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Author Topic: What I still can't get my head round  (Read 36480 times) Average Rating: 0
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David Young
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« Reply #540 on: March 25, 2011, 04:44:03 PM »

certainly Denominations don't hold all knowledge of salvation, but The Church does.

We almost agree. Where we disagree is whether the Orthodox Church = the Church.

(I am assuming that by "knowledge of salvation" you really mean the fulness of God's revelation to man.)
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« Reply #541 on: March 25, 2011, 06:36:30 PM »

certainly Denominations don't hold all knowledge of salvation, but The Church does.

We almost agree. Where we disagree is whether the Orthodox Church = the Church.

(I am assuming that by "knowledge of salvation" you really mean the fulness of God's revelation to man.)

Of course you don't. It also depends on what you mean by "The Church".

What we don't mean is that we are better or smarter people for one thing. Just a few days of looking at this forum proves that.

He is what we mean:

 If you read scripture it is plain that The Church holds certain guarantees that those outside the Church don't have.

The Church is not simply a very good choice among many choices.

It is in fact not just a worldly instutution but litterally what makes God present on Earth and the means of Salvation for mortal men.

The Orthodox Church can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it has existed from the establishment of The Church on the day of Petacost.

If you doubt that, then this would be the first step of any investigation you make. It is simply a matter of historical anaylsis and not something one must take on Faith.

If that is True, that the Orhtodox Church is the Historical Church, then you must therefore demonstrate that if fell so far into sin and error that it lost the Scriptural guarantee that the Doors of Hades shall not prevail against her.

This is the common Protestant view. The Orthodox Church  must have fallen into deep heresy at some point.

This would be the second step of any investigation. Did the Historical Church fall from Grace? When did this happen ? What was done ? And is it really possible to overthrow Scripture and  lose the speical grace promised to the Church?

I personally think that is a tall order. It is why so many Protestants convert to Orthodoxy. They read history, come and see the Liturgy and conclude that they were badly miss informed in the past when they were taught that The Church dissolved or went away or no longer exists or never existed.     



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« Reply #542 on: March 25, 2011, 07:07:45 PM »

It is why so many Protestants convert to Orthodoxy.

And we have better food. I've been to plenty of Protestant events, and none of them match the culinary skills of the Orthodox.

Not even in the same ballpark.

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« Reply #543 on: March 25, 2011, 07:13:16 PM »

It is why so many Protestants convert to Orthodoxy.

And we have better food. I've been to plenty of Protestant events, and none of them match the culinary skills of the Orthodox.

Not even in the same ballpark.

Wink

Can't say that I agree.  angel I much prefer the potlucks of my former Protestant group to the coffee hour food and once-a-year festival food in Orthodoxy. Unless there's Chicken Kiev... that would win no matter who made it.
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« Reply #544 on: March 25, 2011, 07:43:08 PM »

Can't say that I agree.  angel I much prefer the potlucks of my former Protestant group to the coffee hour food and once-a-year festival food in Orthodoxy. Unless there's Chicken Kiev... that would win no matter who made it.

Interesting. At the parish I grew up in (and currently attend) and the parish I attended in Atlanta, we had regular food-centered events. In Atlanta, we had a "community dinner" every Wed., and at my current parish, coffee hour on Sunday is filled with loads of home-made baked delights.

At a different parish I briefly attended North of Atlanta, they used to serve a full lunch with homemade borscht after Liturgy every Sunday.

Now I'm hungry.  laugh
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« Reply #545 on: March 26, 2011, 05:34:58 AM »

I've been to plenty of Protestant events, and none of them match the culinary skills of the Orthodox.

Adrian Plass thinks churches should re-write the Lord's Prayer so that it becomes, "Give us this day our daily quiche."

I know what you mean!
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« Reply #546 on: March 26, 2011, 05:39:33 AM »

If you read scripture it is plain that The Church holds certain guarantees that those outside the Church don't have.

The Church is not simply a very good choice among many choices.

It is in fact not just a worldly instutution but litterally what makes God present on Earth and the means of Salvation for mortal men.

The Orthodox Church can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it has existed from the establishment of The Church on the day of Petacost.

Agreed.

But it is a non sequitur to leap from the above to the conclusion that historicity = exclusive spiritual validity. I don't know anyone who doubts your historical claim, though perhaps there may be some. But we have debated this theme at length on other threads, and I have nothing to add to my previous posts.
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« Reply #547 on: March 26, 2011, 01:04:30 PM »

If you read scripture it is plain that The Church holds certain guarantees that those outside the Church don't have.

The Church is not simply a very good choice among many choices.

It is in fact not just a worldly institution but literally what makes God present on Earth and the means of Salvation for mortal men.

The Orthodox Church can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it has existed from the establishment of The Church on the day of Pentacost.

Agreed.

But it is a non sequitur to leap from the above to the conclusion that historicity = exclusive spiritual validity. I don't know anyone who doubts your historical claim, though perhaps there may be some. But we have debated this theme at length on other threads, and I have nothing to add to my previous posts.


But that is the entry point for candidicy for being THE Church. First you must determine if the Church is the Original Church Historically and Organizationally. Then step two (as I mentioned before) is  you have to prove that it is no longer THE Church in some way.

The only other logical alternative is to take the position that THE Church, spoken of in Scriptrue did not exist at all until Martin Luther or whomever you prefer to start with.

Did the Early Church not exist as THE Church spoken of in Scripture?

Did  the Orthodox Church including the  Roman See  not exist from the beginning?

If they did exist from the beginning, as you agreed to above, then they must have fallen into such sin as they negated the various Scriptural Guarantees for the Church.

Or you dont really believe Scripture when it is very plain spoken on the matter: "..on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it..."
 
So I repeat my observation. you must demonstrate that  either THE Chruch never existed, or show that it dissolved or show some heresy that over rides scripture.  

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« Reply #548 on: March 26, 2011, 02:42:16 PM »

If you read scripture it is plain that The Church holds certain guarantees that those outside the Church don't have.

