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Author Topic: I don't understand the Evangelical mindset - never have, never will!!  (Read 44834 times) Average Rating: 0
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David Young
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« Reply #180 on: December 17, 2009, 05:07:54 PM »

I hate discussing homosexuality because, while it is easy to spout theology on the subject (which I know I am guilty of), it is another thing entirely to try and live by that theology when one is in that position.  
Surely no harder than for a normal bachelor, spinster, widow or widower to remain chaste.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 05:08:16 PM by David Young » Logged

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« Reply #181 on: December 17, 2009, 05:19:18 PM »

Sure, but this is the same kind of opinion/judgment call that we have to make about the Orthodox Church, too. Did the faith stay the same, or move away from the truth? More to the point, do the historical facts give us enough to be able to make this judgment? I would say they don't - not for you, not for us. We must just trust.
I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!

Quote
Oops, sorry ... I misread you there. Yes, I agree that the church was Catholic after the Schism. However, there are some very interesting things that make the faith as practiced (even by some priests and monastics) particularly 'English' and different from European Catholicism. One of my favourite examples is that, when the Catholic Carthusian monks were told by their General Chapter that they shouldn't be so closely involved with lay people, the English Carthusians instead made sure that they found a proper way for lay people to interact with their spiritual fathers in the monasteries. This was happening in the late middle ages, just before the Reformation - I feel it suggests how the character of faith remained somewhat different from Roman Catholicism, and - I would hope - very true to the origins of the Church.
This is exactly what I mean.  The faith was different...

Quote
I have not heard of any Orthodox petitions to return Imperial Roman coinage to Rome.
I think there's a difference though in what we're talking about.  Retaining the law and literal interpretations of Scripture are two different things with two different results.  That's why I disagree with your example of "rending unto Caesar."  That is a matter of literal interpretation, not retaining of the law.  If the issue there were of retaining the law, then the question would NOT be "is there a petition about returning imperial coinage to Rome," it would be, "do we pay taxes to the government?"  In other words I don't think you are using the proper example to demonstrate what you are trying to say.  "Returning imperial coinage to Rome" means we have literally interpreted the Scriptures, not retained a useless law.  Does this make sense?

Quote
And is Heorhji wrong about the suicide example?
I'm afraid I'm not familiar with this example.  Or maybe I've just forgotten.  Was this something that was discussed while I've been away from the forum?  Feel free to fill me in... Smiley

Quote
More importantly, though, there are surely far too many things that Orthodox Churches do now, which have no basis in the Church founded at Pentecost.
I'm afraid you'll have to be more specific... I will address the ones you give below, though.

Quote
Where did the Apostles decide that one or other calendar was important?
They didn't, which is what gave the Church the freedom to decide on a more scientifically accurate calculation of the calendar, and why the Churches who didn't accept it are now in schism for retaining the law.  (No offense meant by that to anyone.  Don't want to drag up the debate again, just trying to give a succinct response...)

Quote
When did they decide that priests should wear vestments of the particular type worn in Orthodox Churches?
The vestments are descendant from those that the Jewish priests wore.  I'll have to get my husband on this.  He's the vestment guru.  Any of the guys on here who know him will attest to that.  He'll tell you the history, development, and purpose of each piece.  Suffice it to say that they are descendant from the Jewish vestments (which makes sense to me, considering that the apostles and early Christians would have worshiped in the way that they were comfortable and accustomed to).  They developed further because of their purposes.  Each piece had a reason for being. 

Quote
When and why did they decide that unaccompanied singing was best? That men should wear beards?
Again, descendant from the Jewish cantor tradition.  The early Christians retained much of their Jewish roots, worshiping in the familiar way, and we have not changed much of that.  As far as instruments, though I am a musician trained in both Western music (years of classical and Broadway style training, currently studying Opera with a voice professor at the University of Georgia) and Byzantine music, I am thoroughly opposed to instruments in the Church.  Not because I don't like them.  I also play the piano a little.  I love instruments.  But I believe they have their place.  The Church is not the place for performance.  It is the place for worship.  Nor is it the place for instruments alone.  The purpose of the music itself is only to carry the words.  The music is a vehicle for the words, that we may pray to and praise God.  When we remove the words, all we have is pointless noise (it might be pretty, but it is still pointless noise).

Quote
Who gets to decide which of these are 'trivial' (and therefore, it seems, allowed), and which are 'crucial' innovations?
That's why the historical continuity and continuity of the faith are essential.  That's why retaining the hierarchy is essential.  That's why remaining a conciliar Church is essential.  That's why receiving the sacraments is essential.  The CHURCH decides. 


Quote
Ah, yes, I see. No, I didn't mean that. I always feel sad that homosexual couples are so often unable to have their own children - and I don't mean any political point about adopting, I just mean it's sad that some people don't end up in a situation where they can have their own babies with their partner.
Not to be critical at all, because I do understand (intimately) the sorrow that comes from desiring a child that one cannot have.  However, it's one thing to be unable to have children because something in your body isn't working right.  It's another thing to not be able to have children because God never intended for you to have them that way.  This, to me, is like saying I'm sorry that I can't fly (sans airplane).  God never intended it.  Why are we sorry that God didn't create us differently?  Isn't that an incredible amount of hubris to essentially say that God was wrong in His creation?  I don't mean that in an accusatory way, just trying to make a point.

Quote
I agree that Christ could have done so had He chosen to do.
That's all my point was.  Whether homosexuality was normative or not is really neither here nor there.

Quote
I don't believe He did (see other posts on this thread). But it is (in my humble opinion, shared by a few professors of Classics) not correct to suggest that Christ would have been in accordance with social norms had he blessed homosexual unions.
See above.

Quote
That is fine - as long as we don't end up confusing 'bolstered' with 'proven', as I think is sometimes easy to do.
LOL!  Smiley  Okay, I think we've come full circle!   laugh

Quote
Can I say how much I have been enjoying this discussion? I hope that isn't rude, and maybe it is very tedious for you, but I have had to think and question and work things out all the way - it's a great Advent question and has me constantly thinking about the nature of faith. So, I do hope it's not too obvious for you - I owe you a great deal for your patient and perceptive comments, even if I may not always agree! Smiley

I, too, have quite enjoyed this.  I actually was thinking before I read your post that I appreciated your patience with my lengthy responses.  I'm nothing if not long-winded, I guess (am I right, KoD?).  You owe me nothing.  Please pray for me.  Smiley

It's nice to be back on the forum and discussing away...
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« Reply #182 on: December 17, 2009, 05:44:15 PM »

Nevermind....
« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 05:50:36 PM by HandmaidenofGod » Logged

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« Reply #183 on: December 17, 2009, 05:44:32 PM »

I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!


This is also something I've noticed. General assertions that the Orthodox Church "moved away" or "innovated" are quite common, yet no one has been able to provide any proof or evidence except their own personal opinion that the moving away or innovation happened. Same with many other issues  (don't want to bring up the previous ones again), but advocates can only offer their interpretation or opinion, while there is actual evidence to the contrary.

