, post #42.
sorry for missing that much, and sorry for the post being too long. And, I don't know how much time and possibility I will have for future discussions, sorry.
I think you are a conjurer, for what is not explicated in that verse, you produce!
The thing that people should not add to what God says is also specified in Revelation 22.18-19.Yes, but if God foretells an awful future for those who add here or subtract to anything of the Book of Revelation, does it mean that adding to or subtracting from other book of the Bible, God would not take that into consideration (in the bad meaning for us)? At least that was my logic.
Specifically this charges that one not add to the book of Revelation penned by John.
Where is your exegesis? You add your own human logic to the book of Revelation now to get a meaning from it which is not explicitly given there? Why is that not a violation of your own principles, and a violation of the warning mentioned in the book of Revelation to boot? Where *exactly* are these "other books of the Bible" you refer to mentioned in this passage you suggest refers to them? The passage warns us from adding to the words of that prophecy, no more no less. End of story! Or if not, *prove* the passage *specifies* anything whatsoever about other books of the Bible.
My extension in logic
should have not been made. It was how I understood those verses. Thanks for pointing that out.
The other verses should have been enough.
The word of God should be taken as the word of God while the word of man must be taken as the word of man.Fine and good, but the word presented by a man -before/apart from having being written down- can be the word of God (Jn 11:50-51: "You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish. He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation" etc.). In Jn 11:50-51 the word of God, through a man, apart from scripture, came to the Jewish high priest by virtue of his God-appointed office. Did such a biblically attested process cease to occur at a particular point in time? On your own principle, you must prove prophetic cessationism (no word of God after the close of the canon). While you're at it you can prove from the Bible the canon was even predicted to become closed since you claim to believe nothing not explicitly stated in the Bible. If you cannot do this you are a living paradox.
I'm afraid you do not understand properly some issues.
1. The fact that the high priest prophecied because
of his office does not mean that everything that the high priest said or done was from God. Instead, it is shown that God said a
prophecy through him. If you are convinced that all that a man in God-appointed office does or says is correct, you should read Matt. 26.3-5, Matt. 26.59-68, Acts 4.5-21, Acts 5.17-18.
2. I was not talking about written/spoken. If a man comes and he says that God told him to say X or Y and indeed
he is a prophet (not a false prophet, who speaks from himself, perhaps believing that what he says must be from God) then the word of God should be taken as the word of God.
about "On your own principle, you must prove prophetic cessationism (no word of God after the close of the canon)." - I do believe that God has once finished giving all we needed to know (commandments, teachings) to be able to worship Him. Otherwise it doesn't sound logic - as if He wouldn't want us to be able to, or that the knowledge to be given is infinite.
The Bible also says:
1. God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
2. has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
So "these" days belong to which days? As I see from verses 1 and 2, the days God has spoken to us. And so, I do not expect God to bring new knowledge to people by prophets (e.g. if one comes now, 2 millenia later and brings a completion to the gospels, claiming that God told him, I cannot believe him).
While you're at it you can prove from the Bible the canon was even predicted to become closed since you claim to believe nothing not explicitly stated in the Bible.
I might not understand pretty well what you need and what you believe. What people decide to do in time and what are their decisions do not concern me. We are warned in 2 Timothy 4.3-4 that:
3. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
And that was said 2 millenia ago! So if now everyone would make another canon, it is not my concern.
I do not believe the books of the Bible just because people have decided to make a decision which of them to consider the word of God and which not.
Ephesians 5.23 “Christ is the head of the church”, so the real Christians don’t need any other head, or heads to rule over them.Your claim that Christians "don't need any other head" but Christ isn't taught in Eph 5:23. The WHOLE verse, in fact (not just the part you chopped in half), teaches precisely the opposite:
Ephesians 5:23 "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church"
The wife in view is a Christian, and has another head other than Christ.
So your claim, “Eph 5:23 'Christ is the head of the church', so the real Christians don’t need any other head, or heads to rule over them" is explicitly contradicted by the very verse you cite to prove that. You are taking away from the words of scripture, and violating your own principle which prohibits that.
It's not me who is wrong here, but you. And that's because you do not see the woman and the man as you should: Biblically, they are not two, but one body. Read Matthew 19.6.
11. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
12. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
So, because the woman and the man are one, she is not a two-headed beast. So it is wrong to say that the woman is two-headed - besides of the fact that this two-headed you claim would put the man on the same pedestal as Christ, for the woman, so she might understand that sinning because her husband asked it is ok, because it's the other head that asked her to.
So no, for the Christian (man + woman) there is only one head, which is Christ.
As far as your repudiation of the idea God wants anyone "ruling" over us, scripture trumps you once again: "The elders ... who rule ... well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching." -1 Tim 5:17 However Orthodoxy is not autocratic at all, nor does it have anything like papal supremacy in Latin Catholicism, as I will explain shortly.
I think I have given explanation on this already (about elders):
Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.
Also in 1 Timothy 5.17:
Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
It's not imposing doctrine (e.g. a council forcing everybody to obey). So this "rule" is not "forcing people" as a king does with his subjects, not commanding them because he is the chief!
