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Author Topic: A question for protestants...  (Read 27905 times) Average Rating: 0
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David Young
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« Reply #180 on: March 04, 2010, 06:01:00 PM »

[historians commentating on religion ... always gets under my skin.  Why would you go to a historian to get answers about faith?  ... You cannot do correct theology without prayer.  ... I'd rather have a discussion than turn to atheist and agnostic academics for my answers about faith.

And of course, I entirely agree with you. But I think there is a difference between a theologian whose speciality is Church History, but who would not wish to identify himself as an Evangelical, and a theologian who spouts about spirituality, faith and salvation without knowing the Lord or even believing in him. I think the former may indeed write honest factual descriptions of the situation obtaining at the time he is interested in (his period, as they say). That is a long way from asking an atheist or agnostic for answers about faith. I know a Moslem doing a PhD in Evangelical Church History, and I dare say his historical facts are correct; I doubt he has yet penetrated the inner motivation and experience of the men and women he is studying.

If I have failed to reply to any of your own points, GreekChef (as I think you hint), forgive me: no slight is intended. But there have been such a cascade of posts from so many angles, by so many posters, that my restricted mind tends to lose track of all the matters raised and questions asked - or challenges laid down.

But now, it is time to say kali nihta, or I shall be even more of a wreck than usual tomorrow.
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« Reply #181 on: March 04, 2010, 06:04:23 PM »

Books have been written on the very subject of the variety that existed in the early church,...

Then pray access it for me.

I'll try to look some out.
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« Reply #182 on: March 04, 2010, 06:39:42 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.

Like Muhammad?

Quote
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.

Would you include Mormonism within the Faith?

Quote
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.

Really?  According to St. Paul, Corinth was quite divided, the Judaizers who oppressed the Church of Galatia went on for some time and became the Ebionites, not to mentiont the Gnostics of various stripes that St. John had to deal with (e.g. the Nicolatians, against whom Revelation speaks and were founded by one of the original deacons.  The Orthodox Church was undivided, that's true. She still is.

Quote
What is now the Orthodox Church was then part of what is now the world-wide church.

No, the Orthodox Church was, as she is now, the world-wide Church.

Quote
Rome might make the same claim as you.

The Vatican does make the same claim, but that doesn't help you.  Because that Textus Receptus that Rome and your Reformers still came from our hands.  Up until 1054 the Vatican says we were just part of its Church.  We say that up until around that time, Rome was part of the Orthodox Church, as was Ireland. For the sake of staying on point, the Vatican and we make the same claims, and indeed the Vatican can make the claim that it had Apostolic succession up until 1054 with no (or little) argument from us.  Neither of us dispute the essential nature of the episcopacy.  Up until the 11th century, we had the same story for your purposes, and the 11th century is the earliest basis, as I've shown above, that your founders John Smyth etc.) depending on the Textus Receptus we provided and the Vatican published) had.  Unlike St. Paul in the Sanhendrin with the Pharisees and Sadducees, you have nothing to go on here.


Quote
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.

Of that no doubt: I never cease to be amused by Protestants defending things they inherited from Rome's misguidance of which they have no idea where they got them, chief of them the filioque.  Another would be, as your coreligionist Cleopas (do you consider him a coreligionist?) on another thread is defending Rome's innovation of unleavened bread in the Eucharist.

Quote
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).

Oh? the fact that you all have been trying to use us as a foil against the Vatican (married clergy, communion under both kinds, liturgy in the vernacular, the epiclesis in Scotland and then America etc. etc. etc.) ever since 1517 says otherwise.

Onan too was in the loins of Abraham, for all the good it did him.
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« Reply #183 on: March 04, 2010, 07:19:33 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).



Now, David, this is positively illogical.  Tell me, how do you determine "who obviously know Him".  A Mormon, Jehovah's Witness or a Moslem?  Perhaps a Hindu who venerates Christ as an incarnation of the Divine (an Indian shop I used to pass had a 'picture' of Christ right there next to Krishna and Ganesha)?

Knowing it is late, I will take that into account for the reason that you entirely missed the point of the origins of the Scriptures: whether or not we are in communion with Rome now or not, the BISHOPS were the ones to establish the canon of Scripture.  And, I don't think you can make any sort of rational argument that the nature of either the Priesthood or the Episcopacy has changed in the Orthodox Church either from before the Roman Schism or after.

The rest of your post is far too cloudy to accurately infer much from, since the status of the Episcopacy and the Priesthood was well-established prior to the Schism, and I think most if not all of what I have said regarding the Priesthood or the Episcopacy would be well-received by a traditionally-minded Roman Catholic.  The same is true of the Scriptures originating in the Church from the BISHOPS, which is what I have been trying (with obvious limited success) to get you to see.

Again, it would be helpful if you would, specifically, tell us:

1. What Scriptures advocate your stance that the early Church was 'theologically diverse.'

2. What Scriptures advocate the believer pick-and-choose his own theology.


Sorry for the bold, but it seems these questions continually get missed in your responses.

Have a good rest and we'll chat tomorrow.

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« Reply #184 on: March 04, 2010, 07:48:20 PM »

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.

This is analogous to the situation in Exodus 19:6, where God calls Israel a "kingdom of priests"...and then spends the next three books of the Bible explaining the duties of the Israelite clerics. Cheesy

It's perfectly consistent for all of us to be priests, and yet have a Church priesthood with special duties.
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« Reply #185 on: March 05, 2010, 04:22:33 AM »

It's perfectly consistent for all of us to be priests, and yet have a Church ministry with special duties.
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« Reply #186 on: March 05, 2010, 04:34:28 AM »

Like Muhammad? ... Would you include Mormonism within the Faith? ... ... the Orthodox Church was, as she is now, the world-wide Church.
Cleopas ... do you consider him a coreligionist?

With due respect, your first two comments are fatuous. You know as well as I do that neither the Orthodox Church nor Baptists regard Mohammed and Mormons as somehow "in Christ".

