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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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« Reply #45 on: January 30, 2004, 05:31:25 PM »

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

Only in the sense that I am as obligated to believe every item of every letter of theirs, or every private opinion ever expressed by any of them, as I am obligated to believe everything ever written or said by Nestorius.

Quote
peterfarrington: You still evade the question.

No I have not evaded the question.

I answered it.

But you insist on beating a dead horse because you think it can win an argument for you.

But, like a dead horse, it just lies there and stinks.

Quote
peterfarrington: 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?

The Church has not said that encyclicals are infallible.

I never said that I do not accept the teaching of the encyclical to which you refer.

I reject your interpretation of a portion of it.

I don't believe the Church has ever taught that Rome's position as the capitol of the Empire was the only reason for its primacy. It was one reason but not the only one.

Quote
peterfarrington: 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.

I said a post of yours sounded like Reformation theology. I did not condemn you as a Protestant.

I also said that you belong to a group which has aligned itself with a sect whose 5th-century schism from the Church was Proto-Protestant.

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

Post the encyclical here please.

I doubt that it teaches error, but, as I recall, your take on it, and the use to which you put a portion of it, are erroneous.

What if it does contain some errors?

Has the Church ever asserted that all encyclicals are infallible?

Am I obligated to believe the Encyclion of the Emperor Basilicus, as well, even though it anathematized Chalcedon and legitimized the Latrocinium?

It was signed by 700 Eastern bishops.

Quote
peterfarrington: 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.

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

Why should you control this discussion and demand that your questions be answered when you will not answer mine?

What right does someone who rejects the chief expression of the Church's authority and her charism of infallibility - her ecumenical councils - have to question me about an obscure 19th-century encyclical?
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« Reply #46 on: January 30, 2004, 05:39:30 PM »

What right does someone who rejects the chief expression of the Church's authority and her charism of infallibility - her ecumenical councils - have to question me about an obscure 19th-century encyclical?

My, my we are getting heated.

It's not really worth going round and round with this. I think you have proved from your attitude to this encyclical - I am sure your 19th century bishops will resent it being called obscure - that you also read and study and judge. This is what I do. This is what most intelligent Christians do.

The difference is that when I say I do it you accuse me of being a Protestant, when you do it there seems to be no such Protestant spirit at work.

And do leave off going on and on about the councils. The fact that I accept all of the teachings of the 7 councils shows that it is a non-point.
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« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2004, 05:49:03 PM »

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peterfarrington:
My, my we are getting heated.

Not.

Quote
peterfarrington: It's not really worth going round and round with this. I think you have proved from your attitude to this encyclical - I am sure your 19th century bishops will resent it being called obscure - that you also read and study and judge. This is what I do. This is what most intelligent Christians do.

The difference is that when I say I do it you accuse me of being a Protestant, when you do it there seems to be no such Protestant spirit at work.


I think you missed the point of this discussion.

Everyone must make certain judgments to get to the starting point of the Christian life.

But the Church is the authority in the Christian faith, not the individual.

Quote
peterfarrington: And do leave off going on and on about the councils. The fact that I accept all of the teachings of the 7 councils shows that it is a non-point.

Why should I "leave off going on and on" about something as important as the ecumenical councils while you go on and on about an encyclical?

If you accept the teachings of the councils, then why do you reject the councils themselves and deny the Church's authority as expressed in them, especially when doing so only perpetuates a schism?



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« Reply #48 on: January 30, 2004, 05:57:25 PM »

If you accept the teachings of the councils, then why do you reject the councils themselves and deny the Church's authority as expressed in them, especially when doing so only perpetuates a schism?

Do you not know why they have been rejected? Yet you are quite willing to state that I am further from Orthodox Christian truth than a Roman Catholic even though I have the same substance of faith as you?

If the teaching of a council is accepted then how can it be said that the authority of the church is denied? Remember that the OO never accepted the Three Chapters, and didn't burn her icons. These were issues that the EO needed to deal with, we had already dealt with them.

I do not wish to discuss this further with you. You seem to only have an interest in perpetuating unnecessary division. If you do not think that the reconciliation of a vagante group with the wider Orthodox communion is something to rejoice over, if you do not think that the agreement in the substance of faith which it is obvious exists between EO and OO is something to rejoice over, then there is no point in continuing.

Just repeating '7 councils, 7 councils' says nothing. Anyone can say '7 councils' without knowing what any of them teach.
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« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2004, 05:58:39 PM »

Linus is beginning to sound like um...well, Vicki and Tom know who I mean, answering questions with questions...
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« Reply #50 on: February 03, 2004, 09:32:14 AM »

Linus is beginning to sound like um...well, Vicki and Tom know who I mean, answering questions with questions...

I don't really care whom you think I sound like.

The truth is the truth.

There are reasons why the OO are not in the Church.

Saying, "We accept the content of the councils but not the councils themselves" is bogus.

And to say that no OO were never part of iconoclasm is not exactly accurate.

Many Protestant Fundamentalists confess to believe in the "content" of the Nicene Creed while claiming the Church that authored it had been corrupted by Constantine.

The Donatists were orthodox in doctrine and organization, too, yet they were considered outside the Church.

It is one thing to exercise ordinary prudence and common sense in reading the Fathers and the Bible.

It is quite another to make private judgment and interpretation one's primary approach to the Christian faith.

And that is what we were talking about.
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« Reply #51 on: February 03, 2004, 09:34:33 AM »

Quote
And to say that no OO were never part of iconoclasm is not exactly accurate.

Sorry for the double negative.

That should read, "And to say that no OO were ever part of iconoclasm is not exactly accurate."

I miss the edit function.
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« Reply #52 on: February 03, 2004, 09:36:43 AM »

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peterfarrington: If you do not think that the reconciliation of a vagante group with the wider Orthodox communion is something to rejoice over

If said vagante group had reconciled "with the wider Orthodox communion" I would rejoice.

That is not what the BOC did.
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« Reply #53 on: February 03, 2004, 09:40:11 AM »

It is one thing to exercise ordinary prudence and common sense in reading the Fathers and the Bible.

It is quite another to make private judgment and interpretation one's primary approach to the Christian faith.

And that is what we were talking about.


Well not really Linus7.

I wrote about exercising 'ordinary prudence and common sense' and you told me I was a Protestant.

Can I ask if you confess 7 or 8 ecumenical councils? I note that the patriarchs and bishops of the 19th century confess 8. Are they to be censured for adding to the number of councils which should be called ecumenical? Or are you to be censured for only confessing 7?

And if you really think that accepting the teaching of a council while considering it not to be an ecumenical one is bogus then I must suggest that you seem to have a very strange and polemical attitude to the faith.

Once again, why do you not confess the 8th ecumenical council when so many of your bishops have done so? Either they are heretical, because they have declared, in your terms, a council infallible when it is not, or you are because you reject an infallible council.

How many should I confess?

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« Reply #54 on: February 03, 2004, 09:43:32 AM »

If said vagante group had reconciled "with the wider Orthodox communion" I would rejoice.

I'm not sure you would rejoice in any case. I think that in fact there would always be some obstacle to your joy. The BOC would be using the wrong liturgy, or the wrong chant, or the wrong calendar, or the wrong vestments, because it's clear that what is believed isn't enough is it.

Sad
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« Reply #55 on: February 03, 2004, 09:57:53 AM »

So you have the info.

Here is what was confessed:

"The new doctrine, that "the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father and the Son," ......was subjected to anathema, as a novelty and augmentation of the Creed, by the eighth Ecumenical Council, congregated at Constantinople for the pacification of the Eastern and Western Churches."

and here are the Patriarchs and Bishops who made this confession:

+ ANTHIMOS, by the Mercy of God, Archbishop of Constantinople, new Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch, a beloved brother in Christ our God, and suppliant.

+ HIEROTHEUS, by the Mercy of God, Patriarch of Alexandria and of all Egypt, a beloved brother in Christ our God, and suppliant.

+ METHODIOS, by the Mercy of God, Patriarch of the great City of God, Antioch, and of all Anatolia, a beloved brother in Christ our God, and suppliant.

