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Author Topic: Which churches on the same side of the coin?  (Read 15267 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rho
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« on: May 11, 2004, 07:58:35 AM »

Greetings from a first-time poster.  I have been interested in Eastern Orthodoxy for just over 2 years now since my friend converted.  Since then we have had many interesting interactions on the subject.

My question for discussion is on an assertion that I read in Bishop Kallistos Ware's _The Orthodox Church._  It is as follows:  The Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches are two sides of the same coin and the Eastern Orthodox Church is categorically different.  And he of course implies that the two Western churches are thus unified in corruption.  I would like to discuss that contention because I, as an Evangelical Protestant, would view it differently.  It therefore seems to me that this assertion is entirely dependent on one's presuppositions and cannot be supported on an objective basis.  

For example, between Prot and RCC, we have the following similarities that are not to be found in EOC:
1. Filioque
2. The oft-cited "legal" viewpoint versus the "mystical" viewpoint
3. Descendancy of thought (in some cases) from Augustine and Aquinas
4. Tendency to prefer the Masoretic OT text over the LXX
5. Latin tendency to "overthink," analyse, and commit to verbal description more rather than accept many things as a mystery

Examples of similarities between RCC and EOC not to be found in Evangelical Protestantism:
1. Erecting a separate class of "canonised" (for lack of a better word) saints
2. Venerating and praying to said saints
3. Praying for the dead
4. Rejecting the position of Sola Scriptura
5. Justification not by faith alone
6. The claim that infallible interpreting authority resides within the Church, and by extension...
7. ...the excoriation of "personal, private" interpretation of the Scriptures
8. The emphasis on Mary
9. Use of icons in worship

I am certain that I am leaving out some things on each list, so feel free to add to either one.  (And of course, it's just like a partisan to have more points on his own side).  

My thesis statement is that Ware's assertion cannot be supported and that EOC and RCC show so many similarities that Prot-ism does not share as to make the assertion not worth making.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2004, 08:37:18 AM by Rho » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2004, 10:25:08 AM »

This is a tinderbox waiting to explode, and so not wanting to pour too much petrol on the firewood I will briefly state my view on this:

To a Western Christian, Orthodoxy and Catholicism look more similar to each other than either is to Protestantism.  Catholics contend that this is simply due to the relatively recent Catholic acknowledgement that, from Catholicism's perspective, Orthodoxy has "valid orders" and therfore has "valid sacraments" and therefore is pretty close to the Catholic Church, whereas Protestantism has neither.  It's only relatively recently -- last 40 years or so -- that this has been the publicly stated view of Catholicism, and while it is a view that has some inherent contradictions in it, nevertheless it is a view that seems to flow from some threads of Catholic ecclesiology.

My own view is that the feeling of "closeness", from the Catholic perspective, has been there for much longer than the last 40 years when it has been publically affirmed.  It has deeper roots, and those roots have to do with the self-identifications of Roman Catholics and Protestants.  To a large degree, RCs and Protestants define each other in contradistinction from the other.  That is, the religious traumas of Western history for the last several hundred years have led to a tendency for each of Catholicism and Protestantism to view the other as "OTHER", as the "referent other", the "defining other".  The differences that exist between Protestatism and Catholicism are, for many of both, critical, identifying differences, the "differences that matter".   Catholics may quibble that this is not the case for them, but I think that this "Catholic v. Protestant" distinction still is a part of the worldview of many Catholics, religious or not (I remember the humorous comparison made by Umberto Eco, not a practicing Catholic but a cultural one, between PCs and Macintoshes, stating that the PC was the "protestant computer" while the Macintosh was the "Catholic computer").  Certainly for Protestants, this is the case, because the whole idea is that they are "protesting" "against" something, the entire movement from the beginning defined itself as something over and against what was Catholicism.

This has an impact when both look at Orthodoxy.  From the Catholic perspective, Orthodoxy doesn't have the "differences that matter" that Protestantism does, while from the Protestant perspective, Orthodoxy appears to have the same (or at least similar, sans the Pope) "differences that matter" between Protestantism and Catholicism ... so each tend to view Orthodoxy as akin, in some or many respects, to Catholicism, because the differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, in the eyes of many/most Catholics and Protestants, are simply not the "differences that matter".

Orthodox have a different perspective, and a different history.  Our referent other is the "Western Church".  We had no protestant reformation, we had the split with the West, that is the religious trauma we have experienced.  And so, for us, the "referent other" is the Western Church ... both Catholicism, which is the Church that divided from us in the Middle Ages, *and* Protestantism, which is, from our perspective, its offshoot.  This is not to underestimate the differences between Catholics and Protestants, we acknowledge those.  We also acknowledge that those differences are, in many cases, things that present difficulties when we look at Protestantism, difficulties similar to those expressed by many Catholics looking at Protestantism.  But we nevertheless view Protestantism as the offshoot of the Western church, in terms of the primacy of Augustinian theology, the reaction against the excesses of papal power, the obsession with issues of soteriological mechanics and the like ... we see similarities as well as differences.  My own personal perspective is that Protestantism is a worse form of Catholicism, significantly worse because it has not only inherited some errors of Catholicism due to having originated there, but has compounded these with numerous ill-formed novelties of its own, resulting in the worst-case-scenario ... but that is my own personal perspective, it is not the "Orthodox perspective" per se.

The other point I would like to make before shutting up so that I can be properly flamed is that I can only say that Orthodoxy *looks* more similar to Catholicism from the outside looking in, than it feels from the inside.  I can say that as someone who grew up Catholic with Orthodox living as neighbors on both sides ... we thought they were pretty much like Catholics except they werent "under the Pope", to use the common Catholic expression.  It was a "cultural thing", but otherwise they were "just like us" because they had priests and sacraments and so forth.  Having been Orthodox for a while, I can say that while we have many of the same external "trappings" as the Catholics do, the way that we understand and experience them is startlingly different.  We're more different than we seem at first glance.  And I understand better why the Greek neighbors nextdoor who sent their daughter to the same Catholic grammar school that I went to insisted that she be excused from all religious instruction there ... they saw us as less similar to them than we did, and I never really understood that at the time, but I understand it now.

Brendan
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Rho
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2004, 10:54:40 AM »

>>worst-case-scenario ... but that is my own personal perspective, it is not the "Orthodox perspective" per se.

  Wink  I have been under the impression that that IS in fact the Orthodox perspective.

It is interesting how this message serves to further my original thesis in that we see little doctrine presented but rather a "perspectivist" reaction.  

I would be glad to see other reactions in terms of response to the dual lists that I have noted.  "Feeling more Eastern" versus "feeling Western" is interesting, true, but I don't know if that's applicable.  

At any rate, it also seems like the differences between Prot-ism and RCC are downplayed in your post.
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2004, 10:58:50 AM »

Rho,
While I try to formulate a point by point response as you request (time is tight today), please avail yourself of all of these boards discussions where most of this has been covered before, and before, and before...
(The Search feature is very handy and does work well).

Demetri
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2004, 11:26:57 AM »


Quote
The Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches are two sides of the same coin and the Eastern Orthodox Church is categorically different.  And he of course implies that the two Western churches are thus unified in corruption.
 

I have also read this in some of Clark Carlton's books. However, I don't know if the idea is that the RCC and the Protestant Churches are united in corruption, rather in a comon history and culture.

However, the majority of Catholic priests and bishops think the other way. That Orthodoxy and Catholicism are united in the 7 Ecumenical Councils, valid Sacraments, Apostolic sucession, and the idea that there is One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I have also come across some Orthodox priests who feel Catholicism and Orthodoxy are much closer than Catholicism and Protestantism, or Orthodoxy and Protestantism.


Quote
1. Filioque

No all Protestants use the Filioque, I have been to many Episcopal and Anglo-Catholic parishes that recite the Creed without the Filioque.

Quote
5. Latin tendency to "overthink," analyse, and commit to verbal description more rather than accept many things as a mystery

True, however many Protestants try to distance themselves from Latin legalism as much as possible.

Quote
Examples of similarities between RCC and EOC not to be found in Evangelical Protestantism:
1. Erecting a separate class of "canonised" (for lack of a better word) saints
2. Venerating and praying to said saints
3. Praying for the dead
4. Rejecting the position of Sola Scriptura
5. Justification not by faith alone
6. The claim that infallible interpreting authority resides within the Church, and by extension...
7. ...the excoriation of "personal, private" interpretation of the Scriptures
8. The emphasis on Mary
9. Use of icons in worship

Do not forget Apostolic sucession.

Quote
My thesis statement is that Ware's assertion cannot be supported and that EOC and RCC show so many similarities that Prot-ism does not share as to make the assertion not worth making.  


I would agree, however Bishop Ware is much more learned in such areas. He has a great extent of knowledge on such issues, much more than I do!
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2004, 11:45:56 AM »

Quote
Catholics contend that this is simply due to the relatively recent Catholic acknowledgement that, from Catholicism's perspective, Orthodoxy has "valid orders" and therfore has "valid sacraments" and therefore is pretty close to the Catholic Church, whereas Protestantism has neither.  It's only relatively recently -- last 40 years or so -- that this has been the publicly stated view of Catholicism, and while it is a view that has some inherent contradictions in it, nevertheless it is a view that seems to flow from some threads of Catholic ecclesiology.

I'm going to disagree with you here.

I do not think the idea of the Orthodox Church having valid orders and valid sacraments in a new development within Catholicism. I wasn't a live 40 years ago, but I do have some old Catholic enclyclopedias and articles from the pre-Vat II period. All state that the Orthodox Churches have valid orders and sacraments, this is why Orthodox Christians were never conditionaly baptized when they entered the Catholic Church, and why Orthodox priests who converted to Catholicism simply confessed, and made a profession of faith, and they were then Catholic priests, of whatever rank they were in the Orthodox Church. Even the modern day Catholic traditionalists -  SSPX, SSPV, CMRI, etc, do not deny that the Orthodx Church has valid orders and valid Sacraments. In fact when an Ukrainian Orthodox bishop entered the Sedevacantist CMRI, he just confessed and made a profession of faith, and was then a Catholic bishop. This is significant, because CMRI  follows pre-Vat II Catholic teaching and practice in the strictest and purest form, they make no exceptions.

I do agree that the Catholic Church has warmed up quite a bit with the Orthodox Church over the past 40 years, but I don't think the idea of the Orthodox Church having valid orders and sacraments is a recent developement in Catholicism. This seems to have been the teaching of the Catholic Church for some time, throughout the centuries. I have yet to come across a Catholic book, atricle, Papal Bull or enclyclical, pre-Vat II or post-Vat II that states the Orthodox Christians do not have valid orders and sacraments.