Your third point is near the fulcrum of the debate: you all start from the premise that there is, somewhere on earth, one Church organisation which is the true church; we start with the premise that the Church, sadly, is divided in numerous branches, with variety on some points of belief and practice. You argue from your premise - your starting point - to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church is the one true church, an argument largely based on historical continuity (which I have no problem in recognising: you have that continuity, at least in parts of the ancient world where the church survived Moslem domination). But you reach a conclusion which, from our viewpoint, must be fallacious, as we don't think there is such a thing anyway. You write as if we were debating which church is the true one; we don't even commence such a discussion, as (like you) we think we know the conclusion beforehand.

In re Cleopas - yes, of course; I am not aware of a gap between our ideas in our posts into which a hair might be pushed. We do not collude: we simply believe the same things. (Though I doubt not for a moment that, if we sat down together and shared our beliefs in harmonious fraternity for an hour or two, we'd find there is variety between us: that is commonly the experience between any two Evangelicals whose faith is not swallowed in its entirety second-hand.)

The day has begun, with its calls upon my time: I may return this evening. Have a good day.
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« Reply #187 on: March 05, 2010, 09:56:34 AM »

Like Muhammad? ... Would you include Mormonism within the Faith? ... ... the Orthodox Church was, as she is now, the world-wide Church.
Cleopas ... do you consider him a coreligionist?

With due respect, your first two comments are fatuous. You know as well as I do that neither the Orthodox Church nor Baptists regard Mohammed and Mormons as somehow "in Christ".

Your third point is near the fulcrum of the debate: you all start from the premise that there is, somewhere on earth, one Church organisation which is the true church; we start with the premise that the Church, sadly, is divided in numerous branches, with variety on some points of belief and practice. You argue from your premise - your starting point - to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church is the one true church, an argument largely based on historical continuity (which I have no problem in recognising: you have that continuity, at least in parts of the ancient world where the church survived Moslem domination). But you reach a conclusion which, from our viewpoint, must be fallacious, as we don't think there is such a thing anyway. You write as if we were debating which church is the true one; we don't even commence such a discussion, as (like you) we think we know the conclusion beforehand.

In re Cleopas - yes, of course; I am not aware of a gap between our ideas in our posts into which a hair might be pushed. We do not collude: we simply believe the same things. (Though I doubt not for a moment that, if we sat down together and shared our beliefs in harmonious fraternity for an hour or two, we'd find there is variety between us: that is commonly the experience between any two Evangelicals whose faith is not swallowed in its entirety second-hand.)

The day has begun, with its calls upon my time: I may return this evening. Have a good day.

I agree that Baptist do not view Mormons or Mohammad as christians, that was the stance of the Conservative Baptist church I attended for years.

Only problem though, their view of the Church as divided, like so many of the doctrines of baptist and other protestant groups, is a novel new teaching.  It is using a common thinking error of redefinition or rationalization to justify ones position.

I have to say though, unless you were one of the Apostles, everyones faith is swallowed in its entirety second-hand, from faith to faith.
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« Reply #188 on: March 05, 2010, 10:11:39 AM »

I believe there was variety in the early church.

But the argument holds no water. The church at that time was undivided.


David, when you get a chance, could you please explain these two apparently (or at least somewhat) contradictory statements of yours?

It was the Bishops and the Church who decided, gathered and kept safe which texts constituted the canon of Scripture on the basis of the "apostolicity" of origin and content.

So whether you are aware of it or not, every time you pick up your Bible, you are relying on their judgment, as led by the Spirit to compile and safeguard the writings of Holy Scripture. Thus you are unknowingly validating the authority of the Orthodox Church as a standard of canonicity that recognized which books were and were not to be considered as Holy Scripture. As we say, “the Bible came out of the Church and not vice versa.”

So here’s the part that has always puzzled me: how can you accept the Bible as the rule of faith, which came out of the Church and then reject that same Church and its beliefs/teachings – all in favor of your own personal idiosyncratic interpretation/opinion/belief?
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« Reply #189 on: March 05, 2010, 10:20:43 AM »

It's perfectly consistent for all of us to be priests, and yet have a Church ministry with special duties.


Yes, we do all have ministries, be it the laity or the clergy. But the clergy also has duties which are sacramental in nature, and only a priest can perform them. This was true in Israel: only the clergy could lead the people in liturgical prayer. Only a priest could offer the sacrifice. The high priest had special duties that he alone could do. And yet, all Israelites were priests.

Similarly, Christian priests have special sacramental duties that only they can perform. Only the clergy can lead the people in liturgical prayer. Only a priest or bishop can offer the Eucharist. The bishop has special duties that he alone can do. And yet, all Christians are priests.

A priest is simply a mediator (one who intervenes). Christ, being the Great High Priest, is the Great Mediator who possesses salvation. But in addition, all Christians are priests because we mediate between God and Creation. But between those two extremes, the clergy also mediate between God and Christians in a special sacramental way, and thus have a special sacramental priesthood.
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« Reply #190 on: March 05, 2010, 11:34:42 AM »

It's perfectly consistent for all of us to be priests, and yet have a Church ministry with special duties.


Yes, we do all have ministries, be it the laity or the clergy. But the clergy also has duties which are sacramental in nature, and only a priest can perform them. This was true in Israel: only the clergy could lead the people in liturgical prayer. Only a priest could offer the sacrifice. The high priest had special duties that he alone could do. And yet, all Israelites were priests.


It's funny that you say this at this particular time.  KatherineofDixie and I were having this very discussion with a deacon friend of ours (a converted Pentecostal minister and former fundraiser for Charles Stanley).  He said, "It's ridiculous to think that, after 6000 years of Jewish priesthood and Jewish liturgical worship, that the NEWLY converted Christians of the early church would have simply left that behind for the Protestant idea of ministers (an idea which, of course, didn't exist until the Reformation to begin with).  You don't just leave behind 6000 years of liturgical worship."

Indeed, and why would they?  Why would they leave behind sacramental worship and a hierarchy?  When one has an understanding that God is to be approached within worship a certain way, and then God Himself comes in the person of Christ and ALSO follows those same liturgical practices, why would you then abandon that model?  Christ Himself worshiped in the liturgical style of the Jews, following all of the rites and laws pertaining to worship.  Why would we reject what He Himself did?  Makes NO sense to me.
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« Reply #191 on: March 05, 2010, 11:36:04 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.


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?

