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David Young
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« on: December 07, 2009, 06:04:49 AM »

I'd be interested in your thoughts on how God the Father is going to answer our Lord's prayer in John 17 "that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee... so that the world may believe."

The reference to the world believing locates the answer in this age, before the Second Coming. It does not refer to our state in glory.

Ideally of course, all Christians, will become Baptists  Wink - but I see little likelihood of that. Probably they won't all become Orthodox either - unless you take the view that there are no Christians outside Orthodoxy.

It is unthinkable that a prayer of our Lord should go unanswered. What are your thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2009, 06:11:21 AM »

I'd be interested in your thoughts on how God the Father is going to answer our Lord's prayer in John 17 "that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee... so that the world may believe."

The reference to the world believing locates the answer in this age, before the Second Coming. It does not refer to our state in glory.

Ideally of course, all Christians, will become Baptists  Wink - but I see little likelihood of that. Probably they won't all become Orthodox either - unless you take the view that there are no Christians outside Orthodoxy.

It is unthinkable that a prayer of our Lord should go unanswered. What are your thoughts?

it is answered: by every reading of the diptychs.
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2009, 07:00:20 AM »

Are the Diptychs still updated today?
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2009, 07:05:06 AM »



It is unthinkable that a prayer of our Lord should go unanswered. What are your thoughts?


The Christian world was in communion with each other at one time, so technically the prayer was answered; it just wasn't sustained.
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2009, 10:22:52 AM »

Are the Diptychs still updated today?

Yes. When OCA was granted autocephaly some local Churches (including mine) updated theirs.
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2009, 11:08:07 AM »

I'd be interested in your thoughts on how God the Father is going to answer our Lord's prayer in John 17 "that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee... so that the world may believe."

The reference to the world believing locates the answer in this age, before the Second Coming. It does not refer to our state in glory.

Earlier in the chapter, Christ is praying explicitly for the Apostles. Then at this point He has shifted, "My prayer is not for them [the Apostles] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one ...". So the prayer is for all those who believe in me through their message, i.e., accept the Apostolic doctrine. The prayer applies to the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church not to those who have established their own conventicles.

On another note, your phrasing seems to imply that the Father will fulfill the Son's prayer. But we already know that God desires that all 'will come to a knowledge of the truth' and be saved. But God will not remove our free will even to effect what he desires. So to the extent that fulfilling the prayer would require forcing human beings to do something they refuse to do, it's not going to happen--that's on us not on God.
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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2009, 02:16:01 PM »

it is answered: by every reading of the diptychs.

Er... what's a diptych?
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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2009, 03:01:12 PM »

it is answered: by every reading of the diptychs.

Er... what's a diptych?

A diptych, generally, is an object with two sides that are connected, as the covers of a book.  Sometimes "Diptych" is used to describe two icons connected with a hinge (most frequently, Christ and His Mother).  Sometimes "Diptych" is the term for names to be commemorated: one page for the living, one for the dead.

In this case, the "Diptych" of the Orthodox Church is the list of the Churches in communion with one another.  It is manifest as the list of the Bishops who are the Presidents of the  Major Synod of each jurisdiction: the Patriarchs, Archbishops, and Metropolitans whom we colloquially call the "heads" of Autocephalous churches.  This Diptych is only read Liturgically when one of these Presidents is serving.  When a priest serves, he commemorates his Bishop (unifying parish to bishop/diocese); when a Bishop serves, he commemorates the President of his regional synod (unifying the diocese in a region); (if there is multiple layers of synods) when that President serves he commemorates the President of the major synod he sits on (i.e. Patriarch/Archbishop - and this unifies the regions into an Autocephalous Church).  And then the Presidents of these major synods read the Diptych, which then finishes the manifestation of unity (between the Autocephalous Churches).
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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2009, 04:15:41 PM »

It is unthinkable that a prayer of our Lord should go unanswered.

Indeed, it is unthinkable.  I believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
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« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2009, 01:23:37 PM »

Indeed. Is Christ divided?
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« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2009, 01:32:39 PM »

The prayer of our Lord has been answered. There is, and always has been, only one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
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« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2009, 02:43:29 PM »


It is unthinkable that a prayer of our Lord should go unanswered. What are your thoughts?


It seems as if you are asking this question with the belief that the prayer has not been answered yet.  But with the others who have said so, it was never NOT answered -- the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church has always been there.  I think in looking at history it's fairly easy to see that it's certainly the "line" of the Orthodox church that can be traced back to the New Testament, where this can't be said about the Baptist church. 
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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2009, 04:16:17 PM »

It seems as if you are asking this question with the belief that the prayer has not been answered yet.  

I guess you are right. I ask the question in all sincerity: it is a passage which has long puzzled me. One can find a number of answers that say our Lord's disciples are "one". You can speak of the Orthodox Church, or of another 'visible' church such as the Roman Catholic; or you can go down the line of spiritual oneness through our union with Christ, and talk of 'the invisible church'. Finding answers to that part of the prayer is not hard, though I do not say the answers are correct. But what puzzles me is the fact that the unity for which our Lord prayed is such that the world outside the church will see this unity, and it will be so convincing and winsome that the world (which I take to mean a good number of unbelievers in this age, before the Second Coming) will be brought to faith in Christ. Whether we talk of 'the invisible church' or of Holy Orthodoxy, or whatever, this is not currently happening, and hasn't happened for a very long time. That (to me) is the mystery about this passage.
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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2009, 04:38:06 PM »

It seems as if you are asking this question with the belief that the prayer has not been answered yet.  

I guess you are right. I ask the question in all sincerity: it is a passage which has long puzzled me. One can find a number of answers that say our Lord's disciples are "one". You can speak of the Orthodox Church, or of another 'visible' church such as the Roman Catholic; or you can go down the line of spiritual oneness through our union with Christ, and talk of 'the invisible church'. Finding answers to that part of the prayer is not hard, though I do not say the answers are correct. But what puzzles me is the fact that the unity for which our Lord prayed is such that the world outside the church will see this unity, and it will be so convincing and winsome that the world (which I take to mean a good number of unbelievers in this age, before the Second Coming) will be brought to faith in Christ. Whether we talk of 'the invisible church' or of Holy Orthodoxy, or whatever, this is not currently happening, and hasn't happened for a very long time. That (to me) is the mystery about this passage.

Why is it a mystery? God graciously allows us free will, even when we misuse it, right?
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« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2009, 04:49:33 PM »

But what puzzles me is the fact that the unity for which our Lord prayed is such that the world outside the church will see this unity, and it will be so convincing and winsome that the world (which I take to mean a good number of unbelievers in this age, before the Second Coming) will be brought to faith in Christ. Whether we talk of 'the invisible church' or of Holy Orthodoxy, or whatever, this is not currently happening, and hasn't happened for a very long time. That (to me) is the mystery about this passage.

Very well said and articulated, at least IMO. Smiley Though I am Orthodox, and truly cannot see myself in any other Christian confession (though I 'almost' could be Catholic, but not quite), in the end to me it doesn't matter which tradition one interprates this passage in light of, I, like you, do not see this being fulfilled, nor am I sure it every truly was fulfilled in Church history. There were always schisms and break away groups. Even today, the Church (ie: EOy) is not really "one" Church, because Old Calendar Churches are separated from New Calendar Churches etc....Even members of the same jurisdictions are many times not "one" for various reasons.

Rome probably has more of a claim to "oneness" than we do, however when one is in Communion with no one but one's self (ie: the See of St. Peter is in Communion with the See of St. Peter but no other ancient Sees) then it's not true oneness IMO. (unless I suppose one accepts Rome's understanding of Peter's role) Plus I don't think Rome fulfills the second part of that, so that the world may KNOW Jesus and the Father are one. Does the world look at the Roman Catholic Church, or EOy for that matter, and say, "wow, amazing that proves Jesus is God"? I really don't think so. Nor are Jesus words that when the world looks at His followers they will say "see how they love one another" because we often times DON'T love one another.

However I don't think this prayer is talking about some warm and fuzzy invisible oneness which in reality are just good feelings either. I don't think Jesus meant, "it doesn't matter what one believes at all, as long as you all just get along"...because that's not really unity either.  Like you I'm not sure what it means. But I don't think it's "only" talking about the visible Church, because I don't think everything fits into that box. I'm not sure what it means, I guess it's one of those mysteries we won't fully understand in this world.
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« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2009, 04:55:22 PM »

However I don't think this prayer is talking about some warm and fuzzy invisible oneness which in reality are just good feelings either. I don't think Jesus meant, "it doesn't matter what one believes at all, as long as you all just get along"...because that's not really unity either.  

Excellent point.

Also I was just thinking how perhaps "invisible unity" isn't very impressive - because it's invisible, they would have to take someone's word that it existed, wouldn't they?
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« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2009, 05:25:40 PM »

"invisible unity" isn't very impressive - because it's invisible, they would have to take someone's word that it existed, wouldn't they?

Exactly. So that whether or not a doctrine of the spiritual union of all those who are united with Christ regardless of denominational separation is true or false, it cannot be what Jesus was thinking of here. He prayed for something the world would see.
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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2009, 01:44:06 AM »

Do we know His prayer "that all may be one" was specifically referring to visible unity?  Why do you think it is only for the purpose of having others "see"?  My translation (NAB Invisible ed)  Wink doesn't say anything about Jesus praying that others will "see" the unity.

The prayer may have a more mystical meaning.  Afterall Christ continually says, "that they may be one, as we are one. or as You, Father, are in me and I in You...

That said, ideally yes, visible unity and I'll throw in apostolic succession is a good thing, but not the whole ball of wax.  I think Christians who are right with God, no matter what Church they go to, are still one, in a very real way, with eachother and with Christ-

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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2009, 02:39:47 AM »

Are there levels of One-ness? Something is either One or it isn't One.

To me it seems hazardous to see Christ say, "that they may be one, as we are one" and take that to mean "that they may be generally on the same page, but may disagree wildly on important things, as we are generally on the same page but disagree wildly on important things. Anyway, Oneness in the Godhead isn't everything, so it's not for them either, Father."

Which is what you seem to be advocating, Kaste.
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« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2009, 02:47:24 AM »

Are there levels of One-ness? Something is either One or it isn't One.

To me it seems hazardous to see Christ say, "that they may be one, as we are one" and take that to mean "that they may be generally on the same page, but may disagree wildly on important things, as we are generally on the same page but disagree wildly on important things. Anyway, Oneness in the Godhead isn't everything, so it's not for them either, Father."

Which is what you seem to be advocating, Kaste.

How is his position different than saying that God is One in Three?  Or that a square is four lines which form one object?  The Church can be discussed as one tree with many branches.  It's not the way that Orthodox see it, but it doesn't mean it doesn't make any sense.  It's not the faith of the Creed, but it isn't totally insane.  It's logical heresy.
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« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2009, 03:36:32 AM »

"invisible unity" isn't very impressive - because it's invisible, they would have to take someone's word that it existed, wouldn't they?

Exactly. So that whether or not a doctrine of the spiritual union of all those who are united with Christ regardless of denominational separation is true or false, it cannot be what Jesus was thinking of here. He prayed for something the world would see.

Eh, the world has seen the spiritual union of all those who are united with Christ, present in the One, Holy, Apostolic and Catholic Church, in the Saints and Martyrs.  The world continues to witness the spiritual union to this day even as the world, via free will, lives in denial.   Wink

On the first Sunday of Lent, the Sunday of Orthodoxy is commemorated, and the unity that Christ prophecized is reiterated in the following prayer:

Quote
As the Prophets beheld,
As the Apostles taught,
As the Church received,
As the Teachers dogmatized,
As the Universe agreed,
As Grace illumined,
As the Truth revealed,
As falsehood passed away,
As Wisdom presented,
As Christ awarded,

Thus we declare,
Thus we assert,
Thus we proclaim Christ our true God
and honor His saints,

In words,
In writings,
In thoughts,
In sacrifices,
In churches,
In holy icons.

On the one hand, worshipping and reverencing Christ as God and Lord.
And on the other hand, honoring and venerating His Saints as true servants of the same Lord.

This is the Faith of the Apostles.
This is the Faith of the Fathers.
This is the Faith of the Orthodox.
This is the Faith which has established the Universe.
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« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2009, 10:06:24 AM »

Are there levels of One-ness? Something is either One or it isn't One.

To me it seems hazardous to see Christ say, "that they may be one, as we are one" and take that to mean "that they may be generally on the same page, but may disagree wildly on important things, as we are generally on the same page but disagree wildly on important things. Anyway, Oneness in the Godhead isn't everything, so it's not for them either, Father."

Which is what you seem to be advocating, Kaste.

How is his position different than saying that God is One in Three?  Or that a square is four lines which form one object?  The Church can be discussed as one tree with many branches.  It's not the way that Orthodox see it, but it doesn't mean it doesn't make any sense.  It's not the faith of the Creed, but it isn't totally insane.  It's logical heresy.

Yes, I agree it makes total sense in many contexts. But in the context of Christ praying that the Apostles would be one, it is nonsensical to say the "invisible church" is One when it just plain isn't. And if it isn't One, it isn't the Church.

I think it's good to note also that Oneness includes the Church throughout time as well. That is why retaining everything from the first century CHurch is important - we have to maintain communion with them as well. Some Baptists of today would anathematize the Baptists of yesteryear.
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« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2009, 10:20:32 AM »

Do we know His prayer "that all may be one" was specifically referring to visible unity?  Why do you think it is only for the purpose of having others "see"?  My translation (NAB Invisible ed)  Wink doesn't say anything about Jesus praying that others will "see" the unity.

The prayer may have a more mystical meaning.  Afterall Christ continually says, "that they may be one, as we are one. or as You, Father, are in me and I in You...

That said, ideally yes, visible unity and I'll throw in apostolic succession is a good thing, but not the whole ball of wax.  I think Christians who are right with God, no matter what Church they go to, are still one, in a very real way, with eachother and with Christ-

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« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2009, 11:51:35 AM »

I guess you are right. I ask the question in all sincerity: it is a passage which has long puzzled me. One can find a number of answers that say our Lord's disciples are "one". You can speak of the Orthodox Church, or of another 'visible' church such as the Roman Catholic; or you can go down the line of spiritual oneness through our union with Christ, and talk of 'the invisible church'. Finding answers to that part of the prayer is not hard, though I do not say the answers are correct. But what puzzles me is the fact that the unity for which our Lord prayed is such that the world outside the church will see this unity, and it will be so convincing and winsome that the world (which I take to mean a good number of unbelievers in this age, before the Second Coming) will be brought to faith in Christ. Whether we talk of 'the invisible church' or of Holy Orthodoxy, or whatever, this is not currently happening, and hasn't happened for a very long time. That (to me) is the mystery about this passage.

First, I would like to say "thank you" for starting this thread, as I had missed your engaging discussions. Smiley

However I disagree with your post on several levels. (Sorry!)

As others have stated, the prayer has been answered in the form of the Orthodox Church. Second, there is no "invisible" Church. That would imply that there were some visible members and some invisible members, and what the heck, maybe some partially transparent members too. Wink

The only "Invisible" Church that the Orthodox Church does believe in, is the one described in Hebrews 12:1-2:

Quote
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(emphasis added)

During the celebration of every Divine Liturgy, the Church Militant (those still here on earth, present and visible!) join the Church Triumphant (the aforementioned "cloud of witnesses", also known as the "communion of the saints") in worshipping the undivided Trinity.