IOW, don't confuse them with facts!
 Grin


« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 05:44:49 PM by katherineofdixie » Logged

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Liz
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« Reply #184 on: December 17, 2009, 06:00:13 PM »

Sure, but this is the same kind of opinion/judgment call that we have to make about the Orthodox Church, too. Did the faith stay the same, or move away from the truth? More to the point, do the historical facts give us enough to be able to make this judgment? I would say they don't - not for you, not for us. We must just trust.
I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!

I do accept that. But I think many of the Protestants you refer to were trying to convince you that their Church was right, or at least, equally good. I'm just trying to say that the question of whether or not the Orthodox Church has remained faithful to the first Church is a matter of faith, not fact-proven-by-history.


Quote
Oops, sorry ... I misread you there. Yes, I agree that the church was Catholic after the Schism. However, there are some very interesting things that make the faith as practiced (even by some priests and monastics) particularly 'English' and different from European Catholicism. One of my favourite examples is that, when the Catholic Carthusian monks were told by their General Chapter that they shouldn't be so closely involved with lay people, the English Carthusians instead made sure that they found a proper way for lay people to interact with their spiritual fathers in the monasteries. This was happening in the late middle ages, just before the Reformation - I feel it suggests how the character of faith remained somewhat different from Roman Catholicism, and - I would hope - very true to the origins of the Church.
Quote
This is exactly what I mean.  The faith was different...

Earlier, you objected to my point, saying that in describing an English Church in the late Middle Ages, I was referring to orthodox Roman Catholicism. Now, you object when I say that Christian faith in England shows many differences from late-medieval Roman Catholicism (because it was retaining an older truth). I am confused!


Quote
I have not heard of any Orthodox petitions to return Imperial Roman coinage to Rome.
Quote
I think there's a difference though in what we're talking about.  Retaining the law and literal interpretations of Scripture are two different things with two different results.  That's why I disagree with your example of "rending unto Caesar."  That is a matter of literal interpretation, not retaining of the law.  If the issue there were of retaining the law, then the question would NOT be "is there a petition about returning imperial coinage to Rome," it would be, "do we pay taxes to the government?"  In other words I don't think you are using the proper example to demonstrate what you are trying to say.  "Returning imperial coinage to Rome" means we have literally interpreted the Scriptures, not retained a useless law.  Does this make sense?

It does make sense, but there is no easy way of defining what is literal interpretation, and what is retaining the law. Above, you assume that 'return to Cesar that which is Cesar's' has as a modern-day equivalent the command, 'pay taxes to the government'. But how do I know that the modern-day equivalent of 'marriage is between one man and one woman' isn't 'marriage is a monogamous relationship between persons of various genders'?


Quote
And is Heorhji wrong about the suicide example?
Quote
I'm afraid I'm not familiar with this example.  Or maybe I've just forgotten.  Was this something that was discussed while I've been was way from the forum?  Feel free to fill me in... Smiley

Well, he can explain better than I can. But his argument (as I understand it) is that, whereas it used to be the custom to condemn suicide as a sin, and to refuse certain customary funeral rites to a suicide, it is not considered appropriate to act with compassion, and to assume that the deceased was not so much sinning, as struggling.


Quote
More importantly, though, there are surely far too many things that Orthodox Churches do now, which have no basis in the Church founded at Pentecost.
Quote
I'm afraid you'll have to be more specific... I will address the ones you give below, though.
Quote
Where did the Apostles decide that one or other calendar was important?
Quote
They didn't, which is what gave the Church the freedom to decide on a more scientifically accurate calculation of the calendar, and why the Churches who didn't accept it are now in schism for retaining the law.  (No offense meant by that to anyone.  Don't want to drag up the debate again, just trying to give a succinct response...)

So, you are saying that it's ok to add in new material on issues that haven't been discussed? Is silence automatically assumed to be a carte blanche, an omission by the Spirit?

Quote
When did they decide that priests should wear vestments of the particular type worn in Orthodox Churches?
Quote
The vestments are descendant from those that the Jewish priests wore.  I'll have to get my husband on this.  He's the vestment guru.  Any of the guys on here who know him will attest to that.  He'll tell you the history, development, and purpose of each piece.  Suffice it to say that they are descendant from the Jewish vestments (which makes sense to me, considering that the apostles and early Christians would have worshiped in the way that they were comfortable and accustomed to).  They developed further because of their purposes.  Each piece had a reason for being. 

And where did this decision to wear Jewish vestments come from? This sounds really interesting! And why are the modern vestments (that I have seen) now not the same as modern Jewish garb? Who changed?


Quote
When and why did they decide that unaccompanied singing was best? That men should wear beards?
Quote
Again, descendant from the Jewish cantor tradition.  The early Christians retained much of their Jewish roots, worshiping in the familiar way, and we have not changed much of that.  As far as instruments, though I am a musician trained in both Western music (years of classical and Broadway style training, currently studying Opera with a voice professor at the University of Georgia) and Byzantine music, I am thoroughly opposed to instruments in the Church.  Not because I don't like them.  I also play the piano a little.  I love instruments.  But I believe they have their place.  The Church is not the place for performance.  It is the place for worship.  Nor is it the place for instruments alone.  The purpose of the music itself is only to carry the words.  The music is a vehicle for the words, that we may pray to and praise God.  When we remove the words, all we have is pointless noise (it might be pretty, but it is still pointless noise).

Thanks, that is interesting. However, while we too have a tradition of intoned words without accompaniment, I don't understand the specific prohibition - surely the OT has examples of accompanied music?



Quote
Who gets to decide which of these are 'trivial' (and therefore, it seems, allowed), and which are 'crucial' innovations?
Quote
That's why the historical continuity and continuity of the faith are essential.  That's why retaining the hierarchy is essential.  That's why remaining a conciliar Church is essential.  That's why receiving the sacraments is essential.  The CHURCH decides. 

Yes, but I came in to this asking why members of the Orthodox Church claim that the truth of their Church is fact (rather than claiming it to be faith). If you end up justifying the factual truth of your Church by citing the Church within the proof, you've invalidated your own proof.


Quote
Ah, yes, I see. No, I didn't mean that. I always feel sad that homosexual couples are so often unable to have their own children - and I don't mean any political point about adopting, I just mean it's sad that some people don't end up in a situation where they can have their own babies with their partner.
Quote
Not to be critical at all, because I do understand (intimately) the sorrow that comes from desiring a child that one cannot have.  However, it's one thing to be unable to have children because something in your body isn't working right.  It's another thing to not be able to have children because God never intended for you to have them that way.  This, to me, is like saying I'm sorry that I can't fly (sans airplane).  God never intended it.  Why are we sorry that God didn't create us differently?  Isn't that an incredible amount of hubris to essentially say that God was wrong in His creation?  I don't mean that in an accusatory way, just trying to make a point.

Of course. I didn't explain well - I guess I just feel sorry myself because I am quite broody for children one day, and feel sad that this isn't something others can do. I know how silly that is, because my cousin was a nun and I am sure she would have explained it much better. It just seems to me that, sometimes (not always, I know there are people who genuinely would never want children in any circumstance), it's not so much that people want to be different and resent the way they were created, it's that they have to put all the energy and love they would have dedicated to children, to something else. In the case of my cousin, it went towards God (and towards us - she was the most loving person). But, I don't think it's an easy path always.


