Here is an attempt to reply to posts from GreekChef on two threads.
Whether you believe your Protestant tradition to be divine or not, you still abide by it (and yet object to us abiding by our tradition)
No, I don’t object to your abiding by it: I just think it’s mistaken! But we have discussed why at enormous length elsewhere.
Why would you want to draw on an authority and sculpt your beliefs around it if it is not divine? And if it is not divine, does that not make it a tradition "of men"
God indwells his church by his Spirit, and it would be folly to be at variance with the entire church. In one sense it probably is a “tradition of men”, but not in the pejorative sense with which that phrase was used of the Pharisees. It has been built up by men, indwelt by the Spirit and seeking to walk humbly with their God, but not endowed with infallibility.
there are those who "create God in their own image" even though they don't want to or intend to do exactly the opposite, simply because they are left to their own devices, picking and choosing which "tradition" they will follow.
God has not given us liberty to pick and choose: we agree on that. He has called us to submit to the truth he has revealed.
I see lots of places in Scripture where we are shown that the Church is authoritative in acting.
Yes - but we’ll be at risk of wandering far from the point if we start discussing how and when a church acts authoritatively, for example in appointing officers or disciplining errant members. Let us not go down that line here, or it might be a tangent from a tangent.
nowhere do I see authority given to the Scriptures apart from the Church
Is that different from what I am saying? It is the nature of the church’s tradition of teaching that we are discussing, not the rightness of there being a body of doctrine held in common.
To me it makes perfect sense that God's authority is communicated through the Scriptures and enacted by the Church.
I’m not sure what you mean by “enact”, but I suspect I would agree with you if I did know.
So the real question becomes... Who do I trust to interpret and teach ... Do I trust myself ... sitting alone ... Or do I trust the entire body of the saints and the Church
I agree that is indeed the real question, but your either/or is false, for there is a third. (In fact your either/or is impossible, unless one regards one denomination (sorry!) as “the entire body of the saints and the Church”). I do not of course trust myself; but the entire Church is not in agreement. Whilst not in any way excluding other denominations from the sphere of God’s grace and working, I must - nay, we all must - place our trust in only a part of God’s entire church.
you are speaking of FAITH regeneration, which I pointed out is constant for us. It's once for you (or at least NOTABLY once), but happens over and over for us, and is sacramental when accompanied by confession. What you are speaking of with infant baptism is BAPTISMAL regeneration. ... baptismal regeneration happens once, renewal of our faith and commitment to Christ over and over.
Our Lord used the analogy of being born (again - i.e. a second birth after our physical one). He didn’t say, “Ye must be born again... and again... and again...” Yes - we believe it happens once, as does the physical birth on which the analogy draws.
what makes the faith regeneration which accompanies your baptism different from that which we experience over and over every time we re-commit ourselves to Christ? For us, they are the same. Any time we sin we are separating ourselves from Christ. ... Why the significance of the initial for you? ... Or do you all not experience the constant re-commitment to Christ the way we do?
Let us look at it from the angle of a different biblical analogy, being a child of God. When I am born again (say, between Easter and summer, 1963, in my case) I become a child of God. When my son Matthew was born (in 1977) he became my son. Happily we remain on good terms, but let us assume for a moment that he and I fall out: he offends me in some serious way, and relations break down. He is still my son. That cannot be undone. Now, when I sin (alas, all too often, wretch that I am) I displease God, or as scripture also has it, grieve his Spirit: relations may break down - not that God stops loving me, but the felt, conscious contact between us is dimmer or interrupted. But I do not cease to be his child. When I repent and confess my sins, I am cleansed and forgiven, and the consciously enjoyed relationship is restored. But I am not born again again (that is not a misprint). So presumably what you experience, or describe, as being born again again, (and again), we might call being forgiven, restored. The hymn comes to mind: “Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven: / Who like me his praise should sing?”
Now let us not press analogies too far: I have steadfastly refused on the forum to get drawn in to a discussion as to whether there is any possibility of a true Christian losing his or her salvation. Please do not take my paragraphs as containing any comment on the much-debated question whether final, irreversible apostasy is possible. Also, I am not saying there is never a “dark night of the soul” for those who walk with God. These are different questions.
Maybe this answers my question... why you place such importance on that initial conversion?
Because without being born again, one is not a child of God. I am sure you agree with that, though not about when and how it happens.
Why is it so important to you all when the process of salvation begins?
It isn’t - or at least, in some sense it isn’t. It must begin, obviously, or it wouldn’t exist. This is true also of your baptismal regeneration. But allow me a further analogy: imagine two couples. The first meet in their late teens, fall madly in love, and marry. Later I meet them and, out of friendly interest, ask, “When did you first know you loved each other?” They could probably give a pretty precise answer.
The other couple grew up next door to each other, were childhood playmates, and simply always assumed and knew that this was for life. In time, they marry each other. When did they know they loved each other? Impossible to say - it was a love with no conscious beginning.
The important question is not, “When did you start to love one another?” but “Do you love one another now?”
Most couples can give a time; probably not all. Most Evangelicals can say when they were born again; not all. What matters is not when, but that it has happened.
To put it another way, what exactly is it that you are "assured" of
That we are God’s children, by faith, through sheer unmerited grace. He has adopted us into his eternal family.
a conversion, hearing a call from God and heeding it. As we Orthodox would say, "each person must suffer the faith for themselves," meaning we must individually hear God's call and heed it.... I guess there is a moment in time when we first heed God's call
This at least seems very much like saying the same sort of thing as I am saying, but in different terms. I suspect if this message were coming loud and clear from Orthodox churches (say, in Albania - and I hope indeed that it will) many of us Vangies would feel a good deal less inner compulsion to evangelise there.