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Author Topic: A question for protestants...  (Read 24537 times) Average Rating: 0
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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".
« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 11:01:49 AM by Papist » Logged

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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.

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We can't understand each other via osmosis

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

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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.

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

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

Quote
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 »

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.

Books have been written on the very subject of the variety that existed in the early church, by academic historians who probably aren't Evangelical or Orthodox and have neither axe (or ax, if they're American) to grind. This is a subject we can all have access to easily enough.

Quote
Acts and the letters of St. Paul... reveal bishops, presbyters and deacons, who are set aside for specific responsibilities by the Apostles for both administrative and sacerdotal duties.

Not priestly. It simply isn't there!

Quote
you can believe anything you want

No I can't - or I'd still be a Methodist!
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« Reply #171 on: March 04, 2010, 04:20:55 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.

LOL. As my priest, a proud alumnus from Southern Baptist University, says: if you come up with an interpretation that no one in the Church has come up with before and contradicts the Church's position, you are wrong.

Let's say, for sake of argumetn, that you do not see the Orthodox understanding of bishop in the NT and we don't see the Baptist understanding of overseer either.  As we go forward in history, you admit the Orthodox understanding becomes undeniable from the 2nd century onward.  But we don't see the Baptist understanding at all, except some gnostic groups who, given their other ideas, I don't think you want to associate with (or maybe you would: I don't know.  I've seen Baptist tracts, for instance, that deny the resurrection of the Body).

Now, that a real problem for you, as you can't get to that 1st century texts except through though 2nd century (really 1st century, but we'll leave that aside for sake of argument) to 17th century bishops (I'm applying economia to the Anglicans for the sake of argument, as for this point, they at least pay lip service to what we are arguing), epitomized by the fact that the Bible John Smythe would have been basing his beliefs on when he started the Baptist movement (btw, on a side note, how do you feel about the term "Anabaptist?"  It's come up on another thread) was the "Bishops' Bible." That he turned his back on translation of the Scritpure altogether as he became more radical
http://books.google.com/books?id=eLzxiaGYvyIC&q=Bishops+Bible#v=onepage&q=Greek&f=false
(The theology of John Smyth: Puritan, Separatist, Baptist, Mennonite By Jason K. Lee)
doesn't solve the problem: the Bishops' Bible, the Geneva Bible favored by other Puritans/(Ana-)Baptists and the Textus Receptus Greek New Testament on which they are based all depend on manuscripts produced by the Orthoodx Church from the 11th century onward.  The Orthodox Church full blown as we know her and you know her now.  John Smyth did not have access to the 1st century texts: indeed, neither do we as only a few disputed papyri from the 1st century have only recently been known and no complete NT from that date.  He had to depend on the word of those Orthodox Bishops who supervised the production of those manuscripts.  It is not until the last century, with the discovery and editing of ancient manuscripts that you can even begin to make the claim on a 2nd century (when our definition of bishop had, according to you, become established) manuscript of the New Testament.  By then, the Baptist tradition was over 300 years old, older than the Church was at the time of Constantine.

Of course, since these manuscripts are fragments, the only way you can recognize them as Scripture (as opposed to Apocrypha) is that our Bishops pointed them out as Scripture.  Which, of course, is how they were available for the preceding 300 years to the Baptists, who used them without proper attribution.  So whereas, as I pointed out above, because of the volumnious literature that the Baptist have put out from the end of the 16th century to the 20th century we can clearly see your Baptist administration and beliefs during that period.  We just can't see them the preceeding 15 centuries, and since you couldn't even look at the 2nd century New Testament, let alone the 1st (which still eludes us, or rather you), we ask how you see them.


Quote
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 .

Indeed we are. But since the New Testament was chosen to reflect our approach to practicing Christianity, rather than the other gospels being preached in the 1st and 2nd centuries, we beg a question of where you are getting your scripture from, and how you are basing your approach on it.  You are rather doing what we in the states would be doing if we read the office of president into what the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is.

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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.
That only begs the question, what makes you think they didn't leave anything out or put something in that at least millenium in which they are resposible for your Bible?
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« Reply #172 on: March 04, 2010, 04:25:06 PM »

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

As he was going to his death, St. Ignatius would have little incentive to waste his last words insisting on the centrality of an office he no longer (do to his arrest) enjoyed.  Unless it was essential to real Christianity.
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« Reply #173 on: March 04, 2010, 04:26:55 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!


