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Christianus
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« on: February 07, 2010, 02:20:03 AM »

Whatever happened to the Greek speaking churches in Antioch, Greece, Jerusalem, and in Alexandria?
most protestants can't answer me on this, the best answer I can get is orthodoxy.
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2010, 02:24:42 AM »

Whatever happened to the Greek speaking churches in Antioch, Greece, Jerusalem, and in Alexandria?
most protestants can't answer me on this, the best answer I can get is orthodoxy.

I'd be surprised if many of them have really considered the question.  It never even dawned on me until I encountered Orthodoxy in person.
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2010, 02:31:22 AM »

Whatever happened to the Greek speaking churches in Antioch, Greece, Jerusalem, and in Alexandria?
most protestants can't answer me on this, the best answer I can get is orthodoxy.

I'd be surprised if many of them have really considered the question.  It never even dawned on me until I encountered Orthodoxy in person.
Yeah, they never seem to ask themselves, what happened to the New Testament Greek speaking church in the Mediterranean.

could we please have a protestant answer?
I could only imagine their answer to be, that the romans and greeks perverted christianity xD, so the world was devoid of Christian truth for 1500 years, then all these protestant saints arose to restore the faith. xD
« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 02:44:53 AM by Christianus » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2010, 04:52:11 AM »

The Church....well erm... it DIED.  Shocked

Yes it died, the gates of Hell engulfed the Church. We are all imposters and the Church has ceased to exist. We are doomed to oblivion, all we can hope for is the secret rapture to save us, nobody can read the scriptures with security or turn to the church fathers for exposition, instead we must turn to the black veiled rabbis for counsel, surely they will teach us about the messiah no??? They will respectfully teach us about the true Messiah. We must then "restore" the faith to its "original tenets" with the "holy spirit" guiding us in this great endeavor. With some luck the Church can be restored as it looked like in Antioch and Alexandria in the first century: with Elizabethan English speaking starch shirted Pastors citing the King James version. Thank Jeebus!
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2010, 11:27:44 AM »

I can predict what my Evangelical friends would say. They'd tell you that all those churches in Greece didn't mean a thing, even if Paul did start them, because Constantine came along and ruined and corrupted everything. The fact that Paul founded them is totally meaningless and the only churches with "true" lineage are the ones who remained underground and persecuted; the ones which secretly and with much persecution kept the true faith as portrayed in the New Testament.
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2010, 11:31:37 AM »

I can predict what my Evangelical friends would say. They'd tell you that all those churches in Greece didn't mean a thing, even if Paul did start them, because Constantine came along and ruined and corrupted everything. The fact that Paul founded them is totally meaningless and the only churches with "true" lineage are the ones who remained underground and persecuted; the ones which secretly and with much persecution kept the true faith as portrayed in the New Testament.
....and completely becomes invisible after the death of St. John until 1517 Roll Eyes
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2010, 12:07:56 PM »

Whatever happened to the Greek speaking churches in Antioch, Greece, Jerusalem, and in Alexandria?
most protestants can't answer me on this, the best answer I can get is orthodoxy.

I am afraid some young Evangelicals (like some of my students here in Mississipp) wil say, "Wait, wait, the BIBLE says they were speaking English... where's my Bible... here, look!"  Grin
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2010, 12:36:00 PM »

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I am afraid some young Evangelicals (like some of my students here in Mississipp) wil say, "Wait, wait, the BIBLE says they were speaking English... where's my Bible... here, look!"
   
 
You must surely be facetious!! Shocked
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2010, 02:13:32 PM »

If the King James bible was good enough for Peter and Paul it is good enough for me.

Although they can find nothing to support the claims, the idea is that there was always a small group who maintained the same faith as <insert group making claim here> does today.

When I went looking for the First Century Church I was surprised to find out that it was not only still around, but others were making the same discovery.
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2010, 02:49:27 PM »

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When I went looking for the First Century Church I was surprised to find out that it was not only still around, but others were making the same discovery.

Not to be contentious, but my evangelical friends would never accept this. They most emphatically contend that the Orthodox (or RC, for that matter) Church is NOT the same as the first century church, but something that was the result of a corrupt union with Constantine and the state and which had also persecuted and done violence to other "heretics". In short, it was sort of a monstrosity which came about in a sort of theological and state "survival of the fittest" and was not a necessarily godly entity.
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2010, 02:56:27 PM »

Quote
When I went looking for the First Century Church I was surprised to find out that it was not only still around, but others were making the same discovery.

Not to be contentious, but my evangelical friends would never accept this. They most emphatically contend that the Orthodox (or RC, for that matter) Church is NOT the same as the first century church, but something that was the result of a corrupt union with Constantine and the state and which had also persecuted and done violence to other "heretics". In short, it was sort of a monstrosity which came about in a sort of theological and state "survival of the fittest" and was not a necessarily godly entity.

Of course they would never accept it; that's why they are Evangelical and not Orthodox.

They also happen to be wrong.
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« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2010, 03:17:21 PM »

Quote
When I went looking for the First Century Church I was surprised to find out that it was not only still around, but others were making the same discovery.

Not to be contentious, but my evangelical friends would never accept this. They most emphatically contend that the Orthodox (or RC, for that matter) Church is NOT the same as the first century church, but something that was the result of a corrupt union with Constantine and the state and which had also persecuted and done violence to other "heretics". In short, it was sort of a monstrosity which came about in a sort of theological and state "survival of the fittest" and was not a necessarily godly entity.

Their only problem: no proof.

So, when, I ask them, did the Church fall?  If they say with Constantine's conversion, I can document what the Church believed and taught 50 years after Constantine, she was believing and teaching 50 years and more before him.

If they say, after St. John died c. 95, I ask then how is it that Martin Luther, Cramner and even Joseph Smith and Charles Taze Russell and Albert Benjamin Simpson (early Pentacostalism) succeeded where Christ and Apostles failed, to found a Church that would last at least a century without disappearing without a trace and dropping out of view.

If they claim that theh Church was invisible, why was it visible during the Apostles' time (St. Paul and St. John write to Churches with addresses) and is visible now?

How is it that we can point to an unbroken succession of our teaching from the time of the Apostles until today, whereas it is lucky that Protestants can last a generation without splintering?  Why do we find no church that believes like them until modern times?
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« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2010, 03:39:45 PM »

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How is it that we can point to an unbroken succession of our teaching from the time of the Apostles until today, whereas it is lucky that Protestants can last a generation without splintering?  Why do we find no church that believes like them until modern times?
 


Ah, they will say that "apostolic succession" is complete nonsense and that they can't and don't believe in that. I have heard some say that there is such a thing as "spiritual" Apostolic Succession, i.e. those underground, small, sincere, persecuted churches who clung tenaciously to the "truth" unlike the nominal masses of any corrupt State church.  They will, furthermore, state that our teaching is NOT unbroken from the time of the Apostles, but that we have changed and added things which were never a part of the original. In a way, I can see their point-their opinions are not entirely without merit if we are totally honest.

And another question (this time more of a personal one)-what about the Ebionites and the Gnostics and the library at Alexandria which, if I remember correctly, was burnt to the ground by zealous "Orthodox Christians"? If the Orthodox were so secure in the rightness of their belief, why the need for such actions of violence? Because of this, precious documents have been lost forever; documents which could have aided historians in piecing together an even more accurate picture of life and spirituality of those times. N.B. It's been awhile since I've read of the Ebionites, the Gnostics, the Arians, the book burnings etc. so I could well have my facts confused.
 
 
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2010, 05:11:51 PM »

Quote
When I went looking for the First Century Church I was surprised to find out that it was not only still around, but others were making the same discovery.

Not to be contentious, but my evangelical friends would never accept this. They most emphatically contend that the Orthodox (or RC, for that matter) Church is NOT the same as the first century church, but something that was the result of a corrupt union with Constantine and the state and which had also persecuted and done violence to other "heretics". In short, it was sort of a monstrosity which came about in a sort of theological and state "survival of the fittest" and was not a necessarily godly entity.

That is for many of us more or less our view or position, yes, except I would add that such aberrations (as we see them) from the faith, preserved and revealed in Scripture, started well before the adulterous union with Constantine, and no doubt helped lead to it. The church was already in decline in the days of the Apostles themselves, and by degree lost any true similitude to the ideals of the NT church, a problem exasperated by the union with the state, and leading to the eventual metamorphosis from true apostolic Christianity (as we see it) to both the Roman Catholic and various Orthodox versions of Christianity instead. Sadly, despite the noble intentions of the reformers, many of the very sects and movements spawned by them have fallen to the same or similar errors as both on one hand ancient heretical groups, and on the other, their Catholic and Orthodox predecessors -- serving only to further divide and mar the nature and witness of the true church hidden amongst their ranks, impeding true gospel preaching and experience.
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2010, 05:24:27 PM »

Indeed, you are correct, Cleopas, that even the Primative Church of the NT was not pristine (despite differing claims). Perhaps we would do well to recognize that the Church is made up of people and that where there are people there are bound to be disagreements, problems, and corruption. We all know that even the most seemingly gentle, peaceful, benign denomination will struggle with issues of corruption and sin. So maybe we shouldn't be so hard on the Church on one hand; how do we know how we'd have behaved had we lived under the rule of Constantine? There is no guarantee we'd have done anything differently.

However, I am still curious about the book-burnings and the persecution of heretics...This remains in my mind, a great missing link to the puzzle, and sadly, we may never know the full truth about it all.
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« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2010, 05:43:14 PM »

Quote
How is it that we can point to an unbroken succession of our teaching from the time of the Apostles until today, whereas it is lucky that Protestants can last a generation without splintering?  Why do we find no church that believes like them until modern times?
 


Ah, they will say that "apostolic succession" is complete nonsense and that they can't and don't believe in that. I have heard some say that there is such a thing as "spiritual" Apostolic Succession, i.e. those underground, small, sincere, persecuted churches who clung tenaciously to the "truth" unlike the nominal masses of any corrupt State church.  They will, furthermore, state that our teaching is NOT unbroken from the time of the Apostles, but that we have changed and added things which were never a part of the original. In a way, I can see their point-their opinions are not entirely without merit if we are totally honest
No, they are without merit.  Why do we see and hear them now, whereas the underground, small, sincere, persecutd churches that allegedly believed as they do during the persecusion are nowhere to be found in the historical record?  We have the writings of the Gnostics and other heretics, persecuted by the Romans and then by the "corrupt State church," why not a peep from the "true church"?  And then there's that Bible, put together and canonized, and then transmitted by that "corrupt State Church."  If they say the Church is corrupt, how do they know that we didn't corrupt the Scriptures (and yes, the manuscripts indicate that they are our handiwork).  Just as we can (and they depend on) our unbroken transmission of the Scriptures, so too we can point to our unbroken succession of Tradition.


Quote
And another question (this time more of a personal one)-what about the Ebionites and the Gnostics and the library at Alexandria which, if I remember correctly, was burnt to the ground by zealous "Orthodox Christians"? If the Orthodox were so secure in the rightness of their belief, why the need for such actions of violence? Because of this, precious documents have been lost forever; documents which could have aided historians in piecing together an even more accurate picture of life and spirituality of those times. N.B. It's been awhile since I've read of the Ebionites, the Gnostics, the Arians, the book burnings etc. so I could well have my facts confused.


I don't have time to address the excess of zeal.  But many of the documents survive, which makes me ask again where is the Protestants documentation. And the Orthodox, remember, were persecuted for 300 years, and yet the Tradition survives intact. In fact, the record contains those who fell from us, e.g. Tertullian.
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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2010, 05:50:43 PM »

Quote
When I went looking for the First Century Church I was surprised to find out that it was not only still around, but others were making the same discovery.

Not to be contentious, but my evangelical friends would never accept this. They most emphatically contend that the Orthodox (or RC, for that matter) Church is NOT the same as the first century church, but something that was the result of a corrupt union with Constantine and the state and which had also persecuted and done violence to other "heretics". In short, it was sort of a monstrosity which came about in a sort of theological and state "survival of the fittest" and was not a necessarily godly entity.

That is for many of us more or less our view or position, yes, except I would add that such aberrations (as we see them) from the faith, preserved and revealed in Scripture, started well before the adulterous union with Constantine,

Care to defend you accusation against what God hath joined together?

Quote
and no doubt helped lead to it.

So when do you have the "Great Apostacy."

Quote
The church was already in decline in the days of the Apostles themselves, and by degree lost any true similitude to the ideals of the NT church,
So, Martin Luther is mightier than Christ, because the church he founded  has continued identifiable until this day, nearly 5 centuries later.  At most Christ's Church only lasted just under three centuries, by your reckoning not even.

Quote
a problem exasperated by the union with the state, and leading to the eventual metamorphosis from true apostolic Christianity (as we see it) to both the Roman Catholic and various Orthodox versions of Christianity instead. Sadly, despite the noble intentions of the reformers, many of the very sects and movements spawned by them have fallen to the same or similar errors as both on one hand ancient heretical groups, and on the other, their Catholic and Orthodox predecessors -- serving only to further divide and mar the nature and witness of the true church hidden amongst their ranks, impeding true gospel preaching and experience.
So Christ is a liar, He did not remain with us all the days until the end of the age, and the gates of Hell prevailed against His Church. He commanded His Apostles to let their light shine, to shine like a lamp, like a city on a hill.  But they went into hiding, put their lamp under a bushel and abandoned Him like they did on the night of His passion.  Since Christ has so shown that He didn't know what He was talking about, we need not pay any heed to His words.
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« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2010, 05:55:32 PM »

Indeed, you are correct, Cleopas, that even the Primative Church of the NT was not pristine (despite differing claims). Perhaps we would do well to recognize that the Church is made up of people and that where there are people there are bound to be disagreements, problems, and corruption.

That is why we have both canonization and excommunication.  To clarify matters.

Quote
We all know that even the most seemingly gentle, peaceful, benign denomination will struggle with issues of corruption and sin. So maybe we shouldn't be so hard on the Church on one hand; how do we know how we'd have behaved had we lived under the rule of Constantine? There is no guarantee we'd have done anything differently.

First, what did the Church or its members do under Constantine that merits blame and censure?

Quote
However, I am still curious about the book-burnings and the persecution of heretics...This remains in my mind, a great missing link to the puzzle, and sadly, we may never know the full truth about it all.

Btw, that's after Constantine's time: the Church did not become the state Church until nearly half a century after his death, and over 60 years after he legalized Christianity.
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« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2010, 08:06:52 PM »

Protestantism cannot make a claim to anything. It's sad and funny.
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« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2010, 08:49:39 PM »

Grace and Peace,

I think the claim that Protestants make is that the 'real' Church is a Spiritual 'people' and not a 'holy' Institutional/National entity like Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

I think the claim they make is that this substitution of that Spiritual People for an 'holy' entity is the great apostasy. St. Anthony seems to echo some of what they claim.
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« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2010, 09:54:58 PM »

Grace and Peace,

I think the claim that Protestants make is that the 'real' Church is a Spiritual 'people' and not a 'holy' Institutional/National entity like Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

I think the claim they make is that this substitution of that Spiritual People for an 'holy' entity is the great apostasy. St. Anthony seems to echo some of what they claim.

LOL.  Since they didn't exist, how can St. Anthony "echo" them?  And no, he never turned his back on the Church, nor criticize her as they do.

It's been many, many years since I've read the Life of Anthony.  What made you compare him to the Protestants?
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« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2010, 12:13:49 AM »

Grace and Peace,

I think the claim that Protestants make is that the 'real' Church is a Spiritual 'people' and not a 'holy' Institutional/National entity like Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

I think the claim they make is that this substitution of that Spiritual People for an 'holy' entity is the great apostasy. St. Anthony seems to echo some of what they claim.

LOL.  Since they didn't exist, how can St. Anthony "echo" them?  And no, he never turned his back on the Church, nor criticize her as they do.

It's been many, many years since I've read the Life of Anthony.  What made you compare him to the Protestants?

I recall St. Anthony, as well as, the other Desert Fathers had a 'reaction' to the Churches 'incorporation' into the Empire... There was a reaction by many of the Desert Fathers and it wasn't positive. I remember when our Orthodox Priest when over St. Anthony and the other Desert Father's and several of his quotes were very damning toward this 'marriage' between the Church and the Empire. I'm not suggesting that the Protestants parallel the Desert Fathers but I do believe they have a similar distrust of the 'Empire' that the Desert Fathers had. In fact, most historians recognize that 'many' Christians in the Middle-East held a distrust toward the Imperials and I can personally see why. They were disgusting, honestly. One of the things that I have trouble with as I enter Orthodoxy is how many Orthodox Romanticize the Eastern Empire and do what I see with many Muslims when they spin history in order to portray their 'side' in the 'best' light while portraying all other 'sides' in the 'worst' light possible. I find this very very dishonest.

That said I do believe Orthodoxy is the best portrayal of the 'Imperial' Church tradition that we have. I'm not completely sure that the 'Imperial' Church is 'the' Church per se but that is for me to work out with my Pastor.
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« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2010, 12:30:15 AM »

Martin Luther is a cursed heretic. I can prove that too: he tried throwing out the Letter of St. James and the book of Esther from the canon (this is thoroughly documented, his own pen condemns him).

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« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2010, 12:46:51 AM »

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I think the claim they make is that this substitution of that Spiritual People for an 'holy' entity is the great apostasy. St. Anthony seems to echo some of what they claim.

Protestantism is the great apostasy. Soon they will teach Judaism in their churches or some other doctrine. I have seen it! Examples: Jehovahs witnesses, Seventh Day adventists, Messianic Judiasm. They will teach ANYTHING except the Gospel, they will distort and pervert the message into something it never was. What makes you think Protestants would revere St.Anthony of Egypt in any way? They would probably demean this just and wondrous man, just like they have dozens of other times. The ashes of hundreds of Saints were scattered to the wind in England when they seized power.
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« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2010, 01:20:12 AM »

Quote
I think the claim they make is that this substitution of that Spiritual People for an 'holy' entity is the great apostasy. St. Anthony seems to echo some of what they claim.

Protestantism is the great apostasy. Soon they will teach Judaism in their churches or some other doctrine. I have seen it! Examples: Jehovahs witnesses, Seventh Day adventists, Messianic Judiasm. They will teach ANYTHING except the Gospel, they will distort and pervert the message into something it never was. What makes you think Protestants would revere St.Anthony of Egypt in any way? They would probably demean this just and wondrous man, just like they have dozens of other times. The ashes of hundreds of Saints were scattered to the wind in England when they seized power.
Actually the state religion is Anglican catholicism, also called the via media between protestantism and (roman) catholicism.
it was actually in Germany that most of the modern evangelicals come from (like the baptists), but sure there were some from the uk.
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« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2010, 01:29:43 AM »

Isn't all Protestantism essentially a form of Gnosticism?


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« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2010, 04:18:22 AM »

The church was already in decline in the days of the Apostles themselves, and by degree lost any true similitude to the ideals of the NT church, a problem exasperated by the union with the state, and leading to the eventual metamorphosis from true apostolic Christianity (as we see it) to both the Roman Catholic and various Orthodox versions of Christianity instead.

What an impotent God.  Where is His efficacy?

If Christ was sent on a rescue mission, it looks like He failed miserably.
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« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2010, 10:45:48 AM »

The church was already in decline in the days of the Apostles themselves, and by degree lost any true similitude to the ideals of the NT church, a problem exasperated by the union with the state, and leading to the eventual metamorphosis from true apostolic Christianity (as we see it) to both the Roman Catholic and various Orthodox versions of Christianity instead.

What an impotent God.  Where is His efficacy?

If Christ was sent on a rescue mission, it looks like He failed miserably.

Yes, as I said above, a liar: Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Joseph Smith,....all managed to have aposltes who continued their church, but Christ did not.

Interesting that he claims that it was in decline in the days of the Apostles themselves (and I would guess Christ Himself: remember the Protestants of John 6:66 and Judas?): how then can we put any faith in the New Testament, the witness of a declining Church?
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« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2010, 12:09:29 PM »

Quote
I think the claim they make is that this substitution of that Spiritual People for an 'holy' entity is the great apostasy. St. Anthony seems to echo some of what they claim.

Protestantism is the great apostasy. Soon they will teach Judaism in their churches or some other doctrine. I have seen it! Examples: Jehovahs witnesses, Seventh Day adventists, Messianic Judiasm. They will teach ANYTHING except the Gospel, they will distort and pervert the message into something it never was. What makes you think Protestants would revere St.Anthony of Egypt in any way? They would probably demean this just and wondrous man, just like they have dozens of other times. The ashes of hundreds of Saints were scattered to the wind in England when they seized power.

Hundreds of Saints... you can't mean those Roman Catholics? Aren't 'they' the 'Church of Satan'?  Wink

Where is "Get_Behind_Me_Satan" to clear this up?
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« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2010, 08:29:07 PM »

I remember when Isa talked about Satan not wanting Moses body to remain buried in Mount Nebus (epistle of Jude) and how satan asked for the remains of Polycarp. Relationship here to this business of the tombs of Saints being defiled and their ashes thrown to the winds?
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« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2010, 08:30:18 PM »

The ashes of hundreds of Saints were scattered to the wind in England when they seized power.
I'd like you to substantiate this claim, please.
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« Reply #31 on: February 08, 2010, 08:45:37 PM »

The ashes of hundreds of Saints were scattered to the wind in England when they seized power.
I'd like you to substantiate this claim, please.
I'm not Rafa, but he's right. This is from the Wikipedia article "Dissolution of Monasteries"
"Cromwell had already instigated a campaign against "superstitions": pilgrimages and veneration of saints, in the course of which, ancient and precious valuables were grabbed and melted down; the tombs of saints and kings ransacked for whatever profit could be got from them, and their relics destroyed or dispersed. Even the crypt of King Alfred the Great was not spared the looting frenzy."
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« Reply #32 on: February 09, 2010, 02:45:47 AM »

In Lyon the accursed calvinists burned the bones of St. Iraeneus.
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« Reply #33 on: February 09, 2010, 03:15:24 AM »

In Lyon the accursed calvinists burned the bones of St. Iraeneus.

This is about as far back as I can trace my family history.  My ancestors (by surname) were French Huguenots who were run out of the country for these kinds of things.
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« Reply #34 on: February 09, 2010, 03:23:30 AM »

Where did they flee to?
Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands?
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« Reply #35 on: February 09, 2010, 03:38:37 AM »

Where did they flee to?  Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands?

As far as I can tell with the research my great-grandmother did and my own guesswork, they must have fled to England when King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes (1685).  So this would have been after Protestantism was a bit more established than in the earlier times mentioned with relic burnings and tomb desecration (1562).  At any rate, they likely stayed in England for a generation or two, and my super-great grandfather is on record for being born in Virginia, USA in the 1720's.

*edit* After looking around a bit more online, I've just found information that goes even further back by several generations!  The internet is amazing when people pool their resources!
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« Reply #36 on: February 09, 2010, 04:05:14 AM »

I won't take this thread anymore off track talking about my lineage, I just have to share that I found an amazing website that tracks my lineage all the way back to AD 555.  I am the descendant of many French kings!  Unbelievable!
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« Reply #37 on: February 09, 2010, 04:43:37 AM »

In Lyon the accursed calvinists burned the bones of St. Iraeneus.

Not to mention Calvin murdered the innocent Michael Servetus for holding to a Christology similar to that of the COE. He was burned in green wood (for extra pain) and died asking for the Son of God to forgive the aggressors.
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« Reply #38 on: February 09, 2010, 04:43:37 AM »

Quote
Interesting that he claims that it [the Church]was in decline in the days of the Apostles themselves

The Dark Forces plotting the weakening and destruction of the Apostolic Church were already at work in St.Paul's days:

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God[c] in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-8

Protestants always ignore this verse. Especially the "rapture" evangelicals.
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« Reply #39 on: February 09, 2010, 02:03:05 PM »

Quote
Interesting that he claims that it [the Church]was in decline in the days of the Apostles themselves

The Dark Forces plotting the weakening and destruction of the Apostolic Church were already at work in St.Paul's days:

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God[c] in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-8

Protestants always ignore this verse. Especially the "rapture" evangelicals.
Rafa, Which groups do you consider to be part of the "Apostolic Church"?
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« Reply #40 on: February 09, 2010, 02:50:27 PM »

That is self-evident: any group the Apostles through laying on of hands appointed as their successors is part of the apostolic Church. Human beings cannot undo what Heaven did and it is imprudent to assume that the Messiah would deliver the Keys that loose and bind to those who would not use them responsibly AS A COLLECTIVE. This is the stance of the COE, that the Patriarchs of the Orthodox, the RCC, the COE, etc. understood the Gospel within certain cultural and social perspectives unique to them.
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« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2010, 02:54:22 PM »

That is self-evident: any group the Apostles through laying on of hands appointed as their successors is part of the apostolic Church. Human beings cannot undo what Heaven did and it is imprudent to assume that the Messiah would deliver the Keys that loose and bind to those who would not use them responsibly AS A COLLECTIVE. This is the stance of the COE, that the Patriarchs of the Orthodox, the RCC, the COE, etc. understood the Gospel within certain cultural and social perspectives unique to them.

Is this the product of charity because of recent historical developments?  By this I mean the near extinction of the Assyrian Church of the East.  How can I church which is nearly dead and confined to one specific cultural context really be catholic?

I'm not trying to be difficult, only to understand if there is some historical precedent for this view, or if it is a more recent development.
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« Reply #42 on: February 09, 2010, 03:29:55 PM »

Even we, the orthodox, are quick to reply to RC that catholicity has to do with more than geographical extension. Given our history as well, in recent centuries especially, I wouldn't fault the Assyrians for the state they are in now. They knew better days for sure.
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« Reply #43 on: February 09, 2010, 03:32:43 PM »

That is self-evident: any group the Apostles through laying on of hands appointed as their successors is part of the apostolic Church. Human beings cannot undo what Heaven did and it is imprudent to assume that the Messiah would deliver the Keys that loose and bind to those who would not use them responsibly AS A COLLECTIVE. This is the stance of the COE, that the Patriarchs of the Orthodox, the RCC, the COE, etc. understood the Gospel within certain cultural and social perspectives unique to them.
This is the most ecumenical view that I have ever seen from an Apostolic organization. Very intersting.
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« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2010, 04:04:44 PM »

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How can I church which is nearly dead and confined to one specific cultural context really be catholic?


