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Br. Max, OFC
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« on: January 23, 2004, 11:31:36 PM »

Not Just Any Worldview

The research indicated that everyone has a worldview, but relatively few people have a biblical worldview - even among devoutly religious people. The survey discovered that only 9% of born again Christians have such a perspective on life. The numbers were even lower among other religious classifications: Protestants (7%), adults who attend mainline Protestant churches (2%) and Catholics (less than one-half of 1%). The denominations that produced the highest proportions of adults with a biblical worldview were non-denominational Protestant churches (13%), Pentecostal churches (10%) and Baptist churches (8%).

Among the most prevalent alternative worldviews was postmodernism, which seemed to be the dominant perspective among the two youngest generations (i.e., the Busters and Mosaics).

For the purposes of the research, a biblical worldview was defined as believing that absolute moral truths exist; that such truth is defined by the Bible; and firm belief in six specific religious views. Those views were that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He stills rules it today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.

The Difference a Biblical Worldview Makes

One of the most striking insights from the research was the influence of such a way of thinking upon people's behavior. Adults with a biblical worldview possessed radically different views on morality, held divergent religious beliefs, and demonstrated vastly different lifestyle choices.


People's views on morally acceptable behavior are deeply impacted by their worldview. Upon comparing the perspectives of those who have a biblical worldview with those who do not, the former group were 31 times less likely to accept cohabitation (2% versus 62%, respectively); 18 times less likely to endorse drunkenness (2% versus 36%); 15 times less likely to condone gay sex (2% versus 31%); 12 times less likely to accept profanity 3% versus 37%); and 11 times less likely to describe adultery as morally acceptable (4% versus 44%). In addition, less than one-half of one percent of those with a biblical worldview said voluntary exposure to pornography was morally acceptable (compared to 39% of other adults), and a similarly miniscule proportion endorsed abortion (compared to 46% of adults who lack a biblical worldview).

Among the more intriguing lifestyle differences were the lesser propensity for those with a biblical worldview to gamble (they were eight times less likely to buy lottery tickets and 17 times less likely to place bets); to get drunk (three times less likely); and to view pornography (two times less common). They were also twice as likely to have discussed spiritual matters with other people in the past month and twice as likely to have fasted for religious reasons during the preceding month. While one out of every eight adults who lack a biblical worldview had sexual relations with someone other than their spouse during the prior month, less than one out of every 100 individuals who have such a worldview had done so.


http://www.barna.org/cgi-bin/PagePressRelease.asp?PressReleaseID=154&Reference=B
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2004, 11:34:36 PM »

"Bible is accurate in all of its teachings"

Nope. Can't agree with this one. It is "inspired", but since it has been filtered through man, it is not infallible.
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2004, 11:42:01 PM »

FWIW Barna is an Evangelical Protestant.  The worldview of the pollster affects the results.
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2004, 01:38:26 AM »

Given this definition:

Quote
For the purposes of the research, a biblical worldview was defined as believing that absolute moral truths exist; that such truth is defined by the Bible; and firm belief in six specific religious views. Those views were that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He stills rules it today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.

I answered "Yes, completely."

The last part - "the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings" - I understand to apply to faith and morals.

I don't think the Bible was ever meant to be a science textbook or a guide to the Stock Market.
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2004, 01:51:07 AM »

Linus: I don't ever remember reading Stock market teachings in the bible Wink.  I'll give that one can derive from the teachings of Christ, many things that are not covered in the scripture. They would not qualify as Biblical teachings, but rather are teachings based on biblical principles.  A totally different animal.  

The bible MUST be accurate in all of its teachings or it would be worthless and a poor reflection upon the source of the scriptures.  
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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2004, 01:56:01 AM »

I don't have a problem with what you are saying, Br. Max.

We should remember, though, that the Christian faith is not a book religion like Islam.

It is a living faith as communicated by the living, teaching Body of Christ. The Bible belongs to the Church, and she tells us what its teachings are and how to understand them.

Left to our own devices we might come up with anything . . . like the Watchtower Society!
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2004, 02:04:46 AM »

Linus: quite true.  "Innovative" teachings tend to be false teachings, but when it comes to scripture, people tend too quickly to shrug off our duty to read and be familiar with  them in favor of trusting blindly in someone saying "the church teaches . . . . " When church teachings do not line up with scripture, we should challenge them. Scripture is after all the recorded Word of God.  
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2004, 02:12:28 AM »

Linus: quite true.  "Innovative" teachings tend to be false teachings, but when it comes to scripture, people tend too quickly to shrug off our duty to read and be familiar with  them in favor of trusting blindly in someone saying "the church teaches . . . . " When church teachings do not line up with scripture, we should challenge them. Scripture is after all the recorded Word of God.  