Please, if I am wrong, provide me with some pre- Vat II material or Papal bull or encyclical that states the Orthodox do not have valid orders and/or sacraments.
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2004, 12:01:41 PM »

"It is interesting how this message serves to further my original thesis in that we see little doctrine presented but rather a "perspectivist" reaction."

I honestly do think that these differences in perspective are what underlie how the churches view each other today, even before you get to the level of theological analysis.

""Feeling more Eastern" versus "feeling Western" is interesting, true, but I don't know if that's applicable."

That's not what I said.  What I said was there is a significant difference in how the churches view themselves and define themselves.  Surely as an evangelical *protestant* you can understand that your own self-labelling is itself a statement of where your church stands vis-a-vis Catholicism, because it implies of necessity that there is something against which you are Protesting to begin with.   Wink

"At any rate, it also seems like the differences between Prot-ism and RCC are downplayed in your post."

No they are real, and they are also differences between Orthodoxy and Protestantism, as I said.  However, there are other things that Protestantism and Catholicism have in common that we share with neither.  This gets back to the "differences that matter".

"For example, between Prot and RCC, we have the following similarities that are not to be found in EOC:
1. Filioque
2. The oft-cited "legal" viewpoint versus the "mystical" viewpoint
3. Descendancy of thought (in some cases) from Augustine and Aquinas
4. Tendency to prefer the Masoretic OT text over the LXX
5. Latin tendency to "overthink," analyse, and commit to verbal description more rather than accept many things as a mystery"

To these I would add a common western worldview and heritage, a common enthusiasm for humanism, a common idea of mission, a common sense of interaction between the church and society, a common emphasis on preaching, and an increasingly common worship style and approach following the post-Vatican-II reforms in Catholicism.  Much of this is due to the reality that for centuries Protestantism set the terms of the debate in Western Christianity, and Catholicism reacted to that and adjusted where it thought necessary.  But the reality is that you both have a lot more in common with each other than either of you is comfortable to admit  Wink.;

"1. Erecting a separate class of "canonised" (for lack of a better word) saints"

Anglicans have saints too, by the way.  Yes, we share this in common with Catholics as a practice.  Shiite Muslims also have saints, as do a number of other religions, in their own way.
 
"2. Venerating and praying to said saints"

Yes we share this in common.

"3. Praying for the dead"

Yes, but we also share this with Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, etc.  

"4. Rejecting the position of Sola Scriptura"

Not our fight.  It never came up in the East.  We disagree with it as well, but unlike Catholicism, which views scripture and tradition as distinct but equal, we view it all as Holy Tradition, so the juxtaposition of "scripture" and "tradition" is impossible in Orthodoxy.  That kind of thinking which led to sola scriptura would have been impossible in Orthodoxy, and this is another indication of how Protestantism is an outgrowth of Catholicism.   Smiley

"5. Justification not by faith alone"

Not our fight.  We don't share this fascination with soteriology that Western Christians do.  In Orthodoxy, we believe in "synergeia", and noone has ever suggested here that it was "one" or the "other", or even juxtaposed them against each other like that.  This kind of juxtaposition of "faith" over against "works" is another reflection of the Thomistic tradition of analysis that is the common heritage of Protestants and Catholics, but has nothing to do with Eastern Orthodoxy.  And so, again, this reflects the reality that Protestantism is an ofshoot of Catholicism.   Smiley

"6. The claim that infallible interpreting authority resides within the Church, and by extension..."

We would stop the sentence after "Church".  This is one of the more significant and far-reaching differences between Catholicism/Protestantism, on the one hand, and Orthodoxy on the other.  Catholicism based the "extension" of that principle on one see's interpretation of a critical biblical passage, over and against the actual practice of how the church functioned for centuries, statements in ecumenical councils and the like.  It was, in a sense, the first instance, the seed, of "sola scriptura", because the Roman See's claim to primacy of jurisdiction and, later, infallibility, is based on the Roman See's interpretation of the Bible, even if that disagrees with the interpretation given by the entirety of the Church.  So in a sense that "addition" by Catholicism was already a rejection of the idea that the infallibility rests with the entirety of the Church and that one see alone cannot define its powers based solely on its own biblical interpretations.  In doing so, the seed was planted, in a way, for sola scriptura to emerge, which leads to the next point ...

"7. ...the excoriation of "personal, private" interpretation of the Scriptures"

Yes, we reject this as Catholicism does.  But we see the development of sola scriptura as having come from a certain perspective and spirit already present before that in Catholicism.  In a sense, the Pope was the first sola scriptura protestant, believing that his own interpretation of certain biblical passages was definitive, binding and authoritative, regardless of what the rest of the church said and regardless of the practices and traditions of the church in this respect.  The devlopment of sola scriptura simply relocates this biblical primacy from the Pope (acting through the remainder of the Church of course) to the individual believer ... each believer becomes his or her own Pope.  And this development was made possible by a certain approach to the scriptures in Catholicism from the top, and the juxtaposition of scripture and tradition that is not known in Orthodoxy.  So here again, we see you both as being closer in roots than you like to admit, and one as being the offshoot of things present in the other.   Smiley

"8. The emphasis on Mary"

Yes this is true, it predates our separation from Catholicism, and the Catholics have never eliminated it, although the Catholic Church has certainly, if somewhat unwittingly, de-emphasized Marian devotion dramatically in the last 40 or so years, as compared with what you still see in Orthodoxy.  Some in Catholicism see this as a "protestant" influence.

"9. Use of icons in worship"

Actually this is more of a difference than a similarity.  Catholics do not reject religious paintings or statues, but they do not carry the same significance in Catholic piety or liturgical practice than they do in Orthodoxy.  Catholics acccept them, even encourage them, but they are not "necessary".  Icons are "necessary" in Orthodoxy.  But I will grant that this is a relatively minor difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

 
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2004, 12:17:18 PM »

Quote
Yes this is true, it predates our separation from Catholicism, and the Catholics have never eliminated it, although the Catholic Church has certainly, if somewhat unwittingly, de-emphasized Marian devotion dramatically in the last 40 or so years, as compared with what you still see in Orthodoxy.  Some in Catholicism see this as a "protestant" influence.

I disagree. I do not think Mary has been "dramtically" de-emphasized in the Catholic Church. If anything, in many places we have seen a renewal of Marian devotion, esp with the Papacy of John Paul II, who has a frevent and devout devotion to the Blessed Virgin. I do agree that since Vatican II, Marian devotion has seemed to be on the decline, but more now than ever am I seeing RC churches with the whole congregation praying the rosary, before and after Mass. Mary is also a focus of many of John Paul II's writings. Perhaps I am wrong, but I think we are seeing Marian devotion in the RCC in just a different way, I guess the Pope would say "In the light of Vatican II", but if anything I don't think we see Mary in a de-emphasized role in the post-Vatican II Catholic Church.


Quote
Actually this is more of a difference than a similarity.  Catholics do not reject religious paintings or statues, but they do not carry the same significance in Catholic piety or liturgical practice than they do in Orthodoxy.  Catholics acccept them, even encourage them, but they are not "necessary".  Icons are "necessary" in Orthodoxy.  But I will grant that this is a relatively minor difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

Catholics, clergy and laymen alike, of the Eastern rites would certainly disagree with you, at least these days, that is. I agree that Icons, and religious art, do not have the same emphasis in the Roman Catholic Church as it does in the Eastern Orthodox Church. But I know many Eastern rite Catholics who believe Icons are truly necesary.
 

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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2004, 12:28:48 PM »

"I disagree. I do not think Mary has been "dramtically" de-emphasized in the Catholic Church."

Well I beg to differ with you.  I do agree that there has been an attempt in some circles within the Catholic Church to "rollback" some of the changes that were made following Vatican II, but I do think that one of them was a change in Marian devotion among the *average* Catholic.  It's good to see that this is being reversed in some places Smiley  

"but more now than ever am I seeing RC churches with the whole congregation praying the rosary, before and after Mass"

Well, the only Catholic parish here where I can recall seeing that practice was one of the Eastern Catholic ones, Wink

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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2004, 12:37:28 PM »

Thanks for doing most of my promised work, Brendan03. To add my 2 cents:
Quote
"1. Erecting a separate class of "canonised" (for lack of a better word) saints"

Anglicans have saints too, by the way.  Yes, we share this in common with Catholics as a practice.  Shiite Muslims also have saints, as do a number of other religions, in their own way.

To which I would add that there are differences in 'canonization" between the RCC and Orthodoxy. The Orthodox canonize by realizing or admitting the already existing holiness of the 'saints' without a (at least to my mind) legalistic catalogue of requiremnts to be examined and passed so that the saint may be "declared" (but I could be wrong and am open to be corrected).

Quote
"2. Venerating and praying to said saints"

Yes we share this in common.

Small point: I think it more proper to say we pray through saints, not to saints.

Demetri
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2004, 12:46:03 PM »



Quote
Well I beg to differ with you.  I do agree that there has been an attempt in some circles within the Catholic Church to "rollback" some of the changes that were made following Vatican II, but I do think that one of them was a change in Marian devotion among the *average* Catholic.  It's good to see that this is being reversed in some places Smiley  


Perhaps this is true, but I do not think overall Mary has been de-emphasized in Catholicism. We are seeing the pendulum slowing wing back the other way, the post-Vat II reforms took things way too far, things are starting to go the other way, people are hungry for the faith, and not the lite version.
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2004, 01:32:30 PM »

I think Orthodoxy's process of declaring her saints is "glorification" while Catholicism's is termed "canonization."

There are three basic criteria a person must fulfill in order to be named a saint in the Catholic Church. The process can take decades.

(1) Declaration of virtues:

This is where the process begins. Under the watch of a local bishop, an investigation begins into the candidate's life and writings and a search for martyrdom, orthodoxy of doctrine, or heroic virtue.

The results of the investigation are turned over to the Vatican, where a panel of theologians evaluates the findings. If the panel and Cardinals of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approve, the Pope declares the candidate "Venerable."

(2) Beatification:

This interim step requires proof a miracle took place after the person's death. The Church takes this as proof that the person is in heaven and can act on behalf of people on Earth.

Successful completion of this step leads to a declaration of blessing, or beatification. The person can be venerated by a region or group as "Blessed."

(3) Canonization:

After at least two or more proven miracles, the Pope canonizes the person.  Canonization recognizes what God has already done.

In a sense, declaration of sainthood in the Catholic Church is rigorous.