Apologies if I'm being a pest, but still waiting on this one... I'm really eager to hear (*read*) your response, David!
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« Reply #192 on: March 05, 2010, 11:57:41 AM »

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You don't just leave behind 6000 years of liturgical worship."

Precisely. I've heard it argued by some that liturgical worship was left in order to "worship in spirit and truth" rather than in preset forms. The problem I have with that is that when Christ gave this answer to the woman at the well He was answering a question in relation to where.  She said, we worship here, you worship there, which is right? He said, that soon worship would be in spirit and in truth... a where, not a how.  Since the forms of Jewish liturgical worship were themselves modeled on the revelation from Heaven given to Moses, it makes no sense that a heavenly form would be displaced by free form make it up as you will.
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« Reply #193 on: March 05, 2010, 12:16:19 PM »

Quote
You don't just leave behind 6000 years of liturgical worship."

Precisely. I've heard it argued by some that liturgical worship was left in order to "worship in spirit and truth" rather than in preset forms. The problem I have with that is that when Christ gave this answer to the woman at the well He was answering a question in relation to where.  She said, we worship here, you worship there, which is right? He said, that soon worship would be in spirit and in truth... a where, not a how.  Since the forms of Jewish liturgical worship were themselves modeled on the revelation from Heaven given to Moses, it makes no sense that a heavenly form would be displaced by free form make it up as you will.

Nor does it make any sense that beliefs/theology would be replaced by free form make it up as you will. (Aside from the fact that there is really no such thing as truly free form, anyway, every group has their rituals and traditions - they just don't like to call them that.)
It seems to me that Acts, especially the Council of Jerusalem, and St. Paul's Epistles don't show any evidence of or support for making it up as you go along in the early Church. St. Paul in particular seems to be writing for the purpose of explicating theology and praxis, for good order and to keep the new Christians on the narrow path (especially those Corinthians!)
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« Reply #194 on: March 05, 2010, 12:28:04 PM »

Quote
You don't just leave behind 6000 years of liturgical worship."

Precisely. I've heard it argued by some that liturgical worship was left in order to "worship in spirit and truth" rather than in preset forms. The problem I have with that is that when Christ gave this answer to the woman at the well He was answering a question in relation to where.  She said, we worship here, you worship there, which is right? He said, that soon worship would be in spirit and in truth... a where, not a how.  Since the forms of Jewish liturgical worship were themselves modeled on the revelation from Heaven given to Moses, it makes no sense that a heavenly form would be displaced by free form make it up as you will.

Nor does it make any sense that beliefs/theology would be replaced by free form make it up as you will. (Aside from the fact that there is really no such thing as truly free form, anyway, every group has their rituals and traditions - they just don't like to call them that.)
It seems to me that Acts, especially the Council of Jerusalem, and St. Paul's Epistles don't show any evidence of or support for making it up as you go along in the early Church. St. Paul in particular seems to be writing for the purpose of explicating theology and praxis, for good order and to keep the new Christians on the narrow path (especially those Corinthians!)

Oddly the book I just linked above on the founder of the Baptists, John Smyth, say that he came to dislike translation of the Bible and that Scripture interferred with the spontinaity of worship.  So much for sola scriptura.  But then, maybe that is more honest. Since the Baptists rejected the Church in favor of their own views and spontinaity, it makes more sense for them to reject the confnes of Scripture, which the Church set up.
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« Reply #195 on: March 05, 2010, 01:01:02 PM »

Apologies if I'm being a pest, but still waiting on this one... I'm really eager to hear (*read*) your response, David!

Dear Presvytera,

I think I have annoyed poor david into silence, as he has not directly responded to my inquiries, either.

The essential problem here is one of standards: whether the question about Mormons/Moslem or that of 'Smörgåsbord Christianity,' there is a problem of establishing a consistent standard.

David is able to express that he has a standard for, let's say, judging what he thinks is valuable about Orthodoxy, but he can't seem to define it.  Sort of like the issue of pornography in the Supreme Court.

For example, he can state he believes in 'diversity' of opinions in the early days of the Church, but he can't name them or set a reliable dividing line between what's 'in' and what's 'out.'

Nothing is more important to a human than his salvation, and so one ought to be the most careful with one's theological decisions.  David surely thinks he is being careful, but I think most of us agree here (at least the Orthodox here) that he is being unnecessarily wreckless by making what appear to be arbitrary decisions about reality.  Yes, theology ultimately is about defining reality, and that reality is God.

You can't pick-and-choose what parts of reality you want to believe.  Even a schizophrenic doesn't do that: he sincerely believes that cameras are watching him.

Te greatest difficulty I have with David's premise, which I was hoping we would have gotten to by now had he engaged my inquiries, is the topic of equality.  I know it sounds strange, but I hope you will stick with me on this.

David comes from a place of inequality, in that he does not believe his Baptist forefathers knew as much as he, David, could find on his own.  So, while remaining with the Baptist label, he has gone on a hunt for superior knowledge.  He has placed himself above his forefathers, calling into question their wisdom and experience.

As an Orthodox, I believe in the inherent equality of all believers.  While one may study or pray more than the other, we are all bound by the same Tradition and thus the same reality.  No matter how far I excel, I cannot excel beyond what is set by the Church.  Though I may be a saint or a scholar, I cannot know more than anyone else potentially can.  Furthermore, such knowledge is based on experience of God, which is His to give out and not mine to take.

Though I may read or pray, I cannot err so long as I remain in the Church.  A simple man is just as 'plugged in' to God as a Bishop.  We are all saved by being united in the One True Church, the Body of Christ.  The question is not, then, about theology and academia, but whether I really love God or am just trying to get blessings without love.  On the matter of love, intellectual prowess can even be a detriment: it can make love far more complicated than it need be.

For me, the theological hunt within the Church continues, but only because it is my path and that it has brought be to a deeper sense of God's love.  However, the things I discover are not outside the Church.  I'm still searching inside the Church and find no need to go outside.  I may admire a pagan temple's artistic flare, but it does not compare to the beauty of meeting a living saint.  I don't need Buddhism to teach me about Jesus Christ.