The Church is not simply a very good choice among many choices.

It is in fact not just a worldly instutution but litterally what makes God present on Earth and the means of Salvation for mortal men.

The Orthodox Church can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it has existed from the establishment of The Church on the day of Petacost.

Agreed.

But it is a non sequitur to leap from the above to the conclusion that historicity = exclusive spiritual validity. I don't know anyone who doubts your historical claim, though perhaps there may be some. But we have debated this theme at length on other threads, and I have nothing to add to my previous posts.


Mr Young, if you will pardon me, but my research over the years basically indicates that compared to Orthodoxy Protestantism is the ultimate non sequitur.  Nothing logically follows from one position to the next, aside from the fact that once Orthodoxy is no longer the standard than any belief is open to attack.  The entire genealogy of current Protestant sects is a movement further and further from Orthodoxy, Luther followed by Calvin followed by Cranmer followed by the Separatists followed by Wesley followed by the Pentecostals followed by Joseph Smith followed by the Watchtower Society.  Calvin's disagreements with Luther made no sense in the context of the Church and the only problem I have ever seen is that each group raised one minor point of opinion to the level of major doctrine. 

To further compound matters if the original teachers of these movements were to walk into the assemblies of their modern day descendants not a one would recognize those who supposedly built upon their teachings.  Luther and Calvin both would be agonized over the lack of respect shown the Theotokos, Cranmer would order the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church excommunicated (and King Henry VIII would have her burned at the stake!), and even Joseph Smith would wonder what the heck is going on with these non-caffeine drinking, monogamous, neatly coiffed pretenders to his throne.  Perhaps only the Separatists would be pleased, but that brings to mind an old joke from my Baptist days: "What is the world's oldest denomination and it's biblical origins?"  "The Baptists, Genesis 13:9 "Separate from me.  If you go take the left then I'll take the right, or if you go to the right I will go to the left."

Meanwhile, if one of the Apostles, or St Ignatius, or St John Chrysostom walked into an Orthodox Church they would recognize the structure of both the Liturgy and ecclesiastic order and dogma as being from their day.
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« Reply #549 on: March 27, 2011, 02:44:43 AM »

Quote
Meanwhile, if one of the Apostles, or St Ignatius, or St John Chrysostom walked into an Orthodox Church they would recognize the structure of both the Liturgy and ecclesiastic order and dogma as being from their day.

BINGO!! Give the man a cigar!! What say you, David Young?
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« Reply #550 on: March 27, 2011, 10:57:32 AM »

BINGO!! Give the man a cigar!! What say you, David Young?

I say, Would Ignatius or Chrysostom recognise the giving of cigars as a proper way to express acclaim?
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« Reply #551 on: March 27, 2011, 11:58:32 AM »

BINGO!! Give the man a cigar!! What say you, David Young?

I say, Would Ignatius or Chrysostom recognise the giving of cigars as a proper way to express acclaim?

Since tobacco wasn't discovered by the Europeans until about 12 centuries later; probably not. But that has nothing to do with whether or not the Orthodox Church is THE Church of the Bible.

But back to the original point, what are your thoughts on FormerReformer's post?
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« Reply #552 on: March 27, 2011, 04:11:40 PM »

current Protestant sects ...Luther ...Calvin ...Cranmer ...the Separatists ...Wesley ...Pentecostals followed by Joseph Smith ...Watchtower Society.  

Since Hand Maiden presses me, I shall comment briefly, but not at length, for we have been over this ground rather exhaustively before. If Former Reformer thinks the Mormons and the JWs are Protestants, he is not talking about the same thing as I am. Also, unless I err greatly, the Pentecostals followed, in terms of time, the JWs and Mormons by quite a long time (1906 is their usually agreed starting date), so again I don't sense that FR is really talking about the same things as I am.

Quote
each group raised one minor point of opinion to the level of major doctrine.  

To a large extent I'd agree with that...

Quote
if the original teachers of these movements were to walk into the assemblies of their modern day descendants not a one would recognize those who supposedly built upon their teachings.

...and with that.

Quote
if one of the Apostles, or St Ignatius, or St John Chrysostom walked into an Orthodox Church they would recognize the structure of both the Liturgy and ecclesiastic order and dogma as being from their day.

I have no idea whether this is correct anent the liturgy, neither do I think it matters - though if the liturgy is that of Chrysostom (as my copies seem to tell me it is), how would Ignatius have known it? In re dogma, as I have written at great length on former posts, I think they would find rather a lot of accretions, especially Chrysostom who was later - the things you say we have pared away from the Faith, and which we say you have added to it (except of course anything already added by the time if Ignatius and Chrysostom).
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« Reply #553 on: March 27, 2011, 04:23:05 PM »

Mormons and JW's as Protestants?

Nope.
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« Reply #554 on: March 27, 2011, 04:56:02 PM »

What have Orthodox added? (Besides the iconostasis, which is a larger (improved) version of the communion rail.  Smiley
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« Reply #555 on: March 27, 2011, 05:36:32 PM »

current Protestant sects ...Luther ...Calvin ...Cranmer ...the Separatists ...Wesley ...Pentecostals followed by Joseph Smith ...Watchtower Society.  

Since Hand Maiden presses me, I shall comment briefly, but not at length, for we have been over this ground rather exhaustively before. If Former Reformer thinks the Mormons and the JWs are Protestants, he is not talking about the same thing as I am. Also, unless I err greatly, the Pentecostals followed, in terms of time, the JWs and Mormons by quite a long time (1906 is their usually agreed starting date), so again I don't sense that FR is really talking about the same things as I am.

I'll admit throwing the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses in was a little bit of hyperbole (the Mormon's more so than the JW, as Mormonism is closer akin to Islam whereas JW is just pure old-fashioned Arianism with chiliastic tendencies).