+ CYRIL, by the Mercy of God, Patriarch of Jerusalem and of all Palestine, a beloved brother in Christ our God, and suppliant.
 
 

The Holy Synod in Constantinople:

+ PAISIUS OF CAESAREA

+ ANTHIMUS OF EPHESUS

+ DIONYSIUS OF HERACLEA

+ JOACHIM OF CYZICUS

+ DIONYSIUS OF NICODEMIA

+ HIEROTHEUS OF CHALCEDON

+ NEOPHYTUS OF DERCI

+ GERASIMUS OF ADRIANOPLE

+ CYRIL OF NEOCAESAREA

+ THEOCLETUS OF BEREA

+ MELETIUS OF PISIDIA

+ ATHANASIUS OF SMYRNA

+ DIONYSIUS OF MELENICUS

+ PAISIUS OF SOPHIA

+ DANIEL OF LEMNOS

+ PANTELEIMON OF DEYINOPOLIS

+ JOSEPH OF ERSECIUM

+ ANTHIMUS OF BODENI
 
 

The Holy Synod in Antioch:

+ ZACHARIAS OF ARCADIA

+ METHODIOS OF EMESA

+ JOANNICIUS OF TRIPOLIS

+ ARTEMIUS OF LAODICEA
 
 

The Holy Synod in Jerusalem:

+ MELETIUS OF PETRA

+ DIONYSIUS OF BETHLEHEM

+ PHILEMON OF GAZA

+ SAMUEL OF NEAPOLIS

+ THADDEUS OF SEBASTE

+ JOANNICIUS OF PHILADELPHIA

+ HIEROTHEUS OF TABOR


Are they all heretics because they have added to the number of infallible and ecumenical councils which are the primary and definitive authority in the Church, or are you a heretic for not confessing 8 ecumenical councils. If you say that you accept the teaching of this 8th council but do not consider it ecumenical then how is that not, to use an American word, 'bogus'.

This is a reasonable question and has a bearing on many other issues.

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #56 on: February 03, 2004, 11:33:44 AM »

How many should I confess?

That's a good question.  We, at least, agree on how many Ecumenical Councils there are.  The EO, on the other hand, don't seem to have any agreement on whether it is seven, eight, or nine.  I've heard many, many EO insist on seven, from rank and file laity to clerics.  But Peter mentions EO bishops who confess eight.  Then again, I've heard and read many EO, from the rank and file laity to the bishops, confess nine.  Are those confessing nine cut off from those confessing seven?  Are those confessing seven cut off from those confessing nine?  How many Ecumenical Councils do the EO insist we Oriental Orthodox confess in order for there to be reunion with them, when even in the EO Church this question seems to be unresolved (or else the majority of people I've spoken with are all ignorant of the truth)?
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« Reply #57 on: February 03, 2004, 12:02:35 PM »

This is basically why I resurrected the "Ecumenical Council" thread in the "Faith" section below.  How does one OBJECTIVELY know how many ecumenical councils there are? Are there 2? 3? 4? 7, 8 or 9? 20+?
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« Reply #58 on: February 03, 2004, 12:12:05 PM »

I saw.  Wink
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« Reply #59 on: February 03, 2004, 12:45:11 PM »

I think that the evidence from the EO situation shows that it is not objectively straightforward, but also that it is possible to have the same faith while confessing the ecumenicity of a different number of councils, otherwise either Fr John Romanides or Linus7 are heretics because they confess a different number of ecumenical councils.

It must also be stated that to deny the ecumenicity of a council does not mean that its doctrinal content is rejected. There are hundreds of councils which have produced important and Orthodox decisions which are not considered ecumenical. Indeed every Orthodox council is surely called with the intent of hearing the Word of God and applying it to particular circumstances. This does not make every council ecumenical, but neither does it make every non-ecumenical council an heretical one.

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« Reply #60 on: February 03, 2004, 01:44:42 PM »

I was taught that there have been seven ecumenical councils.

I have heard that some Orthodox Christians acknowledge an eighth and even a ninth ecumenical council, but, as far as I know, those have not been universally accepted as ecumenical.

One thing is certain, there are no Orthodox churches that acknowledge only three ecumenical councils.


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« Reply #61 on: February 03, 2004, 01:54:25 PM »

One thing is certain, there are no Orthodox churches that acknowledge only three ecumenical councils.


Of course there are! One such Orthodox Church is the Orthodox Church of Egypt, sometimes referred to as the Coptic Orthodox Church. A church that has given more to Christianity than perhaps any other in terms of rich theological treasures and witnessed to the faith by the blood of the martyrs.

A Church that today is thriving and producing an amazing cloud of witnesses for furture generations. A Church that today, if you simply go and visit, is endowed with wonder-working saints (in our own generation), holy elders with the gifts of clairvoyance and healings, incorrupt relics, and weeping icons. A church that continues to witness to the truth of Orthodoxy against all kinds of heresies, and is still witnessing to this truth by the shedding of blood. A Church with an amazing monastic revival, like no other in our times.

Truly, the Orthodox Church of Egypt is a great light to our world.

Why not visit and see for yourself, then come back and write to us.

In Christ,
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« Reply #62 on: February 03, 2004, 01:58:13 PM »


One thing is certain, there are no Orthodox churches that acknowledge only three ecumenical councils.


I think what you meant to say is that there is no Roman Byzantine Eastern Orthodox Church that only confesses 3 councils. In this you are right.

But in all the Church History books I have read after the period of Chalcedon, the Christians of Egypt claimed for themselves the title "Orthodox". The Christians which sided with the Roman Empire and persecuted the Christians of Egypt, killing thousands of them, were called many other things.

On what basis can you claim the title "Orthodox" for yourself? This goes against history...

In Christ,
Raouf
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« Reply #63 on: February 03, 2004, 01:58:39 PM »

Quote
peterfarrington: I wrote about exercising 'ordinary prudence and common sense' and you told me I was a Protestant.

That is not what you wrote, and that was not what I said.

This is what you wrote:

Quote
peterfarrington: 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.

That is what I said sounds like Reformation theology.

And it does.

I never said that you are a Protestant.

Is the Church the authority, or is the individual the authority?

Perhaps you meant to describe your method of submitting to the authority of the Church in what you wrote.

I do not know.

But you chose arguing with me as the vehicle of that expression in any event.

Besides, you are absolutely wrong in what you wrote in that first paragraph above: "Nor has one [a final, decisive authority] 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."




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« Reply #64 on: February 03, 2004, 02:06:14 PM »

I think what you meant to say is that there is no Roman Byzantine Eastern Orthodox Church that only confesses 3 councils. In this you are right.

But in all the Church History books I have read after the period of Chalcedon, the Christians of Egypt claimed for themselves the title "Orthodox". The Christians which sided with the Roman Empire and persecuted the Christians of Egypt, killing thousands of them, were called many other things.

On what basis can you claim the title "Orthodox" for yourself? This goes against history...

In Christ,
Raouf

If I acknowledge the OO as Orthodox, then I must admit that the Church has "branches" or different denominations and is not one.

There is only one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Those who rejected the Council of Chalcedon separated themselves from her in the fifth century.

I realize that their spiritual descendants feel that they are the perpetuation of the Church and that the Chalcedonians are in schism.

C'est la vie.
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« Reply #65 on: February 03, 2004, 02:26:41 PM »

If I acknowledge the OO as Orthodox, then I must admit that the Church has "branches" or different denominations and is not one.

There is only one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Those who rejected the Council of Chalcedon separated themselves from her in the fifth century.

I realize that their spiritual descendants feel that they are the perpetuation of the Church and that the Chalcedonians are in schism.

C'est la vie.

Which begs the question:  Which Church is the TRUE Church and how does one know?  How can one OBJECTIVELY determine who separated from whom over Chalcedon?  How does one delineate who IS the "One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church" without resorting to circular reasoning?  Huh
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« Reply #66 on: February 03, 2004, 02:31:01 PM »

If I acknowledge the OO as Orthodox, then I must admit that the Church has "branches" or different denominations and is not one.

There is only one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Those who rejected the Council of Chalcedon separated themselves from her in the fifth century.