I shall 'listen' to what you say about "not autocratic":
The elders, pastors, teachers, whatever, DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT to impose to people their view! The elders, pastors, teachers, whatever, DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT to impose to people their view!Yes, that is also Orthodox teaching. This is one area where Orthodox teaching is in direct opposition to Latin Catholicism. Papal supremacy is held, by most academic historians, to be a medieval innovation. Papal infallibility was not proclaimed until 1870, just a couple of centuries ago. Orthodox are quite different:
"The method was collegial, not authoritarian; disputes were settled in church councils, whose decisions were not valid unless “received” by the whole community. The Faith was indeed common: what was believed by all people, in all times, in all places. The degree of unity won this way was amazing. Though there was some local liturgical variation, the Church was strikingly uniform in faith and practice across vast distances, and at a time when communication was far from easy. This unity was so consistent that I could attribute it to nothing but the Holy Spirit." -F. Matthews-Green, Facing East
From Ernst Benz, The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life:
ORTHODOX AND ROMAN CATHOLIC IDEAS OF DOGMA
"Because dogma has this practical function within the spiritual organism of the Orthodox Church, it has not undergone so much theoretical elaboration as the dogma of Roman Catholicism or Protestantism. The various elements of the Creed have not been defined with precision. Hence there is much greater freedom in the interpretation of the dogma. Even the formulation of a dogma by an ecumenical council is not eo ipso necessarily binding under canon law. To be binding, a dogma must also be accepted by the general consensus of the Church, what the theologians call the "ecumenical conscience..."
SOBERNOST: DEMOCRATIC EQUALITY OF LAITY, PRIESTS, BISHOPS, AND PATRIARCHS
The Orthodox Church acknowledges the monarchical principle as far as the whole Church is concerned, this concept embracing both the visible Church on earth and the invisible celestial Church. The master, lord and sole head of the Church is Christ. But the monarchical principle does not in practice rule the organization of the visible Church. Here purely democratic principles prevail. No single member of the Church is considered to have a legal position fundamentally superior to that of the other members. Even the clergy, aside from the sacramental powers accorded to them by their consecration, have no special rights that would set them above the laity. The Orthodox Church prizes this "democratic" (sobornost’) principle as one of its oldest traditions. Just as all the apostles were equal in rank and authority, so their successors, the bishops, are all equal.
It is true that the principle of the so-called monarchical episcopate became established quite early in the primitive Church. That is to say, the bishop was recognized as holding the leading position within the Church. But this did not mean that he alone represented the entire spiritual power of the Church. Not even the bishops as a body constituted the highest authority of the Church. This was vested in the ecumenical consensus or conscience of the Church, which meant the general opinion of clergy and laymen taken together. Even the decision of an ecumenical council acquires validity only if it is accepted by this general consensus of the whole Church. Although the bishop represents the unity of the Christian community and exercises full spiritual powers, he is no autocrat; he and all the clergy subordinate to him are regarded as parts of the entire ecclesia, the living organism of which Christ is the head" (Benz, op cit).
Well, my topic was not the Catholic Pope, or a one
'leader' of the church.
And a few points where your ecumenical council fail are:
- the body of christians of 1600 years ago, whom perhaps agreed with the leaders' decisions are not the same with the christians today that already believe the decisions of the councils as true, before checking them.
- as you cannot know which of them are real christians and which of them are gone astray, you can get to have a 'church' (as the catholic church) who has gone astray with most of its members (while those in catholic countries that did not accept the new theory were persecuted, despised, etc.). So if something like that happened before 1054 AD, you can get an 'ecumenical council' of leaders that are going astray and leading astray a very large flock. (read Matt. 15.14, Matt. 7.13-14.
- Actually, the laymen are very susceptible to the decisions of their religious leaders. Most people don't like to think, but want others to think for them, and be told what to believe and what to do - it's a kind of laziness, I suppose. If it wasn't so, then there would have been no "Orthodox Church", no "Catholic Church", no "Pentecostal Church", etc. because too few would have agreed totally with either of them. Also, written creeds that must be believed in order for one to be an Orthodox would have not existed either.
1 Thessalonians 5.21 says: “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” – That is, don’t blindly trust everything, but see if it is indeed so!That is precisely what the Orthodox faith claims to achieve -collectively. The word "test" in 1 Thess 5:21 is actually second person PLURAL: ... You are presuming the "test" must be done by individuals separate from the community; Orthodox "test ... all things" together a community. The result of the former is 30,000 denominations -in just a few centuries time. The result of the latter is 2000 years of constant teaching
1. Don't worry, it's not the "Orthodox" test that is plural. It's just a matter of languages. In my language, the verbs (including "test") have a different form for 2nd plural than 2nd singular.
2. The verse does not teach collectivity. If it did, it would have been written "test all things together" or "test all things collectively" instead. The plural is used by the author because the letter is addressed to many people, instead of a particular person. But I think that's already obvious.
3. I'm curios if this is the way you also 'defend' Catholicism.
"all reach unity [all -as a collective!] in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming." (Eph 3:13-14).
It is Protestantism that is blown here and there by every wind of teaching, not Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy just keeps on keeping on, century after century after century.
You're wrong here as well.
I'll write the verses first:
11. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12. for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13. till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14. that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ
1. there is no religion or denomination called "Protestantism". If you take "Pentecostalism", for instance, or a denomination of it, you get to have something just like Orthodoxy.