Quote
I agree that Christ could have done so had He chosen to do.
That's all my point was.  Whether homosexuality was normative or not is really neither here nor there.

Quote
I don't believe He did (see other posts on this thread). But it is (in my humble opinion, shared by a few professors of Classics) not correct to suggest that Christ would have been in accordance with social norms had he blessed homosexual unions.
See above.

Quote
That is fine - as long as we don't end up confusing 'bolstered' with 'proven', as I think is sometimes easy to do.
Quote
LOL!  Smiley  Okay, I think we've come full circle!   laugh
Quote
Can I say how much I have been enjoying this discussion? I hope that isn't rude, and maybe it is very tedious for you, but I have had to think and question and work things out all the way - it's a great Advent question and has me constantly thinking about the nature of faith. So, I do hope it's not too obvious for you - I owe you a great deal for your patient and perceptive comments, even if I may not always agree! Smiley
Quote
I, too, have quite enjoyed this.  I actually was thinking before I read your post that I appreciated your patience with my lengthy responses.  I'm nothing if not long-winded, I guess (am I right, KoD?).  You owe me nothing.  Please pray for me.  Smiley

It's nice to be back on the forum and discussing away...

Thanks so much for your 'lengthy responses' (hmm ... inevitably, my replies are lengthier!).

God bless you!
« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 06:03:24 PM by Liz » Logged
Liz
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« Reply #185 on: December 17, 2009, 06:12:16 PM »

I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!


This is also something I've noticed. General assertions that the Orthodox Church "moved away" or "innovated" are quite common, yet no one has been able to provide any proof or evidence except their own personal opinion that the moving away or innovation happened. Same with many other issues  (don't want to bring up the previous ones again), but advocates can only offer their interpretation or opinion, while there is actual evidence to the contrary.

IOW, don't confuse them with facts!
 Grin




Last time I went to an Orthodox Church, this is what I noticed:

The priest and several others, including some of the congregation, wore clothes clearly made from material long post-dating Pentecost.

The choir leader appeared to have some kind of microphone device.

The icon screen appeared to contain reproductions of other images I had seen elsewhere - however, it looked as if these had been reproduced, not by hand, but by machine.

Several women did not have their hair covered.

Some, indeed, did not cover lower legs, arms, and the top part of the chest.

Some men were clean-shaven.

A female person was permitted to help with the service, collecting the offerings.

The priest tolerated - nay, welcomed - the presence of a woman living with a man to whom she was not married.

Several children misbehaved - yet none was struck with a rod!

The wine seemed to me most unlikely to come from a strain of grapes native to Jerusalem.

The bread was clearly made with dried yeast, a modern invention.




-- Please, tell me whether or not some small proportion of these things are innovations on what is recorded of Christ's ministry and of the Church at Pentecost? In fact, please explain to me how some of these things are not innovations on the Church as described by the fathers, and even by later writers up until the last couple of centuries?
« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 06:15:38 PM by Liz » Logged
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« Reply #186 on: December 17, 2009, 07:05:04 PM »

I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!


This is also something I've noticed. General assertions that the Orthodox Church "moved away" or "innovated" are quite common, yet no one has been able to provide any proof or evidence except their own personal opinion that the moving away or innovation happened. Same with many other issues  (don't want to bring up the previous ones again), but advocates can only offer their interpretation or opinion, while there is actual evidence to the contrary.

IOW, don't confuse them with facts!
 Grin




Last time I went to an Orthodox Church, this is what I noticed:

The priest and several others, including some of the congregation, wore clothes clearly made from material long post-dating Pentecost.

The choir leader appeared to have some kind of microphone device.

The icon screen appeared to contain reproductions of other images I had seen elsewhere - however, it looked as if these had been reproduced, not by hand, but by machine.

Several women did not have their hair covered.

Some, indeed, did not cover lower legs, arms, and the top part of the chest.

Some men were clean-shaven.

A female person was permitted to help with the service, collecting the offerings.

The priest tolerated - nay, welcomed - the presence of a woman living with a man to whom she was not married.

Several children misbehaved - yet none was struck with a rod!

The wine seemed to me most unlikely to come from a strain of grapes native to Jerusalem.

The bread was clearly made with dried yeast, a modern invention.




-- Please, tell me whether or not some small proportion of these things are innovations on what is recorded of Christ's ministry and of the Church at Pentecost? In fact, please explain to me how some of these things are not innovations on the Church as described by the fathers, and even by later writers up until the last couple of centuries?
Liz, I know I've only been lurking in this thread, mainly in part to GreekChef's wonderful and much more eloquent posts (than my own), but I wonder now what your motives are? Are you seeking the letter of the law? Is this what must be fulfilled in order for you to be satisfied with a "true-Orthodox" church? I do see your point, but wonder from whence it comes.
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« Reply #187 on: December 17, 2009, 07:24:40 PM »

Liz, I know I've only been lurking in this thread, mainly in part to GreekChef's wonderful and much more eloquent posts (than my own), but I wonder now what your motives are? Are you seeking the letter of the law? Is this what must be fulfilled in order for you to be satisfied with a "true-Orthodox" church? I do see your point, but wonder from whence it comes.
[/quote]

Where I came in to this, Katherine of Dixie and others were making a good point about the arrogance of certain Baptist/ Evangelical groups they'd come across. These Baptists, apparently, claimed that anyone not a baptized into 'new life' with them was excluded from salvation. This is an arrogant point of view. However, the contrasting claim that the Orthodox Church can be proven to be the identical Church of Pentecost, seems to me equally arrogant. I think we all have blind spots, areas where we're absolutely sure that our own case is so good it requires no real defense. I just thought that, in the context of this thread (finding another religious viewpoint entirely confusing), it's important not to confuse that which is persuasive, and that which is proof (or that which is historically documented, and that which is the Truth).
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« Reply #188 on: December 17, 2009, 07:28:21 PM »

I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!


This is also something I've noticed. General assertions that the Orthodox Church "moved away" or "innovated" are quite common, yet no one has been able to provide any proof or evidence except their own personal opinion that the moving away or innovation happened. Same with many other issues  (don't want to bring up the previous ones again), but advocates can only offer their interpretation or opinion, while there is actual evidence to the contrary.

IOW, don't confuse them with facts!
 Grin




Last time I went to an Orthodox Church, this is what I noticed:

The priest and several others, including some of the congregation, wore clothes clearly made from material long post-dating Pentecost.

The choir leader appeared to have some kind of microphone device.

The icon screen appeared to contain reproductions of other images I had seen elsewhere - however, it looked as if these had been reproduced, not by hand, but by machine.

Several women did not have their hair covered.

Some, indeed, did not cover lower legs, arms, and the top part of the chest.

Some men were clean-shaven.

A female person was permitted to help with the service, collecting the offerings.

The priest tolerated - nay, welcomed - the presence of a woman living with a man to whom she was not married.