We believe in "One, Holy, Catholic*, and Apostolic Church." How God judges those outside the Church is not for us to decide.
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« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2009, 12:08:23 PM »

"That would imply that there were some visible members and some invisible members, and what the heck, maybe some partially transparent members too. "

LOL! laugh
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« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2009, 12:13:33 PM »

You can't be a heretic and "right with God."

Whilst expressing neither agreement nor disagreement, I should like to make two comments:

1) First, I should like to give an illustration (preachers do this!). I am told that one test of insanity is not to know who the Prime Minister is. Thus, the day Margaret Thatcher fell from power and was replaced by a relative non-entity (politically speaking), technically a considerable number of people went mad.

2) It depends what is meant by "a heretic". It comes over as if you are placing huge emphasis on formal assent to a set of doctrines. The Athanasian Creed in my Prayer Book runs from pages 27-30. It ends with, "This is the Catholick Faith: which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved." The trouble is, it is virtually incomprehensible.

Like the people who technically went mad after the fall of Margaret Thatcher, so it seems that a good number of people have become heretical only after certain councils or other decrees. Before that, they were deemed part of the Church; afterwards, they were deemed heretics. Did they suddenly become unsaved? (That question is asked 'tongue in cheek', but it illuminates my point.)
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« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2009, 12:14:41 PM »

"That would imply that there were some visible members and some invisible members, and what the heck, maybe some partially transparent members too. "

LOL! laugh

Very droll.
 Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2009, 12:18:45 PM »

Like the people who technically went mad after the fall of Margaret Thatcher, so it seems that a good number of people have become heretical only after certain councils or other decrees. Before that, they were deemed part of the Church; afterwards, they were deemed heretics. Did they suddenly become unsaved? (That question is asked 'tongue in cheek', but it illuminates my point.)

But those who intentionally seperated themselves from the faith (a la Papal Bull on a warm summer's day in Constantinople in 1054 and those who tried to "reform" or "protest" the faith thereafter) are a bit different from say, the schism between the OO and EO.

Also, it was the same councils that denounced people as heretics that shaped how you define who a heretic is. After all, if the Gnostics were not denounced in the early days of the Church, would you frown upon the Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses' now?
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« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2009, 03:35:15 PM »

Referring to Reply #20:

Forgive me for interchanging Catholic and Apostolic due to composing the post way past my bedtime.   angel
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« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2009, 01:00:44 AM »

bogdan,

It depends on if Christians do, in fact, disagree on "wildly important things".

I do not think Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox who are friends with God differ on wildly important things.  And so, yes, they are one, in a very real and mystical sense.  I do not think Christ meant to restrict His prayer to mean only the visible shared communion-

K
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« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2009, 01:12:03 AM »

bogdan,

It depends on if Christians do, in fact, disagree on "wildly important things".

I do not think Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox who are friends with God differ on wildly important things.  And so, yes, they are one, in a very real and mystical sense.  I do not think Christ meant to restrict His prayer to mean only the visible shared communion-

K

Well, take the Bishops for example. We believe, as St Ignatius of Antioch said: where there is no bishop, there is no Church (Trallians 3:1). The office of bishop is not only important, it is essential. And we disagree wildly on it.

Another is communion (which also hinges on the bishops). We believe that communion between bishops is important. If a given bishop is not in communion with the Church, he is not part of the Church. If a parish is not under a bishop in communion with the Church, that parish is not part of the Church. If an individual is not in a parish under a bishop in communion with the Church, that individual is not in the Church.

Those are pretty important - nay, essential - things, and we disagree wildly.
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« Reply #31 on: December 10, 2009, 10:07:48 AM »

where there is no bishop, there is no Church ... The office of bishop is essential. ... If an individual is not in a parish under a bishop in communion with the Church, that individual is not in the Church.

But that was not included in any of the early Creeds, as far as I know. So when did we, who belong to churches without bishops (in that later sense - not in the NT sense), become heretics?

Had you and we met in the first, say, 200 years of church history, on what grounds could you possibly have dubbed us heretics? Would we not rather have accepted each other as brethren in Christ? But now, on the basis of later doctrines, mentioned neither in scripture nor in the early Creeds, you call us heretics.

(Probably not even qualifying to be among Handmaiden's translucent brethren!)
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« Reply #32 on: December 10, 2009, 10:47:47 AM »

where there is no bishop, there is no Church ... The office of bishop is essential. ... If an individual is not in a parish under a bishop in communion with the Church, that individual is not in the Church.

But that was not included in any of the early Creeds, as far as I know. So when did we, who belong to churches without bishops (in that later sense - not in the NT sense), become heretics?

When you decided bishops were unnecessary, and abandoned them.

Quote
Had you and we met in the first, say, 200 years of church history, on what grounds could you possibly have dubbed us heretics? Would we not rather have accepted each other as brethren in Christ?
No, the organizational structure was in place early on, even loosely, check Acts. You would have been a member of a group in a town, city or geographic area presided over by a bishop. I would have asked you where you were from and then said, "Oh, you have Bishop So-and-so. I've heard that he is a very learned and godly man!" You would have answered, "Er, no, the group I belong to is not affiliated with any bishop." Then I would have known that you were not "one of us."
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« Reply #33 on: December 10, 2009, 10:49:11 AM »

where there is no bishop, there is no Church ... The office of bishop is essential. ... If an individual is not in a parish under a bishop in communion with the Church, that individual is not in the Church.

But that was not included in any of the early Creeds, as far as I know. So when did we, who belong to churches without bishops (in that later sense - not in the NT sense), become heretics?

When you decided bishops were unnecessary, and abandoned them.

Quote
Had you and we met in the first, say, 200 years of church history, on what grounds could you possibly have dubbed us heretics? Would we not rather have accepted each other as brethren in Christ?
No, the organizational structure was in place early on, even loosely, check Acts. You would have been a member of a group in a town, city or geographic area presided over by a bishop. I would have asked you where you were from and then said, "Oh, you have Bishop So-and-so. I've heard that he is a very learned and godly man!" You would have answered, "Er, no, the group I belong to is not affiliated with any bishop." Then I would have known that you were not "one of us."
[/quote]
Were there even any groups during the time of the early Church without bishops? I don't think so.
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« Reply #34 on: December 10, 2009, 12:09:10 PM »

But that was not included in any of the early Creeds, as far as I know. So when did we, who belong to churches without bishops (in that later sense - not in the NT sense), become heretics?

Had you and we met in the first, say, 200 years of church history, on what grounds could you possibly have dubbed us heretics? Would we not rather have accepted each other as brethren in Christ? But now, on the basis of later doctrines, mentioned neither in scripture nor in the early Creeds, you call us heretics.

(Probably not even qualifying to be among Handmaiden's translucent brethren!)

As the twelve Apostles were the first Bishops (Matthias replacing Judas), and Paul wrote about Bishops in Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:1-2, and Titus 1:7, obviously Bishops were around during the early Church. Furthermore, Luke writes about how Paul, a Bishop, would appoint elders wherever he went to lead the people in Acts 14. (In Acts Chapter 6 we read about the first ordination of Deacons.) Note how these were *not* self-appointed leaders, but rather leaders that were selected BY THE BISHOPS.

In Acts 15, a self-appointed man went around preaching that a man had to be circumcised to be saved.

"And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question." (Acts 15:1-2)

As a result of this, the Apostles, the BISHOPS, had the first Council in Jerusalem to decide whether or not this was heresy. Once the council had decided that one did not have to be circumcised to be saved, the council then sent "men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren." (Acts 15:22)

So you see heresy was proclaimed by a self-appointed man, the Apostles (BISHOPS) had a council to refute the heresy, and then sent out Bishops with an encyclical after the council preaching word of truth.

Quote
"Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.
They wrote this, letter by them:

The apostles, the elders, and the brethren,

To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Greetings.

Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law”—to whom we gave no such commandment— it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,  men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth.  For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell." (Acts 15:22-29)

As it is clearly shown in Acts, one would not be a Christian and NOT be attached to a Bishop in some way, shape, or form. Any heresy that was preached was refuted by the Bishops.

So yes, in accordance with the Book of Acts, you would be heretics then as you are now. Sorry to be so blunt, but this is the truth.



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« Reply #35 on: December 10, 2009, 02:30:55 PM »

That men called bishops were in place in the church from more or less the very start is not in dispute. What is debatable is your idea of apostolic succession. What is certain is that each individual church had its own bishop or bishops/elders/presbyters in early days. The concept of a bishop as you use the word, presiding over a diocese, a group of churches in a wide geographical area, developed a good deal later. I think that Ignatius is the first to write of this kind of bishop, some 80 years after the founding of the church.

Now don't misunderstand me: I am not saying that, because your Church has developed and maintained that form of organisation, it is in any way invalid as a Christian church. But I am saying that the system is not biblical, is not even universal in the writings of the apostolic fathers, and should not be a criterion by which a man or church is deemed heretical.

In our view, which we believe is biblical, our own properly appointed pastors are every bit as much genuine Christian ministers as are your bishops, and a good deal more biblical, as your kind is bishop is a later creation. But the form of church government which one believes in and/or practises is not a matter which determines heresy - unless it is a form specifically forbidden in scripture, such as women preachers and elders (pastors/bishops/presbyters - select whichever word you prefer).
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« Reply #36 on: December 10, 2009, 03:54:04 PM »

David, dear heart, you are certainly entitled to hold whatever creative or interesting opinions on this subject that you wish.

However, the above is simply not true, historically or Scripturally, as handmaiden showed from the Book of Acts. Bishops (episkopos) were the head of the local Christian group, appointed by the Apostles (themselves the first bishops). As the Christian community grew, there would of course be multiple groups in a geographic area, so that the Bishop would eventually preside over a larger area with a larger number of groups. This is how you are using the word "Bishop." Apostolic succession means that current Bishops go back in an unbroken line to the Apostles and the men that they appointed.

"Bishops and Presbyters
In the New Testament, the terms bishop and presbyter are used interchangeably. (Most English translations render presbyter as elder. The KJV and RSV usually render bishop as bishop, although the KJV does render it as overseer once (Acts 20:28).
The NIV, however, renders it as overseer exclusively, thereby avoiding using a
word that is objectionable to most Evangelicals).This is evident from the
following passage from Titus:

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders [lit. presbyters] in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre (Titus 1:5-7).

...Our Apostles also knew through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife over the title of bishop. For this reason, therefore, since they had perfect foreknowledge, they appointed the aforementioned persons and later made further provision that if they should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their ministry.... For it will be no trivial sin on our part if we depose from the bishop's office those who have in a blameless and holy manner offered the gifts. Happy the presbyters who have gone on their way before
this, for they obtained a ripe and fruitful departure; since they need not fear
that anyone should remove them from their appointed place. (I Clement 44.
For St. Clement, the office of bishop derives from the Apostles. Elsewhere he writes, "The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ: Jesus the Christ was sent from God. Thus Christ is from God, the Apostles from Christ. In both cases, the process was orderly and derived from the will of God... They preached in country and town, and appointed their first-fruits, after testing them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who were going to believe. Thus, the concept of "Apostolic Succession," dates from the first century).

But when on our side we challenge them [that is, the Gnostics] by an appeal to that tradition which derives from the Apostles, and which is preserved in the churches by the successions of the presbyters, then they oppose tradition claiming to be wiser not only than the presbyters but even than the Apostles, and to have discovered the truth undefiled.... This tradition the church has from the Apostles, and this faith has been proclaimed to all men, and has come down to our own day through the successions of bishops(Against Heresies III:2:2; III:3:2).

There is one writer from the second century, however, who did not employ bishop and presbyter as interchangeable terms: St. Ignatios of Antioch. In his Letters, St. Ignatios makes it clear that in a given local Church, there is one bishop, a council of presbyters, and the deacons:
All of you follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as the Apostles; respect the deacons as the ordinance of God (Smyrnaeans Cool.

It is commonly asserted by Protestant scholars that St. Ignatios' view of Church government was unusual in the early Church — even revolutionary. Indeed, the authenticity of the Ignatian Letters was hotly contested by many Protestants, based upon their a priori conviction that the episcopal form of Church government was impossible in the first decade of the second century. Today, however, there is little doubt among scholars as to the genuineness of the seven Letters in the current collection.

It cannot be denied that St. Ignatios' clearly defined use of bishop and
presbyter is highly unusual for this point in Church history. Nor can it be
denied that he places a much greater emphasis on the role of bishop than do the other authors we are considering. However, this does not mean that the actual Church structure he describes was unique to Antioch. On the contrary, an examination of the other documents under consideration will demonstrate that they evince a similar understanding of Church government. (The only exception to this is the Didache, which gives very little information about Church government. The Didache is concerned primarily with the authority of traveling apostles and teachers and takes an almost apologetic attitude toward local clergy. This is a point in favor of dating the Didache in the first century, perhaps as early as A.D. 70. It is highly unlikely that a second century
document would give such emphasis to traveling teachers).

...In Against Heresies, St. Irenaios uses the succession of bishops
in the various local Churches as an argument against the Gnostics' claims to
have special knowledge handed down secretly from the Apostles...St. Irenaios speaks of the succession of both presbyters and bishops. However,
when he gets around to actually listing the succession of bishops for a
particular Church — he uses Rome as his example — he gives a single line of
succession. That is, he describes one bishop succeeding another. There is no
suggestion of multiple successions.

… it is evident that while the terminology regarding the offices of bishop and
presbyter remained somewhat fluid in the first and second centuries, the offices
themselves were not interchangeable. Ss. Clement and Irenaios, like St. Ignatios, know of only one bishop in a church at a time."

Clark Carlton, http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/2009/09/structure-and-worship-of-early-church.html
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« Reply #37 on: December 11, 2009, 01:41:31 PM »

That men called bishops were in place in the church from more or less the very start is not in dispute. What is debatable is your idea of apostolic succession. What is certain is that each individual church had its own bishop or bishops/elders/presbyters in early days. The concept of a bishop as you use the word, presiding over a diocese, a group of churches in a wide geographical area, developed a good deal later.

My dear David, I beg to differ. The scripture I cited clearly shows the Bishops sending out to the faithful with an Encyclical. If the faithful were not under the direction of Bishop, why would they send the Bishops out? Furthermore, the existance of a diocese is prevelant when Peter concedes to James during the first Council, because JAMES WAS THE BISHOP OF JERUSELUM. Although Peter had been appointed head of the Apostles, he conceded to James authority in Jeruselum.

Now don't misunderstand me: I am not saying that, because your Church has developed and maintained that form of organisation, it is in any way invalid as a Christian church. But I am saying that the system is not biblical,


This is incorrect, as the Book of Acts clearly demonstrates.

In our view,

This is your problem right here. Your pastors are submitting to their own view, rather than that of Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition.

But the form of church government which one believes in and/or practises is not a matter which determines heresy - unless it is a form specifically forbidden in scripture, such as women preachers and elders (pastors/bishops/presbyters - select whichever word you prefer).

If one cannot rely on the Church Government to define heresy, then why have a Church Government at all? Furthermore, your church cannot deny the authority of Church Government, since it is the first seven councils that helped define the canon of scripture the Baptists use (which was later modified by Luther), the doctrine of the Trinity, and other fundamental Christian beliefs.

Furthermore, our form of Church Government is completely scriptural, whereas your form of government is not.

Paul writes in the letters to his flock (also known as the Epistles) his directions to them as their Bishop:

"To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter." 2 Thessalonian 2:14-15

"Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you." 1Cor.11:1-2

The verse from 1 Corinthians is the directive of every Bishop to their flock. This is what being a Bishop is all about. I'm not sure what your idea or perception of a Bishop is, but that is their job: to preach the Gospel and pass down the faith of the Apostles just as Paul did to his flock.