2. the verses refer to individuals, not do denominations or religions or political parties, etc. So what was given was given for individuals, not for religions & denominations. So it's wrong to place "Protestantism" or "Orthodoxy" or "Catholicism" here. It talks about particular persons. And as it talks about individuals, there is no 'finished unity' - as an established creed, but instead something that every individual should earn with the others (building up one another, helping one another with his view, etc. actively participating so all would grow).
3. I hope these are not the verses by which you 'defend' Catholicism, because they also have a unity of faith, which, from what I know, orthodox people do not agree with.
4. I hope you notice that Christians are called "saints" in these verses.
5. Unlike what you suggested - you seemed to have suggested that the belief system or the structure of Orthodoxy brings to unity of faith - in the Bible it is said that the unity of faith is obtainable through the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers - the workers of the church/congregation (which implies a group where all are together, not a global term like "Orthodox Church" - an belief system, a religion).
6. Orthodoxy is different from country to country. And that starts with the deuterocanonical books (Coptic Orthodoxy, Greek Orthodoxy, etc.)
1 Cor 1:10: "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree [collective agreement! not just individual agreement with the scripture] with one another [with one another, not just with the Bible!] so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought." Perfect unity in mind and thought is not characteristic of Protestant communities, who are therefore in disobedience to the command of Paul to be "perfectly united in mind and thought." Orthodox for centuries have remained united in mind and thought.
You are wrong. Frequent a protestant church (whichever denomination you wish. by the way, remember that protestantism is not a denomination/religion) and you will see that in that church there is the unity you expect. If you expected unity with the Orthodox church, you're expectation is wrong - I could have also expected unity between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, but that broke 1000 years ago.
And there are differences in Orthodoxy as well, as I have stated. And more than that, if you ask two different orthodox priests about the same subject, you may receive two different answers. Which shows things are not working as 1 Cor 1.10 said.
Also, you should have read the following verses as well (11-16). There you would have seen the disunity Paul was talking about.
So which is biblical? To test as individuals exclusively, or is it permissible for Christians to prove all things as a unified group, as the Orthodox always have done? Prove it!
Here we go again to 1 Thessalonians 5.21 - because Ephesians 4.13-14 and 1 Cor 1:10 are not talking about testing. 1 Thessalonians 5.21 does not condemn individual testing, nor team work. However, it does not command team/collective testing. By the way, collective
testing means that everyone participates, not that the leaders decide and the laymen accept. So, if you want to collectively test something, you should do your work with them
Sure, the teachers you cited. But the Christian church had teachers too, as described in the NT. And don't forget the book of Ephesians affirms God appointed teachers in the Church, as cited above, so we can't simply portray teachers as some kind of enemy.
So it seems my explanations were not sufficient. I am not against a 'teacher' who shares his knowledge and understanding and wisdom to others, but people (like teachers) who impose their doctrine on others. Like an ecumenical council where people decide what God actually said (interpretations, etc.) and God's will, the layman who believe them just because "they are those who know" (which is blindly trusting the leaders), instead of judging himself how things are, and the 'official' decision of God's will and God's teachings dictated by the leaders, which too often gives birth to hatred and despise in people's minds towards the minority that rejects it.
About blindly trusting which you said you reject it. From what I've read from posts of this forum - only the posts I've replied to, I found people are more concerned about "the Orthodox view" (asking if X is the Orthodox view or not) instead of what the Bible says. The former is blindly trusting Orthodox leaders, their teachings and beliefs, while the latter is caring about God's words.
So a question I can ask you, though I'm not sure these discussions will go further, which is your allegiance? What do you care to know: if what you believe is what the Orthodox Church teaches or if what you believe is what the Bible teaches? Whom do you put on the first place? Or you cannot see what the Bible teaches, except through the eyes of the religious leaders (which is yet blindly believing them)?
"Luther would allow whatever the Bible did not prohibit, whereas Zwingli would reject whatever the Bible did not allow (Baintan, R. H., Christendom (NY: Harper & Row, 1960), p. 231). To which principle, or what alternative principle, do you adhere, Zenith, and where your principle found in the scriptures? All churches have traditions: orders of service, use or non-use of incense, use of pews or not, musical instrumental music or not, Sunday school, Hymnals, or not, etc. whether they realize this or not. There is never a question of tradition or no tradition, or adding practical considerations not specified by scripture to church practice or not, but which tradition or traditions one adheres to. To argue against other Christians who hold traditions not explicated in the written scripture to be UNBIBLICAL, the Protestant objector should either (A) prove not simply that it isn't IN the Bible, but that the tradition CONTRADICTS the scripture, or (B) prove the Zwinglian view from scripture alone. Orthodoxy practices things which the Bible does not prohibit, but never contradicts the scripture as she in good conscience understands the scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Well, Deuteronomy 4.2, 5.32-33, 12.32 and Proverbs 30.6 sound pretty clear. There should be no orders of service, no use of incense, the psalms were sang in the OT times with musical instruments so that's ok, hymns are in Eph. 5.19, there should be no rule/tradition about the pews & sitting down, the counts of breaths per second, etc.
A few things:
1. one is allowing chairs and other is making a rule/tradition of using chairs - and this is a great difference!
2. I'm sure the use of incense for orthodox is not a mere making something smell like incense, but some beliefs/teachings regarding it. And those matter most.