We differ there, I'm afraid, Bro.

It's okay to differ.

I believe the Church is "the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).

If I think I see something in Scripture, and it contradicts what the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church teaches, then I know I must be wrong, not the Church.

I defer to her superior wisdom, her Holy Spirit-inspired charism of infallibility in faith and morals.

My private understanding of the Bible is just one among millions. I am very fallible. I would never assert my understanding of the Bible over the Church's understanding.
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2004, 02:49:01 AM »

Linus: AH, but the RC church teaches papal infallibility which I'm sure you will agree is not found in scripture - the Presbyterian church teaches sola fide which is also in contradition to scripture.  

BUT - to deal in what you have posted, if the Church has given us a fallible document in the Bible, how infallible is the church? Smiley

1 Timothy 3:15 - But if I tarry long, that thou may know how thou ought to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.  

an interesting passage . . . .  The question is, does the phrase “the pillar and ground of the truth” modify “house of God” - a reference to the physical building church,  does it modify “church” - a reference to the body of believers,  or does it modify “living God.”


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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2004, 04:21:56 PM »

Quote
Br. Max:
Linus: AH, but the RC church teaches papal infallibility which I'm sure you will agree is not found in scripture - the Presbyterian church teaches sola fide which is also in contradition to scripture.

Ah, but I did not say I defer to the wisdom of the RCC or the Presbyterian Church.  

Quote
Br. Max: BUT - to deal in what you have posted, if the Church has given us a fallible document in the Bible, how infallible is the church? Smiley

I did not say the Church has given us a fallible document in the Bible. But then again, I don't think the Church has "given us the Bible," in the sense of a complete handbook of the Christian faith. And I certainly don't think the Bible was ever intended to enable private individuals to sit in judgment of the Church.

The Bible is a book. It is subject to varying interpretations. In fact, there are almost as many different interpretations of the Bible as there are readers of it.

How are we to know which of them is the right one without an infallible teaching authority?

If you reply that the Holy Spirit guides each individual believer, then I would ask why so many believers disagree in their understanding of the Bible. Is the Holy Spirit the Author of confusion and division?

And we are still left not knowing which interpretation is the right one.

Quote
Br. Max: 1 Timothy 3:15 - But if I tarry long, that thou may know how thou ought to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.  

an interesting passage . . . .  The question is, does the phrase “the pillar and ground of the truth” modify “house of God” - a reference to the physical building church,  does it modify “church” - a reference to the body of believers,  or does it modify “living God.”




The term "house of God" does not refer to a building any more than the word "church" does. See 1 Peter 2:5.

Even if it did, in that verse the word "church" ends the clause which immediately precedes the adjectival phrase, "the pillar and ground of the truth." Thus "the pillar and ground of the truth" modifies the noun "church."

Besides, it is well known that the first-century Church had no (or very very very few) buildings of its own. The early Christians met in private homes, in the Catacombs, or wherever they could. The Church herself - the Bride and Body of Christ - is "the house of God."
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2004, 04:26:18 PM »

If I could edit the post above I would scratch the word "adjectival" from it.

Sorry.

Sometimes brain he no function.
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« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2004, 07:14:14 PM »

I would pretty much agree with Linus, although the RCC is the Church I submit to. A lot of fundies try to reduce dogma to what is mentioned in the Bible, and while I agree that the Bible is infallible, and without error, I do not agree that it is the only source of Truth. (The Bible is not Jesus.)
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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2004, 11:53:11 AM »

Ah, but I did not say I defer to the wisdom of the RCC or the Presbyterian Church.  I did not say the Church has given us a fallible document in the Bible. But then again, I don't think the Church has "given us the Bible," in the sense of a complete handbook of the Christian faith. And I certainly don't think the Bible was ever intended to enable private individuals to sit in judgment of the Church.


The bible is not a catechism, true - but that is not what the statement is.  It is not saying that I have to limit myself to the bible alone, but that all the teachings of the bible are TRUTH.  Moses really DID part the red sea, Jesus really DID raise from the dead . . .  Etc.

