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Author Topic: Gospel Contradictions  (Read 3568 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alveus Lacuna
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« on: November 20, 2009, 01:24:09 AM »

Well, most of us know it, but the Gospels are full of contradictory information and even some things which seem historically inaccurate.

Is this a problem in the Orthodox Church?  Certainly many Protestant groups would view it as being a huge problem, but is there anything unOrthodox about saying that the gospels are completely full of human error as they were written by humans?

If it is not problematic, then why is it not problematic?  Don't discrepancies in details compromise the integrity and reliability of the text?  It's not like I'm looking for perfection in the Bible, but if God is moving in a special way in human history, then why isn't there more efficacy in the power of the God to clearly communicate the facts?

I'm not out to prove the inconsistencies in the Bible, but this website seems to list a few in the New Testament if you are looking for examples:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/paul_carlson/nt_contradictions.html

Much that is on this website is totally ridiculous, but there are some examples of things I am talking about which are actual contradictions.
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2009, 02:27:42 AM »

Okay, first, let me say that you are asking a totally legitimate and understandable question.

But the page you link to in order to illustrate it is such a hack job that I cannot focus on the legitimate part.

1) The author simply ignores the fact that recorded words of Christ were spoken at different times, to different people in different contexts and that each of the Gospels and Epistles was written at different times to different audiences for different purposes. It's like saying, "My leg hurt and the doctor gave me a Tylenol; his leg hurt and the doctor cut it off. Modern medicine is inconsistent!"--while ignoring the context that my leg hurt because I just ran a marathon, while his leg hurt because he had gangrene.

2) Under 'the causes of the contradictions' the author misses the most obvious--if the Gospels are what they purport to be, 2 eyewitness accounts (Matthew and John), one account based on an eyewitness (Mark based on the teaching of St. Peter), and a compilation of eyewitness accounts (Luke), then there *should* be inconsistencies. When the cops hear eyewitnesses accounts that match in every detail, they know they are being lied to--because eyewitnesses are never 100% consistent unless the witnesses get together and rehearse a story with details. If they just state what they remember there will always be inconsistencies. When historians find two supposedly independent documents that are 100% consistent, the operating assumption is that one (or both) are lying about their independence.

Since that's not your actual purpose, I'll restrain myself from going into specifics about the author's tin ear and deliberate obfuscation. Because it's true that there are inconsistencies--the one about the variant geneologies of Christ for example is an obvious one. Orthodoxy does not hold to 'inerrancy'. The books of the Bible were not dictated word for word by the Holy Spirit. They were written by holy men who may have forgotten a detail here or there, who twenty years later may have forgotten which event came first, or who (in the case of Luke or Paul who never claimed to be eyewitnesses themselves) were doing their best to reconcile two contradictory eyewitness accounts. As I said above, the inconsistencies are actually evidence that they were not written as deliberate fictions. But they are the accounts which the early Church found to accurately convey the points that mattered.
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2009, 02:56:20 AM »

I'm still trying to figure out if I really want to give my opinion here. One possible response that I considered was just posting a picture like this one, and leaving it at that, but I figured that'd come off too snarky. You ask if this is a problem in the Orthodox Church. I think the answer that most Orthodox would give is, to quote an old song, "that don't confront me none". Some may have a more sophisticated way of saying it, but in the end that's the answer you'll get from 95%.
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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2009, 03:00:29 AM »

One thing that people must realize is that you cannot read "texts" from the ancient world the same way we read texts today.  We are a text driven society.  The milieu of the NT was an oral society.  Only 5-10% of the population could read.  Fewer could read AND write.  Writing and reading are intrinsically foreign to language itself.  If you were to represent all of human history in one calendar year, that is, Adam and Eve began on Jan. 1 and we are at Dec. 31, which month would you think that writing was invented in?  May?  No.  August?  No.  November?  No.  December?  Yes.  And when in December?  The first?  No.  The fifth?  No.  The tenth?  No.  The fifteenth?  No.  The 21st!  As such, writing is a very recent innovation in the history of language.  The invention of the alphabet is even more novel as most writing systems were originally ideographic or syllabic (vowel-consonant clusters). 

A written text cannot defend itself, Plato tell us.  How many of us have gotten angry over the words of an editorial or other printed medium?  We cannot change it and trying to argue with it will be of no avail.  Written text codifies truth as well as it does mistakes.  So, how are we to tell the former from the latter?  You must decide what is traditional.  Let me provide an example.

In Nigeria, in the 1800s, the British Imperial Government, to keep order had their court system in place to hear disputes between various groups within tribes regarding disputes, most often concerning land.  This particular situation involves a group called the Tiv.  The British, being meticulous record keepers, kept written records of what transpired at various hearings.  To assert claims of a family to a certain section of land, a tribal leader will read off his genealogy showing his ancestral claim.  The British wrote this down.  However, a situation arose when the the same piece of land came up in dispute and the same tribal leaders appeared and recited their genealogies establishing their rights to the land.  To the surprise of the British, the genealogies were not exactly the same.  Now, there was no accusation of lying (at least none that I am aware of) or bad faith on either the Tiv or the British.  But, one thing you must remember about an oral society is that as their language is not codified and is more fluid so thus they are more fluid with expression.  For the Tiv, a person's prominence in the genalogy is reflected by not only audience but also by circumstance in which is retold.  Language is never just an individual construct but in spoken form, very dependent upon the audience that hears.  With text, you need not worry about that.

Now, as far as contradictions go, let me provide you another comparison.  In the library of Alexandria, there were at any one time 132 versions of Homer's Iliad.  Notice, I did not say "copies".  The librarians of Alexandria would invite people to dock at Alexandria and while the captains of the ship or passengers were enjoying the amenities of Alexandria, the librarians would make copies of the version of the Iliad, whether it was the whole thing or only a small part, and give those copies back to the people who lent it. These are called "ship scrolls."  Now, which one of those 132 versions was the "correct one?"  The answer:  none.   Why?  Because the Iliad is a heroic poem from Bronze Age Greece and was written down (perhaps this is why the Greek alphabet was invented, or so says Dr. Powell of Wisconsin-Madison) in the Archaic Age around 700 B.C., 500 years from it's first "composition."  A lot can happen in 500 years.  The very nature of langauge is fluid and it cannot be contained by text.  Text is deficient and locks up variation. 

Oral poems and works do not conform to our definition of text.  If they did, then a very minor character in Homer's Iliad, who dies in Book II will not miraculously resurrect in Book XXIV.  To us that is contradictory, to the poet(s) of the Iliad, no.

Here's another way to think about it.  Let us say that all of us here on OC.net were gathered in the same room.  If I asked everyone to go to the window, close their eyes and then open them and record here what the first thing they saw was, the responses would drastically vary.  I might say "tree", Alveus might say "sky", Isa "building", Fr. George "grass", OzGeorge "bird" etc., etc..  Now who among us is right?  The answer:  none.  We are all right, but we might only remember our one response. 

When it comes to the New Testament or even the Old(er) Testament, we cannot apply rules of text.    WE cannot expect those texts that have come down to us to be bound by the same rules that we use today.  If the Iliad were written today, I guarantee you no one would publish it.  Why?  Because it's replete with those "problems" of inconsistency and contradiction. Maybe the NT and OT would also be unpublishable today under the same circumstances.  First of all, we must disregard the "Protestant" notion that the NT and OT are infallible.  THe Protestants decided this, not the Church of the Fathers.  Humans had a hand in the creation of Scripture.  God didn't just replace Mark with one of his angels and then set him to write.  God worked through each of these men, using their talents and even their flaws. (How else can you explain the very poor Greek of Mark?)  The flaws of human language worked their ways into the stories we read week in, week out.  I suppose that that is another manifestation of the mercy of God or at least that God has a sense of humor; I don't know.  Our flaws, as human beings, are in the Scriptures of God through the medium of the language that we use.  Because one Gospel writer says there was one angel at the Resurrection versus another who says there were two is to make an issue where none should exist.  The people that make the biggest deal out of this do not understand the first thing about the development of human language, let alone of human nature.

When I teach this stuff to my students, I always reference, Episode VI of Star Wars "Return of the Jedi" when Luke, following Yoda's death, asks Obi-Wan why he lied to him.  Obi-Wan says he didn't lie but told it from his point of view.  In his point of view, Anakin Skywalker was really dead, betrayed and murdered by Darth Vader even though it's later realized that Anakin and Vader are one and the same person.