3. There are great problems with "traditions" and other rules established, added to those that are in the Bible:
a. people tend to love them more than the Bible, and thus, they give more attention to the rules of the tradition than to the Bible. So people feel more 'pious' if they pray in the 'right' direction or performing a ritual (like using incense) than reading the Bible and trying to understand it and trying to do as it commands.
b. too many times the traditions slip wrong teachings or understandings hardly ever noticed by people that they contradict the Bible. An instance of this is exposed in Matthew 15.1-6.
c. the 'church' (like the building called church) creates a bondage between man and culture (like music, paintings, unnecessary practices, etc.) instead of bondage between people (which is unity) and between man and the word of God. I've even heard somebody saying that she went to the church to watch the icons of the saints! Which is a kind of "what?? and no yearn for understanding more from the Bible or something?" to me. Others go to protestant churches (whichever denomination and building) for entertainment! (that is music, perhaps even dancing, singing, etc.)
Orthodoxy practices things which the Bible does not prohibit, but never contradicts the scripture as she in good conscience understands the scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
1. are you that certain that it doesn't contradict the scripture?
2. the Holy Spirit guides the individuals, not the masses. Do not confuse the Holy Spirit with the spirit of the crowd (i.e. the 'force' that influences people to follow the crowd/the majority).
Acts 17.11 tells us about some Jews who have heard what the apostles said:Orthodox have no problem with doing this; most of us do this ourselves, in good conscience, just as you do. Search the scriptures, yes, but you wish to say no person who truly followed God ever did anything that is not proven by the OT or NT scriptures alone -quite different. On your view, may I ask a question? By what authority did John the Baptist baptize in water for repentance? Was this of heaven, or of men?
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” The apostles taught that this Jesus is the messiah of the Scriptures. So what did these Jews did? They checked the scriptures to see if it is so!
you said "you wish to say no person who truly followed God ever did anything that is not proven by the OT or NT scriptures alone".
No, I didn't mean that. Unfortunately, people that truly follow God and really want to obey Him are able
to be indoctrinated, to believe misinterpretations, to believe and do things they are not aware that the Bible teaches otherwise, etc. That's why we are called to judge things with our own heads, even individually, and discuss one with another so we could understand more, to find out if what we believe is correct or wrong (by discussions on the subject), etc.
I find your question misplaced. The verses in the Bible clearly show that John the Baptist baptized with authority from heaven (Matthew 21.25-26).
You mean that if I preach these teachings of mine on the streets, it is the word of God?No. Scripture describes proclaimation, not just the written word as the word of God, but it doesn't say all proclamation is the word of God. But you are circumscribing the word of God to the written page of a closed canon and presuming cessationism, none of which you have effectively demonstrated from the scriptures themselves.
I guess there is a little problem of understanding each other's view.
I'll try to explain myself. There are people, like protestant preachers, that claim that what they say must be/should be/is the word of God and must be obeyed. There are people whom are certain that God speaks through them. Read Jeremiah 23.16-32 about false prophets - what a man says is the word of God only if
God personally told that person to say those words
. Otherwise, you cannot trust a man that what he says is the word of God - he might understand the verses of the bible correctly (might or might not), but it was not God who told him to say those words. If a man claims that his words are the words of God because of his official position (like a Jewish high priest), he is a false prophet. God may say something through him (e.g. one in his entire life), even if that high priest does not seek to follow God's commandments and teachings, to attain His own objectives. But that doesn't make in any instance the high priests' all other words be the words of God!
That's why I asked you this question "You mean that if I preach these teachings of mine on the streets, it is the word of God?" of which I was actually certain you say "no", but the reasons
were those that interested me.
I know that the Scriptures [in 2 Tim 3:14]referred to the Old Testament... I wrote “And the fact that the Bible is sufficient is shown in verses 14 to 17. (New Testament and the Old Testament).” Because the Bible consists of the Jewish Holy Scriptures and the teachings of the apostles (New Testament) –from v. 14.Well, which is it then? You can't have it both ways. Either 2 Tim 3:14 refers to just the OT, or it refers to the OT and the NT -despite the fact that the latter wasn't collected into a book at that time and many of the books therein had not even been composed. If all Scripture enables one to be ... fully equipped for good works, then the Torah, since the Torah is Scripture, certainly enabled a person like Joshua to be fully equipped for good works. So what? This invalidates Orthodoxy? How can 2 Tim 3 say "the Bible" is sufficient since "the Bible" we know hadn't even been composed? If all the Scripture written when Timothy received his second letter from Paul was sufficient, why were other things added for the faith and practice of the Church after that time, like the Holy Gospels, which hadn't yet been composed when Paul wrote to Timothy?
well, let's see 2 Timothy 3.15-16:
15. and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
17. that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
1. Most surely there was no compiled "Old Testament" by that time either, but each book (like Genesis) was kept on a scroll or something. Codex-es (book-like scriptures) became popular only later, as I remember.
2. Reading verses 16 and 17, you can notice that this is valid for the man of God
. And a man of God is a man who has received the Holy Spirit (Romans 8.9 "Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His."). And the Holy Spirit is received:
a. after believing the gospel, which includes belief with all heart in Jesus Christ (Acts 8.37):
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
b. after true belief in Jesus Christ:
But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.
c. after repentance, not only baptism:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
d. to those that are decided to obey God:
And we are his witnesses of these things; and [so is] also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
e. if a man is baptized, it doesn't necessarily mean he received the Holy Spirit:
15. Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16. For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
17. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
f. A man can receive the Holy Spirit even before being baptized with water:
44. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47. Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48. And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
ok, so a man of God is a man that already
believed in Jesus Christ, that He is the son of God, repented (that one
repentance), etc., which means he was adopted by God (became a son of God). Now, for such a man, the Old Testament "is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.". Unless you have noticed, the authors of the new testament quote extensively from the Old Testament, prove things using
verses in it, and moreover, most, if not all teachings of correction, righteousness, all about morality is already found in the Old Testament.