Amado
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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2004, 01:36:57 PM »

"3. Praying for the dead

Yes, but we also share this with Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, etc.  "

Gosh, yes, but our understanding of what it is is radically different from that of RCs and those other groups listed.  

The most important other group who prays for the dead are the Jews, from whom we received the belief.  It is noted in the Old Testament (2 Mac. 12, 43-46), but only in books which the West saw as suspicious and the Protestants, because the books taught things that didn't jive with their own teachings, rejected.  The way it is discussed is also disturbing to many Protestants.  Many Protestants understand and accept that the early Christians also prayed for the dead, but claim it was on error that was corrected later (over 1,500 years later).  

Certain passages in the Old and New Testaments certainly make more sense within the context of the Orthodox understanding.  Psalms 66:10, Proverbs, 12:3; Ecclesiasticus 2:5; 1 Corinthians, 3, 11-15; and Peter, 1:2 (Thanks to Dr. Alex Roman for making the list at http://www.unicorne.org/Orthodoxy/avril2003/prayersdeparted.htm).  

The radical difference between our understanding and the RC understanding has to do with purgatory.  We are much more willing to allow things to be a mystery to us than to have to explain everything in philisophical or scientific terms.

I remember going with my parents to an Easter service at their baptist church.  The preacher kept going on about how some great barrister from England who had never lost a case could prove in a court of law that the resurrection happened.  Who cares?  Do YOU believe?

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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2004, 01:42:23 PM »

I think it more proper to say we pray through saints, not to saints.

My ROCOR priest friend always insists that we pray TO saints.

I don't necessarily disagree with you, however he IS a traditionalist and says that we pray TO the saints.

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« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2004, 01:52:29 PM »

Dear Cizinec:

The way you put it appears to be equivocal.

Your statement lumps the RCC with  the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, etc. on the one hand and the Orthodox on the other. Perhaps, unintentinally?

No. The RCC and the OC are on one side and the non-Christian groups are on the other.

We both derived our practices and belief in praying for the dead from the same source.

However, admittedly there is a difference in our respective understanding of what "purgatory" or "toll house" (or "forecourt of hell") is.

Amado

P.S. Welcome to OC.net!  What took you so long?
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« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2004, 03:57:45 PM »

My ROCOR priest friend always insists that we pray TO saints.

I don't necessarily disagree with you, however he IS a traditionalist and says that we pray TO the saints.

Peter Theodore

I am sorry Peter; I was not aware you had gone under ROCOR. Wink
However, to belabor my small point I'll pit the archimandite monk who advises me against your ROCOR priest any day. If we must engage in semantics: we ask the saints to pray for us, they being closer to the Lord than we. I guess one 'could' call that praying "to", but I still see a difference.
As to "Traditonalists" - I don't use the term or heed it in general.

Demetri
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« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2004, 04:08:35 PM »

As I said, i don't necessarily disagree with you and consider my ROCOR friend to be engaging in semantics on this point.

Actually if I lived near him I would probably seek a blessing to worship with him rather than set up a Coptic Church just down the road from him. I love him a lot.
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« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2004, 04:15:16 PM »

As I said, i don't necessarily disagree with you and consider my ROCOR friend to be engaging in semantics on this point.

Actually if I lived near him I would probably seek a blessing to worship with him rather than set up a Coptic Church just down the road from him. I love him a lot.

I know what you mean. My local ROCOR priest is wonderful, but relations with ROCOR and ACROD are still a bit strained right now. But when pressed both priests admit respecting each other. We've three Slavic Orthodox Churches in a town of 2000 people and so church life is very interesting around here. Lots of holupki, though.

Demetri
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« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2004, 04:15:43 PM »

Peter how many Coptic parishes are there in the UK?
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« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2004, 06:06:55 PM »

It seems to me that this question can't be solved from a neutral, scholarly point of view. It's a theological issue, and the answer depends on what you think the _truth_ is. If you think that true Christianity was restored in Protestantism, then Catholicism and Orthodoxy are going to look equally mired in error. If you think that Sacred Tradition has been preserved in Orthodoxy, then you will think that Protestants and Catholics are united in rejecting it. Since I think that Orthodoxy is the most doctrinally correct of the Christian churches (although I'm Episcopalian myself), I tend to subscribe to the latter view. But of course a convinced Protestant will see it otherwise. It isn't worth arguing about.

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« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2004, 06:14:09 PM »

Hi Ben

There are about 7 or 8 British Orthodox parishes and missions and about 20 ethnically Coptic ones. Our first English monastery is now being established. There are 3 bishops here, including my own Metropolitan.

Peter
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« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2004, 06:24:54 PM »

Wow!
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« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2004, 02:57:30 AM »

A few responses to things said before:

"I disagree. I do not think Mary has been "dramtically" de-emphasized in the Catholic Church."

>>I must say, I'm going to have to agree with this.  There is a growing movement to declare Mary the Co-Redemptrix with Christ in the RCC.  The RCC has named Doctor of the Church one de Ligouri, who uses such terms as "Mediatrix of all graces," "for salvation, go to Mary," and such.  And of course, Pope John Paul II's motto is "Totus tuus," referring to Mary.  So it seems strange to say the RCC is de-emphasising Mary.

"Surely as an evangelical *protestant* you can understand that your own self-labelling is itself a statement of where your church stands vis-a-vis Catholicism, because it implies of necessity that there is something against which you are Protesting to begin with."

>>  One might be well-served to define that against which I protest to be not the church itself but the unbiblical doctrines it teaches (remember how Martin Luther wanted simply to reform the RCC first and foremost and how much it grieved him to leave it?  The 5 Solas were not "Sola not the Roman church."  They were declarations of doctrine).  The Evangelical Protestant (hereafter, EvProt) doesn't deny a large part of what RCC teaches - the Trinity, Christ as Redeemer, observation of the Eucharist, the Nicean, Apostles', and Chalcedonian creeds, etc.  Given that many of the doctrines (listed in my original 9) held tightly to by RCC and EOC are held by the EvProt to be unbiblical, the EvProt protests against holding to them, but it doesn't matter who professes them.  I suppose the only way you could say what you said is historically.

"Rejection of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide - not our fight..."
>>I understand that historically there was no ideological conflict and no Wars of Religion that branched out from that conflict.  However, now that there is full contact in terms of global communication of ideas, EOC must deal with these ideas.  My contention is that EvProt-ism is unique in holding to Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide while EOC and RCC are together in denying them.  This furthers the rapprochement of EOC and RCC in comparison to EvProt-ism.  

"To these I would add a common western worldview and heritage, a common enthusiasm for humanism, a common idea of mission, a common sense of interaction between the church and society, a common emphasis on preaching, and an increasingly common worship style and approach following the post-Vatican-II reforms in Catholicism."

>>I'll give you the western worldview and heritage, the interaction between church and society, and the worship style to an extent.  As for "humanism," the case is much more easily made that EOC and RCC are closer in that regard, as you yourself said later: 'In Orthodoxy, we believe in "synergeia"...'  From EvProt-ism we see the de-emphasis of human effort in salvation, as Calvinism and its accompanying "monergism" is a major tradition among EvProts and the idea of eternal security (God's grace being more powerful than human effort, more or less) is even more widespread than that.  Accept it or not, this makes any assigning of "enthusiasm for humanism" to EvProts a bit ridiculous.

I do take issue with the emphasis on preaching.  I've been to RCC Masses and to EOC Divine Liturgies and to a variety of EvProt services.  Obviously EvProts preach a lot - given.  But Catholics?  I wouldn't say that I've been to a ton of Masses, but from what I've seen, in the EOC Divine Liturgies I've heard more preaching than at any RCC Mass I've attended.  So I have to take issue with that - EOC and RCC would be closer in this regard.  

"In a sense, the Pope was the first sola scriptura protestant, believing that his own interpretation of certain biblical passages was definitive, binding and authoritative...sola scriptura simply relocates this biblical primacy from the Pope... to the individual believer..."
>> The EvProt would point out that in EOC and RCC both exists the idea of the infallible interpretation of the Scripture.  I'm not trying to be mean, but setting the Pope equal to the EvProt individual believer is silly and misleading.  The Roman Bishop, as we all know, has set his office as the only infallible interpreter of the Scripture officially, to the exclusion of any other interpretation.  The EvProt takes the Scriptural interpretation that seems best according to the best information available and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.   He does not consider his interpretation infallible, as opposed to the EOC and RCC.  So, once again, RCC and EOC find themselves together in the one corner.

"at their baptist church.  The preacher kept going on about how some great barrister from England who had never lost a case could prove in a court of law that the resurrection happened.  Who cares?  Do YOU believe?"

>>What if the resurrection carried vast amounts of historical and objective evidence against it?  That would be extremely harmful to the faith and make it no better than any other religion in the world.  For all others except Christians, religion is man's attempt to get to God, is based on experience and mythology and wishful thinking.  Christianity is based on historical fact and substance.  How can this not matter?  
... But perhaps I misunderstand you.

Keep the posts coming if you're still interested - I've learned a lot already and I hope that an EvProt's perspective is helpful for others.   Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2004, 05:28:27 AM »

Ooops, I accidentally checked "Complete" on this string.  Sorry - I'm a newbie.  
MODERATOR - can you un-Complete this?
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« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2004, 08:47:39 AM »

Hey Amado!

It was unintentional.  I apologize.  You are quite right.  I did not intend to lump RC beliefs with Buddhists, etc.

Thanks for the correction.
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« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2004, 08:53:54 AM »

"I must say, I'm going to have to agree with this.  There is a growing movement to declare Mary the Co-Redemptrix with Christ in the RCC.  The RCC has named Doctor of the Church one de Ligouri, who uses such terms as "Mediatrix of all graces," "for salvation, go to Mary," and such.  And of course, Pope John Paul II's motto is "Totus tuus," referring to Mary.  So it seems strange to say the RCC is de-emphasising Mary."

Okay, here is the difference.  There is "official Catholicism" (ie, what the Pope does, what the Vatican writes), on the one hand, and then there is "popular Catholicism" (ie what you see in the parishes in North America, for example).  While the pontificate of JPII has certainly emphasized Mary in "official Catholicism", nevertheless it remains the reality that in "popular Catholicism", Mary is much de-emphasized compared with how "popular Catholicism" behaved prior to the Vatican II reforms.  It also varies by country and ethnicity to a certain degree as well ... this is less the case among Hispanic Catholics, for example, than it is among other North American Catholics.  To take a local example, St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral here in Washington did its interior iconogrphy in the 1990s, and it featured a huge frescoed icon of the Theotokos of the Sign in the Nave ... it is the domininant piece of iconography in that church.  When I have visited the local RC parish down the street, which has just built a new church, I do not see Mary there other than in a rather small statue over to the side.  Which is a reflection of my perception of the differences here between "popular Catholicism" and contemporary Orthodox practice ... Mary is still there in the RCC, but she is not emphasized to the same degree, "official Catholicism" notwithstanding.