We were founded by two Disciples Jesus himself sent (Mar Mari and Addai), as well as St.Thomas, and according to legend and certain historical records St.Peter too. The two disciples I named above gave us our canon handwritten (a copy of the Gospels written by the hands of one of Mar Mari's pupils was still around 600 years ago actually in Baghdad before the Mongols). So unless someone can prove that the Disciples and Apostles were wrong in appointing us as their successors, it would be wise to concede that we were intended to be a Catholic Church....which we were and attempt to be right now even though centuries of piled up bodies have left a very small 4 million people church. Regardless, in the Middle ages we had Bishops all over the middle East, Central Asia, Tibet, China- how more Catholic than evangelizing all of Asia?
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« Reply #45 on: February 09, 2010, 04:54:14 PM »

So is the ecumenical view a new one, or can it be shown to be a historical position of your church?
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« Reply #46 on: February 09, 2010, 04:59:37 PM »

So is the ecumenical view a new one, or can it be shown to be a historical position of your church?
Very good question. I would like to know the answer.
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« Reply #47 on: February 10, 2010, 12:37:57 AM »

Here is the position of the COE from its catechism:

Quote
[Question]10)   How does this (i.e. the unity of the Church) reconcile the manifold differences within the Apostolic Traditions (Church), such as that of Rome, Greece, Armenia, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Seleucia/Ctsiphon, etc?

These Apostolic Traditions within the One, Holy, Apostolic and Catholic Church on the face, or primary appearance, would indicate separateness but in fact they are not; these identities are the result of understanding the revelation of our worshipful God and merciful Lord Jesus Christ within their national and traditional experience. This for certain does affect differences. These differences, which appear to be divisive, are not so!  They do not prevent any Apostolic Church from being a vital part of the spiritual oneness of The Church of Christ.  They are under One Head (Jesus Christ), of One Spirit of faith and grace. This unity is fully expressed, visually, by the unity of the Nicene Creed and by communion in prayer and Sacraments.  The beauty of the Apostolic Church is the room for the people of various ethnic colors to worship the Living God in their tradition and familiar settings.  Therefore, these varied differences are not the weakness of the Apostolic Church, but, rather, they are considered the richness and beauty of The Holy Apostolic Catholic Church.

 

[Question]11)  Is there unity between the earthly Church and the Heavenly Church?

YES!  Without doubt through the unity in communion with the One Head, Jesus Christ, and in communion with one another;  “for we being many, are One Bread, and One body, for we are all partakers of that One Bread . . .”  (I Cor 10:17)


That Catechism was written by the way by a Jewish priest (Qasha). The COE even accepts Protestants as Christians (though in private I have heard many priests saying that protestants have departed too much from the faith).
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« Reply #48 on: February 10, 2010, 03:19:48 AM »

That is self-evident: any group the Apostles through laying on of hands appointed as their successors is part of the apostolic Church. Human beings cannot undo what Heaven did and it is imprudent to assume that the Messiah would deliver the Keys that loose and bind to those who would not use them responsibly AS A COLLECTIVE. This is the stance of the COE, that the Patriarchs of the Orthodox, the RCC, the COE, etc. understood the Gospel within certain cultural and social perspectives unique to them.

Can you cite a source for this from each of the groups listed? (I know you listed the catechism of the COE. The COE tends to be very ecumenical in nature. I would like to see documentation from the RCC, EOC, and OOC.)

Thank you.
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« Reply #49 on: February 10, 2010, 04:34:15 AM »

Here is the position of the COE from its catechism:

Quote
[Question]10)   How does this (i.e. the unity of the Church) reconcile the manifold differences within the Apostolic Traditions (Church), such as that of Rome, Greece, Armenia, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Seleucia/Ctsiphon, etc?

These Apostolic Traditions within the One, Holy, Apostolic and Catholic Church on the face, or primary appearance, would indicate separateness but in fact they are not; these identities are the result of understanding the revelation of our worshipful God and merciful Lord Jesus Christ within their national and traditional experience. This for certain does affect differences. These differences, which appear to be divisive, are not so!  They do not prevent any Apostolic Church from being a vital part of the spiritual oneness of The Church of Christ.  They are under One Head (Jesus Christ), of One Spirit of faith and grace. This unity is fully expressed, visually, by the unity of the Nicene Creed and by communion in prayer and Sacraments.  The beauty of the Apostolic Church is the room for the people of various ethnic colors to worship the Living God in their tradition and familiar settings.  Therefore, these varied differences are not the weakness of the Apostolic Church, but, rather, they are considered the richness and beauty of The Holy Apostolic Catholic Church.

 

[Question]11)  Is there unity between the earthly Church and the Heavenly Church?

YES!  Without doubt through the unity in communion with the One Head, Jesus Christ, and in communion with one another;  “for we being many, are One Bread, and One body, for we are all partakers of that One Bread . . .”  (I Cor 10:17)


That Catechism was written by the way by a Jewish priest (Qasha). The COE even accepts Protestants as Christians (though in private I have heard many priests saying that protestants have departed too much from the faith).

When was this catechism written?
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« Reply #50 on: February 11, 2010, 02:13:29 AM »

This Egnlsi hcatechism is quite new. This is the first catechism ever written in English (except I believe maybe one written by Mar Shimun a long time ago which I can't find the link to). The COE never had any formal catechism for centuries actually (this English catechism I showed is actually a very new thing), though in personal experience I have seen certain decrements used as catechisms informally (ie: the Marganitha of Mar Odisho).
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« Reply #51 on: February 12, 2010, 12:59:03 AM »

Sorry of the spelling btw. I meant "English Catechism".
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« Reply #52 on: February 13, 2010, 08:55:12 PM »

My heart's sad at all this division made by protestants, and the pope,
I wish I was in the one holy catholic and apostolic church.
My mom should have baptized me roman catholic, but no, she didn't raise me on her roman catholic faith.
Later these protestants came and lied about my mother's church, I feel deceived, but now I see the true light, but I can't decide which one of the two catholic churches, God this would be a lot easier if they were one, personally I prefer the roman culture, but the faith....
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« Reply #53 on: February 17, 2010, 07:35:58 AM »

Getting back to the original question, having read some of the posts and glanced at others, may I say three things?

1) I am forming an ever-strengthening impression that the Orthodox Church no more has its roots in the first century early church than we Baptists do, but rather that the characteristics of Orthodox church order and theologising developed in the second century, finding their first hints in Ignatius, and developed through Irenæus and Justyn etc as writers and then councils contributed down to the 4th century and beyond. I find no problem with the fact that Baptist churches, historically, began in the early 17th century, as it is the theology and practice of the early church we aim to recover, not historical continuity of an organisation. Since you assign enormous importance to historical continuity, and we accord it none, we are often discussing different matters when we think we are debating the same issue. Personally, I have no problem believing that your organisation does indeed stretch back unbrokenly to some churches founded by some apostles in the first century; it is not something you need to belabour with us, for we (or at least, I) readily concede it. The difference is that you see it as important in establishing where true Christian congregations are, and we don't.

2) The posts by Cleopas and Rosehip leave me with little or nothing to add up to this point. They have expressed it well.

3) Sadly, some posts seem to be written in a disrespectful, even sarcastic, style, which fails to commend the argument they are trying to persuade us of.
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« Reply #54 on: February 17, 2010, 08:49:38 AM »

Sadly, some posts seem to be written in a disrespectful, even sarcastic, style, which fails to commend the argument they are trying to persuade us of.
Sad but true of this and many internet forums. I always try to keep in mind that people on forums are not representative of their respective churches, cultures etc.
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« Reply #55 on: February 17, 2010, 09:10:17 AM »

1) I am forming an ever-strengthening impression that the Orthodox Church no more has its roots in the first century early church than we Baptists do, but rather that the characteristics of Orthodox church order and theologising developed in the second century, finding their first hints in Ignatius, and developed through Irenæus and Justyn etc as writers and then councils contributed down to the 4th century and beyond. I find no problem with the fact that Baptist churches, historically, began in the early 17th century, as it is the theology and practice of the early church we aim to recover, not historical continuity of an organisation. Since you assign enormous importance to historical continuity, and we accord it none, we are often discussing different matters when we think we are debating the same issue. Personally, I have no problem believing that your organisation does indeed stretch back unbrokenly to some churches founded by some apostles in the first century; it is not something you need to belabour with us, for we (or at least, I) readily concede it. The difference is that you see it as important in establishing where true Christian congregations are, and we don't.

I hear what your saying, David. It certainly does seem difficult to me to reconstruct the, say for example ministerial structure, of the New Testament Church. However the question for me is, even if the threefold ministry of bishop, priest and deacon as we know it today was not to come into existence until the second or third century, it was still the Church (couldn't we even say without controversy- especially this early on- the Holy Spirit in the Church) that made the decision to adopt this structure. Why reject the threefold ministry just because you don't feel it's undeniably obvious from Scripture. If the Church decided that's what's best isn't that good enough. I can understand that there may conceivably be a reason to change that sort of thing. But is it a good enough reason for someone to seperate from their Bishop?

I think it's a difference between putting tradition "in the dock" and giving it the benefit of the doubt.

Quote
3) Sadly, some posts seem to be written in a disrespectful, even sarcastic, style, which fails to commend the argument they are trying to persuade us of.
I'm sorry and I hope I haven't offended you.
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« Reply #56 on: February 17, 2010, 09:29:28 AM »

Let me add that the problem appears to me to be various Protestant groups trying to reconstruct the NT Church which assumes that they can better interpret the NT teachings better than those who received them from the Apostles themselves- or at least that somewhere along the line very early the Church Catholic misinterpreted what was passed down to it. Doesn't it make sense when you look at it like that why those with an organic connection to the apostles would be suspicious of groups who showed up 1500 years later saying that they had the right interpretaion of that Tradition instead?

I feel I'm not articulating myself very well. 
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« Reply #57 on: February 17, 2010, 10:12:53 AM »

Getting back to the original question, having read some of the posts and glanced at others, may I say three things?

1) I am forming an ever-strengthening impression that the Orthodox Church no more has its roots in the first century early church than we Baptists do, but rather that the characteristics of Orthodox church order and theologising developed in the second century, finding their first hints in Ignatius, and developed through Irenæus and Justyn etc as writers and then councils contributed down to the 4th century and beyond. I find no problem with the fact that Baptist churches, historically, began in the early 17th century, as it is the theology and practice of the early church we aim to recover, not historical continuity of an organisation. Since you assign enormous importance to historical continuity, and we accord it none, we are often discussing different matters when we think we are debating the same issue. Personally, I have no problem believing that your organisation does indeed stretch back unbrokenly to some churches founded by some apostles in the first century; it is not something you need to belabour with us, for we (or at least, I) readily concede it. The difference is that you see it as important in establishing where true Christian congregations are, and we don't.
You, however, have yet to demonstrate that it is not important.  For one thing, where did you get that Bible?  And it leaves hanging, for example, the question why St. Paul would tell St. Titus to set up bishops/presbyters in every city.  But besides that, that Bible claims that hell will not prevail against the Church (His words): how is it that your church has survived from the 17th century till now, while the one Christ founded, according to your claims didn't make it past the 1st century?  You speak of first hints in the likes of St. Ignatius, who knew the Apostles: since they are the ones who the NT was written to and for, and who canonized it, on what can you stand?  You cannot trash your evidence and stand on it at the same time.
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« Reply #58 on: February 17, 2010, 10:53:35 AM »

To me, the key to the enterprise is the Bishops. We know from the writings of St Ignatius that the bishops were considered the key to the Church while the Apostles were still living. The bishops were needed to continue the ministry of the Apostles after they moved on or died. And as he wrote, without the bishop there is not even the name of a Church. Bishops require physical continuity, hence the extreme emphasis on it.

We don't seek to reconstruct the first century Church, because it no longer can exist. The Apostles are in heaven. So, we seek to follow the Apostles' successors as the first century Church did when they moved into the second century and beyond.

The problem is, Protestants read the New Testament in a way that applies everything said about Apostles (bishops) to all Christians, which is taking it all out of context. I have a book written by a prominent megachurch personality that explicitly instructs us to read the passage about binding and loosing to mean that all Christians can make new interpretations of scripture. But that's wrong. The Apostles were not the proto-laity, they were the proto-bishops.

If the office and unique authority of the bishop was acknowledged by Protestants, many other things would fall into place by necessity. But in the Protestant reading of the Bible, all Christians are bishops (effectively, if not in name).
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« Reply #59 on: February 17, 2010, 11:23:42 AM »

To me, the key to the enterprise is the Bishops. We know from the writings of St Ignatius that the bishops were considered the key to the Church while the Apostles were still living. The bishops were needed to continue the ministry of the Apostles after they moved on or died. And as he wrote, without the bishop there is not even the name of a Church. Bishops require physical continuity, hence the extreme emphasis on it.

I don't think St. Ignatius speaks of "Apostolic Succession."  If you know of a passage in which he does, please correct me.  He does speak of it as an essential office, as does also the plain language of the NT: translating "episkopos" as "overseer" doesn't get around that fact.

St. Ignatius' earlier colleague, St. Clement of Rome, who also knew the Apostles and was installed by them, does make Apostolic succession quite clear.  The letters of St. Clement and St. Ignatius, taken together (and only a decade, if that, seperates them, and St. Clement writes while the last of the NT still needed to be written, hence why his epistle was included in some canons) teach the sum of what the Orthodox believe on the episcopacy today.  There's a reason for that: we'll be celebrating that reason this Sunday. Cheesy

Quote
We don't seek to reconstruct the first century Church, because it no longer can exist.

Anymore than someone looks like his baby picture all his life.  The Orthodox Church is the 1st century Church in the 21st century.

Quote
The Apostles are in heaven. So, we seek to follow the Apostles' successors as the first century Church did when they moved into the second century and beyond.

The problem is, Protestants read the New Testament in a way that applies everything said about Apostles (bishops) to all Christians, which is taking it all out of context. I have a book written by a prominent megachurch personality that explicitly instructs us to read the passage about binding and loosing to mean that all Christians can make new interpretations of scripture. But that's wrong. The Apostles were not the proto-laity, they were the proto-bishops.

If the office and unique authority of the bishop was acknowledged by Protestants, many other things would fall into place by necessity. But in the Protestant reading of the Bible, all Christians are bishops (effectively, if not in name).
Not only that, but a Protestant reading requires ignoring the explicit designation of the office of bishop as an office set apart (in 1 Timothy) and the assertions of authority throughout the NT by the Apostles and their exhortations (e.g. in Timothy and Titus) for their hand picked (and hand laid) successors to exert their authority.

So, I'd be interesting in knowing what our protestants do with the office of bishop in the NT?
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« Reply #60 on: February 17, 2010, 12:50:18 PM »

To me, the key to the enterprise is the Bishops. We know from the writings of St Ignatius that the bishops were considered the key to the Church while the Apostles were still living. The bishops were needed to continue the ministry of the Apostles after they moved on or died. And as he wrote, without the bishop there is not even the name of a Church. Bishops require physical continuity, hence the extreme emphasis on it.

I don't think St. Ignatius speaks of "Apostolic Succession."  If you know of a passage in which he does, please correct me.  He does speak of it as an essential office, as does also the plain language of the NT: translating "episkopos" as "overseer" doesn't get around that fact.

St. Ignatius' earlier colleague, St. Clement of Rome, who also knew the Apostles and was installed by them, does make Apostolic succession quite clear.  The letters of St. Clement and St. Ignatius, taken together (and only a decade, if that, seperates them, and St. Clement writes while the last of the NT still needed to be written, hence why his epistle was included in some canons) teach the sum of what the Orthodox believe on the episcopacy today.  There's a reason for that: we'll be celebrating that reason this Sunday. Cheesy


Ah, you're right. Thank you for the correction and pointing out St Clement, who I often forget about. That only makes Orthodox ecclesiology more clear!

As was pointed out in another thread about Protestantism, it's shocking how much value some Protestants put in deducing the Jewish roots of Christianity, while they completely ignore the teachings of the early Church on such basic matters.

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So, I'd be interesting in knowing what our protestants do with the office of bishop in the NT?

As would I!
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« Reply #61 on: February 17, 2010, 01:02:44 PM »

To me, the key to the enterprise is the Bishops. We know from the writings of St Ignatius that the bishops were considered the key to the Church while the Apostles were still living. The bishops were needed to continue the ministry of the Apostles after they moved on or died. And as he wrote, without the bishop there is not even the name of a Church. Bishops require physical continuity, hence the extreme emphasis on it.

I don't think St. Ignatius speaks of "Apostolic Succession."  If you know of a passage in which he does, please correct me.  He does speak of it as an essential office, as does also the plain language of the NT: translating "episkopos" as "overseer" doesn't get around that fact.

St. Ignatius' earlier colleague, St. Clement of Rome, who also knew the Apostles and was installed by them, does make Apostolic succession quite clear.  The letters of St. Clement and St. Ignatius, taken together (and only a decade, if that, seperates them, and St. Clement writes while the last of the NT still needed to be written, hence why his epistle was included in some canons) teach the sum of what the Orthodox believe on the episcopacy today.  There's a reason for that: we'll be celebrating that reason this Sunday. Cheesy


Ah, you're right. Thank you for the correction and pointing out St Clement, who I often forget about. That only makes Orthodox ecclesiology more clear!

As was pointed out in another thread about Protestantism, it's shocking how much value some Protestants put in deducing the Jewish roots of Christianity, while they completely ignore the teachings of the early Church on such basic matters.

Quote
So, I'd be interesting in knowing what our protestants do with the office of bishop in the NT?

As would I!

Has anyone done any studies of the 'Jewish' meaning of the word we translate as Bishop/Elder? Perhaps that would lend some insight as to how Protestants interpret it's meaning and role in the pre-Imperial Church... ?
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« Reply #62 on: February 17, 2010, 01:52:11 PM »

To me, the key to the enterprise is the Bishops.

Yes, I think you are right. Indeed, the late Michael Harper (alejhi wa salaam) left Evangelicalism and became an Orthodox priest mainly for that reason, if I understood his book aright. I get the idea he is by no means the only person to have been persuaded of Orthodoxy because of the argument regarding episcopacy.

The point which someone raised, about appointing bishops in every town, tells in our favour, not yours, for we believe that a "bishop" is the same as an "elder", and the church in every town should have them: the church is a local thing in its community, and its bishop/elder(s) will have no jurisdiction or authority beyond the local church.
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« Reply #63 on: February 17, 2010, 06:38:19 PM »

To me, the key to the enterprise is the Bishops.

Yes, I think you are right. Indeed, the late Michael Harper (alejhi wa salaam) left Evangelicalism and became an Orthodox priest mainly for that reason, if I understood his book aright. I get the idea he is by no means the only person to have been persuaded of Orthodoxy because of the argument regarding episcopacy.

The point which someone raised, about appointing bishops in every town, tells in our favour, not yours, for we believe that a "bishop" is the same as an "elder", and the church in every town should have them: the church is a local thing in its community, and its bishop/elder(s) will have no jurisdiction or authority beyond the local church.

Interesting. I never thought about it quite that way before.

Originally that was the case, and ideally there would be a bishop in every city. However, with all the schisms and Orthodoxy's relatively new appearance (or re-introduction) in the West, there is not the infrastructure for that right now. So we are forced to compromise by having a few bishops with massive dioceses.

However, that only answers the administrative side. What about Apostolic Succession, and by it, the guarantee that all bishops (and therefore parishes) are in communion with each other and believe and teach the same things?
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« Reply #64 on: February 18, 2010, 12:23:35 AM »

To me, the key to the enterprise is the Bishops.

Yes, I think you are right. Indeed, the late Michael Harper (alejhi wa salaam) left Evangelicalism and became an Orthodox priest mainly for that reason, if I understood his book aright. I get the idea he is by no means the only person to have been persuaded of Orthodoxy because of the argument regarding episcopacy.

The point which someone raised, about appointing bishops in every town, tells in our favour, not yours, for we believe that a "bishop" is the same as an "elder",

They are (Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5-7 ).

Quote
and the church in every town should have them:

They do: they are called priests, derived from the Chorbishops.  SS. Clement and Igantius write at a time when every town that had Christians had a bishop or chorbishop, and yet they still speak of the priests/presbyters, making the three fold ordained hiearchy.


Quote
the church is a local thing in its community, and its bishop/elder(s) will have no jurisdiction or authority beyond the local church.

How do you explain Acts 15?

As we point out to the Vatican, the episcopacy is an ontological whole, and a bishop is a bishop is a bishop.  How the members of the episcopacy organize themselves is a different matter.  In Acts 20 St. Paul sends to Ephesus for the bishops there to come to him at Miletus. Why?  Because Ephesus was the capital of Asia, and its bishops ruled the province accordingly.
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« Reply #65 on: February 18, 2010, 12:29:20 AM »

To me, the key to the enterprise is the Bishops. We know from the writings of St Ignatius that the bishops were considered the key to the Church while the Apostles were still living. The bishops were needed to continue the ministry of the Apostles after they moved on or died. And as he wrote, without the bishop there is not even the name of a Church. Bishops require physical continuity, hence the extreme emphasis on it.

I don't think St. Ignatius speaks of "Apostolic Succession."  If you know of a passage in which he does, please correct me.  He does speak of it as an essential office, as does also the plain language of the NT: translating "episkopos" as "overseer" doesn't get around that fact.

St. Ignatius' earlier colleague, St. Clement of Rome, who also knew the Apostles and was installed by them, does make Apostolic succession quite clear.  The letters of St. Clement and St. Ignatius, taken together (and only a decade, if that, seperates them, and St. Clement writes while the last of the NT still needed to be written, hence why his epistle was included in some canons) teach the sum of what the Orthodox believe on the episcopacy today.  There's a reason for that: we'll be celebrating that reason this Sunday. Cheesy


Ah, you're right. Thank you for the correction and pointing out St Clement, who I often forget about. That only makes Orthodox ecclesiology more clear!

As was pointed out in another thread about Protestantism, it's shocking how much value some Protestants put in deducing the Jewish roots of Christianity, while they completely ignore the teachings of the early Church on such basic matters.

Quote
So, I'd be interesting in knowing what our protestants do with the office of bishop in the NT?

As would I!

Has anyone done any studies of the 'Jewish' meaning of the word we translate as Bishop/Elder? Perhaps that would lend some insight as to how Protestants interpret it's meaning and role in the pre-Imperial Church... ?

Why would you research the Jewish meaning of the word when Paul's letters were written in Greek?
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« Reply #66 on: February 18, 2010, 02:51:21 AM »

David, I'm sorry if my comments offended you. I should have known you weren't the typical "rapture ready" protestant the moment I saw you quote John Wellesley. It's not like you believe "Truth Triumphant- the Church in the wilderness":

http://www.godrules.net/library/wilkinson/wilkinson.htm


to be an accurate description of Ecclesiastical history. My apologies to you and also to Cleopas.  
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« Reply #67 on: February 18, 2010, 02:51:22 AM »

To me, the key to the enterprise is the Bishops. We know from the writings of St Ignatius that the bishops were considered the key to the Church while the Apostles were still living. The bishops were needed to continue the ministry of the Apostles after they moved on or died. And as he wrote, without the bishop there is not even the name of a Church. Bishops require physical continuity, hence the extreme emphasis on it.

I don't think St. Ignatius speaks of "Apostolic Succession."  If you know of a passage in which he does, please correct me.  He does speak of it as an essential office, as does also the plain language of the NT: translating "episkopos" as "overseer" doesn't get around that fact.

St. Ignatius' earlier colleague, St. Clement of Rome, who also knew the Apostles and was installed by them, does make Apostolic succession quite clear.  The letters of St. Clement and St. Ignatius, taken together (and only a decade, if that, seperates them, and St. Clement writes while the last of the NT still needed to be written, hence why his epistle was included in some canons) teach the sum of what the Orthodox believe on the episcopacy today.  There's a reason for that: we'll be celebrating that reason this Sunday. Cheesy


Ah, you're right. Thank you for the correction and pointing out St Clement, who I often forget about. That only makes Orthodox ecclesiology more clear!

As was pointed out in another thread about Protestantism, it's shocking how much value some Protestants put in deducing the Jewish roots of Christianity, while they completely ignore the teachings of the early Church on such basic matters.

Quote
So, I'd be interesting in knowing what our protestants do with the office of bishop in the NT?

As would I!

Has anyone done any studies of the 'Jewish' meaning of the word we translate as Bishop/Elder? Perhaps that would lend some insight as to how Protestants interpret it's meaning and role in the pre-Imperial Church... ?

Why would you research the Jewish meaning of the word when Paul's letters were written in Greek?

The NT was written in Aramaic according to the Holy Catholic Apostolic Assyrian Church of the East, and its compatriots in the different patriarchates of Antioch. The word Bishop in Hebrew is "Nasi" (also means Prince). The function of a Nasi is analogous to that of a Bishop in the OC, RCC, COE, etc. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem had a Nasi before 135 A.D. by the way (he was deposed when Jerusalem fell a second time). Why are you so anxious to consult outside the Church for information on a key authority of the Church? Don't you see this is dangerous? Why are you so interested in establishing what the rabbis believe in while denying the authority of the Church founded by the Apostles?

If Apostolic succession is not important, Jesus wouldn't have re-affirmed his semikha (the rabbinic equivalent of Apostolic succession) while debating the pharisees :

If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.

Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.

He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me.

You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

“I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive."

John 5:31-43
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« Reply #68 on: February 18, 2010, 02:51:22 AM »

Quote
The Bishop’s powers are noted within the pages of the Sacred Scriptures in St Paul’s letter to Titus, the Bishop in Crete, these words of instruction, “ . . . for this cause I left you in Crete, that you should set in order they that are wanting and ordain qashishe (elders/priests) in every city where there is a need, as I have commanded to you . . .” (Titus 1:5) It is written by the same Apostle Paul to the young Bishop Timothy: “ . . . do not lay hands hastily upon any man, neither be a partaker of other men’s sin, keep yourself pure . . .” (I Tim 5:22)
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« Reply #69 on: February 18, 2010, 12:10:56 PM »

To me, the key to the enterprise is the Bishops. We know from the writings of St Ignatius that the bishops were considered the key to the Church while the Apostles were still living. The bishops were needed to continue the ministry of the Apostles after they moved on or died. And as he wrote, without the bishop there is not even the name of a Church. Bishops require physical continuity, hence the extreme emphasis on it.