Sorry for the long explanation.  I hope it helps.
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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2009, 03:15:06 AM »

One thing that people must realize is that you cannot read "texts" from the ancient world the same way we read texts today.  We are a text driven society.  The milieu of the NT was an oral society.  Only 5-10% of the population could read.  Fewer could read AND write.  Writing and reading are intrinsically foreign to language itself.  If you were to represent all of human history in one calendar year, that is, Adam and Eve began on Jan. 1 and we are at Dec. 31, which month would you think that writing was invented in?  May?  No.  August?  No.  November?  No.  December?  Yes.  And when in December?  The first?  No.  The fifth?  No.  The tenth?  No.  The fifteenth?  No.  The 21st!  As such, writing is a very recent innovation in the history of language.  The invention of the alphabet is even more novel as most writing systems were originally ideographic or syllabic (vowel-consonant clusters). 

A written text cannot defend itself, Plato tell us.  How many of us have gotten angry over the words of an editorial or other printed medium?  We cannot change it and trying to argue with it will be of no avail.  Written text codifies truth as well as it does mistakes.  So, how are we to tell the former from the latter?  You must decide what is traditional.  Let me provide an example.

In Nigeria, in the 1800s, the British Imperial Government, to keep order had their court system in place to hear disputes between various groups within tribes regarding disputes, most often concerning land.  This particular situation involves a group called the Tiv.  The British, being meticulous record keepers, kept written records of what transpired at various hearings.  To assert claims of a family to a certain section of land, a tribal leader will read off his genealogy showing his ancestral claim.  The British wrote this down.  However, a situation arose when the the same piece of land came up in dispute and the same tribal leaders appeared and recited their genealogies establishing their rights to the land.  To the surprise of the British, the genealogies were not exactly the same.  Now, there was no accusation of lying (at least none that I am aware of) or bad faith on either the Tiv or the British.  But, one thing you must remember about an oral society is that as their language is not codified and is more fluid so thus they are more fluid with expression.  For the Tiv, a person's prominence in the genalogy is reflected by not only audience but also by circumstance in which is retold.  Language is never just an individual construct but in spoken form, very dependent upon the audience that hears.  With text, you need not worry about that.

Now, as far as contradictions go, let me provide you another comparison.  In the library of Alexandria, there were at any one time 132 versions of Homer's Iliad.  Notice, I did not say "copies".  The librarians of Alexandria would invite people to dock at Alexandria and while the captains of the ship or passengers were enjoying the amenities of Alexandria, the librarians would make copies of the version of the Iliad, whether it was the whole thing or only a small part, and give those copies back to the people who lent it. These are called "ship scrolls."  Now, which one of those 132 versions was the "correct one?"  The answer:  none.   Why?  Because the Iliad is a heroic poem from Bronze Age Greece and was written down (perhaps this is why the Greek alphabet was invented, or so says Dr. Powell of Wisconsin-Madison) in the Archaic Age around 700 B.C., 500 years from it's first "composition."  A lot can happen in 500 years.  The very nature of langauge is fluid and it cannot be contained by text.  Text is deficient and locks up variation. 

Oral poems and works do not conform to our definition of text.  If they did, then a very minor character in Homer's Iliad, who dies in Book II will not miraculously resurrect in Book XXIV.  To us that is contradictory, to the poet(s) of the Iliad, no.

Here's another way to think about it.  Let us say that all of us here on OC.net were gathered in the same room.  If I asked everyone to go to the window, close their eyes and then open them and record here what the first thing they saw was, the responses would drastically vary.  I might say "tree", Alveus might say "sky", Isa "building", Fr. George "grass", OzGeorge "bird" etc., etc..  Now who among us is right?  The answer:  none.  We are all right, but we might only remember our one response. 

When it comes to the New Testament or even the Old(er) Testament, we cannot apply rules of text.    WE cannot expect those texts that have come down to us to be bound by the same rules that we use today.  If the Iliad were written today, I guarantee you no one would publish it.  Why?  Because it's replete with those "problems" of inconsistency and contradiction. Maybe the NT and OT would also be unpublishable today under the same circumstances.  First of all, we must disregard the "Protestant" notion that the NT and OT are infallible.  THe Protestants decided this, not the Church of the Fathers.  Humans had a hand in the creation of Scripture.  God didn't just replace Mark with one of his angels and then set him to write.  God worked through each of these men, using their talents and even their flaws. (How else can you explain the very poor Greek of Mark?)  The flaws of human language worked their ways into the stories we read week in, week out.  I suppose that that is another manifestation of the mercy of God or at least that God has a sense of humor; I don't know.  Our flaws, as human beings, are in the Scriptures of God through the medium of the language that we use.  Because one Gospel writer says there was one angel at the Resurrection versus another who says there were two is to make an issue where none should exist.  The people that make the biggest deal out of this do not understand the first thing about the development of human language, let alone of human nature.

When I teach this stuff to my students, I always reference, Episode VI of Star Wars "Return of the Jedi" when Luke, following Yoda's death, asks Obi-Wan why he lied to him.  Obi-Wan says he didn't lie but told it from his point of view.  In his point of view, Anakin Skywalker was really dead, betrayed and murdered by Darth Vader even though it's later realized that Anakin and Vader are one and the same person.

Sorry for the long explanation.  I hope it helps.

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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2009, 03:24:46 AM »

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Nobody is really staying on top of this.
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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2009, 04:58:08 AM »

I think that God allows for mistakes/errors/inconsistencies in the Bible and within the Church to a certain extent so that people don't make them objects of their faith (perhaps similar to an idol?), and instead rely solely (or at least primarily) upon Him.
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2009, 05:11:44 AM »

I think that God allows for mistakes/errors/inconsistencies in the Bible and within the Church to a certain extent so that people don't make them objects of their faith (perhaps similar to an idol?), and instead rely solely (or at least primarily) upon Him.

I don't think it's that planned or has a specific purpose. In oral cultures, minute details are not as important as the big picture and key points. Thats what the Apostles agreed on and reflected in their writing.
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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2009, 07:41:46 AM »

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Yes, we are.
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« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2009, 10:01:50 AM »

One thing that people must realize is that you cannot read "texts" from the ancient world the same way we read texts today.  [...]

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Agreed.  Excellent explanation!
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« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2009, 10:37:44 AM »

I will respond to all the ERRORS of that site with tranquillity in this post. For the sake of a facilitated reading, I'll divide this in two distinct posts:

THE BIRTH OF JESUS
A. THE GENEALOGIES OF JOSEPH
Matthew and Luke don't disagree: that's completely false. The two genealogies show two different telescoped genealogies. That one of the two is LITERALLY Mary's genealogy it is clear by the affirmation "being Jesus, as it was thought, son of Joseph" and then the inspired author proceeds with Christ's bloodline from David. The other genealogy, on the contrary, is based on Christ as son of David not by blood (as Mary's genealogy does) but by law through Joseph's adoption, showing that Christ is heir of David in both ways.
The genealogy of Joseph is essential to show that Christ could claim by law to be heir of David. That Jesus was "seed of David" it is clear from Mary's genealogy of blood, so this problem doesn't exist.
Matthew and Luke are the only two interested in recording Christ's virgin birth. An argument from silence isn't an argument at all. Just Paul and the others weren't interested in the virgin birth as an essential part of their preaching because they were more interested in Christ's sinlessness and pure sacrifice. A provocation: isn't a virgin still a woman??? How can the author of that webpage see the two words as contradictory?
The four women in the genealogies are there to show that Christ is incarnate to save all of us, both men and women, because we are all equally sinners. The four women were grave sinners, but they later changed their lives and they have been saved by Christ's sacrifice too. "I have come for sinners, not for the just" says Jesus.
B. THE ANGEL'S MESSAGE
The brothers and sisters of Christ aren't blessed together with Mary and Joseph because they were born before Jesus, so they could easily doubt Christ's message, possibly by envy. This is what Jesus is referencing in Mark 6:4-6. If I say that I've got problems with my relatives doesn't mean that there might be exceptions: in Christ's case, Mary was the exception.
C. THE DATE
Ancient chronologies often omit coregencies. This makes all dates uncertain, because the accession date of a governor/consul/king might be dependent on the understanding of the chronicler, i.e. if he is counting the accession of the ruler in coregency or when he became the lonely ruler. Also, the timing Herod's death in 4 BC is dependant on a translation error of Josephus' Antiquities which dated it originally to 1 BC until the 16th century.
D. THE PLACE
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, lived there for 2 years and, after the visit of the Magi, escaped to Egypt and came back after Herod's death. The discrepancies are only apparent if the reader takes the coming of the Magi as a Nativity event, which is clearly denied in the text since Christ in Matthew is portrayed as a child and no more as an infant and the Magi witnessed that the Star of Bethlehem had appeared 2 years before.
E. THE PROPHECIES
All of the errors contained here are easily treating remembering to the author that prophets AREN'T fortunetellers, and that past events fulfilled by prophecies usually are figures of future events in Christ's time. No errors thus: time and space have a different nature when related to prophecies, so we are allowed to see multiple meanings behind the OT prophecies. I will treat the only major "problem" the author of the website evidenced.The virgin birth:
The Hebrew word 'almah' means a not-yet married girl or young woman. Considering that premarital sex was strictly prohibited by the Jewish law, it is natural and ordinary for an almah to be a virgin too.
Points F and G have already been discussed here, so I pass after them to part II.