Quote
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

Not to be too pushy (who, me?), but...  Any response to these, David?
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« Reply #174 on: March 04, 2010, 04:43:05 PM »


Books have been written on the very subject of the variety that existed in the early church, by academic historians who probably aren't Evangelical or Orthodox and have neither axe (or ax, if they're American) to grind. This is a subject we can all have access to easily enough.

You know this subject of historians commentating on religion is one that always gets under my skin.  Why would you go to a historian to get answers about faith?  What in heaven's name makes you think that they'll have the correct answer?  The word "theology" means "study of God," not "study of history!"  That's like going to a biologist to learn to read music!  The one has absolutely nothing to do with the other!

Further, the basis of theology is PRAYER!  You cannot do correct theology without prayer.  That's like trying to learn to play the trumpet without actually picking one up. 

You're basically asserting that to get an "honest" answer, you have to consult someone who has nothing to do with the subject, as though those who practice their faith are automatically untrustworthy.  I think that's pretty presumptuous and disingenuous.

For that matter, you seem to place no value on traditions being passed down (nevermind that Paul taught us to be faithful to those traditions).  You automatically go outside for the answers.  I have news, though... if you don't trust traditions being passed down, then you'd better not trust the Bible at all!  Because it was an oral tradition long before it was printed with nice little red lettering for the words of Christ, bound in fake leather, and sold in your local bookstore!

I'd rather have a discussion than turn to atheist and agnostic academics for my answers about faith. Maybe it's just me, though.   police   angel
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« Reply #175 on: March 04, 2010, 05:09:04 PM »



Dear David,

I'm trying hard not to believe that you are avoiding the main problem of our discussion, since you seem to not be getting the point here of what I have been asking.  I will try again.

David: I believe there was variety in the early church.

Me: Show me the evidence, please.  The only evidence I see was the variety of heresies and pernicious opinions St. Paul fought against.

David: 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.

Me: Show me the elimination of the priesthood. 

As I read it, Jesus Christ is our High Priest, then we have the Apostles, the Bishops consecrated by the Apostles from amongst the Presbyters, the Presbyters or Elders amongst the people, the Deacons and the people themselves are called to the 'Priesthood of All Believers' (c.f. 1Pe 2).  Therefore, we speak in the Church of the 'degrees of the Priesthood' of which Bishops serve the higher degree than the Presbyter/Priest, but to say 'there are no priests' means 'there is no priesthood,' because to eliminate one is to eliminate all.

Not all have the calling of the Presbytery/Priesthood, and I won't bore you with what St. Paul says about the various ministries.  The language is not clear, but we certainly know that just because the Scriptures do not say 'Trinity' or 'Fully God, Fully Man' that these are truths.

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

Me: Don't see it.  Show me where the Apostle allows for one and not the other.

David: Absolutely! Whatever the word means, that we definitely agree on.

Me: Crikey, mate!  How can you agree to something when you don't know what it means?!?  Now, I'm convinced I'd never make it as an Englishman...  Wink


 

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« Reply #176 on: March 04, 2010, 05:33:55 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?

Not at all! There is a difference between slowly absorbing beliefs, attitudes and practices from other faiths and philosophies on the one hand, and on the other hand seeing Christ in people who differ from oneself in some matters but who obviously know Him and can tell me about him. Some people delight, for example, in the Puritans and the Reformers: in fact, they don't seem to reach me. Others find no sweetness in the writings I mentioned (mediæval, early Pietist, early Methodist, among others) but I respond to them. The Methodists had infant baptism; the Pietists were Lutheran; the western mediævals were Roman: but there were those among them who not only knew and loved the Lord more closely than, sadly, I do, but committed their thoughts to writing. From those writings I derive benefit. That is far removed from absorbing ideas from outside the Faith.