I don't think St. Ignatius speaks of "Apostolic Succession."  If you know of a passage in which he does, please correct me.  He does speak of it as an essential office, as does also the plain language of the NT: translating "episkopos" as "overseer" doesn't get around that fact.

St. Ignatius' earlier colleague, St. Clement of Rome, who also knew the Apostles and was installed by them, does make Apostolic succession quite clear.  The letters of St. Clement and St. Ignatius, taken together (and only a decade, if that, seperates them, and St. Clement writes while the last of the NT still needed to be written, hence why his epistle was included in some canons) teach the sum of what the Orthodox believe on the episcopacy today.  There's a reason for that: we'll be celebrating that reason this Sunday. Cheesy


Ah, you're right. Thank you for the correction and pointing out St Clement, who I often forget about. That only makes Orthodox ecclesiology more clear!

As was pointed out in another thread about Protestantism, it's shocking how much value some Protestants put in deducing the Jewish roots of Christianity, while they completely ignore the teachings of the early Church on such basic matters.

Quote
So, I'd be interesting in knowing what our protestants do with the office of bishop in the NT?

As would I!

Has anyone done any studies of the 'Jewish' meaning of the word we translate as Bishop/Elder? Perhaps that would lend some insight as to how Protestants interpret it's meaning and role in the pre-Imperial Church... ?

Why would you research the Jewish meaning of the word when Paul's letters were written in Greek?
Because Jews wrote in Greek. Hence the LXX.

Yes studies have been done. For some:
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Volume 2 By Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich
http://books.google.com/books?id=4ziBMYrak5gC&pg=PA614&dq=%E1%BC%90%CF%80%CE%AF%CF%83%CE%BA%CE%BF%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%82+New+Testament+theological+dictionary&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false
see also on the laying on of hands
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semikha

There's more, which I had intended to post in these threads, but didn't get around to it:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19095.0.html
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19811.0.html
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« Reply #70 on: February 18, 2010, 01:15:32 PM »

My apologies to you and also to Cleopas.  

No problem!
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Someone asked how we understand Acts 15. What is it about Acts 15 that you'd like our thoughts on?

By the way, I'm away for a few days from tomorrow morning, so you won't get a quick reply.
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« Reply #71 on: February 18, 2010, 02:23:10 PM »

My apologies to you and also to Cleopas.  

No problem!
 Smiley

Someone asked how we understand Acts 15. What is it about Acts 15 that you'd like our thoughts on?

If this were true
Quote
the church is a local thing in its community, and its bishop/elder(s) will have no jurisdiction or authority beyond the local church.
Then Antioch would have solved the issue themselves, instead of going up to Jerusalem for a ruling.
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« Reply #72 on: February 18, 2010, 06:43:48 PM »

If this were true
Quote
the church is a local thing in its community, and its bishop/elder(s) will have no jurisdiction or authority beyond the local church.
...then Antioch would have solved the issue themselves, instead of going up to Jerusalem for a ruling.

It's a matter of where you start from. I guess if one believes in episcopacy in what I am suggesting is its 2nd century meaning (i.e. yours!), then you are right; if one assigns what I am saying is its 1st century meaning (the Baptist position) to the title "bishop/overseer/elder", there is no problem with a representative council of local men, from a wide area, gathering to seek God's mind on an issue which faces (or is likely soon to face) the church as a whole.

This is, of course, more a debate between Orthodox and Baptist/Congregational/Brethren/AoG principles than between Orthodox and Protestants as a whole. A lot of Evangelicals are Episcopalian, or (like Methodists) have a connexional system, whilst others run on a Presbyterian system of church government (which I have never fathomed, as there are very few Presbyterians in England).

Have a good few days, y'all. I'm off to York, and shall post no more replies for some days.
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« Reply #73 on: February 18, 2010, 07:11:48 PM »

It's a matter of where you start from....  its 1st century meaning (the Baptist position)

Either this is an anachronism (since the Baptist tradition dates from 1606) or a case of Baptist successionism.  I guess we'll have to wait until he returns from York to find out. 

Godspeed, Mr. Young.
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« Reply #74 on: February 18, 2010, 08:08:56 PM »

It's a matter of where you start from....  its 1st century meaning (the Baptist position)

Either this is an anachronism (since the Baptist tradition dates from 1606) or a case of Baptist successionism.  I guess we'll have to wait until he returns from York to find out.

LOL. No, we don't.

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Godspeed, Mr. Young.
I hope the weather in York is better than here.
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« Reply #75 on: February 18, 2010, 08:45:36 PM »

If this were true
Quote
the church is a local thing in its community, and its bishop/elder(s) will have no jurisdiction or authority beyond the local church.
...then Antioch would have solved the issue themselves, instead of going up to Jerusalem for a ruling.

It's a matter of where you start from.
We start from Pentacoast and ya'll start from John Smyth's Separation, so I guess you are right.

Quote
I guess if one believes in episcopacy in what I am suggesting is its 2nd century meaning (i.e. yours!),

St. Clement wrote in the 1st century, so you are misdating.  And since St. Ignatius was plainly not 7 when he wrote his epistles, he is 1st century (and Apostolic, like St. Clement) as well.

Quote
then you are right; if one assigns what I am saying is its 1st century meaning (the Baptist position)

LOL.  Too bad the Apostles (or for that matter, anyone in the 1st century) didn't assign it that meaning.  At least what seems to be that meaning (nonmeaning) to it.  But not to put words in your mouth, what exactly does the 21st century Baptist mean by "bishop/overseer/elder"

Quote
to the title "bishop/overseer/elder", there is no problem with a representative council of local men, from a wide area, gathering to seek God's mind on an issue which faces (or is likely soon to face) the church as a whole.

The problem is that it wasn't a representative council of local men, from a wide area: the Apostles (Apostles, mind you) SS Peter, Paul and Barnabas passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, but no representative from there goes up to Jerusalem.  St. James makes a judgement (judgement, mind you), he does not take a vote.  The Apostles of Antioch receive the judgement, which is made not only to Antioch, but Syria and Cilicia as well (i.e. the area that would become Antioch's jurisdiction at her autocephaly).  That they sought God's mind is not debated. What is, is their authority to enforce God's mind on the matter.

Quote
This is, of course, more a debate between Orthodox and Baptist/Congregational/Brethren/AoG principles than between Orthodox and Protestants as a whole. A lot of Evangelicals are Episcopalian, or (like Methodists) have a connexional system, whilst others run on a Presbyterian system of church government (which I have never fathomed, as there are very few Presbyterians in England).

Since no Protestant orders are recognized, for us you all are pretty much in the same boat.

Quote
Have a good few days, y'all. I'm off to York, and shall post no more replies for some days.
Enjoy.
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« Reply #76 on: February 18, 2010, 10:33:14 PM »

We start from Pentacoast
Which coast of the US is that?
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« Reply #77 on: February 18, 2010, 11:38:07 PM »

It's a matter of where you start from. I guess if one believes in episcopacy in what I am suggesting is its 2nd century meaning (i.e. yours!), then you are right; if one assigns what I am saying is its 1st century meaning (the Baptist position) to the title "bishop/overseer/elder", there is no problem with a representative council of local men, from a wide area, gathering to seek God's mind on an issue which faces (or is likely soon to face) the church as a whole.

What a daring hypothesis!  My cheeks are positively flushed!

Seriously though, I could have sworn I heard some similar restorationist rhetoric from some other group.  Who was that again?

Oh, yeah:



Somewhere else too, but they predate the Baptists and their ideas by about eight centuries.  Here we go:

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« Reply #78 on: February 19, 2010, 01:04:38 AM »

I won't take this thread anymore off track talking about my lineage, I just have to share that I found an amazing website that tracks my lineage all the way back to AD 555.  I am the descendant of many French kings!  Unbelievable!
I had a baptist friend, who said herself to be a descendant of a french king.I wonder why so many people claim to be descendants of French kings, if you still speak French you'll understand this, Vive le Roi.
but that's great man, the farthest I got was to a Spanish Knightly Order, Spanish knights.
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« Reply #79 on: February 19, 2010, 01:13:06 AM »

I won't take this thread anymore off track talking about my lineage, I just have to share that I found an amazing website that tracks my lineage all the way back to AD 555.  I am the descendant of many French kings!  Unbelievable!
I had a baptist friend, who said herself to be a descendant of a french king.I wonder why so many people claim to be descendants of French kings, if you still speak French you'll understand this, Vive le Roi.
but that's great man, the farthest I got was to a Spanish Knightly Order, Spanish knights.

As a claim it's easy to make.  Let's face it, those french kings got around.
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« Reply #80 on: February 19, 2010, 01:42:21 AM »

We start from Pentacoast
Which coast of the US is that?
Both Alexandria and Antioch are on the Mediterranean.
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« Reply #81 on: February 19, 2010, 07:10:55 AM »

We start from Pentacoast
Which coast of the US is that?
Both Alexandria and Antioch are on the Mediterranean.
Cheesy
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« Reply #82 on: February 19, 2010, 02:02:00 PM »

I won't take this thread anymore off track talking about my lineage, I just have to share that I found an amazing website that tracks my lineage all the way back to AD 555.  I am the descendant of many French kings!  Unbelievable!
Not really, considering the promiscuity of most of the French kings. I think just about every French person has some royalty in them.
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« Reply #83 on: February 19, 2010, 04:59:06 PM »

I won't take this thread anymore off track talking about my lineage, I just have to share that I found an amazing website that tracks my lineage all the way back to AD 555.  I am the descendant of many French kings!  Unbelievable!
I had a baptist friend, who said herself to be a descendant of a french king.I wonder why so many people claim to be descendants of French kings, if you still speak French you'll understand this, Vive le Roi.
but that's great man, the farthest I got was to a Spanish Knightly Order, Spanish knights.
I am jealous!
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« Reply #84 on: February 22, 2010, 05:41:04 PM »

the farthest I got was to a Spanish Knightly Order, Spanish knights.

1. Never mind! My grandmother's lot used to own a castle in Scotland, and were among the first to swear fealty to the English king in the 1200s. Not sure whether that's good or bad.  Wink

2. Thank you. The weather in York was lovely sunshine on Saturday, and heavy snow on Sunday.

3. No, my use of the word Baptist to refer to the 1st century meaning was not an anachronism: what I meant was, that today, twenty centuries later, we Baptists use the words bishop, overseer or elder in the sense they had in the first century, whereas you use the word bishop in the sense which developed in the second century. I was not suggesting we could trace our history back to the first century - though I did once read a pamphlet which argued that, in the early church period, all churches were Strict and Particular Baptist. (But I shan't argue for that: I wouldn't persuade you anyway!)

We believe that our beliefs were around in the first century and yours developed later: which is exactly what you believe the other way round. We'll probably all go to our graves thinking the same, but at least we may have gained a better understanding of each other.
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« Reply #85 on: February 23, 2010, 11:08:37 PM »



twenty centuries later, we Baptists use the words bishop, overseer or elder in the sense they had in the first century, whereas you use the word bishop in the sense which developed in the second century.
This is still an anachronism, friend.  The usage of those words that you all use did not develop until you all developed it, a millennium and a half after the first century (give or take a few years).  You have absolutely no basis, whatsoever, for the belief that your usage is from the first century, outside of your interpretation of the New Testament (which, again, didn't develop until hundreds of years after the New Testament).  It is purely your opinion and nothing more.  And, as usual, you have yet to show us any evidence whatsoever that our usage did NOT exist in the first century.   police

Quote
We believe that our beliefs were around in the first century and yours developed later: which is exactly what you believe the other way round. We'll probably all go to our graves thinking the same, but at least we may have gained a better understanding of each other.
Key words in bold.  What I still can't figure out is how you continue to believe this when all evidence is to the contrary. 

Hope you had a great trip to York!   angel
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« Reply #86 on: February 24, 2010, 12:41:58 AM »

What I still can't figure out is how you continue to believe this when all evidence is to the contrary.

Cognitive dissonance.
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« Reply #87 on: February 24, 2010, 07:19:30 AM »

Cognitive dissonance.

Quid in terra est hoc?!
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« Reply #88 on: February 24, 2010, 07:35:51 AM »

you have yet to show us any evidence whatsoever that our usage did NOT exist in the first century.   

It's dashed hard to prove that something does not exist! Are you perhaps asking the impossible? It's what atheists fail to achieve, on a rather different scale. All I can say is, that I am not aware of any documentary evidence from the 1st century which substantiates your interpretation of the words (elder, overseer, bishop) or gainsays ours. I am of course influenced by the books on Church History that I read, and I believe they all give our meanings for those words at that period; and I don't read only Evangelical books on the subject: I even recently enjoyed Hans Küng's Christianity.

Happily from our point of view, one's salvation does not depend on one's ecclesiology, so having or not having bishops in apostolic succession is not important to us as it is to you, as we have discussed at length when exploring whether Baptist ordinances (or sacraments: some prefer one word, some the other) are valid means of grace.

Quote
Hope you had a great trip to York! 

As ever, a great place to visit - you should give it a try some time -, and Saturday's splendid weather gave opportunity for a long walk in the beautiful nearby wolds. However, not being Orthodox, and thus not observing Lent, I did put on 3lb in 3 days.  Sad Perhaps I ought to follow your admirable example more closely in some ways.
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« Reply #89 on: February 24, 2010, 09:54:17 AM »

Hope York was nice.
you have yet to show us any evidence whatsoever that our usage did NOT exist in the first century.   

It's dashed hard to prove that something does not exist! Are you perhaps asking the impossible? It's what atheists fail to achieve, on a rather different scale. All I can say is, that I am not aware of any documentary evidence from the 1st century which substantiates your interpretation of the words (elder, overseer, bishop) or gainsays ours.

Actually, as I have posted above, we do:Clement is first century, as is Igantius. In fact, to be more precise, both saints, who knew the Apostles and were set in authority by them, wrote within a half century of the first book of the NT being written for St. Clement and just over for St. Ignatius. In fact, Clement I may have been written before the last books of the NT.

As for your definition: what exactly are you arguing?  What is your present day definition of the "overseer" (I assume you won't say bishop), the source and scope of his authority?

Quote
I am of course influenced by the books on Church History that I read, and I believe they all give our meanings for those words at that period; and I don't read only Evangelical books on the subject: I even recently enjoyed Hans Küng's Christianity.

Happily from our point of view, one's salvation does not depend on one's ecclesiology,


Hand Kung thinks because he says so, it is true.  But such is not the case.  At the very least you are claiming our ecclesiology and its hierarchy are an impediment to salvation.

Quote
so having or not having bishops in apostolic succession is not important to us as it is to you, as we have discussed at length when exploring whether Baptist ordinances (or sacraments: some prefer one word, some the other) are valid means of grace.
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« Reply #90 on: February 24, 2010, 10:42:19 AM »

you have yet to show us any evidence whatsoever that our usage did NOT exist in the first century.   

It's dashed hard to prove that something does not exist! Are you perhaps asking the impossible? It's what atheists fail to achieve, on a rather different scale. All I can say is, that I am not aware of any documentary evidence from the 1st century which substantiates your interpretation of the words (elder, overseer, bishop) or gainsays ours.

Then what about providing evidence that your interpretation of the words was the common understanding in the 1st century?
Especially since isa has supplied evidence which substantiates our understanding.
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« Reply #91 on: February 24, 2010, 12:36:49 PM »

I was not suggesting we could trace our history back to the first century - though I did once read a pamphlet which argued that, in the early church period, all churches were Strict and Particular Baptist. (But I shan't argue for that: I wouldn't persuade you anyway!)

In the Baptist church of my youth (we didn't call ourselves Particular Baptists, but our denomination developed from that group), I was taught a something similar to what that pamphlet argued.  By God's mercy, I saw the folly of it and eventually became Orthodox.  So, no, you would not persuade me.  But I am genuinely glad you're here discussing these things.
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« Reply #92 on: February 24, 2010, 03:08:23 PM »

1. Clement is first century, as is Igantius.

2. what exactly are you arguing? 

3. you are claiming our ecclesiology and its hierarchy are an impediment to salvation.

1 and 2. I know they used the words. I am saying that the word bishop or overseer in the NT means more like a local pastor or elder in one church, without wider jurisdiction; that the idea of a bishop with a see and authority over a number of churches in a wide area is a later development. We could discuss whether the first glimmers of the new meaning appears in Clement and Ignatius, if you give me chapter and verse for me to look up and think about.

3. No I'm not; if anything, I'm saying the opposite - that (in our view) it is a matter which does not affect, and certainly does not effect, salvation - that, as regards one's relationship with the Lord, it is not an important issue.
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« Reply #93 on: February 24, 2010, 04:11:22 PM »

I know they used the words. I am saying that the word bishop or overseer in the NT means more like a local pastor or elder in one church, without wider jurisdiction; that the idea of a bishop with a see and authority over a number of churches in a wide area is a later development. We could discuss whether the first glimmers of the new meaning appears in Clement and Ignatius, if you give me chapter and verse for me to look up and think about.

Okay then, show us the evidence - that the early Christians agreed with you, and then show us where it changed.

http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/worship_early_church_ext.htm

St. Ignatius, said by Eusebius to have been the second Bishop of Antioch for 40 years,  was arrested and condemned to death in the arena in Rome around 107, which puts him in the lifetime of some of the Apostles, was taken under guard to Rome, along the way he was able to receive delegations from the local churches, headed by the Bishop, and wrote them letters.

"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."(Letter to the Smyrnaeans).
"Take great care to keep one Eucharist. For there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one cup to unite us by His Blood; one sanctuary, as there is one bishop, together with the presbytery and the deacons, my fellow-servants. Thus all your acts may be done accordingly to God's will."(Letter to the Philadelphians).
"Let no one do anything that pertains to the Church apart from the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is under the bishop or one whom he has delegated. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be; just as wherever Jesus Christ may be, there is the catholic Church ."(Letter to the Smyrnaeans).

(Btw, just for kicks, what would it mean to you to find out that the Orthodox understanding of the office of the Bishop was both historic and correct?)


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« Reply #94 on: February 24, 2010, 06:45:31 PM »

show us the evidence - that the early Christians agreed with you, and then show us where it changed.

I fear I am losing track of whether we are discussing Church History or Semantics. We could probably argue for ever by exchanging posts along the lines of "The NT means 'episkopos' in our sense"; "No, it doesn't: it means it in our sense." None of your quotes from Ignatius of Antioch shows his meaning either way - the bishop (i.e. overseer) of one local church (as we say), or the bishop with a diocese embracing many churches (as you say). I have been commenting only on the extent of a bishop's jurisdiction. The NT says that bishops should be ordained "in every church". Individual churches are addressed in various epistles, and each has its own complement of bishops or elders. They are attached to local churches, and preside only over their own church. That is all I am saying.

It is true that we do not use the English word 'bishop', because of the confusion which has grown up over its meaning; it is simpler to keep to the words 'pastor' and 'elder'. The word 'bishop' is sometimes used among us in the sense we believe 'episkopos' carried in the NT, but it is rare, and usually archaic, stiltedly formal, or humorous.

Quote
what would it mean to you to find out that the Orthodox understanding of the office of the Bishop was both historic and correct?

It would presumably mean that the only known and sure channel of grace was the episcopacy, and its duly ordained priesthood, within apostolic succession. I might be generous enough to say things like, "I know where God's grace is: I do not know where it is not"; or I might end up more rigorous (converts often do) and say there is no salvation outside the church. (Was it Cyprian who coined that slogan?)

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« Reply #95 on: February 24, 2010, 07:24:52 PM »

1. Clement is first century, as is Igantius.

2. what exactly are you arguing?  

3. you are claiming our ecclesiology and its hierarchy are an impediment to salvation.

1 and 2. I know they used the words. I am saying that the word bishop or overseer in the NT means more like a local pastor or elder in one church, without wider jurisdiction; that the idea of a bishop with a see and authority over a number of churches in a wide area is a later development. We could discuss whether the first glimmers of the new meaning appears in Clement and Ignatius, if you give me chapter and verse for me to look up and think about.

I have to be quick right now: for one thing, the fact that both SS Clement and Ignatius write to cities and bishops not within the city limits of their capital, but within their patriarchates (hence why St. Ignatios' tone to Rome is not the same as the rest of the epistles: Rome is not in Antioch's jurisdiction).

Clement I 40-44:
Quote
These things therefore being manifest to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it behooves us to do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times. He has enjoined offerings [to be presented] and service to be performed [to Him], and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by His own supreme will, in order that all things, being piously done according to His good pleasure, may be acceptable unto Him. Those, therefore, who present their offerings at the appointed times, are accepted and blessed; for inasmuch as they follow the laws of the Lord, they sin not. For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen.

Let every one of you, brethren, give thanks to God in his own order, living in all good conscience, with becoming gravity, and not going beyond the rule of the ministry prescribed to him. Not in every place, brethren, are the daily sacrifices offered, or the peace-offerings, or the sin-offerings and the trespass-offerings, but in Jerusalem only. And even there they are not offered in any place, but only at the altar before the temple, that which is offered being first carefully examined by the high priest and the ministers already mentioned. Those, therefore, who do anything beyond that which is agreeable to His will, are punished with death. You see, brethren, that the greater the knowledge that has been vouchsafed to us, the greater also is the danger to which we are exposed.

The apostles have preached the gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus says the Scripture in a certain place, I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.

And what wonder is it if those in Christ who were entrusted with such a duty by God, appointed those [ministers] before mentioned, when the blessed Moses also, a faithful servant in all his house, noted down in the sacred books all the injunctions which were given him, and when the other prophets also followed him, bearing witness with one consent to the ordinances which he had appointed? For, when rivalry arose concerning the priesthood, and the tribes were contending among themselves as to which of them should be adorned with that glorious title, he commanded the twelve princes of the tribes to bring him their rods, each one being inscribed with the name of the tribe. And he took them and bound them [together], and sealed them with the rings of the princes of the tribes, and laid them up in the tabernacle of witness on the table of God. And having shut the doors of the tabernacle, he sealed the keys, as he had done the rods, and said to them, Men and brethren, the tribe whose rod shall blossom has God chosen to fulfil the office of the priesthood, and to minister unto Him. And when the morning had come, he assembled all Israel, six hundred thousand men, and showed the seals to the princes of the tribes, and opened the tabernacle of witness, and brought forth the rods. And the rod of Aaron was found not only to have blossomed, but to bear fruit upon it. What think ye, beloved? Did not Moses know beforehand that this would happen? Undoubtedly he knew; but he acted thus, that there might be no sedition in Israel, and that the name of the true and only God might be glorified; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that you have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour.

Quote
3. No I'm not; if anything, I'm saying the opposite - that (in our view) it is a matter which does not affect, and certainly does not effect, salvation - that, as regards one's relationship with the Lord, it is not an important issue.
If someone is obscuring the pure simplicity of the Gospel (IIRC from my Protestant days), that doesn't have an effect on salvation?

Btw, I'd still like a definition in your own words as to the source and extent of the overseer's authority.
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« Reply #96 on: February 25, 2010, 04:40:44 AM »

If someone is obscuring the pure simplicity of the Gospel ... that doesn't have an effect on salvation?

I'd still like a definition in your own words as to the source and extent of the overseer's authority.

Reversing the order of your questions:

Like yourgoodself, I must hasten away. I think we shall have to 'agree to disagree' on what Ignatius and Clement mean by bishop, for both your meaning and ours make perfect sense in the context you give. Clement wrote his word of brotherly and ministerial exhoration to the church in Corinth, but it does not imply that he had authority over that church: one may exhort, counsel, urge, encourage from a position other than authority. Similarly Ignatius in his epistles to various churches - though I doubt not that he felt that his journey to martyrdom gave him some moral authority.

I think the scriptures are plain that each church had it own overseers (episkopoi), and that they led in their own churches. The NT gives quite a lot of information about their qualifications, roles and duties, which you know as well as I, I'm sure.

I don't think the having of bishops (in your current sense) obscures the simplicity of the gospel, if we are considering only the geographical extent of their jurisdiction and the system of organisation they represent. The important thing is that each church should have its duly appointed overseers. Both your system and ours (and all others - Methodist, Presbyterian etc) are operated by fallen human beings, redeemed but not yet made perfect, and while this age lasts all systems will malfunction for that reason, from time to time. There are competent, gifted Baptist pastors under whom the churches thrive, and I suspect there are competent, gifted Orthodox priests under whom the churches thrive. Likewise, there are men in the wrong place, duly appointed in terms of the organisation but unsuited to be ministers of the Word, lacking both grace and gifts. There are most certainly such men in Baptist pastorates, and I doubt not that there are Orthodox churches in similar plights. What matters is the divine and human qualities of the local pastor/overseer/elder/'priest', and if an unsuitable one gets through the system and is appointed, either by a bishop in your case, or by a local church in ours, it is a disaster. But it is not the means of his appointment that obscures the simplicity of the Gospel.

My desire and prayer is that your bishops and our churches will be given divine grace and wisdom to discover and appoint godly, gifted men to lead the local churches.

If you mean - which we were not actually discussing - that the nature of the episcopacy (leading to priesthood, and sacraments as understood among Orthodox, and other matters passed on by the bishops as part of Holy Tradition), then Yes, we do believe this obscures the simplicity of the Gospel: but we have discussed that at length on a number of threads when exploring whether the Orthodox have added accretions to pure Christianity, or whether Protestants have pared away genuine aspects of the Faith. I suggest we do not go down that line again, as the relevant threads are open for review, and I think we have all disburdened our souls on those matters.
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« Reply #97 on: February 25, 2010, 11:25:05 AM »

I think the scriptures are plain that each church had it own overseers (episkopoi), and that they led in their own churches.

Then who were the presbyters? St. Ignatius mentions three types, if you will: bishop, presbyter and deacon.

Also still awaiting evidence that the early Christians understood the office of bishop in the Baptist way and not the Orthodox way, and when it changed.

It would seem logical that bishops became responsible for a larger geographical area as the church grew, wouldn't you agree?

But as to their apostolic and sacramental role, that was there from the beginning, as we see from the NT and Clement and Ignatius (both lived and served within the lifetime of at least some of the Apostles).
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« Reply #98 on: February 25, 2010, 01:14:27 PM »

Then who were the presbyters?

As far as I am aware - but you'd really need to ask someone familiar with NT Greek - the two are synonymous, each Greek word being attached to one aspect or another of their role. A bishop or presbyter was the same man (not woman).