I realize that their spiritual descendants feel that they are the perpetuation of the Church and that the Chalcedonians are in schism.

C'est la vie.

No No No! I don't want you to admit anyone into your fold! As long as you say that your Church, the Roman Byzantine Eastern Orthodox Church is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, that is wonderful. Just don't say you are the "Orthodox Church".  Don't call us the "Monophysite Church", that is not what we are called nor what we have ever been called, we were always known as the Orthodox Church of Egypt. All the other neat slogans came much later in history. I just want us to be consistent with history.

So we now agree: There is only one church that is THE One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and this is called the Roman Church or the Eastern Orthodox or the Byzantine Church or the Church of Constantinople or whatever.

And one church which (to some) is not part of this One Holy and Catholic and Apostolic Church is the "Orthodox Church of Egypt".

I am glad we cleared that up. Thank you.  Grin

In Christ,
Raouf
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« Reply #67 on: February 03, 2004, 05:00:12 PM »

Besides, you are absolutely wrong in what you wrote in that first paragraph above: "Nor has one [a final, decisive authority] 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."

If the ecumenical councils are the final, decisive authority why do you reject the teaching of the Eastern Orthodox Church which, as I have quoted, recognises 8 or 9 ecumenical councils.

I have listed the Patriarchs and bishops who teach that there are 8 ecumenical councils.

I can add Father John Romanides,
Protopresbyter George Metallinos', (author of Divine Ascent: A Journal of Orthodox Faith),
Clark Carlton (author of two very popular introductions to Orthodoxy) confesses the 8th council,
Father George Dragas speaks of the 8th council in the Greek Orthodox Theological Review,
the official Antiochean Orthodox website for the UK recognises the 8th council,  
the Hellenic Ministry of Culture speaks of the 8th ecumenical council,
Georgi Kapriev of the Bulgarian Orthodox has an article in which he speaks of the 8th ecumenical council,

I think this is enough, although of course I could also list those who I can quickly find who speak of 9 ecumenical councils, and I note that the official ecumenical patriarchate website describes the 7th council as the 8th council.

Now it is not enough for you to side step this issue. Either there are 7, 8 or 9 ecumenical councils. If you cannot authoritatively tell me how many there are then your argument crumbles. Either we are obligated to recognise the ecumenicity of exactly the right number of councils or we are not. If we are not then we are left with taking account of the substance of faith instead of merely counting councils.

If there are 7 then all of these important writers and the leaders of your own EO in the 19th century are and were teaching error, or else you are.

What you cannot do is insist that I am a heretic because I only accept 3 instead of 7 as ecumenical, while accepting their substance, while either you or these other church leaders and theologians are quite within your rights to chose whether you accept 7 or 8 or 9.

How many is the truth? How many are the final and decisive authority? If you cannot tell me even this then how can you insist that the substance of my faith means nothing because I have been taught 3 instead of 7 or 8 or 9.

How many ecumenical councils are there Linus? And what of those who disagree with you in your own communion?

PT
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« Reply #68 on: February 03, 2004, 05:13:25 PM »

If I acknowledge the OO as Orthodox, then I must admit that the Church has "branches" or different denominations and is not one.

That's not necessary at all. I don't believe in branches. Either the EO is Orthodox in faith and I must therefore do all I can to work for the reconciliation of all Orthodox who are already the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church though burdened with human weakness and division between men. Or else the EO is not Orthodox in faith and is therefore not the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

As the theologians and bishops who have participated in the dialogue from both sides have come to understand, though often maligned by those who prefer polemics and division:

"we have now clearly understood that both families have always loyally maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken continuity of the apostolic tradition, though they have used Christological terms in different ways. It is this common faith and continuous loyalty to the Apostolic Tradition that should be the basis for our unity and communion."

Does ROCOR cease to be the Church because of human divisions even though it has loyally maintained the Apostolic Tradition? Did Rome cease to be Orthodox because it seperated from the communion of the East many times? These things are the human aspect of the Church and a sign of our weakness, just like overbearing bishops, the persecution of fellow christians and centuries of misunderstanding and disunity. But if the Apostolic faith is manitained then human weakness can be overcome and the unity of the Church manifested. So I cannot say that the EO has ceased to be the Church just because of human weakness, if the faith has been preserved.

We could imagine two Orthodox missionaries setting off by boat, and a storm seperates them and they are washed up on different shores. Both are successful and their mission is blessed and their congregations flourish. But neither missionary is aware that the other has survived, nor is there any possibility of communion on the human level. Have two seperate churches been formed simply because they have no human contact, or is there a real, mystic communion since both communities maintain the same authentic Apostolic faith?

The OO believed it was necessary to wall ourselves off from heresy in the distant past, not only that, we faced severe persecution designed to exterminate our Orthodox community and which caused tens of thousands of deaths. But having walled ourselves off from what we believed was heresy we have not departed from the Orthodox faith and are pleased to have discovered that now we are able to bring the walls down which have preserved us through unremmitting persecution for 1500 years we find that those we thought had fallen into heresy and from whom we sought to preserve ourselves have also preserved that same faith.

Branches? Not at all. We are the same Church.
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« Reply #69 on: February 03, 2004, 05:42:17 PM »

Quote
peterfarrington: those who prefer polemics and division

In which group you evidently include me.

I do not "prefer polemics and division," but I do believe in facing facts.

Those who would avoid polemics and division should confess the full Orthodox faith as expressed in her ecumenical councils. Part of that faith is in the authority of the Church and the legitimacy of those councils.

If one professes to believe the content of the councils then there should be no obstacle to the acceptance of the councils themselves, except perhaps pride and a real preference for polemics and division.

Quote
peterfarrington: The OO believed it was necessary to wall ourselves off from heresy in the distant past, not only that, we faced severe persecution designed to exterminate our Orthodox community and which caused tens of thousands of deaths. But having walled ourselves off from what we believed was heresy we have not departed from the Orthodox faith and are pleased to have discovered that now we are able to bring the walls down which have preserved us through unremmitting persecution for 1500 years we find that those we thought had fallen into heresy and from whom we sought to preserve ourselves have also preserved that same faith.

That is the OO version of events.

Quote
peterfarrington: Branches? Not at all. We are the same Church.

Wishful thinking.

You pretend there are no differences and that we are all in communion with one another.

That is not the case.

The OO left the Church in the fifth century.

They were not separated by accident.

Sorry if that sounds harsh.

One cannot remain OO as the OO stands today and be in the Church, not if the EO pov is the correct one.

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« Reply #70 on: February 03, 2004, 05:45:57 PM »

If one professes to believe the content of the councils then there should be no obstacle to the acceptance of the councils themselves, except perhaps pride and a real preference for polemics and division.That is the OO version of events.Wishful thinking.

How many ecumenical councils do you accept Linus, you still haven't answered. Why will you not accept the 8th or the 8th and 9th ecumenical council?

PT
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« Reply #71 on: February 03, 2004, 06:05:59 PM »

Those who would avoid polemics and division should confess the full Orthodox faith as expressed in her ecumenical councils. Part of that faith is in the authority of the Church and the legitimacy of those councils.

But if the EO Church can't even get the number of councils she herself recognises straight, then what?  If the number is settled, then what is it?  It may come across as harping on a point to some, but I think this is a legitimate question that needs to be answered.  Does anyone have any definitive information regarding how many councils the EO recognise?
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« Reply #72 on: February 03, 2004, 06:09:10 PM »

You must also take account of the statements of these various modern Patriarchs and synods. They also seem to disagree with you Linus. Are they closet heretics?

Patriarch Ignatios IV, Orthodox Church of Antioch and the OO Patriarchs of the Middle East

"While reflecting once more on the deeply-rooted inner unity of faith existing between our two families of Churches, we rejoice in realizing how much we have advanced in our rediscovery and in the growing consciousness among our people of that inner unity of Faith in the incarnate Lord.

Attempts by theologians of both families aimed at overcoming the misunderstandings inherited from the past centuries of alienation towards one another have happily reached the same conclusion that fundamentally and essentially we on both sides have preserved the same Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, in spite of diverse formulations and resulting controversies."