 Most of the churches called "Pentecostal" are parts of the Holiness movement, born in the early 19th century from Wesleyan/Methodist roots.  I used the name because it was more easily recognizable than "Holiness".

each group raised one minor point of opinion to the level of major doctrine.  

To a large extent I'd agree with that...


if the original teachers of these movements were to walk into the assemblies of their modern day descendants not a one would recognize those who supposedly built upon their teachings.

...and with that.


if one of the Apostles, or St Ignatius, or St John Chrysostom walked into an Orthodox Church they would recognize the structure of both the Liturgy and ecclesiastic order and dogma as being from their day.

I have no idea whether this is correct anent the liturgy, neither do I think it matters - though if the liturgy is that of Chrysostom (as my copies seem to tell me it is), how would Ignatius have known it? In re dogma, as I have written at great length on former posts, I think they would find rather a lot of accretions, especially Chrysostom who was later - the things you say we have pared away from the Faith, and which we say you have added to it (except of course anything already added by the time if Ignatius and Chrysostom).


Actually, St Ignatius would likely recognize the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom as being a shortened version of the liturgy from his day.  We have more than a few surviving liturgies (St James, still in use in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and I believe the Liturgy of St Mark is still used by a few of the Oriental Orthodox) in existence from around his period and most of them clock in at over 3 hours.  

As far as the teachings of the Church go, well, we could argue that back and forth all day.
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« Reply #556 on: March 28, 2011, 11:54:24 AM »


Actually, St Ignatius would likely recognize the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom as being a shortened version of the liturgy from his day.  We have more than a few surviving liturgies (St James, still in use in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and I believe the Liturgy of St Mark is still used by a few of the Oriental Orthodox) in existence from around his period and most of them clock in at over 3 hours.  

As far as the teachings of the Church go, well, we could argue that back and forth all day.

To add to this (my husband is an accomplished liturgist and expert on the historicity of the Liturgy-- it has become a subject of interest to me as well)...

What makes a liturgy "The liturgy of ____" is the specific prayers read during the liturgy.  The liturgy of St. John Chrysostom differs from that of St. Basil only in the wording of the prayers, not the structure or belief.  The prayers are the specific prayers, recorded from their days, that they said during the liturgy.  St. John Chrysostom was an editor of the liturgy, not the originator.  Same goes for St. Basil, and the author of the liturgy of St. James (I can't speak about the liturgy of St. Mark, though my hubby probably could-- I'll have to ask him).  The structure remains almost exactly the same (with some minor changes and some shortening, depending on which one you are talking about), and the belief, of course, is the same.  But the wording is specific to the editor.

So to answer, yes, St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, St. Ignatius, all would certainly recognize the liturgies of today.  They'd probably wonder about some of the more bizarre changes (like the addition of choirs, organs, and pews), but on the whole, they'd be right at home.

Of course, in reality, David's post really doesn't answer the issue that FormerReformer really brings up, just dances around it (as per usual).  Smiley  police 
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« Reply #557 on: March 28, 2011, 12:14:37 PM »

David's post really doesn't answer the issue ...  dances around it (as per usual). 

Tut tut! That's not true at all. What my post says is that we have discussed this all before at such length that I have nothing more to add. In re the question:


What have Orthodox added?


a search of the open and private discussion threads for the word "accretions" would probably unearth my "dancing" thoughts.
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« Reply #558 on: March 28, 2011, 12:24:01 PM »

David's post really doesn't answer the issue ...  dances around it (as per usual). 

Tut tut! That's not true at all. What my post says is that we have discussed this all before at such length that I have nothing more to add. In re the question:


What have Orthodox added?


a search of the open and private discussion threads for the word "accretions" would probably unearth my "dancing" thoughts.

That is for you to answer. What do you think the Orthodox have added?
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« Reply #559 on: March 28, 2011, 12:35:31 PM »

I have no idea whether this is correct anent the liturgy, neither do I think it matters - though if the liturgy is that of Chrysostom (as my copies seem to tell me it is), how would Ignatius have known it? In re dogma, as I have written at great length on former posts, I think they would find rather a lot of accretions, especially Chrysostom who was later - the things you say we have pared away from the Faith, and which we say you have added to it (except of course anything already added by the time if Ignatius and Chrysostom).


What they said. St. Ignatius would certainly recognize the Liturgy. As would Egeria, a 4th century Spanish nun who traveled to the Holy Land and witnessed the services of Holy Week and Pascha. The same ones that the Orthodox Church does today.
So at what point did the Church become apostate?

Also, David, you and St. Justin (103-165 AD) would disagree about the Eucharist, for one thing:
"And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist] ... For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.”
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« Reply #560 on: March 30, 2011, 08:35:59 AM »

What have Orthodox added? (Besides the iconostasis, which is a larger (improved) version of the communion rail.  Smiley

The "additions" are small practical things that developed over time, but there was never a change in the overall purpose of the liturgy or any doctrine associated with it. Some examples might be the development of vestment styles (not the introduction of vestments, only how their style developed), the use of the fans (from practical to symbolic), and little things like that. It was always heavenly worship made present on earth centered on psalms, prayer, the scripture readings, and Communion.
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« Reply #561 on: March 30, 2011, 09:34:52 AM »

What have Orthodox added? (Besides the iconostasis, which is a larger (improved) version of the communion rail.  Smiley

The "additions" are small practical things that developed over time, but there was never a change in the overall purpose of the liturgy or any doctrine associated with it. Some examples might be the development of vestment styles (not the introduction of vestments, only how their style developed), the use of the fans (from practical to symbolic), and little things like that. It was always heavenly worship made present on earth centered on psalms, prayer, the scripture readings, and Communion.

I don't believe the core elements of Christianity as delivered to the Apostles and passed on by them has changed one bit in the Orthodox Church. This includes Baptism, Confession, the Eucharist, Holy Orders and how we are to have Faith in Christ.

How some things are expressed or carried out have taken on new forms. For example, at one time confession was done before the entire congregation. Now it is done in private ( Though sometimes a Priest will stand before the Parish and make a confession. I just witnessed that).
But the core element of Confession and it's meaning and use has not changed.