Quote
It would seem logical that bishops became responsible for a larger geographical area as the church grew, wouldn't you agree?

I believe that is what happened. And the name developed with them, so that the word also widened its geographical meaning. This is what I've been saying.

Quote
as to their ... sacramental role, that was there from the beginning,

That, of course, is where we disagree, and is far more deeply important than whether they wielded authority over one or several churches. But we have explored the matter at great length elsewhere.

(I do not mean that baptism and the Lord's Supper are not sacraments; I mean that your view of the sacraments, and of the "bishops, presbyters, priests, overseers, elders" who administered those sacraments is different from our view. There are long posts on this from your side and ours on other threads.)
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« Reply #99 on: February 25, 2010, 01:26:13 PM »

Then who were the presbyters?

As far as I am aware - but you'd really need to ask someone familiar with NT Greek - the two are synonymous, each Greek word being attached to one aspect or another of their role. A bishop or presbyter was the same man (not woman).
But St. Ignatius refers to three: bishops, presbyters and deacons. How do you account for that, if the bishop/presbyter was always the same man?
Three orders and apostolic role of bishop:"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."(Letter to the Smyrnaeans).
Sacramental, and three orders:"Take great care to keep one Eucharist. For there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one cup to unite us by His Blood; one sanctuary, as there is one bishop, together with the presbytery and the deacons, my fellow-servants. Thus all your acts may be done accordingly to God's will."(Letter to the Philadelphians).
"Let no one do anything that pertains to the Church apart from the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is under the bishop or one whom he has delegated. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be; just as wherever Jesus Christ may be, there is the catholic Church ."(Letter to the Smyrnaeans).


Still waiting for some kind of evidence that early Christians understood the office of bishop the way modern Baptists do, also when it changed?
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« Reply #100 on: February 25, 2010, 01:45:21 PM »

Then who were the presbyters?

As far as I am aware - but you'd really need to ask someone familiar with NT Greek - the two are synonymous, each Greek word being attached to one aspect or another of their role. A bishop or presbyter was the same man (not woman).
But St. Ignatius refers to three: bishops, presbyters and deacons. How do you account for that, if the bishop/presbyter was always the same man?
Three orders and apostolic role of bishop:"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."(Letter to the Smyrnaeans).
Sacramental, and three orders:"Take great care to keep one Eucharist. For there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one cup to unite us by His Blood; one sanctuary, as there is one bishop, together with the presbytery and the deacons, my fellow-servants. Thus all your acts may be done accordingly to God's will."(Letter to the Philadelphians).
"Let no one do anything that pertains to the Church apart from the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is under the bishop or one whom he has delegated. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be; just as wherever Jesus Christ may be, there is the catholic Church ."(Letter to the Smyrnaeans).


Still waiting for some kind of evidence that early Christians understood the office of bishop the way modern Baptists do, also when it changed?

I don't think you can make the argument that they are synonyms from a Scriptural perspective. 

First of all, you need to look at the usage.  When 'presbyter' is used not to describe one's age, it is more frequently used in the plural, such as an assembly of presbyters in a given location.

Whereas 'episcopos' is used, with one exception, in the singular.  One can infer that there were a lot fewer bishops than presbyters just by the singular/plural usage.  If they were the same group, one would assume that the singular/plural ratio would be the same.

St. Paul calls himself a 'presbyter' which is in keeping with the Church's teaching that Bishops arise from the Presbytery, which is natural considering that a Bishop ought to arise fom the 'elders' of a community.
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« Reply #101 on: February 26, 2010, 07:17:08 AM »

St. Ignatius refers to three: bishops, presbyters and deacons. How do you account for that,

By Ignatius's time, there were churches where the new meaning of 'bishop' had begun to be in use; it had begun to happen that a church had one bishop - a new development - whose role was in some senses above that of elders and deacons. Such a thing is still common to this day, only they tend to be called pastors, elders and deacons.
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« Reply #102 on: February 26, 2010, 10:27:28 AM »

St. Ignatius refers to three: bishops, presbyters and deacons. How do you account for that,

By Ignatius's time, there were churches where the new meaning of 'bishop' had begun to be in use; it had begun to happen that a church had one bishop - a new development - whose role was in some senses above that of elders and deacons.
so you date this "new" development (which, if you read St. Ignatius, he is not speaking of a "new" development, but rather established practice) to within the lifetime of some of the Apostles?

Quote
Such a thing is still common to this day, only they tend to be called pastors, elders and deacons.
How can it be common if they are called something else?
So you could really say of pastors, elders and deacons today: "All of you follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as the Apostles..." or "Let no one do anything that pertains to the Church apart from the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is under the bishop or one whom he has delegated. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be; just as wherever Jesus Christ may be, there is the catholic Church "?
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« Reply #103 on: February 26, 2010, 12:32:47 PM »

St. Ignatius refers to three: bishops, presbyters and deacons. How do you account for that,

By Ignatius's time,
LOL. You mean the time of the Apostles?  Perhaps you don't, but that (St. Ignatius being ordained by St. Peter and all) was what it was.

Quote
there were churches where the new meaning of 'bishop' had begun to be in use; it had begun to happen that a church had one bishop - a new development - whose role was in some senses above that of elders and deacons. Such a thing is still common to this day, only they tend to be called pastors, elders and deacons.
No, they tend to be Synods of Bishops, priests and deacons today.  Your "still" is misplaced: even if we presume your set up for the first century, we don't find it in the intervening plus millenium.

Is the number of bishops per city (or are you counting per congregation?) at the core of your "first century definition?"  It doesn't seem all that important in the context of the spreading out of the Church. In the days of St. Innnocent of Alaska, when he was just a parish missionary priest (and married!), he travelled all the way from the Aleutians to San Francisco to pastor the Orthodox in the New World. St. Innocent was ordained bishop only because his wife passed away. His duties didn't change all that much.  There were areas in the first century (and every century in between) where similar conditions prevailed (e.g. Ireland).  In the highly settled, densely populated and urban Roman empire, the hiearchy fanned out from the metropolises.

As far as the hierarchy is concerned, the presbytery was derived from the episcopacy (although now bishops are taken from among the priests), like the deaconate was derived from the royal priesthood.  We see that already in scripture, and we see it today, as Fr. Girguis stated: rubrics, for instance, call for "the elder," which in the presence of the bishop means him, in his absence the priest or the senior priest.  The only difference between "bishop" in the second and in the first century is only one of circumstances, not substance.  Which is evident by SS. Clement and Ignatius,as they lived their office out in not only the first century, but the first half century, of the Church.

For some reason I am reminded of an incident a few years ago, when a Baptist pastor (or would you say "overseer") tried to bring his congregation into Orthoodxy.  When they balked (and dragged up old and estranged members IIRC for the vote), he said he was going anyway, and some of the congregation came by us.  He is now an Orthodox priest, and they now are an Orthodox parish.

If someone is obscuring the pure simplicity of the Gospel ... that doesn't have an effect on salvation?

I'd still like a definition in your own words as to the source and extent of the overseer's authority.

Reversing the order of your questions:

Like yourgoodself, I must hasten away. I think we shall have to 'agree to disagree' on what Ignatius and Clement mean by bishop,

No, we don't.  They are quite clear.  Neither will support the congregationalist model I augur you hold (correct me if I misunderstand).

Quote
for both your meaning and ours make perfect sense in the context you give. Clement wrote his word of brotherly and ministerial exhoration to the church in Corinth, but it does not imply that he had authority over that church: one may exhort, counsel, urge, encourage from a position other than authority.

No, he expects to be obeyed.  Hence his comparison of Congregationalism to the rebellion of Korah, and the proof of the authority of the priesthood being enshrined in the Ark itself.  He makes it clear that he is not making suggestions for their consideration, but commads with consequences (56-65):
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Let us then also pray for those who have fallen into any sin, that meekness and humility may be given to them, so that they may submit, not unto us, but to the will of God. For in this way they shall secure a fruitful and perfect remembrance from us, with sympathy for them, both in our prayers to God, and our mention of them to the saints....You therefore, who laid the foundation of this sedition, submit yourselves to the presbyters, and receive correction so as to repent, bending the knees of your hearts. Learn to be subject, laying aside the proud and arrogant self-confidence of your tongue. For it is better for you that you should occupy a humble but honourable place in the flock of Christ, than that, being highly exalted, you should be cast out from the hope of His people....Let us, therefore, flee from the warning threats pronounced by Wisdom on the disobedient, and yield submission to His all-holy and glorious name, that we may stay our trust upon the most hallowed name of His majesty. Receive our counsel, and you shall be without repentance. For, as God lives, and as the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost live—both the faith and hope of the elect, he who in lowliness of mind, with instant gentleness, and without repentance has observed the ordinances and appointments given by God— the same shall obtain a place and name in the number of those who are being saved through Jesus Christ, through whom is glory to Him for ever and ever. Amen....If, however, any shall disobey the words spoken by Him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and serious danger; but we shall be innocent of this sin, and, instant in prayer and supplication, shall desire that the Creator of all preserve unbroken the computed number of His elect in the whole world through His beloved Son Jesus Christ, through whom He called us from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge of the glory of His name, our hope resting on Your name which is primal cause of every creature—having opened the eyes of our heart to the knowledge of You, who alone rests highest among the highest, holy among the holy, Isaiah 57:15 who layest low the insolence of the haughty, Isaiah 13:11...Right is it, therefore, to approach examples so good and so many, and submit the neck and fulfil the part of obedience, in order that, undisturbed by vain sedition, we may attain unto the goal set before us in truth wholly free from blame. Joy and gladness will you afford us, if you become obedient to the words written by us and through the Holy Spirit root out the lawless wrath of your jealousy according to the intercession which we have made for peace and unity in this letter. We have sent men faithful and discreet, whose conversation from youth to old age has been blameless among us—the same shall be witnesses between you and us. This we have done, that you may know that our whole concern has been and is that you may be speedily at peace....Send back speedily to us in peace and with joy these our messengers to you: Claudius Ephebus and Valerius Bito, with Fortunatus; that they may the sooner announce to us the peace and harmony we so earnestly desire and long for [among you], and that we may the more quickly rejoice over the good order re-established among you.

Quote
Similarly Ignatius in his epistles to various churches - though I doubt not that he felt that his journey to martyrdom gave him some moral authority.

No, he is quite clear that he expects to be obeyed too, and e.g. gives instructions to the young bishop St. Polycarp as St. Paul did to St. Timothy.

Quote
I think the scriptures are plain that each church had it own overseers (episkopoi), and that they led in their own churches. The NT gives quite a lot of information about their qualifications, roles and duties, which you know as well as I, I'm sure.

Indeed.  It also shows that the Apostles at Antioch were under the Apostles of Jerusalem (hence the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15).

Quote
I don't think the having of bishops (in your current sense)

LOL. You mean the 1st century sense in the 21st century?

Quote
obscures the simplicity of the gospel, if we are considering only the geographical extent of their jurisdiction and the system of organisation they represent. The important thing is that each church should have its duly appointed overseers. Both your system and ours (and all others - Methodist, Presbyterian etc) are operated by fallen human beings, redeemed but not yet made perfect, and while this age lasts all systems will malfunction for that reason, from time to time. There are competent, gifted Baptist pastors under whom the churches thrive, and I suspect there are competent, gifted Orthodox priests under whom the churches thrive. Likewise, there are men in the wrong place, duly appointed in terms of the organisation but unsuited to be ministers of the Word, lacking both grace and gifts. There are most certainly such men in Baptist pastorates, and I doubt not that there are Orthodox churches in similar plights. What matters is the divine and human qualities of the local pastor/overseer/elder/'priest', and if an unsuitable one gets through the system and is appointed, either by a bishop in your case, or by a local church in ours, it is a disaster. But it is not the means of his appointment that obscures the simplicity of the Gospel.

My desire and prayer is that your bishops and our churches will be given divine grace and wisdom to discover and appoint godly, gifted men to lead the local churches.

If you mean - which we were not actually discussing - that the nature of the episcopacy (leading to priesthood, and sacraments as understood among Orthodox, and other matters passed on by the bishops as part of Holy Tradition), then Yes, we do believe this obscures the simplicity of the Gospel: but we have discussed that at length on a number of threads when exploring whether the Orthodox have added accretions to pure Christianity, or whether Protestants have pared away genuine aspects of the Faith. I suggest we do not go down that line again, as the relevant threads are open for review, and I think we have all disburdened our souls on those matters.
Without that essence of the episcopacy, there are no bishops, no authority, no jurisdiction. And for that matter, no Gospel.
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« Reply #104 on: February 26, 2010, 01:31:11 PM »

St. Ignatius refers to three: bishops, presbyters and deacons. How do you account for that,

By Ignatius's time, there were churches where the new meaning of 'bishop' had begun to be in use; it had begun to happen that a church had one bishop - a new development - whose role was in some senses above that of elders and deacons. Such a thing is still common to this day, only they tend to be called pastors, elders and deacons.

Others have made the very important point that it is virtually impossible to separate St. Ignatius from the Apostolic period (I say 'virtually' because there is no accouting for the extremes some people will go to in making stretches, something even I have donre from time to time, though I hope not here).  However, I would like to make a point regarding the office of the Bishop in the Scriptures.

We have all been edified by the letters of St. Paul to St. Timothy, and I think now may be a good time to return to them:

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ,
who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove,
rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound
doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves
teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be
turned unto fables.
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of
an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)


I wonder how much different the office of the Bishop today differs from this model?  Reading through St. Paul's other admonishments:

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we
trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of
those that believe.
These things command and teach.
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the
believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in
purity. (1 Timothy 4:9-12)


St. Paul tells St. Timothy to 'command and teach' as a Bishop.  He gives him several imperatives to do so, and goes on a bit about how to exercise the authority which, to this day, Orthodox Bishops continue to do.  St. Timothy is even advised on the correct way to admonish the Presbyters, thus showing that the episcopacy extended over the 'elders' (i.e. presbyters) who participated in his consecration by St. Paul:

Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.  (1 Timothy 5:1-2)


Here, St. Paul advises St. Timothy not to be harsh on the elders in his work, which he would not have to do if Bishops did not reign over the Presbyters.  He's giving advice to a young man who must supervise those older than him.  Such advice would not be necessary if he was not expected to be a supervisor.

The authority and practice of the Orthodox episcopacy goes back to the Scriptures.  Sure, there are slightly different vestment and more elaborate practices, but they are inseparable from this ancient and Apostolic Tradition.

It does not require in-depth knowledge of Greek here to see what St. Paul is trying to teach the young Bishop.  St. Ignatius falls into line with these passages, as does the rest of the Tradition.

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« Reply #105 on: February 26, 2010, 05:08:15 PM »

As I said a few posts back, I suspect there is no value left in continuing this particular line of discussion - i.e. how many churches a bishop had under him in the mid first century - as both you and we will almost certainly continue believing what we have set out in our posts.

I have to confess it is not a matter I see as carrying any fundamental religious or spiritual significance: if they had one church (as we say) or several (as you say), it makes little difference, if any at all (as far as I can see), to how a man or woman relates to God in Christ.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me in such careful and comprehensive details.
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« Reply #106 on: February 26, 2010, 06:21:15 PM »

I have to confess it is not a matter I see as carrying any fundamental religious or spiritual significance: if they had one church (as we say) or several (as you say), it makes little difference, if any at all (as far as I can see), to how a man or woman relates to God in Christ.

Cognitive dissonance.
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« Reply #107 on: February 26, 2010, 07:37:56 PM »

As I said a few posts back, I suspect there is no value left in continuing this particular line of discussion - i.e. how many churches a bishop had under him in the mid first century - as both you and we will almost certainly continue believing what we have set out in our posts.

I have to confess it is not a matter I see as carrying any fundamental religious or spiritual significance: if they had one church (as we say) or several (as you say), it makes little difference, if any at all (as far as I can see), to how a man or woman relates to God in Christ.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me in such careful and comprehensive details.


From an Orthodox perspective, the role of the Bishop is critical to the life of the believer.  It is the Bishop who is charged with caring for the believer, teaching the believer and correcting the believer.  Again, if such a role was optional, the Scriptures would say so.  They say the opposite, which is why these epistles were included in the canon.

It becomes profoundly more obvious in moments of conflict, the examples of which are too many to catalog.

We relate to God through the Body of Christ, which St. Paul tells us is administered by those in rightful authority (i.e. Apostles, Bishops, etc.).  You can't have the Gospel unless the Church first shares it with you, and the invention of the printing press does not invalidate the Truth of the Church.  Just because you can buy a Bible does not mean it is yours or mine to interpret in a singular manner.

Rather, most of us have notions of the Scriptures given to us long before we make the effort to read it carefully.  We hope that those teachings are true in such cases, but that does not absolve us of the necessity to search and find what it says.

Frankly, and I say this with Christian love and care, you simply can't say that none of this means anything to the believer when St. Paul so explicitly says otherwise.  We may argue over the meaning of this passage or that, but I don't think that you can honestly read the Scriptures and find that St. Paul is 'agnostic' about the role of the Bishop, or the Apostle, or the Teacher, etc.

I do apologize if I am coming off a bit terse, but it is difficult to make this point without potentially treading on some toes.
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« Reply #108 on: February 26, 2010, 08:01:49 PM »

As I said a few posts back, I suspect there is no value left in continuing this particular line of discussion - i.e. how many churches a bishop had under him in the mid first century -
Answer none: the Apostles were busy founding them.  The handoff of Acts 22 didn't happedn until 58: St. Paul's letter to Titus tells us Titus was in authority of every city in Crete.


Quote
as both you and we will almost certainly continue believing what we have set out in our posts.

Did I miss something?  The number of Churches a bishop had has been the only difference you have pointed out between your definition and ours, let alone the difference between your definition and that of the 1st century bishops themselves.

Quote
I have to confess it is not a matter I see as carrying any fundamental religious or spiritual significance: if they had one church (as we say) or several (as you say), it makes little difference, if any at all (as far as I can see), to how a man or woman relates to God in Christ.

If the bishop has one or thousands of Churches, it makes no difference, neither today nor in the 1st century.  The presence or absence of a bishop makes a great of difference.  To confess otherwise is to admit the Muslim's relationship to God in Christ.


Quote
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me in such careful and comprehensive details.

If you have posted your definition of an overseer, please direct.
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« Reply #109 on: February 27, 2010, 08:51:35 AM »

Let me put it like this. I was asked to give a lecture on Evangelical Christianity to an audience of 100+ three years in a row in Gjilan, which some of you may prefer to call Gnjilane. Probably the audience was 100% Moslem. After each lecture came a question session, and one question asked what the difference is between a priest and a pastor. By 'priest' I assumed that Orthodox or Catholic was meant; by 'pastor' probably a man fulfilling a similar role (in Moslem eyes) in an Evangelical or Pentecostal church. Corresponding with you good people, and reading Orthodox literature, has enabled me (I hope) to give an answer to that kind of question, with honesty and respect as well as some accuracy, that is, about what Orthodox mean by 'priest'; I contrasted it with our 'pastor' explaining that he is no different from any other man other than in the duties or tasks he fulfils in church: praying for his flock, teaching them the Faith, visiting them, exhorting, advising, comforting them, leading them, whilst having no 'priestly' or 'sacramental' power different from other men. Bishops didn't come into the questioning, presumably because they observed that there are no Evangelical or Pentecostal bishops in their country; nonetheless, had they asked, I dare say I would have said something like this: that, from an Evangelical viewpoint, bishophood puts a man only in an organisational capacity in church hierarchy, as we do not believe in apostolic succession (either in the sense that it is real, or in the sense that it matters even if it is historically real). (An Anglican Evangelical might of course give a different reply, but I am not in a position to know.)

I don't want to discuss any of this, as we have done so at great length on various threads, and I have nothing more to add. But I hope that helps to clarify what I believe Cleopas and I (and of course many others sadly not participating on the forum) would say.
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« Reply #110 on: March 01, 2010, 10:23:10 AM »

from an Evangelical viewpoint, bishophood puts a man only in an organisational capacity in church hierarchy, as we do not believe in apostolic succession (either in the sense that it is real, or in the sense that it matters even if it is historically real)
...I don't want to discuss any of this, as we have done so at great length on various threads, and I have nothing more to add. But I hope that helps to clarify what I believe Cleopas and I (and of course many others sadly not participating on the forum) would say.

David, honey, you are perfectly free to say whatever you want, of course, but where is your evidence? That's all I (and I think the others here) want to see. We have provided ours, but all we have seen from you is opinion/interpretation.
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« Reply #111 on: March 01, 2010, 11:57:13 AM »

bishophood ... church hierarchy ... apostolic succession

As I said before, in reply to our esteemed GreekChef, it is hard to provide evidence for the absence of something. We simply see no reference to, or presence of, the concept of priesthood (apart of course from references to Jewish priests) in the NT, nor to the intention of a Church organised through the decades and centuries on the basis Apostolic Succession with the laying-on of hands in an unbroken line, nor even to a stratum of church organisation such as is currently filled by bishops in the modern sense of the word.

I am not saying this form of organisation is a hindrance to the Gospel or to spirituality, any more than any other structure which has developed in different times and places among the people of God, all of which can be operated by people filled with the Holy Ghost and be a blessing to men, or by ambitious men and women who wangle a position they have no divine calling or gift for. I am not saying the stratum of bishops should be abolished and every denomination should be run on Baptist lines (that is, autonomous local churches linked in voluntary, equal fellowship).

I am aware that certain words were used in the NT, but I suspect that neither of us has the time or inclination to list every occurrence in the NT of the words priest, bishop, presbyter, elder, pastor and perhaps related words, and to debate the meaning of each in the light of its literary and historical context. I am also aware that we can jump ahead into the following century and see that, in some places at least, the modern sense of the words had begun to develop or was already in place. But I am not qualified to prove (which is what you ask) that your meaning is absent in every case, or that ours must be the only possible sense in every case.  But detaching the NT from Holy Tradition, I do think that our understanding of the words and roles form a coherent and consistent whole.

I am not saying that your claim to unbroken historical succession of bishops is false (though neither do I see it as proven). What I have said is, that it is not in our view a biblical concept, and thus even if it is a historical fact, it has no spiritual importance.
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« Reply #112 on: March 01, 2010, 02:10:56 PM »

bishophood ... church hierarchy ... apostolic succession

As I said before, in reply to our esteemed GreekChef, it is hard to provide evidence for the absence of something.

But that's not your problem.  Your problem is that bishophood/Church hierarchy/apostolic succession are quite clearly taught by SS. Clement and Ignatius and that before the close of the 1st century, within the first half century of after the first of the NT was written and before the last book was finished, and by those who knew the Apostles (and the appeal to scripture isn't going to solve your problem, as you depend on those who held SS Clement and Igantius. Otherewise you could have ended up with the Gospel of Thomas).  St. Paul specifically tells St. Titus to install the bishops/presbyters, and tells St. Timothy not to neglect the charism he received when hands were laid on him.  SS. Clement and Igantius are but the continuation of that dogma.

Quote
We simply see no reference to, or presence of, the concept of priesthood (apart of course from references to Jewish priests) in the NT, nor to the intention of a Church organised through the decades and centuries on the basis Apostolic Succession with the laying-on of hands in an unbroken line, nor even to a stratum of church organisation such as is currently filled by bishops in the modern sense of the word.

Before I analyze this, just for a moment consider the absurdity that some cabal could form a hierarchy which has continued to govern the Church uninterrupted from the 2nd century to this day whereas you are claiming that the governance of the Church against which the gates of Hell it is promised will not prevail, went defunct in less than a century and was only revived over a millenium and a half later.

The NT is quite clear: there is a charism giving in the laying on of hands as we are told in Timothy, which is to be perpetuated as we are told in Titus. There is the office of bishop, to which the Apostles in St. Paul gave the Church over to in Acts 20 (having laid down the continuation of the episcopacy in Acts 1).   The Samaritans do not receive the Holy Spirit, as the Apostles have not laid hands on them, and the Church of Jerusalem exercises its jurisdiction by sending SS John and Peter. The Holy Spirit and the Church of Jerusalem don't make helpful suggestions to the Church of Antioch but "lay upon [them] necessary things." All these practices, btw, have precedence in how the Hebrews were practicing the Old Covenan in the 1st century (e.g. the transmittal of authority by semikha). And the epistle to the Hebrews (which we read during Lent) deals a lot with the High Priesthood of Christ.  If you aren't seeing priesthood in the NT I'm afraid you are either a) not looking, b) not understanding what you are seeing (I'm betting on the second).

Quote
I am not saying this form of organisation is a hindrance to the Gospel or to spirituality, any more than any other structure which has developed in different times and places among the people of God, all of which can be operated by people filled with the Holy Ghost and be a blessing to men, or by ambitious men and women who wangle a position they have no divine calling or gift for. I am not saying the stratum of bishops should be abolished and every denomination should be run on Baptist lines (that is, autonomous local churches linked in voluntary, equal fellowship).

We say (and have said since the time of Apostles) that the episcopacy is a necessary thing of the Church, derived from the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Christ Himself (I Peter 2:25).  Either those to whom the Apostels entrusted the Church erected that hinderance, or you have taken away a necessary element of the Church.  Either Christ is insane, or He is the Son of God: the Gospel does not give the  "good philosopher" as a valid choice.  Either the Holy Spirit and Christ work through the episcopacy or the episcopacy has interjected itself as a hinderance between Christ and the Church.

Quote
I am aware that certain words were used in the NT, but I suspect that neither of us has the time or inclination to list every occurrence in the NT of the words priest, bishop, presbyter, elder, pastor and perhaps related words, and to debate the meaning of each in the light of its literary and historical context.

It's not that hard.

Quote
I am also aware that we can jump ahead into the following century and see that, in some places at least, the modern sense of the words had begun to develop or was already in place. But I am not qualified to prove (which is what you ask) that your meaning is absent in every case, or that ours must be the only possible sense in every case.  But detaching the NT from Holy Tradition, I do think that our understanding of the words and roles form a coherent and consistent whole.

That's your first problem, because without Holy Tradition, how do you justify not using the Gospel of Thomas?  Marcion's Gospel?  Why do you not accept the Epistle of Clement as Scripture (as was by many in the Church, and in the early codeces), which would easily settle the issue sola scriptura?