JESUS AND JOHN THE BAPTIST
A. WHAT DID JOHN THE BAPTIST KNOW ABOUT JESUS AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT?
John was revealed by the Holy Spirit that Jesus was the Son of God. When, being in prison, he sent his two disciples to Him to confirm his identity, it was only done for them, and not for him. This parallels another section of the Gospel when the people hear a voice from the heavens declairing to Jesus: "Thou art my Son". Jesus said: "Not for me it was said, but for you". He already knew to be the Messiah, and the words were said to give a sign to the unbelievers, and possibly the same occured for John's disciples.
B. WHY DID JOHN BAPTISE JESUS?
"The fact that he was baptized by John has always been an embarrassment to the church": this is entirely false. Jesus was baptised for THREE REASONS: 1) to sanctify baptism as an instrument of salvation of His People. Abraham and Moses, fathers of the First Covenant, were also circumcised together with Israel, and so did Jesus with Baptism in the New Covenant. 2) for reasons of humility, as he "humbled himself" assuming our nature, and in this, by humility, it was right for him to be baptised even he hadn't sinned. 3) as the old world was to be formed by the Holy Spirit moving over the surface of the waters, in the same way Christ, the first fruit of the new world, was to be anointed while in the waters of the Jordan. This is a sign of purification of our natures when we partake in Christ's death and resurrection at our baptisms.
C. WHY DIDN'T JOHN THE BAPTIST BECOME A FOLLOWER OF JESUS?
Because he was to be the last prophet of the Old Covenant. All future prophets in the New Covenant were to be chosen after Christ's death and resurrection for the mission of spreading the Gospel. John, suspended between the Two Covenants, was still a prophet of the Old Testament times while contemporary of Jesus.
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« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2009, 10:38:09 AM »

III. THE LAST SUPPER
A. WHEN? BEFORE OR DURING PASSOVER?
The contradiction is eliminated if we remember that Jewish days are counted from evening to evening. The Washing of Feet mentioned by John took place before the Last Supper, during the vigil of Passover, while the Last Supper took place after sunset, and thus during the day of Passover.
B. THE LORD'S SUPPER INSTITUTED BY JESUS OR PAUL?
The accusation of Paul inheriting the Eucharist from Mithraism is absurd. Paul was an ultra-conservative Pharisee and wouldn't have mixed his own religion with a pagan religion. The Eucharist was instituted by Christ at the Last Supper and Paul received the same commandment to celebrate it in order to elevate him on the same level as the other apostles who partook in the Last Supper in person.
C. JUDAS ISCARIOT
Judas betrayed Jesus, there's no doubt about this, despite the claims of the author. The money were used by the Sanhedrin to buy the field where Judas Iscariot had hung himself. The imagery of Judas' bodily destruction adopted in Acts is metaphorical and hyperbolical, and Judas bought the field only indirectly through the Sanhedrin. The name of the Field of Blood is etiologically discussed for catechetical purposes by Matthew and Luke: Matthew shows the REASON why the Sanhedrin called it Field of Blood, while the Apostles see a prophetic sense in this choice, associating it with Judas' suicide. A last word to state that Judas Iscariot wasn't in the number of the 'twelve' when Christ appeared to them. There were probably not only the eleven apostles, but also many other disciples not mentioned in the passage, plus the Virgin Mary with her fellow pious women. In this case, Paul is referencing to the presence of the full council of the Twelve as he knew it, including in anticipation Matthias who would be sorted right before the descent of the Holy Spirit to become the 12th apostle, an event Paul was well aware of despite being absent at the time!
IV. JESUS' TRIALS, DEATH AND RESURRECTION
Many passages of the arrest and trials of Jesus have just been omitted for synthetic reasons by the different authors, as it was ordinary in ancient chronography. Anyway, all of the trials experienced by Christ during the night and the first daily hours are expressely contained in the four Gospels. There are no contradictions: any author can choose a different perspective on an event and thus pick and choose the most significant aspects according to their sensibilities and purposes.
Barabbas was, generically speaking, a criminal. He might have been accused of being a rebel, murder and theft, so no contradiction. We have no proof from history that Pilate's practice to release a prisoner is mere fiction, and the description Josephus makes of him might reflect his behaviour after Sejanus' treachery in 31 AD (and thus, one year after Christ's death in 30 AD) so that he began to show more rigidity against the Jews to show his unconditioned fidelity to the Emperor. The matter of the purple robe fits well in the category of omission, as I said above regarding the trials.
V. THE CRUCIFIXION
The robbers on the sides of Jesus might have been cooperators of Barabbas, also a rebel and robber at the same time, as I said above – in this case, only Barabbas was replaced but his two companions were put to death by crucifixion anyway. The soldiers might have been forced by the great number of disciples Jesus had to allow Mary and the others at the feet of the Cross – maybe under Pilate's decision. The narration of the open tombs is an omission that connects the event of the earthquake at Christ's death and the other one when there was the resurrection. I don't see any problem here.
C. THE RESURRECTION
The Gospels narrate two distinct events. Mary and the other women (the different synoptics mark the names the wanted to, but they all agreed on Mary Magdalene). All of them were at the tomb, but Mary Magdalene came alone while the others all together, so that Mary spoke to Jesus "the gardener" in private revelation. This is just a possible explanation, but I'm open to different opinions. In this case, maybe, the women kept silent until they met Mary Madgalene who had encountered Jesus in person, and at that time they decided to announce all this to the apostles.
V. THE ASCENSION
The first event narrated in Luke 24:51 ISN'T the same as the Ascension narrated by the same Luke in Acts 1:9-12. The definitive ascension (the enthronization, if you want) occured only in Acts.
VI. MISCELLANEOUS
A. THE UNCHANGEABLE LAW
Jesus hasn't changed law. He has fulfilled it. In other words, he has FULFILLED the liturgical and purity laws of the Old Testament which were figures of Christ (thus making them unnecessary after his resurrection) and at the same time He has enforced the Ten Commandments with the Commandment of Love as a key of interpretation to Moses' law. When Paul speaks of law of Moses he always refers to the Jewish religious practices concerning rituals and never to the laws condemning sin.
B. NO SIGNS, ONE SIGN, OR MANY SIGNS?
The word 'sign' is used in different ways among the different authors: John uses it as a synonim for 'miracle' in general; Mark means an explicit manifestation of Christ's divinity; and Matthew means a secret miracle which can be understood by faith only by Christ's disciple but which isn't manifested to the masses.
C. SON OF DAVID?
The fact that Jesus didn't need to be a son of David in order to be our Saviour, but anyway he was the son of David, isn't a contradiction. The fact that I don't need my father to be an engineer to be an engineer myself doesn't mean that if my father is an engeneer I CAN'T be an engineer, don't you think? While Psalm 110 – as quoted by Peter – as the purpose to show that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the words of Jesus want to show us that He isn't worthy of being Messiah just because of his ancestry, but only due to His divinity which pre-exists to the House of David!
D. THE FIG TREE
Jesus didn't expect the fig tree to be fruitful in that season, but he wanted to show that, being God himself, nature must obey to His power and necessity even if the plant wasn't expected to give fruits at that season. Also, Matthew's narration is evidently telescoped while Mark's is complete indicating a passage of time from the fig's damnation and its withering.
E. THE GREAT COMMISSION
The Church never fought internally over the doctrine of the Trinity; on the contrary she fought against the heretics that mined it with their blasphemies. The expression "to baptise in the name of Jesus" doesn't repeat the baptismal formula, but distinguishes between the baptism of Jesus (whose purpose is cleansing of original sin) and the baptism of John (whose purpose is repentance) to a public which was concerned very well with John's baptism which preceded Christ's. The Trinitarian formula is incredibly ancient, as it is witnessed in the Didache (end of the 1st century BC)
F. ENOCH IN THE BOOK OF JUDE
The Apostles didn't have to recognize a writing as inspired to quote it in the NT, but they could easily use the folklore and popular wisdom of the Jews as recorded in the Apocryphal OT books to give teachings, as well as we as Christians do when we use the Protoevangelium of James or the Dormition of the Mother of God according to John the Theologian to give teachings on subjects the Scriptures never touched but are present and evident in the continuity of Church Tradition. Of course, this is a weak point for the Protestants but not for Catholics and Orthodox who rely on Tradition too.
G. THE APOSTLE PAUL'S CONVERSION
The contradiction is eliminated if all of the men present heard no voice BUT the man who was journeying together with Paul, and of course Paul himself who also saw Christ in His glory.
H. JESUS CALLS THE DISCIPLES
John's Gospel is referencing the vocation of Andrew and Peter to discipleship, while the synoptics, in two slightly different but yet complementary version, records the vocation of Peter, Andrew, James and John to the apostolate. In the first case, Jesus just wants them to become his followers and faithful; in the second, they are specifically called by Him for the ministry of the Twelve, so another contradiction is solved.
I. SHOULD THE TWELVE DISCIPLES TAKE A STAFF?
Jesus might have decided to mitigate the rigidity of these rules, accepting that the disciples might take a staff with them.
J. THE APOSTLE PAUL GETS CONFUSED
In theology, it doesn't matter how we arrive to define a doctrine, but the doctrine itself. Paul might have failed in the argumentations taken to defend a doctrine, but the doctrine itself was infallible as an inspired teaching. Paul was a human, afterall!
K. THE SECOND COMING
Jesus wasn't wrong when he said he was coming in the course of that generation: infact he reveals himself in His glory everytime we die and get into Paradise (God willing). Also, the fact that there was expectation for a near-future Second Coming is due to the virtue of Hope, and not to the virtue of Faith. As Christians, we must behave as if Jesus were to come in the near future, so that we can be ready when our hour comes to be judged after death.
The "four corners" means "from all directions". It is a typical semitic expression the Bible adopts, coherently with her Middle-East culture. The Bible isn't inerrant: it's accurate and infallible, but can use errant language to teach a doctrine on faith or morals. I would say that all languages are inappropriate for this task! On the Book of Daniel, and on the final conclusions drawn by the author, I have nothing to say: prophecy can have multiple levels, as I have already mentioned above, and I don't see any serious contradictions in the Gospel narrative.