I do not believe the 'gates of hell' have prevailed against the Church.  I do not believe it is 'divided' as an ontological reality.  There are some brethren who are refusing to enjoy their brotherhood by clinging to schism or even erroneous ideas, but I also don't believe that everyone who says 'Lord, Lord' is of Christ.  The standard for me regarding this is the Church decisions in these matters, which I don't have time or energy to get into.  Besides, I have my own path to worry about rather than being overly concerned with those issues best left to the hierarchy who have been blessed by God to handle.

I do feel sorry for those who seek but cannot find.

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« Reply #196 on: March 05, 2010, 01:05:53 PM »

Well, I fear that perhaps we have just worn David out on this topic and my biggest fear is that he has been pushed further away from the truth on this matter because of the format of this discussion. I hope and pray that I have not pushed to hard. Sad
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« Reply #197 on: March 05, 2010, 01:29:15 PM »

Quote
You don't just leave behind 6000 years of liturgical worship."

Precisely. I've heard it argued by some that liturgical worship was left in order to "worship in spirit and truth" rather than in preset forms. The problem I have with that is that when Christ gave this answer to the woman at the well He was answering a question in relation to where.  She said, we worship here, you worship there, which is right? He said, that soon worship would be in spirit and in truth... a where, not a how.  Since the forms of Jewish liturgical worship were themselves modeled on the revelation from Heaven given to Moses, it makes no sense that a heavenly form would be displaced by free form make it up as you will.

Nor does it make any sense that beliefs/theology would be replaced by free form make it up as you will. (Aside from the fact that there is really no such thing as truly free form, anyway, every group has their rituals and traditions - they just don't like to call them that.)
It seems to me that Acts, especially the Council of Jerusalem, and St. Paul's Epistles don't show any evidence of or support for making it up as you go along in the early Church. St. Paul in particular seems to be writing for the purpose of explicating theology and praxis, for good order and to keep the new Christians on the narrow path (especially those Corinthians!)

Indeed! In fact, the Liturgy of the Catechumens portion of the Divine Liturgy is practically analogous to the liturgy of Jewish synagogue worship. Liturgical worship and sacramental clergy, in the first century mind, go hand in hand. For that reason alone, it would take a lot of evidence to convince me that Christians suddenly invented this brand new way of worshiping, without sacraments and without clergy.

As my priest says, early Christians did not sit around in their jeans and T-shirts reminiscing about how great Jesus was.

They were people who had always worshiped liturgically, in an age where ALL religions worshiped liturgically and had "priests" and "sacraments", so it would make far more sense to retain that, breathing Truth into it, than to invent something completely new along the lines of Protestant worship and fly by the seat of the pants.
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« Reply #198 on: March 05, 2010, 01:50:30 PM »

I have never seen so many people patting themselves on the back so hard!
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« Reply #199 on: March 05, 2010, 02:25:04 PM »

This is unfortunately one of the drawbacks of the forum format. There is so much to read and respond to at times it can get overwhelming and effectively off-putting. So I can understand if David backs off a bit. Theological blood in the water gets messy come dinner time.

With respect to back patting, what some might call a bit of triumphalism has a mixed reaction with me.  It is initially often irritating and unattractive. That was certainly so in my case. One of the first bits of Orthodox literature I ever encountered was written by Fr. Seraphim Rose of blessed memory. He made me so mad with his exclusive claims about the Orthodox Church. It took 20 years for me to get over being mad. But one day I decided just to put away my own views and look at what they thought of themselves and why...I wanted to see their basic premises and reasoning without the bias of what I then believed interfering.  Much to my surprise, the more I read the more sense their positions made and point by point I was convinced they were right or very likely right, or at least had good reason to believe they were right.  Within a few days I had only a couple of objections left...but what they had convinced me of had left me nothing to go back too...there were no 7/8ths points way stations for me to put my feet up. It was theologically a very uncomfortable place to be...not seeing a clear way ahead but having no way at all to justify going back.

My point is that, Orthodox insistence on what it knows of itself to be true can put someone off for a long while, but that same insistence, that calm firmness in the face of immense ecumenical pressure to make nice, can also serve as an attention getter...a reason to take a long slow steady look once more away from the heat and pressure of one's own desire for personal validation.  What I mean is...it is a huge thing to say to oneself, "If they are right, then I AM a heretic and at a minimum outside the formal boundaries of the Church Christ planted...and I need to find out one way or the other."
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« Reply #200 on: March 05, 2010, 02:33:32 PM »

I believe there was variety in the early church.

But the argument holds no water. The church at that time was undivided.


David, when you get a chance, could you please explain these two apparently (or at least somewhat) contradictory statements of yours?

I believe it was you, Katherine, a multitude of posts ago, who asked about Church History books which assert that there was variety within the Body of Christ in early days, and I promised to look out some titles. Could I suggest

- F F Bruce "Men and Movements in the primitive Chruch"
- Hans Küng "Christianity"
- J G D Dunn "Unity and Diversity in the New Testament"

The first is an Evangelical, the second Catholic, the third I don't know what he is, but I believe he is a much-quoted and respected academic theologian. But the point is, that every book I read seems to me to give this impression.

In re the two contradictory statements, I see no contradiction between variety and unity. I just don't see them as contradictory.

In response to others who say I have not addressed their questions, I'm sorry: the huge volume of posts has overwhelmed me. I work full-time for the Mission, have a wife, daughter and grandson in Wrexham, preach most Sundays, and have other leisure activities than posting on the forum. I can't keep up with the deluge of posts this time. And tomorrow I am away to Devon to preach to the Methodists on Sunday, then hold other Mission for meetings in the South, and shall perforce fall silent for that reason. You may never get the answers you seek. I hope you won't liken me to the biblical waterless cloud.  Sad By the time I get back, everything will have moved on.

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« Reply #201 on: March 05, 2010, 02:40:09 PM »

This is unfortunately one of the drawbacks of the forum format. There is so much to read and respond to at times it can get overwhelming and effectively off-putting. So I can understand if David backs off a bit. Theological blood in the water gets messy come dinner time.