But besides that, I see no evidence for your meaning fullfilling the references in the NT.  Antioch and Samaria are not autonoous from Jerusalem, nor her equal. Nor were their association voluntary, except that they did not want to be schismatic nor heretical.

Quote
I am not saying that your claim to unbroken historical succession of bishops is false (though neither do I see it as proven). What I have said is, that it is not in our view a biblical concept, and thus even if it is a historical fact, it has no spiritual importance.
The historical fact that those upon which you depend for your Bible have seen, from the 1st century on, the unbroken succession of bishops as a necessary thing gives it spiritual importance.
from an Evangelical viewpoint, bishophood puts a man only in an organisational capacity in church hierarchy, as we do not believe in apostolic succession (either in the sense that it is real, or in the sense that it matters even if it is historically real)
...I don't want to discuss any of this, as we have done so at great length on various threads, and I have nothing more to add. But I hope that helps to clarify what I believe Cleopas and I (and of course many others sadly not participating on the forum) would say.

David, honey, you are perfectly free to say whatever you want, of course, but where is your evidence? That's all I (and I think the others here) want to see. We have provided ours, but all we have seen from you is opinion/interpretation.


No one in the NT goes out without being sent.  Even St. Paul received the laying on of hands, as we see in Acts.  He was called to be an Apostle but that calling also directed him to go to St. Ananias, ie. the Church.  As Timothy I shows, a gift of prophecy comes with the laying on of hands, such that St. Paul tells him not to neglect the charism and not to lay hands hastily lest it be conferred to the unworthy.  Not organization functions, but charism.

As for Apostolic succession, Acts 1, 20, and Titus 1 show that the Apostles were of a different mind on this matter.
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« Reply #113 on: March 01, 2010, 04:00:46 PM »

<snip>I am not saying the stratum of bishops should be abolished and every denomination should be run on Baptist lines (that is, autonomous local churches linked in voluntary, equal fellowship).</snip>

Of course you cannot, because it would represent a departure from the witness of Scripture, both in terms of Acts (i.e. the role of the Synod of Apostles in Jerusalem) and the Epistles of St. Paul (where he describes variously his authority over the churches and the various charisms, especially that of the episcopacy).

While we can all acknowledge many if not all Baptists are as sincere about their faith as anyone else, what must be acknowledged is that the movement itself is an attempt to 'reconstruct' a Church they assumed was destroyed by the Church of Rome in the West.

The abolition of the episcopacy in the Protestant movement was in protest to Roman 'abuses' as promulgated by Luther.  While Luther did not eliminate the episcopacy, he opened to the door for the Anabaptists and other movements that did.  The Baptist model was in reaction to Rome, but can't really appeal to the actual Tradition found in the Scriptures and the earliest texts of the Church.

The Orthodox Church had no role in the Western controversies, and so I don't think you can advocate a Baptist model in the face of an unbroken Apostolic Tradition of the episcopacy found in the Orthodox Church.

Also, you can't out-of-hand dismiss the importance of Tradition:

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (2 Th 2:15)
...
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. (2 Th 3:6)


The Orthodox Church bears this Tradition, both in Scripture and in word/practice.  I have yet to see a scholar take on the topic and prove definitively that the Orthodox Church's modern practices are of recent invention or represent a significant departure from ancient Tradition.  In fact, we are mostly criticized over the fact that we do not mold to the times.

Anyway, that's just a few things to think about.

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« Reply #114 on: March 02, 2010, 10:27:33 AM »

...it would represent a departure from the witness of Scripture, both in terms of Acts (i.e. the role of the Synod of Apostles in Jerusalem) and the Epistles of St. Paul (where he describes variously his authority over the churches and the various charisms, especially that of the episcopacy).

...I have yet to see a scholar take on the topic and prove definitively that the Orthodox Church's modern practices are of recent invention or represent a significant departure from ancient Tradition. 

Thank you, Father.
See, David, that's all I'm asking for: present your evidence, as others have here from Scripture and the early Church, and let's take a look at it.
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« Reply #115 on: March 02, 2010, 12:09:54 PM »

...it would represent a departure from the witness of Scripture, both in terms of Acts (i.e. the role of the Synod of Apostles in Jerusalem) and the Epistles of St. Paul (where he describes variously his authority over the churches and the various charisms, especially that of the episcopacy).

...I have yet to see a scholar take on the topic and prove definitively that the Orthodox Church's modern practices are of recent invention or represent a significant departure from ancient Tradition. 

Thank you, Father.
See, David, that's all I'm asking for: present your evidence, as others have here from Scripture and the early Church, and let's take a look at it.

Dear Katherine,

You are welcome, but I would like to add to my rather hasty reply that what I said ought not to be taken as some sort of 'Orthodox Triumphalism' at a personal level, as in 'I am right and you are wrong.'  It is, rather, that the Church is right and we (all humanity) are wrong.

The Tradition is not something that I chose, but I believe I was led to and forced to accept based on the overwhelming evidence presented to me that caused me, as a convert, to repent.  It has been difficult to accept, and the burden of obedience has been a cause for me, in my own weakness, to complain bitterly over its relatively light load.  I have complained against the hierarchy and the clergy, and even disobeyed at times with a feeling of supreme self-righteousness.  I have also had to repent of all this because, in the end, I am wrong and God is right.

Sometimes this system is frustratingly inefficient and even seems to harbor opportunities for abuse.  But, as our friend points out, no system is perfect.  So long as we have humans, we will have opportunity for sin.  The difference is whether we are following the will of God or self-will.

To abandon the Tradition for whatever reason is to abandon the will of God, beause the Tradition is how we learned about the will of God to begin with.  We heard the Gospel out of the Tradition that protects and preaches and teaches it.  Without the Tradition, there is no Gospel and there is no opportunity to truly know God.  If divine revelation was accessible without the Tradition, then all mankind would be automatically saved via the self-will.  There would be no need for religion or counseling or structure.  We would be born knowing God.

The problem is we don't.  Therefore, a human opinion (and believe me when I say that I have more than my fair share!) is next to worthless, because it is, at best, a guess.  We do not peer into the mind of God or even the heavenly regions.  God reveals Himself.  He moves downward to us and draws us up.  We do not have the natural ability to access Him, and yet He desires to draw us in.

The first step is one of humility, when we bow the knee of our hearts and and bodies, and begin to accept the idea that we humans need God.  Then, we bow down again to receive the Tradition.  We repent and are taught the Tradition, then are Baptized into the Heavenly Kingdom.  Every time we bow down, we are repenting.  We are changing direction and manner.

A gentleman like David, who is certainly eloquent and well-educated, may take offense to our approach to Tradition because it is so alien.  At times, it can even seem like we are engaging in a battle of 'who-is-the-smartest.' 

I want to assure you, David, I am certain you are a better man than I am.  I do not deserve what I have, and I certainly do not possess the Tradition.  Rather, it possesses me. 

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« Reply #116 on: March 02, 2010, 02:49:24 PM »

all I'm asking for: present your evidence,

Katherine, honey (to use your kind phrase  Wink), I have been trying to say gently and courteously that I feel disinclined to undertake this, and that for a number of reasons:

- I think all we would end up doing is each of us would become more entrenched in his own position, because by writing it all down carefully we would convince ourselves more strongly
- to do it properly would entail discussing every instance of all the related words, which would consume a huge amount of time, and we all have other commitments
- I'm fairly sure neither of us would convince the other, for it must be possible to hold either position with integrity and seriousness, otherwise there wouldn't be so many Baptists and so many Orthodox in the world, all intelligent, thinking, and theologically alert
- although the function of bishops is important to you Orthodox, to us it is not an important concern, and doesn't really engage my cafeteria mentality (that is, the desire to learn what I can of the Lord from the riches of Orthodoxy and benefit from it)
- I am quite aware that one can't approach Orthodoxy like a buffet, from your point of view: it is all or nothing; so even if you convinced me of your view of bishops, it would be insufficient without convincing me also of all the accretions you have added to the Faith (or we have removed from the Faith), like prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, priestly robes, seven sacraments and so on: one thing leads to another, and we have probably explored them all over the months
-I do not really believe that it would edify either you or me (or others who read the posts) to wrangle over the function of bishops in the period, say 30-160 AD.
-I suspect we have all studied this matter fairly thoroughly already at some time, for our own conviction, and come to the understanding we have of scripture (or Tradition)
- If I really took the large chunks of time to exegete each use of the range of words and concepts under discussion, and still disagreed with you, some of you would only dub me my own pope. If I think, I remain a Baptist but am considered suipapal, and if I don't think I can't give thought to your position. What would have happened to cogito ergo sum?
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« Reply #117 on: March 02, 2010, 03:09:01 PM »

- I think all we would end up doing is each of us would become more entrenched in his own position, because by writing it all down carefully we would convince ourselves more strongly
If so that really puts the damper on any discussion. If all we are doing is fortifying our own positions, why are we wasting our time on this forum?
Quote
- to do it properly would entail discussing every instance of all the related words, which would consume a huge amount of time, and we all have other commitments
Of course, we could all do Ph.d dissertations on it, but as you say, it would take time. But a normal discussion, using common resources at our disposal would surely not be that onerous. We have of course kindly provided you with evidence already.
Quote
- I'm fairly sure neither of us would convince the other, for it must be possible to hold either position with integrity and seriousness, otherwise there wouldn't be so many Baptists and so many Orthodox in the world, all intelligent, thinking, and theologically alert
See answer above. If all discussion is futile, why bother? Also it may be cynical of me but I've observed that people can have integrity and all those other attributes, and still be mistaken, or uninformed on a particular subject.
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- although the function of bishops is important to you Orthodox
The point of it, dear david, is not that the office of Bishop is important to the Orthodox, although it is, the point is that it was important to the early Christians, as we have shown you from Scripture and history. So if it is not an important concern to the Baptists, you should be able quite easily to show us why, and how the Baptists decided to change it.
Quote
- I am quite aware that one can't approach Orthodoxy like a buffet, from your point of view: it is all or nothing; so even if you convinced me of your view of bishops, it would be insufficient without convincing me also of all the accretions you have added to the Faith (or we have removed from the Faith), like prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, priestly robes, seven sacraments and so on: one thing leads to another,
You are exactly right, and I absolutely agree with you. If you were to accept one part of all this as Scriptural and an integral part of the Christian faith, as revealed by history and the early Fathers, you would have some serious decisions to make. Because if the Bishops are true then all the rest of it is also.
Quote
-I do not really believe that it would edify either you or me (or others who read the posts) to wrangle over the function of bishops in the period, say 30-160 AD.
I disagree with your characterization of the discussion as wrangling, but as to the edification of such a discussion, see answer above.
Quote
-I suspect we have all studied this matter fairly thoroughly already at some time, for our own conviction, and come to the understanding we have of scripture (or Tradition)
Then it wouldn't really be so time-consuming to discuss it, since we've already done much of the heavy lifting?
Quote
some of you would only dub me my own pope. If I think, I remain a Baptist but am considered suipapal, and if I don't think I can't give thought to your position. What would have happened to cogito ergo sum?
I got lost somewhere in that sentence but if you don't think, how can you "sum"? And anyway, don't be silly, we already think that you're your own pope! Wink
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« Reply #118 on: March 02, 2010, 03:17:11 PM »

Quote from: FatherGiryus link=topic=25815.msg413094#msg413094
... what I said ought not to be taken as some sort of 'Orthodox Triumphalism' at a personal level, as in 'I am right and you are wrong.'  It is, rather, that the Church is right and we (all humanity) are wrong.

The Tradition is not something that I chose, but I believe I was led to and forced to accept based on the overwhelming evidence presented to me that caused me, as a convert, to repent.  It has been difficult to accept, and the burden of obedience has been a cause for me, in my own weakness, to complain bitterly over its relatively light load.  I have complained against the hierarchy and the clergy, and even disobeyed at times with a feeling of supreme self-righteousness.  I have also had to repent of all this because, in the end, I am wrong and God is right.


Thank you again, Father.
This being Lent, I want to assure you, and David also, that I am not the cheerleader for some sort of Orthodox triumphalism.
I was probably one of the most reluctant converts in the history of the Church. I was dragged kicking and screaming - or rather, more accurately: pouting, whining and complaining. I did not want to become Orthodox - it was too difficult, too alien, and I looked for every reason and loophole I could find. In the end, trapped like a rat, by the "inexorableness" of Holy Tradition, I surrendered.
And I thank God every day for it.
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« Reply #119 on: March 02, 2010, 03:24:43 PM »

Quote from: FatherGiryus link=topic=25815.msg413094#msg413094
... what I said ought not to be taken as some sort of 'Orthodox Triumphalism' at a personal level, as in 'I am right and you are wrong.'  It is, rather, that the Church is right and we (all humanity) are wrong.

The Tradition is not something that I chose, but I believe I was led to and forced to accept based on the overwhelming evidence presented to me that caused me, as a convert, to repent.  It has been difficult to accept, and the burden of obedience has been a cause for me, in my own weakness, to complain bitterly over its relatively light load.  I have complained against the hierarchy and the clergy, and even disobeyed at times with a feeling of supreme self-righteousness.  I have also had to repent of all this because, in the end, I am wrong and God is right.


Thank you again, Father.
This being Lent, I want to assure you, and David also, that I am not the cheerleader for some sort of Orthodox triumphalism.
I was probably one of the most reluctant converts in the history of the Church. I was dragged kicking and screaming - or rather, more accurately: pouting, whining and complaining. I did not want to become Orthodox - it was too difficult, too alien, and I looked for every reason and loophole I could find. In the end, trapped like a rat, by the "inexorableness" of Holy Tradition, I surrendered.
And I thank God every day for it.
Nearly within a year of my reception, when in an Orthodox Church in Egypt, when someone pointed to the icon of the Theotokos and referred to her as "Our Mother" I shot out "NOT my mother." Shocked
And I burned icons. Shocked Shocked Shocked
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« Reply #120 on: March 02, 2010, 03:40:27 PM »

all I'm asking for: present your evidence,

Katherine, honey (to use your kind phrase  Wink), I have been trying to say gently and courteously that I feel disinclined to undertake this, and that for a number of reasons:

In this case, let me ask you a few questions, David.

1.  What's the point?  What's the point of being here and discussing anything with us at all, if you aren't going to finish the conversation and bail out every time you run out of answers?  Forgive me if that sounds harsh, I'm sure you would know by my tone of voice (if you could hear it) that I'm not trying to be harsh.  If you truly want to understand what it is that we Orthodox believe and why we believe it, then that mandates discussion.  We can't understand each other via osmosis, unfortunately (wouldn't that make things easier!).  And to understand what we believe, you must also understand why we DON'T believe what you believe, and we must try to understand what you believe in order to give you a response (basically, we have to have a discussion).  You cannot on the one hand say you desire to be edified and desire to understand and on the other hand cut us off when you decide you have no more answers and have heard enough.  It's disingenuous. 

So, my other couple of questions will go back to the topic at hand, and I pray you will respond.

2. In response to your last post directed at me, where you stated that it's hard to prove the absence of something... My question is, if you can't show any evidence of this "absence," why do you yourself believe it?  Simply because (in your opinion) it's not plain in the NT?  In other words, what causes you, when presented with the overwhelming evidence from the early church and early church fathers, to continue to believe something you have no evidence of?

3. Regarding the question of bishops in every community, have you considered that in NT times, before the legalization of Christianity, during the time when Christians were persecuted, that the reason there was one bishop per community was because there was only ONE COMMUNITY per geographic area? 

So I think, then, that what really needs to be discussed is what constitutes a community.  As Protestants, your churches are separate-- you have separate beliefs (though some may be in common-- the important ones, you say), are not tied to one another, often not even knowing each other.  In Orthodoxy, though we may be in separate buildings (with separate parish leadership-- parish council and priests, etc), we are all one community.  For instance, in Atlanta, the clergy from all parishes in all jurisdictions (ROCOR, OCA, Greek, Antiochian, etc) are all members of one brotherhood, who bring the parishes together often to worship.  There are many people who are members of more than one parish (even pledging stewardship in multiple parishes).  There are lots of people who float freely from parish to parish (and in different jurisdictions, no less).  We do many, many activities and services together as one active community, who, though spread out geographically in the city, are united COMPLETELY by beliefs and consider ourselves to truly be a family.


Honestly, it seems to me that, time after time, when I have these types of conversations with Protestants like your good self (and often happens here on the forum), they always back out of these discussions because they run out of answers.  They find themselves backed into a corner out of which they cannot escape, and are forced to stop the conversation because if they continue, it will become quite clear to everyone involved (including themselves) that they have nothing more to stand on than their own opinion, which, once proven wrong, will force them to concede.  And once one point is conceded, their belief system becomes a house of cards (to borrow a phrase from Katherine) which will topple quickly.  Thus, knowing that they have nowhere to go and seeing what lies in the future should they have to concede that we Orthodox actually know what we're talking about, they practice, as has been stated several times on this thread, cognitive dissonance.

Forgive me if I have offended you.  As always, it is never my intent.
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« Reply #121 on: March 02, 2010, 03:59:17 PM »

- I think all we would end up doing is each of us would become more entrenched in his own position, because by writing it all down carefully we would convince ourselves more strongly
If so that really puts the damper on any discussion. If all we are doing is fortifying our own positions, why are we wasting our time on this forum?
Quote
- to do it properly would entail discussing every instance of all the related words, which would consume a huge amount of time, and we all have other commitments
Of course, we could all do Ph.d dissertations on it, but as you say, it would take time. But a normal discussion, using common resources at our disposal would surely not be that onerous. We have of course kindly provided you with evidence already.
Quote
- I'm fairly sure neither of us would convince the other, for it must be possible to hold either position with integrity and seriousness, otherwise there wouldn't be so many Baptists and so many Orthodox in the world, all intelligent, thinking, and theologically alert
See answer above. If all discussion is futile, why bother? Also it may be cynical of me but I've observed that people can have integrity and all those other attributes, and still be mistaken, or uninformed on a particular subject.
Quote
- although the function of bishops is important to you Orthodox
The point of it, dear david, is not that the office of Bishop is important to the Orthodox, although it is, the point is that it was important to the early Christians, as we have shown you from Scripture and history. So if it is not an important concern to the Baptists, you should be able quite easily to show us why, and how the Baptists decided to change it.

Yes, since Sola Scriptura is one of the 5 solas Baptists accept with other Protestants in that nonexistent Tradition of theirs, it would present an onus of why Scriptura devotes a a fair amount of description on the office of bishop to shift out candidates for the office.  In fact, it might be the most explicitly detailed office in the whole of Scripture.


Quote
Quote
- I am quite aware that one can't approach Orthodoxy like a buffet, from your point of view: it is all or nothing; so even if you convinced me of your view of bishops, it would be insufficient without convincing me also of all the accretions you have added to the Faith (or we have removed from the Faith), like prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, priestly robes, seven sacraments and so on: one thing leads to another,
You are exactly right, and I absolutely agree with you. If you were to accept one part of all this as Scriptural and an integral part of the Christian faith, as revealed by history and the early Fathers, you would have some serious decisions to make. Because if the Bishops are true then all the rest of it is also.
Quote
-I do not really believe that it would edify either you or me (or others who read the posts) to wrangle over the function of bishops in the period, say 30-160 AD.
I disagree with your characterization of the discussion as wrangling, but as to the edification of such a discussion, see answer above.

I don't know about the period of wrangling, as we are agree (I believe, with St. (I) Peter 2:25) that Christ was the only Bishop in 30, and after 95 the "second century definition" was in place.  That only leaves 65 or less years, during the entire period of which an Apostle still lived, and over half of it the majority of the Apostles were still alive, and consequently their successors did't come to the fore. But as Titus (1:5) (and as St. Clement (42)) tell us, the Apostles had made provision for their departure in the bishops. But that may start the wrangling, which really only covers 30 years or so. c. 65-95.
Quote
Quote
-I suspect we have all studied this matter fairly thoroughly already at some time, for our own conviction, and come to the understanding we have of scripture (or Tradition)
Then it wouldn't really be so time-consuming to discuss it, since we've already done much of the heavy lifting?
Quote
some of you would only dub me my own pope. If I think, I remain a Baptist but am considered suipapal, and if I don't think I can't give thought to your position. What would have happened to cogito ergo sum?
I got lost somewhere in that sentence but if you don't think, how can you "sum"? And anyway, don't be silly, we already think that you're your own pope! Wink
Perhaps David, you can direct us to an authority (e.g. a biblical commentator, etc.) that articulates/substantiates your position. Or do you claim you alone hold it?
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« Reply #122 on: March 02, 2010, 04:03:23 PM »

 

This response from david was so fascinating I can't resist analyzing it bit by bit...

David:  I think all we would end up doing is each of us would become more entrenched in his own position, because by writing it all down carefully we would convince ourselves more strongly

Me: that isn't necessarily a bad thing... unless your position is flawed.

David: to do it properly would entail discussing every instance of all the related words, which would consume a huge amount of time, and we all have other commitments

Me: this implies then, that we should not have had this discussion to begin with, which means that virtually all discussion here is worthless.

David: I'm fairly sure neither of us would convince the other, for it must be possible to hold either position with integrity and seriousness, otherwise there wouldn't be so many Baptists and so many Orthodox in the world, all intelligent, thinking, and theologically alert

Me: well, I'm not certain most people in the world hold much of anything with 'integrity and seriousness' due to the after-effects of the fall.   With this argument, we ought not preach the Gospel at all since most of the world is not Christian and likely will never convert by human means.

David: although the function of bishops is important to you Orthodox, to us it is not an important concern, and doesn't really engage my cafeteria mentality (that is, the desire to learn what I can of the Lord from the riches of Orthodoxy and benefit from it)

Me: is the 'cafeteria' mentality found in Scripture?

David: I am quite aware that one can't approach Orthodoxy like a buffet, from your point of view: it is all or nothing; so even if you convinced me of your view of bishops, it would be insufficient without convincing me also of all the accretions you have added to the Faith (or we have removed from the Faith), like prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, priestly robes, seven sacraments and so on: one thing leads to another, and we have probably explored them all over the months

Me: we can't convince you of anything you don't want to be convinced of.  The real question is whether you are comfortable where you are.  If you are, no argument is sufficient, because you can set the standards so high that no one, not even God Himself, can convince you otherwise.  What is more important for me is to help other readers who are hungry to see what you are turning down and why.

David: I do not really believe that it would edify either you or me (or others who read the posts) to wrangle over the function of bishops in the period, say 30-160 AD.

Me: for the sake of inquirers, I think this is fabulous!

David: I suspect we have all studied this matter fairly thoroughly already at some time, for our own conviction, and come to the understanding we have of scripture (or Tradition)

Me: I think there is always room to learn and grow.  After all, the Divine is eternal, so our learning and changing should also be eternal.

David: If I really took the large chunks of time to exegete each use of the range of words and concepts under discussion, and still disagreed with you, some of you would only dub me my own pope. If I think, I remain a Baptist but am considered suipapal, and if I don't think I can't give thought to your position. What would have happened to cogito ergo sum?

Me: 'Cognito ergo sum' certainly isn't a Christian concept.  Thinking is pointless if it based on false premises, such as debating the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin or the relative flatness of a flat earth.  You can think all you want, but if your thoughts are based on false information then all conclusions are likely to be equally false.

The measure of 'papalness' (as you are using it) has to do with the authority to interpret Scripture and doctrine.  For you it is a personal choice.  For us, it is a choice to submit to the authority of the Church based upon its witness.  We see evidence for the authority not only in the reasoning of the Church's teachings, but in the witness borne in miracles and, especially, those lives who have been transformed through God's grace obtained while in obedience to the Church.

I don't think anyone here thinks you ought not think, but they do question what you think about.  If you are thinking about how to preserve your position, then it is different than asking questions because you are looking for knowledge that may lead you to change your opinions.

In the end, there is still a problem regarding the standards of evidence.  The Church stands on more than academic exegesis, but rather such exegesis in light of the common experience of the Church.  By this, I mean you can come up with an interpretation that meets the criteria of reason, but when applied destroys the souls of those who accept it.  The Church has always held that mere exegesis alone without proof in experience is insufficient and leads to heresy.  Human intellect is not a sufficient means for determining the truth because God is Truth and our minds cannot fully grasp His Mysteries.

Anyway, I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience, because any opportunity to review these basics helps me keep 'in shape' if you know what I mean.  I appreciate the exchanges!
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« Reply #123 on: March 02, 2010, 04:10:21 PM »

Hope everything is going well in Atlanta.
all I'm asking for: present your evidence,

Katherine, honey (to use your kind phrase  Wink), I have been trying to say gently and courteously that I feel disinclined to undertake this, and that for a number of reasons:

In this case, let me ask you a few questions, David.

1.  What's the point?  What's the point of being here and discussing anything with us at all, if you aren't going to finish the conversation and bail out every time you run out of answers?  Forgive me if that sounds harsh, I'm sure you would know by my tone of voice (if you could hear it) that I'm not trying to be harsh.  If you truly want to understand what it is that we Orthodox believe and why we believe it, then that mandates discussion.  We can't understand each other via osmosis, unfortunately (wouldn't that make things easier!).  And to understand what we believe, you must also understand why we DON'T believe what you believe, and we must try to understand what you believe in order to give you a response (basically, we have to have a discussion).  You cannot on the one hand say you desire to be edified and desire to understand and on the other hand cut us off when you decide you have no more answers and have heard enough.  It's disingenuous. 

I'm still a little uneasy in that I think I a formulating what David thinks a bishop is, then what he says a bishop (or rather "overseer") is.   I don't believe he has told us the source of the overseer's authority, for instance.  At best I can figure, the overseer is a organizational functionary for the local congregation (or is it city:I'm not sure).

Quote
So, my other couple of questions will go back to the topic at hand, and I pray you will respond.

2. In response to your last post directed at me, where you stated that it's hard to prove the absence of something... My question is, if you can't show any evidence of this "absence," why do you yourself believe it?  Simply because (in your opinion) it's not plain in the NT?  In other words, what causes you, when presented with the overwhelming evidence from the early church and early church fathers, to continue to believe something you have no evidence of?
Particlarly as the Apsotolic Fathers, upon whom we ALL depend on for the NT, state something was there?


Quote
3. Regarding the question of bishops in every community, have you considered that in NT times, before the legalization of Christianity, during the time when Christians were persecuted, that the reason there was one bishop per community was because there was only ONE COMMUNITY per geographic area? 