Several children misbehaved - yet none was struck with a rod!

The wine seemed to me most unlikely to come from a strain of grapes native to Jerusalem.

The bread was clearly made with dried yeast, a modern invention.




-- Please, tell me whether or not some small proportion of these things are innovations on what is recorded of Christ's ministry and of the Church at Pentecost? In fact, please explain to me how some of these things are not innovations on the Church as described by the fathers, and even by later writers up until the last couple of centuries?
Liz, I know I've only been lurking in this thread, mainly in part to GreekChef's wonderful and much more eloquent posts (than my own), but I wonder now what your motives are? Are you seeking the letter of the law? Is this what must be fulfilled in order for you to be satisfied with a "true-Orthodox" church? I do see your point, but wonder from whence it comes.

Yeah, I have to admit that I'm confused.  I would not say that any of these are innovations because none is essential to Orthodoxy.  They may be a few changes based on the customs of the culture in which we live, but that's another matter altogether.  We are not of this world as Christians, but we are IN this world, so some allowance for cultural norms is expected.  For instance, I know of Orthodox Churches in Kenya where women go to church shirtless.  In our culture that would be terribly scandalous, immodest to say the least.  There, though, it is considered perfectly acceptable and not the least bit immodest.  That does not change the core of what we believe, and thereby does not endanger our salvation.  But something with as many implications for our salvation as our sexuality and the essence of our unity as man and wife in marriage is much more serious.  Do you see the difference?  
  
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« Reply #189 on: December 17, 2009, 07:38:04 PM »

I guess my issue with the question of "did the faith stay the same or move away" is that we can show the continuity of the faith through the writings of the saints.  But for one to say that the Orthodox Church "moved away" from the truth is difficult for me to swallow, not just because I'm Orthodox, but because those who make that assertion have NEVER ONCE been able to offer any kind of proof of that from a source of the same time period as the sources we provide.  While we can literally point to the writings that were handed down from the apostles and onward, with no breaks in between, no break in communion, etc., the best any Protestant has ever given me for disputing the writings of the saints was their opinion!


This is also something I've noticed. General assertions that the Orthodox Church "moved away" or "innovated" are quite common, yet no one has been able to provide any proof or evidence except their own personal opinion that the moving away or innovation happened. Same with many other issues  (don't want to bring up the previous ones again), but advocates can only offer their interpretation or opinion, while there is actual evidence to the contrary.

IOW, don't confuse them with facts!
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Last time I went to an Orthodox Church, this is what I noticed:

The priest and several others, including some of the congregation, wore clothes clearly made from material long post-dating Pentecost.

The choir leader appeared to have some kind of microphone device.

The icon screen appeared to contain reproductions of other images I had seen elsewhere - however, it looked as if these had been reproduced, not by hand, but by machine.

Several women did not have their hair covered.

Some, indeed, did not cover lower legs, arms, and the top part of the chest.

Some men were clean-shaven.

A female person was permitted to help with the service, collecting the offerings.

The priest tolerated - nay, welcomed - the presence of a woman living with a man to whom she was not married.

Several children misbehaved - yet none was struck with a rod!

The wine seemed to me most unlikely to come from a strain of grapes native to Jerusalem.

The bread was clearly made with dried yeast, a modern invention.




-- Please, tell me whether or not some small proportion of these things are innovations on what is recorded of Christ's ministry and of the Church at Pentecost? In fact, please explain to me how some of these things are not innovations on the Church as described by the fathers, and even by later writers up until the last couple of centuries?
Liz, I know I've only been lurking in this thread, mainly in part to GreekChef's wonderful and much more eloquent posts (than my own), but I wonder now what your motives are? Are you seeking the letter of the law? Is this what must be fulfilled in order for you to be satisfied with a "true-Orthodox" church? I do see your point, but wonder from whence it comes.

Yeah, I have to admit that I'm confused.  I would not say that any of these are innovations because none is essential to Orthodoxy.  They may be a few changes based on the customs of the culture in which we live, but that's another matter altogether.  We are not of this world as Christians, but we are IN this world, so some allowance for cultural norms is expected.  For instance, I know of Orthodox Churches in Kenya where women go to church shirtless.  In our culture that would be terribly scandalous, immodest to say the least.  There, though, it is considered perfectly acceptable and not the least bit immodest.  That does not change the core of what we believe, and thereby does not endanger our salvation.  But something with as many implications for our salvation as our sexuality and the essence of our unity as man and wife in marriage is much more serious.  Do you see the difference? 
 

'Innovation' is not the opposite of 'essential', though. These things are innovations, are they not? Whether or not they are essential to Orthodoxy has no bearing on this first question.

However, once we grant that these are innovations (ie., new developments), we must ask why they are allowed, and how we judge whether or not they are essential to Orthodoxy. That is the point.
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« Reply #190 on: December 17, 2009, 08:00:43 PM »

Quote
However, once we grant that these are innovations (ie., new developments), we must ask why they are allowed, and how we judge whether or not they are essential to Orthodoxy. That is the point.

You've got that backwards.  Such "innovations" are allowed because they have already been understood to have no bearing on Orthodox essentials, and to be in the spirit of Orthodox practice.

Marriage, however is a sacrament, and sex in and of itself is an expression of the image of God in man.  Not to put too blunt a point, or appear shocking(though I've read some of the Desert Fathers that can get even more graphic), but God "fills" the human, not the other way around.  In this relation we have God as the male and humanity as the female, and the marriage relationship is first and foremost a sign of this.  And as God "fills" man and the godly man "fills" his wife, so also our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us and the godly man should be living a life of sacrifice to his wife.  It is this "filling" and fulfillment that bring New Life into the world, and it is the sacrifice which sustains that life and helps it to grow.

Homosexuality, along with homosexual marriage, denies this image and mars it.  Is it any wonder that in this day and age men imagine that they can "fill" their God with things they want?
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« Reply #191 on: December 17, 2009, 08:08:28 PM »

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However, once we grant that these are innovations (ie., new developments), we must ask why they are allowed, and how we judge whether or not they are essential to Orthodoxy. That is the point.

You've got that backwards.  Such "innovations" are allowed because they have already been understood to have no bearing on Orthodox essentials, and to be in the spirit of Orthodox practice.

Exactly.   Cool
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« Reply #192 on: December 17, 2009, 10:42:31 PM »

Marriage, however is a sacrament, and sex in and of itself is an expression of the image of God in man.  Not to put too blunt a point, or appear shocking(though I've read some of the Desert Fathers that can get even more graphic), but God "fills" the human, not the other way around.  In this relation we have God as the male and humanity as the female, and the marriage relationship is first and foremost a sign of this.  And as God "fills" man and the godly man "fills" his wife, so also our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us and the godly man should be living a life of sacrifice to his wife.  It is this "filling" and fulfillment that bring New Life into the world, and it is the sacrifice which sustains that life and helps it to grow.

SEE? Natural Law.

