still enjoys the flesh. If we set aside some parts of a writer's opus, it does not mean we hold him in low respect, nor that we are merely misusing him as a proto-Evangelical as if to legitimise our own position, but because we see and enjoy Christ in other parts of his works.

3. If people look to the Fathers for confirmation of doctrine, I cannot see that this is altogether so bad a thing as you seem to be thinking. To find continuity of doctrine on the great truths we all hold in common through the long centuries, and in widely different places and cultures, is surely a good thing, not a bad one? There is a place (this forum is one, is it not?) for examining and discussing our different interpretations and emphases in a spirit of mutual respect and friendship, but is it not an even better thing to confirm the wide swathes of agreement between us by citing the Fathers, the mediævals, the moderns, the east, the west, and so on?

Things are done differently over here in America, don't forget that alot of us here are mostly former American protestants of one stripe or another. And so alot of us are talking from personal experience.




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« Reply #73 on: January 07, 2010, 04:05:24 AM »

David, I will say that your consideration of the writings of the ECF's is refreshingly uncharacteristic compared to the other baptist ministers I have come across.

I agree





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« Reply #74 on: January 07, 2010, 05:34:44 AM »

So who before the time of John Calvin believed in  OSAS? Where is your evidence?

I readily concede that you may well be right. I was under the impression that these men held what are now called "Calvinistic" views, but (as you are aware) I am not greatly drawn to exploring this particular area of doctrine, and from my more general reading in historical theology I may well have added more to my concept of pre-16th century writers than was justified by what I have read. So I have no hesitation in candidly surrendering to your greater knowledge in this area of study.

It has often been said - and again, I know not with what accuracy, if any - that Calvin himself was not a full Calvinist, but rather that the system which now bears his name was actually formulated by Th. Beza.

I feel that discussion of the Fathers would yield greater edification, and maybe those who wish to explore all or any of the TULIP doctrines should now start a new thread - unless one already exists to be revived. It would not be one which I personally am either qualified or drawn to play a great part in.
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« Reply #75 on: January 07, 2010, 05:37:15 AM »

How do you determine which 'christs' are false and which is the true one?  

Don't we all adhere to the Apostles', Nicene and Athanasian Creeds on this?
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« Reply #76 on: January 07, 2010, 05:47:51 AM »

what then is the difference between you and other evangelical pastors who boldly proclaim the "truth" about OSAS to their congregation week after week? Did they have some sort of private revelation?

how can any of us be "sure" that we have the correct interpretation about any important biblical teaching if we rely upon our own understanding? (or that of our congregation?)

Looking at your second question first, I would reply that there are a host of matters in scripture which are plain and which any humble reader, though simple and unlearned, may readily understand with the help of the Holy Spirit. There are other matters which are less plain, more obscure, and on which very sincere Christians, evidently used, blessed and owned by God, hold differing opinions.

Secondly, one can feel sure in such matters, but in my view it is wise to be cautious in them. I cannot answer your question about other preachers - they must speak for themselves - but I can say that they do not have private revelation, for we hold that all necessary, final and sufficient revelation was deposited in scripture.
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« Reply #77 on: January 07, 2010, 05:53:40 AM »

We do not see the Fathers as belonging to Rome or to Orthodoxy, but as the heritage of the whole church, Orthodox, Roman, Protestant. They wrote before the great, permanent divisions.

No offense intended, but what the heck are you talking about?  Do these groups with plenty of internal sects not qualify as "great divisions" when taken collectively?

The heck to which I was referring (in fact two hecks, one might say) could be dated as reaching permanence in the 11th and 16th centuries, more specifically those between east and west, then the Protestant Reformation.

By the way, from your list, I would not regard Docetism, Bogomils, Cathars and Manichees as divisions within Christianity, nor would I see the Waldenses as having divided from anyone: it is not known how, when or where they arose, but their doctrine is orthodox.
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« Reply #78 on: January 07, 2010, 06:01:11 AM »

The Fathers are not given inherent authority, that's the problem.

If we change the word problem for the word principle or difference, or if we reckon problem as meaning the problem between Orthodox and Evangelicals (rather than the problem with Evangelicals), then we agree. We turn to any writer from Clement of Rome down to today's Christian writers (my favourite is probably Alister McGrath) for edification and indeed instruction, but as you rightly say, they "are not given inherent authority". That we ascribe only to Holy Writ.
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« Reply #79 on: January 07, 2010, 10:27:27 AM »