I'm not sure how you can argue that the role of a Pastor is scriptural, who in some churches is self appointed and without formal education (i.e. Joel Osteen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Osteen) when it clearly shows in the Book of Acts how every leader of the Church was chosen by the Apostles, who then in turn chose other leaders in the Church. (Acts 6, 1 Tim 3, Titus 1:5, James 5:15) A scriptural example of this would be Paul appointing Timothy and Titus.

THIS is what Apostolic succession is all about. The Ecumenical Patriarch has unbroken succession from the throne of Saint Andrew.

How can your church follow in the traditions and beliefs of the Apostles, when they have not had leaders appointed by the Apostles? How can one glean from the traditions and beliefs of a faith that has not been passed down through the centuries?

We have provided scriptural proof that our faith is Biblical. You have not proved otherwise.

The ball rests in your court my friend.
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« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2009, 06:10:24 AM »

every Bishop ... that is their job: to preach the Gospel and pass down the faith of the Apostles

I'm not sure how you can argue that the role of a Pastor is scriptural, who in some churches is self appointed and without formal education ... We have provided scriptural proof

We entirely agree with the first point quoted above, that a bishop's rôle is to preach the Gospel and pass down the Faith of the Apostles. No need to wrangle over that one.

The points at issue are two: (1) what a bishop is; and (2) whether there is any need for, or reality in, apostolic succession. In our view a bishop is the same as a pastor, elder or overseer: he pastors and teaches only within one local church, not more widely. Although it has developed historically that each church often has only one pastor (elder/bishop/overseer), we do not argue that this is scriptural, and there is a widespread and proper move through the churches to get back to each church having a plurality of elders. But they will still function as such only in one church. We also agree with you entirely that pastors ought not to be self-appointed. That such things happen is well known, but it is deplorable. It usually happens in a small, weak or leaderless church, where a man of strong personality and ambition wishes to be a 'big fish in a small pond', and he tends to operate as an autocrat.

Regarding formal education, although it is desirable and often beneficial, it is not a biblical requirement to oversight of a church, so we wouldn't agree with you there. In re apostolic succession, we have (I think) explored this elsewhere, and I think we shall just have to 'agree to disagree'. We believe that the local church is the body of Christ in each place, and that the church appoints the pastor, seeking of course the guidance and confirmation of the Holy Spirit. I believe you find this system in the Didache, and yours in Ignatius. It is regrettable that apostolic succession (whether fact or fiction) is so central to your ecclesiology that it causes you to view other churches as invalid, for its presence among you and others does not do the same to us regarding you.
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« Reply #39 on: December 12, 2009, 05:33:09 PM »

every Bishop ... that is their job: to preach the Gospel and pass down the faith of the Apostles

I'm not sure how you can argue that the role of a Pastor is scriptural, who in some churches is self appointed and without formal education ... We have provided scriptural proof

We entirely agree with the first point quoted above, that a bishop's rôle is to preach the Gospel and pass down the Faith of the Apostles. No need to wrangle over that one.

The points at issue are two: (1) what a bishop is; and (2) whether there is any need for, or reality in, apostolic succession. In our view a bishop is the same as a pastor, elder or overseer: he pastors and teaches only within one local church, not more widely. Although it has developed historically that each church often has only one pastor (elder/bishop/overseer), we do not argue that this is scriptural, and there is a widespread and proper move through the churches to get back to each church having a plurality of elders. But they will still function as such only in one church. We also agree with you entirely that pastors ought not to be self-appointed. That such things happen is well known, but it is deplorable. It usually happens in a small, weak or leaderless church, where a man of strong personality and ambition wishes to be a 'big fish in a small pond', and he tends to operate as an autocrat.

Regarding formal education, although it is desirable and often beneficial, it is not a biblical requirement to oversight of a church, so we wouldn't agree with you there. In re apostolic succession, we have (I think) explored this elsewhere, and I think we shall just have to 'agree to disagree'. We believe that the local church is the body of Christ in each place, and that the church appoints the pastor, seeking of course the guidance and confirmation of the Holy Spirit. I believe you find this system in the Didache, and yours in Ignatius. It is regrettable that apostolic succession (whether fact or fiction) is so central to your ecclesiology that it causes you to view other churches as invalid, for its presence among you and others does not do the same to us regarding you.


You'll have to forgive me David, but I am exasperated by your post. You seem to have focused on two lines of my prior post and ignored the rest.

I have provided scriptural evidence backing our beliefs. I have asked you to provide scriptural evidence to prove the contrary.

You have not done so.

All you have done is restated your church's beliefs, which I am already familiar with. You haven't even shown how these beliefs are scripturally based!

So forgive me, but until you prove that either a) our beliefs of the role of the Bishop are unscriptural or b) your beliefs are scriptural, I don't see how you can say our beliefs go against scripture.

You did this to me once before after I provided scriptural evidence regarding the Eucharist. I threw a ton of evidence your way, and you responded with "Well I don't have time to read 500 years of writings!" or something to that affect. (Exact quote can be found here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19850.msg295379.html#msg295379 )

I don't need to read 500 years worth of writings to back up our beliefs because they are all plain and evident in scripture.

If I did not know any better, I would think that you were coming on here to just tell us that we were wrong with no proof as to why. Since I know this is not true, I ask you to provide proof (whether it is in scripture or the writings of the Early Church Fathers) that the Orthodox Church's understanding of the Bishop and Apostolic Succession is incorrect.
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« Reply #40 on: December 13, 2009, 06:16:10 AM »

Quote
prove that either
a) our beliefs of the role of the Bishop are unscriptural or
b) your beliefs are scriptural,
c) If I did not know any better, I would think that you were coming on here to just tell us that we were wrong
d) provide proof ... in ... the writings of the Early Church Fathers that the Orthodox Church's understanding of the Bishop and
e) Apostolic Succession is incorrect.

a) All I can say is, that it seems to us that every time the Gk words for "bishop, elder, overseer" are used in Acts and in the Epistles, the reference is to a single local church. One can easily get a concordance and check that up, but I am persuaded that such is the case. A bishop did not have a wider diocese.

b) The answer to b) is really the same as my reply to a).

c) I am glad that you can concede that you know better - but it may be that others do not know better. If inadvertently and clumsily I am giving that impression, it is better if I withdraw from the Forum. I am tempted to quote my favourite monk and write "Opto ut valeas in domino omnipotenti jugiter". It would be sincere.

d) You are almost asking for the impossible, for my point is that your teachings are not mentioned, either affirmed or gainsaid, in most early writings, though I know you can quote Ignatius.

e) I could point to Didache 15: "You must elect for yourselves bishops and deacons." Bishops were elected by the local church, not appointed by an unbroken chain of apostolic laying-on of hands.
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« Reply #41 on: December 13, 2009, 08:02:01 AM »

e) I could point to Didache 15: "You must elect for yourselves bishops and deacons." Bishops were elected by the local church, not appointed by an unbroken chain of apostolic laying-on of hands.

You need to study your Bible.

χειροτονησαντες δε αυτοις κατ εκκλησιαν πρεσβυτερους προσευξαμενοι μετα νηστειων παρεθεντο αυτους τω κυριω εις ον πεπιστευκεισαν

"And when they had ordained (literally "laid hands on") them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed." (Acts 14:23)
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« Reply #42 on: December 13, 2009, 08:24:22 AM »


a) All I can say is, that it seems to us that every time the Gk words for "bishop, elder, overseer" are used in Acts and in the Epistles, the reference is to a single local church. One can easily get a concordance and check that up, but I am persuaded that such is the case. A bishop did not have a wider diocese.


Of course, because Christianity hadn't grown to the size where it would be necessary for a bishop to preside over a diocese.  It was a natural extention as Christianity began to grow that the bishops had to spread themselves around more.
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« Reply #43 on: December 13, 2009, 08:37:55 AM »


a) All I can say is, that it seems to us that every time the Gk words for "bishop, elder, overseer" are used in Acts and in the Epistles, the reference is to a single local church. One can easily get a concordance and check that up, but I am persuaded that such is the case. A bishop did not have a wider diocese.


Of course, because Christianity hadn't grown to the size where it would be necessary for a bishop to preside over a diocese.  It was a natural extention as Christianity began to grow that the bishops had to spread themselves around more.
You're both incorrect. A Diocese in Koine is "episcopi", i.e. "bishopric", that is, the thing that the "episkopos" ("Bishop"- literally "overseer") oversees.
Even this word (diocese/bishopric) occurs in Acts. When the Apostles decide to elect someone to take the place of Judas Iscariot, we read:
γεγραπται γαρ εν βιβλω ψαλμων γενηθητω η επαυλις αυτου ερημος και μη εστω ο κατοικων εν αυτη και την επισκοπην αυτου λαβετω ετερος
And translated in the King James, we read:
"For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take."



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« Reply #44 on: December 13, 2009, 09:14:09 AM »

Quote
prove that either
a) our beliefs of the role of the Bishop are unscriptural or
b) your beliefs are scriptural,
c) If I did not know any better, I would think that you were coming on here to just tell us that we were wrong
d) provide proof ... in ... the writings of the Early Church Fathers that the Orthodox Church's understanding of the Bishop and
e) Apostolic Succession is incorrect.

a) All I can say is, that it seems to us that every time the Gk words for "bishop, elder, overseer" are used in Acts and in the Epistles, the reference is to a single local church. One can easily get a concordance and check that up, but I am persuaded that such is the case. A bishop did not have a wider diocese.

Even if it were true, so what?  Within each city you would have multiple parishes (for one thing, a large congregation would attract the attention of the authorities, and would run counter to the early model of the synagogue), but only one bishop, leading to the diocese structure we know today.  Not the congregationalist model you advocate.

Quote
b) The answer to b) is really the same as my reply to a).

c) I am glad that you can concede that you know better - but it may be that others do not know better. If inadvertently and clumsily I am giving that impression, it is better if I withdraw from the Forum. I am tempted to quote my favourite monk and write "Opto ut valeas in domino omnipotenti jugiter". It would be sincere.

d) You are almost asking for the impossible, for my point is that your teachings are not mentioned, either affirmed or gainsaid, in most early writings, though I know you can quote Ignatius.

and Clement, and Iranaeus, and...

since you mention St. Ignatius, think of him.  He seemed to think it of vital importance.  He was going to his death, so he had nothing to personally gain from an episcopate.


Quote
e) I could point to Didache 15: "You must elect for yourselves bishops and deacons." Bishops were elected by the local church, not appointed by an unbroken chain of apostolic laying-on of hands.
Bishops and deacons are still elected.  And they are consecrated by laying on of hands, not appointed.  What you accomplish by trying to set Didache 15 against the clear warrant of scripture about laying on of hands (e.g. Acts 13, Timothy, etc) is not clear.
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« Reply #45 on: December 13, 2009, 09:28:18 AM »

You can't be a heretic and "right with God."

Whilst expressing neither agreement nor disagreement, I should like to make two comments:

1) First, I should like to give an illustration (preachers do this!). I am told that one test of insanity is not to know who the Prime Minister is. Thus, the day Margaret Thatcher fell from power and was replaced by a relative non-entity (politically speaking), technically a considerable number of people went mad.

2) It depends what is meant by "a heretic". It comes over as if you are placing huge emphasis on formal assent to a set of doctrines. The Athanasian Creed in my Prayer Book runs from pages 27-30. It ends with, "This is the Catholick Faith: which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved." The trouble is, it is virtually incomprehensible.

Like the people who technically went mad after the fall of Margaret Thatcher, so it seems that a good number of people have become heretical only after certain councils or other decrees. Before that, they were deemed part of the Church; afterwards, they were deemed heretics. Did they suddenly become unsaved? (That question is asked 'tongue in cheek', but it illuminates my point.)

You just prove the point of the importance on communing with the right Church. Ariansim, for instance, was never acceptable in the Church. Nicea I did not make it unacceptable, it just made the bishops have to formally decide which side they were on. Thatcher was no longer Prime Minister, John Major was (and didn't do too bad for a high school drop out), but the average British subject still remained British.  The question would assume relevance only if Thatcher refused to step down and started a civil war.  Then you b-y well had better known who the PM was.
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« Reply #46 on: December 13, 2009, 05:24:33 PM »

I seem to have made myself misunderstood. I heartily agree with the laying-on of hands, which indeed happened to me when I was appointed to a pastorate in 1983 (before shifting later to full-time Albanian work). This we practise; what I said is debatable is the unbroken succession called 'apostolic succession'. I said that this is not mentioned in scripture, nor proven historically. I am aware that it is believed as part of Holy Tradition. I have not said that such a system of church government invalidates your churches.

We do not claim that the congregational system we practise is what constitutes a valid church, though we do believe it is correct, and is a return to the NT pattern (minus, of course, the Apostles, who have forever passed from the scene); but I believe you make that claim for apostolic succession, bishops (in today's sense), priests and sacraments administered by priests.
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« Reply #47 on: December 13, 2009, 05:45:10 PM »

a) All I can say is, that it seems to us that every time the Gk words for "bishop, elder, overseer" are used in Acts and in the Epistles, the reference is to a single local church. One can easily get a concordance and check that up, but I am persuaded that such is the case. A bishop did not have a wider diocese.

Yes, because the Bishop is local. Also, in the Book of Acts it was initially a one to one ratio. But as we also see in the Book of Acts (Chapter 6), the duties of the Bishop became so great, that they then ordained Deacons to administer the sacraments so the Bishops could travel and preach the Gospel. So as the Church grew, the role of the Bishop grew as well.

b) The answer to b) is really the same as my reply to a).

I find it interesting that between the two of us, you come from a sola scriptura background, yet I am the one whose posts are littered with scripture verses, yet yours are far and few in between.

c) I am glad that you can concede that you know better - but it may be that others do not know better. If inadvertently and clumsily I am giving that impression, it is better if I withdraw from the Forum. I am tempted to quote my favourite monk and write "Opto ut valeas in domino omnipotenti jugiter". It would be sincere.

I'm sorry, but I'm not fluent in Latin. Would you mind translating?

Also, I hope you don't leave, as I do enjoy your posts. (Even if I don't agree with you most of the time. Wink )

d) You are almost asking for the impossible, for my point is that your teachings are not mentioned, either affirmed or gainsaid, in most early writings, though I know you can quote Ignatius.

I asked you to use scripture or writings from the Early Church Fathers. I have provided plenty of quotes showing that our beliefs are found in scripture, so how can you claim that they are not? Furthermore, the ECF's extend beyond just Ignatius. You just choose to ignore the rest.

e) I could point to Didache 15: "You must elect for yourselves bishops and deacons." Bishops were elected by the local church, not appointed by an unbroken chain of apostolic laying-on of hands.

Our Bishops are elected and then they have the laying of hands when they are ordained. So once again, another Orthodox belief supported by scripture. How shocking.
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« Reply #48 on: December 13, 2009, 06:09:03 PM »

I seem to have made myself misunderstood. I heartily agree with the laying-on of hands, which indeed happened to me when I was appointed to a pastorate in 1983 (before shifting later to full-time Albanian work). This we practise; what I said is debatable is the unbroken succession called 'apostolic succession'. I said that this is not mentioned in scripture,

Your Bible must be missing Titus and Timothy, and the account of St. Paul's ordination in Acts and the selection of St. Mathias to replace Judas. There's also the issue of being more explicit as the Apostles whom the bishops succeeded were still around while they were writing Scripture.


Quote
nor proven historically.

It is mentioned from the writers who new the Apostles onward.

Quote
I am aware that it is believed as part of Holy Tradition. I have not said that such a system of church government invalidates your churches.

LOL.  I was sooooo worred.