"However, now that there is full contact in terms of global communication of ideas, EOC must deal with these ideas.  My contention is that EvProt-ism is unique in holding to Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide while EOC and RCC are together in denying them.  This furthers the [/i]rapprochement of EOC and RCC in comparison to EvProt-ism. "

And, again, the way we view it is that sola scriptura could only have developed out of a Catholic context, where scripture and tradition are viewed as separate but equal sources of authority.  Once you get there, it begs the question of why they should be equal at all, and that's where you get sola scriptura.  For us, there is only Tradition ... scripture is a part of, and indeed the central part of, Tradition, but it not separate from it.  So we see this juxtaposition of scripture vs. tradition as a false dichotomy, and a false dischotomy that was only possible in the context of the Catholic background of viewing them separately to begin with.  By viewing them separately, you are being more Catholic than you think.  Wink

"As for "humanism," the case is much more easily made that EOC and RCC are closer in that regard, as you yourself said later: 'In Orthodoxy, we believe in "synergeia"...'  From EvProt-ism we see the de-emphasis of human effort in salvation, as Calvinism and its accompanying "monergism" is a major tradition among EvProts and the idea of eternal security (God's grace being more powerful than human effort, more or less) is even more widespread than that.  Accept it or not, this makes any assigning of "enthusiasm for humanism" to EvProts a bit ridiculous."

No, I don't think you understood what I meant.  I'll try again.  For Orthodox, the Kingdom is "not of this world", so we place much less stock in trying to come to a human-based understanding of scripture, for example, as the basis for our belief system.  Protestants try to work out what the bible means themselves as individuals, what can be more humanistic than that?  Catholicism for some time relied on Thomistic forms of logical deduction as a basis for theological reflection ... again a human-mind based approach.  Orthodox place much less faith in the abilities of our human minds to understand these things and build theological systems around them.  In that sense, our approach is more mystical and mystery-filled, and that is ipso facto less humanist than either the Protestant or the Catholic approaches.

On salvation, because this is the topic of obsession for protestants, all I will say is that the concept of synergeia is not humanistic, at least not any more humanistic than the person of Christ himself.  Salvation is impossible without Grace, but is also impossible without cooperating with the grace we are given, opening ourselves to let it work in our lives.  This isn't reliance on human merit, it is simply stating the reality that we have choices in life, we can choose good or evil, we can choose to accept grace or to reject it, and those choices have consequences for us.  By saying that human choice is not relevant, Protestants deny the reality of free will, it seems to me, which just flies in the face of reality.  It is a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bath water ... people were upset with the excesses of medieval Catholicism and a widespread misunderstanding of salvation based on merit, and so in reaction against that they threw out the idea that human choices were at all relevant in salvation!  A large jump indeed.  And in any case, the reality is that the synergeia of divine and human simply reflects Christ Himself, who was also fully human and fully divine ... human to the extent that he suffered temptation per the scriptural text, to the extent the he asked the Father at the 11th hour ... and our own salvation reflects that .. it is part human and part divine, or rather, our humanity cooperating with the divine grace we are given to be transformed by that grace into a deified humanity.   Smiley

"But Catholics?  I wouldn't say that I've been to a ton of Masses, but from what I've seen, in the EOC Divine Liturgies I've heard more preaching than at any RCC Mass I've attended.  So I have to take issue with that - EOC and RCC would be closer in this regard."

My point is that the quality of preaching plays a more important role in the liturgical life of a Roman Catholic than it does for an Orthodox.   People leave Mass reflecting on the quality of the homily ... I haven't seen that as often in Orthodoxy.

"The EvProt takes the Scriptural interpretation that seems best according to the best information available and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  He does not consider his interpretation infallible, as opposed to the EOC and RCC.  So, once again, RCC and EOC find themselves together in the one corner."

No, because again we see scripture as a part of Tradition.  The Church as a whole interprets scripture infallibly a a whole and in the context of Tradition.  This is very different from taking scripture alone as the basis for an office (such as the Papacy today) or of a theological system (such as Protestantism).   In this critical sense, Catholics and Protestants are doing the same thing, whether or not they agree as to whether a particular interpretation is "infallible" or not.

"Christianity is based on historical fact and substance.  How can this not matter?"

I find this statement ironic, because in many respects Protestantism in general and EvProtism in particular, is the rejection of history.  You have this strange juxtaposition going on.  On the one hand, many of you are biblical literalists, placing great emphasis on the historical *fact* of biblical events, OT and NT alike.  At the same time, you deny the historical realities that it was the church that existed before the NT was written that wrote the NT to begin with, it was the church that canonized the books that comprise the bible to begin with, historical writings contemporaneous with the time of the writing of the NT indicate that the Eucharist was celebrated from the very beginning, bear witness to the importance of the liturgical life of the church from the very beginning, etc.  There are some things, it seems, that are important historically for Protestants and others that are not, it is picking and choosing.  In my view, this flows from the sola scriptura error.  If the bible is your sole source of authority, well then it better be factually true, because if it isn't, there goes your faith with it.  As Orthodox, we believe in the Holy Trinity and place our faith in Jesus Christ, the living Son of God, rather than in things that humans wrote about Him.  We respect the scriptures, they are central to our Tradition, but our faith is in the living God, for whom the Church is his body.  So while we believe that the NT events depicted in the Gospels are factual, our tradition has never interpreted the OT factually, as many Protestants try to do.  We see many things in the OT as allegorical, and that has no impact on the strength of our faith in the Living God of whom the scriptures speak.

Brendan  






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« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2004, 09:30:47 AM »

Rho,

I think two of the greatest differences in substance are those of Original Sin and Salvation and what they mean.  

Romans and Protestants of all flavors have argued from the beginning about salvation, Mariology, the saints, and even more external issues such as the order of services, all with the same basic understanding of Original Sin.  This theology, more than any other, forms the opinions of both sides of that debate.

While it is true that Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy share many external practices and beliefs received from a common history through the earliest Christians, these externals belie the dramatic differences in their understanding of what these practices and beliefs mean.  In other words, the fruit looks similar, but the meat of the fruit is quite different.  

It is difficult, if not impossible, to explain the problem without getting into the details of each issue.  For instance, the Dormition and Assumption may look identical to Protestant eyes.  So will the issues surrounding the Nativity of the Theotokos.  The understanding of what happened (spiritually) in these events is quite different from the RC and EO perspectives, and these differences are far from subtle.  If we begin to discuss these differences, you will see right away that you will more easily understand and agree with the basic premises of the Roman position, although you will point out what you believe are errors.  You will also see that the Orthodox are so different in the initial stages of the discussion that you will have a difficult time understanding where they are going with the argument.

When I hear RCs and EvProts arguing with each other, they aren’t arguing so much about the basics of Original Sin, but how that affected history.  They don’t argue about whether or not there is inherited guilt, they argue about how to get rid of it.  They don’t argue about the nature of Salvation, but how we get it.  Our understandings of both of these basic beliefs are quite different. We believe that the foundation of the Western Churches’ perspectives is flawed and that this repaints the universe in a way that we do not recognize as true.

I disagree that one cannot see these differences intellectually and it’s all a matter of the side one picks.  Regardless of what “side” one chooses, one can understand intellectually why someone would say that RCs and EvProts are closer to each other than Orthodoxy.  

P.S., I know that a lot of RCs and BCs will say the approaches are different but compatible.  I don’t agree and this probably isn’t the thread to discuss that issue.  But you guys know I love ya!
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« Reply #27 on: May 12, 2004, 09:36:40 AM »

I think Brendan makes an excellent point:  cataphatic vs. apophatic understanding of God.  Quite a radical difference.

Differences:

What is comprehensible about God

Original Sin

Salvation


Similarities:

Pray for dead (but understand differently)

Think the Theotokos is important (although in different ways)

Liturgical

Hierarchical (but with a different understanding)
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« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2004, 09:49:05 AM »

Rho -

Any of this sound familiar?  Wink

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« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2004, 10:38:29 AM »

Gentlemen (and ladies, if there be any who have contributed), I appreciate your comments - they are very educational and helpful to me.  A few other points:

"reality that in 'popular Catholicism', Mary is much de-emphasized compared with how "popular Catholicism" behaved prior to the Vatican II reforms. "

>>Perhaps I could be enlightened as to how millions continue to flock to the famous sightings of the Virgin in Fatima, Lourdes, etc. and how "Maryophanies" continue popping up all over the place in modern times.  I guess I don't quite understand what you mean.  But maybe that sort of thing was more prevalent pre-Vat II.   I'm man enough to admit my ignorance (sometimes).  

" So we see this juxtaposition of scripture vs. tradition as a false dichotomy, and a false dischotomy that was only possible in the context of the Catholic background of viewing them separately to begin with."
>>This conversation can get ever so close to debating the *merits* of Orthodoxy versus EvProt-ism, but that is not really my intention here.  Let me point out that this statement also serves to underscore the difference in viewpoint - for the EvProt the EOC and RCC reject Sola Scriptura (define "reject" however you want to, it doesn't matter), which the EvProt sees as a yet more historically supported doctrine than its opposing doctrine (since we believe it is laid out in the Bible itself), while for the EOC the EvProt and RCC are in the same boat because they differentiate between Tradition and Scripture.
I know that I am on thin ice on the subject of discussing the issue at hand, but it is pertinent to point out that Christ Himself distinguished between Scripture and Tradition (Matthew 15:1-9), so the EvProt feels pretty darn safe in making the very same distinction.

"humanism"
>> OK, good point about the mystery element of EOC worship - I can see what you mean.  Let me hasten to remind the viewing audience that only certain strains of Calvinism "deny the reality of free will," as you put it, Brendan.  What EvProts as a whole *do* deny is that man's puny efforts, which "are as filthy rags" before the Lord (Isaiah 64:6), can justify him before God.  Most EvProts affirm the necessary real choice of a man to accept Christ or not to, but it is no more a meritorious action than the beggar's holding out his hand for a handout is a meritorious action.

"And in any case, the reality is that the synergeia of divine and human simply reflects Christ Himself"
>> A good 5-Point Calvinist (which I am not) would point out that Christ had no need of salvation, so this is not the greatest example.  