So I think, then, that what really needs to be discussed is what constitutes a community.  As Protestants, your churches are separate-- you have separate beliefs (though some may be in common-- the important ones, you say), are not tied to one another, often not even knowing each other.  In Orthodoxy, though we may be in separate buildings (with separate parish leadership-- parish council and priests, etc), we are all one community.  For instance, in Atlanta, the clergy from all parishes in all jurisdictions (ROCOR, OCA, Greek, Antiochian, etc) are all members of one brotherhood, who bring the parishes together often to worship.  There are many people who are members of more than one parish (even pledging stewardship in multiple parishes).  There are lots of people who float freely from parish to parish (and in different jurisdictions, no less).  We do many, many activities and services together as one active community, who, though spread out geographically in the city, are united COMPLETELY by beliefs and consider ourselves to truly be a family.
I go to the GOARCH parishes all the time. Shocked And had communion in the Phanar (where my baptismal cross was blessed). Shocked Shocked Shocked

Quote
Honestly, it seems to me that, time after time, when I have these types of conversations with Protestants like your good self (and often happens here on the forum), they always back out of these discussions because they run out of answers.  They find themselves backed into a corner out of which they cannot escape, and are forced to stop the conversation because if they continue, it will become quite clear to everyone involved (including themselves) that they have nothing more to stand on than their own opinion, which, once proven wrong, will force them to concede.  And once one point is conceded, their belief system becomes a house of cards (to borrow a phrase from Katherine) which will topple quickly.  Thus, knowing that they have nowhere to go and seeing what lies in the future should they have to concede that we Orthodox actually know what we're talking about, they practice, as has been stated several times on this thread, cognitive dissonance.

Forgive me if I have offended you.  As always, it is never my intent.
Nor I.  I just don't have Greekchef's irenic mouth (or keyboard).
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« Reply #124 on: March 02, 2010, 04:15:01 PM »

 

This response from david was so fascinating I can't resist analyzing it bit by bit...

David:  I think all we would end up doing is each of us would become more entrenched in his own position, because by writing it all down carefully we would convince ourselves more strongly

Me: that isn't necessarily a bad thing... unless your position is flawed.

David: to do it properly would entail discussing every instance of all the related words, which would consume a huge amount of time, and we all have other commitments

Me: this implies then, that we should not have had this discussion to begin with, which means that virtually all discussion here is worthless.

David: I'm fairly sure neither of us would convince the other, for it must be possible to hold either position with integrity and seriousness, otherwise there wouldn't be so many Baptists and so many Orthodox in the world, all intelligent, thinking, and theologically alert

Me: well, I'm not certain most people in the world hold much of anything with 'integrity and seriousness' due to the after-effects of the fall.   With this argument, we ought not preach the Gospel at all since most of the world is not Christian and likely will never convert by human means.

David: although the function of bishops is important to you Orthodox, to us it is not an important concern, and doesn't really engage my cafeteria mentality (that is, the desire to learn what I can of the Lord from the riches of Orthodoxy and benefit from it)

Me: is the 'cafeteria' mentality found in Scripture?

David: I am quite aware that one can't approach Orthodoxy like a buffet, from your point of view: it is all or nothing; so even if you convinced me of your view of bishops, it would be insufficient without convincing me also of all the accretions you have added to the Faith (or we have removed from the Faith), like prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, priestly robes, seven sacraments and so on: one thing leads to another, and we have probably explored them all over the months

Me: we can't convince you of anything you don't want to be convinced of.  The real question is whether you are comfortable where you are.  If you are, no argument is sufficient, because you can set the standards so high that no one, not even God Himself, can convince you otherwise.  What is more important for me is to help other readers who are hungry to see what you are turning down and why.

David: I do not really believe that it would edify either you or me (or others who read the posts) to wrangle over the function of bishops in the period, say 30-160 AD.

Me: for the sake of inquirers, I think this is fabulous!

David: I suspect we have all studied this matter fairly thoroughly already at some time, for our own conviction, and come to the understanding we have of scripture (or Tradition)

Me: I think there is always room to learn and grow.  After all, the Divine is eternal, so our learning and changing should also be eternal.

David: If I really took the large chunks of time to exegete each use of the range of words and concepts under discussion, and still disagreed with you, some of you would only dub me my own pope. If I think, I remain a Baptist but am considered suipapal, and if I don't think I can't give thought to your position. What would have happened to cogito ergo sum?

Me: 'Cognito ergo sum' certainly isn't a Christian concept.  Thinking is pointless if it based on false premises, such as debating the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin or the relative flatness of a flat earth.  You can think all you want, but if your thoughts are based on false information then all conclusions are likely to be equally false.

The measure of 'papalness' (as you are using it) has to do with the authority to interpret Scripture and doctrine.  For you it is a personal choice.  For us, it is a choice to submit to the authority of the Church based upon its witness.  We see evidence for the authority not only in the reasoning of the Church's teachings, but in the witness borne in miracles and, especially, those lives who have been transformed through God's grace obtained while in obedience to the Church.

I don't think anyone here thinks you ought not think, but they do question what you think about.  If you are thinking about how to preserve your position, then it is different than asking questions because you are looking for knowledge that may lead you to change your opinions.

In the end, there is still a problem regarding the standards of evidence.  The Church stands on more than academic exegesis, but rather such exegesis in light of the common experience of the Church.  By this, I mean you can come up with an interpretation that meets the criteria of reason, but when applied destroys the souls of those who accept it.  The Church has always held that mere exegesis alone without proof in experience is insufficient and leads to heresy.  Human intellect is not a sufficient means for determining the truth because God is Truth and our minds cannot fully grasp His Mysteries.

Anyway, I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience, because any opportunity to review these basics helps me keep 'in shape' if you know what I mean.  I appreciate the exchanges!

I was just telling my son you sharpen knives on stones, not on marshmallows.

Excellent post Father, I subscribe totally.
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« Reply #125 on: March 02, 2010, 04:32:04 PM »

I was just telling my son you sharpen knives on stones, not on marshmallows.


Wow!  I love that!

I will add this: David is presenting what is a very serious challenge in today's culture: disagreement while remaining polite, especially when such disagreement is over the 'it-is-all-the-same' mentality.

Our people are often challenged by those pick-and-choose folks asking us not to 'pass judgment' or whatnot based on this idea that we can all go about constructing our own 'realities' by choosing what to believe.

I challenge anyone to apply this same thinking about gravity and choose not to believe in it while jumping out of an airplane! (Disclaimer: this is an attempt at humor.  Please do not jump out of an airplane.  It is unsafe).

Though people will not gamble with opinions regarding gravity, they will gamble with their eternal life!  It is absolutely odd, but common behavior.

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« Reply #126 on: March 02, 2010, 05:19:18 PM »

Quote from: FatherGiryus link=topic=25815.msg413167#msg413167
Our people are often challenged by those pick-and-choose folks asking us not to 'pass judgment' or whatnot based on this idea that we can all go about constructing our own 'realities' by choosing what to believe.

I challenge anyone to apply this same thinking about gravity and choose not to believe in it while jumping out of an airplane! (Disclaimer: this is an attempt at humor.  Please do not jump out of an airplane.  It is unsafe).

Though people will not gamble with opinions regarding gravity, they will gamble with their eternal life!  It is absolutely odd, but common behavior.


A friend of mine refers to this kind of attitude (gambling with their eternal life) as a sort of functional atheism (or perhaps agnosticism) on the part of professed Christians. We all do it to one extent or another, it seems, so I'm not throwing stones. We often act as if we don't really believe what we say we believe, or if our beliefs become inconvenient or burdensome.
Our priest gave a sermon recently on how we often seem to treat God like a pet - we love Him and He enriches our lives but we don't put Him at the center. He's just not that important to us.
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« Reply #127 on: March 02, 2010, 06:52:56 PM »



I challenge anyone to apply this same thinking about gravity and choose not to believe in it while jumping out of an airplane! (Disclaimer: this is an attempt at humor.  Please do not jump out of an airplane.  It is unsafe).

Though people will not gamble with opinions regarding gravity, they will gamble with their eternal life!  It is absolutely odd, but common behavior.

[/font][/size]

I call it living in backwards land. Smiley
KatherineofDixie will tell you, I often say to her, "what are we, living in backwards land??!!!"

On another note...
Father, I just want to say that I absolutely love reading your posts.  They are so refreshing and edifying!  I've been on this forum for awhile now, and I think your posts are some of the most penetrating, to-the-point-but-said-with-love-and-humility posts that I've ever read!  You give us so much "meat," so to speak, to chew on... so much to think about.  I thank you for them, they often brighten my day.

I pray you have a blessed Lenten journey, Father!
In Christ,
Presbytera Mari
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« Reply #128 on: March 03, 2010, 12:01:48 AM »

It might have something to do with the immediate and evident negative reinforcement for trying to violate the law of gravity...unless we are speaking more metaphorically for the stringent rules regarding deep sobriety of expression in certain venues.
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« Reply #129 on: March 03, 2010, 12:25:48 AM »

I call it living in backwards land. Smiley
KatherineofDixie will tell you, I often say to her, "what are we, living in backwards land??!!!"

On another note...
Father, I just want to say that I absolutely love reading your posts.  They are so refreshing and edifying!  I've been on this forum for awhile now, and I think your posts are some of the most penetrating, to-the-point-but-said-with-love-and-humility posts that I've ever read!  You give us so much "meat," so to speak, to chew on... so much to think about.  I thank you for them, they often brighten my day.

I pray you have a blessed Lenten journey, Father!
In Christ,
Presbytera Mari

Well, Presvytera, thank you very much for your kind words.

Having been involved with several other forums, I found this one the easiest one in terms of the temptation to remain Christian while dialoging with others.

Otherwise, I have to remind myself to be kind just in case I say something remarkably stupid and need to beg everyone's pardon for my keyboard-in-mouth syndrome.  It is easier to ask forgiveness when you have a track record of being kind than if you have the reputation of being an insufferable know-it-all.  Cheesy

Anyway, I wish you a fruitful Lent.  Please pray that I don't blow a vocal chord with my Tuvan throat singing lessons.  Ain't nuthin better than a undertone ison! Wink

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« Reply #130 on: March 03, 2010, 05:11:50 AM »

that really puts the damper on any discussion...why are we wasting our time on this forum?

No it doesn't, and no we aren't. There are discussions which are profitable, because one learns, comes to a better understanding of and respect for the other, sometimes gains new insights, sometimes is even persuaded and changes one's opinion.

There are other discussions - and you can perhaps imagine a Fundamentalist and a Jehovah's Witness engaging in such - which become little more than "My opinion's right": "No it isn't, mine is!" each clobbering the other with Bible verses, and neither advancing in grace, character or understanding thereby. (I am not implying that JWs are in a state of grace.) The motive of being enriched by learning from the other is absent, and is replaced by the drive to prove one's own opinion. On this matter, I think we are in danger of tipping over into the second. On other matters I for one have learnt a lot, and have even purloined some delicacies from your buffet.

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« Reply #131 on: March 03, 2010, 05:19:54 AM »

if the Bishops are true then all the rest of it is also.

That is perhaps the heart of the matter. For you, it's all or nothing.

Quote
we already think that you're your own pope! Wink

You take a new name when you become pope. Shall I be called Pope Wulfstan I, after St Wulfstan of Worcester, perhaps my favourite bishop and (it would appear from his biographies) a saintly servant of our Lord, whose example we might all follow?

Now I must hasten away to a meeting (Baptist, of course!), but I shall read the remaining posts at some time, with interest. Meanwhile, valete in domino, as perhaps Wulfstan would have said.
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« Reply #132 on: March 03, 2010, 10:44:25 AM »

that really puts the damper on any discussion...why are we wasting our time on this forum?

No it doesn't, and no we aren't. There are discussions which are profitable, because one learns, comes to a better understanding of and respect for the other, sometimes gains new insights, sometimes is even persuaded and changes one's opinion.

There are other discussions - and you can perhaps imagine a Fundamentalist and a Jehovah's Witness engaging in such - which become little more than "My opinion's right": "No it isn't, mine is!" each clobbering the other with Bible verses, and neither advancing in grace, character or understanding thereby. (I am not implying that JWs are in a state of grace.) The motive of being enriched by learning from the other is absent, and is replaced by the drive to prove one's own opinion. On this matter, I think we are in danger of tipping over into the second. On other matters I for one have learnt a lot, and have even purloined some delicacies from your buffet.
Wulfstan, honey, I say this with all the Christian love I can muster, (it is Lent, after all, and I am trying! Ok, that could be taken two ways, but you know what I mean!) but this is such a load. You can only guess at motive on any of our parts. I think that this thread has been remarkable for its civility, considering other fora.
Therefore I must sadly conclude that you have no real interest in any other pov or evidence that might present a challenge to your current opinions or beliefs.
Too bad, because I have considered you a resource to explain some of the puzzling aspects of evangelical beliefs, i.e. "Where did they get that?" and I really believe that you are an intelligent, thoughtful and sincere person and Christian, albeit a somewhat disingenuous one.
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« Reply #133 on: March 03, 2010, 10:52:52 AM »

that really puts the damper on any discussion...why are we wasting our time on this forum?

No it doesn't, and no we aren't. There are discussions which are profitable, because one learns, comes to a better understanding of and respect for the other, sometimes gains new insights, sometimes is even persuaded and changes one's opinion.

There are other discussions - and you can perhaps imagine a Fundamentalist and a Jehovah's Witness engaging in such - which become little more than "My opinion's right": "No it isn't, mine is!" each clobbering the other with Bible verses, and neither advancing in grace, character or understanding thereby. (I am not implying that JWs are in a state of grace.) The motive of being enriched by learning from the other is absent, and is replaced by the drive to prove one's own opinion. On this matter, I think we are in danger of tipping over into the second. On other matters I for one have learnt a lot, and have even purloined some delicacies from your buffet.
Wulfstan, honey, I say this with all the Christian love I can muster, (it is Lent, after all, and I am trying! Ok, that could be taken two ways, but you know what I mean!) but this is such a load. You can only guess at motive on any of our parts. I think that this thread has been remarkable for its civility, considering other fora.
Therefore I must sadly conclude that you have no real interest in any other pov or evidence that might present a challenge to your current opinions or beliefs.
Too bad, because I have considered you a resource to explain some of the puzzling aspects of evangelical beliefs, i.e. "Where did they get that?" and I really believe that you are an intelligent, thoughtful and sincere person and Christian, albeit a somewhat disingenuous one.
Its amazing that you have been able to determine the motives of his heart forum and simply becuase he doesn't believe what you believe.   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #134 on: March 03, 2010, 10:57:19 AM »

that really puts the damper on any discussion...why are we wasting our time on this forum?

No it doesn't, and no we aren't. There are discussions which are profitable, because one learns, comes to a better understanding of and respect for the other, sometimes gains new insights, sometimes is even persuaded and changes one's opinion.

There are other discussions - and you can perhaps imagine a Fundamentalist and a Jehovah's Witness engaging in such - which become little more than "My opinion's right": "No it isn't, mine is!" each clobbering the other with Bible verses, and neither advancing in grace, character or understanding thereby. (I am not implying that JWs are in a state of grace.) The motive of being enriched by learning from the other is absent, and is replaced by the drive to prove one's own opinion. On this matter, I think we are in danger of tipping over into the second. On other matters I for one have learnt a lot, and have even purloined some delicacies from your buffet.
Wulfstan, honey, I say this with all the Christian love I can muster, (it is Lent, after all, and I am trying! Ok, that could be taken two ways, but you know what I mean!) but this is such a load. You can only guess at motive on any of our parts. I think that this thread has been remarkable for its civility, considering other fora.
Therefore I must sadly conclude that you have no real interest in any other pov or evidence that might present a challenge to your current opinions or beliefs.
Too bad, because I have considered you a resource to explain some of the puzzling aspects of evangelical beliefs, i.e. "Where did they get that?" and I really believe that you are an intelligent, thoughtful and sincere person and Christian, albeit a somewhat disingenuous one.
Its amazing that you have been able to determine the motives of his heart forum and simply becuase he doesn't believe what you believe.   Roll Eyes
No, because he hasn't spelled out what he believes and why, just unsubstantiated claims of why he doesn't believe what we believe.
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« Reply #135 on: March 03, 2010, 11:01:06 AM »

that really puts the damper on any discussion...why are we wasting our time on this forum?

No it doesn't, and no we aren't. There are discussions which are profitable, because one learns, comes to a better understanding of and respect for the other, sometimes gains new insights, sometimes is even persuaded and changes one's opinion.

There are other discussions - and you can perhaps imagine a Fundamentalist and a Jehovah's Witness engaging in such - which become little more than "My opinion's right": "No it isn't, mine is!" each clobbering the other with Bible verses, and neither advancing in grace, character or understanding thereby. (I am not implying that JWs are in a state of grace.) The motive of being enriched by learning from the other is absent, and is replaced by the drive to prove one's own opinion. On this matter, I think we are in danger of tipping over into the second. On other matters I for one have learnt a lot, and have even purloined some delicacies from your buffet.
Wulfstan, honey, I say this with all the Christian love I can muster, (it is Lent, after all, and I am trying! Ok, that could be taken two ways, but you know what I mean!) but this is such a load. You can only guess at motive on any of our parts. I think that this thread has been remarkable for its civility, considering other fora.
Therefore I must sadly conclude that you have no real interest in any other pov or evidence that might present a challenge to your current opinions or beliefs.
Too bad, because I have considered you a resource to explain some of the puzzling aspects of evangelical beliefs, i.e. "Where did they get that?" and I really believe that you are an intelligent, thoughtful and sincere person and Christian, albeit a somewhat disingenuous one.
Its amazing that you have been able to determine the motives of his heart forum and simply becuase he doesn't believe what you believe.   Roll Eyes
No, because he hasn't spelled out what he believes and why, just unsubstantiated claims of why he doesn't believe what we believe.
He did say that he just doesn't think that is good evidence for your Church's view on the Bishopric. Now, I disagree with him, but he gave his reason. Did he elaborate? No. But I don't think he wants to go down that road for a good reason. Do you really think that there will be a productive debate while ten Orthodox Christians attack him and as has to remain in the defensive position all by himself? That won't be any fun for him and it certainly will not be a "fair fight".
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« Reply #136 on: March 03, 2010, 11:38:01 AM »

that really puts the damper on any discussion...why are we wasting our time on this forum?

No it doesn't, and no we aren't. There are discussions which are profitable, because one learns, comes to a better understanding of and respect for the other, sometimes gains new insights, sometimes is even persuaded and changes one's opinion.

There are other discussions - and you can perhaps imagine a Fundamentalist and a Jehovah's Witness engaging in such - which become little more than "My opinion's right": "No it isn't, mine is!" each clobbering the other with Bible verses, and neither advancing in grace, character or understanding thereby. (I am not implying that JWs are in a state of grace.) The motive of being enriched by learning from the other is absent, and is replaced by the drive to prove one's own opinion. On this matter, I think we are in danger of tipping over into the second. On other matters I for one have learnt a lot, and have even purloined some delicacies from your buffet.
Wulfstan, honey, I say this with all the Christian love I can muster, (it is Lent, after all, and I am trying! Ok, that could be taken two ways, but you know what I mean!) but this is such a load. You can only guess at motive on any of our parts. I think that this thread has been remarkable for its civility, considering other fora.
Therefore I must sadly conclude that you have no real interest in any other pov or evidence that might present a challenge to your current opinions or beliefs.
Too bad, because I have considered you a resource to explain some of the puzzling aspects of evangelical beliefs, i.e. "Where did they get that?" and I really believe that you are an intelligent, thoughtful and sincere person and Christian, albeit a somewhat disingenuous one.
Its amazing that you have been able to determine the motives of his heart forum and simply becuase he doesn't believe what you believe.   Roll Eyes
No, because he hasn't spelled out what he believes and why, just unsubstantiated claims of why he doesn't believe what we believe.
He did say that he just doesn't think that is good evidence for your Church's view on the Bishopric. Now, I disagree with him, but he gave his reason. Did he elaborate? No. But I don't think he wants to go down that road for a good reason. Do you really think that there will be a productive debate while ten Orthodox Christians attack him and as has to remain in the defensive position all by himself? That won't be any fun for him and it certainly will not be a "fair fight".
Yeah, when God is on your side, your opponent is outnumbered.

He posited a second century/first century dichonomy.  It has been pointed out, with citation, that his "second century" definition of bishop is present, explicitely, in the first century, and he has yet to demonstrate any connection to what he claims is the first century definition to the Baptists of the 17th century to this day.  I still haven't seen a 1)succinct definition of overseer according to the baptists as to the source and extent of his authority and his function and powers, 2) on what basis these are held.  Saying that the Baptists follow the first century "definition" tells us nothing.
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« Reply #137 on: March 03, 2010, 12:22:51 PM »

He did say that he just doesn't think that is good evidence for your Church's view on the Bishopric. Now, I disagree with him, but he gave his reason. Did he elaborate? No. But I don't think he wants to go down that road for a good reason. Do you really think that there will be a productive debate while ten Orthodox Christians attack him and as has to remain in the defensive position all by himself? That won't be any fun for him and it certainly will not be a "fair fight".

Dear Papist,

I had to laugh about this (not at you, but a memory).  When I was in the Navy, I was assigned to a detachment stationed at an Army post.  We had a drunk sailor of the stereotypical variety who decided it would be a good idea to hit the Enlisted Club and start talking trash about the Army.  They chased him all the way to the barracks, which he ran into, screaming, "Hey, this ain't a fair fight!"

While David is far more polite than my former colleague, he's also in a primarily Orthodox environment and therefore should expect to be outnumbered.

David's problem, from my perspective, is that he can't elaborate because his standards of evidence are not clear.

For example, he is concerned about the Orthodox episcopacy not reflecting a Scriptural witness (i.e. what the NT apparently describes along with the presbytery), and yet he cannot account for his entire theological approach (i.e. borrowing from this tradition and that) using the same standard.

It is impossible to enter into a reasonable dialog with someone who has inconsistent standards of evidence.  On the one hand, he wants us to account for our practices using the Scriptures as witness (i.e. as the oldest and most agreed-upon text reflecting the Tradition), but on the other hand he will not hold himself accountable in the same way.

In that case, it ain't a fair fight either.

He accuses us of using an all-or-nothing approach as if it is bad, but he cannot make an argument for an alternative such as his own (i.e. pick what you want).

If you are worried about a fair fight, then both fighters have to follow the same rules.  In this case, I tried to engage him using the Scriptures as the lone source (which, I am sure you appreciate given the general Baptist standard of sola scriptura) rather than using the Fathers which he may or may not recognize as authentic witnesses of the Church).  Even that did not work, as he has not substantively engaged my posts.

There may be other non-Orthodox here who may feel I am wrong, but I doubt they could reasonably conclude I am impolite (unless they hold to that modern standard of 'polite' which mean agreeing to absolutely everything someone else say no matter how ludacrous or offensive it is), so they have nothing to worry about by posting their evidence here.  I am not here to mock or belittle David, but I am here to set the record straight in regards to the Christian Tradition.

I do not know why you think he cannot 'go down the road,' perhaps because I don't understand what road you are alluding to.

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« Reply #138 on: March 03, 2010, 01:02:02 PM »

He did say that he just doesn't think that is good evidence for your Church's view on the Bishopric. Now, I disagree with him, but he gave his reason.
I disagree, though admittedly I have not gone back and reviewed the entire thread. I asked several times for his evidence (for lack of a better word).
Quote
But I don't think he wants to go down that road for a good reason. Do you really think that there will be a productive debate while ten Orthodox Christians attack him and as has to remain in the defensive position all by himself?
I disagree with the characterization of attack, also. Again, I haven't gone back and reviewed the thread, but I think the tone has been fairly civil. No one has "attacked" unless you define attack as asking someone to explain or substantiate their opinions.
Quote
That won't be any fun for him and it certainly will not be a "fair fight".
I do agree with you about this - it wouldn't be a fair fight, for the reasons that Fr. Giryus has elucidated.
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« Reply #139 on: March 03, 2010, 01:15:35 PM »

He did say that he just doesn't think that is good evidence for your Church's view on the Bishopric. Now, I disagree with him, but he gave his reason. Did he elaborate? No. But I don't think he wants to go down that road for a good reason. Do you really think that there will be a productive debate while ten Orthodox Christians attack him and as has to remain in the defensive position all by himself? That won't be any fun for him and it certainly will not be a "fair fight".

Dear Papist,

I had to laugh about this (not at you, but a memory).  When I was in the Navy, I was assigned to a detachment stationed at an Army post.  We had a drunk sailor of the stereotypical variety who decided it would be a good idea to hit the Enlisted Club and start talking trash about the Army.  They chased him all the way to the barracks, which he ran into, screaming, "Hey, this ain't a fair fight!"

While David is far more polite than my former colleague, he's also in a primarily Orthodox environment and therefore should expect to be outnumbered.

David's problem, from my perspective, is that he can't elaborate because his standards of evidence are not clear.

For example, he is concerned about the Orthodox episcopacy not reflecting a Scriptural witness (i.e. what the NT apparently describes along with the presbytery), and yet he cannot account for his entire theological approach (i.e. borrowing from this tradition and that) using the same standard.

It is impossible to enter into a reasonable dialog with someone who has inconsistent standards of evidence.  On the one hand, he wants us to account for our practices using the Scriptures as witness (i.e. as the oldest and most agreed-upon text reflecting the Tradition), but on the other hand he will not hold himself accountable in the same way.

In that case, it ain't a fair fight either.

He accuses us of using an all-or-nothing approach as if it is bad, but he cannot make an argument for an alternative such as his own (i.e. pick what you want).

If you are worried about a fair fight, then both fighters have to follow the same rules.  In this case, I tried to engage him using the Scriptures as the lone source (which, I am sure you appreciate given the general Baptist standard of sola scriptura) rather than using the Fathers which he may or may not recognize as authentic witnesses of the Church).  Even that did not work, as he has not substantively engaged my posts.

There may be other non-Orthodox here who may feel I am wrong, but I doubt they could reasonably conclude I am impolite (unless they hold to that modern standard of 'polite' which mean agreeing to absolutely everything someone else say no matter how ludacrous or offensive it is), so they have nothing to worry about by posting their evidence here.  I am not here to mock or belittle David, but I am here to set the record straight in regards to the Christian Tradition.