Since it is also true from a purely historical analysis that the Orthodox Church is the same organization formed by the Apostles and first generations then the only conclusion I can come to is that we are The Church spoken of in Scripture.

When folks like David challenge some of these elements as not authentic, like he has with Infant Baptism, the evidence and arguments are greatly lacking. This is not because of our bias but rather stone cold analysis of the evidence and simple logic.

Rather it is the Protestant belief in things like Believers Baptism that they hold to because it makes sense to them personally, not because it is likely to have been the actual practice of The Early Church. They like to imagine themselves as a mirror of the Early Chruch, but at the end of the day they really don't seem to care all that much and prefer what is personally familiar.  IMHO the greatest thing lacking in Protestantism is an understanding the The Church and it's absolute necessity.
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« Reply #562 on: March 30, 2011, 09:52:55 AM »

When folks like David challenge some of these elements as not authentic, like he has with Infant Baptism, the evidence and arguments are greatly lacking. This is not because of our bias but rather stone cold analysis of the evidence and simple logic.

Rather it is the Protestant belief in things like Believers Baptism that they hold to because it makes sense to them personally, not because it is likely to have been the actual practice of The Early Church. They like to imagine themselves as a mirror of the Early Chruch, but at the end of the day they really don't seem to care all that much and prefer what is personally familiar.  IMHO the greatest thing lacking in Protestantism is an understanding the The Church and it's absolute necessity.

Nail on the head. Excellent.
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« Reply #563 on: March 30, 2011, 11:35:34 AM »

David's post really doesn't answer the issue ...  dances around it (as per usual). 

Tut tut! That's not true at all. What my post says is that we have discussed this all before at such length that I have nothing more to add. In re the question:


What have Orthodox added?


a search of the open and private discussion threads for the word "accretions" would probably unearth my "dancing" thoughts.


I could be wrong, but I thought some of us already checked it out on this thread(some pages back). I thought we went over some of the things you thought were accretions(from other threads).


Preacher David,


Do you believe Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Pentecostals, and Charismatics worshiped the way Saint Ignatius did way back in 110 A.D.?


 Why do you feel that Saint John Chrysostom's Liturgy was an accretion? Wouldn't it be more believable to view the way Baptists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, and Charismatics worship as accretions?   

Do you really believe that the way you worship is the way it was done back then? Why do all the ancient churches worship in a similar way? Why do Orthodox Jews worship in a similar way?

The word accretions should be pointed at the way Baptists worship.
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« Reply #564 on: March 30, 2011, 12:10:19 PM »

I just looked around on You Tube under Baptist Communion.. I wont post any of it as it would be too snarky to do so but to me their practices look like something totally inauthentic. Maybe it's just me but it appears to be as much Folk Religion as anything else. It certainly is hard to believe such a style of Worship is connected to the Early Church much less any Judaic practice.
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« Reply #565 on: March 30, 2011, 12:29:07 PM »

Preacher David,

Do you believe Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Pentecostals, and Charismatics worship[ed] the way Saint Ignatius did way back in 110 A.D.?

No.

Quote
Do you really believe that the way you worship is the way it was done back then?

No.

Quote
Wouldn't it be more believable to view the way Baptists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, and Charismatics worship as accretions?  

I think that things which "accresce" (if that's the right word - or even a word at all) are added on, extra. I was not referring to styles of worship in use in different places, cultures and ages.

In regard to the accretions we have discussed at such length before - watch my lips: "I have nothing more to add."
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« Reply #566 on: March 30, 2011, 05:54:24 PM »

After viewing several Baptist Services on You Tube I was struck by something. They appear to be making things up as they go along.
One Preacher speaking over the "communion table" ( such that it was) mentioned that it is commanded that you not partake unworthily. Okay, that sounds familiar. But then he said, you can only partake if you are absolutely certain of your salvation..

Their interior logic may be that the very Early Church had to begin somewhere which usually means trying different things as you go. The current Baptist Church appears to me to be making stuff up as they go, so they then conclude they are just like the very Early Church.

Now I know the British Baptists and different form the Southern Baptists which are different from the American Baptists who are far different from the Methodists and Anglicans etc... What a mess !!   It is ridiculous that the Orthodox Church with a consistent faith throughout the World is being accused of adding unnecessary elements to the faith.

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« Reply #567 on: March 30, 2011, 10:02:30 PM »

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Meanwhile, if one of the Apostles, or St Ignatius, or St John Chrysostom walked into an Orthodox Church they would recognize the structure of both the Liturgy and ecclesiastic order and dogma as being from their day.

BINGO!! Give the man a cigar!! What say you, David Young?

In fact, they do come to our liturgies, and I'm pretty sure they recognize them. Grin
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« Reply #568 on: March 30, 2011, 11:32:12 PM »

Quote
My most merciful and all-merciful God, O Lord Jesus Christ! In Thy great love, Thou didst come down and become flesh in order to save all. Again, I pray Thee, save me by Grace! If thou shouldst save me because of my deeds it would not be a gift, but merely a duty. Truly, Thou aboundest in graciousness and art inexpressibly merciful! Thou hast said, O my Christ: "He who believes in me shall live and never see death". If faith in Thee saves the desperate, behold: I believe! Save me, for Thou art my God and my Maker. May my faith replace my deeds, O my God, for Thou wilt find no deeds to justify me. May my faith be sufficient for all. May it answer for me; may it justify me; may it make me a partaker of Thine eternal glory; and may Satan not seize me, O Word, and boast that He has torn me from Thy hand and and fold. O Christ my Savior: save me whether I want it or not! Come quickly, hurry, for I perish! Thou art my God from my mother's womb. Grant, O Lord, that I may now love Thee as once I loved sin, and that I may labor for Thee without laziness as I once labored for Satan the deceiver. Even more, I will labor for Thee my Lord and God Jesus Christ, all the days of my life, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

This is a powerful prayer that struck me as well when I first read it in the Horologion. It is the eighth prayer of the weekday Midnight Office. It sounds so Protestant, and yet so Orthodox! There are actually many similar prayers, many of which were said by the desert fathers, but this one in particular seems to embody the whole concept nicely.