Getting back to the theme of Fathers - I think that you good people are yourselves partly to blame for the regrettable fact that we Evangelicals turn seldom to the early Fathers. I have read pages and pages and pages from Chrysostom on Matthew, and the whole of Athanasius on the Incarnation and his letter to Marcellinus on the Psalms, and the whole of Irenæus on the Apostolic Preaching. There is very little indeed in all I have read with which any standard Evangelical would disagree. However, I also have your "Daily Readings from the Writings of St. John Chrysostom" (Coniaris, Light & Life Publishing), and I soon wearied of it, for it keeps on and on (and on ...) selecting passages about your view of the sacraments. It is a pity that Coniaris opted to select so many passages stating views from which Evangelical Christians are known to differ. Such publications are unlikely to attract us to the Fathers for our devotional reading - and (I suspect) actually give a warped picture anyway of patristic output. R C Hill (Holy Cross Orthodox Press) did much better in his selection of "Spiritual Gems" from Chrysostom on Matthew, which is what prompted me to read more than only his brief extracts.

If I wanted you to read John Wesley, I would not point you first to his sermon entitled Justification by Faith.

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« Reply #80 on: January 07, 2010, 10:29:38 AM »

Getting back to the theme of Fathers - I think that you good people are yourselves partly to blame for the regrettable fact that we Evangelicals turn seldom to the early Fathers. I have read pages and pages and pages from Chrysostom on Matthew, and the whole of Athanasius on the Incarnation and his letter to Marcellinus on the Psalms, and the whole of Irenæus on the Apostolic Preaching. There is very little indeed in all I have read with which any standard Evangelical would disagree. However, I also have your "Daily Readings from the Writings of St. John Chrysostom" (Coniaris, Light & Life Publishing), and I soon wearied of it, for it keeps on and on (and on ...) selecting passages about your view of the sacraments. It is a pity that Coniaris opted to select so many passages stating views from which Evangelical Christians are known to differ. Such publications are unlikely to attract us to the Fathers for our devotional reading - and (I suspect) actually give a warped picture anyway of patristic output. R C Hill (Holy Cross Orthodox Press) did much better in his selection of "Spiritual Gems" from Chrysostom on Matthew, which is what prompted me to read more than only his brief extracts.

If I wanted you to read John Wesley, I would not point you first to his sermon entitled Justification by Faith.
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« Reply #81 on: January 07, 2010, 12:13:02 PM »

Three years ago, I was one of the few Protestants who read the Church Fathers.  Problem is...or maybe it's a good thing :-) - the more I read them, the more it made me question what I was being taught as a Protestant.  Thankfully the young adults pastor at my church also read them, and encouraged me to check out the Orthodox Church...apparently he wanted to convert but decided to try to change the church from the inside out.  But my point is...I think Evangelucals who are well-versed in the church fathers tend to move out of the Evangelical Church into a more liturgical or intellectual church, leaving behind the type of Evangelicals you typically see or hear about.  Many are sincere....and I think more would move towards Orthodoxy if they were introduced to it with an open mind.  I pray each day that my family will become Orthodox. 
Similar to your story, I grew up Southern Baptist but about 6-7 years ago started reading the Church Fathers and now, after exploring the Papal claims and even being an Eastern Orthodox catechuman for a few weeks about four years ago,  I am Anglican Catholic.
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« Reply #82 on: January 07, 2010, 01:44:57 PM »

[


By the way, from your list, I would not regard Docetism, Bogomils, Cathars and Manichees as divisions within Christianity, nor would I see the Waldenses as having divided from anyone: it is not known how, when or where they arose, but their doctrine is orthodox.

Would you consider them orthodox in their current state, or originally when they believed in the real presence, prayers for the dead and infant baptism?
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« Reply #83 on: January 07, 2010, 05:03:41 PM »

Would you consider them orthodox in their current state, or originally when they believed in the real presence, prayers for the dead and infant baptism?

I have only read a couple of books about them, and have not read of these beliefs being held among them. However, if you remember, ask me again after April, as I shall be staying with a Waldensian pastor in Italy for a few days and I should know more after I return.
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« Reply #84 on: January 07, 2010, 06:38:20 PM »


Looking at your second question first, I would reply that there are a host of matters in scripture which are plain and which any humble reader, though simple and unlearned, may readily understand with the help of the Holy Spirit. There are other matters which are less plain, more obscure, and on which very sincere Christians, evidently used, blessed and owned by God, hold differing opinions.


"The plan of salvation is so clearly taught in the Bible, a child could understand it!" My brother would confidently assert to me whenever we used to get into a theological dispute. (He is a born, raised, and practicing Southern Baptist, as I once was). This indeed sounds logical, and it is something that I used to believe myself. (That is, until I decided to re-read the new testament with a keen eye towards the plan of salvation.) Starting in the Gospel of Matthew, I already began to encounter passages that I thought required further explanation.  I found passages that seemed to contradict each other. Eventually, I started to realize something.  The plan of salvation that I thought was so clearly taught in the bible was only taught in specific sections of the new testament, to the exclusion of other verses on the matter which apparently seemed to contradict it! After solemnly refusing to admit that the bible contained contradictions, I began to realize that my church didn't give me the whole picture on salvation.  Sure, the "Romans road" made sense (or at least it jibed with my church doctrine), but there is certainly a lot more the bible has to say about the matter of salvation than this select choice of passages!

