Hello! I am new to the boards and have been studying Orthodoxy for about 8 months now. Personally i subscribe to Sola-Scriptura but dont believe it conflicts with Holy tradition.
Dear Seafra, in addition to the Sola Scriptura article on this website, I would highly recommend the one by Fr. John Whiteford, a former Solar Scriptura Protestant himself: http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/tca_solascriptura.aspx
This is the best article I have read on the subject.
This means the same church, unified by the Holy spirit, that named the canon of scripture and comprised at least 5 of the Ecumenical Councils would (or at least COULD) have been practicing the Traditions outlined within these Liturgies. Then as subscribing to Sola-Scritura I would have to by authorities of the scriptures join in these traditions correct?
Well, Sola Scriptura is itself a teaching of man that is not found in the Scriptures themselves. If you were truly Sola Scriptura you would end up not being Sola Scriptura! For instance, the Scriptures say that the Church is “the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15).” The Lord said he would send the Spirit who would guide the Church “into all truth (John 16:13).” The Lord said to the Church through his apostles, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age (Matt 28:20)” as well as “I will establish my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it (Matt 16:18).” All of these words of Holy Scripture are affirmed in the Orthodox criteria that, as St. Vincent of Lerins stated, the true faith is “that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all.” http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/vincent.aspx
Roman Catholicism and all of Protestantism have departed significantly from the unified faith of the first Christian millennium, from that which was held in common by Christians since Apostolic times. It is this common faith that is the criterion of truth, rather that subjective interpretations of Scriptures.
But what puzzles me is why orthodoxy doesn't just prove itself in Scriptures? I understand you don't feel the need to and shouldn't have to, but if its possible why not you could i believe convert more protestants.
Certainly some very good attempts have been made to present Orthodoxy to Protestants of a Sola Scriptura background. The Orthodox Study Bible (OSB) is an attempt at this. Fr. Peter Gilquist’s book Becoming Orthodox may also be helpful in this regard. However, in the end, heresy cannot be used to prove Orthodoxy. The criteria of Sola Scriptura, if one is committed to it unquestionably, regardless of whether anyone before Luther every held such an erroneous position, is itself unOrthodox and therefore cannot lead a person to Orthodoxy. This one doctrine, as Fr. John Whiteford points out so well, is the source of all the divisions and heresies in Protestantism so one cannot really learn the truth before parting from this foundation of falsehood. So, if you want to learn about Orthodoxy, first take a long hard look at Sola Scriptura to see if you are applying the right criteria for finding the truth. A defective compass will get you lost and a falsified map cannot lead you home.
I just cant understand why more Orthodox don't use scriptures more in dealing with Protestants. One instance in the Greek Orthodox church i have been attending the Issue of hell came up and i hold the same belief of the Orthodox church that hell is in the presence of God but the Father explained it to me without any reference to Scripture.
Keep in mind, since the Church has never taught or believed Solar Scriptura, Orthodox priests may not all be equipped to provide Scriptural justification for everything. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t Scriptural justification for a given belief, but for Orthodox Christians it is enough that the Church, “the pillar and ground of the truth” has affirmed certain things in world-wide (Ecumenical) councils and the saints who have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit have held certain things in common since the time of the Apostles. We believe that the Holy Scriptures are all inspired writings because that is what the Church has said in Ecumenical Councils and what many of our Fathers have affirmed, and not for any other reason. Did the Bible assemble itself? Did it translate itself? Did it drop town from heaven in full form with a note from God saying “do that which is written here, nothing more, nothing less?” On what authority do we believe that the Scriptures are inspired in the first place if we do not believe in the authority of the Church who testified of this inspiration?
The Orthodox Church has loved and cherished the Holy Scriptures since the time of the Apostles, but we understand their purpose and how they are to be applied. One of our beloved saints, St. Seraphim of Sarov, read the New Testament from beginning to end every week. Some of our monks on Mt. Athos read all four gospels every day. At certain times in the past, one had to know the Psalms by heart before one could become a bishop. Some strict monasteries required monks to memorize the entire New Testament and the Psalms before they could be officially tonsured a monk. Some of our saints memorized both Old and New Testaments. Our church services are filled with Psalms and quotes from the Scriptures. However, these Scriptures were given to the Church, compiled by the Church, handed down and preserved by the Church, and the Church instructed the faithful on how to rightly apply the Scriptures. Those outside of the Orthodox Church who read the Scriptures do so outside of the entire living context which brings to life the dead letter.
Vitamins are essential to our bodily health, yet eating is the primary way for us to take in the vitamins and other nutrients that the body requires. Vitamins are essential, but to take a multivitamin and abandon eating is utter foolishness. When a food is eaten which contains vitamins, the other constituents that make up this food enable the body to absorb the vitamins for the benefit of bodily health, whereas when vitamins are taken by themselves many of them are not absorbed but rather pass through the body or are destroyed by the stomach acids with no actual benefit to the person’s health. This is the difference between reading the Scriptures as a member of the Orthodox Church and reading them as a non-Orthodox person.
I pray that your search will be profitable. Remember, the Lord promises that those who seek find. Be patient and proceed with much prayer, fasting, and humility, and the God who enlightened the centurion Cornelius will give light to your mind as well.