Quote
The Bible is a book. It is subject to varying interpretations. In fact, there are almost as many different interpretations of the Bible as there are readers of it.
Book yes - but not just “A” book - THE Book. Smiley THE word of God - THE scriptures Smiley


Quote
How are we to know which of them is the right one without an infallible teaching authority?
evidence and the corroboration of two agreeing witnesses.


Quote
If you reply that the Holy Spirit guides each individual believer, then I would ask why so many believers disagree in their understanding of the Bible. Is the Holy Spirit the Author of confusion and division?
Because people try to reason their faith.

Quote
The term "house of God" does not refer to a building any more than the word "church" does. See 1 Peter 2:5.


I disagree.  These early communities still had the synagogue available to them and while they did gather in home churches for the celebration of the Eucharist, there is substantial evidence that they also still were in attendance upon the temple and the synagogue.  In some areas - the synagogue became the church.  In the OT “house of God” is a referral to the Temple.


Quote
Even if it did, in that verse the word "church" ends the clause which immediately precedes the adjectival phrase, "the pillar and ground of the truth." Thus "the pillar and ground of the truth" modifies the noun "church."
Depending upon how it is punctuated.  WHAT MORE - lets remember that biblical greek is pretty terrible technically speaking.  ALSO - “which is the church of the living God,” is a subordinate clause. Lift it out of the sentence and you have: “But if I tarry long, that thou may know how thou ought to behave thyself in the house of God the pillar and ground of the truth.”

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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2004, 11:54:28 AM »

I would pretty much agree with Linus, although the RCC is the Church I submit to. A lot of fundies try to reduce dogma to what is mentioned in the Bible, and while I agree that the Bible is infallible, and without error, I do not agree that it is the only source of Truth. (The Bible is not Jesus.)

To have a biblical world view you do not have to say that the bible is the only source of truth. Smiley You only have to confess that the bible IS truth
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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2004, 01:27:49 PM »

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Linus7: How are we to know which of them is the right one without an infallible teaching authority? [The reference was to differing interpretations of the Bible.]

Quote
Br. Max: evidence and the corroboration of two agreeing witnesses.

Huh?

What evidence?

Concatenated lists of prooftexts?

What "two agreeing witnesses"?

Everybody comes armed to the teeth with "evidence" for his take on the Bible.

The rest of us are still left not knowing which interpretation is the right one.




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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2004, 01:39:18 PM »

Linus: the OT gives the criteria for establishing truth Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2004, 01:49:58 PM »

Linus: the OT gives the criteria for establishing truth Smiley

Apparently we all missed it.

Please explain what that is and how it can be applied to the interpretation of the Bible by individuals.
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« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2004, 05:24:43 PM »

The testimony of 2 or 3 agreeing witnesses.
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« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2004, 09:46:28 PM »

The testimony of 2 or 3 agreeing witnesses.

Surely, this cannot be the answer.  I know more than "two or three agreeing witnesses" in my own life who think The DaVinci Code contains more truth than Holy Scripture, but we know such a claim to be false.
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« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2004, 12:59:41 AM »

how can one witness what one has not experienced first hand?  Hearsay is not admissible. Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2004, 09:04:21 AM »

how can one witness what one has not experienced first hand?  Hearsay is not admissible. Smiley


I am trying to understand what you mean by "two or three agreeing witnesses" when it comes to the interpretation of the Bible.

Certainly you do not mean that if one can get two or three people to agree with an interpretation that makes it true?

Many people claim to have experienced "firsthand" something they have extracted from Holy Writ.

Are we to believe all of them?

How is it possible to sort out all of the conflicting interpretations of the Bible without some final, decisive authority?

The biblical buck must stop somewhere.
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« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2004, 09:44:24 AM »

I have no problem understanding what the Orthodox teaching is about the Bible and about doctrine, yet I do not believe in a 'final, decisive authority'. Nor has one seemed necessary to the Church. The ecumenical councils are not a 'final, decisive authority' either because they use human words which can be twisted to mean things that are completely at odds with what was intended.

A Muslim and an Orthodox can both confess 'One God' but what each means by those same words is very different.

It is not words that have authority but the life of Christ in His Church. Those who are within the Church are guided by the Spirit in the Church. There is authority in the priests, bishops, synods and ecumenical councils, but in the end the final, decisive authority belongs to Christ.

Even in the Roman model we know of heretical and evil Popes.

How do I know what to believe? It is not very difficult. I read St Athanasius, St Cyril of Alexandria, St Cyril of Jerusalem, St Basil, the Desert Fathers, St John Cassian etc etc. These have all been received by the Church as speaking with authority - the authority of an authentic Christianity, not a juridical authority.