With respect to back patting, what some might call a bit of triumphalism has a mixed reaction with me.  It is initially often irritating and unattractive. That was certainly so in my case. One of the first bits of Orthodox literature I ever encountered was written by Fr. Seraphim Rose of blessed memory. He made me so mad with his exclusive claims about the Orthodox Church. It took 20 years for me to get over being mad. But one day I decided just to put away my own views and look at what they thought of themselves and why...I wanted to see their basic premises and reasoning without the bias of what I then believed interfering.  Much to my surprise, the more I read the more sense their positions made and point by point I was convinced they were right or very likely right, or at least had good reason to believe they were right.  Within a few days I had only a couple of objections left...but what they had convinced me of had left me nothing to go back too...there were no 7/8ths points way stations for me to put my feet up. It was theologically a very uncomfortable place to be...not seeing a clear way ahead but having no way at all to justify going back.

My point is that, Orthodox insistence on what it knows of itself to be true can put someone off for a long while, but that same insistence, that calm firmness in the face of immense ecumenical pressure to make nice, can also serve as an attention getter...a reason to take a long slow steady look once more away from the heat and pressure of one's own desire for personal validation.  What I mean is...it is a huge thing to say to oneself, "If they are right, then I AM a heretic and at a minimum outside the formal boundaries of the Church Christ planted...and I need to find out one way or the other."
I was somewhat like David in my study of Orthodoxy.  It took an agnostic friend to point out to me that I had reached that 7/8's point "Why aren't you Orthodox?"  I had no answer, and went that Sunday to the nearest Orthodox parish and got it.
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« Reply #202 on: March 05, 2010, 02:48:39 PM »

This is unfortunately one of the drawbacks of the forum format. There is so much to read and respond to at times it can get overwhelming and effectively off-putting. So I can understand if David backs off a bit. Theological blood in the water gets messy come dinner time.
<snip>

Yes, forums are a messy business, which is why I usually only get involved in one thread at a time.  I've also come to realize that I can 'tap out' at any time if I don't feel like commenting.

I don't know how David feels, but there is one thing for sure: each of us is responsible for his own feelings.  If he decides to feel put-off, that's a decision he will make.  Some folks will experience what you have, being offended at first but then wondering how you can make any relevant point you hold without be accused of 'back-patting.'

The mark of Orthodox is that, despite whatever 'self-congratulations' go on in public, those who follow God mourn over their own sins rather than rejoice in another's downfall.  True Christians also know that with knowledge comes further condemnation: if I sin against what I know to be True, then I am more guilty than one who sins in ignorance.

I can liken this thread-experience to what we all go through when we encounter someone who is 'unzipped.'  We generally weigh the consequences of feeling bad when we embarrass someone (thus place ourselves above the other enough to correct him), rather than simply smiling and allowing the person to go on unzipped, thus avoiding a potentially uncomfortable situation.  A similar problem occurs in recovery groups, wneh one member harshly chastises another.  The more 'mature' person will welcome the harsh chastisement as saving him from hardship, while the more fragile person will often recoil with a bruised ego.

If I did not care about David, I could terminate with a rather snotty retort, claim victory and be off to my PB&J and other assignments.  However, there is an opportunity to possibly help him and others watching the thread.

If I am guilty of 'self-congratulatory' behavior, I apologize to anyone who is offended.  I do not generally see myself (other than in sheer fantasy) in exulted terms.  I have embarrassed myself too many times to think I am any kind of Wunderkind.  I certainly hope I have not done to again.

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« Reply #203 on: March 05, 2010, 02:58:17 PM »

I believe there was variety in the early church.

But the argument holds no water. The church at that time was undivided.


David, when you get a chance, could you please explain these two apparently (or at least somewhat) contradictory statements of yours?


In re the two contradictory statements, I see no contradiction between variety and unity. I just don't see them as contradictory.

Ok, let me explain why they seem contradictory to me. Here's the definitions I was working from:

Definition of “variety”
1. The quality or condition of being various or varied; diversity.
2. A number or collection of varied things, especially of a particular group; an assortment
3. A group that is distinguished from other groups by a specific characteristic or set of characteristics.

Definition of “unity”
1.condition of being one: the state or condition of being one
2.combination into one: the combining or joining of separate things or entities to form one
3.something whole: something whole or complete formed by combining or joining separate things or entities

So what is the criteria or standard used for variety and unity?


And I promise not to pout if you don't answer! Wink
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« Reply #204 on: March 05, 2010, 05:42:24 PM »

If you mean a certain variety of expression within certain theological/ecclesial boundaries, then yes I can agree that this was present in the nascent Church.  That however, needs substantial qualification for from an Orthodox perspective, such variety is only permissible in a highly charismatic context.  Note, I believe the Didache, which prescribes the types of prayers used during the celebration of the Eucharist. But adds that should a prophet be present they may pray as they will, and are led. So this clearly shows me, there is in principle a normative boundary in the Church for day to day life and worship in the Church, but that boundary is more permeable for those of very deep spiritual life, since their perception and experience of the Life of Christ in the Church is more immediate on both sides of the veil, so to speak. 

This depth of life though represents a pinnacle of spiritual life and not the necessary common denominator. Those who have achieved a measure of theosis in this life, like a mature son, have more freedom in the Father's house than do those of less mature accomplishment. In the history of the Church we know there was a decline in the normative level of spiritual life compared to the earliest days. Hence in the Church we see the best and most instructive variants of the common model being set and standardized, thus giving us our particular forms of  liturgy, art, music, etc.  None of us now would dare to compare our own spiritual life and our experience of Christ with that of the Apostles and their peers in the first generation of the Church.  They knew Christ in depths most of us do not know and will not know this side of the grave...that's why we need Scriptures, hymns, icons, and the form and flow of the Divine Liturgy itself.  The saints though, now and of yesteryear are less constrained in the expression of their spiritual life for it is already highly conformed to the image and stature of Christ. They do not make up/imagine what they should or shouldn't pray or do, like in the Scriptures, the Spirit Himself is their Teacher.  Consider St. Mary of Egypt who knew so much Scripture directly from the Spirit though she had had little exposure and no formal training in it before she went to the desert. The same is true for other saints. 

So to say their was variety of form of worship needs a couple of caveats, first, that such variety as there was was anchored in the revealed liturgical experience of the Hebrew people, going back to Moses; and second it was possible only because of the very high spiritual caliber of Christian to be found in those early days, something not true of most Christians today of any confession.  There was no variety for varietie's sake.  Finally we must say that such variety as there may have been had to be constrained by the common life and vision of the Church. Recall how St. Paul instructed the Corinthians to permit the exercise of certain spiritual gifts within a known (to them) orderly context...a context which still survives in a more or less fixed form in Orthodoxy to this day.