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2009, 11:59:57 AM »

The contradiction is eliminated if we remember that Jewish days are counted from evening to evening. The Washing of Feet mentioned by John took place before the Last Supper, during the vigil of Passover, while the Last Supper took place after sunset, and thus during the day of Passover.

Not from the Orthodox perspective, thank you very much.  The Mystical Supper took place the evening before the first Eve of passover, at a time when leavened bread was still permitted.  There are various potential explanations (that they followed an Essene calendar which was one day offset, that Matthew-Luke just got it wrong, etc.), but the reality accepted by the OC is that John's chronology (with Christ being crucified just hours before the Passover was to begin, rather than nearly a full day into the feast) is the correct one.
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« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2009, 12:52:14 PM »

Leave the liturgical matters outside of this topic, Fr George. If you're using this idea that Jesus used leavened bread at the Last Supper just to support to Eastern practice, I think your getting it wrong. The synoptics clearly state that it was during period of Azymes, and I believe that the two chronologies can be solved as I wrote before. The reasons for using common bread are others, and they are independent of the bread chosen by Christ at the Last Supper.
If you want another justification for the Eastern practice, then use the Essene-calendar practice as a justification, but you can't say that one Gospel alone is right while the consent of the other three is wrong. If you do like this, you are doubting of the accuracy of the Gospels exactly as the author of that article has done, and you confirm that the Gospels are books like the others, entirely fallible even on these matters of great importance. It is important to say that I don't believe that John is wrong, but that the two chronologies are misunderstood. Can you give me some quotes from official EO authorities or Ecumenical Councils stating that Matthew and Luke are wrong or are certainly using the Essene calendar, so that only John is accurate while the other two are making the greatest mistake ever? if you can't, I won't feel obliged to follow what results to be your personal convictions - disputable, and yet possible, but never authoritative.

In Christ,   Alex

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« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2009, 03:17:35 PM »

Leave the liturgical matters outside of this topic, Fr George. If you're using this idea that Jesus used leavened bread at the Last Supper just to support to Eastern practice, I think your getting it wrong. The synoptics clearly state that it was during period of Azymes, and I believe that the two chronologies can be solved as I wrote before. The reasons for using common bread are others, and they are independent of the bread chosen by Christ at the Last Supper.
If you want another justification for the Eastern practice, then use the Essene-calendar practice as a justification, but you can't say that one Gospel alone is right while the consent of the other three is wrong. If you do like this, you are doubting of the accuracy of the Gospels exactly as the author of that article has done, and you confirm that the Gospels are books like the others, entirely fallible even on these matters of great importance. It is important to say that I don't believe that John is wrong, but that the two chronologies are misunderstood. Can you give me some quotes from official EO authorities or Ecumenical Councils stating that Matthew and Luke are wrong or are certainly using the Essene calendar, so that only John is accurate while the other two are making the greatest mistake ever? if you can't, I won't feel obliged to follow what results to be your personal convictions - disputable, and yet possible, but never authoritative.

In Christ,   Alex

I'll dig up your quotes; but I will say that my argument re:chronology isn't strictly based on "liturgical matters," although I am a bit dismayed that you dismiss them out-of-hand.  (You did pay attention when I said "the reality accepted by the OC is that John's chronology (with Christ being crucified just hours before the Passover was to begin, rather than nearly a full day into the feast)," right?  So my argument is not simply liturgically-based.)

And I don't think you understood my comment about the Essene calendar; the argument used by some is that Christ followed the Essene calendar (from their POV, he inherited it from St. John the Forerunner, whom they argue was an Essene Jew), and thus celebrated the Passover a day later than everyone else.  I don't personally buy it, but it is one argument put forth to explain why they ate leavened bread at the mystical supper when the Synoptics claim that it was already the passover.
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« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2009, 03:51:52 PM »

A. WHEN? BEFORE OR DURING PASSOVER?
The contradiction is eliminated if we remember that Jewish days are counted from evening to evening. The Washing of Feet mentioned by John took place before the Last Supper, during the vigil of Passover, while the Last Supper took place after sunset, and thus during the day of Passover.

Oh, and since you've decided to impose your own spin on St. John's gospel and imply that we're simply misunderstanding the timing of what he was saying (all quotes courtesy of Bible.com, KJV):

(Before the meal)
Passage John 13:29: For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.

(After the Jewish trial, before Pilate)
Passage John 18:28: Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.

(After Pilate)
Passage John 19:14:  And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

(After the crucifixion, before the end of the Jewish day)
Passage John 19:31: The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

(After getting permission to take the body)
Passage John 19:42: There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
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« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2009, 03:55:09 PM »

Well, most of us know it, but the Gospels are full of contradictory information and even some things which seem historically inaccurate.

Is this a problem in the Orthodox Church?  Certainly many Protestant groups would view it as being a huge problem, but is there anything unOrthodox about saying that the gospels are completely full of human error as they were written by humans?

If it is not problematic, then why is it not problematic?  Don't discrepancies in details compromise the integrity and reliability of the text?  It's not like I'm looking for perfection in the Bible, but if God is moving in a special way in human history, then why isn't there more efficacy in the power of the God to clearly communicate the facts?

I'm not out to prove the inconsistencies in the Bible, but this website seems to list a few in the New Testament if you are looking for examples:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/paul_carlson/nt_contradictions.html

Much that is on this website is totally ridiculous, but there are some examples of things I am talking about which are actual contradictions.

Back in 2000 or 2001 I was givin a list of 100 contradictions in the Bible by an African American cult that use to go by the name Holy Tabernacle Ministries.
http://www.masonicinfo.com/york.htm

They are a newage neo pagan African American Egyptian cult group. But they gave me a list, and I explained away all but 2 or 3 one night when I was arguing with a group of them in college.

Most of the so called contradictions are surface level. In the early church, I saw two traditions of how christian went about this. One tradition was into harmonization, while the other tradition either admited the problem or just saw them as minor difficulties that we shouldn't be worried about.

Since I was raised as a conservative protestant most of my life, and seen most of this stuff already, I tend to lean towards the harmonization principle. Because most of the difficulties are surface level anyway.

You shouldn't give up ground when you don't have to.









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« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2009, 03:58:45 PM »

A. WHEN? BEFORE OR DURING PASSOVER?
The contradiction is eliminated if we remember that Jewish days are counted from evening to evening. The Washing of Feet mentioned by John took place before the Last Supper, during the vigil of Passover, while the Last Supper took place after sunset, and thus during the day of Passover.

Go ahead and digest: http://www.herealittletherealittle.net/index.cfm?page_name=Last-Supper-Passover-Meal
It was the first source that came up on my search.  I'll add more when I have the time to.
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« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2009, 05:11:02 PM »

As far as the difference in the counting of days, we have to remember and keep in mind that the New Testament is talking to multiple cultures with different customs and ways of doing things.

1.) When I read the Bible, I see Jews counting half days or partial days as being days. They don't always make a distinction between partial days and full days. And this is one of the reasons why I'm no longer a strict 24 hour 6 day creationist.