And I do not assume that I can create some unusual interpretation of any passage, but I read one passage against another, in the same author and in other Fathers. I read the councils. I read summaries of doctrine which have been approved by the various synods of our Churches.

I have not found it difficult, listening to the harmonius voices of the Fathers, together with our own bishops, to discover what is the substance of the Orthodox faith.

If someone comes up with a novel interpretation I judge it against what the church has already thought about that passage. I may try to consider the cultural context if it is a canon such as not using a Jewish barber, but I do not set myself up as judge of the Tradition, rather as a recipient of it.

Where are the conflicting interpretations of the Bible which concern you? Surely they are not found within Orthodoxy?

Also what the Fathers have not considered as needing or being liable to a final and decisive interpretation we should not demand either. Things such as Toll Houses teach us many things, but if the Fathers have not produced a consensus then we should not make it a matter of dogma.

PT
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« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2004, 10:01:20 AM »

"Even in the Roman model we know of heretical and evil Popes."  - Have fun finding a RC who will agree to this statement.
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« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2004, 10:07:42 AM »

I am trying to understand what you mean by "two or three agreeing witnesses" when it comes to the interpretation of the Bible.

Certainly you do not mean that if one can get two or three people to agree with an interpretation that makes it true?

Many people claim to have experienced "firsthand" something they have extracted from Holy Writ.

Are we to believe all of them?

How is it possible to sort out all of the conflicting interpretations of the Bible without some final, decisive authority?

The biblical buck must stop somewhere.

The final authority is of course the Lord's.  He will use many vehicles to make his will known, some easily acceted - others not so.  He does of course choose the foolish to confound the wise.  If people learn to hear the voice of God - and no other - as one of His sheep - rather than just another lamb - well then . . . Smiley It will all be clear.  Ah the visionary.
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« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2004, 11:23:44 AM »

There have been evil popes. Whether or not there have been heretical popes, well, I don't read hearts and minds, but they have handed down the Apostolic Faith, and they have not made heretical statements. (I know, many a curmudgeonly Orthodox disagree.)
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« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2004, 12:12:42 PM »

I have no problem understanding what the Orthodox teaching is about the Bible and about doctrine, yet I do not believe in a 'final, decisive authority'. Nor has one seemed necessary to the Church. The ecumenical councils are not a 'final, decisive authority' either because they use human words which can be twisted to mean things that are completely at odds with what was intended.

A Muslim and an Orthodox can both confess 'One God' but what each means by those same words is very different.

It is not words that have authority but the life of Christ in His Church. Those who are within the Church are guided by the Spirit in the Church. There is authority in the priests, bishops, synods and ecumenical councils, but in the end the final, decisive authority belongs to Christ.

Even in the Roman model we know of heretical and evil Popes.

How do I know what to believe? It is not very difficult. I read St Athanasius, St Cyril of Alexandria, St Cyril of Jerusalem, St Basil, the Desert Fathers, St John Cassian etc etc. These have all been received by the Church as speaking with authority - the authority of an authentic Christianity, not a juridical authority.

And I do not assume that I can create some unusual interpretation of any passage, but I read one passage against another, in the same author and in other Fathers. I read the councils. I read summaries of doctrine which have been approved by the various synods of our Churches.

I have not found it difficult, listening to the harmonius voices of the Fathers, together with our own bishops, to discover what is the substance of the Orthodox faith.

If someone comes up with a novel interpretation I judge it against what the church has already thought about that passage. I may try to consider the cultural context if it is a canon such as not using a Jewish barber, but I do not set myself up as judge of the Tradition, rather as a recipient of it.

Where are the conflicting interpretations of the Bible which concern you? Surely they are not found within Orthodoxy?

Also what the Fathers have not considered as needing or being liable to a final and decisive interpretation we should not demand either. Things such as Toll Houses teach us many things, but if the Fathers have not produced a consensus then we should not make it a matter of dogma.

PT

Well, the Orthodox view is that ecumenical councils are final and decisive.

Unfortunately I do not have time to deal adequately with what you have posted.

But it seems to me to be very similar to Reformation theology.

I read, I judge, etc.

Where does the authority rest in Christianity?

With the individual or the Church?

Reading the "harmonious" Fathers has not prevented major conflicts in the past nor does it seem to guarantee unity today.