Quote
We do not claim that the congregational system we practise is what constitutes a valid church, though we do believe it is correct, and is a return to the NT pattern

Though it is not found in the NT


Quote
(minus, of course, the Apostles, who have forever passed from the scene); but I believe you make that claim for apostolic succession, bishops (in today's sense), priests and sacraments administered by priests.

In the narrow sense, Apostle succession flows through the line of bishops, but hanging on that is the fact that the Orthodox Church of today can point to those in every generation from the time of the Apostles to today who would be able to commune in our Church.  You cannot.
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« Reply #49 on: December 13, 2009, 11:58:24 PM »

nor proven historically.

It is mentioned from the writers who new the Apostles onward

For example:

"It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known to us throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors down to our own times, men who neither knew nor taught anything like what these heretics rave about"

St. Irenaeus Against Heresies   A.D. 189
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« Reply #50 on: December 14, 2009, 01:37:49 AM »

Quote
In the narrow sense, Apostle succession flows through the line of bishops, but hanging on that is the fact that the Orthodox Church of today can point to those in every generation from the time of the Apostles to today who would be able to commune in our Church.  You cannot.

Well, there is always Landmarkism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landmarkism  Wink
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« Reply #51 on: December 14, 2009, 03:55:46 AM »

I think of the Scripture where St. Paul admonishes, "As far at it depends upon you, be at peace with all men." [Romans 12:18]

Some people do not want peace or unity. Others try to establish peace and unity by compromising vital Christian doctrines. It is difficult, and I have been struggling with this in my dealings with my Fundamentalist Baptist brother-in-law.

I was wondering what others think of the famous ecumenical maxim: "In essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity." This appears like a good ideal, but the problem seems to be the issue of "essentials." What are the essenstials? What do we do when Christians differ on the definition of the "essentials?"

As a non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Christian, I have strong convictions about the Christological doctrine of my Tewhedo Faith. But I also recognize that - IMHO - my EO brethren essentially believe the same thing that we do in regard to the nature of Our Lord. Both Churches teach that Christ is fully God and fully man without separation, division, or confusion. Therefore, I do not see this as an issue which should cause me to loook upon my EO brothers and sisters as heretics or heterodox.

I continue to emphasize to my brother-in-law that we both worship Christ, the Holy Trinity, and believe that salvation comes through the Cross and grace of Christ. But he seems to still question my "salvation." He indicates that our theological differences are too great for us to establish true Christian fellowship and friendship. I am saddened by this, and even angry. Here is someone who is a pastor preaching unOrthodox doctrines, and yet I am willing to focus on what we do share- which is Christ. I restrain my Orthodox zeal for the sake of peace and friendship with him, and yet he refuses to even entertain theological discussions when they arise. He either leaves the room or accuses me of trying to force my opinions on him. Yet, ironically, he is usually the one that initiates the discussion.

In trying to bring us closer together, I attempt to show him that I love him and desire his friendship and fellowship. I tell him that I can learn much from him, and that I think he may even be able to learn something from me. I tell him that as Christians we should sharpen one another, "as iron sharpens iron..."  

A few days ago I invited him out for coffee. We had a pleasant and honest talk about our relationship. I feel it went well, although I'm still not sure if he truly views me as a brother in Christ. I think we were both concerned that each was trying to indoctrinate the other's children. I know that I was certainly concerned, and he admitted that he felt the same way. So we promised each other that we would never attempt to do such a thing. I think we feel much better about that issue now.  

Anyway, Christian unity is sadly a difficult thing to achieve. I guess Our Lord knew that we would be challenged by this, and therefore He prayed so powerfully on our behalf. The blessing is that since He prayed for us, we can have confidence that His will shall be done. So, we just have to coninutally strive to make it a reality as much as it dependeth upon us.

This discussion board clearly discloses that Christian unity is a difficult thing to achieve. I myself am guilty of placing zeal before love, and justifying my abrasive tenor by claiming that I'm upholding the Truth. But I guess love is the greatest Truth; and therefore if I am zealous for Truth I must be zealous for love. Does that make any sense?

OK, that's my two cents. Sorry for rambling. Embarrassed


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« Reply #52 on: December 14, 2009, 06:02:29 AM »

"Opto ut valeas in domino omnipotenti jugiter".
Would you mind translating?

...Ignatius. You just choose to ignore the rest.

Think of the word valediction - "saying vale". It is used to mean "Goodbye", which is why missionaries have a valedictory service when they leave for the field. It literally means "Prosper!" So Ælfric's way of closing correspondence means "I wish that you may always prosper in the Almighty Lord." As I wrote, it would be sincere. (You may have gathered that Ælfric, novice master at Cerne Abbas, and later abbot at Eynsham, is one of my heroes of the Faith. I even have a picture (not an icon!) of him on my office wall: well, not exactly, but they fed into a computer photos of all the male faces of the area, and produced the typical male face for that place. But I'm rambling off the point now...)

I didn't ignore writers later than Ignatius. I opted for him, the Didache and Clement of Rome because they are the earliest. The longer things go on, the more they develop, which is why I made no reference to later writers.
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« Reply #53 on: December 17, 2009, 08:24:00 PM »

I didn't ignore writers later than Ignatius. I opted for him, the Didache and Clement of Rome because they are the earliest. The longer things go on, the more they develop, which is why I made no reference to later writers.

I just can't help feeling like I live in backwards land now.  Or at the least the Twilight Zone!  Is someone trying to Gaslight me?Huh  What am I missing?  Does anyone else see the utter ridiculousness of this (no offense, David)?

This idea of "development" is hilarious to me (and not in a good way)!  You have such a problem with what you perceive to be development in Orthodoxy, yet the obvious development within your own faith (which strays so far from what had been believed from the beginning of Christianity as to be almost unrecognizable) you have no issues with!  We can even point to the dates and people who developed the innovations in your theology!  Yet you have such issues with Orthodoxy for what you perceive might be developments in the first 30-60 years of Christianity!  I just can't take this seriously, I'm sorry.

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« Reply #54 on: December 18, 2009, 07:21:43 AM »

We can even point to the dates and people who developed the innovations in your theology! 

What innovations? Point to me something in my beliefs which contradicts scripture, and I shall abandon it as a mistake.

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« Reply #55 on: December 18, 2009, 10:15:37 AM »

We can even point to the dates and people who developed the innovations in your theology!  

What innovations? Point to me something in my beliefs which contradicts scripture, and I shall abandon it as a mistake.



Okey dokey. What about no infant baptism? Or that the Lord's Supper is a remembrance and the bread and wine are not His Body and Blood. Or Bishops?
I could probably think of more if I were more familiar with Baptist theology, but these are the ones that come to mind.
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« Reply #56 on: December 18, 2009, 10:43:58 AM »

infant baptism... the Lord's Supper... Bishops... probably think of more

The first is, on your side, an argument from silence: there is no instance of it in scripture.

The second is a matter of interpretation. I have written at length on this, but I think it was on the Private Forum, as I felt the matter is too sacred to become a matter of strife between us.

The third I wrote of either a few posts further up, or very recently on a different thread: we do believe in bishops, but we believe each bishop has authority only over one local church. Again, as with baptism, there is no example of your sort of bishop in the scriptures. You are probably including apostolic succession through the laying-on of the apostles' and thereafter of episcopal hands, which again is your way of appointing clergy and may or may not express a historical reality, but is not laid down in scripture as the permanent manner by which the clergy must be appointed.

To be honest, I guess on all these we are really back to the question of 'sola scriptura' or Holy Tradition (including scripture). Otherwise we'd go round and round in circles, me saying "the Bible means this" and you saying "No, the Bible means this." I see it as a matter of where we repose our faith: do we trust the Bible as sufficient and authoritative, or do we trust Holy Tradition (which, I know, includes the Bible)? This of course is also something we have explored together at length over the months (it is becoming years!), and neither your position nor ours can be established beyond gainsaying by philosophy or logic: it must be a matter of faith. We cannot go beyond that, but at that point some of you start calling us our own popes, because we have not rested our faith in the teachings of your Church regarding Tradition.

And in case we don't communicate again before, let me wish you in Dixie a richly blessed Christmas and an equally blessed, and prosperous, 2010.
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« Reply #57 on: December 18, 2009, 11:44:13 AM »

Quote from: David Young link=topic=24785.msg387465#msg387465
Otherwise we'd go round and round in circles, me saying "the Bible means this" and you saying "No, the Bible means this." I see it as a matter of where we repose our faith: do we trust the Bible as sufficient and authoritative, or do we trust Holy Tradition (which, I know, includes the Bible)?

Yep, that's it. When sincere Christians disagree on a matter of interpretation of Scripture, how is this resolved? (The Protestant model is, of course, to form a new denomination).

Your dichotomy Bible vs. Holy Tradition is false, as I believe you see, since you understand that Holy Tradition includes the Bible. You certainly know by now, after all our conversations, that Orthodox Christians most certainly do repose our faith in the Bible.

What we do not repose our faith in is anyone's personal individual interpretation of the Bible.

OTOH, you do. Your elevate your own personal individual interpretation of Scripture and repose your faith in that. (using the general "you" and not the personal "you", you understand!)

P.S. Y'all have a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!
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« Reply #58 on: December 18, 2009, 12:06:07 PM »



What innovations? Point to me something in my beliefs which contradicts scripture, and I shall abandon it as a mistake.



Herein lies the problem, I believe. I can see the heretics of the first and second century making similar types of statements.  (I'm not name calling here, just using an example).  Wink They often did point to scripture in an effort to "prove" their doctrines, and to the unassuming eye, they may have made alot of sense.  (This is why JW's and the like have so much success when they go door to door; they are very well trained to twist particular verses and present their cases convincingly to those who don't know any better.)

The key problem then is interpretation and context!  The heretics were trying to interpret these scriptural passages to mean things that they didn't mean by taking them out of their proper context; that being the apostolic tradition in which the scriptures had been handed down. The early Church fathers knew better when confronted with such novel teachings; they judged rightly the absence of such notions within the tradition that had been handed down to them and subsequently rejected them. This has much to do with how the scriptural canon was formed; that is by comparing the writings against the tradition of the fathers. (It wasn't a scriptural popularity contest, as many protestants would like to believe. If that was the case, then Matthew most likely would have been the only gospel canonicized; it was by far the most read of the time, and generally considered to be the only "legitimate" gospel!)

Ok, the semi-colon party is now officially over!   laugh
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« Reply #59 on: December 18, 2009, 12:13:54 PM »


The key problem then is interpretation and context!  The heretics were trying to interpret these scriptural passages to mean things that they didn't mean by taking them out of their proper context; that being the apostolic tradition in which the scriptures had been handed down. The early Church fathers knew better when confronted with such novel teachings; they judged rightly the absence of such notions within the tradition that had been handed down to them and subsequently rejected them. This has much to do with how the scriptural canon was formed; that is by comparing the writings against the tradition of the fathers. (It wasn't a scriptural popularity contest, as many protestants would like to believe. If that was the case, then Matthew most likely would have been the only gospel canonicized; it was by far the most read of the time, and generally considered to be the only "legitimate" gospel!)


Excellent!
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« Reply #60 on: December 18, 2009, 12:32:13 PM »

Your dichotomy Bible vs. Holy Tradition is false, as I believe you see, since you understand that Holy Tradition includes the Bible. ... Your elevate your own personal individual interpretation of Scripture and repose your faith in that.

Yes, I was not intending to set up a dichotomy; I realise that Holy Tradition includes the Church's interpretation of the text of scripture, which scripture you see, as we do, as divinely inspired. But I don't think I am elevating my personal opinion: there are and have been quite a lot of Protestants, going back (without that name) to before the Reformation, and I wish to ensure that my personal beliefs are in accord with the essentials of theirs. You could say it functions as our own tradition, which I suppose is broader than yours, allowing more room for variation of interpretation in what we see as non-essentials. But I am careful to remain within the parameters of that tradition, not because I am afraid to think, but because my thinking had led me to believe that therein lies security, in view of our Lord's promises to his church. When I start my own denomination (and here I write with keyboard in cheek) it will not lie outside that tradition.
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« Reply #61 on: December 18, 2009, 12:39:54 PM »

Your dichotomy Bible vs. Holy Tradition is false, as I believe you see, since you understand that Holy Tradition includes the Bible. ... Your elevate your own personal individual interpretation of Scripture and repose your faith in that.

But I don't think I am elevating my personal opinion: there are and have been quite a lot of Protestants, going back (without that name) to before the Reformation, and I wish to ensure that my personal beliefs are in accord with the essentials of theirs.
Which is why I noted that I was using "you" in a general sense, and not a personal sense. But what Protestants do you agree with? Luther? Who believed in Mary's ever-virginity and infant baptism?

Quote
You could say it functions as our own tradition, which I suppose is broader than yours, allowing more room for variation of interpretation in what we see as non-essentials.
But who decides what is essential and what is non-essential? You see, that is the same argument.

Quote
But I am careful to remain within the parameters of that tradition, not because I am afraid to think, but because my thinking had led me to believe that therein lies security, in view of our Lord's promises to his church. When I start my own denomination (and here I write with keyboard in cheek) it will not lie outside that tradition.
Why? When you are perfectly comfortable in remaining outside the parameters of a more ancient Tradition? Because of your personal and individual interpretation of Scripture.
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« Reply #62 on: December 18, 2009, 12:57:07 PM »

I didn't ignore writers later than Ignatius. I opted for him, the Didache and Clement of Rome because they are the earliest. The longer things go on, the more they develop, which is why I made no reference to later writers.

I just can't help feeling like I live in backwards land now.  Or at the least the Twilight Zone!  Is someone trying to Gaslight me?Huh  What am I missing?  Does anyone else see the utter ridiculousness of this (no offense, David)?

This idea of "development" is hilarious to me (and not in a good way)!  You have such a problem with what you perceive to be development in Orthodoxy, yet the obvious development within your own faith (which strays so far from what had been believed from the beginning of Christianity as to be almost unrecognizable) you have no issues with!  We can even point to the dates and people who developed the innovations in your theology!  Yet you have such issues with Orthodoxy for what you perceive might be developments in the first 30-60 years of Christianity!  I just can't take this seriously, I'm sorry.

 Grin

Just to say hello and Merry Christmas!  Know you are busy, hope you know you are missed!

And in case we don't communicate again before, let me wish you in Dixie a richly blessed Christmas and an equally blessed, and prosperous, 2010.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

infant baptism... the Lord's Supper... Bishops... probably think of more

The first is, on your side, an argument from silence: there is no instance of it in scripture.

So you claim.

Let's cross two lines of polemics that I am sure you are familiar with, but probably haven't seen cross referenced: that of the necessity of immersion and that of infant baptism.

I am sure you have heard the argument around the meaning of οἶκον "household" as in baptizing a household, the usage in the NT, Septuagint, papyri, Jewish Tradition etc. for it including infant baptism. This you dismiss as an argument from silence.  The problem is that the argument around the meaning of βαπτίζω rests on the same foundation to require immersion.

Quote
The second is a matter of interpretation. I have written at length on this, but I think it was on the Private Forum, as I felt the matter is too sacred to become a matter of strife between us.

The third I wrote of either a few posts further up, or very recently on a different thread: we do believe in bishops, but we believe each bishop has authority only over one local church. Again, as with baptism, there is no example of your sort of bishop in the scriptures.

St. Paul specifially notes the St. Titus is appointing bishops in the cities of Crete, and is in charge of them.

The Church of Antioch did not go on what its local bishop had to say, but went up to Jerusalem, Antioch not yet having become Autocephalous.  As Patriarch, St. James writes in the name of his hieararchy as his successor does now in the name of the present Holy Synod.