You must also read 2 Thessalonians 2.15:What? To the contrary, you are actually proving the Orthodox point, that Christians were to pass along both written traditions and oral traditions: "teachings... whether by word of mouth or by letter." Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis (very near Colossae and Laodicea in the region we now call Turkey) attests the role that tradition disseminated by word of mouth -not just by letter- continued to play in the first half of the second century (early 100s AD), himself still preferring "the living voice" to what could be found in books. That is despite the fact that he knew all four canonical Gospels. You would probably consider Papias's preference wrongheaded, but you haven't proven that it is by scripture alone; in fact the scripture you just cited not only supports but commands the use of and adherence to oral traditions which were valuable. as far as I can tell your view reduces more to cultural bias (your own traditional matrix) than biblical exegesis -because your scriptural *rationalizations* (I do not use the word exegesis for your view) are full of holes.
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.So yes, there should be no “Church Fathers”
I just thought that when I said:
So yes, there should be no “Church Fathers”, no other teachers to add, and we should not trust people that said “the apostles also said” or “the apostles also believed”. Instead, people should hold fast only to what the apostles said (not other people), which was what they said in their epistles and, in that time only, what they have heard with their ears from the apostles themselves (when the apostles were with them)!
it was enough...
Can't you see how clearly that verse contradicts you? you din't hear from the mouth of any apostle anything! Instead, you have the letters of the apostles! So how can you hear from the mouth of the apostles
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
the "oral traditions" your receive are not "words of mouth" of the apostles, but written words of others. If I believed in 'oral traditions' that people claim that comes from the apostles, then all Christianity is wrong: the Jews do the same, and have a lot of "oral traditions" from Moses and the old prophets that contradict Christianity! And they believe in the "words of mouth" that were transmitted orally, until were finally compiled! So perhaps you have an explanation why you don't convert to Judaism!
Now, the same with the "oral tradition" of the Jews and with the "oral traditions" of Orthodoxy: if fables appeared in Judaism regarding what Old Testament prophets did or said and other things that happened in their times, then it is surely possible that similar things have happened about the apostles in the first centuries AD!
It's plain clear that you contradict what the Bible says: you did not hear
anything from the mouth of the apostles
! And because you did not hear anything
from the mouth of the apostles
you should remain only to what the apostles left written. And most surely the apostles wrote everything people needed to know, in all their writings, because they couldn't have been in 20 places in the same time, while the letters were copied and given from one to other.
On the other side, if something very important was to be transmitted only
orally, only a few people could have known it (the apostles could have not been in 20 places at the same time), while the same teachings needed
to be transmitted in Italy, Greece and Balkans, modern Turkey, Syria-Palestine, etc. Not to take into consideration that parts of what was said would have been forgotten, especially in time, and, because not written, orally transmission would have been 'completed' with people's interpretations and later perhaps even their practices and their imagination. Orally transmission is far less reliable than the translation of a text (where too often the author's interpretation is also involved).
If the apostles agreed with "oral transmission" of their sayings, perhaps they would have not even written any epistle! There would have been no need, at least. Moreover, they would have asked people to make religious leaders whom to "blindly believe", because they 'have' the words of God with them and will always keep them as they are
, against what is written here:
3. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
oops! how much can you blindly trust your Church Fathers now?
we should not trust people that said “the apostles also said” or “the apostles also believed”. Instead, people should hold fast only to what the apostles said (not other people)The physician Luke told us what the apostles said and believed in the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. Luke was not an apostle. You say we should hold fast only to what the apostles said, and "not trust people that said 'the apostles also said' or 'the apostles also believed.'" But that is exactly what Luke did. Then why should we trust Luke the physician? He did say he looked into things carefully, and I do find him trustworthy enough. But on your criteria we should not trust him. I could go on to demonstrate how your criterion would remove a good portion of the NT. If you are trusting the Gospel of the not-apostle-Luke you are inconsistent with your own principle.
Well, it is quite possible that even Luke was an apostle. We know that Paul was an apostle, though he was not one of the twelve. We also know that Barnabas became an apostle (Acts 14.14, we know info about Barnabas from Acts 4.36). The expectance that others could have been apostles of Christ is shown in Rev 2.1, 2 Cor. 11.13 (otherwise it would have been simple: you're not of the twelve, you'r not an apostle). And proofs of apostleship we find in Acts 2.43, Acts 5.12, 2 Corinthians 12.12.
in that time only, what they have heard with their ears from the apostles themselves (when the apostles were with them)!When the apostles were with them; then why not consider -not as authoritative per se, but at least as informative- Book of Revelation, 100AD; Ignatius of Antioch, 67 AD; Polycarp of Smyrna, 100 AD; Clement of Rome, 90, or 60AD; the Didache, 60-100AD... Why would the beliefs and practices of those who were personal disciples of an apostle, or in the case of other important early Christians, disciples of a direct disciple of an apostle, be of no importance to the Church? Perhaps God in His sovereignty allowed their works to be preserved for a reason!