So as the Church and its life grew, certain ways of doing things became fixed, and were no longer subject to any claim or need for variety.  Consider a sapling. It's limbs are thin and tender and very flexible. The circumstances of its growth can shape how that limb matures.  However at some point there is little flexibility left in the limb, and trying to force it can break it.  However, that firmness is not deadness or the verdigris of history...but the structure necessary in its maturity to bear the great weight of the tree's growth. It is no different in the Church. There was certainly a little more flexibility in the very early days...but we are no long in those days and need of the Church in our time precludes the limbs trying to get back to being a sapling...that is just a recipe for self-destruction.
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« Reply #205 on: March 06, 2010, 04:28:55 AM »

Cognitive dissonance.

Quid in terra est hoc?!
Actually the proper Latin saying for this is: Quae Daemonia est hoc! literally Qué Demonios es esto Spanish, What the demons is this!, but it means what in the world is this? ( I use the classical pronunciation, ae is still pronounced in spanish as ai).
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« Reply #206 on: March 06, 2010, 05:22:47 AM »

Quid in terra est hoc? ... Actually the proper Latin saying for this is: Quae Daemonia est hoc!

'Twas a calque. Calques amuse me.
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« Reply #207 on: March 07, 2010, 09:53:37 PM »

Like Muhammad? ... Would you include Mormonism within the Faith? ... ... the Orthodox Church was, as she is now, the world-wide Church.
Cleopas ... do you consider him a coreligionist?

With due respect, your first two comments are fatuous.

Not at all.


Quote
You know as well as I do that neither the Orthodox Church nor Baptists regard Mohammed and Mormons as somehow "in Christ".

I've seen you say things to that effect, but I have no idea what weight that carries.  You have hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Baptist parishes/congregations across the globe.  I have no idea how much your ideas about Muhammad and the Mormons or anything else for that matter (as you state "in re Cleopas - yes, of course; I am not aware of a gap between our ideas in our posts into which a hair might be pushed. We do not collude: we simply believe the same things. (Though I doubt not for a moment that, if we sat down together and shared our beliefs in harmonious fraternity for an hour or two, we'd find there is variety between us: that is commonly the experience between any two Evangelicals whose faith is not swallowed in its entirety second-hand.)"  Curious: what do you swallow second hand? Roll Eyes).  Some Baptists ordain (appoint,..whatever.  I don't recall or know what you, or some of you, call it)  women, others don't.  I enjoyed watching the conservative Baptists in the Southern Baptist Convention fight off those wanting to ordain women: how soon sola scriptura was abandoned!  Some Baptist celebrate Passover (but won't celebrate Pascha), others don't.  Some have have taken the adoption of the Masoretic text and the rejection of Apostolic Tradition to its logical conclusion, and have placed themselves under the tutelage of the rabbis, forming the B'nei Noach, Gentiles for Judaism, rejecting the Incarnation and Trinity as they rejected the saints and icons.  I don't know if they still consider themselves Baptist, but they do recruit among the Baptists. I've warned some, but what do I know?  I'm a deluded Orthodox.

I don't know if you have met with Muslims who insist that they are the True Christians, but they exist in great numbers, and eagerly adopt as their own Radical Protestant tracts about the "Great Apostacy" and the corruption of the Church: after all, the Quran says the same thing.  They claim hisotrical continuity with Christ's "pure gospel," which am I sure you will deny them, but since historical continuity isn't seen as a vital criteria, so what? It has not proved a problem for many Baptists who have embraced Islam: all their testimonials speak that their first steps towards Muhammad was the insistence in their Baptist days to find the pure doctrine of Jesus (upon him peace!) by prying off the "accretions the Institutional Church made." The NT ended up being just another of those accretions.

And of course, the link is even easier for the Mormons.  They come from the same milieu as the Radical Reformation, restorationism, etc., clear in their book of Mormon.  You may protest that they follow another Gospel, but they also claim Galatians and scripture, and needless to say interpret St. Paul differently than you do.  How can you say that your interpretation is correct, and theirs is not?

Quote
Your third point is near the fulcrum of the debate:

All the points accumulate at the fulcrum.

Quote
you all start from the premise that there is, somewhere on earth, one Church organisation which is the true church; we start with the premise that the Church, sadly, is divided in numerous branches, with variety on some points of belief and practice. You argue from your premise - your starting point - to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church is the one true church, an argument largely based on historical continuity (which I have no problem in recognising: you have that continuity, at least in parts of the ancient world where the church survived Moslem domination).

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

We are still around, as the Romans and Muslims found us.

Quote
But you reach a conclusion which, from our viewpoint, must be fallacious, as we don't think there is such a thing anyway. You write as if we were debating which church is the true one; we don't even commence such a discussion, as (like you) we think we know the conclusion beforehand.

The promise was that Christ would build His Church (singular,not plural), and the gates of hell would not prevail.  As St. Paul would ask: is Christ divided? Does  He keep a harem, or does He have one bride? "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."  Either the gates of hell have prevailed, in which case we can discount any promise of Christ, or there is one with which He has been "always (lit.all of the days) even until the end of the world."
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« Reply #208 on: March 08, 2010, 01:28:25 AM »

Quote
Some Baptists ordain (appoint,..whatever.  I don't recall or know what you, or some of you, call it)  women, others don't.  I enjoyed watching the conservative Baptists in the Southern Baptist Convention fight off those wanting to ordain women: how soon sola scriptura was abandoned!

In all fairness, both sides of the female ordination debate, regardless the evangelical tradition, argue from sola scriptura.  The conservatives will argue from St Paul: "I do not permit a woman to speak", while the liberals will also argue from St Paul "In Christ there is neither male nor female" (of course, these same liberals will tell you that St Paul was a woman hater, still too attached to his Patriarchal Judaic upbringing). 

This, to me, was always the failing of sola scriptura, especially in the Baptist tradition of private interpretation.  Scripture is supposed to be the sole authority, but everyone is more than willing to pick and choose those points of Scripture which emphasize their particular stance.  This leads to further fragmentation and schism, the exact opposite of the unity Christ prayed for.