I believe the Orthodox teaching of salvation is fundamentally paradoxical from a number of perspectives. We clearly believe in salvation by faith alone, without works, and yet, we also believe that he who stops working will lose his salvation. Questions like "how much work is enough?" and "how much faith is enough?" are left unanswered.

We hold to a strong view of free will. God gives His saving grace to every single solitary person equally, and if we reject it rather than cooperate with it, that is genuinely our choice, and not God's. However, prayers often contain pleas such as "save me whether I will it or not," and "grant me repentence." Does this make us more like Arminians or Calvinists?

Orthodox Christian monastics have historically focused strongly on the experience of sorrow for sins that produces joy. This joy is part of this sorrow (which is emphatically not despair). The fathers couldn't imagine how God would forgive them, and yet they had the assurance of His forgiveness.

St. John of the Ladder writes about a place called "The Prison" is chapter five of The Ladder of Divine Ascent. Here, monks who had fallen often despaired entirely of their salvation. This was considered therapeutic. St. John also states emphatically at the beginning of his book that God's salvation shines on every man. Abba Sisoes wept on his deathbed, because he felt he had not yet repented from his sins and needed more time. He soon died, and his face glowed as his soul was taken to heaven.

There are so many paradoxes, that i think the reason it may be difficult to get an orthodox assessment of Assurance is that the Orthodox teaching just does not fit into dialectical categories!
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« Reply #569 on: March 31, 2011, 07:35:41 AM »

Quote
My most merciful and all-merciful God, O Lord Jesus Christ! In Thy great love, Thou didst come down and become flesh in order to save all. Again, I pray Thee, save me by Grace! If thou shouldst save me because of my deeds it would not be a gift, but merely a duty. Truly, Thou aboundest in graciousness and art inexpressibly merciful! Thou hast said, O my Christ: "He who believes in me shall live and never see death". If faith in Thee saves the desperate, behold: I believe! Save me, for Thou art my God and my Maker. May my faith replace my deeds, O my God, for Thou wilt find no deeds to justify me. May my faith be sufficient for all. May it answer for me; may it justify me; may it make me a partaker of Thine eternal glory; and may Satan not seize me, O Word, and boast that He has torn me from Thy hand and and fold. O Christ my Savior: save me whether I want it or not! Come quickly, hurry, for I perish! Thou art my God from my mother's womb. Grant, O Lord, that I may now love Thee as once I loved sin, and that I may labor for Thee without laziness as I once labored for Satan the deceiver. Even more, I will labor for Thee my Lord and God Jesus Christ, all the days of my life, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

This is a powerful prayer that struck me as well when I first read it in the Horologion. It is the eighth prayer of the weekday Midnight Office. It sounds so Protestant, and yet so Orthodox! There are actually many similar prayers, many of which were said by the desert fathers, but this one in particular seems to embody the whole concept nicely.

I believe the Orthodox teaching of salvation is fundamentally paradoxical from a number of perspectives. We clearly believe in salvation by faith alone, without works, and yet, we also believe that he who stops working will lose his salvation. Questions like "how much work is enough?" and "how much faith is enough?" are left unanswered.

We hold to a strong view of free will. God gives His saving grace to every single solitary person equally, and if we reject it rather than cooperate with it, that is genuinely our choice, and not God's. However, prayers often contain pleas such as "save me whether I will it or not," and "grant me repentence." Does this make us more like Arminians or Calvinists?

Orthodox Christian monastics have historically focused strongly on the experience of sorrow for sins that produces joy. This joy is part of this sorrow (which is emphatically not despair). The fathers couldn't imagine how God would forgive them, and yet they had the assurance of His forgiveness.

St. John of the Ladder writes about a place called "The Prison" is chapter five of The Ladder of Divine Ascent. Here, monks who had fallen often despaired entirely of their salvation. This was considered therapeutic. St. John also states emphatically at the beginning of his book that God's salvation shines on every man. Abba Sisoes wept on his deathbed, because he felt he had not yet repented from his sins and needed more time. He soon died, and his face glowed as his soul was taken to heaven.

There are so many paradoxes, that i think the reason it may be difficult to get an orthodox assessment of Assurance is that the Orthodox teaching just does not fit into dialectical categories!

You have summed it up perfectly. The issues of Orthodox faith/works/salvation were what held us back from converting until someone sent us this particular prayer as the answer. You say rightly, it's not "either-or" but "both-and" somehow.
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« Reply #570 on: April 04, 2011, 09:12:10 AM »


One Preacher speaking over the "communion table" ( such that it was) mentioned that it is commanded that you not partake unworthily. ... But then he said, you can only partake if you are absolutely certain of your salvation.

The phrase "absolutely certain" probably lies at the far end of the spectrum of the kinds of expression ministers use in inviting people to come to the Table. Do not forget that we (as doubtless also you) often have visitors in our services, and we feel the need to explain to them what is happening, and whether any part of it is not intended for unbelievers who may, for whatever reason, be present, and who may not, at least as yet, understand or believe it.

There is no contradiction in what the minister said, as you report it. By "partaking unworthily" I think he meant without realising what it is really all about ("you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes"), and/or coming without due repentance for sin and faith in the death which the bread and wine point us to. The idea of coming worthily would not have included any idea of having been so good over the past however long that the communicant was now worthy of himself to partake.
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« Reply #571 on: April 04, 2011, 09:13:48 AM »

This is a powerful prayer ... it may be difficult to get an orthodox assessment of Assurance is that the Orthodox teaching just does not fit into dialectical categories!

Beautifully expressed. Thank you.
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« Reply #572 on: April 04, 2011, 09:53:13 AM »


One Preacher speaking over the "communion table" ( such that it was) mentioned that it is commanded that you not partake unworthily. ... But then he said, you can only partake if you are absolutely certain of your salvation.