"They don’t argue about the nature of Salvation, but how we get it." (cizinec)
>>Well, yes and no.  I guess the point about Original Sin and its guilt is a good one (according to my limited knowledge of the EOC position on that), but as for the nature of salvation, RC and EOC are quite different from EvProt-ism.  EvProts hold to a change of nature at the moment of salvation and a distinction between justification and sanctification, whereas EOC and RCC repudiate that distinction, holding that they occur over time and simultaneously and continuously.  

"Dormition and Assumption may look identical to Protestant eyes."
>>I read up on the "Dormition" on this site - my understanding is that it refers to Mary's death, whereas the Assumption is her post-death physical taking to heaven?  RCC is actually in conflict over whether they believe she died first or did not die at all (I think so, anyway), and this illustrates yet again, given the absence of this concept in EvProt-ism, a similarity between RCC and EOC.


Anyway, all this to say that, given the activity my original post has generated and how there have been points made on both sides, only some of which have been responded to, it would seem that the original thesis (that the "placing of two of the three on one coin versus the other one" is completely subjective with no real objective preponderance of evidence in favor of any one position) stands.  I've even managed to get a few members on the side of *my* thesis!  ;-)  

Pedro - yes, much of it does, but I don't know if *we* have ever really discussed this particular subject in detail.
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« Reply #30 on: May 12, 2004, 11:36:38 AM »

Rho,

I think you're still caught up in the "here and now."  

I'm not talking about the timing of salvation (here and now and at one time or a process), I'm talking about the essence and definition of salvation.  EvProts and RCs see salvation quite differently than the Orthodox.  Sure, you guys argue about when and the process, but not about what salvation is.

Your analysis of the Assmuption vs. Dormition is cursory at best.  I do not doubt that you do not know or understand the substantive differences and from where they come.  I merely noted that you would at least understand the basis of the RC position and their explanation.  To look at this issue at such a superficial level and then conclude that  "that the "placing of two of the three on one coin versus the other one" is completely subjective with no real objective preponderance of evidence in favor of any one position" is terribly hasty and intellectually dishonest.

One can compare and contrast any two things.  I am reminded of a postmodern anthropologist (I'm banging my head to remember the name) who was explaining to a South American tribe why he classified a whale as a mammal.  The tribe found his classification bizarre.  Later, he found that the tribe classified the armpit the same as it classified the underside of a leaf (things that are warm and moist).  Finding similarities on the surface of any subject for the purpose of easy classification (especially when involving us vs. them) is intellectually dangerous.  Most always classify all "others" in a group.  Perhaps we are guilty of that when we say you look more RC to us because you accept most of their axioms.  You say we look more RC because of the smells and bells.  Having been an EvProt, I know what it teaches and why I disagree.  

I hope you are not attempting to briefly scan Orthodox theology and conclude that Orthodoxy = Catholicism because it looks like it after a quick look and without delving into the substance.  I would prefer that you say that you don't understand and that you are happy where you are.   From your post, you don't understand the distinctively Orthodox foundations that make Orthodoxy "different" from the West.
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« Reply #31 on: May 12, 2004, 11:54:41 AM »

Rho,

For those items where you believe we agree, say in the Dormition, you can't use your old standard Protestant refutations to Latin claims.  We don't make the same arguments.  If it's easier for you to assume that the Latin refutations work, I invite you to delve further into the discussion.
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« Reply #32 on: May 12, 2004, 12:36:25 PM »

I'm sorry, Cizinec, it is possible you missed my discussion of the essence of salvation.  Here it is again:  "EvProts hold to a change of nature at the moment of salvation and a distinction between justification and sanctification, whereas EOC and RCC repudiate that distinction, holding that they occur over time and simultaneously and continuously. "

The emphasis of this idea is not in the time, how long it takes or whatever.  The idea is that for EOC and RCC, justification and sanctification are not separated and are thus similiar in that very important way.  For the EvProt, justification is an event where the nature is changed from the sin nature to the nature of Christ and when one is baptised in the Holy Spirit (no charismatic implication intended).  These are very different - the EvProt is -boom- in the faith and nevermore out, while the EOC or RCC can fall out at anytime.  This is a discussion dealing with essence.  But my guess is that you have something else in mind, so it would be nice to discuss that too.

This is perhaps my fault for ending the body of my post on the Domitian of Mary.  My intention was *not* to make any commentary on the distinctions, since, as I admitted, I know so little about them.  However, my whole point is the subjective nature of Ware's assertion.  The EvProt sees EOC and RCC united together in defining a doctrine of what happened to Mary at the end of her life.  Somehow or another, she goes to heaven in a way other than most any other mortal in history.  EvProtism holds that she died, was buried, and went to be "absent from the body, present with the Lord" (2 Cor 5), pure and simple.  So you have to admit the similarities lie more strongly with EOC and RCC than with RCC and EvProt.  

"terribly hasty and intellectually dishonest."  
>> I'm sure you mean that in the best way possible.   Wink
I think that you say that because you have confused my uneducated comment on the Domition as proof that Ware's assertion is subjective.  No, the proof is in the pudding - some of the EOC posters on this string have made arguments that have been new to me.  And I have made some to which no EOC poster has been able to respond.  That is the whole point of this discussion - I take exception to Ware's assertion because it is so subjective and anybody could make it and back it up with examples of stronger similarities between Group A and Group B than there exist between Group A and Group C.  


"From your post, you don't understand the distinctively Orthodox foundations that make Orthodoxy "different" from the West."
>>Just to be fair, I will say that my understanding of EOC is less than that of RCC or EvProt-ism, but then again, if you truly believe that I am completely wrong, respond to my arguments.  Not about the Domition of Mary or something that I admit is a powderpuff, but against the meat of it, the things I have so far successfully defended against you and the other posters.  But always with my thesis in mind, not debating the merits of EOC vs. EvProt-ism.  That's for another string.   Cheesy
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« Reply #33 on: May 12, 2004, 02:22:57 PM »

For the meaty issues, I would suggest that each deserves its own thread.  

I certainly did not mean any offense.  I would just encourage you to come to a better understanding of the issue or accept that you don't know and move on.  

As for successfully defending . . . against what?  I still feel like I am talking past you and that we are approaching an issue before terms are properly defined.

If you mean by that that Ware's assertion is subjective, I would agree that it's debatable, but not important.  Who is or who isn't more or less like a Latin doesn't get us any closer to God.
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« Reply #34 on: May 12, 2004, 03:16:58 PM »

Rho,

Quote
My thesis statement is that Ware's assertion cannot be supported and that EOC and RCC show so many similarities that Prot-ism does not share as to make the assertion not worth making.

That's generally how Roman Catholics respond to this common Orthodox perspective (it's not just Bp. Kallistos who has voiced this p.o.v.)

In the way you're approaching the matter, I'd have to agree with you.  If I were to sit down and draw up a point by point list of doctrines, there is no doubt the RCC is closer to Orthodoxy than any of the Protestant denominations (even the more liturgical groups like the Lutherans.)  Add a teaching here, subtract many there...on that level the two have many similarities which neither share with Protestantism.

However, this is typically not how the Orthodox view the matter.  Generally, they're thinking from a more fundamental level - something perhaps even more basic than doctrinal particulars (even biggies like the Papacy or the Filioque).  They'd go so far as to argue that it is this more basic difference in mindset (greek: phronema) which explains the separation, and goes a long way in explaining how those particular doctrinal differences came about in the first place.

Though there are many ethnicities which populate Orthodoxy, at the heart the similarity in "mindset" (and it's distinctiveness) remains.  I'll try to explain.

Orthodox Christianity is traditional; theology is not treated as a discipline of philosophy, but simply as words speaking truthfully (as far as words can) about the revelation of God.  Given this, the Church's role would be more conservative than to break new ground.  "Theological creativity" is a contradiction, as would be the idea that we in later times can speculate our way through syllogistic reasoning to doctrines and concepts which simply were not part of the faith taught and practiced by the Apostles.  This is not to say there is no need to always try and better frame and express the Christian witness - but it would mean that entirely novel concepts, no matter how allegedly well argued, are avoided...or at best, remain private opinions.  It's observed by Orthodox that Roman Catholics are of a mind totally to the contrary; all of their doctrinal distinctives are founded upon such anti-traditionalism (safely veiled under the mantle of "doctrinal development").  The Protestants have the same basic tendency - it manifests itself in the continual desire/need to re-invent the wheel, and the idea that practically everything is up for argument if one can find a "scriptural basis" for it.  Once again, no matter how seemingly well argued, the spirit of novelty/creativity involved in such practices is contrary to the Orthodox way of doing things.  I would argue also that at one time, it was also contrary to the way western Christians believed and practiced their faith (thus the assertion that the west was once Orthodox.)

Given this, while it is true that on a piece of paper one can undoubtedly list more particular doctrinal similarities between Orthodoxy and Catholicism than one could between Orthodoxy and Protestantism, on a much more basic level the assumptions underlying Protestantism and Catholicism have similarities not shared with the Christian East...which makes sense, since Protestantism is the child (or bastard depending on who you ask) of Roman Catholicism, and as such participates in some of the basic things which separated RC'ism from Orthodoxy in the first place.

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« Reply #35 on: May 12, 2004, 03:26:43 PM »

Hi Seraphim

Glad to see your sig points to Father John Romanides website.

How do you think your point applies to the generality of the faithful? I accept that theologians may or may not be 'progressive' or 'conservative'. Philosophical or mystical. But do the faithful tend not to be much more conservative? What are the similarities and dissimilarities between faithful in your opinion and how does that relate to the premise in view?

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #36 on: May 12, 2004, 11:51:20 PM »

The emphasis of this idea is not in the time, how long it takes or whatever.  The idea is that for EOC and RCC, justification and sanctification are not separated and are thus similiar in that very important way.  For the EvProt, justification is an event where the nature is changed from the sin nature to the nature of Christ and when one is baptised in the Holy Spirit (no charismatic implication intended).  These are very different - the EvProt is -boom- in the faith and nevermore out, while the EOC or RCC can fall out at anytime.

   -- Rho...this, I think, is another instance of "y'all's" list of comparisons vs. "ours."  From our point of view, both the EvProt and RC views deal with salvation -- be it instantaneous or gradual -- as a transfer of merits that is largely (if not completely) extrinsic in nature to the actual state of the human being.  The eastern approach is something entirely different -- that of man's intrinsic reaction to the very person and nature of Christ.  So, to us, this comparison of yours is nicely "counterbalanced."

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Somehow or another, she goes to heaven in a way other than most any other mortal in history.