Until recently, theories of a man being born with homosexual tendencies as a Genetic trait, didn't exist. Now one could argue that this is due to modern science. But is this the only reason? And if it is true, and I'm not denying it, the Orthodox Church's teachings on Sin as a disease which corrupts - universally - gives cause to believe that Homosexuality is simply "Sin" (which as we know, means missing the mark - which can be interpreted as a digression from the natural state in which we were created).
Now, in comparison, if these innovations in the church are sinful, one would review the Natural State of the Ancient Church through it's Canons, Fathers and Liturgical Services and be able to determine whether or not things had digressed. If there is no mention, and an innovation has become popular through societal and cultural normatives, symbology or common understanding, and it holds in good standing that that which is being innovated is thought through, not against scripture, canons holy fathers, etc...is meant for Holiness, God's glory and edification for the Human Soul, then it stands to reason that not only is it normal for these changes to take place but a continuity of the young church toward maturity.   
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« Reply #193 on: December 18, 2009, 02:11:48 AM »

Marriage, however is a sacrament, and sex in and of itself is an expression of the image of God in man.  Not to put too blunt a point, or appear shocking(though I've read some of the Desert Fathers that can get even more graphic), but God "fills" the human, not the other way around.  In this relation we have God as the male and humanity as the female, and the marriage relationship is first and foremost a sign of this.  And as God "fills" man and the godly man "fills" his wife, so also our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us and the godly man should be living a life of sacrifice to his wife.  It is this "filling" and fulfillment that bring New Life into the world, and it is the sacrifice which sustains that life and helps it to grow.

SEE? Natural Law.

Until recently, theories of a man being born with homosexual tendencies as a Genetic trait, didn't exist. Now one could argue that this is due to modern science. But is this the only reason? And if it is true, and I'm not denying it, the Orthodox Church's teachings on Sin as a disease which corrupts - universally - gives cause to believe that Homosexuality is simply "Sin" (which as we know, means missing the mark - which can be interpreted as a digression from the natural state in which we were created).
Now, in comparison, if these innovations in the church are sinful, one would review the Natural State of the Ancient Church through it's Canons, Fathers and Liturgical Services and be able to determine whether or not things had digressed. If there is no mention, and an innovation has become popular through societal and cultural normatives, symbology or common understanding, and it holds in good standing that that which is being innovated is thought through, not against scripture, canons holy fathers, etc...is meant for Holiness, God's glory and edification for the Human Soul, then it stands to reason that not only is it normal for these changes to take place but a continuity of the young church toward maturity.   

Indeed, all modern genetic research has done for me is convince me that there is a very literal meaning to "flesh nature".  The Church's teaching has always been that man inherits his tendency to sin.
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« Reply #194 on: December 18, 2009, 04:35:04 AM »

Quote
However, once we grant that these are innovations (ie., new developments), we must ask why they are allowed, and how we judge whether or not they are essential to Orthodoxy. That is the point.

You've got that backwards.  Such "innovations" are allowed because they have already been understood to have no bearing on Orthodox essentials, and to be in the spirit of Orthodox practice.

Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.

Quote
Marriage, however is a sacrament, and sex in and of itself is an expression of the image of God in man.  Not to put too blunt a point, or appear shocking(though I've read some of the Desert Fathers that can get even more graphic), but God "fills" the human, not the other way around.  In this relation we have God as the male and humanity as the female, and the marriage relationship is first and foremost a sign of this.  And as God "fills" man and the godly man "fills" his wife, so also our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for us and the godly man should be living a life of sacrifice to his wife.  It is this "filling" and fulfillment that bring New Life into the world, and it is the sacrifice which sustains that life and helps it to grow.

Homosexuality, along with homosexual marriage, denies this image and mars it.  Is it any wonder that in this day and age men imagine that they can "fill" their God with things they want?

I am a bit confused by the pseudo-sexual imagery, which (it seems to me) would apply perfectly well to homosexual male relations too. But I'm not terribly comfortable with this imagery anyway, so perhaps that is something I must think harder about.
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« Reply #195 on: December 18, 2009, 11:53:13 AM »


Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.
 
Liz- It seems to me a matter of theoria, poeisis and praxis. The Christian Church can easily develope within the Orthodox Framework of Dogma and and Theology to new levels of maturity through the practical application of scripture and tradition combined with culture and history, much like a small child developes into a young adult through experience and lessons. Holy scripture negates a change in praxis if theoria contradicts poesis.

So in simple terms, If the traditions of the early church fathers (according to the passed down interpretation from Christ to the Apostles), or Holy Scripture contradict an innovation within the culture of the Church, it's a no go. If it does not contradict, it may be an innovation which is accepted (sometimes needing to be revised later) as a cultural normative of spiritual growth or some form of regional expression of worship (ie. the subject of vestments).

Homosexuality and Non-Marriage Union would contradict scripture based on the interpretation of scripture which was handed down through succession ( and example of the former).

The use of drums and other instruments in Liturgical Worship, would be another example of the latter.

(I agree that there is a certain amount of "bolstered" faith to all this.)
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« Reply #196 on: December 18, 2009, 11:55:26 AM »


Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.

One reason it's different is because Scripturally and historically there is no support for women priests, also the Orthodox Church has a different understanding of the nature and function of the priesthood (which, trust me, is a whole 'nother thread!).
And why doesn't citing Holy Tradition make a lot of sense? Please explain, if you want to. Could you perhaps explain what you think Holy Tradition is? I have a sneaking suspicion that may be part of the problem.
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« Reply #197 on: December 18, 2009, 01:23:12 PM »


Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.

One reason it's different is because Scripturally and historically there is no support for women priests, also the Orthodox Church has a different understanding of the nature and function of the priesthood (which, trust me, is a whole 'nother thread!).
And why doesn't citing Holy Tradition make a lot of sense? Please explain, if you want to. Could you perhaps explain what you think Holy Tradition is? I have a sneaking suspicion that may be part of the problem.

I expect you're right. My understand of Holy Tradition is that it is a kind of repository of sound interpretation and doctrine, and the process whereby the holiest and wisest Fathers have been able to determine what the Church's stance should be.

So, as I understand it, Holy Tradition is built on the premise that the Orthodox Church is the One True Church, in which correct interpretation prevails. Holy Tradition is dependent upon the existence of the Church. I expect, given your response, that I'm wrong somewhere here. The reason, obviously, that I was saying citing Holy Tradition didn't help was that in my understanding, it is a product of the Church, and I'm trying to work out why the Truth of the Church is sometimes considered to be proven by the historical data regarding Her continuity.
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« Reply #198 on: December 18, 2009, 01:27:06 PM »

My understand of Holy Tradition is that it is a kind of repository of sound interpretation and doctrine, and the process whereby the holiest and wisest Fathers have been able to determine what the Church's stance should be.

So, as I understand it, Holy Tradition is built on the premise that the Orthodox Church is the One True Church, in which correct interpretation prevails. Holy Tradition is dependent upon the existence of the Church. I expect, given your response, that I'm wrong somewhere here. The reason, obviously, that I was saying citing Holy Tradition didn't help was that in my understanding, it is a product of the Church, and I'm trying to work out why the Truth of the Church is sometimes considered to be proven by the historical data regarding Her continuity.