His Holiness Petros VII and Pope Shenouda III:

"The Holy Synods of both the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa have already accepted the outcome of the official dialogue on Christology between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, including the two official agreements: the first on Christology signed in June 1989 in Egypt and the second also on Christology and on the lifting of anathemas and restoration of full communion signed in Geneva 1990, in which it is stated that "In the light of our agreed statement on Christology..., we have now clearly understood that both families have always loyally maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken continuity of Apostolic tradition". It was agreed to have mutual recognition of the sacrament of Baptism, based on what St Paul wrote, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph 4:5)

For those mentioned reasons, the Holy Synods of both Patriarchates have agreed to accept the sacrament of marriage which is conducted in either Church with the condition that it is conducted for two partners not belonging to the same Patriarchate of the other Church from their origin. Both the Bride and the Groom should carry a valid certificate from his/her own Patriarchate that he/she has a permit of marriage and indicating the details of his/her marriage status up to date.

Each of the two Patriarchates shall also accept to perform all of its other sacraments to that new family of Mixed Christian Marriage."

Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch and his synod:

"In localities where there is only one priest, from either Church, he will celebrate services for the faithful of both Churches, including the Divine Liturgy, pastoral duties, and holy matrimony. He will keep an independent record for each Church and transmit that of the sister Church to its authorities."

"All the meetings, the fellowship, the oral and written declarations meant that we belong to One Faith even though history had manifested our division more than the aspects of our unity."

"Every endeavor and pursuit in the direction of the coming together of the two Churches is based on the conviction that this orientation is from the Holy Spirit, and it will give the Eastern Orthodox image more light and radiance, that it has lacked for centuries before.

Having recognized the efforts done in the direction of unity between the two Churches, and being convinced that this direction was inspired by the Holy Spirit and projects a radiant image of Eastern Christianity overshadowed during centuries, the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch saw the need to give a concrete expression of the close fellowship between the two Churches, the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Eastern Orthodox for the edification of their faithful."



 
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« Reply #73 on: February 03, 2004, 06:11:02 PM »

Quote
-½ Last Edit: Today at 05:06:45 PM by Mor Ephrem -+

Hey!!!! How come you get to correct your spelling?

PT
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« Reply #74 on: February 03, 2004, 07:41:38 PM »

Hey!!!! How come you get to correct your spelling?

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Dude, he's an Administrator.  He can do whatever he wants.
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« Reply #75 on: February 04, 2004, 08:19:27 AM »

How many ecumenical councils do you accept Linus, you still haven't answered. Why will you not accept the 8th or the 8th and 9th ecumenical council?

PT

You only accept three.

As I have said before and will repeat ONCE AGAIN, I was taught that there are seven ecumenical councils.

Some Orthodox recognize eight or nine, but apparently that recognition is not universal.

I do not deny that those councils are ecumenical. I just do not know whether they are or not.
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« Reply #76 on: February 04, 2004, 08:27:52 AM »

But if the EO Church can't even get the number of councils she herself recognises straight, then what?  If the number is settled, then what is it?  It may come across as harping on a point to some, but I think this is a legitimate question that needs to be answered.  Does anyone have any definitive information regarding how many councils the EO recognise?    

You may have a point.

The Orthodox doctrine on how a council becomes a council is rather vague.

As I understand it, a council is ecumenical when it is accepted as such by the whole Church.

How does that happen?

What is the process?

How long does it take?

If the whole Church must accept it, what constitutes "the whole Church"? We know Ephesus 431 and Chalcedon 451 both resulted in sizeable schisms.

If the marks of the true Church are that she is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, how does Orthodoxy measure up to the first standard, that of unity?

How does Orthodoxy measure up on that score if the OO are counted as "Orthodox"?
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« Reply #77 on: February 04, 2004, 08:37:24 AM »

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peterfarrington: You must also take account of the statements of these various modern Patriarchs and synods. They also seem to disagree with you Linus. Are they closet heretics?

I was aware that the Antiochians have been communing Non-Chalcedonians.

That is an interesting development but may represent only an aberration.

The rest of the Orthodox Church has not followed the Antiochian example.

I do not have the article before me, but didn't the Orthodox Church of Georgia recently reject some sort of dialogue with the OO?

I am at present very busy and do not have a lot of free time to spend here on anywhere else on the internet looking things up.


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« Reply #78 on: February 04, 2004, 08:43:07 AM »

But if the EO Church can't even get the number of councils she herself recognises straight, then what?  If the number is settled, then what is it?  It may come across as harping on a point to some, but I think this is a legitimate question that needs to be answered.  Does anyone have any definitive information regarding how many councils the EO recognise?    

Why does everything have to be black or white? Historically the church has changed positions on issues and acceptance of writings, cannons, etc.

We don't have a Pope, so it will always be this way.

I think this is a POSITIVE, not a negative.
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« Reply #79 on: February 04, 2004, 08:56:51 AM »

Why does everything have to be black or white? Historically the church has changed positions on issues and acceptance of writings, cannons, etc.

It's Linus who is painting things black and white. He says that unless a person calls the seven councils ecumenical he is a heretic whatever his actual faith is. But he isn't able to state how many ecumenical councils there are. This is an important matter.

If he does not call the 8th and 9th ecumenical then he is no different to an OO who does not call the 4-7th ecumenical. It doesn't matter why he doesn't accept the 8th and 9th, according to his logic Orthodoxy requires that exactly the right number of councils are called ecumenical.

Either all the people I noted are wrong or he is.

He can't have it both ways. Rigour towards the OO and laxity towards the EO.

PT
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« Reply #80 on: February 04, 2004, 09:03:02 AM »

Please understand, that I was not pointing to any specific post or opinion. I only used Mor's post as a quote because I thought it was in line with my post.

Everyone is entitled their opinion and I don't think that any of us can say that their opinion is the correct one.

Each of us has to take what the "physical" Church gives us, but then through prayer, studying of the Fathers, and Church history must reach their own "truth".

And don't call me a Protestant! This is the advice/teaching I have received from my Priest.
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« Reply #81 on: February 04, 2004, 09:03:24 AM »

Some Orthodox recognize eight or nine, but apparently that recognition is not universal.

I do not deny that those councils are ecumenical. I just do not know whether they are or not.

If you don't call them ecumenical then you do not consider them ecumenical. The EP seems to recognise at least 8 ecumenical councils, is he wrong as well? The recognition of the Chalcedon is not universal, but your position is that if a council is not recognised by some people then it is because they are outside the church. If you do not recognise the 8th and 9th then how are you not outside of the church by your own definition? Otherwise, like the RC's, these patriarchs, bishops, theologians and writers who count 8 and 9 have erroneously added to the real number of ecumenical councils.

I recognise 3, you recognise 7, but if there are 9 then how is your position OK? The RC recognise 21, does that make them better than both of us?

You can't have it both ways. If a strict number of councils must only have their teachings accepted but must be called by the word ecumenical for a person to be sure that they are Orthodox then either you are not Orthodox because there are 8 or 9, or the EP is not Orthodox because he counts at least 8.

Or maybe you are wrong on the main point, and after all it is what is believed and the substance of faith which counts and the categorisation of historical events is secondary.

PT
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« Reply #82 on: February 04, 2004, 09:05:19 AM »

Please understand, that I was not pointing to any specific post or opinion. I only used Mor's post as a quote because I thought it was in line with my post.

Everyone is entitled their opinion and I don't think that any of us can say that their opinion is the correct one.

Each of us has to take what the "physical" Church gives us, but then through prayer, studying of the Fathers, and Church history must reach their own "truth".

And don't call me a Protestant! This is the advice/teaching I have received from my Priest.

I'm not poking at you, I normally agree with most of what you say. Smiley

I believe things are rarely as black and white as people would like to make out.
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« Reply #83 on: February 04, 2004, 09:07:30 AM »

I believe things are rarely as black and white as people would like to make out.

Certainly not in the history of the Church.