The more scripture commentary I read from an Orthodox perspective, the more I realize how much meaning, interpretation, and context is hiding underneath the seemingly "bare" words of scripture! I assert that any confidence that we may have regarding a passage of scripture to be  "self-explanatory" or "straightforward" is directly attributed to, and subject to: what we have been taught to read into the scripture (from church tradition or commentary), our individual knowledge, bible translation, individual context, etc.

For example, look at one of the most well known verses in the bible, Ephesians 2:8: (KJV)

Quote
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.

Here are just a few questions that a "simple and unlearned" reader could ask of this particular verse: First of all, what is grace? What type of faith attracts grace? For that matter, what IS faith? What exactly is a gift of God: grace, faith, or both? What does it mean to be "saved"? Is this a one time event, or is this something ongoing? Is this something that I can "lose"? Obviously, such an inquisition, however honest it may be, reveals more questions than answers to the individual. Where is this inquirer to turn? His denominational pastor? Why trust him? After all, this person should be able to interpret scripture themselves, otherwise the'yre just relying on "tradition", hence defeating the basic premise of sola scriptura!

I will say that the more I mature in my understanding about the Orthodox faith, the more wisdom and saving knowledge I gain regarding this particular passage and others like it. In fact, during my intial inquiry phase, I thought this verse to be completely opposed to the Orthodox teaching on salvation! (based on my presuppositions and prior "knowledge" of the scriptures and denominational background). Now I see that my initial conclusion was totally biased and unlearned. This just goes to show that anyone can interpret anything into any verse depending upon the particular circumstances they find themselves in, and the knowledge that has been revealed to them.

Finally, I encourage you to read this article on the deficiencies of the premise of "sola scriptura" which may help to illustrate my point.

http://www.chnetwork.org/journals/sola/sola5.htm





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« Reply #85 on: January 07, 2010, 07:11:43 PM »


Looking at your second question first, I would reply that there are a host of matters in scripture which are plain and which any humble reader, though simple and unlearned, may readily understand with the help of the Holy Spirit. There are other matters which are less plain, more obscure, and on which very sincere Christians, evidently used, blessed and owned by God, hold differing opinions.


"The plan of salvation is so clearly taught in the Bible, a child could understand it!" My brother would confidently assert to me whenever we used to get into a theological dispute. (He is a born, raised, and practicing Southern Baptist, as I once was). This indeed sounds logical, and it is something that I used to believe myself. (That is, until I decided to re-read the new testament with a keen eye towards the plan of salvation.) Starting in the Gospel of Matthew, I already began to encounter passages that I thought required further explanation.  I found passages that seemed to contradict each other. Eventually, I started to realize something.  The plan of salvation that I thought was so clearly taught in the bible was only taught in specific sections of the new testament, to the exclusion of other verses on the matter which apparently seemed to contradict it! After solemnly refusing to admit that the bible contained contradictions, I began to realize that my church didn't give me the whole picture on salvation.  Sure, the "Romans road" made sense (or at least it jibed with my church doctrine), but there is certainly a lot more the bible has to say about the matter of salvation than this select choice of passages!

The more scripture commentary I read from an Orthodox perspective, the more I realize how much meaning, interpretation, and context is hiding underneath the seemingly "bare" words of scripture! I assert that any confidence that we may have regarding a passage of scripture to be  "self-explanatory" or "straightforward" is directly attributed to, and subject to: what we have been taught to read into the scripture (from church tradition or commentary), our individual knowledge, bible translation, individual context, etc.

For example, look at one of the most well known verses in the bible, Ephesians 2:8: (KJV)

Quote
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.

Here are just a few questions that a "simple and unlearned" reader could ask of this particular verse: First of all, what is grace? What type of faith attracts grace? For that matter, what IS faith? What exactly is a gift of God: grace, faith, or both? What does it mean to be "saved"? Is this a one time event, or is this something ongoing? Is this something that I can "lose"? Obviously, such an inquisition, however honest it may be, reveals more questions than answers to the individual. Where is this inquirer to turn? His denominational pastor? Why trust him? After all, this person should be able to interpret scripture themselves, otherwise the'yre just relying on "tradition", hence defeating the basic premise of sola scriptura!