2.) They counted days from evening to evening, whereas the Romans counted days from midnight to midnight.

3.) Ancient Jews would count differently as well. To them, today would be called "day 1", tomorrow would be called "day 2", and the day after tomorrow would be called "day 3"

As seen here:

NKJV
Luke 13:32
"And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected."


So Christ died on Friday(today), Saturday(tomorrow), Sunday(third day)



Also, in regards to one Gospel account talking about one Angel while the other two Angels, I will say, that Angels are not concrete things that everyone can see.

If Luke spoke to eye witnesses, and one eyewitness only saw one Angel, while the other saw two, then one only saw one, while the other saw two. Why?

Because:

NKJV
2nd Kings 6:16-18
"So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha."


Angels aren't flesh and blood like us, and so, we shouldn't expect everyone to be on the same page when it comes to seeing and hearing them.












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« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2009, 06:05:40 PM »

THE BIRTH OF JESUS
A. THE GENEALOGIES OF JOSEPH
Matthew and Luke don't disagree: that's completely false. The two genealogies show two different telescoped genealogies. That one of the two is LITERALLY Mary's genealogy it is clear by the affirmation "being Jesus, as it was thought, son of Joseph" and then the inspired author proceeds with Christ's bloodline from David. The other genealogy, on the contrary, is based on Christ as son of David not by blood (as Mary's genealogy does) but by law through Joseph's adoption, showing that Christ is heir of David in both ways.
I'm curious to know where you get this idea of a genealogy of blood vs. a genealogy of law.  Is this a distinction you have made, or are you borrowing from someone else's work?  If it's a concept of your own creation, how are you able to argue it so forcefully as THE counter to the errors of the "Infidels" web site?  IOW, I'm curious to know where you get the authority to assert this specific explanation without citing someone else's work.  For instance, how is it clear from the statement "Being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph" that St. Luke's genealogy is that of Mary?

Overall, Alex, I believe your lengthy rebuttal suffers from the same problem that plagues the accusations you're trying to refute: the lack of any reference to outside authorities.  Just like the objections on the Gospel Contradictions web page, you appear to have derived all your arguments solely from the pool of your own interpretations of Scripture.  This may be valuable as an exposition of your own opinions, if that's all you want it to be, but it does nothing to present a genuinely Orthodox point of view that is more appropriate to a discussion of Orthodox faith.
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« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2009, 06:56:50 PM »

I really have to wonder, AlexanderOfBergamo.  What Christian communion do you really represent?  You claim to be a "Traditionalist Christian" in the jurisdiction of "The Original First Millennium Church", but what does this all mean?
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« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2009, 11:09:09 PM »

Post of the Month!
Agreed. Excellent post scamandrius.
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« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2009, 11:20:16 PM »

THE BIRTH OF JESUS
A. THE GENEALOGIES OF JOSEPH
Matthew and Luke don't disagree: that's completely false. The two genealogies show two different telescoped genealogies. That one of the two is LITERALLY Mary's genealogy it is clear by the affirmation "being Jesus, as it was thought, son of Joseph" and then the inspired author proceeds with Christ's bloodline from David. The other genealogy, on the contrary, is based on Christ as son of David not by blood (as Mary's genealogy does) but by law through Joseph's adoption, showing that Christ is heir of David in both ways.

...Just like the objections on the Gospel Contradictions web page, you appear to have derived all your arguments solely from the pool of your own interpretations of Scripture.  This may be valuable as an exposition of your own opinions, if that's all you want it to be, but it does nothing to present a genuinely Orthodox point of view that is more appropriate to a discussion of Orthodox faith.

Actually, I know at some point in the past  I have heard that explanation, but I can't recall where.  It always made sense to me, though.  I recall hearing that from Adam to King David, the genealogies agree, but then become different, supposedly because both Sts. Mary and Joseph were descended from King David, but through two different children of King David.  Hasn't anyone else heard it before now?  Does the Church have a position on this?
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« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2009, 11:29:17 PM »

Post of the Month!
Agreed. Excellent post scamandrius.
Okay, we're starting to get flooded with reports nominating this post from scamandrius for November Post of the Month. Grin  Your reports have been duly noted. Wink
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« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2009, 06:51:18 AM »

THE BIRTH OF JESUS
A. THE GENEALOGIES OF JOSEPH
Matthew and Luke don't disagree: that's completely false. The two genealogies show two different telescoped genealogies. That one of the two is LITERALLY Mary's genealogy it is clear by the affirmation "being Jesus, as it was thought, son of Joseph" and then the inspired author proceeds with Christ's bloodline from David. The other genealogy, on the contrary, is based on Christ as son of David not by blood (as Mary's genealogy does) but by law through Joseph's adoption, showing that Christ is heir of David in both ways.
I'm curious to know where you get this idea of a genealogy of blood vs. a genealogy of law.  Is this a distinction you have made, or are you borrowing from someone else's work?  If it's a concept of your own creation, how are you able to argue it so forcefully as THE counter to the errors of the "Infidels" web site?  IOW, I'm curious to know where you get the authority to assert this specific explanation without citing someone else's work.  For instance, how is it clear from the statement "Being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph" that St. Luke's genealogy is that of Mary?

Overall, Alex, I believe your lengthy rebuttal suffers from the same problem that plagues the accusations you're trying to refute: the lack of any reference to outside authorities.  Just like the objections on the Gospel Contradictions web page, you appear to have derived all your arguments solely from the pool of your own interpretations of Scripture.  This may be valuable as an exposition of your own opinions, if that's all you want it to be, but it does nothing to present a genuinely Orthodox point of view that is more appropriate to a discussion of Orthodox faith.

I am a-confessional in this period. I have found that the Orthodox Church makes as many mistakes as the Catholic Church and I'm convinced that they are both mistaken on different issues, or better, that they're both right but they refute to see their differences as a gift and not as a source of division. I believe that the Catholic Church sof the First Millennium has went lost in its original form when the two branches divided. That doesn't mean that the Catholic Church doesn't exist. I just believe that until reunion isn't achieved the Orthodox will be lacking a Western perspective, and the RCs will be lacking an Eastern perspective. For this reason, I rely for my belief in what's COMMON in both churches (the Seven Ecumenical Councils), and until I haven't made a choice, I refute communion in both churches.
As for the authorities: I don't have any until I don't understand which one of the two branches has preserved better the contents of the Undivided Catholic Church. Liturgically and mystically speaking, the Eastern Church is perfect. On the otherside, the Catholic Church also has its positives the Orthodox Church is lacking in the present times (such as the continuous refusal to study the Latin Fathers, as if they were inferior to the Eastern in their theologies).
I know I'm a little bit confused. What I believe for certain is that, had I been born in 1000 AD, I would have had problems in classifying as RC or EO exactly as I do now.
In other words, I am representing no specific church, but rather boths, exalting what's common and studying what's different to determine in my heart who's right or wrong.

On the matter of the genealogies, I read this solution before. That many Church Fathers associated Luke's genealogy to Mary's it is no mystery. My personal conclusion is that the purpose was to show Christ's ancestry from David both from the point of view of law and from the point of view of blood preserving the concept of virgin birth. Being son of Mary, Jesus was of the same blood of David, so that the Jews couldn't doubt that Christ was his descendant. Being son of Joseph by adoption, Jesus was pointed as the legitimate heir of David from legal point of view. I don't see where's the problem with your NEED for authority. Even the Church Fathers GUESSED on many points of faith, because they had no private revelations on certain issues. If they had, we'd have no exegetical problems. Dismissing the Gospels as errant even in showing Christ's genealogy (which, it must be repeated, were taken as genuine by the Fathers) is like saying that its authors invented the genealogies to show that Christ was son of David, but yet we could doubt it. If the genealogies are false, and Jesus isn't the son of David, how can we trust the Bible? How can we confess Christians? How can we consider ourselves heirs of the Church Fathers, when we don't have the same reverence for the Scriptures as they had?
I'd like to have your opinions on the subject and, btw, I must anticipate to all of you that I'm going to leave this boards for personal reasons until I don't make a choice on which side I am on. Pray for me that God might lead me to the true Church, whichever might be.

In Christ,    Alex

PS: I see that the Orthodox church has taken the synoptics to be wrong, and thus false. This is another weak point I must add to the list (not the fact of fixing the Last Supper on Nisan 14th, but the fact of renouncing to solve the contradiction of the synoptics), but I hope I can find a way to 'save' my opinion of the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2009, 06:56:10 AM »

Another little question: how can a Christian believe that Jesus was an Essene? Weren't the Essenes heretic? Many of their beliefs were contrasted by Jesus (such as the misrepresentation of women). Also, having Christ celebrating Passover Seder according to the Essene Calendar is also another interpretation which is not present in the Bible and in the Church Tradition, so it is just another opinion in the list of personal opinions, and isn't more authoritative then mine.