The key is reading the history. Reading is always the key!
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« Reply #84 on: February 04, 2004, 09:19:37 AM »

Agreed. There are too many websites with 'potted' and biased histories based on secondary information or even just on other websites. I always find it illuminating to read primary materials and I've really made an effort with my French because many of the most useful writings from my own tradition are in Syriac or French and I'm not going to get round to learning Syriac this side of eternity.
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« Reply #85 on: February 04, 2004, 09:32:28 AM »

If you don't call them ecumenical then you do not consider them ecumenical. The EP seems to recognise at least 8 ecumenical councils, is he wrong as well? The recognition of the Chalcedon is not universal, but your position is that if a council is not recognised by some people then it is because they are outside the church. If you do not recognise the 8th and 9th then how are you not outside of the church by your own definition? Otherwise, like the RC's, these patriarchs, bishops, theologians and writers who count 8 and 9 have erroneously added to the real number of ecumenical councils.

I recognise 3, you recognise 7, but if there are 9 then how is your position OK? The RC recognise 21, does that make them better than both of us?

You can't have it both ways. If a strict number of councils must only have their teachings accepted but must be called by the word ecumenical for a person to be sure that they are Orthodox then either you are not Orthodox because there are 8 or 9, or the EP is not Orthodox because he counts at least 8.

Or maybe you are wrong on the main point, and after all it is what is believed and the substance of faith which counts and the categorisation of historical events is secondary.

PT

I am EO. You are not.

The Church has NOT declared that there are eight or nine ecumenical councils. The Church recognizes seven.

That there are some very highly-placed prelates and others who believe there are eight or nine does not make for EO dogma.

The fact that I said I do not know whether those two additional councils are ecumenical or not does not amount to a denial of their ecumenicity. It is rather an admission of ignorance on that subject.

The Church has not yet declared that we must recognize eight or nine ecumenical councils. When she does, I will defer to her wisdom and her teaching charism.

In the meantime, various patriarchs, bishops, priests, and others are free to hold their private opinions.
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« Reply #86 on: February 04, 2004, 10:34:34 AM »

The Church has not yet declared that we must recognize eight or nine ecumenical councils. When she does, I will defer to her wisdom and her teaching charism.

In the meantime, various patriarchs, bishops, priests, and others are free to hold their private opinions.

This is where your position falls to pieces.

If the 'opinions' of your patriarchs and bishops is not the teaching of the church then what is.

How do you know there are 7 councils? It cannot be because it has been confirmed by an ecumenical  councils since you do not accept an 8th council which could have confirmed it, or a 9th which would have been necessary to confirm that the 8th was ecumenical. But of course that would require a 10th and and 11th and an nth into infinity to confirm the previous one which would be needed to confirm the previous one.

What Orthodoxy does rely on is the teaching authority of her patriarchs and bishops.

Yet you deny this and say that when this authority teaches something you are free to consider it an opinion.

What you are describing is not Orthodoxy, it is only your understanding of Orthodoxy. You have got them confysed and you reject even the teaching of your own patriarchs and bishops when it disagrees with the description of Orthodoxy you have created. In your understanding you seem free to ignore the teaching of your bishops and make up your own mind how many ecumenical councils there are.

If you cannot tell me why there is a freedom in Eastern Orthodoxy to confess a variable number of ecumenical councils but there can be no freedom for anyone else then you will not persuade me that your position - not Eastern Orthodoxy which is completely different - does not have many holes in it.

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« Reply #87 on: February 04, 2004, 12:10:19 PM »

Well, I don't think you have demonstrated that all of the Church's patriarchs and bishops acknowledge eight or nine ecumenical councils, have you?

Bishop Ware's book, The Orthodox Church, acknowledges only seven. In fact, Chapter Two is entitled, "The Church of the Seven Councils," and begins with the following quote from John II, Metropolitan of Russia (1080-89):

"All profess that there are seven holy and Ecumenical Councils, and these are the seven pillars of the faith of the Divine Word on which He erected His holy mansion, the Catholic and Ecumenical Church" (p.18).

In the widely respected Russian Orthodox catechism entitled, The Law of God, the author, Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy, writes:

"There have been seven Ecumenical Councils in the true Orthodox Christian Church . . ." (p. 426).

Stanley Harakas, in his book, The Orthodox Church: 455 Questions and Answers, begins an answer to a question regarding the possibility of a new ecumenical council as follows:

"As you may know, the last recognized Ecumenical Council of the Church was held in 787, though other councils have been called, have taken place, and have a measure of authority" (p.110).

There a couple of other citations I could make, but I have run out of time. I will make them later, when I have time.

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« Reply #88 on: February 04, 2004, 12:41:10 PM »

This just adds to the difficulty. It is clear that the 8th and 9th have been received as ecumenical by many of your patriarchs, bishops and theologians. The fact that you can add voices who count only 7 illustrates the problem of your apporach. You have insisted that the exact number of councils must not only be believed as to their substance but also categorised using the word ecumenical. Yet the EO cannot agree.

This should show that your apporach is defective. Either 9 councils are ecumenical and you must call the latter two ecumenical or not be Orthodox (according to your position) or else there are 7 councils and 2 others have been erroneously, and indeed heretical declared which are not in fact ecumenical.

Or maybe it is not as you say it is at all and patriarchs and bishops and theologians are able to distinguish the content of a council from its categorisation.

PT
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« Reply #89 on: February 04, 2004, 01:53:09 PM »

The point is that the Church has not yet declared that there are eight or nine ecumenical councils, but she has declared that there are seven of them.

You accept only three and belong to a sect which separated itself from the Church in the middle of the fifth century.
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« Reply #90 on: February 04, 2004, 04:37:31 PM »

When has she declared that there are seven? Using which organ?

The Patriarchs of Constantinople, Jerusalem and Antioch have declared there are 8. Which other organ other than the voice of the hierarchs exists to gainsay them?

For the rest, this is just wasting words. Everything you say has an analogue in the OO so its pointless saying it. I strive hard not to descend to polemics but I am sensing a frustration in my spirit that I don't want to feed. I think I'll go do something positive and find some people to communicate and dialogue with.
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« Reply #91 on: February 04, 2004, 04:44:52 PM »

Quote
peterfarrington: I think I'll go do something positive and find some people to communicate and dialogue with.

Who's trying to stop you?
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« Reply #92 on: February 04, 2004, 05:03:52 PM »

The point is that the Church has not yet declared that there are eight or nine ecumenical councils, but she has declared that there are seven of them.

But who is "The Church" in this case?  In the one EO Church, one can hear various bishops and, evidently, local Churches (reference was made somewhere in this thread or elsewhere to the official website of a particular Church confessing eight or nine, I forget which) confess variously seven, eight, or nine councils as ecumenical.  How would "the Church" declare a definitive number of councils?    

Quote
You accept only three and belong to a sect which separated itself from the Church in the middle of the fifth century.

I think you are wrong, but you are certainly entitled to hold this opinion, and for the sake of argument, I will assume this myself.  Tell me, what is necessary for us to rectify this situation?  Certainly, since we have the Orthodox Faith in Christological matters (you yourself found nothing heretical in Peter's confession of faith some time ago, IIRC), the only thing left is to recognise the remaining ecumenical councils, according to the EO position, right?  But how many are there?  I may be mistaken in this perception, but it seems "Greeks" are more likely to recognise eight or nine, while "Russians" only seven.  And yet, you remain in full communion.  So I wonder why it is that you insist the OO absolutely recognise as ecumenical the post-431 councils as ecumenical, when it is not clear how many of those councils there were.  You say seven; others say nine.  I suppose you could say that the one thing all EO agree on is the status of the first seven, and so that is the only "necessary" amount needed for reunion, but then what about the other two?  If you all can be in full communion now while variously recognising seven, eight, or nine, why can't we continue to recognise three, while agreeing with the content of the other four, five, or six?  Obviously in the former case, the content of the faith is the same; why does the latter not also imply the same?  Or is there something indeed heretical with our confession?  This is the only case I can think of where it might actually be necessary for EO to demand we recognise a particular council(s): in order to refute heresy.  So where is the heresy in the OO confession?  