Now, you good people, on thread after thread, reiterate the argument that it was the Orthodox Church which gave the canon of scripture to all succeeding generations, and thus succeeding generations should submit to the Orthodox interpretation of scripture and to Holy Tradition, of which scripture is a part. I may not have worded that very well (it's getting late this side of the Pond), but you know what I mean - and I think I know what you mean. But the argument holds no water. The church at that time was undivided. What is now the Orthodox Church was then part of what is now the world-wide church. Rome might make the same claim as you. For that matter, so might the Irish. Or any church whose descendants were present at the early Councils and were accepted in good standing with the rest of the Church. To use the biblical phrase referring to Abraham and Melchizedek, spiritually even we Baptists were 'in the loins' of the believers of that time. You can't unravel your part of the process, and say the whole thing was done by what is today the Orthodox Church. At least, you can - but it carries no persuasive power to us in the West, whether Roman or Protestant (or neither, such as Waldensian).
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« Reply #177 on: March 04, 2010, 05:39:30 PM »


Books have been written on the very subject of the variety that existed in the early church, by academic historians who probably aren't Evangelical or Orthodox and have neither axe (or ax, if they're American) to grind. This is a subject we can all have access to easily enough.

You know this subject of historians commentating on religion is one that always gets under my skin.  Why would you go to a historian to get answers about faith?  What in heaven's name makes you think that they'll have the correct answer?  The word "theology" means "study of God," not "study of history!"  That's like going to a biologist to learn to read music!  The one has absolutely nothing to do with the other!

Further, the basis of theology is PRAYER!  You cannot do correct theology without prayer.  That's like trying to learn to play the trumpet without actually picking one up. 

You're basically asserting that to get an "honest" answer, you have to consult someone who has nothing to do with the subject, as though those who practice their faith are automatically untrustworthy.  I think that's pretty presumptuous and disingenuous.

For that matter, you seem to place no value on traditions being passed down (nevermind that Paul taught us to be faithful to those traditions).  You automatically go outside for the answers.  I have news, though... if you don't trust traditions being passed down, then you'd better not trust the Bible at all!  Because it was an oral tradition long before it was printed with nice little red lettering for the words of Christ, bound in fake leather, and sold in your local bookstore!

I'd rather have a discussion than turn to atheist and agnostic academics for my answers about faith. Maybe it's just me, though.   police   angel

For a classic treatment of this issue:
The historian and the believer: the morality of historical knowledge and Christian Belief By Van A. Harvey, Van Austin Harvey
http://books.google.com/books?id=dTFxhJMR8H4C&pg=PP1&dq=Historian+and+the+believer&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false

His main thesis is that historiography is a belief system that makes truth claims that conflict with other truth claims of another belief system, i.e. Christianity.  The part that intests us here is his analysis that the various documents that make up the New Testament are seperate documents, and that historically it makes no sense to interpret, say, Hebrews, as if it has anything to do with the Gospel of John or Galatians. He has the flip side of David's problem, in that he doesn't recognize that canoization is in the historical record, and so doesn't recognize a canon of Scripture.  That, of course, leaves very little to build a Church on.
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« Reply #178 on: March 04, 2010, 05:43:42 PM »

[/i] Me: Show me the elimination of the priesthood. 

As I read it, Jesus Christ is our High Priest, then we have the Apostles, the Bishops consecrated by the Apostles from amongst the Presbyters, the Presbyters or Elders amongst the people, the Deacons and the people themselves are called to the 'Priesthood of All Believers' (c.f. 1Pe 2).  Therefore, we speak in the Church of the 'degrees of the Priesthood' of which Bishops serve the higher degree than the Presbyter/Priest, but to say 'there are no priests' means 'there is no priesthood,' because to eliminate one is to eliminate all.

Not all have the calling of the Presbytery/Priesthood, and I won't bore you with what St. Paul says about the various ministries.  The language is not clear, but we certainly know that just because the Scriptures do not say 'Trinity' or 'Fully God, Fully Man' that these are truths.

Since there is a priesthood of believers, there are priests.
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« Reply #179 on: March 04, 2010, 05:52:12 PM »

Books have been written on the very subject of the variety that existed in the early church, by academic historians who probably aren't Evangelical or Orthodox and have neither axe (or ax, if they're American) to grind. This is a subject we can all have access to easily enough.

Then pray access it for me. At least the parts that convince you. Preferably Scriptural or contemporaneous accounts, as we have given you St. Ignatius and St. Clement, along with Scripture.

And, oddly enough, I have actually read books on the subject.

I know what I think and why. I have spent a great deal of time and effort and prayer to come to that point.

What I'd like to know, and I'm beginning to suspect that I won't ever get from you, is what basis you have for your beliefs about this subject, referencing Scripture and the early writings of the Church Fathers. Or even historians. Something. Anything.

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