The phrase "absolutely certain" probably lies at the far end of the spectrum of the kinds of expression ministers use in inviting people to come to the Table. Do not forget that we (as doubtless also you) often have visitors in our services, and we feel the need to explain to them what is happening, and whether any part of it is not intended for unbelievers who may, for whatever reason, be present, and who may not, at least as yet, understand or believe it.

There is no contradiction in what the minister said, as you report it. By "partaking unworthily" I think he meant without realising what it is really all about ("you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes"), and/or coming without due repentance for sin and faith in the death which the bread and wine point us to. The idea of coming worthily would not have included any idea of having been so good over the past however long that the communicant was now worthy of himself to partake.


As I mentioned, the idea of coming to communion worthily is familiar to me and proper. The proclamation of the Protestant doctrine of assurance of Salvation was of course necessary in terms of guests I suppose.

 My point was that the whole affair seemed very distant from the real thing. A little of this, a little of that, not too much of the other. It struck me as a distant echo of the Eucharist. It seemed based on loose idea's and personal preferences. It was lacking. Made me sad.     
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« Reply #573 on: April 04, 2011, 10:27:40 AM »


In regard to the accretions we have discussed at such length before - watch my lips: "I have nothing more to add."


OUCH!  That stings!

I will say (and this is not just directed at you, David, this is in general as well), it annoys me to no end when people on this forum say "we've already discussed that, go search for it and read what I wrote."  Here's why: This is a discussion forum.  It's not a library.  If I want to just read, I'll check out a book.  I'm here to have a discussion.  I'm here to exchange ideas, hear other people's opinions, learn from them, and grow in my own faith, and to continue the conversation as far as it will go.  And when someone new joins the discussion who was not there when I may have voiced an opinion earlier, I will voice it again so that they can also respond to it.  I don't think people should be penalized for coming in to the conversation late.  They want to have a conversation of their own, not read someone else's. 

And, because this is a discussion forum and we all care deeply about that which we are discussing, I will also say that it is VERY frustrating when someone simply cuts off the conversation and refuses to discuss more, despite the fact that there are so many questions and points you have asked/made which they have yet to respond to.  Kinda not fair, I think.

Just my $.02, though (and I'm sure it's worth less than that).
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« Reply #574 on: April 04, 2011, 10:41:11 AM »

Just my $.02, though (and I'm sure it's worth less than that).

Not at all, I think you make several good points Smiley
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« Reply #575 on: April 04, 2011, 01:27:13 PM »

If I want to just read, I'll check out a book. 

Would you like me to email to you, as an attachment, my own book on the Lord's Supper?

I cannot write more now - I'm about to go to a prayer meeting.  angel

(But I will dwell on what you say.)

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« Reply #576 on: April 04, 2011, 10:33:31 PM »


One Preacher speaking over the "communion table" ( such that it was) mentioned that it is commanded that you not partake unworthily. ... But then he said, you can only partake if you are absolutely certain of your salvation.

The phrase "absolutely certain" probably lies at the far end of the spectrum of the kinds of expression ministers use in inviting people to come to the Table. Do not forget that we (as doubtless also you) often have visitors in our services, and we feel the need to explain to them what is happening, and whether any part of it is not intended for unbelievers who may, for whatever reason, be present, and who may not, at least as yet, understand or believe it.

There is no contradiction in what the minister said, as you report it. By "partaking unworthily" I think he meant without realising what it is really all about ("you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes"), and/or coming without due repentance for sin and faith in the death which the bread and wine point us to. The idea of coming worthily would not have included any idea of having been so good over the past however long that the communicant was now worthy of himself to partake.

How did the Church Historically understand "partaking unworthily"? You talk about accretions, but isn't the understanding you just expressed above an accretion? Many of the things you thought were accretions on our side were not. Isa, myself, and plenty of others talked about what you thought were accretions on this very thread.

You want a perceived accretion......like Baptismal Regeneration, Infant Baptism, the Real Presence, Liturgy, Visible Church.....etc. on our end to bother us. But when we show that such things actually do have strong continuity and may not be an accretion, it doesn't bother you, but when we flip the table on you and look at the real accretions of your beliefs and practices in the area of Baptism, Holy Communion, Worship service, invisible church......etc. it doesn't bother you. We even showed some of the novelty that made modern evangelicals different from classical protestants. And yet that too didn't bother you, but you want what you think are accretions on our end to bother us?

Why should accretions bother us and not you? Shouldn't it work both ways?
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« Reply #577 on: April 05, 2011, 10:37:34 AM »

Many of the things you thought were accretions on our side were not. Isa, myself, and plenty of others talked about what you thought were accretions on this very thread.

You want a perceived accretion......like Baptismal Regeneration, Infant Baptism, the Real Presence, Liturgy, Visible Church.....etc. on our end to bother us. But when we show that such things actually do have strong continuity and may not be an accretion, it doesn't bother you, but when we flip the table on you and look at the real accretions of your beliefs and practices in the area of Baptism, Holy Communion, Worship service, invisible church......etc. it doesn't bother you. We even showed some of the novelty that made modern evangelicals different from classical protestants. And yet that too didn't bother you, but you want what you think are accretions on our end to bother us?

Why should accretions bother us and not you? Shouldn't it work both ways?

Nail on the head.

The so-called "accretions" attributed to the Orthodox Church, have been shown repeatedly by many participants of this forum, using both historical and Scriptural evidence, to be the actual beliefs, teachings and praxis of the historical Church and historical Christianity.
Yet actual modern accretions, such as mentioned by jnorm, have also been shown to not to be part of the actual beliefs, teachings and praxis of the historical Church and historical Christianity. As a matter of fact, in many cases, these accretions are innovations, distortions, antithetical to the teachings and praxis of the Church or even just plain wrong.
I too am puzzled by the apparent double standard. I can only conclude that the criteria by which certain accretions are acceptable while others are not is a purely personal and somewhat idiosyncratic standard. "These things are right and acceptable because I think they are, and they make sense to me."
Which is pretty much the essence of Protestantism.
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« Reply #578 on: April 05, 2011, 10:46:37 AM »

Many of the things you thought were accretions on our side were not. Isa, myself, and plenty of others talked about what you thought were accretions on this very thread.