I'm beginning to wonder how easy it will be to dialogue with the EO if they don't have important things like this settled for themselves.  I suspect there will always be those who are against EO-OO reunion because we still don't recognise the correct number of councils (8/9), assuming we recognise seven.  What if we go with nine?  Does anyone know where "the (EO) Church" has definitively stated the number of ecumenical councils that it recognises?  Is there even such a number?  It's funny how traditionalist EO on the internet go on about how the "heretical Non-Chalcedonians" won't submit to the ecumenical councils, but if a "heretical Non-Chalcedonian" asks how many there are in the Eastern Orthodox Church, there seems to be no agreement.  How can one dialogue in this situation?        

+++

http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/synodschart.html

Mentions not only nine ecumenical councils, but a Pan-Orthodox Synod which "called itself Ecumenical".  

http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/dragas_eighth.html

At least eight?  

http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/8-9synods.html

At least nine?
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« Reply #93 on: February 05, 2004, 09:39:02 AM »

Mor Ephrem -

You raise some legitimate points.

It seems that the real differences between the EO and OO are not Christological (and never were) but ecclesiological.

Conciliarism is a central tenet of EOxy.

I don't see how one can miss that.

Yet the very strength of EOxy - the autonomy of its local churches - is also its weakness, in that EOxy lacks a regular central authority that can speak for the Church.

The only central authority the EOC recognizes is a council of the whole Church, which can declare which of the other councils are ecumenical and therefore authoritative.

But can it declare itself ecumenical and authoritative?

Obviously, no, at least not with any certainty of acceptance.

What then?

Of what value are its decrees?

This is where conciliarism grows a bit weak and vague. The consensus seems to be, at least from what I have read, that one must wait for however long it takes - perhaps hundreds of years - before the light dawns and the Church agrees that a particular council is indeed ecumenical.

This seems to be regarded as something of a mystery rather than as a clearly defined process.

It leaves us sure of only one thing: the past.

But the past, while providing the foundation for present action, cannot answer all present questions with enough specificity to prevent conflicts and solve problems in the here and now.

Because we cannot know whether or not a council is really ecumenical until its "mystery" resolves itself, we seem to be left without an authoritative voice in the present.

Patriarchs and bishops can speak with authority, but we know they can err and have erred in the past.

It can be argued that we all know what the Apostolic Deposit of Faith is, and that the Church is infallible when she speaks in accordance with it.

But that is a circular argument, because obviously one must assume up front that he knows what the Deposit is in all its particulars.

Such knowledge has obviously not prevented major schisms in the past and may not prevent them in the future.
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« Reply #94 on: February 05, 2004, 11:36:20 AM »

How is conciliarism not a central tenet of the OO?

On what do you base this latest accusation? The rest of your post is interesting, but why stick in another jab?

And in fact Christology is the central reason for the human divisions between us. What is becoming clear is that over a period of some years between 431 and 553 the majority position among the Chalcedonians, and of course it is anachronistic to speak of Chalcedonians before 451, became centered on a more Cyrilline locus.

Therefore after 553 it should have been possible for a reconciliation to take place based on Constantinople II, but Chalcedon and persecution got in the way. Chalcedon needed Constantinople II to explain some of the ambiguities.

By that time both sides had taken entrenched positions and were no longer listening to each other. That is why Severus of Antioch, my dear patron, was accused of being a Nestorian and a Eutychian at the same time, an accusation dismissed as bogus by Fr John Romanides, Sellers, Grillmeier and many, many more - and me.

Christology was always key. But it is only now that we are able to start listening to each other, or those of us that will listen. And we find that a difference of terminology does not mean a difference of faith.

As to the ecclesiological issues, well they remain. How can a council be considered to have been received when it was rejected by half the Church? The questions that should be asked are 'what do those who reject it find most objectionable and why?' and 'what is required for us (Chalcedonians) to explain how we understand the council'. A polemical exchange of slogans is neither Orthodox nor Christian as we stand at this unparralleled opportunity which God has given for understanding and reconciliation.
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« Reply #95 on: February 05, 2004, 12:12:53 PM »

This is where conciliarism grows a bit weak and vague. The consensus seems to be, at least from what I have read, that one must wait for however long it takes - perhaps hundreds of years - before the light dawns and the Church agrees that a particular council is indeed ecumenical.

This seems to be regarded as something of a mystery rather than as a clearly defined process.

It leaves us sure of only one thing: the past.

But the past, while providing the foundation for present action, cannot answer all present questions with enough specificity to prevent conflicts and solve problems in the here and now.

Because we cannot know whether or not a council is really ecumenical until its "mystery" resolves itself, we seem to be left without an authoritative voice in the present.

Ah.  But then Peter's question is a good one.  Chalcedon was a council rejected by a good portion of the Church.  And it wasn't rejected because Oriental Orthodox reject conciliarity (a ridiculous notion!), but because of Christological concerns.  If those Christological concerns are eliminated now (because both sides have come to realise that the other is saying the same thing, albeit differently), and if conciliarity wasn't a problem either, then how is Chalcedon ecumenical?  It was not received by the whole Church, even now after these fifteen hundred years or so.  I suppose that if the Oriental Orthodox accept it, it could become truly ecumenical at that point, but how is it ecumenical now?  Of course, the same could be said about the later EO councils as well.  

The only thing that I can see that would justify the EO position that Chalcedon is an ecumenical council now is to say that the OO are heretics and thus outside the Church.  But if they were/are not (and we seem to be in agreement on that), then what?  If they are not heretics, then they are surely in the Church,  and the rejection of Chalcedon by a good portion of the Church, I would think, renders it not ecumenical, at least for now.  

As you say, we can only really be sure of one thing: the past, and that is why I think the OO position makes more sense.  We confess the faith of the Holy Fathers of the Three Sacred, Holy, and Ecumenical Councils of Nicaea, Constantinople, and Ephesus.  Substantially, it is the same faith which the EO confess, even in their later councils.  But are those later councils ecumenical?  Can't be sure of that, since the whole Church hasn't accepted them as such.  So for now, there's only Three we can be sure of.  When and if the later councils are accepted as ecumenical by the whole Church, then they will be ecumenical.    But as I see it, the burden of proof is on the Eastern Orthodox who insist on their post-431 councils being recognised as ecumenical to demonstrate how they are such now.
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« Reply #96 on: February 06, 2004, 01:58:50 PM »

You two are reading things into what I wrote.

I never said conciliarism is not important to the OO. Frankly, I do not know whether it is important to the OO or not.

Personally, I do not see that Christology - other than a misunderstanding of it - was ever the real issue between the OO and the EO.

The Egyptians rejected Chalcedon because they viewed it as an affront to their national pride through its deposition of their Patriarch of Alexandria, Dioscorus. The Egyptian rejection of Chalcedon was a rejection of Greek hegemony in the Church and harks back to a long history of internecine squabbling and plotting between Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople, with plenty of guilt to go around for all three.

Chalcedon is good Christology and contains nothing heretical. The charge that it can be used to justify Nestorianism is ridiculous and was trumped up to provide religious grounds for offense and schism.

To say that half the Church rejected Chalcedon is, I believe, a gross exaggeration.

Even if that were true, how much of "the Church" rejected Nicea I?

How many who called themselves Christians rejected Ephesus 431?

How many of the ecumenical councils have been received right away by all Christians?

Any of them?

The fact that Christology was not really the issue is illustrated by the OO rejection of early EO overtures toward reunion.

The Fifth Council was the Emperor Justinian's attempt to placate the OO and bring them back into the Church.

If Christology was really the problem, that should have done the trick.

But it didn't . . . because the Copts and other OO did not like the Byzantines and by that time had their own church going.

Wish I had more time. There is a lot more I could say.

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« Reply #97 on: February 06, 2004, 02:44:16 PM »

Linus7,
As much as I am sympathetic to the "Oriental Orthodox" and wish not to brow-beat them, your post above is historically very accurate. PT is also accurate in much of what he says. Perhaps you both are talking past each other?
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« Reply #98 on: February 06, 2004, 03:46:46 PM »

Linus is just plain wrong. I'm afraid his posts are not historically accurate at all.