Quote
You are probably including apostolic succession through the laying-on of the apostles' and thereafter of episcopal hands, which again is your way of appointing clergy and may or may not express a historical reality, but is not laid down in scripture as the permanent manner by which the clergy must be appointed.
No, just every time in scripture clergy, even deacons and even the laity, are appointed in scripture, it is ALWAYS by the laying on of hands.

What happen to sola scritpura?

Quote
To be honest, I guess on all these we are really back to the question of 'sola scriptura' or Holy Tradition (including scripture). Otherwise we'd go round and round in circles, me saying "the Bible means this" and you saying "No, the Bible means this." I see it as a matter of where we repose our faith: do we trust the Bible as sufficient and authoritative,


and itself directs us to tradition, e.g. I Thessalonians 3:6, II Thessalonians 2:15, I Corinthians 11:2, etc.


Quote
or do we trust Holy Tradition (which, I know, includes the Bible)? This of course is also something we have explored together at length over the months (it is becoming years!), and neither your position nor ours can be established beyond gainsaying by philosophy or logic: it must be a matter of faith. We cannot go beyond that, but at that point some of you start calling us our own popes, because we have not rested our faith in the teachings of your Church regarding Tradition.

No, you rested you faith on your own tradition, post 1517.

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« Reply #63 on: December 18, 2009, 01:01:25 PM »

Your dichotomy Bible vs. Holy Tradition is false, as I believe you see, since you understand that Holy Tradition includes the Bible. ... Your elevate your own personal individual interpretation of Scripture and repose your faith in that.

Yes, I was not intending to set up a dichotomy; I realise that Holy Tradition includes the Church's interpretation of the text of scripture, which scripture you see, as we do, as divinely inspired. But I don't think I am elevating my personal opinion: there are and have been quite a lot of Protestants, going back (without that name) to before the Reformation,

that's not a really hard thing to do, as you would admit that the Vatican predates the Reformation as well.  The question is, can the Protestants trace themselves back, without trying to cherry pick, their way back to the Apostles.

Quote
and I wish to ensure that my personal beliefs are in accord with the essentials of theirs.

The Early Protestants or the Apostles?  With whom, for instance, in the 3rd century do your believes accord?


Quote
You could say it functions as our own tradition, which I suppose is broader than yours, allowing more room for variation of interpretation in what we see as non-essentials. But I am careful to remain within the parameters of that tradition, not because I am afraid to think, but because my thinking had led me to believe that therein lies security, in view of our Lord's promises to his church. When I start my own denomination (and here I write with keyboard in cheek) it will not lie outside that tradition.
...further?
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« Reply #64 on: December 18, 2009, 01:12:20 PM »

David -

Luke 24:27
Where did this understanding go?
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« Reply #65 on: December 18, 2009, 01:44:38 PM »

Your dichotomy Bible vs. Holy Tradition is false, as I believe you see, since you understand that Holy Tradition includes the Bible. ... Your elevate your own personal individual interpretation of Scripture and repose your faith in that.

Yes, I was not intending to set up a dichotomy; I realise that Holy Tradition includes the Church's interpretation of the text of scripture, which scripture you see, as we do, as divinely inspired. But I don't think I am elevating my personal opinion: there are and have been quite a lot of Protestants, going back (without that name) to before the Reformation, and I wish to ensure that my personal beliefs are in accord with the essentials of theirs. You could say it functions as our own tradition, which I suppose is broader than yours, allowing more room for variation of interpretation in what we see as non-essentials. But I am careful to remain within the parameters of that tradition, not because I am afraid to think, but because my thinking had led me to believe that therein lies security, in view of our Lord's promises to his church. When I start my own denomination (and here I write with keyboard in cheek) it will not lie outside that tradition.

I would be interested in hearing what the parameters of that tradition are. Using those parameters would surly bind those in communion. Interestingly there wouldn't have to be a splintering or denominationalism if those traditions are followed. You see. Communion as we know it is based on togetherness rather than separation.  Now if Joe "fictional character" decides he doesn't like our Church and goes off to start a new one because it's wrong. It's not because he believes the same things but because he believes something different. Signaling a break from communion rather than a communal tradition.


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« Reply #66 on: December 18, 2009, 02:19:32 PM »

I'd like to answer all these points - or I wish Cleopas would! - but of course it's a busy time: get the tree and decorate it tomorrow; preach on Sunday and have the family to meal; office on Monday; get holly and ivy on Tuesday (coupled with lunch at country pub with an 'improving book'); son arrives from York on Wednesday...

If I get time, I shall; if I don't, please be indulgent!

Meanwhile, as someone suggested on a recent post that all good Christians should use Old English, let me emphasise my wish for y'all for a glæd Geol and gesælig niw gear.
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« Reply #67 on: December 19, 2009, 10:24:33 AM »

what Protestants do you agree with? Luther? Who believed in Mary's ever-virginity and infant baptism?

Wesley also believed in Mary's perpetual virginity; but we do not see it as an essential of the Christian Faith. As regards infant baptism... I think you know my views!  Wink

Quote
But who decides what is essential and what is non-essential?

A good question. Some people emphasise some doctrines more than other people emphasise them, such as predestination or believers' baptism, but there is a broad concensus among Evangelicals concerning the distinctives and essentials of the Evangelical faith.

Quote
But I am careful to remain within the parameters of that tradition, not because I am afraid to think, but because my thinking had led me to believe that therein lies security, in view of our Lord's promises to his church. When I start my own denomination (and here I write with keyboard in cheek) it will not lie outside that tradition.

Why? When you are perfectly comfortable in remaining outside the parameters of a more ancient Tradition?

Probably for the same reason as you remain in the more ancient one: you believe it to be true. We believe of course that our faith is not a cluster of innovations, but a reversion to the NT faith and practice. There is greater leeway for variation within Protestantism than in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #68 on: December 19, 2009, 10:37:07 AM »

Let's cross two lines of polemics ...: that of the necessity of immersion and that of infant baptism.

Good point. The mode of baptism (sprinkling, affusion, immersion) and the proper recipients of it (infants/believers) are separate issues. In re the mode, the people in the NT went down into the water, and the symbolism is that of burial.

Quote
I am sure you have heard the argument around the meaning of οἶκον "household"

Many times; but that the households who were baptised contained infants is surmise on your part, not stated. Many households only contain members old enough to believe in Christ.

Quote
St. Paul specifially notes the St. Titus is appointing bishops in the cities of Crete, and is in charge of them.

The Church of Antioch did not go on what its local bishop had to say, but went up to Jerusalem, Antioch not yet having become Autocephalous.  As Patriarch, St. James writes in the name of his hieararchy as his successor does now in the name of the present Holy Synod.

The apostolic age has been succeeded by something different: whether by apostolic succession and your kind of bishop, or whether by autonomous local churches ruled by local elders ('bishops') in a fellowship of equality, is the point at issue.

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No, you rested you faith on your own tradition, post 1517.

Believing it to be a return to the beliefs of the apostolic age (with the apostles gone, of course).]
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« Reply #69 on: December 19, 2009, 10:42:31 AM »

The question is, can the Protestants trace themselves back, without trying to cherry pick, their way back to the Apostles.


No, that is not the question. Rather it is is, Is unbroken historical continuity of any importance one way or the other?

Quote
and I wish to ensure that my personal beliefs are in accord with the essentials of theirs.

The Early Protestants or the Apostles?  With whom, for instance, in the 3rd century do your believes accord?

The early (and later) Protestants aimed to return to the beliefs of the apostles, so there is no dichotomoy. In re the 3rd century, I fear I have not read very much from that period. I've sort-of jumped from Irenæus and Justyn to Athanasius and Chrysostom.
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« Reply #70 on: December 19, 2009, 10:46:06 AM »

Luke 24:27
Where did this understanding go?

Not sure I understand the question. Can you unpack it a bit? Sorry.
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« Reply #71 on: December 19, 2009, 10:54:02 AM »

I would be interested in hearing what the parameters of that tradition are.

Not fobbing you off here, but thinking the question opens up too vast an area for me to address here: there are books on Evengelical identity, and plenty of statements of faith issued by inter-denominational Evangelical groups (fellowships of churches, missionary societies, etc). It is fairly easy to find this out, and if you wish I'll hunt down a few of them for you.

Quote
Now if Joe "fictional character" decides he doesn't like our Church and goes off to start a new one because it's wrong. It's not because he believes the same things but because he believes something different. Signaling a break from communion rather than a communal tradition.

I think you've got it back to front. Joe probably believes passionately in the faith and practice of the denomination he is splitting off from, and sees it as having apostasised to a greater or lesser extent; so he sets up a new fellowship aiming to revert to what went before, not to strike out on a new path. Did not (for instance) Wesley aim only to bring the Church of England to a sincerity and commitment of faith and practice such as its documents set out? And when the Wesleyans cooled off, or were perceived as doing so, did not the Primitive Methodists aim only to return to the spirit and faith of Wesley? It's not usually starting something new, but rather aiming to return to what was lost. Those who start something new are probably usually heretics with defective views of the person and/or work of Christ, the Trinity, and other central matters.
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« Reply #72 on: December 19, 2009, 03:17:34 PM »

David - Luke 24:27
Where did this understanding go?
Ok.  " And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning Himself "
With this scripture we can see that Christ revealed the Prophecy, as fulfilled in Him, to the Apostles. This is the knowledge from whence Holy Tradition came. Now the interpretation of Scripture is Handed down from God, Himself. This is the very Gospel, before being written, which was the foundation of the scriptures.
Do you think this is handed down through the Holy Spirit to the minds of men, to just anyone who believes in the Trinity? If so, Why then, are there so many churches which fall into heresy by interpreting scripture differently. These heretics of the early church used the scripture to attempt proving their point. Yet it was the consensus of the church, based on tradition, which held true the faith during these moments.
The Bible has many verses throughout which coincide with the concept of Holy Tradition. You ask why Holy Apostolic Succession is important. This is why. Without it, interpretation is left in the hands of men, which confuses the very teaching of Christ and Salvation through Him.
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« Reply #73 on: December 19, 2009, 04:48:35 PM »

Let's cross two lines of polemics ...: that of the necessity of immersion and that of infant baptism.

Good point. The mode of baptism (sprinkling, affusion, immersion) and the proper recipients of it (infants/believers) are separate issues. In re the mode, the people in the NT went down into the water, and the symbolism is that of burial.

Ah, the problem is that I have been to the Holy Land, and you couldn't be immersed in most places (in fact, all places, except for the Jordan) even if you laid down flat in the 'river' (creek actually matches the reality more).

As for symbolism, burial is not the only one: no one got their feet wet while crossing the Red Sea but passed through it, nor did those in Noah's Ark, though they are also the symbolism of baptism. I Corin. 10:2, I Peter 3:20.

If being baptised into Christ's death was literal, as is argued, then every baptism would be a drowning. Shocked

Then there's the problem that the Didache specifically excludes your necessity of submersion, and at the earliest date.

Quote
Quote
I am sure you have heard the argument around the meaning of οἶκον "household"

Many times; but that the households who were baptised contained infants is surmise on your part, not stated. Many households only contain members old enough to believe in Christ.

Only surmise on your part that going into water must mean submersion: only in the story at the Jordan, can it mean that, and in the case of the baptism of St. Paul, for instance, it most certainly does not.  Not only because St. Ananias' house has no facility capable of that, but the fact that households of the time (and I've been to thousands) didn't except for the very wealthiest, and even then it was unusual.

The term οἶκον is a term of art: it had a legal/canonical meaning which included children.  Even if no household baptized in the NT had children "below age," that wouldn't change the fact that this "of age" requirement has no basis in the thinking of the time.  When a man, for instance, converted to Judaism, all his household of whatever age was circumcized and baptized in a mikvah.  The default definition of οἶκον includes babes, and hence the burden lies on the Apostles and scripture, and hence you, to demonstrate otherwise.  Not to get political, but your argument ressembles that of the advocates of gay marriage: whereas the case law etc up until the modern age shows that the definition of marriage presupposes a man and a women.  Otherwise we would find arguments, as we do, over polygamy, remarriage of the divorced and widowed, and the status of couples without children.  The definition of marriage including two people of the same sex is a modern novelty, although homosexual couples are known throughout history to Antiquity.

Quote
Quote
St. Paul specifially notes the St. Titus is appointing bishops in the cities of Crete, and is in charge of them.

The Church of Antioch did not go on what its local bishop had to say, but went up to Jerusalem, Antioch not yet having become Autocephalous.  As Patriarch, St. James writes in the name of his hieararchy as his successor does now in the name of the present Holy Synod.

The apostolic age has been succeeded by something different: whether by apostolic succession and your kind of bishop, or whether by autonomous local churches ruled by local elders ('bishops') in a fellowship of equality, is the point at issue.

Well since the apostolic succession differs only in that bishops who have succeeded the Apostles, and not the Apostles themselves, constitute it, and we see no congregationalism (none that is praised, see Corinthians) in the NT, point scored.

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No, you rested you faith on your own tradition, post 1517.

Believing it to be a return to the beliefs of the apostolic age (with the apostles gone, of course).]
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« Reply #74 on: December 19, 2009, 07:31:47 PM »

The question is, can the Protestants trace themselves back, without trying to cherry pick, their way back to the Apostles.


No, that is not the question. Rather it is is, Is unbroken historical continuity of any importance one way or the other?
Yep.

"I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts Me, and whoever accepts Me accepts the One who sent Me."  John 13:20

"These twelve did Jesus send forth, having given command to them, saying...'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you all the days, to the very end of the age" Mat. 10:5, 28:19-20.

"We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them!" Acts 15:24

"Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" Acts 19:15.

Quote
and I wish to ensure that my personal beliefs are in accord with the essentials of theirs.

The Early Protestants or the Apostles?  With whom, for instance, in the 3rd century do your believes accord?[/quote]

The early (and later) Protestants aimed to return to the beliefs of the apostles, so there is no dichotomoy. In re the 3rd century, I fear I have not read very much from that period. I've sort-of jumped from Irenæus and Justyn to Athanasius and Chrysostom.[/quote]
None of whose beliefs accord with yours.
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« Reply #75 on: December 19, 2009, 07:38:20 PM »

I would be interested in hearing what the parameters of that tradition are.

Not fobbing you off here, but thinking the question opens up too vast an area for me to address here: there are books on Evengelical identity, and plenty of statements of faith issued by inter-denominational Evangelical groups (fellowships of churches, missionary societies, etc). It is fairly easy to find this out, and if you wish I'll hunt down a few of them for you.

Quote
Now if Joe "fictional character" decides he doesn't like our Church and goes off to start a new one because it's wrong. It's not because he believes the same things but because he believes something different. Signaling a break from communion rather than a communal tradition.

I think you've got it back to front. Joe probably believes passionately in the faith and practice of the denomination he is splitting off from, and sees it as having apostasised to a greater or lesser extent; so he sets up a new fellowship aiming to revert to what went before, not to strike out on a new path. Did not (for instance) Wesley aim only to bring the Church of England to a sincerity and commitment of faith and practice such as its documents set out? And when the Wesleyans cooled off, or were perceived as doing so, did not the Primitive Methodists aim only to return to the spirit and faith of Wesley? It's not usually starting something new, but rather aiming to return to what was lost. Those who start something new are probably usually heretics with defective views of the person and/or work of Christ, the Trinity, and other central matters.

And the Protestants are different how?