Saying that "the final, decisive authority belongs to Christ" doesn't help much, unless you know of someone who is hearing directly from the Lord and can convince the rest of us that that is the case.




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« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2004, 12:20:51 PM »

Linus,

I think you're reading into Peter's use of the pronoun "I" far too much.

While authority does rest with the Church, it is up to the individual to accept that authority in order to be a true apostolic Christian.
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« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2004, 12:44:59 PM »

Thanks Schultz, some sanity.

Linus, unless we are robots then I is important. It is I who believe after all, it is I that the Lord came to save, it is I that needs to repent of my sins. If I am not convinced and if I do not have faith then it doesn't matter what final decisive authority you are looking for, it won't do me any good.

Since it would seem that you will only believe what a final, decisive authority tells you to then what is the content of your own personal faith? Since there is no final, decisive authority in the Church I wonder what you believe?

Let me ask again, where are all the difficult issues? Orthodoxy doesn't have any that I can think of? The teaching of the Church is clear and easy to discover. Or are we still waiting for the Bumper Book of Everything Orthodox to answer every question?

PT
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« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2004, 01:03:56 PM »

Well, the Orthodox view is that ecumenical councils are final and decisive.

That's obviously NOT the case, since we have had a need for councils to further explain and more narrowly define what previous councils meant. And that is natural. Unless we say that councils are entirely divine event with no human element (which would be Eutychianism) then we must agree that all councils have a human element, and it is of the nature of our humanity to be provisional.

"Now we see through a glass darkly"

Nicaea obviously didn't say all that needed to be said about Christ, because Ephesus 431 was necessary, and then Chalcedon had to say more, and so did Constantinople II etc etc.

I can't see why you have any problem recognising that, it is just a matter of fact.

Nicaea has complete authority as the pre-eminent creed of the Church, but it can be misunderstood and misused. One only has to look at liberal protestants who will say the creed but mean very different things to the Fathers. The Creed is only rightly understood within the life of the Church. It does not stand alone, even the creed, as an external and decisive authority, it has authority IN the Church and within the rest of the Tradition.

How does the creed begin 'I believe in one God'. (Note that "I believe", yet you criticise me for using it). Ask a muslim if he agrees with this line? Of course he will. Does it mean the creed is defective, as you continually misinterpret any comment I make about any council, of course not. It means that the creed uses human language and does not communicate in itself the reality of what is spoken about, it is only a verbal symbol for something else, and symbols can be misapplied.

Look at suspenders. Over here that symbol stands for women's underwear, over in the US it stands for men's apparel. Both uses are legitimate but the mere insistence on using a word does not necessarily communicate.

The councils and creeds are authoritative IN the Church, interpreted BY the Church. That seems just a common-sense matter of fact. On their own, in a book read by a non-believer, or a liberal, or a Muslim, they may be taken as meaning a whole lot of things that the church never meant.

Therefore they are not a 'final and decisive authority' apart from the Life of Christ in His Church. Without the whole Tradition they can be taken as meaning anything, just like the Bible.

Do most Christians believe the Bible is an authority? Of course. Do all interpret it in accordance with the Fathers? of course not. Is this because the Bible is not a final and decisive authority? No, but it is an authority only when read with the Church, in the Church, by the Spirit of Christ. Anywhere else and it can be taken to mean anything.

Even these words will be misunderstood, taken to mean the opposite of what I am saying. But if you were here with me, if we had a wealth of other personal conversations to take into account which made clearer what I meant, then there would be no misunderstanding.

But anything human is of necessity and nature provisional and incomplete - as the scriptures teach 'Now we see as in a glass darkly'.

That doesn't mean complete confusion but it does mean a hesitancy to be dictatorial and polemical. It does mean that we must be careful we understand what the other is saying.

Nevertheless, for all of the provisionality of our earthly live, the substance of the faith is clear for all who live in the Church and are taught by the Church.

Again, I can't see the great theological issues which need a 'final and decisive authority' over the Church.

PT
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« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2004, 01:31:20 PM »

There have been evil popes. Whether or not there have been heretical popes, well, I don't read hearts and minds, but they have handed down the Apostolic Faith, and they have not made heretical statements. (I know, many a curmudgeonly Orthodox disagree.)

there is at least one pope who was heretical - condemned by an ecumenical council as an heretic.
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« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2004, 01:45:43 PM »

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Linus7: Well, the Orthodox view is that ecumenical councils are final and decisive.