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2009, 04:52:05 PM »

Another little question: how can a Christian believe that Jesus was an Essene? Weren't the Essenes heretic? Many of their beliefs were contrasted by Jesus (such as the misrepresentation of women). Also, having Christ celebrating Passover Seder according to the Essene Calendar is also another interpretation which is not present in the Bible and in the Church Tradition, so it is just another opinion in the list of personal opinions, and isn't more authoritative then mine.

In Christ,   Alex
Who said Jesus was an Essene?
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« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2009, 05:03:17 PM »

Overall, Alex, I believe your lengthy rebuttal suffers from the same problem that plagues the accusations you're trying to refute: the lack of any reference to outside authorities.  Just like the objections on the Gospel Contradictions web page, you appear to have derived all your arguments solely from the pool of your own interpretations of Scripture.  This may be valuable as an exposition of your own opinions, if that's all you want it to be, but it does nothing to present a genuinely Orthodox point of view that is more appropriate to a discussion of Orthodox faith.

I am a-confessional in this period. I have found that the Orthodox Church makes as many mistakes as the Catholic Church and I'm convinced that they are both mistaken on different issues, or better, that they're both right but they refute to see their differences as a gift and not as a source of division. I believe that the Catholic Church sof the First Millennium has went lost in its original form when the two branches divided. That doesn't mean that the Catholic Church doesn't exist. I just believe that until reunion isn't achieved the Orthodox will be lacking a Western perspective, and the RCs will be lacking an Eastern perspective. For this reason, I rely for my belief in what's COMMON in both churches (the Seven Ecumenical Councils), and until I haven't made a choice, I refute communion in both churches.
I'm curious to know, then, how you feel it wise to submit to the Faith Issues board, a place for discussion of issues related to the Orthodox Christian faith, posts that tell us what we are to believe if we are to be correct in your eyes.
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« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2009, 06:59:54 PM »

Another little question: how can a Christian believe that Jesus was an Essene?

 None that I know of do...Huh
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« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2009, 08:13:58 AM »

Another little question: how can a Christian believe that Jesus was an Essene? Weren't the Essenes heretic? Many of their beliefs were contrasted by Jesus (such as the misrepresentation of women). Also, having Christ celebrating Passover Seder according to the Essene Calendar is also another interpretation which is not present in the Bible and in the Church Tradition, so it is just another opinion in the list of personal opinions, and isn't more authoritative then mine.

In Christ,   Alex
Who said Jesus was an Essene?

I was just wondering if it is possible for an Orthodox to believe such a horrible idea, i.e. saying that Christ was an heretic Jew of his time. I firmly believe that ALL of the events in the Gospels have taken place exactly as they have been narrated, so I'm trying to compromise the chronology of Christ's passion shown in the synoptics with that present in the fourth Gospel. If it can't be synchronized in any way according to the Orthodox view, and I would be bound to believe that three gospels out of four are wrong, how could I trust the Bible? This is not a matter of Biblical inerrancy: the date on which Christ died is essential to understand its spiritual and liturgical meaning, and assuming that Matthew, who was present as well as John, couldn't remember the exact day when Jesus died is for me like assuming that Matthew can''t be trusted, affirming the superiority of one Gospel over the other four, while all four are equally inspired and authoritative.
I hope you can help me in solving this troubles. I NEED TO KNOW if I can trust the Bible or if I must admit that they are human inventions, because in the last case Orthodoxy is clearly not for me.

I hope in your help,

Alex
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« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2009, 08:50:48 AM »

I was just wondering if it is possible for an Orthodox to believe such a horrible idea, i.e. saying that Christ was an heretic Jew of his time.
What is an "heretic Jew" of Christ's time? To the Jews of His time, Our Lord Jesus Christ was not only an "heretic', but a blasphemer for claiming to be God. There were three main sects of Judaism in Christ's time.The Sadducees claimed there was no resurrection; the Essenes were the claimants of the legitimate Priesthood; and the Pharisees, the forebears of modern rabbinical Judaism, were often condemned by Christ Himself. The true Jews are the Church which is the true Israel.
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« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2009, 09:51:45 AM »

I was just wondering if it is possible for an Orthodox to believe such a horrible idea, i.e. saying that Christ was an heretic Jew of his time.
What is an "heretic Jew" of Christ's time? To the Jews of His time, Our Lord Jesus Christ was not only an "heretic', but a blasphemer for claiming to be God. There were three main sects of Judaism in Christ's time.The Sadducees claimed there was no resurrection; the Essenes were the claimants of the legitimate Priesthood; and the Pharisees, the forebears of modern rabbinical Judaism, were often condemned by Christ Himself. The true Jews are the Church which is the true Israel.

You should have also quoted Christ's words to the Samaritan woman.  Jesus - heretic to the Jews and condemned to death; rebel to the Romans and condemned to death.  Common theme?
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« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2009, 01:41:41 PM »

I was just wondering if it is possible for an Orthodox to believe such a horrible idea, i.e. saying that Christ was an heretic Jew of his time.
What is an "heretic Jew" of Christ's time? To the Jews of His time, Our Lord Jesus Christ was not only an "heretic', but a blasphemer for claiming to be God. There were three main sects of Judaism in Christ's time.The Sadducees claimed there was no resurrection; the Essenes were the claimants of the legitimate Priesthood; and the Pharisees, the forebears of modern rabbinical Judaism, were often condemned by Christ Himself. The true Jews are the Church which is the true Israel.

You should have also quoted Christ's words to the Samaritan woman.  Jesus - heretic to the Jews and condemned to death; rebel to the Romans and condemned to death.  Common theme?
Essenes denied the value of the body as complementary of the soul, anticipating some ideas of gnosticism.
Quote
Death was welcomed, as they held "that their bodies were corruptible, and the matter composing them is not lasting, but souls are immortal and live forever, and proceeding from the most subtle ether having been drawn into bodies as into prisons by some natural longing. But when they are set free from the bonds of flesh, then they rejoice as being freed from a long servitude and mount upwards. And agreeing with the opinion of the Greeks they declare that the good dwell beyond the ocean in a place which is never oppressed by snow or rainstorms or intense heat, but is always calm and refreshed by a cool breeze breathing from the ocean. To bad souls they allot a gloomy, tempestuous cave full of never-ending torments" (Jos. Bell. Jud. I, ii, Cool. Some conclude from the words just quoted that the Essenes disbelieved in the resurrection of the body. (from the Catholic Encyclopedia)
I don't think the Pharisees were heretic, while the Sadducees were. Jesus said almost clearly that the Pharisees taught right things (thus they were doctrinally orthodox) but that they practiced religion only for pride and vainglory.
Also, the Essenes refuted to join in the Temple sacrifices for reasons of pollution, and thus they were outside of the ordinary Jewish community while both Sadducees and Pharisees were present in the hierarchy of the Sanhedrin. They even had idolatric practices concerning the Sun and refuted matrimony on the base that women are inferior if not evil. I think that these aspects put them outside of the Jewish community and I won't consider them as Orthodox Jews in any sense, as I do for the Sadducees.

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2009, 02:14:55 PM »

Alex Said:

I am a-confessional in this period. I have found that the Orthodox Church makes as many mistakes as the Catholic Church and I'm convinced that they are both mistaken on different issues, or better, that they're both right but they refute to see their differences as a gift and not as a source of division. I believe that the Catholic Church sof the First Millennium has went lost in its original form when the two branches divided. That doesn't mean that the Catholic Church doesn't exist. I just believe that until reunion isn't achieved the Orthodox will be lacking a Western perspective, and the RCs will be lacking an Eastern perspective. For this reason, I rely for my belief in what's COMMON in both churches (the Seven Ecumenical Councils), and until I haven't made a choice, I refute communion in both churches.
As for the authorities: I don't have any until I don't understand which one of the two branches has preserved better the contents of the Undivided Catholic Church. Liturgically and mystically speaking, the Eastern Church is perfect. On the otherside, the Catholic Church also has its positives the Orthodox Church is lacking in the present times (such as the continuous refusal to study the Latin Fathers, as if they were inferior to the Eastern in their theologies).
I know I'm a little bit confused. What I believe for certain is that, had I been born in 1000 AD, I would have had problems in classifying as RC or EO exactly as I do now.
In other words, I am representing no specific church, but rather boths, exalting what's common and studying what's different to determine in my heart who's right or wrong.
[/quote]

It sounds as though you believe the EO to be "righter" than the RC Church, but feel that for cultural/geographical reasons, in addition to perhaps some prejudice against Western theologians, there is an underappreciation for some of the Latin Fathers by the East.