I have read a great many of the writings of the OO Fathers from the 5th-7th centuries and the deposition of St Dioscorus is not an issue at all. The issue is always, in these writings, that Chalcedon leaves the way open for Nestorianism. This seems to me to be a fact, despite the actual Christology of the majority of Easterns at the time, since it is a matter of historical fact that Chalcedonian monks in Constantinople DID keep a feast of Nestorius, and the Three Chapters were received almost universally in the West such that as soon as Vigilius started showing any willingness to oppose them almost all the bishops of the West, and his own personal deacon who later became Pope Pelagius excommunicated him.

It is also a plain fact that for 100 years after the condemnation of the Three Chapters by the non-Chalcedonians those who follwoed Chalcedon did not see any heresy in those documents and teachers, yet when they came to examine them they said that the heresy was plain to see and an affront to all Christians.

Whatever Chalcedon was meant to do it is a plain fact of history that a great many bishops, priests and people believed that the teachings of Theodoret, Theodore and Ibas were consistent with Chalcedon.

I have just purchased a three volume set of writings by the leading bishop of North Africa who wrote strongly supporting the Three Chapters and excommunicating Vigilius. He was a strong supporter of Chalcedon. He considered, as did his fellow bishops who joined in excommunicating Vigilius, that Chalcedon not only allowed these things but had ecumenically received them.

It is plain wrong to say that Dioscurus was ever the issue.

Linus has not read enough history at all. If he had he would know why the OO rejected Chalcedon and why they continued to insist that Chalcedon needed to be dealt with. If he was interested he could ask. There is nothing more irritating than being told what I believe when it is patently false. It means that my opinion doesn't matter at all. Nor that of my fellow Orthodox.

Linus fails to deal with the hundreds of thousands of OO Christians killed by the Byzantines. Of course that had an effect, but throughout the writings of St Severus, even when he had been driven from Antioch and was threatened with having his tongue pulled out, the issue of Dioscorus was not raised. Even when a large proportion of the Alexandrian Synod had been killed it was not an issue with St Timothy either. In fact his writings are full of efforts to deal eirenically with Chalcedonians.

The Alexandrian Church has suffered persecution from Byzantines and then from Muslims for 1500 years. It is to the credit of the Alexandrians that they do not mention the great suffering caused by Byzantine Chalcedonians - but I need to now in the face of revisionist history. Why did the Alexandrians welcome the Arabs who freed them from the persecution of their fellow Christians? Such treatment created a separate jurisdiction, it was the only way to survive efforts to exterminate the Church.

But the cause of the division was Christological, never to do with St Dioscorus.

For the rest I am afraid I don't care what Linus thinks any more. I find his approach the same as I'd expect from a member of ROAC. I feel just now I'd rather see a reconciliation with Roman Catholicism based on Orthodox truth if the majority of the EO think like him. I shall try my hardest not to participate in this discussion any more, especially as Great Lent is soon upon us.

I love the EO very much, but we don't need reconciliation to be Orthodox and if a reconciliation isn't wanted then I guess we'll have to carry on as we are.
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« Reply #99 on: February 08, 2004, 02:19:13 AM »

Quote
peterfarrington:
Linus is just plain wrong. I'm afraid his posts are not historically accurate at all.

No, Linus disagrees with peterfarrington, and that is the problem peterfarrington has with Linus' posts.

Linus has a degree in history and is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the international honor society for historians.

Quote
peterfarrington: I have read a great many of the writings of the OO Fathers from the 5th-7th centuries and the deposition of St Dioscorus is not an issue at all. The issue is always, in these writings, that Chalcedon leaves the way open for Nestorianism.

What did you expect them to write?

"We started a schism for political reasons and because we don't like Greeks"?

Chalcedon does not leave "the way open for Nestorianism."

To say that it does is a pretext.

Quote
peterfarrington: This seems to me to be a fact, despite the actual Christology of the majority of Easterns at the time, since it is a matter of historical fact that Chalcedonian monks in Constantinople DID keep a feast of Nestorius, and the Three Chapters were received almost universally in the West such that as soon as Vigilius started showing any willingness to oppose them almost all the bishops of the West, and his own personal deacon who later became Pope Pelagius excommunicated him.

If Nestorius had some devoted loyalists in Constantinople that is not surprising. After all, he was Patriarch of Constantinople.

But anyone who would keep a feast to him cannot be described as a "Chacledonian" anymore than someone who would celebrate Arius could be called a Trinitarian or a true subscriber to Nicea I.

Quote
peterfarrington: It is also a plain fact that for 100 years after the condemnation of the Three Chapters by the non-Chalcedonians those who follwoed Chalcedon did not see any heresy in those documents and teachers, yet when they came to examine them they said that the heresy was plain to see and an affront to all Christians.

Chalcedon does not endorse or approve the Three Chapters.

The human beings Theodoret of Cyrus and Ibas of Edessa were found to be Orthodox.

Theodoret was the author of the Formula of Reunion that was signed by St. Cyril himself.

Dredging up the Three Chapters in order to publicly condemn them was the brainchild of the Emperor Justinian, who hoped that by so doing he could placate the Monophysites and bring them back into the Church.

Quote
peterfarrington: Whatever Chalcedon was meant to do it is a plain fact of history that a great many bishops, priests and people believed that the teachings of Theodoret, Theodore and Ibas were consistent with Chalcedon.

I think you greatly exaggerate the importance of the Three Chapters.

Had they been as influential as you seem to think, Nestorius would have never been condemned.

Quote
peterfarrington: I have just purchased a three volume set of writings by the leading bishop of North Africa who wrote strongly supporting the Three Chapters and excommunicating Vigilius. He was a strong supporter of Chalcedon. He considered, as did his fellow bishops who joined in excommunicating Vigilius, that Chalcedon not only allowed these things but had ecumenically received them.

He must not have read Chalcedon.

It's Christology is plainly stated and renders Nestorianism impossible.

Quote
peterfarrington: It is plain wrong to say that Dioscurus was ever the issue.

Really?

The riots in Egypt following the deposition of Dioscorus, they were inspired by the "latent Nestorianism" of Chalcedon, then?

The Orthodox bishop who was torn to pieces by the mob when he attempted to ascend the chair of the Alexandrian patriarchate, that was because he was cauight reading the Three Chapters?

Quote
peterfarrington: Linus has not read enough history at all.

Translation: Linus disagrees with me and I don't like it.

I don't get my history from the BOC web site or the Coptic Church, at any rate.

Quote
peterfarrington: If he had he would know why the OO rejected Chalcedon and why they continued to insist that Chalcedon needed to be dealt with. If he was interested he could ask. There is nothing more irritating than being told what I believe when it is patently false. It means that my opinion doesn't matter at all. Nor that of my fellow Orthodox.

The rejection of Chalcedon was largely political, ethnic, and cultural and only partly theological.

I never said anything about what you believe.

I was talking about the original reaction to Chalcedon.

Quote
peterfarrington: Linus fails to deal with the hundreds of thousands of OO Christians killed by the Byzantines.

I do not approve of the persecution of anyone because of his religion.

Persecuting the OO was wrong.

But it doesn't make their schism right by default.

Quote
peterfarrington: Of course that had an effect, but throughout the writings of St Severus, even when he had been driven from Antioch and was threatened with having his tongue pulled out, the issue of Dioscorus was not raised. Even when a large proportion of the Alexandrian Synod had been killed it was not an issue with St Timothy either. In fact his writings are full of efforts to deal eirenically with Chalcedonians.

Severus became OO Patriarch of Antioch in 512, some 61 years after Chalcedon, and he was a Syrian, not an Egyptian.

Besides, what would you expect him to write?

What would you expect Timothy to write, as well?

"The reason I am in schism is because I don't like Greeks"?

Quote
peterfarrington: The Alexandrian Church has suffered persecution from Byzantines and then from Muslims for 1500 years. It is to the credit of the Alexandrians that they do not mention the great suffering caused by Byzantine Chalcedonians - but I need to now in the face of revisionist history. Why did the Alexandrians welcome the Arabs who freed them from the persecution of their fellow Christians? Such treatment created a separate jurisdiction, it was the only way to survive efforts to exterminate the Church.

Religious persecution is always shameful.

The Anabaptists were persecuted, too.

Does that make them right?

The Byzantine Empire was never truly Christian, not in its government, anyway.