Quote
peterfarrington: That's obviously NOT the case, since we have had a need for councils to further explain and more narrowly define what previous councils meant.

That does not mean that the decisions of the ecumenical councils were not final and decisive in terms of the issues with which they dealt.

By "final" I did not mean that there would never again be a need for another council or that no teaching or explaining or clarification was necessary.

But the councils are final and decisive in terms of defining doctrine that cannot be contradicted or changed.
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« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2004, 01:53:52 PM »

Yes, the I is important, but we were discussing authority here, with Br. Max - if I understand him correctly - arguing a form of Sola Scriptura.

We were not discussing varying interpretations of the Bible within Orthodoxy.

We were discussing varying interpretations of the Bible in the larger Christian community in general.

Is the Church the authority on the Bible and all things Christian?

Or is the individual the authority?

Once I decide to follow Christ, do I submit to the authority He vested in His Church, or do I reserve judgment on every issue to myself?

Am I to sit in judgment on the Church of Christ, finding her deficient where she appears to differ with my understanding of the Bible or the Fathers or history?

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« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2004, 02:02:54 PM »

Linus: EGADS NO!! I do not believe that the bible stands alone.  

I've said it before - I believe that the Bible walks hand in hand with tradition and with the miraculous as a single revelation of Christ and the truth.

 I can no more espouse sola scriptura than I can espouse papal infallibility.
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« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2004, 02:04:11 PM »

Quote
peterfarrington: Nicaea obviously didn't say all that needed to be said about Christ, because Ephesus 431 was necessary, and then Chalcedon had to say more, and so did Constantinople II etc etc.

I can't see why you have any problem recognising that, it is just a matter of fact.

Did Nicea once and for all, FINALLY and DECISIVELY put an end to Arianism as a possible doctrinal option for Christians?

Certainly Arianism persisted long after Nicea, but the Church spoke at Nicea, rendering a judgment on Arianism that was FINAL and DECISIVE.

Were there other issues to be dealt with by subsequent councils?

Sure.

But the decisions reached at Nicea were still FINAL and DECISIVE in terms of the questions before that council.

"I can't see why you have any problem recognising that, it is just a matter of fact."

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« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2004, 06:33:31 PM »

I am not terribly familiar with the story of the "heretical" pope, but it is my understanding that he was anathematized after death, and never taught his error to the public. Does anybody know more about this?

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I can no more espouse sola scriptura than I can espouse papal infallibility.

There you go with Catholicism again! Tongue
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« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2004, 05:34:50 AM »

Or is the individual the authority?

In the thread on papal authority you have continually rejected the authority of any documents produced by all of the patriarchs and bishops of the EO in the 19th century.

Why have you been able to follow your own opinion in this respect?
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« Reply #36 on: January 30, 2004, 05:42:51 AM »

Am I to sit in judgment on the Church of Christ, finding her deficient where she appears to differ with my understanding of the Bible or the Fathers or history?

And where have I said that either. That's a straw man. But unless you have a faith without understanding or commitment then at some point YOU have had to accept and believe and consider. You can't have it both ways. You can't say that there are all these confusions and we need a Pope as an ultimate authority and then say that we should not sit in judgement on the Church, because the Orthodox Church has not needed a Pope for 1000 years, yet YOU suggest it does.

Do you consider Orthodoxy deficient because it does not have a Pope? If you do then you are sitting in judgement on the Church. If you were really satisfied with just believing what you received then you would have received the Encyclicals of the Patriarchs from the 19th century and would not have been able to dismiss them as just 'anti-Roman polemics'. How are you not judging the Orthodox Church by making a personal and individual decision to let the teaching of these Encyclicals pass you by?

If we do not make the faith our own by thoughtfully considering all that we are taught then we have no faith at all, just superstition and a mechanistic religion. That isn't the same as judging the Orthodox Church at all. It is however making use of the faculties that God has given us and expects us to integrate into our faith.
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« Reply #37 on: January 30, 2004, 11:20:36 AM »

In the thread on papal authority you have continually rejected the authority of any documents produced by all of the patriarchs and bishops of the EO in the 19th century.

Why have you been able to follow your own opinion in this respect?

For one thing, that is not true or is at least very inaccurate.

For another, the Orthodox Church has never taught that her members are obligated to regard every encyclical of every bishop or emperor as infallible and the voice of the Church.

You yourself produced the Encyclion of the Emperor Basilicus as evidence for some of your contentions, an encyclical signed by 700 Eastern bishops. Yet that encyclical anathematizes Chalcedon and declares the Latrocinium a legitimate council.