"Holy Tradition is the deposit of faith given by Jesus Christ to the Apostles and passed on in the Church from one generation to the next without addition, alteration or subtraction. Vladimir Lossky has famously described the Tradition as "the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church." It is dynamic in application, yet unchanging in dogma. It is growing in expression, yet ever the same in essence.

Unlike many conceptions of tradition in popular understanding, the Orthodox Church does not regard Holy Tradition as something which grows and expands over time, forming a collection of practices and doctrines which accrue, gradually becoming something more developed and eventually unrecognizable to the first Christians. Rather, Holy Tradition is that same faith which Christ taught to the Apostles and which they gave to their disciples, preserved in the whole Church and especially in its leadership through Apostolic Succession." Orthodoxwiki

Does this help?

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« Reply #199 on: December 18, 2009, 01:39:37 PM »

My understand of Holy Tradition is that it is a kind of repository of sound interpretation and doctrine, and the process whereby the holiest and wisest Fathers have been able to determine what the Church's stance should be.

So, as I understand it, Holy Tradition is built on the premise that the Orthodox Church is the One True Church, in which correct interpretation prevails. Holy Tradition is dependent upon the existence of the Church. I expect, given your response, that I'm wrong somewhere here. The reason, obviously, that I was saying citing Holy Tradition didn't help was that in my understanding, it is a product of the Church, and I'm trying to work out why the Truth of the Church is sometimes considered to be proven by the historical data regarding Her continuity.

"Holy Tradition is the deposit of faith given by Jesus Christ to the Apostles and passed on in the Church from one generation to the next without addition, alteration or subtraction. Vladimir Lossky has famously described the Tradition as "the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church." It is dynamic in application, yet unchanging in dogma. It is growing in expression, yet ever the same in essence.

Unlike many conceptions of tradition in popular understanding, the Orthodox Church does not regard Holy Tradition as something which grows and expands over time, forming a collection of practices and doctrines which accrue, gradually becoming something more developed and eventually unrecognizable to the first Christians. Rather, Holy Tradition is that same faith which Christ taught to the Apostles and which they gave to their disciples, preserved in the whole Church and especially in its leadership through Apostolic Succession." Orthodoxwiki

Does this help?



That quotation is such a great way of phrasing it! I like that.

I should have said above, these definitions are very useful in trying to empathize with the Orthodox mindset, and to an extent, I think they ought to help Evangelicals as much as anyone. But nevertheless, that definition of Holy Tradition still rests upon the premise that the Orthodox Church is the True Church of Christ founded at Pentecost and continuing unchanged until the present day. Or would you say it's the other way around, that Holy Tradition is the reason why we know that the Church is the True Church? Either way, this remains a circular argument, not a proof. I should clarify that, personally, I find a good persuasive argument that still requires some faith far better than the 'historical fact = proof' equation some would like to use to justify the Orthodox Church. So, I'm not at all trying to belittle what you're saying by saying it reduces to a circular argument, I just think that it's important that we distinguish between this argument, and a proof.
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« Reply #200 on: December 18, 2009, 01:40:44 PM »


Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.

One reason it's different is because Scripturally and historically there is no support for women priests, also the Orthodox Church has a different understanding of the nature and function of the priesthood (which, trust me, is a whole 'nother thread!).
And why doesn't citing Holy Tradition make a lot of sense? Please explain, if you want to. Could you perhaps explain what you think Holy Tradition is? I have a sneaking suspicion that may be part of the problem.

I expect you're right. My understand of Holy Tradition is that it is a kind of repository of sound interpretation and doctrine, and the process whereby the holiest and wisest Fathers have been able to determine what the Church's stance should be.

So, as I understand it, Holy Tradition is built on the premise that the Orthodox Church is the One True Church, in which correct interpretation prevails. Holy Tradition is dependent upon the existence of the Church. I expect, given your response, that I'm wrong somewhere here. The reason, obviously, that I was saying citing Holy Tradition didn't help was that in my understanding, it is a product of the Church, and I'm trying to work out why the Truth of the Church is sometimes considered to be proven by the historical data regarding Her continuity.
Great Questions KOD!
And Liz - Your patience and pragmatism are refreshing  Smiley!
On another thread, I just posted a scripture which directly corresponds to this thread - luke 24:27
and to boot I'll give you this one - Titus 1:9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Source Orthowiki - http://orthodoxwiki.org/Holy_Tradition
"Unlike many conceptions of tradition in popular understanding, the Orthodox Church does not regard Holy Tradition as something which grows and expands over time, forming a collection of practices and doctrines which accrue, gradually becoming something more developed and eventually unrecognizable to the first Christians. Rather, Holy Tradition is that same faith which Christ taught to the Apostles and which they gave to their disciples, preserved in the whole Church and especially in its leadership through Apostolic Succession."

So you see, there are traditions which are little "t". And there is Holy Tradition, big "T".

(Hah! KOD beat me to it!)Wink
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« Reply #201 on: December 18, 2009, 01:43:03 PM »


Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.
 
Liz- It seems to me a matter of theoria, poeisis and praxis. The Christian Church can easily develope within the Orthodox Framework of Dogma and and Theology to new levels of maturity through the practical application of scripture and tradition combined with culture and history, much like a small child developes into a young adult through experience and lessons. Holy scripture negates a change in praxis if theoria contradicts poesis.

So in simple terms, If the traditions of the early church fathers (according to the passed down interpretation from Christ to the Apostles), or Holy Scripture contradict an innovation within the culture of the Church, it's a no go. If it does not contradict, it may be an innovation which is accepted (sometimes needing to be revised later) as a cultural normative of spiritual growth or some form of regional expression of worship (ie. the subject of vestments).

Homosexuality and Non-Marriage Union would contradict scripture based on the interpretation of scripture which was handed down through succession ( and example of the former).

The use of drums and other instruments in Liturgical Worship, would be another example of the latter.

(I agree that there is a certain amount of "bolstered" faith to all this.)

Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
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« Reply #202 on: December 18, 2009, 01:44:48 PM »


Ok, but how does that affect the question? At some point - whether before or after - a decision is made saying, 'these things have no bearing on Orthodox essentials'. That's fine, but how is this decision qualitatively different from the decision my Church makes when She says, 'we don't think that gender has a bearing on a person's vocation and capacity to be a priest'? Bear in mind that I'm still trying to understand why some Orthodox are so keen to say that their Church never changes, so citing Holy Tradition doesn't really make a lot of sense here.

One reason it's different is because Scripturally and historically there is no support for women priests, also the Orthodox Church has a different understanding of the nature and function of the priesthood (which, trust me, is a whole 'nother thread!).
And why doesn't citing Holy Tradition make a lot of sense? Please explain, if you want to. Could you perhaps explain what you think Holy Tradition is? I have a sneaking suspicion that may be part of the problem.

I expect you're right. My understand of Holy Tradition is that it is a kind of repository of sound interpretation and doctrine, and the process whereby the holiest and wisest Fathers have been able to determine what the Church's stance should be.