I don't hear/read any actual criticism of the EO dogma, doctrine or practice though, and it sounds more like "it would be nice" if there was more attention paid to Latin Fathers, as opposed to their exclusion being fatal in any regard.

All that is to say, while I see your point regarding the lack of communion between East and West being tragic in many ways, it must also be considered that "the Church" is the Bride of Christ, and it is completely inconsistent with most any viewpoint to accept the idea that man somehow succeeded in eradicating any "true" Church institution.... just as man cannot put asunder a marriage between a man and a woman, the schism did not put asunder Christ's Church/Bride, and that there is no institution on Earth that continues an unbroken tradition by baptism, eucharist, etc. She is untaintable, pure and perfect (although of course the people within Her may not be).

In other words, and I don't mean this in an insulting fashion, the "neither/no Church is truly 'orthodox' or the real church" seems like a cop out, while conveniently sidestepping the fact that a consequence and assumption embdedded in that line of thought is that Christ and the Holy Spirit broke their covenant and failed to preserve and maintain the Church on Earth, and that all institutions on Earth for the last millenium are just the scattered remains of varying degrees of importance or size, but nonetheless severed limbs.

Again, I'm not trying to challenge your faith per se, but if you begin your analysis from a fundamental truth (that Christ's Bride would/could not be be made anything less than perfect, much less destroyed, by humans) and work the analysis from there (as opposed to an assumption like "the true Church will contain a representative sampling of Fathers based on geography") you may well find yourself embracing the Orthodox Church.

This particular piece of the puzzle was significant in my journey from Protestantism to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2009, 02:33:48 PM »

I was just wondering if it is possible for an Orthodox to believe such a horrible idea, i.e. saying that Christ was an heretic Jew of his time.
What is an "heretic Jew" of Christ's time? To the Jews of His time, Our Lord Jesus Christ was not only an "heretic', but a blasphemer for claiming to be God. There were three main sects of Judaism in Christ's time.The Sadducees claimed there was no resurrection; the Essenes were the claimants of the legitimate Priesthood; and the Pharisees, the forebears of modern rabbinical Judaism, were often condemned by Christ Himself. The true Jews are the Church which is the true Israel.

You should have also quoted Christ's words to the Samaritan woman.  Jesus - heretic to the Jews and condemned to death; rebel to the Romans and condemned to death.  Common theme?
Essenes denied the value of the body as complementary of the soul, anticipating some ideas of gnosticism.
Quote
Death was welcomed, as they held "that their bodies were corruptible, and the matter composing them is not lasting, but souls are immortal and live forever, and proceeding from the most subtle ether having been drawn into bodies as into prisons by some natural longing. But when they are set free from the bonds of flesh, then they rejoice as being freed from a long servitude and mount upwards. And agreeing with the opinion of the Greeks they declare that the good dwell beyond the ocean in a place which is never oppressed by snow or rainstorms or intense heat, but is always calm and refreshed by a cool breeze breathing from the ocean. To bad souls they allot a gloomy, tempestuous cave full of never-ending torments" (Jos. Bell. Jud. I, ii, Cool. Some conclude from the words just quoted that the Essenes disbelieved in the resurrection of the body. (from the Catholic Encyclopedia)
I don't think the Pharisees were heretic, while the Sadducees were. Jesus said almost clearly that the Pharisees taught right things (thus they were doctrinally orthodox) but that they practiced religion only for pride and vainglory.
Also, the Essenes refuted to join in the Temple sacrifices for reasons of pollution, and thus they were outside of the ordinary Jewish community while both Sadducees and Pharisees were present in the hierarchy of the Sanhedrin. They even had idolatric practices concerning the Sun and refuted matrimony on the base that women are inferior if not evil. I think that these aspects put them outside of the Jewish community and I won't consider them as Orthodox Jews in any sense, as I do for the Sadducees.

In Christ,   Alex


The Jews at the time obviously did not think that the Sadducees were "heretics," at least as we understand the term in a Christian sense.  The Gospels clearly state that the Pharisees and Sadducees worked in concert together.  They may have had different ideas as to the implications found in the Law and the Prophets, but both clearly were just two sides of the same coin, so to speak. 

From what I understand, it was the Samaritans who were the only real "heretics" of the time, for they outright refused to believe that the Temple in Jerusalem was the dwelling place of God.  While the Essenes did not participate in the Temple worship for various reasons, I don't think they had the same problems with the mainstream Judaism of their day that the Samaritans did.  If anything, Temple worship aside, the Essenes were trying to be "more Jewish than the High Priest" in their practice.  That's my opinion, anyways, which certainly is not authoritative at all.
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« Reply #35 on: November 24, 2009, 10:12:33 AM »

Quote
The Jews at the time obviously did not think that the Sadducees were "heretics," at least as we understand the term in a Christian sense.  The Gospels clearly state that the Pharisees and Sadducees worked in concert together.  They may have had different ideas as to the implications found in the Law and the Prophets, but both clearly were just two sides of the same coin, so to speak.

From what I understand, it was the Samaritans who were the only real "heretics" of the time, for they outright refused to believe that the Temple in Jerusalem was the dwelling place of God.  While the Essenes did not participate in the Temple worship for various reasons, I don't think they had the same problems with the mainstream Judaism of their day that the Samaritans did.  If anything, Temple worship aside, the Essenes were trying to be "more Jewish than the High Priest" in their practice.  That's my opinion, anyways, which certainly is not authoritative at all.

My interest in keeping Essenism outside of the matter is that too many people claim Jesus to be JUST an Essene leader like many others, and not a 100% Jew entirely in communion with the Temple. Sincerely, I can't believe, as some claim, that Jesus might have refused to celebrate the Passover with the other Jews just because a calendar created by a sect claimed it to be on another date - Jesus was ABOVE the calendars, he was the creator of heaven and earth and their rhythms which determined the calendars. The only alternative opinion I have read or heard somewhere that rejects the opinion of Christ following the Essene calendar is that saying that - since the Passover was counted arithmetically starting from the vision of the moon - the Sanhedrin might have made a wrong calculation due to bad weather which covered the moon and made the calendar slide one day further in determining the Passover for that year. If this interesting possibility might be true, Jesus as creator was aware of the little mistake of the Jews and corrected it at a personal level. In this case, Jesus didn't question the authority of the Sanhedrin, but just recognized their limits as humans. I don't know how this opinion might be right or not - and I think we'll never know on this earth... but I felt it was necessary to add it to the list of the possible explanations to rule out both the discrepancy of the two chronologies and the Essene Jesus theory.

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2009, 10:21:04 AM »

Alex Said:

I am a-confessional in this period. I have found that the Orthodox Church makes as many mistakes as the Catholic Church and I'm convinced that they are both mistaken on different issues, or better, that they're both right but they refute to see their differences as a gift and not as a source of division. I believe that the Catholic Church sof the First Millennium has went lost in its original form when the two branches divided. That doesn't mean that the Catholic Church doesn't exist. I just believe that until reunion isn't achieved the Orthodox will be lacking a Western perspective, and the RCs will be lacking an Eastern perspective. For this reason, I rely for my belief in what's COMMON in both churches (the Seven Ecumenical Councils), and until I haven't made a choice, I refute communion in both churches.
As for the authorities: I don't have any until I don't understand which one of the two branches has preserved better the contents of the Undivided Catholic Church. Liturgically and mystically speaking, the Eastern Church is perfect. On the otherside, the Catholic Church also has its positives the Orthodox Church is lacking in the present times (such as the continuous refusal to study the Latin Fathers, as if they were inferior to the Eastern in their theologies).
I know I'm a little bit confused. What I believe for certain is that, had I been born in 1000 AD, I would have had problems in classifying as RC or EO exactly as I do now.
In other words, I am representing no specific church, but rather boths, exalting what's common and studying what's different to determine in my heart who's right or wrong.


It sounds as though you believe the EO to be "righter" than the RC Church, but feel that for cultural/geographical reasons, in addition to perhaps some prejudice against Western theologians, there is an underappreciation for some of the Latin Fathers by the East.

I don't hear/read any actual criticism of the EO dogma, doctrine or practice though, and it sounds more like "it would be nice" if there was more attention paid to Latin Fathers, as opposed to their exclusion being fatal in any regard.

All that is to say, while I see your point regarding the lack of communion between East and West being tragic in many ways, it must also be considered that "the Church" is the Bride of Christ, and it is completely inconsistent with most any viewpoint to accept the idea that man somehow succeeded in eradicating any "true" Church institution.... just as man cannot put asunder a marriage between a man and a woman, the schism did not put asunder Christ's Church/Bride, and that there is no institution on Earth that continues an unbroken tradition by baptism, eucharist, etc. She is untaintable, pure and perfect (although of course the people within Her may not be).