We are taught, however, that the chief expression of the Church's charism of infallibility is her ecumenical councils.

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« Reply #38 on: January 30, 2004, 11:24:58 AM »

We are taught, however, that the chief expression of the Church's charism of infallibility is her ecumenical councils.

But the ecumenical councils cover only a very limited set of doctrines. Where do you gather your opinion about, for instance, papal primacy?

If it is from a study of the fathers then you are doing what you call me a Protestant for doing.

And I ask again, on what basis do you reject the Encyclicals of the 19th century? If you reject them how are you not judging? How are you not basing what you receive on your own opinion. Do you think that the Patriarchs and the bishops did not expect their opinions to be received? You have still not answered on what basis and by what authority you reject these documents? You have accused me of setting myself up above the church like a protestant but you have not received what your patriarchs and bishops have set forth in those two documents?

Were those Patriarchs and bishops teaching heresy? If not why do you not receive it? And if you do not then by what authority if not your own opinion?
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« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2004, 11:49:21 AM »

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peterfarrington:
And where have I said that either. That's a straw man. But unless you have a faith without understanding or commitment then at some point YOU have had to accept and believe and consider.

Of course at some point I had to accept that Jesus Christ is who He said He was and that the things the Church says about Him are true.

But in doing so I have submitted myself and my will to the Church He founded and to which He imparted authority.

There is much in Orthodox Christianity that goes against my own natural way of thinking. Some of it, at times, even seems silly (I said seems).

But I do not rely on myself and my own judgment. I believe in Christ, so I believe His Church.


Quote
peterfarrington: You can't have it both ways. You can't say that there are all these confusions and we need a Pope as an ultimate authority and then say that we should not sit in judgement on the Church, because the Orthodox Church has not needed a Pope for 1000 years, yet YOU suggest it does.

Who has suggested that?

You are still arguing in a past thread, and even in that one I never argued that the Orthodox Church needs a pope.

I said the Church is the authority, that she is infallible and that the chief expression of that infallibility is her ecumenical councils.

Quote
peterfarrington: Do you consider Orthodoxy deficient because it does not have a Pope?

Huh?

Bogus.

Read this thread. In fact, read any thread here.

When have I said the Orthodox Church is deficient in any way for any reason?

What I argued - and you so clearly misunderstood - is that the early popes had more than a mere primacy of honor. That was an argument about history and perhaps about the meaning of the term "primacy of honor." It was not a judgment on the Orthodox Church.

Quote
peterfarrington: If you do then you are sitting in judgement on the Church. If you were really satisfied with just believing what you received then you would have received the Encyclicals of the Patriarchs from the 19th century and would not have been able to dismiss them as just 'anti-Roman polemics'. How are you not judging the Orthodox Church by making a personal and individual decision to let the teaching of these Encyclicals pass you by?

I have already dealt with the subject of encyclicals.

The Church does not teach that encyclicals are infallible or that the words of every bishop or even every Church Father are always infallible.

She does teach that about her ecumenical councils, however.

Quote
peterfarrington: If we do not make the faith our own by thoughtfully considering all that we are taught then we have no faith at all, just superstition and a mechanistic religion. That isn't the same as judging the Orthodox Church at all. It is however making use of the faculties that God has given us and expects us to integrate into our faith.

There is a difference in making "the faith our own by thoughtfully considering all that we are taught" and setting oneself up as the ultimate authority.

Once I have accepted the Christian faith and Christ's Church I accept the authority of that faith and that Church.

If I find myself thinking or believing something that is contrary to the teaching of the Church, then I have a decision to make.

I can trust in myself and go my own way or I can defer to the greater wisdom of Christ in His Church.

Those who reject any of the teachings of the Church place themselves outside of her.

Since the chief expression of the Church's infallibility are her ecumenical councils, those who reject any of them are necessarily outside of the Church and in schism or worse.

It seems rather ironic to me that I stand accused of judging the Orthodox Church by a member of a group which only recently shed vagante status through alignment with a schismatic sect whose rejection of Church authority in the 5th century can only be regarded as Proto-Protestant.  


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« Reply #40 on: January 30, 2004, 12:01:00 PM »

It seems rather ironic to me that I stand accused of judging the Orthodox Church by a member of a group which only recently shed vagante status through alignment with a schismatic sect whose rejection of Church authority in the 5th century can only be regarded as Proto-Protestant.  