I will say that the more I mature in my understanding about the Orthodox faith, the more wisdom and saving knowledge I gain regarding this particular passage and others like it. In fact, during my intial inquiry phase, I thought this verse to be completely opposed to the Orthodox teaching on salvation! (based on my presuppositions and prior "knowledge" of the scriptures and denominational background). Now I see that my initial conclusion was totally biased and unlearned. This just goes to show that anyone can interpret anything into any verse depending upon the particular circumstances they find themselves in, and the knowledge that has been revealed to them.

Finally, I encourage you to read this article on the deficiencies of the premise of "sola scriptura" which may help to illustrate my point.

http://www.chnetwork.org/journals/sola/sola5.htm


Those are some excellent points! Well stated.

Selam

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« Reply #86 on: January 07, 2010, 07:33:46 PM »

Don't we all adhere to the Apostles', Nicene and Athanasian Creeds on this?

You might, but many if not most of your baptist coreligionists have never even heard of them over here in the Americas.  Even though you do, your adherence to them is still arbitrary, since you reject the authority of the bishops in later manners, such as iconoclasm.  Either the bishops have authority from God or they don't, and it doesn't just disappear.

A creed from Nicaea I know, but not one from the "apostles" or "Athanasius."  Even if those creeds are entirely orthodox, the one that matters simply isn't in the west because of the subordination of the Holy Spirit in the Godhead.
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« Reply #87 on: January 07, 2010, 07:37:34 PM »


Looking at your second question first, I would reply that there are a host of matters in scripture which are plain and which any humble reader, though simple and unlearned, may readily understand with the help of the Holy Spirit. There are other matters which are less plain, more obscure, and on which very sincere Christians, evidently used, blessed and owned by God, hold differing opinions.


"The plan of salvation is so clearly taught in the Bible, a child could understand it!" My brother would confidently assert to me whenever we used to get into a theological dispute. (He is a born, raised, and practicing Southern Baptist, as I once was). This indeed sounds logical, and it is something that I used to believe myself. (That is, until I decided to re-read the new testament with a keen eye towards the plan of salvation.) Starting in the Gospel of Matthew, I already began to encounter passages that I thought required further explanation.  I found passages that seemed to contradict each other. Eventually, I started to realize something.  The plan of salvation that I thought was so clearly taught in the bible was only taught in specific sections of the new testament, to the exclusion of other verses on the matter which apparently seemed to contradict it! After solemnly refusing to admit that the bible contained contradictions, I began to realize that my church didn't give me the whole picture on salvation.  Sure, the "Romans road" made sense (or at least it jibed with my church doctrine), but there is certainly a lot more the bible has to say about the matter of salvation than this select choice of passages!

The more scripture commentary I read from an Orthodox perspective, the more I realize how much meaning, interpretation, and context is hiding underneath the seemingly "bare" words of scripture! I assert that any confidence that we may have regarding a passage of scripture to be  "self-explanatory" or "straightforward" is directly attributed to, and subject to: what we have been taught to read into the scripture (from church tradition or commentary), our individual knowledge, bible translation, individual context, etc.

For example, look at one of the most well known verses in the bible, Ephesians 2:8: (KJV)

Quote
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.

Here are just a few questions that a "simple and unlearned" reader could ask of this particular verse: First of all, what is grace? What type of faith attracts grace? For that matter, what IS faith? What exactly is a gift of God: grace, faith, or both? What does it mean to be "saved"? Is this a one time event, or is this something ongoing? Is this something that I can "lose"? Obviously, such an inquisition, however honest it may be, reveals more questions than answers to the individual. Where is this inquirer to turn? His denominational pastor? Why trust him? After all, this person should be able to interpret scripture themselves, otherwise the'yre just relying on "tradition", hence defeating the basic premise of sola scriptura!

I will say that the more I mature in my understanding about the Orthodox faith, the more wisdom and saving knowledge I gain regarding this particular passage and others like it. In fact, during my intial inquiry phase, I thought this verse to be completely opposed to the Orthodox teaching on salvation! (based on my presuppositions and prior "knowledge" of the scriptures and denominational background). Now I see that my initial conclusion was totally biased and unlearned. This just goes to show that anyone can interpret anything into any verse depending upon the particular circumstances they find themselves in, and the knowledge that has been revealed to them.

Finally, I encourage you to read this article on the deficiencies of the premise of "sola scriptura" which may help to illustrate my point.

http://www.chnetwork.org/journals/sola/sola5.htm






Such well thought out post. Is it too early for most of the month nominations?
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« Reply #88 on: January 07, 2010, 07:38:49 PM »

To say that Augustine's views regarding eternal security even remotely resembles "OSAS" is a gross distortion.
AMEN!!!!
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« Reply #89 on: January 07, 2010, 07:41:59 PM »

How do you determine which 'christs' are false and which is the true one?  

Don't we all adhere to the Apostles', Nicene and Athanasian Creeds on this?
Do you? So you believe in "one baptism for the forgiveness of sins"?
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