I do not know why you think he cannot 'go down the road,' perhaps because I don't understand what road you are alluding to.


Part of my point is that I don't think that David is here to debate. It seems like he just is here to learn.
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« Reply #140 on: March 03, 2010, 01:46:59 PM »

In this case, let me ask you a few questions, David.
1.  What's the point?  What's the point of being here and discussing anything with us

Perhaps this translates into, Why are you on the forum? Replying in no order of importance, I'd say:

- Because someone (without my knowing) uploaded a couple of articles I wrote on to the Internet, and someone on the forum wrote to me 'out of the blue' (I did not know of the existence of the forum) and with replying I got drawn in.
- Because lacking any concept of an "only true church" I really do believe that different traditions (small t-) have riches and insights which others lack. Just as I read the early Methodists, and the German Pietists, and mediæval Catholics like Ælfric, Bernard, Aelred, Rolle, and find they have insights or experience which seems lacking or under-emphasised among us Baptists, so I feel that the Orthodox Church has much to offer "the wider church" (as I might put it), and so I believe I can benefit from your writers, whether they be of the age of Athanasius or of Bulgakov, and doubtless a good number of others before and after.
- Because much of my work is in southern Albania, where 20% of the population are Orthodox, in Kosova, where all the Serbs are, and in the Republic of Macedonia, where nearly all the Slavs are, I feel I need to have some understanding of Orthodoxy if I am to do my work properly and sensitively.

There at least are three reasons. I did not respond to the forum's approach to me with a view to making you into Baptists.

To reply to a couple of other posts briefly:

- The title "Orthodox-Protestant Discussion" led me to expect a larger proportion of Protestants. I regret the imbalance, but have been unsuccessful in trying to recruit others.

And I feel as if I have set out both what we believe, and why we believe it, in the matter of ecclesiology. Put it like this: we would have to sit down and read Matthew to Revelation, and it is my conviction that we would not find any instance of your view of priesthood, episcopacy, apostolic succession etc. Each time a relevant word was mentioned, I would say that it need not be interpreted in your way and explain how we understand it, and you would assert that it must be taken your way. Having read the Bible daily for nigh on 50 years, I can say I am genuinely not aware of a trace of your meanings of these words or of these concepts in the pages of the NT. That is why I don't believe what you believe on these matters. It is also why I find this particular subject a good deal less edifying than other topics we have explored.

Quote
We can't understand each other via osmosis

Would that make us egg-heads? (For I seem to recall osmosis is something eggs do.)

Quote
Forgive me if I have offended you

Not at all - but wearied, perhaps, with this particular topic. It is simply not one that engages that Baptist heart, though I have tried (and sadly failed) to explain why.
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« Reply #141 on: March 03, 2010, 02:34:53 PM »

In this case, let me ask you a few questions, David.
1.  What's the point?  What's the point of being here and discussing anything with us

Perhaps this translates into, Why are you on the forum? Replying in no order of importance, I'd say:

- Because someone (without my knowing) uploaded a couple of articles I wrote on to the Internet, and someone on the forum wrote to me 'out of the blue' (I did not know of the existence of the forum) and with replying I got drawn in.
- Because lacking any concept of an "only true church" I really do believe that different traditions (small t-) have riches and insights which others lack. Just as I read the early Methodists, and the German Pietists, and mediæval Catholics like Ælfric, Bernard, Aelred, Rolle, and find they have insights or experience which seems lacking or under-emphasised among us Baptists, so I feel that the Orthodox Church has much to offer "the wider church" (as I might put it), and so I believe I can benefit from your writers, whether they be of the age of Athanasius or of Bulgakov, and doubtless a good number of others before and after.
- Because much of my work is in southern Albania, where 20% of the population are Orthodox, in Kosova, where all the Serbs are, and in the Republic of Macedonia, where nearly all the Slavs are, I feel I need to have some understanding of Orthodoxy if I am to do my work properly and sensitively.

There at least are three reasons. I did not respond to the forum's approach to me with a view to making you into Baptists.

To reply to a couple of other posts briefly:

- The title "Orthodox-Protestant Discussion" led me to expect a larger proportion of Protestants. I regret the imbalance, but have been unsuccessful in trying to recruit others.

And I feel as if I have set out both what we believe, and why we believe it, in the matter of ecclesiology. Put it like this: we would have to sit down and read Matthew to Revelation, and it is my conviction that we would not find any instance of your view of priesthood, episcopacy, apostolic succession etc. Each time a relevant word was mentioned, I would say that it need not be interpreted in your way and explain how we understand it, and you would assert that it must be taken your way. Having read the Bible daily for nigh on 50 years, I can say I am genuinely not aware of a trace of your meanings of these words or of these concepts in the pages of the NT. That is why I don't believe what you believe on these matters. It is also why I find this particular subject a good deal less edifying than other topics we have explored.

Quote
We can't understand each other via osmosis

Would that make us egg-heads? (For I seem to recall osmosis is something eggs do.)

Quote
Forgive me if I have offended you

Not at all - but wearied, perhaps, with this particular topic. It is simply not one that engages that Baptist heart, though I have tried (and sadly failed) to explain why.

If I may speculate, one reason the topic does not "engage your heart" is that it requires a paradigm shift  far past the sole issue of the historic place of Bishops.

 Orthodox have a different idea of community than do Protestents. The Western mind set in imbued with idea's of "rugged individualism" and distrust of authority as well. Each individual operates sola. The "Community " is there to inspire and support ...individuals.

In Orthodoxy, we ascribe a far more spiritual value to the community. We MUST be saved as part of our particular community of believers. It's not an "oh by the way" matter.

The term "Family" has been coopted. We get recall letters from the Auto Makers that are "From Our Toyota Family to your Family"... They are not a Family.. They are an impersonal mega corporation. But in the Church, we are a True Family in the same manner as our own family of relatives, for some folks, more so.  

Therefore, each family, if it is to be effective gets itself organized and has a leader. Our Bishop is the leader of our family. He provides for us and takes responsibility for us. If he asks us to do something and it turns out to be a mistake, the sin is on him, not us. His role is not just administrative, he has a vital spiritual role to play within the Community of believers without which, our salvation would be hindered greatly.
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« Reply #142 on: March 03, 2010, 02:48:12 PM »

In this case, let me ask you a few questions, David.
1.  What's the point?  What's the point of being here and discussing anything with us

Perhaps this translates into, Why are you on the forum? Replying in no order of importance, I'd say:

- Because someone (without my knowing) uploaded a couple of articles I wrote on to the Internet, and someone on the forum wrote to me 'out of the blue' (I did not know of the existence of the forum) and with replying I got drawn in.
- Because lacking any concept of an "only true church" I really do believe that different traditions (small t-) have riches and insights which others lack. Just as I read the early Methodists, and the German Pietists, and mediæval Catholics like Ælfric, Bernard, Aelred, Rolle, and find they have insights or experience which seems lacking or under-emphasised among us Baptists, so I feel that the Orthodox Church has much to offer "the wider church" (as I might put it), and so I believe I can benefit from your writers, whether they be of the age of Athanasius or of Bulgakov, and doubtless a good number of others before and after.
- Because much of my work is in southern Albania, where 20% of the population are Orthodox, in Kosova, where all the Serbs are, and in the Republic of Macedonia, where nearly all the Slavs are, I feel I need to have some understanding of Orthodoxy if I am to do my work properly and sensitively.

There at least are three reasons. I did not respond to the forum's approach to me with a view to making you into Baptists.

To reply to a couple of other posts briefly:

- The title "Orthodox-Protestant Discussion" led me to expect a larger proportion of Protestants. I regret the imbalance, but have been unsuccessful in trying to recruit others.

And I feel as if I have set out both what we believe, and why we believe it, in the matter of ecclesiology. Put it like this: we would have to sit down and read Matthew to Revelation, and it is my conviction that we would not find any instance of your view of priesthood, episcopacy, apostolic succession etc. Each time a relevant word was mentioned, I would say that it need not be interpreted in your way and explain how we understand it, and you would assert that it must be taken your way. Having read the Bible daily for nigh on 50 years, I can say I am genuinely not aware of a trace of your meanings of these words or of these concepts in the pages of the NT. That is why I don't believe what you believe on these matters. It is also why I find this particular subject a good deal less edifying than other topics we have explored.

Quote
We can't understand each other via osmosis

Would that make us egg-heads? (For I seem to recall osmosis is something eggs do.)

Quote
Forgive me if I have offended you

Not at all - but wearied, perhaps, with this particular topic. It is simply not one that engages that Baptist heart, though I have tried (and sadly failed) to explain why.
I find it interesting that you think that there is such a dichotomy between the NT view of the Episcopacy and the Second century or even late first century. Think about it, St. Clement and St. Ignatius (both late first century fathers because, as has been pointed out, St. Ignaitus was not seven when he wrote his epistles) both present a view of the bishop that is inconsistent with yours. You think that they are not in line with the New Testament. It pretty much seems that for that to be true, while St. John the Apostle was still alive, the office of Bishop was corrupted and this seems inconceivable considering the fact that Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church and that the NT refers to the Church as the pillar and foundation of truth.
Sorry if I look like I am going into attack mode, but you brought something up that I thought was not consistent. That being said, I totally understand if you do not want to further discuss these matters.
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« Reply #143 on: March 03, 2010, 03:09:41 PM »

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I am quite aware that one can't approach Orthodoxy like a buffet, from your point of view: it is all or nothing; so even if you convinced me of your view of bishops, it would be insufficient without convincing me also of all the accretions you have added to the Faith (or we have removed from the Faith), like prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, priestly robes, seven sacraments and so on: one thing leads to another, and we have probably explored them all over the months

I can't disagree with this, but think it worthwhile to pursue even if it takes a while. Speaking as a former Southern Baptist of many years that is essentially a big part of the process necessary to evaluate these competing truth claims. Going back to the beginning and charting out the developments in Church life over the centuries is a very profitable exercise...if we can restrain trying to interpret too much through the lens of our own time and personal experience...to save conclusion making for the end when both arguments/truth claims have been explored.

Take your assertion of accretions above. The term itself caries a certain negative presumption as if accretions were necessarily bad or inorganic. Is a leaf an accretion to a twig, a twig to a branch, a branch to a trunk, a trunk to a seed?  If the Church is in any meaningful sense an organism how can it remain a "seed" and still claim to live.  The essential thing here is not that there are or are not accretions but rather if any noticeable differences between the primitive Church at its founding and the Church today exist in ontological continuity with that initial planting or is something by nature foreign to the life of the Church.  No one would argue that a limb growing on a tree is ontologically foreign to the seed from which it grew.  It was not visible in the seed, but as the seed roots and grows it is a natural expression of the life of that seed in a way that a bird house or wind chime hanging from its branches are not. 

Now if we determine faith X has an accretion and that accretion is ontologically consistent with the life of the seed, and faith Y lacks this same accretion, it might be reasonably argued that faith Y is very immature or else is lacking something native and necessary the life of the seed that was planted. It cannot be argued both are "OK" and equivalent because as Christ said, you don't get figs off thorns.  Thing grow and reproduce according to their own kind.  All acorns that live grow into trees with branches and leaves and in time make new acorns. They don't make figs, hamsters, or jelly donuts.

If Orthodoxy has ontological continuity with the Church of Pentecost, then very simply it is the Church and any communion that does not share in and give full expression to the the life bound up in that ontology is something else and not the Church.

So why shouldn't a conclusion be all or nothing if that is where the evidence is pointing?  You got your own journey, but as for me mind, I found the evidence overwhelming, enough so that what I did understand was sufficient to convince me I needed to accept what I did not at that time. Your results may differ, of course.
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« Reply #144 on: March 03, 2010, 03:21:49 PM »


In response to David's statement about reading the Bible and not seeing our practices, I wonder if David sees in the NT the Baptist model of administration, and whether his position might have accretions not present in or absences of practice from the First Century.

I do not believe St. Paul would have permitted such an approach as the one David uses of picking and choosing what one wants to believe.  St. Paul is definitely First Century.

Frankly, the whole notion of trying to argue everything from the Scriptures is impossible by the Scripture's own testimony, but it suffices to say that the Scriptures do not exclude any of the practices of the Orthodox Church.

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« Reply #145 on: March 03, 2010, 04:09:26 PM »


In response to David's statement about reading the Bible and not seeing our practices, I wonder if David sees in the NT the Baptist model of administration, and whether his position might have accretions not present in or absences of practice from the First Century.

I am not sure we have ever been given the Baptist model of administration, except identifying, or rather alleging it identical, it with the 1st century Church in the Bible.  There has been some reference to autonomy.  Is that every parish? Every city?  How far does it go?  If a Baptist parish starting viewing their overseer as we do a Bishop, do the other Baptists have the authority to gainsay?  What if the other Baptists do not recognize the new overseer? He has dismissed the Council of Jerusalem as being a consultation.  Is/was it necessary?  What if they came to no conclusion, or opposite conclusions?

Quote
I do not believe St. Paul would have permitted such an approach as the one David uses of picking and choosing what one wants to believe.  St. Paul is definitely First Century.

I've yet to see the explanation of St. Paul refering to the gift of prophecy in the laying on of hands, and how that is not have a wiff of priesthood about it.

Quote
Frankly, the whole notion of trying to argue everything from the Scriptures is impossible by the Scripture's own testimony, but it suffices to say that the Scriptures do not exclude any of the practices of the Orthodox Church.[/font][/size]
LOL, but it DOES exclude a lot of Baptist practices.
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« Reply #146 on: March 03, 2010, 04:40:29 PM »

I find it interesting that you think that there is such a dichotomy between the NT view of the Episcopacy and the Second century or even late first century. Think about it, St. Clement and St. Ignatius (both late first century fathers because, as has been pointed out, St. Ignaitus was not seven when he wrote his epistles) both present a view of the bishop that is inconsistent with yours. You think that they are not in line with the New Testament. It pretty much seems that for that to be true, while St. John the Apostle was still alive, the office of Bishop was corrupted and this seems inconceivable considering the fact that Christ promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church and that the NT refers to the Church as the pillar and foundation of truth.
Sorry if I look like I am going into attack mode, but you brought something up that I thought was not consistent.
And that, dear papist, is exactly my point, and what I have been trying to find out, without success.
Thank you for stating it so succintly and clearly!
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« Reply #147 on: March 03, 2010, 04:56:05 PM »

Quote from: John 21:24
This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.

This little passage has seemed to indicate to many textual critics that the Gospel of St. John was later compiled and edited by a community of his followers.  These scholars always indicate this to point toward a particular cultus of interpretation which is in the "Johannine" school, which to them represents one more example of the fractured and divided state of Christianity in the first century, with dozens of competing interpretations of Christ.  This allows them to continue to deny Christ based on a perceived disharmony which has always existed, and that in fact no truth was delivered.

But this is very post-Protestant (or rather still Protestant? Wink ), in that it fails to acknowledge the existence of the bishopric in the first century, and that St. John was the bishop over a flock, and that they all turned to him for authoritative teaching.  The finishing point of Protestantism is to protest your way right out of Christianity, if you're brave enough to take it to its conclusion.

Where do these enemies of the cross, many of the "Biblical textual critics", come from?  Germany?  Hmmm...sounds like Luther's progeny to me.
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« Reply #148 on: March 03, 2010, 05:27:08 PM »


In response to David's statement about reading the Bible and not seeing our practices, I wonder if David sees in the NT the Baptist model of administration, and whether his position might have accretions not present in or absences of practice from the First Century.

I am not sure we have ever been given the Baptist model of administration, except identifying, or rather alleging it identical, it with the 1st century Church in the Bible.  There has been some reference to autonomy.  Is that every parish? Every city?  How far does it go?  If a Baptist parish starting viewing their overseer as we do a Bishop, do the other Baptists have the authority to gainsay?  What if the other Baptists do not recognize the new overseer? He has dismissed the Council of Jerusalem as being a consultation.  Is/was it necessary?  What if they came to no conclusion, or opposite conclusions?

Quote
I do not believe St. Paul would have permitted such an approach as the one David uses of picking and choosing what one wants to believe.  St. Paul is definitely First Century.

I've yet to see the explanation of St. Paul refering to the gift of prophecy in the laying on of hands, and how that is not have a wiff of priesthood about it.

Quote
Frankly, the whole notion of trying to argue everything from the Scriptures is impossible by the Scripture's own testimony, but it suffices to say that the Scriptures do not exclude any of the practices of the Orthodox Church.[/font][/size]
LOL, but it DOES exclude a lot of Baptist practices.

When I was in a Protestant (Evangelical) seminary, I was fond of pointing out that 'laying on hands' is a 'Sacrament,' in that it imparts grace in a way that is not evident or explainable.  One of my classmates pointed out that this was the reason his church only 'extended hands towards' people rather than actually touch them, so as not to appear to be communicating grace from one person to another.

Of course, all of us there did lay our own hands upon our faces!

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« Reply #149 on: March 03, 2010, 06:59:40 PM »

the topic ... requires a paradigm shift  far past the sole issue of the historic place of Bishops.

In Orthodoxy, we ascribe a far more spiritual value to the community.

Regarding the former, you are quite right, and Katherine of Dixie said the same thing about different aspects of Orthodoxy. We could sit here discussing when the Orthodox view of bishops was born till we were blue in the face, but it is only one aspect of a much larger whole which you insist must be accepted or rejected in toto. Agreeing with you on bishops (which to me holds little importance, and to you great importance) would necessarily entail the whole system: prayers to the saints, prayer for the dead, seven sacraments, your view of the ministry (priesthood), the 'only true church', infant baptism, and much else.

It might not be without value to reverse the discussion, and start at the other end. Assuming that it is impossible to persuade me of infant baptism, prayers to the saints, and prayer for the dead (to take just three issues), if I know that step 1 (your view of bishops) must of necessity lead to those final conclusions - which we are granting for the sake of argument are unreachable in my purblind case - you have no hope with bishops, as the final steps prove to me the error of the first step. The impossibility of the final conclusion renders the discussion of necessity barren, or doomed to failure - except insofar as it instructs me in what you believe (which it has).

In re your second point quoted by me, your emphasis on community is one of the very things I would include in the aspects of Orthodoxy which are indeed lacking or weak elsewhere. If only you would open up to the rest of our Lord's church and share what you have been entrusted with, rather than telling other Christians that they can have nothing of it without embracing the whole of Orthodoxy, I believe you could be a real blessing to the wider people of God, the worldwide church. There is much you could teach us, not only in the matter of community. But you are a closed system, all or nothing, and I think that impoverishes the Body of Christ more widely.

In my view, Orthodoxy needs to detach itself from its association and involvement with nationalism, and also open itself to the wider Church. You are called to serve One whose kingdom is not of this world. These developments might well mean riches to the world. But reserving your Gospel riches for insiders only is not, I believe, the reason why they have been entrusted to you.

When I responded to someone's comment on homosexuality, I discovered afterwards that I had stepped over a forbidden line. I hope I have not unwittingly done so again.  If so, it is in ignorance, not deliberate, and I crave your pardon for the mistake. Also, in responding now to your cascade of posts, I have allowed myself to be more blunt than I usually do.  I mean no offence, and I hope I have not given any.
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« Reply #150 on: March 03, 2010, 07:51:46 PM »

the topic ... requires a paradigm shift  far past the sole issue of the historic place of Bishops.

In Orthodoxy, we ascribe a far more spiritual value to the community.

Regarding the former, you are quite right, and Katherine of Dixie said the same thing about different aspects of Orthodoxy. We could sit here discussing when the Orthodox view of bishops was born till we were blue in the face, but it is only one aspect of a much larger whole which you insist must be accepted or rejected in toto. Agreeing with you on bishops (which to me holds little importance, and to you great importance) would necessarily entail the whole system: prayers to the saints, prayer for the dead, seven sacraments, your view of the ministry (priesthood), the 'only true church', infant baptism, and much else.

It might not be without value to reverse the discussion, and start at the other end. Assuming that it is impossible to persuade me of infant baptism, prayers to the saints, and prayer for the dead (to take just three issues), if I know that step 1 (your view of bishops) must of necessity lead to those final conclusions - which we are granting for the sake of argument are unreachable in my purblind case - you have no hope with bishops, as the final steps prove to me the error of the first step. The impossibility of the final conclusion renders the discussion of necessity barren, or doomed to failure - except insofar as it instructs me in what you believe (which it has).

In re your second point quoted by me, your emphasis on community is one of the very things I would include in the aspects of Orthodoxy which are indeed lacking or weak elsewhere. If only you would open up to the rest of our Lord's church and share what you have been entrusted with, rather than telling other Christians that they can have nothing of it without embracing the whole of Orthodoxy, I believe you could be a real blessing to the wider people of God, the worldwide church. There is much you could teach us, not only in the matter of community. But you are a closed system, all or nothing, and I think that impoverishes the Body of Christ more widely.

In my view, Orthodoxy needs to detach itself from its association and involvement with nationalism, and also open itself to the wider Church. You are called to serve One whose kingdom is not of this world. These developments might well mean riches to the world. But reserving your Gospel riches for insiders only is not, I believe, the reason why they have been entrusted to you.

When I responded to someone's comment on homosexuality, I discovered afterwards that I had stepped over a forbidden line. I hope I have not unwittingly done so again.  If so, it is in ignorance, not deliberate, and I crave your pardon for the mistake. Also, in responding now to your cascade of posts, I have allowed myself to be more blunt than I usually do.  I mean no offence, and I hope I have not given any.
Of course no offense is given. But lets look at your reasoning above. It is suggested that the acceptance of the EO view of the birshop will necessarily lead to acceptance of other doctrines that you think are unacceptable. BUT, what if the evidence does point in favor of the EO view? Then what? Then perhaps you are wrong on the other points? Are you will to accept this as a possibility? If not, why not?
Please understand that I am not attacking you or your view. I know you are a dear brother in Christ. I am just trying to understand your line of thinking. Sometimes it seems to me that to accept the protestant view a person must accept the idea that as soon as Christ ascended into heaven, the Church fell into heresy.
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« Reply #151 on: March 03, 2010, 07:53:08 PM »

the topic ... requires a paradigm shift  far past the sole issue of the historic place of Bishops.

In Orthodoxy, we ascribe a far more spiritual value to the community.

Regarding the former, you are quite right, and Katherine of Dixie said the same thing about different aspects of Orthodoxy. We could sit here discussing when the Orthodox view of bishops was born till we were blue in the face, but it is only one aspect of a much larger whole which you insist must be accepted or rejected in toto. Agreeing with you on bishops (which to me holds little importance, and to you great importance) would necessarily entail the whole system: prayers to the saints, prayer for the dead, seven sacraments, your view of the ministry (priesthood), the 'only true church', infant baptism, and much else.

It might not be without value to reverse the discussion, and start at the other end. Assuming that it is impossible to persuade me of infant baptism, prayers to the saints, and prayer for the dead (to take just three issues), if I know that step 1 (your view of bishops) must of necessity lead to those final conclusions - which we are granting for the sake of argument are unreachable in my purblind case - you have no hope with bishops, as the final steps prove to me the error of the first step. The impossibility of the final conclusion renders the discussion of necessity barren, or doomed to failure - except insofar as it instructs me in what you believe (which it has).

We wouldn't have it any other way: In for a penny, in a for pound (that's incidently, why I had to become Orthodox: being a little Orthodox is supposed to be like being a little pregnant).

Quote
In re your second point quoted by me, your emphasis on community is one of the very things I would include in the aspects of Orthodoxy which are indeed lacking or weak elsewhere. If only you would open up to the rest of our Lord's church and share what you have been entrusted with, rather than telling other Christians that they can have nothing of it without embracing the whole of Orthodoxy, I believe you could be a real blessing to the wider people of God, the worldwide church. There is much you could teach us, not only in the matter of community. But you are a closed system, all or nothing, and I think that impoverishes the Body of Christ more widely.

It is what it is.  You can't redefine marriage from one man, one woman, for life, with children and hope to reap the benefits of traditional marriage.  No fault divorce has abundantly shown that.  No bishops, no diptychs, no community, no Catholicism, no Orthodoxy.

Quote
In my view, Orthodoxy needs to detach itself from its association and involvement with nationalism, and also open itself to the wider Church. You are called to serve One whose kingdom is not of this world. These developments might well mean riches to the world. But reserving your Gospel riches for insiders only is not, I believe, the reason why they have been entrusted to you.

Outsiders can become insiders any time. Come and see.

Quote
When I responded to someone's comment on homosexuality, I discovered afterwards that I had stepped over a forbidden line. I hope I have not unwittingly done so again.  If so, it is in ignorance, not deliberate, and I crave your pardon for the mistake. Also, in responding now to your cascade of posts, I have allowed myself to be more blunt than I usually do.  I mean no offence, and I hope I have not given any.
LOL. We don't get much British understatement here usually.
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« Reply #152 on: March 03, 2010, 08:57:33 PM »

In re your second point quoted by me, your emphasis on community is one of the very things I would include in the aspects of Orthodoxy which are indeed lacking or weak elsewhere. If only you would open up to the rest of our Lord's church and share what you have been entrusted with, rather than telling other Christians that they can have nothing of it without embracing the whole of Orthodoxy, I believe you could be a real blessing to the wider people of God, the worldwide church. There is much you could teach us, not only in the matter of community. But you are a closed system, all or nothing, and I think that impoverishes the Body of Christ more widely.


We are not in doubt that there are perfectly nice people who form social communities within Heterodox Groups. That's not at issue. We are talking about a fundamental approach to practicing Christianity which you are not about to overturn.

The Church is already Worldwide BTW. All are welcome.
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« Reply #153 on: March 04, 2010, 04:05:09 AM »

It seems to me we have finally reached agreement on this! But I must hasten away and take our grandson to school. Later I shall attempt to reply more closely.

Have a good day - except it's probably the middle of the night where you are.
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« Reply #154 on: March 04, 2010, 10:27:31 AM »

But lets look at your reasoning above. It is suggested that the acceptance of the EO view of the birshop will necessarily lead to acceptance of other doctrines that you think are unacceptable. BUT, what if the evidence does point in favor of the EO view? Then what? Then perhaps you are wrong on the other points? Are you will to accept this as a possibility? If not, why not?
Please understand that I am not attacking you or your view. I know you are a dear brother in Christ. I am just trying to understand your line of thinking. Sometimes it seems to me that to accept the protestant view a person must accept the idea that as soon as Christ ascended into heaven, the Church fell into heresy.