BTW, what I have presented is not "revisionist history."

It is mainstrean history.

What you are presenting is a partisan spin on history, with all of the guys in the white hats in your corner, and all of the bad guys on the other side.

Quote
peterfarrington: But the cause of the division was Christological, never to do with St Dioscorus.

Not true.

For the Egyptians Dioscorus was extremely important.

The supposed Christological problems with Chalcedon were and are trumped up.

Quote
peterfarrington: For the rest I am afraid I don't care what Linus thinks any more. I find his approach the same as I'd expect from a member of ROAC.

I disagree with you, and that's the problem.

If the members of ROAC also disagree with you, then in that I'm with them.

Otherwise you associate me with ROAC in a feeble attempt to insult me.

Oh well.

Quote
peterfarrington: I feel just now I'd rather see a reconciliation with Roman Catholicism based on Orthodox truth if the majority of the EO think like him.

I am all for the reunion of Christians in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

But you seem to want that through our agreement to your version of history.

Ain't gonna happen.

Why?

'Cause you're wrong.

Quote
peterfarrington: I shall try my hardest not to participate in this discussion any more, especially as Great Lent is soon upon us.

That sounds good to me.

Quote
peterfarrington: I love the EO very much, but we don't need reconciliation to be Orthodox and if a reconciliation isn't wanted then I guess we'll have to carry on as we are.

And I don't really have anything against the OO, either.

If you carry on as you are then there will not be any reconciliation.

You cannot expect us to want a reconciliation based on an admission of your correctness and our error.

We would have to lie to do that.

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« Reply #100 on: February 08, 2004, 06:17:39 PM »

In official capacity....

I would like to remind all posters to remain charitable to one another and that OrthodoxChristianity.net does not take sides on the issue of Chalcedonians vs. Non-Chalcedonians but rather looks at them as two sides of the Orthodox family as per the recent 30 years' worth of dialogue and joint statements.

As part of that, if someone in group A says "point X concerns us," then someone in group B should not say, "no, X should not concern you."  Charity demands that we take the other side's concerns at face value and try to answer them.

At the same time, we must also not try to make one side exclusively the "heroes" and the other side "the victims"...certainly both sides contributed to violence against the other.

The discussion can be quite frutiful if it is carried out with respect and love...

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« Reply #101 on: February 08, 2004, 06:25:38 PM »

speaking as a participant:

Peterfarrington: the idea that the Copts helped and welcomed the Muslims is simply a fable and has been disproven; cf. Hall, Traditional Egyptian Christianity.  The attitude was more of a "so what?"

Also, you should not have compared Linus7 to ROAC. That was very unfair.

Linus7: you are treading close on ad hominem as well; so what if you have a PhD, that doesn't make you right necessarily.  Perhaps it would help if you could tell us what you what sources make you believe that the issue is purely ethnicity?  I am finding that explanation less and less credible as the partisans in the debate were all Greeks not Egyptians or Syrians.  Christology was certainly a problem and to say it wasn't the issue or even the main issue seems skewed to me.

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« Reply #102 on: February 08, 2004, 07:33:14 PM »

speaking as a participant:

Peterfarrington: the idea that the Copts helped and welcomed the Muslims is simply a fable and has been disproven; cf. Hall, Traditional Egyptian Christianity.  The attitude was more of a "so what?"

Also, you should not have compared Linus7 to ROAC. That was very unfair.

Linus7: you are treading close on ad hominem as well; so what if you have a PhD, that doesn't make you right necessarily.  Perhaps it would help if you could tell us what you what sources make you believe that the issue is purely ethnicity?  I am finding that explanation less and less credible as the partisans in the debate were all Greeks not Egyptians or Syrians.  Christology was certainly a problem and to say it wasn't the issue or even the main issue seems skewed to me.

anastasios

The majority of Christians in pre-Muslim Egypt were probably not Greeks-outside of Alexandria, there probably wern't many Greeks at all. So, Patriarch so and so might have been Greek, but his followers wern't.

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« Reply #103 on: February 08, 2004, 07:43:50 PM »

I think this exchange does confirm a view that I've held for a while-that outside of the ecumenical old boys club between the EO and OO, there's quite a bit of opposition within EOxy, because there is a perception that we (EOxy) are making all the concessions, and the OOs aren't having to move an inch.

anastasios-I think you're going to the opposite extreme and trying to downplay the nationalism (of a type) of the Copts. Eastern Christian collaboration with Islam isn't debunked by any means-Bat Y'eor's works come to mind, as well as St. John Damascene's grandfather, who I believe surrendered a city to the Muslims, or even the Chalcedonian Patriarch of Alexandria, who prematurely surrendered Alexandria.

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« Reply #104 on: February 08, 2004, 07:57:29 PM »

Boswell,

You are right that the majority of the populace was not Greek outside of the cities but how many of the people in the countryside were even Christian yet? Full Christianization did not occur until perhaps as late as 500-600 AD, I have read in various places.

I'm not denying that nationalism did eventually come into it but I don't think it's the main point.

As far as collaboration pro/con; I think that to say they openly helped the Muslims is debatable and moreso were concerned with saving their own lives (which is fine with me).  Some authors make it out like the Copts went out and welcomed the Muslims which certainly didn't happen.

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« Reply #105 on: February 08, 2004, 09:08:30 PM »

I think this exchange does confirm a view that I've held for a while-that outside of the ecumenical old boys club between the EO and OO, there's quite a bit of opposition within EOxy, because there is a perception that we (EOxy) are making all the concessions, and the OOs aren't having to move an inch.

Interesting, because I've never seen it as EOxy making concessions; from my vantage point, I've thought the reverse was the case.  You guys insist on the recognition as ecumenical of post-431 councils as a condition for reunion.  What concessions does EOxy see itself as making in this dialogue?
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« Reply #106 on: February 10, 2004, 09:06:11 AM »

Interesting, because I've never seen it as EOxy making concessions; from my vantage point, I've thought the reverse was the case.  You guys insist on the recognition as ecumenical of post-431 councils as a condition for reunion.  What concessions does EOxy see itself as making in this dialogue?  

Honestly, I don't mean any offense, but, if we EO truly believe that the EOC is the Church, why would we see any need for concessions?

Could it be possible that very sincere EO view concessions on the ecumenical councils and on the saints as a departure from the truth and therefore too big a sacrifice?

After all, there have been reunion attempts before, and most of them involved EO compromises that only resulted in internal strife and confusion; they failed to reconcile the OO.

A thing that I find rather perplexing is the refrain, "It [the schism] was all about Christology."

One usually finds that accompanied by the statement, "We all
share the same faith."

Well, how can the schism really be about Christology if we all share the same faith?

Tell me the schism was about a misunderstanding over various christological terms, tell me it was about politics, ethnicity, and culture; then I can understand it when someone says, "We all share the same faith."

But if the schism was over real differences in Christology, then we must not share the same faith.

Or perhaps the OO maintain that we did not share the same faith at the time of the schism (451), but that we do now?

If that is the case, who changed?

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« Reply #107 on: February 10, 2004, 03:56:58 PM »

Honestly, I don't mean any offense, but, if we EO truly believe that the EOC is the Church, why would we see any need for concessions?

Could it be possible that very sincere EO view concessions on the ecumenical councils and on the saints as a departure from the truth and therefore too big a sacrifice?

I am not saying that EOxy should see a need to make any concessions, nor am I denying that there are very sincere EO who "view concessions on the ecumenical councils and on the saints as a departure from the truth and therefore too big a sacrifice".  Boswell mentioned a perception in the EO world that the Eastern Orthodox Church is the one making all the concessions in the EO-OO dialogue, and the Oriental Orthodox "aren't having to move an inch".  All I want to know is what concessions has the Eastern Orthodox Church made in this dialogue?  To my knowledge, while the results of the Joint Commission have been accepted by the Oriental Orthodox Churches, they haven't even been accepted/received by all of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, let alone "EOxy" making concessions on the councils and/or saints.  I am only curious as to what concessions Eastern Orthodox men and women see their own church as making in order to further along the dialogue, while the Oriental Orthodox are seen as not reciprocating in this process.
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