I propose that the earliest sect that we can point to that could come within the parameters of Evangelical beliefs would be the Waldensians.  But that only takes us to the 12th century, already over a millenium too late for the True Church.
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« Reply #76 on: December 21, 2009, 11:11:40 AM »

I have been to the Holy Land, and you couldn't be immersed in most places

As for symbolism, burial is not the only

I am ready to concede that the mode is possibly less important than the question of the proper recipients of the rite. Baptism does symbolise burial (hence immersion), but it also symbolises washing, which - without being flippant - might point in the direction of affusion of even sprinkling these days, now that we have showers! I don't think you can say we are wrong to immerse. I - nay, we - certainly prefer immersion because of the heavy weight placed on the symbolism of burial and rising. Nonetheless, if someone insists on practising affusion or sprinkling, I am less inclined to strive with him than I would if he were baptising the wrong people.

In re "the wrong people", whether baptism symbolises burial, washing or anything else in the NT, it seems to us that it is always linked, joined, accompanied with faith in the 'illuminand'. I actually doubt that you can easily say we are wrong to baptise believers, and not their infants.

However - and here is the mystery or challenge to me - it seems that the huge majority of men God has mightily used in the past have been pædobaptists (though he has mercifully been pleased to bless Baptists also): as far as I know, Waldo and his associates, Hus, Wycliffe, the Puritans, Wesley, Whitefield, the 19th century movements in Britain (Presbyterian in Wales, Methodist in England) have all been pædobaptists. How do we cope with that? All I can do is be apophatic about it: I don't know. I might suggest that God, who requires believers to be baptised, is at liberty to break his own rules, but he not given us the same liberty. If the best is the baptism of believers, we must practise it, and leave the rest to the grace of God.
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« Reply #77 on: December 21, 2009, 11:21:38 AM »

>from Irenæus and Justyn to Athanasius and Chrysostom.
>None of whose beliefs accord with yours.

I think you have gone a bit too far outside the truth in asserting that. In the many many pages of Chrysostom (on Matthew) and Athanasius (on The Incarnation) that I have read there is very little indeed that I would wish to alter. I grant there are some areas of divergence of belief between them and today's Evangelicals, but very far indeed from "none of whose beliefs accord with yours".

Of Irenæus and Justyn I have read less, though the whole of "On the Apostolic Preaching".

But in all, though we would differ from the increasingly literal interpretation of "This is my body... blood" and from the developing forms of church government, and would perhaps give a stronger weight to innate sinfulness than Athanasius, I do not feel that these are men whose beliefs coincide in no place with mine. Rather, the area of common ground is vast.
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« Reply #78 on: December 21, 2009, 11:28:42 AM »

>Those who start something new are probably usually heretics with defective views of the person and/or work of Christ, the Trinity, and other central matters.

>And the Protestants are different how? I propose that the earliest sect that we can point to that could come within the parameters of Evangelical beliefs would be the Waldensians.  But that only takes us to the 12th century, already over a millenium too late for the True Church.

How do we differ from those we deem heretics? The main area of dogma of which I was thinking is the Person of Christ, in which I believe we entirely adhere to the ancient Creeds; his work as Creator, Redeemer, Judge etc; and his virgin birth, perfect life, real death, bodily resurrection, and promised second coming in glory. The heretical sects do not hold all these truths.

You may well be right in saying that the Waldenses are the earliest documented 'Protestant' church. How long they existed before they appeared in the pages of extant historical writings, we cannot know. But as I have urged before, conformity of belief and practice is what we seek, not outward historical continuity.
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« Reply #79 on: December 21, 2009, 12:21:53 PM »

I don't think you can say we are wrong to immerse.
How could we say that you are wrong, when the Orthodox practice (where water is available and it is possible - see the Didache) is immersion.

Quote
However - and here is the mystery or challenge to me - it seems that the huge majority of men God has mightily used in the past have been pædobaptists (though he has mercifully been pleased to bless Baptists also): as far as I know, Waldo and his associates, Hus, Wycliffe, the Puritans, Wesley, Whitefield, the 19th century movements in Britain (Presbyterian in Wales, Methodist in England) have all been pædobaptists. How do we cope with that? All I can do is be apophatic about it: I don't know. I might suggest that God, who requires believers to be baptised, is at liberty to break his own rules, but he not given us the same liberty. If the best is the baptism of believers, we must practise it, and leave the rest to the grace of God.


David, to honor the spirit of the season, I will only reply to this truly amazing interpretation of history with the word "Nonsense!" instead of the word I really want to use.

Actually, I'll add another word:
Luther.
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« Reply #80 on: December 21, 2009, 01:07:57 PM »

I have been to the Holy Land, and you couldn't be immersed in most places

As for symbolism, burial is not the only

I am ready to concede that the mode is possibly less important than the question of the proper recipients of the rite. Baptism does symbolise burial (hence immersion), but it also symbolises washing, which - without being flippant - might point in the direction of affusion of even sprinkling these days, now that we have showers! I don't think you can say we are wrong to immerse. I - nay, we - certainly prefer immersion because of the heavy weight placed on the symbolism of burial and rising. Nonetheless, if someone insists on practising affusion or sprinkling, I am less inclined to strive with him than I would if he were baptising the wrong people.

In re "the wrong people", whether baptism symbolises burial, washing or anything else in the NT, it seems to us that it is always linked, joined, accompanied with faith in the 'illuminand'. I actually doubt that you can easily say we are wrong to baptise believers, and not their infants.

I would say it is as wrong to baptize believers (barring special circumstances, such as intermarriage on conversion, etc.) who do not bring their children with them as it would be to baptize "believers" in a adulterous relationship they refuse to give up.  Refusal to bring the children God gave them into the Faith raises questions about their own faith.


Quote
However - and here is the mystery or challenge to me - it seems that the huge majority of men God has mightily used in the past have been pædobaptists (though he has mercifully been pleased to bless Baptists also): as far as I know, Waldo and his associates, Hus, Wycliffe, the Puritans, Wesley, Whitefield, the 19th century movements in Britain (Presbyterian in Wales, Methodist in England) have all been pædobaptists. How do we cope with that? All I can do is be apophatic about it: I don't know. I might suggest that God, who requires believers to be baptised, is at liberty to break his own rules, but he not given us the same liberty. If the best is the baptism of believers, we must practise it, and leave the rest to the grace of God.
While God is not bound by sacraments, we and His Church are.  If one was to claim that he was ordained by God, and not the bishop, we must reject that as we did Montanus.  Similarly the unbaptized we must baptize "Go ye therefore....."
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« Reply #81 on: December 21, 2009, 01:14:24 PM »

>from Irenæus and Justyn to Athanasius and Chrysostom.
>None of whose beliefs accord with yours.

I think you have gone a bit too far outside the truth in asserting that. In the many many pages of Chrysostom (on Matthew) and Athanasius (on The Incarnation) that I have read there is very little indeed that I would wish to alter. I grant there are some areas of divergence of belief between them and today's Evangelicals, but very far indeed from "none of whose beliefs accord with yours".

While there is leaway on theoloumena, the bottom line is that they would not commune in your church, and they would not commune you.


Quote
Of Irenæus and Justyn I have read less, though the whole of "On the Apostolic Preaching".

But in all, though we would differ from the increasingly literal interpretation of "This is my body... blood" and from the developing forms of church government, and would perhaps give a stronger weight to innate sinfulness than Athanasius, I do not feel that these are men whose beliefs coincide in no place with mine. Rather, the area of common ground is vast.
As the Fathers said, the difference between homoousios and homoiousios is one letter, the difference between salvation and damnation.

You would also differ in thinking that the "literal" Real Presence and Apostolic Succession were "non-essentials."  Muslims' beliefs coincide in saying Jesus is the Christ, and no matter how vast the common ground, there's that deep chasm between us over the Son of God.
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« Reply #82 on: December 21, 2009, 01:17:24 PM »

>Those who start something new are probably usually heretics with defective views of the person and/or work of Christ, the Trinity, and other central matters.

>And the Protestants are different how? I propose that the earliest sect that we can point to that could come within the parameters of Evangelical beliefs would be the Waldensians.  But that only takes us to the 12th century, already over a millenium too late for the True Church.

How do we differ from those we deem heretics? The main area of dogma of which I was thinking is the Person of Christ, in which I believe we entirely adhere to the ancient Creeds; his work as Creator, Redeemer, Judge etc; and his virgin birth, perfect life, real death, bodily resurrection, and promised second coming in glory. The heretical sects do not hold all these truths.

Nestorian and Monophysites heretics in ancient times made the same claims.  I don't see many in Baptist circles refering to the Mother of God, nor venerating icons.

Quote
You may well be right in saying that the Waldenses are the earliest documented 'Protestant' church. How long they existed before they appeared in the pages of extant historical writings, we cannot know. But as I have urged before, conformity of belief and practice is what we seek, not outward historical continuity.
The latter is the proof of the former.  They do not exist seperately. To say otherwise is fantasy.
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« Reply #83 on: December 21, 2009, 05:34:14 PM »

I will only reply to this truly amazing interpretation of history with the word "Nonsense!"

If what I wrote is nonsense, then surely you must be saying that God has never blessed any would-be Christian body or movement outside of Orthodoxy. Maybe that is what you are saying. For I wrote that God seems abundantly willing to bless people who err from the truth in some regards. If such an idea is nonsense - that is, if the only thing that makes sense is to say that God blesses only those who err in no regards at all - then (from your own point of view) you must be saying he never blesses, nor ever has blessed, or worked among, people outside Orthodoxy.

Even so, that is not non sense. I do not believe it is true, but it is at least a falsehood that makes sense.

Am I not saying the same as ialmisry, that we must be bound by the sacraments but God is not bound by them? Ialmisry has a different view of the sacraments from ours, but are not he and I saying the same thing? Namely, that is, that God has shown himself willing to work savingly among people whose view of the sacraments is erroneous. I am saying that baptism ought to be applied, by immersion, only to believers - but that (1) God is willing to work outside those parameters and (2) that does not give me liberty to do so. That may be true or false - but it is not nonsense.
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« Reply #84 on: December 21, 2009, 05:39:18 PM »

the bottom line is that they would not commune in your church, and they would not commune you.

No, that is not the bottom line: the bottom line is: Is Christ present at your Eucharist? Is he present at ours? If, in mercy, he is present at both, then whether the Fathers would have admitted me to their Table, or deigned to come to ours, is not the bottom line. But if Christ is not present, then - to borrow a phrase elsewhence - we are of all men most miserable.
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« Reply #85 on: December 21, 2009, 05:56:50 PM »

I will only reply to this truly amazing interpretation of history with the word "Nonsense!"

If what I wrote is nonsense, then surely you must be saying that God has never blessed any would-be Christian body or movement outside of Orthodoxy. Maybe that is what you are saying. For I wrote that God seems abundantly willing to bless people who err from the truth in some regards. If such an idea is nonsense - that is, if the only thing that makes sense is to say that God blesses only those who err in no regards at all - then (from your own point of view) you must be saying he never blesses, nor ever has blessed, or worked among, people outside Orthodoxy.

Even so, that is not non sense. I do not believe it is true, but it is at least a falsehood that makes sense.

Am I not saying the same as ialmisry, that we must be bound by the sacraments but God is not bound by them? Ialmisry has a different view of the sacraments from ours, but are not he and I saying the same thing? Namely, that is, that God has shown himself willing to work savingly among people whose view of the sacraments is erroneous. I am saying that baptism ought to be applied, by immersion, only to believers - but that (1) God is willing to work outside those parameters and (2) that does not give me liberty to do so. That may be true or false - but it is not nonsense.

What's nonsense is that you choose to ignore the "huge majority of men God has mightily used in the past have been pædobaptists...as far as I know, Waldo and his associates, Hus, Wycliffe, the Puritans, Wesley, Whitefield, the 19th century movements in Britain (Presbyterian in Wales, Methodist in England) have all been pædobaptists. "

And Luther as well, Doesn't this give you a clue?

God can most certainly, and does, work outside our parameters. But He is God - and we are not.

We cannot say - it's not up to us - whether or not Christ is present in your memorial service but as I understand Baptist theology, you are the ones who believe that it is merely a memorial service and that He may be in some sense present but certainly not His Body and Blood. So it is you who are doing the separating not us.
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« Reply #86 on: December 21, 2009, 05:59:32 PM »

If what I wrote is nonsense, then surely you must be saying that God has never blessed any would-be Christian body or movement outside of Orthodoxy

It is not for us to say what God may bless. But The Church is One just like God is One. If you stand outside of it, you are making a mistake.  Good luck.
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« Reply #87 on: December 21, 2009, 06:07:54 PM »

I will only reply to this truly amazing interpretation of history with the word "Nonsense!"

If what I wrote is nonsense, then surely you must be saying that God has never blessed any would-be Christian body or movement outside of Orthodoxy. Maybe that is what you are saying. For I wrote that God seems abundantly willing to bless people who err from the truth in some regards. If such an idea is nonsense - that is, if the only thing that makes sense is to say that God blesses only those who err in no regards at all - then (from your own point of view) you must be saying he never blesses, nor ever has blessed, or worked among, people outside Orthodoxy.

Blessed in what sense?  The Muslim is better off than the pagan or the atheist, but the difference between the Muslim and the Orthodox.

Quote
Even so, that is not non sense. I do not believe it is true, but it is at least a falsehood that makes sense.

Am I not saying the same as ialmisry, that we must be bound by the sacraments but God is not bound by them? Ialmisry has a different view of the sacraments from ours, but are not he and I saying the same thing? Namely, that is, that God has shown himself willing to work savingly among people whose view of the sacraments is erroneous. I am saying that baptism ought to be applied, by immersion, only to believers - but that (1) God is willing to work outside those parameters and (2) that does not give me liberty to do so. That may be true or false - but it is not nonsense.

you are leaving out (3): because of (2), we can identify the continuous link to Christ and His Apostles where we have the assurance of those parameters within we KNOW He works.
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« Reply #88 on: December 21, 2009, 06:10:39 PM »

the bottom line is that they would not commune in your church, and they would not commune you.

No, that is not the bottom line: the bottom line is: Is Christ present at your Eucharist? Is he present at ours? If, in mercy, he is present at both, then whether the Fathers would have admitted me to their Table, or deigned to come to ours, is not the bottom line. But if Christ is not present, then - to borrow a phrase elsewhence - we are of all men most miserable.
They would not commune in your church because of the lack of assurance that Chris was present in your Eucharist, and they would not commune you because they knew with assurance that Christ was present in our (theirs and ours in the present day Orthodox Church) Eucharist.
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« Reply #89 on: December 21, 2009, 06:17:20 PM »

What's nonsense is that you choose to ignore the "huge majority of men God has mightily used in the past have been pædobaptists...

I'm not ignoring them, I'm saying there is mystery here. Is not the savouring of, and space for, mystery one of the strong points of Orthodoxy, in contrast with western Christianity which likes all questions answered and no loose ends? Do you not make a point of delighting in apophatic theology?  So why is it nonsense when I say that there is a mystery, a riddle, an unanswered paradox, in my faith? Would you really prefer me to say I have all the answers, and have no questions left?

Quote
God can most certainly, and does, work outside our parameters. But He is God - and we are not.

Which is what I am saying.

Quote
We cannot say ... whether or not Christ is present in your memorial service but as I understand Baptist theology, you are the ones who believe that it is merely a memorial service

There are Protestants who hold that view. It is usually ascribed to Zwingli rather than to Baptists, though many Baptists hold it too. The Baptist Confession of Faith states:

The outward elements in this ordinance, duly set apart to the use ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ, albeit in substance and nature they still remain truly and only bread and wine...  Worthy receivers ... also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive and feed upon Christ crucified and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance.