I'm just going to shut up now, and let papist do the talking for me! Since you are doing such a good job of elucidating the points I wanted to make! Wink

Oh well, I can't resist this:
Quote
Agreeing with you on bishops (which to me holds little importance, and to you great importance) would necessarily entail the whole system: prayers to the saints, prayer for the dead, seven sacraments, your view of the ministry (priesthood), the 'only true church', infant baptism, and much else.
Well, it does, you know. Because those things that you list are what the Bishops have received from the Apostles and passed on to the Faithful for centuries. So if you agree with us about the office of Bishop being both Scriptural and historical, then aren't your choices to either accept what they and the Church teach, or to believe that men who received the Truth from the Apostles passed on error to the Faithful.

Quote
Assuming that it is impossible to persuade me of infant baptism, prayers to the saints, and prayer for the dead (to take just three issues), if I know that step 1 (your view of bishops) must of necessity lead to those final conclusions - which we are granting for the sake of argument are unreachable in my purblind case - you have no hope with bishops, as the final steps prove to me the error of the first step.
Of course, why would we want to confuse you with facts! I'm sure you're not saying that no evidence we could present would convince you?
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« Reply #155 on: March 04, 2010, 11:08:45 AM »

(Naturally I can't leave well enough alone!)

It seems to me that, in a nutshell:

1. St. Ignatius was a Bishop for 40 years (Eusebius).
2. Around about 107, he went to his martyrdom, meeting with Christian communities on his way to Rome, and writing them letters.
3. St. Paul’s Epistles were written 50-60 or thereabouts, the Gospels 65-80 which would put St. Ignatius' service as Bishop shortly after the Epistles were written, and either shortly after or during the time that the Gospels were written.
4. So that, in order to ignore what St. Ignatius had to say about Bishops:
"Take heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup unto unity of His blood, one altar, as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery, and deacons, my fellow-servants, so that whatever you do, you may do it according to God."
"It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate an agape."
"It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself."
"... take heed to do all things in the harmony of God with the bishop presiding in the place of God."
" For when you are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ you appear to me to live not after the manner of men but according to Jesus Christ... "
"... let all reverence ... the bishop as Jesus Christ."
"be united to your bishop and to those that preside over you as a type and teaching of immortality."
(there is much more, btw)
You must conclude that, during the lifetime of at least some of the Apostles, and while some of the Gospels were still be written, the Church fell into apostasy, for 1500 or so years.
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« Reply #156 on: March 04, 2010, 12:04:36 PM »

(Naturally I can't leave well enough alone!)

It seems to me that, in a nutshell:

1. St. Ignatius was a Bishop for 40 years (Eusebius).
2. Around about 107, he went to his martyrdom, meeting with Christian communities on his way to Rome, and writing them letters.
3. St. Paul’s Epistles were written 50-60 or thereabouts, the Gospels 65-80 which would put St. Ignatius' service as Bishop shortly after the Epistles were written, and either shortly after or during the time that the Gospels were written.
4. So that, in order to ignore what St. Ignatius had to say about Bishops:
"Take heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup unto unity of His blood, one altar, as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery, and deacons, my fellow-servants, so that whatever you do, you may do it according to God."
"It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate an agape."
"It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself."
"... take heed to do all things in the harmony of God with the bishop presiding in the place of God."
" For when you are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ you appear to me to live not after the manner of men but according to Jesus Christ... "
"... let all reverence ... the bishop as Jesus Christ."
"be united to your bishop and to those that preside over you as a type and teaching of immortality."
(there is much more, btw)
You must conclude that, during the lifetime of at least some of the Apostles, and while some of the Gospels were still be written, the Church fell into apostasy, for 1500 or so years.


Just to add to what Katherine said here, the Apostle John didn't even write his Gospel until the year 95.  That would place St. Ignatius' death only 12 years after the writing of the Gospel of John, and only 7 years after John's death, which was during the reign of Trajan in the year 100.  Also to keep in mind is that Ignatius was one of John's disciples, and that, as Eusebius states he was a bishop for 40 years, that puts his life and ministry well within John's time, well before the Gospels were finished, and well before John's death.

It seems to me that there can, thus, be only two conclusions:
1. The Orthodox are correct.
OR
2. John the Apostle (nevermind the other Apostles) was wrong/he taught Ignatius wrongly/he allowed Ignatius to teach error.

Which one is more likely?  If your conclusion, David, is that we Orthodox are wrong, would you mind illuminating me as to why?  I'm sure you've probably addressed it somewhere, so forgive me if I've forgotten.  I know we've discussed Ignatius ad nauseum, but I can't recall ever looking at the direct quotes and timelines, as Katherine and I have posted here.  Maybe this would put the issue to bed for good. 


On another note...
Isa, I would like to kindly request, if you get a moment, would you mind posting this type of information regarding Clement?  I'd love to see where he falls in relation, and I just don't know as much about his life.  Many thanks!
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« Reply #157 on: March 04, 2010, 12:33:34 PM »

Just by way of an interesting addition...

You'll notice in Ignatius' letters that he quotes (among others), Luke, Matthew, and Acts.  But he does NOT quote John.  Hmmm... could it be because the Gospel of John wasn't written yet?  Just further supports that his ministry was well within the time of the Apostles.

Here's a fascinating website that shows the NT quotes in his letters:
http://www.ntcanon.org/Ignatius.shtml
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« Reply #158 on: March 04, 2010, 12:34:12 PM »

(Naturally I can't leave well enough alone!)

It seems to me that, in a nutshell:

1. St. Ignatius was a Bishop for 40 years (Eusebius).
2. Around about 107, he went to his martyrdom, meeting with Christian communities on his way to Rome, and writing them letters.
3. St. Paul’s Epistles were written 50-60 or thereabouts, the Gospels 65-80 which would put St. Ignatius' service as Bishop shortly after the Epistles were written, and either shortly after or during the time that the Gospels were written.
4. So that, in order to ignore what St. Ignatius had to say about Bishops:
"Take heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup unto unity of His blood, one altar, as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery, and deacons, my fellow-servants, so that whatever you do, you may do it according to God."
"It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate an agape."
"It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself."
"... take heed to do all things in the harmony of God with the bishop presiding in the place of God."
" For when you are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ you appear to me to live not after the manner of men but according to Jesus Christ... "
"... let all reverence ... the bishop as Jesus Christ."
"be united to your bishop and to those that preside over you as a type and teaching of immortality."
(there is much more, btw)
You must conclude that, during the lifetime of at least some of the Apostles, and while some of the Gospels were still be written, the Church fell into apostasy, for 1500 or so years.


This thread is fascinating. This is where I am at:

I do see where David is coming from, and for this post I will accept his premise that the Baptist administrative model dominated the Church at the beginning.

The problem is, as katherineofdixie has shown above, and others previously, that administrative model could have existed at most for 20 or 30 years. Clearly the Apostles developed the current structure during the time of the Epistles (based on Scripture as well as Ss. Clement, Ignatius, et al.), and by the time the last Apostle, St John, died around AD 95, the three-tiered structure had replaced the "Baptist-style" structure.

So these are my questions:

- Did the Apostles themselves go apostate by creating this administrative structure?

- Why is this administrative structure disregarded by Baptists in favor of the primordial structure, when the three-tiered structure was established under the Apostles' own administration of the Church? It cannot be for lack of evidence.
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« Reply #159 on: March 04, 2010, 01:11:00 PM »

Quote
Did the Apostles themselves go apostate by creating this administrative structure?

Well if they did then the Church was stillborn, Christ was mistaken when He said the gates of Hell would not prevail, and the LDS could be right that the whole Church had to be reestablished...though I doubt even they would say the Apostles as a group failed to keep the faith.
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« Reply #160 on: March 04, 2010, 01:17:00 PM »

This thread is fascinating. This is where I am at:

I do see where David is coming from, and for this post I will accept his premise that the Baptist administrative model dominated the Church at the beginning.

The problem is, as katherineofdixie has shown above, and others previously, that administrative model could have existed at most for 20 or 30 years. Clearly the Apostles developed the current structure during the time of the Epistles (based on Scripture as well as Ss. Clement, Ignatius, et al.), and by the time the last Apostle, St John, died around AD 95, the three-tiered structure had replaced the "Baptist-style" structure.

So these are my questions:

- Did the Apostles themselves go apostate by creating this administrative structure?

- Why is this administrative structure disregarded by Baptists in favor of the primordial structure, when the three-tiered structure was established under the Apostles' own administration of the Church? It cannot be for lack of evidence.

Dear Bogdan,

I don't think you can make an argument for the Baptism model being an early version of the Church, since we still don't have an accurate description of the Baptist model to work from.  I assume that there is more than one 'Baptist structure' since there are several Baptist communions.

Second, the Apostle Paul very clearly establishes a hierarchy of servants in the Church, while St. Luke gives us indications regarding the first Synod (of Apostles) in Jerusalem.

Third, it is clear from any careful reading (I discuss this briefly in a previous post) that St. Paul uses 'Presbyters' and 'Bishop' to mean two different things, the latter appearing to have more authority in the community.

Fourth, David's claim to have no need for Bishops flies in the face of his own theology.  Let's remember that:

a. The Bishops of the Church administered the ancient communities of the Church which preserved and passed on the Tradition he aspires to.
b. The Bishops of the Church established the canon of Scriptures.
c. The Bishops of the Church decided on the proper theological terms to express the Faith (i.e. 'Trinity' etc.).
d. The Bishops of the Church supplied missionaries and even themselves missionized David's forefathers so that they could hear the Gospel.
e. The Bishops of the Church provided for the preservation of historical documents and for the educational institutions that allow us, to this day, peer back to the earliest of days in the Church.
f. The Bishops of the Church propagated the ideas of free-will and respect for humanity that led to the notions of human rights that now allow David to practice any religion he chooses, Christian or otherwise.
g. The Bishops of the Church helped unite the Body of Christ from community to community so that they would not zoom off after heresies and foolishness that would have eventually robbed them of their Faith and eventually doomed the Church.

If you want to say that Bishops are not critical, then one only need to look back at the history of Christianity to see the works of the Holy Spirit through the Episcopacy to realize that the Bishops of the Church have indeed been critical not only to the lives of we Orthodox, but also to non-Orthodox such as David.

Now, if someone should say, 'Well, times have changed and we don't need Bishops anymore,' I would answer that the same challenges to the Faith that St. Paul and the Bishops he consecrated faced in the First Century are still with us today.  We are still beset with moral weakness, heresy and laziness.  We are still challenged with pernicious heresies.  In essence, the devil is still after us.

To denigrate the necessity of the Episcopacy is to not only denigrate the Tradition, but God's work and thus, one can conclude, the judgment of God Himself.

In conclusion, I will say that one cannot escape enjoying the fruits of the Episcopacy while remaining a Christian.  Therefore, to dismiss the office is to deny the benefits one has received through this Office.

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« Reply #161 on: March 04, 2010, 01:51:16 PM »

what if the evidence does point in favor of the EO view? Then what? Then perhaps you are wrong on the other points? Are you will to accept this as a possibility?

I would be a fool and very rash if I were to assert that nothing under heaven would or could change my mind on any matter on which different opinions are held. But - continuing to approach the discussion back to front, and writing as my own pope (for so I am seen by some) - it seems to me that the evidence points away from the Orthodox position on so many matters, that if your view of bishops is essential to real Christianity, that view must be wrong.

There are two sides to the discussion, the administrative and the sacerdotal, or hieratic. I feel that the former is a matter of indifference: if you find it best to organise your denomination (oops!) with a stratum of bishops, so what? But if bishops pass on priestly power through the laying-on of hands, distinguishing between a laity and a priesthood, and if they teach infant baptism, and prayer for and to the dead, then that is a quite different matter. As Marc1152 rightly says,  We are talking about a fundamental approach to practicing Christianity .

I really have little interest in the former aspect, and would hardly take my putative papal name from a bishop if I thought they were unavoidably and in essence a damaging feature to the church; but some of the things Orthodox bishops teach persuade me that somewhere down the years they have left parts of the faith out (or at least seriously under-emphasised them) and added new ideas which, though not damning the soul, are nonetheless erroneous.
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« Reply #162 on: March 04, 2010, 02:04:19 PM »

aren't your choices to either accept what they and the Church teach, or to believe that men who received the Truth from the Apostles passed on error to the Faithful.

Part of the problem in this discussion is our different mentalities. You have a knack of turning everything into a black-and-white dichotomy: either this extreme position, or that extreme and opposite position. You run to one end or the other of the spectrum. With us there is room for variation; there are matters of indifference (are they called adiaphora? or theologoumena?); there are different branches or expressions of Christ's church, and none holds all the truth (though I grant there are extreme Protestants also who believe their little group is the only true church, as firmly as you believe it of Orthodoxy).

We don't think everything collapsed in the year 96AD or thereabouts; but we do believe that, when you get to the apostolic and other ante-nicene Fathers, you encounter a different world, approach, fervour, depth, whatever the word is. There was a cooling off, and loosening of the grip on deep, central, fundamental matters like sin, redemption, grace (sorry if I sound Augustinian here - I think Arminius would have said the same) and a turning to morality if not the beginning of moralism, the creeping acceptance (osmosis?) of concepts from other faiths and philosophies. There was gradual development, at different paces in different places. In the end, in the West, the Reformers boldly attempted to leap back over the centuries to the emphases and practices of the early church.
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« Reply #163 on: March 04, 2010, 02:06:52 PM »

<snip>
There are two sides to the discussion, the administrative and the sacerdotal, or hieratic. I feel that the former is a matter of indifference: if you find it best to organise your denomination (oops!) with a stratum of bishops, so what? But if bishops pass on priestly power through the laying-on of hands, distinguishing between a laity and a priesthood, and if they teach infant baptism, and prayer for and to the dead, then that is a quite different matter. As Marc1152 rightly says,  We are talking about a fundamental approach to practicing Christianity .
</snip>

Dear David,

The questions still remain:

1. Do you believe the preaching of St. Paul, or the Scriptures in general, allow for the 'denominations' you preach?

2. How can you argue from a Scriptural perspective the separation of "the administrative and the sacerdotal, or hieratic"?

I have read the Scriptures, and I see no differentiation whether in the OT or the NT. 

Rather, I see St. Paul actively arguing against 'denominations' as matters of 'party spirit' or schism or even heresy.

I also see St. Paul charging the Bishops to be spiritual men who are to admonish and administer to the flocks entrusted them.

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« Reply #164 on: March 04, 2010, 02:09:23 PM »

<snip> the creeping acceptance (osmosis?) of concepts from other faiths and philosophies. </snip>

But, isn't that precisely what you have said you are here to do?

 Huh
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« Reply #165 on: March 04, 2010, 02:12:28 PM »

(Naturally I can't leave well enough alone!)

It seems to me that, in a nutshell:

1. St. Ignatius was a Bishop for 40 years (Eusebius).
2. Around about 107, he went to his martyrdom, meeting with Christian communities on his way to Rome, and writing them letters.
3. St. Paul’s Epistles were written 50-60 or thereabouts, the Gospels 65-80 which would put St. Ignatius' service as Bishop shortly after the Epistles were written, and either shortly after or during the time that the Gospels were written.
4. So that, in order to ignore what St. Ignatius had to say about Bishops:
"Take heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup unto unity of His blood, one altar, as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery, and deacons, my fellow-servants, so that whatever you do, you may do it according to God."
"It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate an agape."
"It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself."
"... take heed to do all things in the harmony of God with the bishop presiding in the place of God."
" For when you are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ you appear to me to live not after the manner of men but according to Jesus Christ... "
"... let all reverence ... the bishop as Jesus Christ."
"be united to your bishop and to those that preside over you as a type and teaching of immortality."
(there is much more, btw)
You must conclude that, during the lifetime of at least some of the Apostles, and while some of the Gospels were still be written, the Church fell into apostasy, for 1500 or so years.


This thread is fascinating. This is where I am at:

I do see where David is coming from, and for this post I will accept his premise that the Baptist administrative model dominated the Church at the beginning.

The problem is, as katherineofdixie has shown above, and others previously, that administrative model could have existed at most for 20 or 30 years. Clearly the Apostles developed the current structure during the time of the Epistles (based on Scripture as well as Ss. Clement, Ignatius, et al.), and by the time the last Apostle, St John, died around AD 95, the three-tiered structure had replaced the "Baptist-style" structure.

So these are my questions:

- Did the Apostles themselves go apostate by creating this administrative structure?

- Why is this administrative structure disregarded by Baptists in favor of the primordial structure, when the three-tiered structure was established under the Apostles' own administration of the Church? It cannot be for lack of evidence.
Since two of the tiers (bishops, deacons) are explicitely spelled out by the Epistles and Acts, and Acts further explicitely records the creation of the one tier (deacons) by the Apostles, one cannot hold to sola scriptura (the basis of Baptist administration, not to be confused with basing it on Scripture) and deny at least those two tiers.
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« Reply #166 on: March 04, 2010, 02:22:55 PM »

(Naturally I can't leave well enough alone!)

It seems to me that, in a nutshell:

1. St. Ignatius was a Bishop for 40 years (Eusebius).
2. Around about 107, he went to his martyrdom, meeting with Christian communities on his way to Rome, and writing them letters.
3. St. Paul’s Epistles were written 50-60 or thereabouts, the Gospels 65-80 which would put St. Ignatius' service as Bishop shortly after the Epistles were written, and either shortly after or during the time that the Gospels were written.
4. So that, in order to ignore what St. Ignatius had to say about Bishops:
"Take heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup unto unity of His blood, one altar, as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery, and deacons, my fellow-servants, so that whatever you do, you may do it according to God."
"It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate an agape."
"It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself."
"... take heed to do all things in the harmony of God with the bishop presiding in the place of God."
" For when you are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ you appear to me to live not after the manner of men but according to Jesus Christ... "
"... let all reverence ... the bishop as Jesus Christ."
"be united to your bishop and to those that preside over you as a type and teaching of immortality."
(there is much more, btw)
You must conclude that, during the lifetime of at least some of the Apostles, and while some of the Gospels were still be written, the Church fell into apostasy, for 1500 or so years.


Just to add to what Katherine said here, the Apostle John didn't even write his Gospel until the year 95.  That would place St. Ignatius' death only 12 years after the writing of the Gospel of John, and only 7 years after John's death, which was during the reign of Trajan in the year 100.  Also to keep in mind is that Ignatius was one of John's disciples, and that, as Eusebius states he was a bishop for 40 years, that puts his life and ministry well within John's time, well before the Gospels were finished, and well before John's death.

It seems to me that there can, thus, be only two conclusions:
1. The Orthodox are correct.
OR
2. John the Apostle (nevermind the other Apostles) was wrong/he taught Ignatius wrongly/he allowed Ignatius to teach error.

Which one is more likely?  If your conclusion, David, is that we Orthodox are wrong, would you mind illuminating me as to why?  I'm sure you've probably addressed it somewhere, so forgive me if I've forgotten.  I know we've discussed Ignatius ad nauseum, but I can't recall ever looking at the direct quotes and timelines, as Katherine and I have posted here.  Maybe this would put the issue to bed for good. 


On another note...
Isa, I would like to kindly request, if you get a moment, would you mind posting this type of information regarding Clement?  I'd love to see where he falls in relation, and I just don't know as much about his life.  Many thanks!

For starters:
Pope St. Clement of Rome, whose letter was considered Scripture by some (like Codex Sianitius, our earliest and most complete Bible).

Are you aware with whom St. Clement had contact, specifically?

SS. Peter and Paul. I am not sure about others, but St. Irenaeus seemed to be:
Quote
The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.iv.iv.html

It may be not out of place to post a list of those, past and present, who have claimed autocephaly.

The bishop/patriarch of Jerusalem.

...

So it seems the primacy of the Desposyni extened to their race, the Hebrews.

You've just argued a claim to primacy within a certain geographical region.  How are primacy and autocephaly synonymous?  I just don't see the connection. Huh

Actually I haven't argued the claim of primacy within a certain geographical region.  But I am about to.  I had intended to go on to argue what was irreducible about Jerusalem's pirmacy, and hence here autocephaly.

One thing I'll deal with this something I posted elsewhere:
In the Apostolic Constitutions (3-4th cent) it states:

Quote
XLVI. Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these:—James the bishop of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord [An incidental proof of the early origin of this compilation is furnished by the clear distinction it makes between James the son of Alphæus and James the brother of our Lord. The theory of Jerome, which identifies them, was later]   upon whose death the second was Simeon the son of Cleopas; after whom the third was Judas the son of James. Of Cæsarea of Palestine, the first was Zacchæus, who was once a publican; after whom was Cornelius, and the third Theophilus. Of Antioch, Euodius, ordained by me Peter; and Ignatius by Paul. Of Alexandria, Annianus was the first, ordained by Mark the evangelist; the second Avilius by Luke, who was also an evangelist. Of the church of Rome, Linus the son of Claudia was the first, ordained by Paul   and Clemens, after Linus’ death, the second, ordained by me Peter.   Of Ephesus, Timotheus, ordained by Paul; and John, by me John. Of Smyrna, Aristo the first; after whom Stratæas the son of Lois;  and the third Aristo. Of Pergamus, Gaius. Of Philadelphia, Demetrius, by me. Of Cenchrea, Lucius, by Paul. Of Crete, Titus. Of Athens, Dionysius. Of Tripoli in Phœnicia, Marathones. Of Laodicea in Phrygia, Archippus.Of Colossæ, Philemon.  Of Borea in Macedonia, Onesimus, once the servant of Philemon.Of the churches of Galatia,    Of the parishes of Asia, Aquila and Nicetas. Of the church of Æginæ, Crispus. These are the bishops who are entrusted by us with the parishes in the Lord; whose doctrine keep ye always in mind, and observe our words. And may the Lord be with you now, and to endless ages, as Himself said to us when He was about to be taken up to His own God and Father. For says He, “Lo, I am with you all the days, until the end of the world. Amen.”
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf07.ix.viii.iv.html

Now notice, there is a multiple of Apostolic centers.  Note too, that some of the sees are explicitely mentioned, including Rome, as having successor bishops ordained by different Apostles (fitting, as the episcopacy is an ontological whole).  Such multimplicity fits the image St. Iranaeus gives of the Apostolic succession.  Note too, the order: it is not in the order of primacy.The Pentarcy was of Ecclesiastical, not Divine nor Apostolic origin.  Rather than saying that the Universal Church was administered by three sees (note, it doesn't say "presided over by three sees," I suspect as to not put Alexandria or Antioch in Rome's alleged league), history would say that these three sees dominated the Universal Church.

Unfortunately, I'm going to run out of break time before I finish, but I will start here.  As I said, a work in progress.

The issue here is the canonical history of the Church's hierarchy and the autocephalous Churches.  The importance of this quote is the historical accuracy of what it portrays (although it is corroborated enough for our puruposes here), but that it is the history that the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils were working under (implicitely it seems at Nicea I and Constantinople II, explicitely at Quinsext, c. II
Quote
Canon II.

It has also seemed good to this holy Council, that the eighty-five canons, received and ratified by the holy and blessed Fathers before us, and also handed down to us in the name of the holy and glorious Apostles should from this time forth remain firm and unshaken for the cure of souls and the healing of disorders.  And in these canons we are bidden to receive the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles [written] by Clement

ooops, gotta go

to be continued....
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« Reply #167 on: March 04, 2010, 02:41:45 PM »

if your view of bishops is essential to real Christianity, that view must be wrong.

This is what I do not understand.

We have St Ignatius' epistle to the Trallians, which says "Apart from these there is not even the name of a church." So, we have the charge that the Church cannot exist without the three offices of Deacon, Priest, and Bishop.

St Ignatius, as Katherine pointed out, was a bishop for 40 years before his death, so he entered the office around AD 67, around the time of Ss Peter and Paul's martyrdoms, and long before the last Gospel was written. He worked in parallel with the Apostles, who would not have kept him in office if he was administering his bishopric in Antioch improperly.

So my question remains: on what basis do you view bishops as non-essential, when every indication says they are essential?

Because you say bishops are not essential, therefore at best you must say that St Ignatius was wrong in his understanding of his own office, at worst he was drunk with power to say "regard the bishop as the Lord Himself."

And what does that say about the Apostles? That they lost control over the Church? The men who lived with Christ were unable to keep the ambitions of the clergy under control? If that happened, why are there no writings from the Apostles about such things? Where is the effort to fix this clerical power-grab? And where was the Holy Spirit when this Great Apostasy occurred? Did he abandon the Church after a few decades and only return 1500 years later to set things right?

There are many implications to saying this system arose in error.
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« Reply #168 on: March 04, 2010, 02:52:27 PM »

Quote
Do you believe the... Scriptures in general, allow for the 'denominations' you preach?

I believe there was variety in the early church.

Quote
How can you argue ... the separation of "the administrative and the sacerdotal?

We don't believe there is a priesthood. We don't separate the two: one exists, the other does not. That does not mean that I think Orthodox cannot be priests ministers of Christ in their flocks; it means I believe they are not priests as you understand it, because no-one is.

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I see St. Paul actively arguing against ... 'party spirit'

There is a difference between party spirit, which is abominable, and variety.

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I also see St. Paul charging the Bishops to be spiritual men

Absolutely! Whatever the word means, that we definitely agree on.
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« Reply #169 on: March 04, 2010, 03:21:43 PM »

Quote
Do you believe the... Scriptures in general, allow for the 'denominations' you preach?

I believe there was variety in the early church.

Ok, fine. Give me some evidence, as I and others have provided you, from Scripture and history.

Quote
How can you argue ... the separation of "the administrative and the sacerdotal?
We don't believe there is a priesthood. We don't separate the two: one exists, the other does not. [/quote]

Ok, then what about Acts and the letters of St. Paul, let alone St. Clement and St. Ignatius? These reveal bishops, presbyters and deacons, who are set aside for specific responsibilities by the Apostles for both administrative and sacerdotal duties.

My goodness, you can believe anything you want - however the witness of Scripture and history does not support it, IMHO.



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« Reply #170 on: March 04, 2010, 04:10:29 PM »

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Do you believe the... Scriptures in general, allow for the 'denominations' you preach?

I believe there was variety in the early church.

Ok, fine. Give me some evidence, as I and others have provided you, from Scripture and history.

Books have