You want a perceived accretion......like Baptismal Regeneration, Infant Baptism, the Real Presence, Liturgy, Visible Church.....etc. on our end to bother us. But when we show that such things actually do have strong continuity and may not be an accretion, it doesn't bother you, but when we flip the table on you and look at the real accretions of your beliefs and practices in the area of Baptism, Holy Communion, Worship service, invisible church......etc. it doesn't bother you. We even showed some of the novelty that made modern evangelicals different from classical protestants. And yet that too didn't bother you, but you want what you think are accretions on our end to bother us?

Why should accretions bother us and not you? Shouldn't it work both ways?

Nail on the head.

The so-called "accretions" attributed to the Orthodox Church, have been shown repeatedly by many participants of this forum, using both historical and Scriptural evidence, to be the actual beliefs, teachings and praxis of the historical Church and historical Christianity.
Yet actual modern accretions, such as mentioned by jnorm, have also been shown to not to be part of the actual beliefs, teachings and praxis of the historical Church and historical Christianity. As a matter of fact, in many cases, these accretions are innovations, distortions, antithetical to the teachings and praxis of the Church or even just plain wrong.
I too am puzzled by the apparent double standard. I can only conclude that the criteria by which certain accretions are acceptable while others are not is a purely personal and somewhat idiosyncratic standard. "These things are right and acceptable because I think they are, and they make sense to me."
Which is pretty much the essence of Protestantism.


Bingo. 
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« Reply #579 on: April 05, 2011, 05:16:46 PM »

Why should accretions bother us and not you? Shouldn't it work both ways?

Who ever said they don't? Who ever said it shouldn't?
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« Reply #580 on: April 06, 2011, 08:28:20 AM »

Just my $.02, though (and I'm sure it's worth less than that).

To offer my own paltry £0.02 in that case: the thread seems to have branched off on to a desire to discuss the Lord's Supper on the one hand and accretions on the other (though perhaps the eucharistic teachings are intended to be included among the accretions). I wrote a long time ago that I was very reluctant to enter into a discussion, which could well turn into an argument in the pejorative sense, about the Lord's Supper, as it is, or points us to, the very heart of our faith and our relationship with Christ, and as such is sacred and not a suitable locus for wrangling. You know the range of Protestant theology regarding the Supper; I know your theology about it. There is nowhere further to go on this, and argumentation would not edify either you or me, nor enhance our devotion at the Table itself.

Regarding other accretions, there are some which, to my mind, are of no deep significance, having no affect on the content of the Faith: styles of worship are one such. There are others which distort the Faith, either by having been added to it or (from your angle) having been pared away from it. Such matters would include Purgatory (on the part of the Roman Catholics), prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, the whole concept of priesthood as understood by Orthodox and Catholic, infant baptism. Most or all of these are part of Holy Tradition but are not specifically found in the scriptures. It boils down to whether one takes the scriptures as the final and sufficient authority for all matters of faith and practice, or whether one holds to a wider Tradition: for which, see the appropriate threads.
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« Reply #581 on: April 06, 2011, 08:46:13 AM »

Such matters would include...prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, the whole concept of priesthood as understood by Orthodox and Catholic, infant baptism. Most or all of these are part of Holy Tradition but are not specifically found in the scriptures.

Obviously, as you know, dependence on the "Scriptures alone" is un-Scriptural, for the Scriptures themselves command that we follow the written word *and* tradition of the apostles (2 Thess 2:15).  In any case, we believe the teachings you question are firmly established from the Scriptures themselves, though Protestants have discarded an important book of the Scriptures pertaining to prayers for the dead (2 Maccabees 12:43-44).  The problem is not with Orthodox teachings or with the Scriptures themselves, but with your false understanding of Scripture - its meaning, function, content, origin, and role in the life of the Church and the personal life of Christians.       
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« Reply #582 on: April 06, 2011, 09:26:03 AM »

In any case, we believe the teachings you question are firmly established from the Scriptures themselves, though Protestants have discarded an important book of the Scriptures pertaining to prayers for the dead (2 Maccabees 12:43-44).  The problem is not with Orthodox teachings or with the Scriptures themselves, but with your false understanding of Scripture - its meaning, function, content, origin, and role in the life of the Church and the personal life of Christians.      

Indeed. There are many examples of Scripture being used to prove this, that or the other, and often those things are not only contradictory but diametrically opposed. For example, infant baptism. There are references in Scripture that would uphold the practice. Others can also make a decent case against. As with the understanding of the Eucharist.
So what is one to do? Surely either infant baptism is either ok or not. There isn't much middle ground.
We must be careful, since we are also commanded by Scripture to uphold the traditions and not lean entirely upon our own understanding.
Where there are conflicting opinions or interpretations, we can look for guidance to the teachings, beliefs and praxis of historic Christianity.
Thus, we see that infant baptism and the Real Presence, for example, were taught and practiced by Christians and the Church from the earliest times.
Anything not supported by Scripture and Holy Tradition is simply one's own personal opinion/understanding/interpretation.
It seems to me to be a wee bit intellectually dishonest to pretend otherwise.
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« Reply #583 on: April 06, 2011, 10:28:58 AM »

Just my $.02, though (and I'm sure it's worth less than that).

To offer my own paltry £0.02 in that case: the thread seems to have branched off on to a desire to discuss the Lord's Supper on the one hand and accretions on the other (though perhaps the eucharistic teachings are intended to be included among the accretions). I wrote a long time ago that I was very reluctant to enter into a discussion, which could well turn into an argument in the pejorative sense, about the Lord's Supper, as it is, or points us to, the very heart of our faith and our relationship with Christ, and as such is sacred and not a suitable locus for wrangling. You know the range of Protestant theology regarding the Supper; I know your theology about it. There is nowhere further to go on this, and argumentation would not edify either you or me, nor enhance our devotion at the Table itself.