So, as I understand it, Holy Tradition is built on the premise that the Orthodox Church is the One True Church, in which correct interpretation prevails. Holy Tradition is dependent upon the existence of the Church. I expect, given your response, that I'm wrong somewhere here. The reason, obviously, that I was saying citing Holy Tradition didn't help was that in my understanding, it is a product of the Church, and I'm trying to work out why the Truth of the Church is sometimes considered to be proven by the historical data regarding Her continuity.
Great Questions KOD!
And Liz - Your patience and pragmatism are refreshing  Smiley!
On another thread, I just posted a scripture which directly corresponds to this thread - luke 24:27
and to boot I'll give you this one - Titus 1:9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Source Orthowiki - http://orthodoxwiki.org/Holy_Tradition
"Unlike many conceptions of tradition in popular understanding, the Orthodox Church does not regard Holy Tradition as something which grows and expands over time, forming a collection of practices and doctrines which accrue, gradually becoming something more developed and eventually unrecognizable to the first Christians. Rather, Holy Tradition is that same faith which Christ taught to the Apostles and which they gave to their disciples, preserved in the whole Church and especially in its leadership through Apostolic Succession."

So you see, there are traditions which are little "t". And there is Holy Tradition, big "T".

(Hah! KOD beat me to it!)Wink

Ah, Katherine is quick with the typing always! Btw - hope I don't jinx it, but can I take a moment to observe that we've managed to have a thread where homosexuality was mentioned and DID NOT BECOME THE MAIN SUBJECT! How cool is that?
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« Reply #203 on: December 18, 2009, 01:46:37 PM »

I'm sure it is because of the current predominantly female audience. You know how us guys are! Cheesy
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« Reply #204 on: December 18, 2009, 01:50:27 PM »

Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
Because it works only if the Chain of Succession is not broken.
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« Reply #205 on: December 18, 2009, 01:55:57 PM »

I'm sure it is because of the current predominantly female audience. You know how us guys are! Cheesy

Ya, no kidding, it's starting to look like a sewing circle in here!  Cheesy Wink Grin
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« Reply #206 on: December 18, 2009, 01:57:51 PM »

Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
Because it works only if the Chain of Succession is not broken.

This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.
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« Reply #207 on: December 18, 2009, 02:02:07 PM »

Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
Because it works only if the Chain of Succession is not broken.

This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.
Well how can one "prove the presence of Spirit???" That's asking to prove there is a God!
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« Reply #208 on: December 18, 2009, 02:11:59 PM »

how can one "prove the presence of Spirit?

We got on to this ages ago, discussing why I remain an Evangelical, and me saying because it's where I see the presence and working of God over the centuries. (I was probably told it's only my own opinion about what the work of God is! Suipapalism again!)
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« Reply #209 on: December 18, 2009, 02:22:24 PM »

how can one "prove the presence of Spirit?

We got on to this ages ago, discussing why I remain an Evangelical, and me saying because it's where I see the presence and working of God over the centuries. (I was probably told it's only my own opinion about what the work of God is! Suipapalism again!)

Please forgive me if I have offended you ever, in any way, Mr. Young.
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« Reply #210 on: December 18, 2009, 02:32:40 PM »

Liz - Let me clarify. My responses seem even cyclical to me. But When I first converted to Orthodoxy, I was skeptical and distrusting of many things. I am in no way a spokesperson for Orthodox Christianity, but a struggling convert in the faith who usually falls short intellectually of grasping the depth that is needed to explain, wholly, the  FAITH.
What is grounded in faith now, for me, used to not be so. Therefore I only try to explain with concepts that are beginning to become a natural understanding with Faith as the foundation. Once upon a time, it was a linear, pragmatic analyzation which brought me to the conclusion that Apostolic Succession, was meet and right. However, for the life of me, it has been long enough that I can not remember exactly what brought me to the conclusion. Someone better equipped than I may be able to expound further on the subject.
So for now, I go back to lurking...
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« Reply #211 on: December 18, 2009, 02:35:50 PM »

Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
Because it works only if the Chain of Succession is not broken.

This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.
Well how can one "prove the presence of Spirit???" That's asking to prove there is a God!

That is what I was getting at! This is why I find it somewhat difficult when people say that the Truth of the Orthodox Church is a matter of 'fact' - it is disrespectful to the Spirit, and strangely out of character, since I tend to find Orthodoxy particularly sensitive to holy mystery.
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« Reply #212 on: December 18, 2009, 02:37:30 PM »

Liz - Let me clarify. My responses seem even cyclical to me. But When I first converted to Orthodoxy, I was skeptical and distrusting of many things. I am in no way a spokesperson for Orthodox Christianity, but a struggling convert in the faith who usually falls short intellectually of grasping the depth that is needed to explain, wholly, the  FAITH.
What is grounded in faith now, for me, used to not be so. Therefore I only try to explain with concepts that are beginning to become a natural understanding with Faith as the foundation. Once upon a time, it was a linear, pragmatic analyzation which brought me to the conclusion that Apostolic Succession, was meet and right. However, for the life of me, it has been long enough that I can not remember exactly what brought me to the conclusion. Someone better equipped than I may be able to expound further on the subject.
So for now, I go back to lurking...

Please don't feel you need to justify your explanations, they're really good! I think the processes we go through trying to understand our own faith from the inside tend to result in understand that has a real emotional depth, which straight logic just can't be compared with.
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« Reply #213 on: December 18, 2009, 02:40:21 PM »

Please forgive me if I have offended you ever, in any way, Mr. Young.

Not in the least. Have no fear.
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« Reply #214 on: December 18, 2009, 02:50:13 PM »

This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.

But the confidence in Holy Tradition is based on the presupposition that the efficacy and strength of Christ and the Holy Spirit were strong enough to keep the Church wholly (holy? Wink) preserved without losing His guidance and protection.  You know, the old "the gates of hell not prevailing against it" and whatnot.  This is based on the presupposition that we can trust the words of Christ in the gospel that was canonized by the Orthodox Catholic Church, which gives her (the Church) authority, which is also circular.  We trust the Scriptures that we assign power to.

But ultimately the Orthodox do not see themselves as bestowing power on the Holy Scriptures, but rather that they were delivered from God, and the Church was acknowledging what was already delivered.
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« Reply #215 on: December 18, 2009, 03:00:11 PM »

This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.

But the confidence in Holy Tradition is based on the presupposition that the efficacy and strength of Christ and the Holy Spirit were strong enough to keep the Church wholly (holy? Wink) preserved without losing His guidance and protection.

I don't think any Christian would deny the strength of God.

Quote
You know, the old "the gates of hell not prevailing against it" and whatnot.  This is based on the presupposition that we can trust the words of Christ in the gospel that was canonized by the Orthodox Catholic Church, which gives her (the Church) authority, which is also circular.

Aah, but here we have the problem. The words of Christ refer to a Church not yet born, a Church which you believe to be identical with the current Orthodox Church. That is the ground of the problem - how to prove the Spirit remained with what is now the Orthodox Church. Most certainly, a Church was given authority. But again, we have to face the fact that you can't prove the presence of the Spirit.