Now I realise this is short of what you believe: but it is also a good deal more than "merely a memorial service".

Quote
He may be in some sense present but certainly not His Body and Blood.

Now I think you are going beyond what is possible. You are saying that Christ is present in his body and blood only if people have the correct dogma regarding the Supper, regardless of their true repentance for sin, and their true faith in the ransom paid at Calvary on which they meditate at the Supper. Can you really be sure that Christ would withhold his presence, simply because it was mistakenly understood? It is you who call the Supper the Holy Mysteries; if your view of his presence is the correct one, then you should allow space for this mystery, that he deigns to be present even where things are imperfectly understood.
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« Reply #90 on: December 21, 2009, 06:23:40 PM »

What's nonsense is that you choose to ignore the "huge majority of men God has mightily used in the past have been pædobaptists...

I'm not ignoring them, I'm saying there is mystery here. Is not the savouring of, and space for, mystery one of the strong points of Orthodoxy, in contrast with western Christianity which likes all questions answered and no loose ends? Do you not make a point of delighting in apophatic theology?  So why is it nonsense when I say that there is a mystery, a riddle, an unanswered paradox, in my faith? Would you really prefer me to say I have all the answers, and have no questions left?

Quote
God can most certainly, and does, work outside our parameters. But He is God - and we are not.

Which is what I am saying.

Quote
We cannot say ... whether or not Christ is present in your memorial service but as I understand Baptist theology, you are the ones who believe that it is merely a memorial service

There are Protestants who hold that view. It is usually ascribed to Zwingli rather than to Baptists, though many Baptists hold it too. The Baptist Confession of Faith states:

The outward elements in this ordinance, duly set apart to the use ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ, albeit in substance and nature they still remain truly and only bread and wine...  Worthy receivers ... also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive and feed upon Christ curcified and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance.

Now I realise this is short of what you believe: but it is also a good deal more than "merely a memorial service".

Gnostic communion. Not much of an improvement from our POV.


Quote
Quote
He may be in some sense present but certainly not His Body and Blood.

Now I think you are going beyond what is possible. You are saying that Christ is present in his body and blood only if people have the correct dogma regarding the Supper, regardless of their true repentance for sin, and their true faith in the ransom paid at Calvary on which they meditate at the Supper. Can you really be sure that Christ would withhold his presence, simply because it was mistakenly understood? It is you who call the Supper the Holy Mysteries; if your view of his presence is the correct one, then you should allow space for this mystery, that he deigns to be present even where things are imperfectly understood.

The problem is that even allowing the possibility, we must err on the side of caution.
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« Reply #91 on: December 21, 2009, 06:25:38 PM »

Blessed in what sense? 

A good question. I have in mind the gift of salvation, repentance for sin wrought in the heart by the Holy Ghost, the new birth by faith, a sustained desire for growth in holiness and conformity to Christ - and all of this centred on the Person and work of Christ. But more - when I wrote of men being mightily used or blessed by God, I had in mind those to whom he has given the privilege of being used in bringing many people to such faith and experience
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« Reply #92 on: December 21, 2009, 06:32:20 PM »

we must err on the side of caution.

Of course you must. Again you are saying the same as I am. We believe that baptism should be performed only on profession of faith, and must 'err on the side of caution' even though we see the abundant grace of God working so wonderfully among pædobaptists. It would be an act of grave folly or indeed presumption for either you or us to do other than to 'err on the side of caution'. We must all practise what we sincerely believe, for it is somewhere written that whatever is not of faith (or conviction) is sin. But we must also be like Barnabas of whom it is written that "when he saw the grace of God, he was glad." Similarly I am glad that God has used, and continues to use, the words of women preachers; but I cannot set aside the biblical prohibition of women preaching and exercising authority in the church, and thus admit a woman preacher to my church (that is, should I again move into pastoral oversight).

And now it's bedtime in Wales, and I must wish y'all sweet and refreshing rest.
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« Reply #93 on: December 22, 2009, 12:02:16 PM »

What's nonsense is that you choose to ignore the "huge majority of men God has mightily used in the past have been pædobaptists...

I'm not ignoring them, I'm saying there is mystery here. Is not the savouring of, and space for, mystery one of the strong points of Orthodoxy, in contrast with western Christianity which likes all questions answered and no loose ends? Do you not make a point of delighting in apophatic theology?  So why is it nonsense when I say that there is a mystery, a riddle, an unanswered paradox, in my faith?

David, honey, it's not a mystery, a riddle or an unanswered paradox - it is what the Church has believed, preached, taught and practiced for centuries. All the great men of faith that you mention and admire believed in the historic understanding of baptism. It's only a mystery, riddle, paradox to folks of the Anabaptist tradition because they cling so tenaciously to the concept of only "believer's baptism."
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« Reply #94 on: December 22, 2009, 12:15:08 PM »

Now I think you are going beyond what is possible. You are saying that Christ is present in his body and blood only if people have the correct dogma regarding the Supper, regardless of their true repentance for sin, and their true faith in the ransom paid at Calvary on which they meditate at the Supper. Can you really be sure that Christ would withhold his presence, simply because it was mistakenly understood? It is you who call the Supper the Holy Mysteries; if your view of his presence is the correct one, then you should allow space for this mystery, that he deigns to be present even where things are imperfectly understood.

No that's not what I'm saying - I'm saying that's what Baptists believe. They do not believe that the Lord's Supper is His Body and Blood. They do not believe that they receive grace or anything really by participating.

According to my understanding, though I'm certainly no expert, Baptists do not recognize the Lord's Supper as a sacrament because it is symbolic and there is no grace to those who receive it. In the Lord's Supper, Baptists believe that they are remembering Christ and all that He has done for us in his life, death and resurrection.
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« Reply #95 on: December 22, 2009, 05:05:26 PM »

Now I think you are going beyond what is possible. You are saying that Christ is present in his body and blood only if people have the correct dogma regarding the Supper, regardless of their true repentance for sin, and their true faith in the ransom paid at Calvary on which they meditate at the Supper. Can you really be sure that Christ would withhold his presence, simply because it was mistakenly understood? It is you who call the Supper the Holy Mysteries; if your view of his presence is the correct one, then you should allow space for this mystery, that he deigns to be present even where things are imperfectly understood.

Here I think we can apply the standard Orthodox rule: we can say where the body of Christ is, but we cannot say where He is not. I would like to draw attention to one particular verse regarding the matter, however:

1 Cor. 11:29-30

"For the one who is eating and drinking unworthily (or, in a careless manner), eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning (or, correctly judging) the body of the Lord. For this reason, many among you are sick and ill, and many have fallen asleep (have died). For if we had discerned ourselves, we would not have been judged.

This verse seems to demonstrate that not discerning the body of the Lord within the eucharist while partaking thereof could actually be dangerous! This is one of the reasons why Orthodox practice closed communion. We know what we have, and we safeguard it.



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« Reply #96 on: December 22, 2009, 07:25:45 PM »

it's not a mystery ... it is what the Church has believed, preached, taught and practiced for centuries. All the great men of faith that you mention and admire believed in the historic understanding of baptism.

If what you say is true, then you are only creating the opposite mystery. The enormous surge in Christianity currently taking place in the world, especially in the southern hemisphere, is largely being experienced by Pentecostals, Baptists and Evangelicals holding believers' baptism. To such an extent that one hears of articles with titles like, "Is Brazil turning Protestant?"

One can only say (I think) that for reasons hidden in the mind of God, he is more than willing to bless both. We must (both you and we) practise only what we believe to be right, for if we do something believing it is wrong, then if I understand Corinthians aright, for us it is wrong (even if for others it is not). So ialmisry is right when he says that a convinced Orthodox must bring his infants for baptism if he is to maintain a clear conscience before God and man. But the mystery I stated does remain: why is God so abundantly willing to bless both parties? (I am not expecting an answer, otherwise I would not be calling it a divine mystery.)
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« Reply #97 on: December 22, 2009, 07:33:36 PM »

Baptists ... do not believe that the Lord's Supper is His Body and Blood.

True

Quote
They do not believe that they receive grace or anything really

Not true.

Quote
Baptists do not recognize the Lord's Supper as a sacrament

Half true: some Baptists do not believe in the sacramental nature of the Supper, others do. I do, my pastor does; one of my best friends doesn't. You'd have to discuss with a 'bare memorialist' why he believes what he does.

Quote
because it is symbolic

This is a false dichotomy: something can be symbolic and convey sacramental effect concurrently.

Quote
and there is no grace to those who receive it.

I do not recall ever hearing any Evangelical say that: it is definitely viewed as a 'means of grace'.

Quote
Baptists believe that they are remembering Christ and all that He has done for us in his life, death and resurrection.

Again, this is a false dichotomy: remembering his death in the Supper, which is certainly one aspect of it ("Do this in remembrance of me") does not exclude sacramental working.
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« Reply #98 on: December 22, 2009, 07:40:56 PM »

it's not a mystery ... it is what the Church has believed, preached, taught and practiced for centuries. All the great men of faith that you mention and admire believed in the historic understanding of baptism.

If what you say is true, then you are only creating the opposite mystery. The enormous surge in Christianity currently taking place in the world, especially in the southern hemisphere, is largely being experienced by Pentecostals, Baptists and Evangelicals holding believers' baptism. To such an extent that one hears of articles with titles like, "Is Brazil turning Protestant?"

One can only say (I think) that for reasons hidden in the mind of God, he is more than willing to bless both. We must (both you and we) practise only what we believe to be right, for if we do something believing it is wrong, then if I understand Corinthians aright, for us it is wrong (even if for others it is not). So ialmisry is right when he says that a convinced Orthodox must bring his infants for baptism if he is to maintain a clear conscience before God and man. But the mystery I stated does remain: why is God so abundantly willing to bless both parties? (I am not expecting an answer, otherwise I would not be calling it a divine mystery.)

But how long do these protestant denominations last? They only continue to fragment further and further, as close to three hundred years of history clearly show. Many last no more than a generation or two. Yet Orthodoxy remains, intact and with complete doctrinal. theological and sacramental integrity, after more than 2000 years. Coincidence?
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« Reply #99 on: December 23, 2009, 10:01:38 AM »

it's not a mystery ... it is what the Church has believed, preached, taught and practiced for centuries. All the great men of faith that you mention and admire believed in the historic understanding of baptism.

If what you say is true, then you are only creating the opposite mystery. The enormous surge in Christianity currently taking place in the world, especially in the southern hemisphere, is largely being experienced by Pentecostals, Baptists and Evangelicals holding believers' baptism. To such an extent that one hears of articles with titles like, "Is Brazil turning Protestant?"

One can only say (I think) that for reasons hidden in the mind of God, he is more than willing to bless both. We must (both you and we) practise only what we believe to be right, for if we do something believing it is wrong, then if I understand Corinthians aright, for us it is wrong (even if for others it is not). So ialmisry is right when he says that a convinced Orthodox must bring his infants for baptism if he is to maintain a clear conscience before God and man. But the mystery I stated does remain: why is God so abundantly willing to bless both parties? (I am not expecting an answer, otherwise I would not be calling it a divine mystery.)

But how long do these protestant denominations last? They only continue to fragment further and further, as close to three hundred years of history clearly show. Many last no more than a generation or two. Yet Orthodoxy remains, intact and with complete doctrinal. theological and sacramental integrity, after more than 2000 years. Coincidence?

There is a Mega Church down the road from me with thousands of members. They too preach that their members are abundantly blessed and receive all kinds of benefits from membership, therefore their doctrine must be correct. Christian Science has a small Church around here too. They say the proof of their doctrine is the abundant blessings of health and welfare that their members get. Not too far away the Buddhists say they can prove to you that their religion is best if you just try it for a 90 day test period and find that many of your personal problems clear up.

The central Truth of Christianity is not you and your own whims or your success or the idea's you bring to Christianity. The Central Truth is what God offers to you and your humble acceptance. We tend to believe that you are the one who should conform youself to Christianity , not Christianity conforming to you. Success is not measured by how many nominal converts you can sucker into the pews.
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« Reply #100 on: December 23, 2009, 10:08:55 AM »

The central Truth of Christianity is not you and your own whims or your success or the idea's you bring to Christianity. The Central Truth is what God offers to you and your humble acceptance... conform youself to Christianity , not Christianity conforming to you. Success is not measured by how many nominal converts you can sucker into the pews.

I agree 100%.
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« Reply #101 on: December 23, 2009, 11:06:29 AM »

it's not a mystery ... it is what the Church has believed, preached, taught and practiced for centuries. All the great men of faith that you mention and admire believed in the historic understanding of baptism.

If what you say is true, then you are only creating the opposite mystery. The enormous surge in Christianity currently taking place in the world, especially in the southern hemisphere, is largely being experienced by Pentecostals, Baptists and Evangelicals holding believers' baptism. To such an extent that one hears of articles with titles like, "Is Brazil turning Protestant?"

I once saw a documentary of that sort, where it was abundantly clear that the Pentacostals/Evangelicals worship a Great SUgar Daddy: there "service" was almost entirely a litany of each person saying "I want....please give me....."

If Protestantism can get rid of Candomblé et alia, fine. But there doesn't seem to be much of a difference.



Quote
One can only say (I think) that for reasons hidden in the mind of God, he is more than willing to bless both. We must (both you and we) practise only what we believe to be right, for if we do something believing it is wrong, then if I understand Corinthians aright, for us it is wrong (even if for others it is not). So ialmisry is right when he says that a convinced Orthodox must bring his infants for baptism if he is to maintain a clear conscience before God and man. But the mystery I stated does remain: why is God so abundantly willing to bless both parties? (I am not expecting an answer, otherwise I would not be calling it a divine mystery.)

Matthew 5:45
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« Reply #102 on: December 23, 2009, 11:28:10 AM »

it's not a mystery ... it is what the Church has believed, preached, taught and practiced for centuries. All the great men of faith that you mention and admire believed in the historic understanding of baptism.

If what you say is true, then you are only creating the opposite mystery. The enormous surge in Christianity currently taking place in the world, especially in the southern hemisphere, is largely being experienced by Pentecostals, Baptists and Evangelicals holding believers' baptism. To such an extent that one hears of articles with titles like, "Is Brazil turning Protestant?"

One can only say (I think) that for reasons hidden in the mind of God, he is more than willing to bless both. We must (both you and we) practise only what we believe to be right, for if we do something believing it is wrong, then if I understand Corinthians aright, for us it is wrong (even if for others it is not). So ialmisry is right when he says that a convinced Orthodox must bring his infants for baptism if he is to maintain a clear conscience before God and man. But the mystery I stated does remain: why is God so abundantly willing to bless both parties? (I am not expecting an answer, otherwise I would not be calling it a divine mystery.)

Yet I believe that Islam is the fastest growing religion, especially in Europe. So by your logic we should all become Muslim?
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« Reply #103 on: December 23, 2009, 12:50:01 PM »

The central Truth of Christianity is not you and your own whims or your success or the idea's you bring to Christianity. The Central Truth is what God offers to you and your humble acceptance... conform youself to Christianity , not Christianity conforming to you. Success is not measured by how many nominal converts you can sucker into the pews.

I agree 100%.

Really? My reading of your posts indicates to me that you are proud that so many people have be taken from the Catholic Church and have become Protestants. I also detect that you hold personal beliefs to be what is most important. Maybe it's just my miss understanding.

I am also curious about your linking of what you call "Believers Baptism" with the success in Brazil ( and I assume other places) in making converts. I am not sure I understand the connection. As you must know by now, we also only Baptise adults who declare their faith and reject past errors. However we do not withhold Baptism from infants and children. Please explain if you get the time.