1. I supposed the Book of Revelation is in your Bible and that you considered the apostle John to have written it.
2. Perhaps the date of the Book of Revelation of John was 90-95 AD. (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com
). Though perhaps the date cannot be established exactly.
3. "Why would the beliefs and practices... be of no importance to the Church?" - I hope you mean "to the Christians (individuals)" - I don't know exactly what you mean of "Church". I didn't claim those writings as of Ignatius of Rome to be of no
importance. Instead, that they should not be considered holy/divinely inspired scriptures (as the Bible, whose words we are supposed to believe as the Word of God). If you do not agree with this, perhaps you can tell me why their scriptures were not introduced in the New Testament in a canon.
4. "Perhaps God in His sovereignty allowed their works to be preserved for a reason!" - good you say, perhaps
! So with the Koran!
it would seem to be of at least somewhat damaging to those who deny the possibility that ALL of the earliest Christians who either were discipled personally by an apostle, or discipled by someone who was personally discipled by an apostle in the first and early second century believed in the possibility of apostasy. There was not one shred of dissent by anyone. One would suppose that if the very opposite viewpoint was taught by the apostles at least SOMEONE in the early church would have objected to the view. But no one did;
Consider the fact that these early christians that have been discipled by a disciple of an apostle were already having access to the Old Testament scriptures and letters of apostles. Consider the fact that most teachings of apostles (if not all) are about the history of Jesus Christ in Israel and requirements for salvation, as repentance and baptism (the gospel), organization in the church, rebukes for things that started to go wrong and teachings of morality and righteousness - all if not all of these already found in the Old Testament. So what could have missed? It seems that the subject of organization in the church was already written in epistles, talks about the Holy Communion (or how it is properly called), eating the bread
and drinking from the cup are already found in epistles (and it's written "bread", not "flesh", for instance), so perhaps you can tell me what misses
I don't understand too well what you want to prove with the thing you said, which I quoted from you. if you mean that the early christians had to rely
on the disciples of the apostles, well, no: it was already a community that did that and heard with their own ears the words of the apostles, so it was the decision of trusting them or not to say the truth or being liars, and in some cases they were visited again by the apostles, and they were certainly receiving letters from them (or letters that were addressed to other churches but have been given to other churches/men of God of other cities as well). The situation was also somewhat problematic then because of Acts 20.29-30. Anyway, I believe that these 'teachers' should be regarded as 'teachers' only, not as apostles, which means that they might be wrong in things they believed and written.
You might object that what scripture says is pivotal too, which it is, but all contemporary scholars also consider the historical, cultural, linguistic, and archaeological background is crucial to properly understand what scripture meant, i.e. extra-biblical traditions
It seems to me or you deny what the Bible says in favor of what contemporary scholars say? If the Bible is sufficient - well, it claims to be, so it must be. If it is useful to know historical information, etc. - yes, I do believe, but is not a must. The "linguistic" feature falls from theory because nowhere it is written that "the English Bible KJV" or "the French version X" or other is the word of God - they are translations of it.
There is no scripture forbidding the historical process of investigating the practice of the early church during the lifetime of the apostles and their immediate successors (Apostolic Fathers and their successors) as historically instructive about the meaning of scripture and early Christianity any more than there is scripture forbidding the study of first century Judaism to illumine the meaning of scripture, as all scholars do, or forbidding the study of the philological historiography of the meaning of a word, as all scholars do;
about the bold-ed text: You mean the New Testament is written in greek, you're a greek, and you don't understand what the (greek) New Testament says?
I'll show you an example where the 'scholars' (namely, the non-christians, or liberal christians - which don't believe the Bible as authoritative, etc.) fail: I've read about the dead sea scrolls found at Qum'ran (I hope I write it well). This was a sect (heretics) that developed separately from the straight jews, and were deliberately changing the Holy Scriptures and were praised by the author of the text I read for being tolerant to many variants! And their thoughts and interpretations are used to understand Christianity and Judaism in that period! (a sect/heresy). Well, If they would ever find scriptures used by pharisees then I'll believe them more because Jesus Christ was taking their scriptures as good (not accusing them of changing them or something). And their commentaries (of the pharisees) in that time, if they would ever be found good to understand the jewish thought in that time than that of those sect at Qum'ran.
And, you must take into consideration that they (the scriptures you refer to) tell you the thoughts
of those people, just as a teacher of Christianity exposes his understanding and beliefs and can mistake. You can't take that
as the word of God!
You understand the verses of Deuteronomy 5.32-33 and 12.32 wrong. They do not teach that God should not add to them, but that man should not add nor subtract from them.
Orthodoxy teaches the same. Orthodox do not regard their tradition as man's tradition, but as Holy Tradition. And, frankly, there isn't so much of it that can't be found directly in the Bible, or implied by it, at the end of the day. But the Holy in Holy Tradition means that Orthodox believe all their dogma comes from God rather than from man. You haven't proven otherwise here.
about what I have emphasized in what you said: see, that's the problem!