Oh, and the term "ordain" works for most of the Southern Baptist pastors (and deacons) I've known.  Sometimes there's even a laying on of hands (actually, most of the ordinations I've witnessed have involved a laying on of hands, but I understand there are some Baptists who consider even this to be a ritual too far).
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« Reply #209 on: March 08, 2010, 02:26:29 AM »

Quote
Some Baptists ordain (appoint,..whatever.  I don't recall or know what you, or some of you, call it)  women, others don't.  I enjoyed watching the conservative Baptists in the Southern Baptist Convention fight off those wanting to ordain women: how soon sola scriptura was abandoned!

In all fairness, both sides of the female ordination debate, regardless the evangelical tradition, argue from sola scriptura. 

I was referring to the debate that was had at their general convention or some such meeting in the late 90's or early this century (I forget exactly the year): the conservatives may have argued from scripture but they appealed to tradition. It seems to be vast majority of their argument.
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« Reply #210 on: March 08, 2010, 02:46:02 AM »

Like Muhammad? ... Would you include Mormonism within the Faith? ... ... the Orthodox Church was, as she is now, the world-wide Church.
Cleopas ... do you consider him a coreligionist?

With due respect, your first two comments are fatuous.

Not at all.


Quote
You know as well as I do that neither the Orthodox Church nor Baptists regard Mohammed and Mormons as somehow "in Christ".

I've seen you say things to that effect, but I have no idea what weight that carries.  You have hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Baptist parishes/congregations across the globe.  I have no idea how much your ideas about Muhammad and the Mormons or anything else for that matter (as you state "in re Cleopas - yes, of course; I am not aware of a gap between our ideas in our posts into which a hair might be pushed. We do not collude: we simply believe the same things. (Though I doubt not for a moment that, if we sat down together and shared our beliefs in harmonious fraternity for an hour or two, we'd find there is variety between us: that is commonly the experience between any two Evangelicals whose faith is not swallowed in its entirety second-hand.)"  Curious: what do you swallow second hand? Roll Eyes).  Some Baptists ordain (appoint,..whatever.  I don't recall or know what you, or some of you, call it)  women, others don't.  I enjoyed watching the conservative Baptists in the Southern Baptist Convention fight off those wanting to ordain women: how soon sola scriptura was abandoned!  Some Baptist celebrate Passover (but won't celebrate Pascha), others don't.  Some have have taken the adoption of the Masoretic text and the rejection of Apostolic Tradition to its logical conclusion, and have placed themselves under the tutelage of the rabbis, forming the B'nei Noach, Gentiles for Judaism, rejecting the Incarnation and Trinity as they rejected the saints and icons.  I don't know if they still consider themselves Baptist, but they do recruit among the Baptists. I've warned some, but what do I know?  I'm a deluded Orthodox.

I don't know if you have met with Muslims who insist that they are the True Christians, but they exist in great numbers, and eagerly adopt as their own Radical Protestant tracts about the "Great Apostacy" and the corruption of the Church: after all, the Quran says the same thing.  They claim hisotrical continuity with Christ's "pure gospel," which am I sure you will deny them, but since historical continuity isn't seen as a vital criteria, so what? It has not proved a problem for many Baptists who have embraced Islam: all their testimonials speak that their first steps towards Muhammad was the insistence in their Baptist days to find the pure doctrine of Jesus (upon him peace!) by prying off the "accretions the Institutional Church made." The NT ended up being just another of those accretions.

And of course, the link is even easier for the Mormons.  They come from the same milieu as the Radical Reformation, restorationism, etc., clear in their book of Mormon.  You may protest that they follow another Gospel, but they also claim Galatians and scripture, and needless to say interpret St. Paul differently than you do.  How can you say that your interpretation is correct, and theirs is not?

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Your third point is near the fulcrum of the debate:

All the points accumulate at the fulcrum.

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you all start from the premise that there is, somewhere on earth, one Church organisation which is the true church; we start with the premise that the Church, sadly, is divided in numerous branches, with variety on some points of belief and practice. You argue from your premise - your starting point - to the conclusion that the Orthodox Church is the one true church, an argument largely based on historical continuity (which I have no problem in recognising: you have that continuity, at least in parts of the ancient world where the church survived Moslem domination).

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

We are still around, as the Romans and Muslims found us.

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But you reach a conclusion which, from our viewpoint, must be fallacious, as we don't think there is such a thing anyway. You write as if we were debating which church is the true one; we don't even commence such a discussion, as (like you) we think we know the conclusion beforehand.

The promise was that Christ would build His Church (singular,not plural), and the gates of hell would not prevail.  As St. Paul would ask: is Christ divided? Does  He keep a harem, or does He have one bride? "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."  Either the gates of hell have prevailed, in which case we can discount any promise of Christ, or there is one with which He has been "always (lit.all of the days) even until the end of the world."

Isa my man...you nailed it. Totally right. I have met tons of people who believe just like that, that they are simply "restoring" the Church...and in the process they completely destroy their beliefs and those of others by this. The Church was never destroyed, to say that is to call God a liar.
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« Reply #211 on: March 08, 2010, 02:59:04 AM »

Their arguments have been getting rather more tradition based this last decade, I've even heard of a few arguing for return to more liturgical based forms of worship, and one or two argue for frequent communion, something unheard of when I was growing up Baptist!

Now that I think of it I remember hearing of a statement from the late '90s that used downright Augustinian teaching regarding women.  Something along the lines that women couldn't preach because Eve committed the first sin, thus introducing original sin into mankind (funny, St Paul seemed to place the blame for ancestral sin on Adam).  It's all very fuzzy, as the statement came out a few years after I had stopped attending Baptist churches.  At the same time, the few Baptists I still talked to back then argued that tradition had nothing to do with, it's all right there in the Bible.  My dad got a kick out of it, but he was never the best Baptist to begin with.

The funny thing to me is the Southern Baptists who do appeal to tradition use the same pick-and-choose approach they applied to Scripture.  Still, one is less likely to hear the Landmark theory from these, a definite improvement.