Thanks   
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« Reply #104 on: December 23, 2009, 01:06:30 PM »

it was abundantly clear that the Pentacostals/Evangelicals worship a Great SUgar Daddy: there "service" was almost entirely a litany of each person saying "I want....please give me....."

But we deplore that kind of religion as heartily as you do. I confess to never having visited the southern hemisphere, and do not know first-hand the level of spirituality in the current surge of Christianity there. I am open to further information on that. But as regards TV documentaries, they tend (over here in Britain at least) to home in on the sensational or on that which would undermine true spirituality. They are interesting viewing, but I wouldn't place too much credence in the universality of what they report.

Quote
Matthew 5:45

Yes, but we're not talking about sun and rain - common grace; we are talking about the preaching of faith in Christ as Saviour and submission to him as Lord. Of course God's common grace is poured out on all in creation, regardless of faith, unbelief, goodness or wickedness. That has nothing to do with the matter I have called (to me at least) a mystery.
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« Reply #105 on: December 23, 2009, 01:08:58 PM »

Islam is the fastest growing religion, especially in Europe. So by your logic we should all become Muslim?

Not so: for (1) how can you refer to my logic in a matter which I said is mysterious? and (2) you know as well as I do that Islam is not preaching faith in Christ and does not therefore command the blessing of God the Father nor of the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #106 on: December 23, 2009, 01:14:31 PM »

My reading of your posts indicates to me that:

1) you are proud that so many people have be taken from the Catholic Church and have become Protestants.
2) you hold personal beliefs to be what is most important.
3) your linking of what you call "Believers Baptism" with the success in Brazil ( and I assume other places) in making converts.

Please explain if you get the time. Thanks 

Wow! I obviously haven't expressed myself at all lucidly this time. My apologies. I shall indeed attempt to clarify, for how I come over is far from my meaning, in all three points you mention! Time is short these few days, no doubt for all of us, but I shall try not to forget. Gently prompt me if I seem to!
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« Reply #107 on: December 23, 2009, 01:22:48 PM »

Islam is the fastest growing religion, especially in Europe. So by your logic we should all become Muslim?

Not so: for (1) how can you refer to my logic in a matter which I said is mysterious? and (2) you know as well as I do that Islam is not preaching faith in Christ and does not therefore command the blessing of God the Father nor of the Holy Spirit.

Well, your assertion seems to be that "believer's baptism" must be true, and God must be blessing it (rather than those who also practice infant baptism) because so many people are doing it. So using that criteria (if you don't like the word "logic") God must be blessing Islam, because it is growing so fast.
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« Reply #108 on: December 23, 2009, 02:40:54 PM »

your assertion seems to be ...

Alas! Are we writing or reading too quickly over the Christmas period? I'll try again later. I really didn't mean that. Sorry.
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« Reply #109 on: December 23, 2009, 03:11:11 PM »

My reading of your posts indicates to me that:

1) you are proud that so many people have be taken from the Catholic Church and have become Protestants.
2) you hold personal beliefs to be what is most important.
3) your linking of what you call "Believers Baptism" with the success in Brazil ( and I assume other places) in making converts.

Please explain if you get the time. Thanks

Wow! I obviously haven't expressed myself at all lucidly this time. My apologies. I shall indeed attempt to clarify, for how I come over is far from my meaning, in all three points you mention! Time is short these few days, no doubt for all of us, but I shall try not to forget. Gently prompt me if I seem to!

No problem... It seemed to me that you implying that the success of Brazilian Protestants was due to Believers Baptism. Or perhaps you were saying if Believers Baptism was so wrong, why has God caused so much success in taking people from Roman Catholicism.
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« Reply #110 on: December 24, 2009, 05:14:10 AM »

Last night’s fall of snow has put the kybosh on walking on the Sandstone Ridge, so I have time to attempt to unravel the confusion I have caused. I hope I manage it to some extent at least!

I seem to have given four wrong impressions:

1) you are proud that so many people have be taken from the Catholic Church and have become Protestants.
2) you hold personal beliefs to be what is most important.
3) your linking of what you call "Believers Baptism" with the success in Brazil ( and I assume other places) in making converts, implying that the success of Brazilian Protestants was due to Believers Baptism
4) your assertion seems to be that "believer's baptism" must be true, and God must be blessing it (rather than those who also practice infant baptism).

It’s easier to start at #2. I think it is terribly important to hold orthodox Christian beliefs, most importantly of all concerning the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. There has always been room for variation within Protestantism on issues that are not considered central, and in those I think that what is most important is not personal beliefs in the head but the attitude of the heart towards God in Christ, especially repentance, faith, submission, obedience. One Orthodox poster wrote of Augustine’s reference to ‘non-essentials’, another (ialmisry, I think) wrote of the theolegoumena. So: adherence to essential orthodoxy; engagement of the heart through Christ with God the Father.

Regarding #3, the thing got started like this:

1) I wrote that I find a mystery in this (to me) seeming paradox, that the Bible teaches only believers’ baptism, but the vast majority of men God has used in bringing people to know Himself in Christ have been pædobaptists.
2) KatherineofDixie replied that I ought to perceive this as a clue to the rightness of infant baptism.
3) I replied that this argument doesn’t hold water, because these days the majority of people God is using to bring people to know Himself practise believers’ baptism. (I only have books and articles to go on, I have not personally visited these mainly southern-hemisphere places – but assuming the reports are true.) Therefore I said, God’s use of mainly pædobaptists in the past, and mainly credobaptists at present, cannot be taken as a clue in either direction.
4) Therefore, whichever is right, it seems God is prepared to wink at the other as perhaps less important than we take it to be. Here, to me, is a significant part of the mystery, for to both me and you baptism is of real importance.
5) Certainly success in evangelism cannot be ascribed to which form of baptism one believes in, as God has used, and still uses, people from both camps.

I think that answers #4 as well, as it seems to be essentially the same idea.

Now to the more troubling idea, namely #1. If I am proud of anything, I am wrong. God forbid. I assume that those Brazilians, SE Asians (and others) who are coming to know the Lord through the Pentecostal movement did not find him personally in their previous context. That is not something that makes me proud, but if people are being born again through faith in Christ, then I am of course glad and hope it will long continue.

Finally, and not directly linked with the confusion, was the post which pointed to the character of some religious movements which practise believers’ baptism, namely a “Sugar-Daddy” approach to God. Here I replied that we find this every bit as deplorable as you do, and we see it as a perversion of true religion. My guess – and it is no more than that – is that this kind of distortion finds its most eager reception in materialistic western societies (like America and Britain) and may not be part of what is happening in poorer countries; though even then I am aware that western missionaries may be spreading this deformed offspring of Protestantism. I almost never come across it first-hand, so I cannot comment from personal experience or knowledge.
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« Reply #111 on: December 24, 2009, 11:46:33 AM »

it was abundantly clear that the Pentacostals/Evangelicals worship a Great SUgar Daddy: there "service" was almost entirely a litany of each person saying "I want....please give me....."

But we deplore that kind of religion as heartily as you do. I confess to never having visited the southern hemisphere, and do not know first-hand the level of spirituality in the current surge of Christianity there. I am open to further information on that. But as regards TV documentaries, they tend (over here in Britain at least) to home in on the sensational or on that which would undermine true spirituality. They are interesting viewing, but I wouldn't place too much credence in the universality of what they report.

I've seen/been to Pentacostal services.  This one was accurate.

Quote
Matthew 5:45

Yes, but we're not talking about sun and rain - common grace; we are talking about the preaching of faith in Christ as Saviour and submission to him as Lord. Of course God's common grace is poured out on all in creation, regardless of faith, unbelief, goodness or wickedness. That has nothing to do with the matter I have called (to me at least) a mystery.
[/quote]
And St. Paul talked about the mystery of Israel rejecting her Messiah, but that wasn't an endorsement of Judaism, and practically any Muslim will tell you that they are the true followers of 'Isa son of Maryam. I've had many an argument with Muslims who said the only difference with Christianity was the belief in Christ's rising from the dead, "but that's only a minor detail in Christianity."

Let's be clear: unless you are a member of Christ's Body, the Visible Church He built and which was transmitted by His Apostles and their appointed successors, you are not in submission to Him as Lord.  That is like "Catholics" who claim that they are faithful members of the Vatican church, but say that they do not have to obey the pope of Rome: you might be able to be "Old Catholic" and make that claim, but not a communicant of the "Roman Catholic Church."  Even odder is the sede vacatists on this issue.

So if Protestants prepare the way for the Orthodox Church, as it may have in this country among some Evangelicals, it is God's will.  If they destroy (or try to) as in Alask, it is not.  If the misssionaries in Eastern Europe refine the Orthodox by fire, it is good.  If it takes them and creates Protestant sects there, it is not. So it stands.

Islam is the fastest growing religion, especially in Europe. So by your logic we should all become Muslim?

Not so: for (1) how can you refer to my logic in a matter which I said is mysterious? and (2) you know as well as I do that Islam is not preaching faith in Christ and does not therefore command the blessing of God the Father nor of the Holy Spirit.

1) you are trying make the argument that this "mystery" means that the Orthodox must logically accept the Baptist movement in some way, 2) you presume that the Baptist faith is preaching Faith in Christ, that it has the command of God the Father, and can transmit the Holy Spirit. The Muslims claim that they are doing God's, and Christ's, will as well.  I remember having a Muslim patient who was seeing visions of Christ promising that everyone would be converted to Islam.  The vision of Christ guiding the convert to Islam is a familiar motif in Muslim conversion stories, real or made up.  The Muslims claim Christianity was corrupted once Christ had ascended.  So do you.  Explain the difference.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2009, 11:57:37 AM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #112 on: December 24, 2009, 01:10:54 PM »

I've been to Pentacostal services.  This one was accurate.

So have I - many times. I was even invited (when a good deal younger) to work alongside the pastor in Ramsgate with a view to taking over from him when he retired. I have stayed the night with the pastor of Congleton, after speaking at his church, and listened to him bewail the spurious nature of a lot that goes on these days. It's easy enough to find examples which do not do credit to the real thing. Think of the Orthodox priest with whom I took coffee and raki, whose village I deliberately did not name, who only hopes that Jesus Christ is the revelation of God's character. I do not conclude that he is representative of Orthodoxy.

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unless you are a member of Christ's Body, the Visible Church He built and which was transmitted by His Apostles and their appointed successors, you are not in submission to Him as Lord.  

I'd go along with that: but of course, our ecclesiology is different. We agree in the principle: we differ in the form in which it is worked out.

Quote
you are trying make the argument that this "mystery" means that the Orthodox must logically accept the Baptist movement in some way,

All I wrote was that God seems abundantly willing to bless both pædo- and credobaptists. You could turn your sentence round and say that I was saying that in some way Baptists must accept you. Perhaps I was: but you are still trying to make my statement that I find a mystery into some sort of conclusion (which of course would cancel the mystery - surely?).

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you presume that the Baptist faith is preaching Faith in Christ, that it has the command of God the Father, and can transmit the Holy Spirit.

Yes, I am indeed: though I certainly did not say "only Baptists".

I decline to discuss Moslems, as I confess to knowing little about them.
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« Reply #113 on: December 24, 2009, 02:54:33 PM »

I've been to Pentacostal services.  This one was accurate.

So have I - many times. I was even invited (when a good deal younger) to work alongside the pastor in Ramsgate with a view to taking over from him when he retired. I have stayed the night with the pastor of Congleton, after speaking at his church, and listened to him bewail the spurious nature of a lot that goes on these days. It's easy enough to find examples which do not do credit to the real thing. Think of the Orthodox priest with whom I took coffee and raki, whose village I deliberately did not name, who only hopes that Jesus Christ is the revelation of God's character. I do not conclude that he is representative of Orthodoxy.

I'd have to see what he said, without the filter of the Protestant idea of assurance, to know.  Hope is not a four letter word, despite being spelt with four letters.

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Quote
unless you are a member of Christ's Body, the Visible Church He built and which was transmitted by His Apostles and their appointed successors, you are not in submission to Him as Lord.  

I'd go along with that: but of course, our ecclesiology is different. We agree in the principle: we differ in the form in which it is worked out.

No, the form is the principle: His Church is hiearchial by nature and substance, not by convention.

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Quote
you are trying make the argument that this "mystery" means that the Orthodox must logically accept the Baptist movement in some way,

All I wrote was that God seems abundantly willing to bless both pædo- and credobaptists.

you remain vague on what that means: what do you claim He is blessing them with?

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You could turn your sentence round and say that I was saying that in some way Baptists must accept you.

Other than them accepting Orthodoxy, their acceptance doesn't concern us a bit.

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Perhaps I was: but you are still trying to make my statement that I find a mystery into some sort of conclusion (which of course would cancel the mystery - surely?).

Well it remains a mystery what "blessing" both infant baptizers and adult baptizers (does that include the Mormons and JW's btw?) share that say, the Muslims or Jews do not.

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you presume that the Baptist faith is preaching Faith in Christ, that it has the command of God the Father, and can transmit the Holy Spirit.

Yes, I am indeed: though I certainly did not say "only Baptists".

That's irrelevant for our purposes: "any but the Orthodox."

Quote
I  decline to discuss Moslems, as I confess to knowing little about them.

Their claims are not as different from the ones you offer.


« Last Edit: December 24, 2009, 02:55:59 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #114 on: December 28, 2009, 07:01:54 AM »

what do you claim He is blessing them with? ... it remains a mystery what "blessing" both infant baptizers and adult baptizers ... share that say, the Muslims or Jews do not.

Many books have been written about the blessings believers receive in Christ, and I suspect your question is to some extent rhetorical. However, here are a few to start the list: forgiveness of sin, peace with God, adoption into his family, the indwelling Holy Spirit, eternal life, the promise of a resurrection like Christ's, the providential care of a heavenly Father who clothes the lilies and knows about small details like sparrows and hairs... One could go on. I think you get the idea.

I excised your bit about Mormons and JWs, partly because I know little about them, and partly because they do not really come into a forum entitled Orthodox-Other Christian discussion.
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« Reply #115 on: December 28, 2009, 10:42:44 AM »


I excised your bit about Mormons and JWs, partly because I know little about them, and partly because they do not really come into a forum entitled Orthodox-Other Christian discussion.

Well, they call themselves Christian and believe that they have corrected the errors of the past, so what is the difference between their claims and yours?
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« Reply #116 on: December 28, 2009, 11:05:09 AM »


I excised your bit about Mormons and JWs, partly because I know little about them, and partly because they do not really come into a forum entitled Orthodox-Other Christian discussion.

Well, they call themselves Christian and believe that they have corrected the errors of the past, so what is the difference between their claims and yours?

Interesting point.
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« Reply #117 on: December 28, 2009, 11:30:36 AM »

what do you claim He is blessing them with? ... it remains a mystery what "blessing" both infant baptizers and adult baptizers ... share that say, the Muslims or Jews do not.

Many books have been written about the blessings believers receive in Christ, and I suspect your question is to some extent rhetorical. However, here are a few to start the list: forgiveness of sin, peace with God, adoption into his family, the indwelling Holy Spirit, eternal life, the promise of a resurrection like Christ's, the providential care of a heavenly Father who clothes the lilies and knows about small details like sparrows and hairs... One could go on. I think you get the idea.

I have no assurance that Baptists receive any of the above, and, despite their claims otherwise, neither do the Baptists.

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I excised your bit about Mormons and JWs, partly because I know little about them, and partly because they do not really come into a forum entitled Orthodox-Other Christian discussion.
Katherine has already answered.
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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