I'll explain now: if a man regards
a Guru's words as the words of God, isn't that a problem? or if a man regards words of a protestant pastor as the words of God, isn't that wrong?? If a man regards the words of any Christian teacher as the words of God - when that is only a teacher, not an apostle and not a prophet, isn't that wrong?? Regarding
that a man's words are actually
the words of God - when that man didn't claim to be an apostle or a prophet, and nor contemporary people that knew them confessed about them to be so) it is a great problem
that people take his words as the words of God! As I have explained a lot in post #39.
So it is that if what the creeds say is what the Bible says then you should be careful not to deny the Bible. That the creeds are biblical creeds is widely affirmed throughout Protestantism. Protestant Norman Geisler, for example, affirms the vast majority of Protestant and Evangelical scholars affirm the following:
"A historical approach to the topic of the essentials of the faith begins with the earliest creeds embedded in the New Testament and traces creedal development through the early forms of the Apostles Creed to the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. Unity among all major sections of Christendom is found in the statement: One Bible, two testaments, three confessions, four councils, and five centuries." (Geisler, Norman, "The Essential Doctrines of the Christian Faith," in Christian Research Journal, volume 28, number 5 (2005).
You are free to disagree with this, of course, but you are on the fringes of historic Christianity past and present, Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic, in denying the relevance of creeds.
I have tried to prove you some verses of the Bible, and you are saying things as if all my arguments were against what I actually said! I said that one must not blindly trust a man, one must not let other think for him (but think for himself), and you tell me "That the creeds are biblical creeds is widely affirmed throughout Protestantism" - as if I would have to agree just because THEY
said so! I try to prove something and you try to take people that you suppose I believe, so that, not by reasoning, but by blindly trusting them, to believe you!
You said "That the creeds are biblical creeds
" and that makes me asks: which creeds, namely? if I take Jehovah's Witnesses' creeds I'm sure we all disagree! I said
that creeds must be checked to see if it is indeed what the Bible says, and you tell me "no, just believe, none must check!"?? It's the subject I've explained extensively: it's blindly trusting man
, putting all trust in man/man's judgement
, not to leave other think for you
! Read again post#39, if you are still unclear of what I said.
And as far as your statement about "forcing anyone" to believe, we Orthodox do not force you to believe anything; you are free to believe or disbelieve what you will. Our history is perhaps not perfect, as the massive bloodletting by Protestant against Protestant and Catholic is not either in the aftermath of the Reformation. But Orthodoxy had neither Crusades nor Inquisitions as the Latin Catholics did, so to a large extent you are barking up the wrong tree here again. You sound like the angry atheist against Christianity as a whole because of its history of "atrocities." I'm in favor of religious freedom and against the use of force or violence in matters of religion, and so are most people on this forum. It is to them you speak, not the minority of the dead who acted otherwise, of which there are fewer in Orthodoxy than many other traditions despite their having been around two thousand years.
My point was not to attack Orthodox people for what other orthodox people did and believed. The problem was the "blindly trusting" their religious teachers. Though the Orthodoxy did not have inquisitions, as far as I know they did burn heretics on the stake. But it's meaningless what they
did. On a side I agree with the Crusades (except the 4th, with the target Constantinople), because it stopped the advancements of the muslims in europe: if it wasn't for them, the Byzantine Empire would have died much more quickly and the muslims would have invaded europe faster, and perhaps remained much longer and we would have had many muslims countries in East Europe. The fact that they were cruel and killed orthodox people and jews and muslims I consider evil.
The problem is not if you
or others in this forum are in favor of religious freedom or not, but what the religious leaders are for.
There is an article on an orthodox forum in my language, for instance, that says (I'll translate):
"Father Ilie Cleopa: "I am a friend only with human beings, you sectarians are not human beings!"
I have posted this article more as an explanation for setarians, why they are not welcomed at box/topic: "Ask the priest".
The sin of conversion of people to sectarian is very great, it is a sin against the Holy Spirit, there is no forgiveness in this century, nor in the one that will follow. If the sectarians will not return to the Orthodox Church they are lost! The Church is our mother, she gave birth to us through water and Spirit, because Jesus told Nicodimus: "Jesus answered, I tell you the truth, no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit." (John 3.5).
There is an eres (I don't know what it had to mean), a sect called "pentecostals", ...
How to behave with the sectarians?
"A man that is an heretic (sectarian) after the first and second admonition reject". You should reject the sectarian man after rebuking and he is to you as a pagan.
When it is to help your brother, you should help any man of the world, if he is sick, he gets drown give him a hand, if he is in danger, help him, but when it's about faith you hate him, because the sectarians hate the truth. Christ said "I am the way, the truth and the life". And in Psalm 138 [I think he meant 139] it is said "I hate them with perfect hatred, because they became non-friends to me [perhaps he meant "I count them mine enemies."]". Because they hate the truth we need not love them. About faith we do not talk, you tell them so "Hey, I will talk to you at most once, twice, after which you are a pagan and a publican to me!"
[at the end it is written:]
Look so, a material of Father Cleopa, which I hope to fry these sectarian jerks.
with zeal for the Lord,
Vitalii Mereutanu - Magister/Teacher in Theology"
The article is pretty large, it is found here:http://www.ortodoxia.md/articole-preluate/2333-eu-sunt-prieten-numai-cu-oamenii-voi-sectarii-nu-suntei-oameni
if there is any Romanian here. Otherwise, you can only look at the pictures.