Regarding other accretions, there are some which, to my mind, are of no deep significance, having no affect on the content of the Faith: styles of worship are one such. There are others which distort the Faith, either by having been added to it or (from your angle) having been pared away from it. Such matters would include Purgatory (on the part of the Roman Catholics), prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, the whole concept of priesthood as understood by Orthodox and Catholic, infant baptism. Most or all of these are part of Holy Tradition but are not specifically found in the scriptures. It boils down to whether one takes the scriptures as the final and sufficient authority for all matters of faith and practice, or whether one holds to a wider Tradition: for which, see the appropriate threads.


But Protestants follow their Traditions as well. Do you meet on Sunday? Is the sermon 90% of the service or 80% or 10 %? Do you wear suits or just tee shirts ? Are your Pastors Women? Do you perform marriages and where did you find the vows that are made?

Do you believe Christ has two natures and how are they contained within him?

Holy Tradition is simply our experience and the working out of difficult questions as they arise. You cant escapes it. However the experience of our Church is recounted in Holy Scripture.Our Church is mentioned there and given certain guarantees. But you seem to discard those parts. So you dont really follow Scripture alone. You follow your personal idea's and try to back-fill rationalizations for them from the Bible. Idea's first , Scripture second or not at all.

Nearly every great heresy was defended from Scripture.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2011, 10:47:35 AM by Marc1152 » Logged

Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
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« Reply #584 on: April 06, 2011, 11:52:10 AM »

Okay, David.  I'm going to respond and tell you what I really think.  And I'm going to say it honestly and openly because I trust that you know that I love and respect you as a brother in Christ.  And I feel I have to speak the truth in love.

To offer my own paltry £0.02 in that case: the thread seems to have branched off on to a desire to discuss the Lord's Supper on the one hand and accretions on the other (though perhaps the eucharistic teachings are intended to be included among the accretions). I wrote a long time ago that I was very reluctant to enter into a discussion, which could well turn into an argument in the pejorative sense, about the Lord's Supper, as it is, or points us to, the very heart of our faith and our relationship with Christ, and as such is sacred and not a suitable locus for wrangling. You know the range of Protestant theology regarding the Supper; I know your theology about it. There is nowhere further to go on this, and argumentation would not edify either you or me, nor enhance our devotion at the Table itself.
With all due respect and love, personally, I think this is a cop-out.  I'm certainly capable of having a respectful discussion about the Eucharist without losing my temper or being disrespectful.  I don't need someone else to patronizingly make that determination for me.  And if someone else on the board is incapable, forget them!  Don't respond! 

Quote
Regarding other accretions, there are some which, to my mind, are of no deep significance, having no affect on the content of the Faith: styles of worship are one such.
So interpretive dance, praise bands, and fake healings are okay in worship?  I don't think so.  But I'd love to hear more of why you think this.

Quote
There are others which distort the Faith, either by having been added to it or (from your angle) having been pared away from it. Such matters would include Purgatory (on the part of the Roman Catholics), prayer to the saints, prayer for the dead, the whole concept of priesthood as understood by Orthodox and Catholic, infant baptism. Most or all of these are part of Holy Tradition but are not specifically found in the scriptures. It boils down to whether one takes the scriptures as the final and sufficient authority for all matters of faith and practice, or whether one holds to a wider Tradition: for which, see the appropriate threads.
Around and around we go, where we stop, nobody knows...
I'll try again though, in the hopes that someday one of us may say something that "clicks," so that you finally truly hear and understand what we are saying.  Because thus far, it doesn't seem to have penetrated, which indicates that there is still more to discuss.

These things are found in the Scriptures.  You simply choose not to see them. 

Further, you have eliminated the historical context of the Scriptures (meaning the support found in the contemporary Christian writers of the time-- the writers which were accepted by the Christian community-- like our good friend Ignatius, whose icon now resides on the wall above my desk, thanks to our discussions about him.  I pray that he intercedes and enlightens us).  It's like praising Hitler for whatever scientific discoveries he may have made regarding the human body and ignoring the fact that they were made via experiments done on Jews whom he also killed during that little event known as the HOLOCAUST!  Historical context.  Important.  By eliminating it, you are left to interpret the Scriptures as you see fit, as your "heart" guides you, or as any writer whom you feeel is inspiring guides you.  This is the path that leads to error and heresy. 

Put it this way.  Even after the almost two years we have been discussing, I still simply don't understand.  I don't understand how one can just flat out deny the historical teachings of the Church as if they don't exist!  I don't understand how one can just ignore what the Church taught in the first millenium of Her existence as though it doesn't matter, and just make up what one wants to follow instead and call it Christianity!  I simply don't understand how one can deny the words of a writer who has been historically proven to be a student of one of the twelve (not to mention a leader in the early Church who everyone back then accepted as knowing what the blazes he was talking about), and just pretend that he was a crackpot who didn't know what he was talking about, and instead follow someone who came 1500 years later and had NO connection with the apostles who teaches something RADICALLY different!  I just don't get it.  I just don't understand how one can willlingly follow a methodology of doing theology which leads to the likes of Mormons and JW's (please note, I said the METHODOLOGY, I'm not comparing the actual theology of Protestants to that of Mormon's and JW's).  The methodology is the same-- discard the historical, traditional teachings of the Church which are proven to go back all the way to the apostles themselves, in favor of another interpretation, a novel interpretation, your own interpretation, your own way.  Same methodology.  And bad methodology equals bad results.

So I guess for me, there's still lots to discuss.  Cause I just don't get it.  Sorry if I sound so cynical.  My husband is out of town and there has been little sleep in our house the past two nights.  My nice filters are down today.

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