In other words, and I don't mean this in an insulting fashion, the "neither/no Church is truly 'orthodox' or the real church" seems like a cop out, while conveniently sidestepping the fact that a consequence and assumption embdedded in that line of thought is that Christ and the Holy Spirit broke their covenant and failed to preserve and maintain the Church on Earth, and that all institutions on Earth for the last millenium are just the scattered remains of varying degrees of importance or size, but nonetheless severed limbs.

Again, I'm not trying to challenge your faith per se, but if you begin your analysis from a fundamental truth (that Christ's Bride would/could not be be made anything less than perfect, much less destroyed, by humans) and work the analysis from there (as opposed to an assumption like "the true Church will contain a representative sampling of Fathers based on geography") you may well find yourself embracing the Orthodox Church.

This particular piece of the puzzle was significant in my journey from Protestantism to Orthodoxy.

You got it right that I consider the Orthodox Church full in its faith and I don't criticize her faith. The true problem is that I don't sense the RCC to be entirely wrong on other issues, and I feel they might be just in the same kind of division experienced by Peter and Paul, who were apostles of the same Catholic church even if they were divided on many issues. I really feel unconfortable with the results of the 1054 Schism. I understand that the Pope has been responsible for it (all the attempts to impose Filioque in the Greek version of the Creed, mainly) but I feel the Orthodox Church of these days is making no effort to overcome the differences. I need a little bit of time to understand in my heart if God is really asking me to live the Church of Rome or to work inside of her for a true reunion with Orthodoxy where both churches might be in a perfect communion of love, sacraments and faith. I feel this call in this period, so I need to discerne it. Thanks for your kind words of understanding.

In Christ,    Alex



Fixed quote tags to make post more readable...  -PtA
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« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2009, 11:14:52 AM »

Quote
The Jews at the time obviously did not think that the Sadducees were "heretics," at least as we understand the term in a Christian sense.  The Gospels clearly state that the Pharisees and Sadducees worked in concert together.  They may have had different ideas as to the implications found in the Law and the Prophets, but both clearly were just two sides of the same coin, so to speak.

From what I understand, it was the Samaritans who were the only real "heretics" of the time, for they outright refused to believe that the Temple in Jerusalem was the dwelling place of God.  While the Essenes did not participate in the Temple worship for various reasons, I don't think they had the same problems with the mainstream Judaism of their day that the Samaritans did.  If anything, Temple worship aside, the Essenes were trying to be "more Jewish than the High Priest" in their practice.  That's my opinion, anyways, which certainly is not authoritative at all.

My interest in keeping Essenism outside of the matter is that too many people claim Jesus to be JUST an Essene leader like many others, and not a 100% Jew entirely in communion with the Temple. Sincerely, I can't believe, as some claim, that Jesus might have refused to celebrate the Passover with the other Jews just because a calendar created by a sect claimed it to be on another date - Jesus was ABOVE the calendars, he was the creator of heaven and earth and their rhythms which determined the calendars. The only alternative opinion I have read or heard somewhere that rejects the opinion of Christ following the Essene calendar is that saying that - since the Passover was counted arithmetically starting from the vision of the moon - the Sanhedrin might have made a wrong calculation due to bad weather which covered the moon and made the calendar slide one day further in determining the Passover for that year. If this interesting possibility might be true, Jesus as creator was aware of the little mistake of the Jews and corrected it at a personal level. In this case, Jesus didn't question the authority of the Sanhedrin, but just recognized their limits as humans. I don't know how this opinion might be right or not - and I think we'll never know on this earth... but I felt it was necessary to add it to the list of the possible explanations to rule out both the discrepancy of the two chronologies and the Essene Jesus theory.

In Christ,   Alex

Who are these people?  You make it sound like it's almost a given that mainstream theologians accept as a given that Jesus was an Essene.  The fact that we still know comparatively very little about this community keeps the academic and critical consensus from issuing such a statement.  In my own reading, it's only the fringe with an agenda (particularly those who want to strip Jesus of His divinity) that posit such a statement. 

You keep on presenting minority statements as the majority without any backup whatsoever and, frankly, it's getting annoying.
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« Reply #38 on: November 25, 2009, 10:17:41 AM »

I don't think it's a majority position. I just think that even thinking it to be acceptable is dangerous. That's all.
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« Reply #39 on: November 25, 2009, 11:16:50 PM »

Good post harmonizing the Gospel's apparent contradictions, Alexander.  

And shame on those who pick away at it without admiting its importance and worthiness.  
Many present day Orthodox seem to hold a special scorn for those who look for literal interpretations where Scripture seems to suggest a literal reading on innocuous things like literal 6 day creationism and chiliasm.  Though Orthodox are still much better than many Catholics on this, who seem to wallow in new "fresh" "creative" re-interpretations of Scripture. 

It's easy to allegorize everything.  Anyone can do that.  Pagans even poked fun at Origen-the-allegorizor for being no better than the early "fundamentalists", so people ought not think they are being smarter by allegorizing away hard passages.  Yes, some things are allegorical, but it's gotten out of hand and is out of step with the Fathers.  Usually this is from a lack of faith in Scriptural integrity and inspiration, ignorance or intellectual laziness.  Hold fast to the Truth!

And you are right that the Orthodox get things wrong like Catholics do.  The Church is bigger than these 2 very noble and ordained visible communities who are blessed with the strength of apostolic succession.  

K



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« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2009, 01:57:52 AM »

Good post harmonizing the Gospel's apparent contradictions, Alexander.  

And shame on those who pick away at it without admiting its importance and worthiness.  
Many present day Orthodox seem to hold a special scorn for those who look for literal interpretations where Scripture seems to suggest a literal reading on innocuous things like literal 6 day creationism and chiliasm.  Though Orthodox are still much better than many Catholics on this, who seem to wallow in new "fresh" "creative" re-interpretations of Scripture.  

It's easy to allegorize everything.  Anyone can do that.  Pagans even poked fun at Origen-the-allegorizor for being no better than the early "fundamentalists", so people ought not think they are being smarter by allegorizing away hard passages.  Yes, some things are allegorical, but it's gotten out of hand and is out of step with the Fathers.  Usually this is from a lack of faith in Scriptural integrity and inspiration, ignorance or intellectual laziness.  Hold fast to the Truth!

And you are right that the Orthodox get things wrong like Catholics do.  The Church is bigger than these 2 very noble and ordained visible communities who are blessed with the strength of apostolic succession.  

K




Kaste,

It appears that you feel strongly about the correctness of your Protestant point of view, and, as a former Protestant myself, I respect the strength of your convictions.  However, this is the Faith Issues board, a place for Orthodox Christians to discuss issues and post inquiries related to the Orthodox Christian faith.  This is not the place for you to preach your Protestant points of view and/or disparage our Orthodox points of view as you have done, so please be more careful about what you post here on the Faith board.  If you want to do nothing more than correct a misconception of your Protestant confession, that's fine, but I ask you to respect the Orthodox Tradition that is the foundation of our Faith Issues discussions by not preaching the tenets of your Protestant faith here.  Please use the Orthodox-Protestant Discussion board for such preaching.

If you have any questions regarding my instructions, please feel free to send me or Fr. George, the global moderator responsible for overseeing my work on this board, a PM with your questions.  Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation.

- PeterTheAleut
Faith Issues Section Moderator
« Last Edit: November 26, 2009, 01:59:13 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
Kaste
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« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2009, 02:29:05 AM »

For the record PetertheAleu, chiliasm and literal 6 days of creationism are not protestant beliefs.  Orthodox can believe these too.

If you have questions about that please read Fr. Seraphim Rose book on Creation.

Thanks-
K
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John of the North
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Christ is Risen!

tgild
« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2009, 02:31:53 AM »

For the record PetertheAleu, chiliasm and literal 6 days of creationism are not protestant beliefs.  Orthodox can believe these too.

If you have questions about that please read Fr. Seraphim Rose book on Creation.

Thanks-
K


Fr. Seraphim is not an infallible Church authority.
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"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)
Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2009, 02:37:40 AM »

Fr. Seraphim is not an infallible Church authority.

That's true, but neither is anybody else, aside from the God-man.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #44 on: November 26, 2009, 02:40:04 AM »

For the record PetertheAleu, chiliasm and literal 6 days of creationism are not protestant beliefs.  Orthodox can believe these too.

If you have questions about that please read Fr. Seraphim Rose book on Creation.

Thanks-
K

Didn't the book The Apocalypse: In The Teachings of Ancient Christianity by Archbp. Averky, which was edited by Fr. Seraphim Rose, speak against chiliasm?
« Last Edit: November 26, 2009, 02:40:45 AM by Asteriktos » Logged
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