There are times I wonder if we aren't on a certain precipice that might see the union of the Protestant sects with a more orthodox understanding within my lifetime.  It would be nice, but they've all still got a ways to go and many pet dogmas to discard.
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« Reply #212 on: March 08, 2010, 08:58:21 AM »

That's one of the things that gives me a little hope about the emergent church movement among protestants. They are willing to explore, albeit sweet shop cafeteria style, from within historic liturgical traditions.  Just like the "worship" music and ethos of "worship style" eventually reached even the Southern Baptists (hence their current music wars), in time to willingness to sample Church history might soften traditional Baptist anti-traditionalism and open their eyes and ears to things they could neither see nor hear before. And it may be that that will bear some good fruit they never even suspected had been planted.
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« Reply #213 on: March 08, 2010, 12:44:43 PM »

bishophood ... church hierarchy ... apostolic succession

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

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

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

Why not?

I'll be posting there.
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« Reply #214 on: March 08, 2010, 02:02:20 PM »

It seems like at some point though you have to account for such things as bishops, hierarchy, and liturgy as they are very clearly present and understood in the historical record by the time of St. Constantine.

I see only two general options, either one has to say these forms of governance and worship are standardizations of models/forms widely present if not normative within the Christian community from its founding, or

What has in place by the start of the 4th century represents a wholesale departure from the theological and ecclessiological norms of the first generations of Christians, a departure so great, so early, and so widespread that it effectively erased any memory of any other form of worship and organization among all putative Christian communions from Ireland to India.

Personally speaking...the red queen might well have been able to imagine 6 impossible things before breakfast, but not I.
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« Reply #215 on: March 08, 2010, 02:14:44 PM »

That's one of the things that gives me a little hope about the emergent church movement among protestants. They are willing to explore, albeit sweet shop cafeteria style, from within historic liturgical traditions.  Just like the "worship" music and ethos of "worship style" eventually reached even the Southern Baptists (hence their current music wars), in time to willingness to sample Church history might soften traditional Baptist anti-traditionalism and open their eyes and ears to things they could neither see nor hear before. And it may be that that will bear some good fruit they never even suspected had been planted.

Don't get your hopes too high. They're going to eat the sweets in the wrong fashion because they lack the guidance they need to properly utilize them. What happens when you eat too many sweets? You get a tummy ache. Then they'll just puke up all of the smells and bells with a bad taste in their mouth.

My wife is now moving away from an Emergent "community", not because of doctrinal issues, but because the charismatic pastor left the church. But the last time I went with her was about a month ago, and the new seasoning from the historical buffet was "praying the hours", where they started including daily scripture readings in the church bulletin from the lectionary (whose?) as if they were exactly the same thing.  I was wondering how reading the Holy Scriptures equals praying.  Maybe they were confusing the concepts, or maybe I just don't understand this Western devotion properly. 

At any rate, I still just can't get over the fact that at the end of the service the "speaker" holds out his hand and gives a benediction like a priest, when they have no sacramental theology.
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« Reply #216 on: March 08, 2010, 03:10:30 PM »

A local Presbyterian church advertised a new service "Come and experience the worship of the early church!"

I had to be forcibly restrained!

Grin
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« Reply #217 on: March 08, 2010, 06:32:27 PM »

A local Presbyterian church advertised a new service "Come and experience the worship of the early church!"

I had to be forcibly restrained!

Grin

Ugh where was that?Huh  The church up the road?  I say you and I go!!!!  I'd LOVE to see what they're idea of "early church" worship is!!!!
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« Reply #218 on: March 08, 2010, 06:54:06 PM »

A local Presbyterian church advertised a new service "Come and experience the worship of the early church!"

I had to be forcibly restrained!

Grin

Many Presbyterian churches are still liturgical, and the base of that structure is the traditional Western rite from Rome.  There are some subtractions to be sure, but overall the structure remains, and it is ancient and venerable.
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« Reply #219 on: March 08, 2010, 07:50:02 PM »

A local Presbyterian church advertised a new service "Come and experience the worship of the early church!"

I had to be forcibly restrained!

Grin

Many Presbyterian churches are still liturgical, and the base of that structure is the traditional Western rite from Rome.  There are some subtractions to be sure, but overall the structure remains, and it is ancient and venerable.
Are you speaking of Anglicans and high church Lutherans? I don't know of any other groups.
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« Reply #220 on: March 08, 2010, 08:09:47 PM »

No, I'm talking about Presbyterians in the USA who follow Calvin, and then only some of them.  But the same thing about liturgical worship is also true of many other Protestant groups, like those of the Weslian movements: some Methodist churches like the Church of the Nazarene are also liturgical.  Of course, Weslian groups come out of Anglicanism, so this makes sense.  Presbyterians come straight after the RCC.
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« Reply #221 on: March 08, 2010, 08:33:41 PM »

A local Presbyterian church advertised a new service "Come and experience the worship of the early church!"

I had to be forcibly restrained!

Grin

Ugh where was that?Huh  The church up the road?  I say you and I go!!!!  I'd LOVE to see what they're idea of "early church" worship is!!!!

I bet he wore starch shirts, a king james bible on his hand (saying that the King James was "continued revelation") thought Charles Spurgeon, Darby and Cyrus Scofield were the greatest expositors St.Paul ever had, taught orthodox were deluded followers of satan and part of the "Beast Church" (I'm not being offensive...some pentecostals and baptists actually teach that to their flocks), taught "pre-tribulation rapture" using II Thessalonians as proof of his heresy (ironically the book which says we are not supposed to believe in any such gunk), had "slain in the spirit" sessions, etc. Somebody please go and tell me if this was true.
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« Reply #222 on: March 08, 2010, 08:42:28 PM »

^ Wow. Your assumptions are much, much longer than the factual statement. Wonder what that means....
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« Reply #223 on: March 08, 2010, 08:44:26 PM »

^ Wow. Your assumptions are much, much longer than the factual statement. Wonder what that means....

Means that I have seen every single one of those things before in this type of restorationist fundamentalism.
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« Reply #224 on: March 08, 2010, 08:46:59 PM »

^ Wow. Your assumptions are much, much longer than the factual statement. Wonder what that means....

Means that I have seen every single one of those things before in this type of restorationist fundamentalism.
Oh? What type of restorationist fundamentalism is this?
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