Needless to say, the orthodox people in this country (at least the religious ones) hate/despise protestants. At least that's my experience and what I've heard from others (e.g. the mother of a friend (girl) of mine despised her daughter's boyfriend and did not want her daughter to marry him because he has been a "sectarian" (perhaps pentecostal) before).
The same with somebody (anybody) who speaks according to what the Bible says: people would have to choose either to believe those verses of the Bible or to deny them. But if he doesn’t speak according to what the Bible says, then I believe one must not take heed to what he says. So it all resolves to the Bible, right?Funny, Orthodoxy says the same thing. Everything we do is in accord with the Bible. We do some things that aren't in the Bible, just like Protestants who use Welch's Grape Juice instead of wine, or have puppet shows or build outbuildings on their properties. But nothing we do contradicts scripture, as we in good conscience understand it.
well, the "Welch's Grape Juice" (I don't know what is with "Welch") is biblical, as the wine is: it is written in the bible "fruit of the vine".
puppet shows are wrong in the church because of Matthew 21.12-13: the building "Church" must be a prayer house, not an entertainment house or a sport house or a trading house! They must not be combined!
Building buildings on your own properties is ok (well, it's your property, your money), but building a Church Complex with sport terrain, etc. are also turning the building "Church" in something else than a pure religious place of worship. All there's left is changing money there and selling products, and perhaps even come with animals there to make it exactly
a scene described in Matthew 21.12-13 (while Jesus' topic was not the kinds
of animals that were there, or the coins
used, but the multi-purpose House of the Lord (i.e. combined with worldly things.). So, see how easy it is, when you add something new
, from yourself, to actually do a bad thing? besides of the fact that many protestants go to churches for entertainment! (if entertainment elements exist in that "church" building).
My view: “Do not put your trust in anything, but the Bible” and I think that the verses I wrote in the beginning support my point, so it’s not just “MY view”I don't see that you have established this. Do you trust your automobile? How about the law of gravity?
Sorry, I meant "religious scripture", to be more precise. I hope you won't try to find little 'faults' in this.
Also, imposing what you believe to somebody else is yet another bad thing (1 Peter 5.3). So anyone’s doctrine (about the believer’s union with Christ, the atonement, the incarnation, etc.) must be judged to see if it is indeed what the Bible says (so one would not get to believe somebody who understands things wrong) and must not be imposed to people.What Orthodox Christian has ever threatened to "impose" doctrine upon you personally? Take our doctrine or leave it; you have free will!
I refered to something else: if Orthodoxy in a country decides to add some new practice, tradition, or to interpret things in a certain way, it's followers are forced
to believe it as "must be done", or otherwise they are kicked out of the Orthodox church for not respecting the holy ordinances of the 'holy' leaders, regarded as some sectarians/heretics and are regarded as 'people deserving hell' for being cast out, and don't have access to the Holy Communion in the Orthodox church anymore, no more priests' blessings, going to them when you marry, children baptism, etc. - which you believe as being a strict requirement for heaven, so people are forced
to obey to anything that is decided by their religious leaders, so they would not go to hell! that's what I meant.
No. The Spirit of God especially is essential in addition to scripture to understand it, as the scripture itself teaches. But I regard it as categorically false on additional grounds as well which I haven't mentioned yet.
It is altogether true that the Bible is self-sufficientSo do you agree with this?
Well, we exclude from this topic the Holy Spirit, because He is not scripture (written words) and not spoken words. The Holy Spirit is a person, I hope we all agree on this. And I hope you will mention further "additional grounds as well which I haven't mentioned yet".
By the way, Jude 3 does not say that the church leader (or anybody else) should impose views or commandments or teachings to others.The imposed thing again. The Nicene creed was believed by virtually all persons everywhere, except the Arians. I'm not sure if you suppose Jehovah's Witnesses are true Christians, but I don't. You are correct that such should not be a matter of force. No dogma of the Orthodox Church advocates such force, and I doubt there are Orthodox Christians alive anywhere in the world today who advocate imposition of their religion by force.
Don't worry, there are. And if 80% of the world population would have been Orthodox, perhaps at least 80% of them would have become. This is how it always happens with the majority - even if 80% of the world population would be pentecostals, pentecostals would do the same.
And I have explained above how the Orthodox Church actually imposes
creeds and beliefs and practices.
The interpretation of “The Church is the "pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15)” is also wrong, because, if it was as it you claim (considering what “Church” means), there would have been no heresies, but only truth among Christians!Hmm... no. It doesn't say everyone would adhere to the truth, but that the Church is the pillar and ground of truth.
So, what do you understand of the verse?
No confession which contradicts scripture can be true.No Orthodox confession contradicts scripture.
Are you so certain?
But the answer is not individualism, which leads to anarchy. Individualism implies that each person is free to formulate and promote his own confession. He may undermine the teaching of the God-ordained authority of the church. This is not the biblical way...First, prove me what “Church” is and then the “authority of the church” you claim.
"First, prove me what “Church” is and then the “authority of the church” you claim." - this is what I said. Do you ask me this question, or you forgot to put it under quote?
Orthodoxy doesn't take the freedom of men to think. You and we can think what we will. We are free to say Jesus Christ did not physically resurrect from the dead, and so are you, but no one who thinks this is Orthodox. You are free to believe in the physical resurrection or not.
Sorry, but this is what the denial of thinking individually implies: "Individualism implies that each person is free
to formulate and promote his own confession", which he said is bad