   -- Actually, the Dormition within Orthodoxy is held up as something all humans can share in personally.

Quote
I take exception to Ware's assertion because it is so subjective and anybody could make it and back it up with examples of stronger similarities between Group A and Group B than there exist between Group A and Group C.  

   -- Granted, it is subjective...I think, perhaps, we may be looking at different "coins," here...you at one dealing with "doctrinal similarities," we at one dealing with overall approach to experiencing God.  The two do overlap at times, but they should not be confused or seen as interchangeable.  Perhaps you are thinkng of a coin to which Bp. KALLISTOS was not referring?
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« Reply #37 on: May 13, 2004, 12:17:56 AM »

this statement also serves to underscore the difference in viewpoint - for the EvProt the EOC and RCC reject Sola Scriptura (define "reject" however you want to, it doesn't matter), which the EvProt sees as a yet more historically supported doctrine than its opposing doctrine (since we believe it is laid out in the Bible itself), while for the EOC the EvProt and RCC are in the same boat because they differentiate between Tradition and Scripture.

Remember, Rho -- we don't make that distinction.  We would say that you and the RCC differentiate the two, since EvProts want to indict extra-biblical tradition as being incompatible and RC's want to support the papacy from Scripture alone and not the Fathers -- we see Scr. and Tradition as the seamless garment you can't rend.

Quote
Most EvProts affirm the necessary real choice of a man to accept Christ or not to, but it is no more a meritorious action than the beggar's holding out his hand for a handout is a meritorious action.

   -- ...which amounts still to an anti-Incarnational view of salvation.  Christ did not merely redeem us by immediately "overpowering" the human flesh he took on; he lived all his life in constant submission to the Father -- being subject to all temptation, yet without sin.  This advent -- His entire life -- was and is the source of our redemption, a redemption in which we share by enduring to the end in our confession of Him.

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Brendan: "And in any case, the reality is that the synergeia of divine and human simply reflects Christ Himself"
Rho: >> A good 5-Point Calvinist (which I am not) would point out that Christ had no need of salvation, so this is not the greatest example.  

   -- Right, but as I said, we did and do need it, and partake of it by being in Christ and in His Incarnate suffering and resurrection.  Because He paved the way, we are able to walk it.  It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us...yet we must die daily so that we will be raised with Him.
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« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2004, 09:39:21 AM »

I've even managed to get a few members on the side of *my* thesis!  ;-)

Just a small point, Rho:  Almost all those participants are Roman Catholic (the board has Catholic and Protestant participants).  I don't think any (I may be mistaken about one) of the Orthodox have actually responded that way.

I'll lend my voice to what others have said:  Orthodox and Roman Catholics only seem to be "on the same side of the coin" when one assumes Western Christian terms of analysis from the outset.

For example, it is imprecise and unfair to say that Orthodox, 'like the Catholics,' 'reject Sola Scriptura.'  As others have pointed out, it is the very separation of Sacred Scripture from Tradition which the Orthodox reject as a novelty.  This separation was first made by the Western Church, and without it, the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura could not even be formulated.  So, yes, at the root level, Catholicism and Protestantism share a common "point of view" that separates them from us.

You may dismiss that by stating, 'Yes, but that's just point of view; I'm talking about formal doctrines!'  But, this different orientation/point of view logically precedes and conditions the understanding of doctrines.  In that sense, it is point of view that is more fundamental, and that is why, to us, the divide between Eastern and Western appears more fundamental than that between Protestant and Catholic.

So, while it is true that Orthodox and Roman Catholics both speak of the "infallibility of the Church," the fact is, we mean very different things by that phrase.  And the same is true of Holy Orders, the episcopacy, veneration of Mary, and on down the line.  The words may be the same, but the meanings attached to them are often quite different.  And, in my experience, many Evangelical Protestants would just as soon ignore those differences; I guess it makes things too complicated.

The very impulse to want to dismiss, downplay, or "run past" this fundamental difference in point of view is something Protestants share with Roman Catholics.  No doubt, it is because their shared point of view seems perfectly "natural" to them.  But, it doesn't seem that way to us.

(By the way, in our reading of Mt 15:1-9, Jesus repudiates Pharisaic interpretations, which the Pharisees pass off as the "traditions of the elders," for contradicting the meaning of Scripture.  Orthodox would never hold that a so-called "tradition" that did that was truly part of Tradition.  We believe Jesus is making a point about bad "traditions," not rejecting the value of Tradition as such, and not making a claim that Holy Writ took shape and was handed down entirely independently of the community it addresses.  It does suggest, though, that Sacred Scripture must stand at the very core of that Tradition, and as a guidepost and rule for measuring all aspects of the Tradition.  The Orthodox have no problem with that understanding of Scripture.)
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« Reply #39 on: May 13, 2004, 10:14:19 AM »

Oh... my apologies, didn't realise that this site was well populated by Roman Catholics and Protestants as well.  Hi there everyone! Cheesy

Quote
it is imprecise and unfair to say that Orthodox, 'like the Catholics,' 'reject Sola Scriptura.'

>>I will continue pointing out my thesis statement - that Ware's assertion is subjective.  With this in mind, the EvProt believes Sola Scriptura is a doctrine that appears in the Bible and so is indeed something that must be rejected.  Now, it has been repeated many times that Orthodox recognise no separation between Scripture and Tradition, which leads me to the last thing Ambrose mentioned:
Quote
Mt 15:1-9, Jesus repudiates specific Pharisaic traditions for contradicting the meaning of Scripture

>>The only way this passage makes sense is if Jesus made the distinction.  It makes no difference at all whether they were "valid Church traditions" or not - the point is that He marked a cut-off point:  this is Scripture, this is not.  I understand that you (like RC-ics) believe that Jesus is repudiating only "bad" traditions.  Jesus would say that this viewpoint is irrational - the way He judged between "good" and "bad" traditions was by the Scripture, as He says in this passage.

Quote
But, this different orientation/point of view precedes and conditions the creation of doctrines.

>> The crazy thing about this is that you simply *assume* this about the EO point of view - the EvProt disagrees because he sees the doctrine of Sola Scriptura laid out clearly in the Scriptures, and an educated EProt rejects the idea that there is a consensus patrus that shoots down Sola Scriptura.  So, see what I mean about subjective?
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« Reply #40 on: May 13, 2004, 01:33:16 PM »

:The only way this passage makes sense is if Jesus made the distinction.  It makes no difference at all whether they were "valid Church traditions" or not - the point is that He marked a cut-off point:  this is Scripture, this is not.:

Both these claims are false. Jesus explicitly speaks of "traditions of men" and contrasts them not to Scripture per se but to the Word of God.  You are _assuming_ that the Word of God is revealed solely in and through Scripture. But that is an assumption you are bringing _to_ the text, not deriving from it.

It is also noteworthy that the specific tradition Jesus mentions is not found in any of the voluminous writings of the rabbinic tradition which have been preserved to our day. So not only does the passage not show Jesus attacking tradition in general, it shows him attacking a tradition so marginal that it does not even show up outside the NT!

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« Reply #41 on: May 13, 2004, 01:37:17 PM »

Dear Rho,

I still think you're missing a fundamental point.  Put it this way:  The Catholics say, "When it comes to the issue of Scripture and Tradition, we believe they are separate and equal sources."

To which the Protestants respond, "No, Scripture alone should be the basis for the establishment of any doctrine."

But the Orthodox respond:  "This conversation is starting from the wrong premises, so we can neither agree nor disagree with either set of conclusions.

"Scripture lies at the very heart and core of Tradition, and Tradition is of the very essence of the Scriptures.  They permeate each other.

"Tradition cannot be said to be 'equally important,' because that would be to suggest that there can be valid Traditions that are independent of the Scriptures, or that Scripture can be conceived outside of Tradition.

"Neither does it make sense to say 'Sola Scriptura,' if by that is meant that Tradition should play no role in the acceptance of doctrine; that Scripture, read apart from Tradition, is alone enough to establish doctrine.  Many of the central doctrines accepted even by most Protestants are not accepted or taught that way:  the Consubstantiality of the three Persons of the Trinity, among many others."
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« Reply #42 on: May 13, 2004, 05:48:26 PM »

the EvProt believes Sola Scriptura is a doctrine that appears in the Bible and so is indeed something that must be rejected.

I assume you meant, "accepted"?  Wink

Quote
the point is that He marked a cut-off point:  this is Scripture, this is not.

No, we would say he said, "This (i.e., Scripture) is true tradition (i.e., the Word of God to man), and the Corban rule, for example, is not."

Quote
I understand that you (like RC-ics) believe that Jesus is repudiating only "bad" traditions.  Jesus would say that this viewpoint is irrational - the way He judged between "good" and "bad" traditions was by the Scripture, as He says in this passage.

OK, it's probably not a good thing to claim to know what Jesus "would say."   Grin

Secondly, Scripture itself was a part of tradition, from the canon to rabbinical tradition.  It was a given (as it still is) that Scripture is of COURSE, good tradition, so it would make sense to quote from it.  Yet this does not mean Scripture would stand alone, as ambrosemzv and Edwin have said.

Quote
"The crazy thing about this is that you simply *assume* this about the EO point of view -"

You would contest that one's epistemology determines his hermeneutic of the world?  Huh

Quote
the EvProt disagrees because he sees the doctrine of Sola Scriptura laid out clearly in the Scriptures, and an educated EProt rejects the idea that there is a consensus patrus that shoots down Sola Scriptura.  

I have yet to hear anything convincing along these lines from anyone calling themselves an educated EvProt.
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« Reply #43 on: May 13, 2004, 06:03:49 PM »

Just out of curiosity,

Since the OT wasn't written down until Moses, how did all the information get to him?  Could it have been through an oral tradition and not the written word?
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« Reply #44 on: May 13, 2004, 06:06:14 PM »

Hiya

Many cultures, such as the Irish for instance, had a rich and substantial culture which was illiterate and which transmitted information successfully for long periods of time.

Peter
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« Reply #45 on: May 14, 2004, 08:55:53 AM »

Playing "devil's advocate" here (no offense to you, Rho!)....

The issue for EvProts isn't that information CAN BE transmitted orally -- I don't think I would have had any problems with Moses' receiving pre-Sinai happenings by word-of-mouth -- the issue is that all the NECESSARY information has been written down; anything that happens to be oral is either:

a. virtually the same thing as what is written down, or

b. subjective, irrelevant or non-essential, not meant to be binding on the Christian.