Quote
We trust the Scriptures that we assign power to.

But ultimately the Orthodox do not see themselves as bestowing power on the Holy Scriptures, but rather that they were delivered from God, and the Church was acknowledging what was already delivered.
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« Reply #216 on: December 18, 2009, 03:25:29 PM »

Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
Because it works only if the Chain of Succession is not broken.

This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.
Well how can one "prove the presence of Spirit???" That's asking to prove there is a God!

By the fruit.
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« Reply #217 on: December 18, 2009, 04:55:43 PM »

the Orthodox ... see ... the Holy Scriptures, ... that they were delivered from God, and the Church was acknowledging what was already delivered.

Which is precisely what we believe, as I have posted probably several times on these stimulating threads.
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« Reply #218 on: December 18, 2009, 05:03:03 PM »

Thanks, that's a really clear explanation of how in practice the Church operates and judges. I guess I meant, why is this modus operandi qualitatively different from/better than anyone else's judgment-making procedures? It sounds exactly the same as what is done in the Anglican Church, according to my vicar.

(Bolstered faith is great! I hate it when people come up with arguments that do away with faith and are happy to rely on something far less profound.)
Because it works only if the Chain of Succession is not broken.

This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.
Well how can one "prove the presence of Spirit???" That's asking to prove there is a God!

By the fruit.

That is probably the best demonstration. And a much more human one than documentation! I think that, with a few Evangelicals I have met, this is a real difficulty. Some - I stress not all, or even many, but sadly, the most vocal ones did fall into this camp - were very clear that they were saved despite their sins, and therefore I have heard people who have a strange near-pride in what they have done. I've heard the argument, 'I am saved; you should becomes saved in our church' from people who are actively unpleasant to others. I guess some people (of whatever religion) want to be legalistic ... maybe that's all it is.

I don't know if I'm being silly, but it matters to me that we get away from the idea that the Orthodox Church is proven right, and get closer to the idea that there is strong faith among the Orthodox. I know which I am more drawn to.
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« Reply #219 on: December 18, 2009, 05:07:40 PM »

the Orthodox ... see ... the Holy Scriptures, ... that they were delivered from God, and the Church was acknowledging what was already delivered.

Which is precisely what we believe, as I have posted probably several times on these stimulating threads.

Sorry - I hope I haven't annoyed you on this thread. That was not my intention, and I always read your posts with interest; they often lead to a prolonged period of careful thinking!

May I ask, given what you say above, what is it that distinguishes your beliefs from the Orthodox Church? Feel free to PM if this isn't relevant to the (already, by me, rather confused!) thread.
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« Reply #220 on: December 18, 2009, 05:51:51 PM »

This is why citing Holy Tradition is a circular argument. I will now say,

'And how do you know the Chain of Succession wasn't broken; I think you've drifted a fair way in spirit'

And you will say something like:
'No, we haven't, we have unbroken continuity through Apostolic Succession, we can prove it, there are records'

And I will reply:

'Yes, but the historical data don't prove the presence of the Spirit'

And we're back to square one.


Greekchef said something along the lines of (too lazy to go back and look!) that we can show from historical records that the Orthodox Church, the people, have believed the same things throughout the ages. That is why using Holy Tradition is not necessarily a circular argument. Holy Tradition is what the Church has believed, preached and taught, at all times and in all places, to paraphrase St. Vincent of Lerins.

If that, and the ability to remain faithful in the face of death and some of the worst persecution Christians have ever faced, doesn't at least suggest the presence of the Holy Spirit, then y'all are awfully hard to please!
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« Reply #221 on: December 18, 2009, 06:10:23 PM »

Sorry - I hope I haven't annoyed you on this thread.

May I ask, given what you say above, what is it that distinguishes your beliefs from the Orthodox Church?

Not annoyed in the least, and very glad you have joined the forum.

I suppose, putting it very briefly, that five things distinguish Evangelicals from other Christians:

1. an emphasis on the Cross for forgiveness of the guilt of sin (whereas Orthodox tend to emphasise the Resurrection for victory over death and Satan)
2. the scriptures as sufficient, final authority for belief and practice (whereas Orthodox see them as part of Holy Tradition)
3. emphasis on justification and the new birth as coming instantaneously through faith alone (whereas Orthodox stress more the final perfection in glory)
4. a high priority to evangelising the world
5. the doctrine and experience of assurance of salvation (several Orthodox have written on the threads about the absence of this from their beliefs and the spirituality they aim to develop)
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« Reply #222 on: December 18, 2009, 06:18:45 PM »

If ... the ability to remain faithful in the face of death and some of the worst persecution Christians have ever faced, doesn't at least suggest the presence of the Holy Spirit, then y'all are awfully hard to please!

I am strongly impressed, reading (if I recall the spelling and title correctly) Jim Forrest's book "The Resurrection of the [Orthodox] Church in Albania", with the way God has done for you exactly the same sort of things as he has also done among us at times of persecution. It is one of those things that persuades me that he is indeed working among you, and acknowledges and loves you as a genuine part of his church. But seeing God living and acting among you does not mean that I feel constrained to leave the Baptist fold and transfer to you, for I believe I see him among us too, and that he also acknowledges and loves us, unworhty as we are, as belonging to the Saviour.
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« Reply #223 on: December 18, 2009, 07:07:57 PM »

Greekchef said something along the lines of (too lazy to go back and look!) that we can show from historical records that the Orthodox Church, the people, have believed the same things throughout the ages. That is why using Holy Tradition is not necessarily a circular argument. Holy Tradition is what the Church has believed, preached and taught, at all times and in all places, to paraphrase St. Vincent of Lerins.

If that, and the ability to remain faithful in the face of death and some of the worst persecution Christians have ever faced, doesn't at least suggest the presence of the Holy Spirit, then y'all are awfully hard to please!
I don't think this is a good arguement. Fundamental Religions of all sorts have records of this type of faith. police
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« Reply #224 on: December 18, 2009, 07:13:28 PM »

If ... the ability to remain faithful in the face of death and some of the worst persecution Christians have ever faced, doesn't at least suggest the presence of the Holy Spirit, then y'all are awfully hard to please!

I am strongly impressed, reading (if I recall the spelling and title correctly) Jim Forrest's book "The Resurrection of the [Orthodox] Church in Albania", with the way God has done for you exactly the same sort of things as he has also done among us at times of persecution. It is one of those things that persuades me that he is indeed working among you, and acknowledges and loves you as a genuine part of his church. But seeing God living and acting among you does not mean that I feel constrained to leave the Baptist fold and transfer to you, for I believe I see him among us too, and that he also acknowledges and loves us, unworhty as we are, as belonging to the Saviour.
For me, it is much more than "seeing the Lord work in the Church" which helps me draw the conclusion that Orthodoxy is the fullness of the Christian Faith. I have seen enough of the writings of the Early Church to tell me, after finding Orthodoxy, that I gain the Spirit Filled Sacraments for my salvation. This is imporant because I saw God working in my life before I ever found Orthodoxy. Finding the Church was both a culmination of events and the beginning of a new journey.
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