Ah I wondered how long it would take you to run out of argument and resort to ad hominem attacks.

You still haven't answered the question about the encyclicals, you just side step it. Were your patriarchs and bishops teaching Orthodoxy when they issued those documents, or were they teaching heresy? Where is your authority for deciding that they didn't mean you to accept their teachings? If you do not accept their teachings as Orthodox then they must be heretics. If their teachings are Orthodox why do you reject it, that must make you a heretic. Are you suggesting that when they wrote those documents they did not expect them to be accepted as the teaching of the Church?

I'll ignore the ad hominem attack, it isn't worth responding to.
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« Reply #41 on: January 30, 2004, 12:07:28 PM »

Ah I wondered how long it would take you to run out of argument and resort to ad hominem attacks.

You still haven't answered the question about the encyclicals, you just side step it. Were your patriarchs and bishops teaching Orthodoxy when they issued those documents, or were they teaching heresy? Where is your authority for deciding that they didn't mean you to accept their teachings? If you do not accept their teachings as Orthodox then they must be heretics. If their teachings are Orthodox why do you reject it, that must make you a heretic. Are you suggesting that when they wrote those documents they did not expect them to be accepted as the teaching of the Church?

I'll ignore the ad hominem attack, it isn't worth responding to.

That was not an ad hominem attack. It was a comment on an approach to Church authority and the rejection of the Church's ecumenical councils.

I did not sidestep the issue of the encyclicals. I answered it.

That you do not like my answer is your problem. You also seem to feel that you have a real "talking point" in your argument about encyclicals. I disagree.

I would say that the rejection of four out of seven ecumenical councils is a much bigger problem than my statement (which was true, BTW) that the Church has never regarded encyclicals as infallible.
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« Reply #42 on: January 30, 2004, 12:17:41 PM »

Well last time I checked I accepted the substantial cotent of all of the 7 ecumenical councils, so that's pretty much a non-issue.

I didn't ask if you thought that the Encyclicals were infallible, I asked on what authority you chose to reject them. You said:

"Well, my impression of the portion quoted above is that it runs counter to the full patristic record and that of the councils, which speaks of St. Peter's leadership of the Apostles and of the bishops of Rome as his successors."

Surely this statement is based on your own interpretation of the patristic record? Are you suggesting that the Patriarchs of 1848 did not know what the patristic record taught, or chose to write contrary to it? Either way it is surely your word against theirs.

Why is that not Protestant?

I think this is very important. You say that we must submit to the teaching of the church, but that is mediated through our bishops. If you fail to receive what they teach then this is very important. Either what they are teaching is error or we are indeed expected to weigh things in our own minds.

I cannot see what explanation you have for failing to accept the encyclical. It is either Orthodox teaching and must be accepted, or it is teaching error in which case the patriarchs and bishops of the EO are accused of heresy.

What other option is there?

It's all very well talking about accepting the teaching of the church, but when we get down to concrete issues you have made your own mind up about this particular teaching of the church.
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« Reply #43 on: January 30, 2004, 01:12:05 PM »

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peterfarrington: It's all very well talking about accepting the teaching of the church, but when we get down to concrete issues you have made your own mind up about this particular teaching of the church.

Since when has every letter of every individual bishop been regarded as the "teaching of the Church"?

If that is so then we are obligated to believe the letters of Nestorius to St. Cyril.

I have already dealt with encyclicals as much as I care to.

Why do you reject four of the seven ecumenical councils of the Church?

Is the Church infallible or is she not?

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« Reply #44 on: January 30, 2004, 03:51:03 PM »

Since when has every letter of every individual bishop been regarded as the "teaching of the Church"?

If that is so then we are obligated to believe the letters of Nestorius to St. Cyril.

So the Patriarchs and bishops of the 19th century are comparable with Nestorius?

You still evade the question. If you do not accept the teaching of, not an individual bishop but ALL the EO Patriarchs and a large number of bishops then how are you not setting yourself up as a judge of what is to be believed? You condemned me as a Protestant because I study the Fathers and seek to understand what they teach. You said I should just 'accept the authority of the Church'. But it is patently obvious that you do not, since the teaching authority of the Church is vested in our bishops.

Did the Patriarchs and bishops of the 19th century Encyclical about Roman Catholicism teach Orthodox truth or error?

It is a simple question. You only need to answer truth or error.

What will it be, or will you continue to fail to answer any questions.
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