Again, not my take on it, but probably what your average EvProt would say.
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« Reply #46 on: May 14, 2004, 11:02:13 AM »

It was the same reason my ev-prot-church rejected modern charismatic prophecy. If it was necessary it was in the Bible, if it wasn't necessary we didn't need to hear it.

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« Reply #47 on: May 14, 2004, 12:29:50 PM »

"the issue is that all the NECESSARY information has been written down; anything that happens to be oral is either:

a. virtually the same thing as what is written down . . ."


Which is why the Trinity, the Two Natures of Christ, etc. are all written down word for word in the bible.

For that assumption to be true, anyone reading the Bible alone should come to the same conclusion.  Many who radically rejected tradition have read the bible and come to a different opinion about the Trinity and even the Divinity of Christ!

Jaroslav Pelikan discusses this in his fifth book on the development of doctrine.

The argument that it is "virtually the same thing" is a subtle argument for the understanding of Scripture within Tradition.  The term "virtually" is vital.  With the EvProt view of sola scriptura, I'm often amazed that they begin with the basic tenents of orthodox christianity before even looking to Holy Writ.
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« Reply #48 on: May 14, 2004, 12:32:46 PM »

Which brings me to my biggest question.  If anyone can just pick up the bible and get what is vital, why do you need hermeneutics?  It should be self explanatory, right?
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« Reply #49 on: May 14, 2004, 01:15:20 PM »

The bit from Ware that began this thread was a provocative quotation of Alexis Khomiakov in the 1800s - I read the original (in English) in Russia and the English Church.

He had a point but think the commonalities between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy outweigh that.

Some of these arguments go over my head.

But I can agree with Mr K and Bishop Kallistos (Ware) that some of the arguments the West is locked into - scripture vs. tradition, faith vs. works (I wrote something on my blog about that this week - click my sig to get there) - are completely alien to the history and therefore the theological way of the Christian East.

As for the Marianness of the Orthodox, I wrote something about that on this board earlier.

The Bible self-explanatory with no need for hermeneutics or an infallible living church? Ha!

The result of every Tom, Dick, Martin, John, Ulrich and Billy-Joe thinking he can make sense of all that sex and violence in the Old Testament - and the code much of the New is written in - is evident in the thousands of nattering, contradictory Protestant sects today, from the cool confessional Lutherans to the snake-handlers in Tennessee and Kentucky.
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« Reply #50 on: May 14, 2004, 01:50:59 PM »

I agree Serge of course.

But when you have a group of people together (and Orthodoxy can be guilty of this too, not everything is spiritual) who think the same then this just reinforces the assumption that the interpretation of Scripture is obvious.

This is apparent from theological discourse also.

What does 'in two natures mean'? Or 'one incarnate nature'? Or 'two qnoma'?

These are all self-evidently heretical and orthodox depending on which group we belong to and how our own understanding and interpretation is assumed to be correct. In fact all might be used heretically and all might be used in an Orthodox manner.

So I would be hesitate to only suggest this affects Protestants.

We could even consider modern events such as the MP/ROCOR/ROCIE situation and see again how the group hermeneutic reinforces the perception that the groups position is naturally and self-evidently the right one.

It takes a big heart to try and step out of the group hermeneutic for a moment and see how others might see the same situation.

Peter
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« Reply #51 on: May 14, 2004, 04:48:15 PM »

"Oh let us never, ever doubt...what nobody is sure about."

A quote I heard from an atheist, but worth considering for this thread's sake.

That's one of the things I realized when I as an EvProt was confronted with so much evidence from the early Church -- I had to approach this with a measure of theological humility: that what I had always so strongly believed just MIGHT be wrong, how my views just might NOT seem so "obvious" to everyone else.  Am learning to keep some of that around, without going into openminded weirdness, the other extreme.
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« Reply #52 on: May 15, 2004, 01:19:19 PM »

Ooh, boy, it's about impossible to keep up with the posts coming from the other side, but this IS an Orthodox forum, so I shouldn't be surprised.  To deal with some of the problems introduced by the other esteemed posters since my last link:
 
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PEDRO:  OK, it's probably not a good thing to claim to know what Jesus "would say."

>>Sorry, should have said "What Jesus DID say," referring to Matt 15:1-9 and Mark 7:1-13.
 
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PEDRO:  Secondly, Scripture itself was a part of tradition, from the canon to rabbinical tradition.  It was a given (as it still is) that Scripture is of COURSE, good tradition, so it would make sense to quote from it.
 
>>I now expect an EO to say that so flippantly, but could we see then how you respond to Jesus' differentiating between the two?  Why does Jesus say "...thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down..." (Mark 7:13)?  Let's not hear any silly and non-contextual arguments about how "the word of God" mentioned here is not Scripture.  I want to know why you believe, in contrast to Christ, why you do not judge tradition by Scripture.  
 
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PEDRO:  You would contest that one's epistemology determines his hermeneutic of the world?
>>No, I bring it up merely because this assumption begs the question.
 
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RHO: the EvProt disagrees because he sees the doctrine of Sola Scriptura laid out clearly in the Scriptures, and an educated EProt rejects the idea that there is a consensus patrus that shoots down Sola Scriptura.  
  PEDRO: I have yet to hear anything convincing along these lines from anyone calling themselves an educated EvProt.  

>>I know you do, but they exist (I mailed you a whole bunch of patristic quotations in our private interaction) and I guess I'll have to wait until you respond to them later.

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 CIZINEC:  Since the OT wasn't written down until Moses, how did all the information get to him?  Could it have been through an oral tradition and not the written word?

>>It could have been transmitted orally - that is no challenge to the Sola Scriptura position.  Or, did you ever consider that God might just have revealed it supernaturally to him (2 Peter 1:20-21)?  Let us also not forget that the Israelites knew how to write, but the EvProt is not chained to that.  

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 PETERFARRINGTON:  Many cultures, such as the Irish for instance, had a rich and substantial culture which was illiterate and which transmitted information successfully for long periods of time.

>>No argument there, but the EvProt questions the substantial evolution and development of doctrine from biblical theology to what we see in the sola ecclesia churches today (RCC and EOC).  Let us also not forget that nearly the whole NT was written to churches who, *even a few years in between visits from apostles with authoritative and striking teaching* were experiencing doctrinal corruption.  

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 PEDRO:  Playing "devil's advocate" here (no offense to you, Rho!)....

>>Always happy to have a little help!  Wink

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 PETERFARRINGTON:  It was the same reason my ev-prot-church rejected modern charismatic prophecy. If it was necessary it was in the Bible, if it wasn't necessary we didn't need to hear it.

>>Do/Did you disagree with that, Peter?  Did it not bother you that all those prophecies (I was charismatic myself for quite some time) were either already in the Scriptures, were superfluous, or were just plain wrong?

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 CIZINEC:  Which is why the Trinity, the Two Natures of Christ, etc. are all written down word for word in the bible.

>>Would you, then, hold the position that these doctrines are NOT found in the Bible, either explicitly or implicitly?  If not, which doctrine relating to this issue *is* found there and why do you not hold to that one?  

And by the way, I have to ask: Are there not any Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons where you live?  Why do you make me defend the inspiration of the Bible against other ostensible believers in it when you are using and bolstering the same arguments that the cultists use?  I just don't get it.

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 CIZINEC:  For that assumption to be true, anyone reading the Bible alone should come to the same conclusion.  Many who radically rejected tradition have read the bible and come to a different opinion about the Trinity and even the Divinity of Christ!

>>So you naturally assume that this is the fault of the Bible.  This implies that:
1) God did such a bad job of getting the Bible into our hands that it's God's fault that we mess it up.  Could it not be sin and ignorance that get in the way of fully understanding God's revealed truth?
2) With a "living infallible interpreting authority" and Sacred Tradition there is no doctrinal disagreement at all.  Do you hold to that?
3) God is incapable of leading His people to a right understanding of the Scripture with no infallible authority other than the Scripture.

By the way, if you disagree with #3 and believe that God *could* indeed do that, then would not the question shift to whether Christ predicted and called into existence such an infallible authority?

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 CIZINEC:  With the EvProt view of sola scriptura, I'm often amazed that they begin with the basic tenents of orthodox christianity before even looking to Holy Writ.

>>Could it be that they find the proof therein?  Do you yourself never follow the approach of taking a framework of knowledge into something before seeking whether it is true?  Or are you always a tabula rasa before you start any thinking?  I would submit that, if you are, you are alone in the human race.

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 CIZINEC:  If anyone can just pick up the bible and get what is vital, why do you need hermeneutics?  It should be self explanatory, right?

>>This is a bad argument.  I am sure that you have read at least one book in your life, Cizinec.  How did you understand what lies within?  There is some change of the format of information between text and mind that is known as hermeneutics and interpretation - you can't just download it to your head.  How do you expect to understand *any* book, then?  

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 AMBROSEMZV:  Just a small point, Rho:  Almost all those participants are Roman Catholic (the board has Catholic and Protestant participants).  I don't think any (I may be mistaken about one) of the Orthodox have actually responded that way.
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 SERGE:  He had a point but think the commonalities between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy outweigh that.

>>Forgive me for picking on you, Serge, but are you 1) Orthodox; and 2) agreeing with my thesis?  Just curious, for Ambrose's sake.  Wink
 
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 PETERFARRINGTON: These are all self-evidently heretical and orthodox depending on which group we belong to and how our own understanding and interpretation is assumed to be correct. In fact all might be used heretically and all might be used in an Orthodox manner.

>>Ah, you took the words right out of my mouth, Peter (or right out of my...keyboard...anyway).  A question for all the EO and RC-ics out there - with all these accusations about how Scripture is not sufficient to know the truth, could you please supply me with the information as to how Sacred Tradition apart from the Scriptures ensures 1) doctrinal unity, and 2) that any principle of hermeneutic or 'private interpretation' is *never* required.  This should be fun.  

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 PEDRO:  "Oh let us never, ever doubt...what nobody is sure about."  A quote I heard from an atheist, but worth considering for this thread's sake.

>>That's Willy Wonka in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

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 PEDRO:  I had to approach this with a measure of theological humility: that what I had always so strongly believed just MIGHT be wrong, how my views just might NOT seem so "obvious" to everyone else.


>>The very words I try to live by, too, disproving the "Protestant is like a one-man Magisterium" idea.  Please remember that the educated EvProt does not consider his views infallible.  Let us instead discuss them in a logical manner to discover what is right and wrong.  

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« Reply #53 on: May 15, 2004, 01:30:58 PM »

This illustrates the need to deal with what actual real people believe when we speak to them and ask them and let them talk back, and not just categorise people, which ever community they may be in.

When I was an Evangelical I was not ignorant, I was always searching, as are many. I was not a one man Magisterium either, far from it, and many others are not either. In fact the issue of authority of Tradition (i.e the context in which Scripture should be understood) seems to me to be very, very important to many disatisfied Evangelicals. They may not use the same terms as EO or RC but I was always looking for a Protestant community that had an authoritative Tradition.

I actually found it via an interest in the Charismatic movement, Calvinism (that had a coherent theology), then Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism, then Orthodoxy.

I never left my Plymouth Brethrenism until the end but I was always trying to be informed by authority. I was not my own Pope (not meant as an insult). I was always well aware of the great lack of authority in myself to determine anything. The trouble was the the group I grew up in lacked any authority as well.
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« Reply #54 on: May 15, 2004, 07:27:14 PM »

>>I now expect an EO to say that so flippantly, but could we see then how you respond to Jesus' differentiating between the two?  Why does Jesus say "...thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down..." (Mark 7:13)?  Let's not hear any silly and non-contextual arguments about how "the word of God" mentioned here is not Scripture.  I want to know why you believe, in contrast to Christ, why you do not judge tradition by Scripture.  

What is this "word of God", this Scripture which you say we should use to judge tradition?  You don't want any of the "silly" semantic arguments about "the Word of God", so let's forget that.  When Jesus said what He said, the only Scripture around that He could refer to was the Old Testament.  Obviously, then, since we must judge tradition by Scripture the way Christ did, as you say, we must only judge tradition by the only Scripture Jesus used...the Old Testament (LXX).  

Now does the OT enjoy a higher level of authority in the Protestant religion than the NT?  And how does Protestantism regard the NT?  Is it merely an appendix of memoirs of Jesus and Pals that doesn't have as much authority as "Jesus' Bible", the OT (with, I might add, the deutero-canonicals which your churches commonly reject, but which were used by the Lord)?
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« Reply #55 on: May 15, 2004, 08:36:17 PM »

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What is this "word of God", this Scripture which you say we should use to judge tradition?  You don't want any of the "silly" semantic arguments about "the Word of God", so let's forget that.

>>I'm betting you're being sarcastic here but I will pretend that you are seriously asking.  I did not say "semantic," for one thing, I said "non-contextual."  I did so because Jesus, in the Mark 7 passage, will quote Scripture for a substantial portion of His defense.  And then He refers to it as "the Word of God" and "the commandment of God" as opposed to the corrupt traditions that are *not* God's Word.  So please don't belittle my responses but please try to deal with my arguments.

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Obviously, then, since we must judge tradition by Scripture the way Christ did, as you say, we must only judge tradition by the only Scripture Jesus used...the Old Testament (LXX).  

>>I would agree with you - let us judge the traditions of men by the Word of God, the Scripture.  Let us remember that though Christ quoted from the LXX translations of OT books, it is highly doubtful that He held to the modern OT Canon of the EOC.  He used the Canon of the Jews, which is the books contained today in the Protestant OT Canon.  We will note that throughout His entire ministry, His enemies never argued with Him about the extent of the Canon, so they obviously agreed with what He quoted as being Scripture.

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Now does the OT enjoy a higher level of authority in the Protestant religion than the NT?  And how does Protestantism regard the NT?
>>Among EvProts, the OT and the NT carry equal authority, since they are both theopneustos, God-breathed (though I cannot speak for liberal apostate "mainline" Prots).  EvProts believe that God directed the inscripturation of the NT without needing an infallible interpreter (since He never ordained one in the Scriptures).  God directed His people, His Bride, to the proper understanding of what is His breath and what is not.  
We will note, for example, 2 Peter 3:16, where the Apostle Peter refers to Paul's extant writings as Scripture.  We will note 1 Timothy 5:18 where Paul refers to Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:7 as Scripture.  So the NT was written by godly men by the direction of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21) and delivered once and for all to the saints (Jude 3).  

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the deutero-canonicals which your churches commonly reject, but which were used by the Lord)?  

>>As I said, these books were not used by the Lord.  If you claim they are, please supply where Christ quoted them and how you know He held to them as Canon.
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« Reply #56 on: May 15, 2004, 09:07:46 PM »

>>I'm betting you're being sarcastic here but I will pretend that you are seriously asking.  I did not say "semantic," for one thing, I said "non-contextual."  I did so because Jesus, in the Mark 7 passage, will quote Scripture for a substantial portion of His defense.  And then He refers to it as "the Word of God" and "the commandment of God" as opposed to the corrupt traditions that are *not* God's Word.  So please don't belittle my responses but please try to deal with my arguments.

I will admit there was some sarcasm mixed with seriousness in my original reply; I am sorry for any offence.  However, I am coming from the point of view that, if actually thought out for more than five minutes, Protestantism makes no sense.  
 
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>>I would agree with you - let us judge the traditions of men by the Word of God, the Scripture.

How do we know what actually is Scripture?  

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Let us remember that though Christ quoted from the LXX translations of OT books, it is highly doubtful that He held to the modern OT Canon of the EOC.  He used the Canon of the Jews, which is the books contained today in the Protestant OT Canon.

Considering that they didn't have the KJV, NKJV, NIV, NASB, JB, NJB, NAB, GNT, NCV, ESV, RSV, etc., etc., etc., each with or without deutero-canonicals, prove it--prove that Christ held the Canon of the Jews as the only Scripture, and not the LXX Canon.    

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We will note that throughout His entire ministry, His enemies never argued with Him about the extent of the Canon, so they obviously agreed with what He quoted as being Scripture.

But why do you think that this Canon is the Canon of the Jews?  Is it not possible that they didn't argue with Him about the extent of the Canon because their Canon was that of the LXX as well?

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>>Among EvProts, the OT and the NT carry equal authority, since they are both theopneustos, God-breathed (though I cannot speak for liberal apostate "mainline" Prots).

Perhaps with regard to the OT, you do not need anyone to tell you they are God-breathed (you could always argue that that was what we received from those who came before us, and I would agree, while also thinking--pardon me for saying it--that an appeal to tradition is something I don't often associate with Protestants), but how do you know that the NT as we have it now is God-breathed, and not, say, the Protoevangelion of James, the Didache, I Clement, etc.?  

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EvProts believe that God directed the inscripturation of the NT without needing an infallible interpreter (since He never ordained one in the Scriptures).  God directed His people, His Bride, to the proper understanding of what is His breath and what is not.  

How?  

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We will note, for example, 2 Peter 3:16, where the Apostle Peter refers to Paul's extant writings as Scripture.  We will note 1 Timothy 5:18 where Paul refers to Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:7 as Scripture.  So the NT was written by godly men by the direction of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21) and delivered once and for all to the saints (Jude 3).  

>>As I said, these books were not used by the Lord.  If you claim they are, please supply where Christ quoted them and how you know He held to them as Canon.  

No time, so I will quote (I haven't read this in full yet):

Finally, a response to the third objection of Evangelicals. Their position is basically that if Jesus didn't quote directly from the deuterocanonical books, they aren't inspired. That charge, though, is insane. First of all, Jesus did not even quote from all of the 39 Old Testament books Protestants considered inspired, either! It is true he quoted from most of them, but that is not enough. "Most" won't do. What about those he did not quote, such as Ruth, Canticle of Canticles, etc.? Are they not inspired? Secondly, we do not know whether Jesus might indeed have quoted from the deuterocanon, since not all revelation is written down in the Bible (see John 21:25). Thirdly, quotation from a book does not imply its inspiration. In Hebrews 11:36, for example, the author alludes to the non-inspired book Ascension of Isaiah 5:1-14. In Jude 9, we are told that Archangel Michael had a dispute with Satan over the body of Moses. This dispute is not found in the Old Testament, but in the Assumption of Moses, which is not inspired. The mere alluding to a book or quotation thereof simply does not make a book more or less God-breathed. An even more important aspect is that it is simply not true to say that the deuterocanonicals are never quoted or alluded to in the New Testament. Sirach 5:13-14 matches with James 1:19, Wisdom 2:12-20 with Matthew 27:41-43, and 1 Maccabees 4:36-59 and 2 Maccabees 10:1-8 with John 10:22-36.

http://www.cathinsight.com/apologetics/deutero.htm
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« Reply #57 on: May 15, 2004, 10:31:59 PM »

>>Forgive me for picking on you, Serge, but are you 1) Orthodox; and 2) agreeing with my thesis?  Just curious, for Ambrose's sake.  Wink

Rho,

Thanks for the thought, but I'm pretty sure Serge has made it clear he has not been formally received into Sacramental Communion within the Orthodox Church.  If memory serves me right, he has stated that he intends, at least for the moment, to remain a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America (the "Episcopal Church").  I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong.  I know:  Given his name, knowledge of Slavonic, and erudition regarding many details concerning the Eastern Church, I at first assumed he was Orthodox, too.  I wish I had half his knowlege about many things!

Ebor is Anglican.  Ben, Frobie, and several others who post on several of the forums to which you've posted, are either Western-rite or Eastern rite Catholics under the authority of the Roman Pope.

I think the discussion about the significance of Mark 7:1-13 has slipped a bit.  The Orthodox position, it seems to me, is not that Jesus doesn't really mean to reject the Pharisees' positions on the basis of the Word of God/Commandments of God.  Jesus is obviously doing precisely that.  But, nothing in the text seems to force one into what seems to be your reading; i.e., that Jesus is rejecting all tradition in favor of Scripture, or is pitting written Scripture against all tradition.  The only element I can find to support the latter point of view, is that Jesus refers (dismissively, it seems clear) to the Pharisees' traditions as "traditions of men."

But, this does not at all, it seems to me, make it clear that Jesus regards as mere "traditions of men" all traditions which cannot be proven with entirely unambiguous Scriptural citations.  

Nor does it make it clear that Jesus has a generally dismissive attitude toward tradition/traditions in general.  His apostle, Paul certainly did not:  "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (II Thess. 2:15; similar comments are to be found in II Timothy).

It seems to me that what Jesus' words clearly do imply, is that He rejects as a mere "tradition of men" any tradition which clearly contradicts the teaching of Scripture.  His Church, the Orthodox Church, certainly has no problem with that.

The question then becomes, "How do we know what 'the teaching of Scripture' is?"  Should not the consensus of the Church across the ages, beginning with the Apostles, be taken into account?  If the answer is "yes," then what in the world do you mean by "sola scriptura?"

Was not Jesus himself relying on such a consensus, to some degree, by relying on his listerners' belonging to a tradition that prompted them a priori to regard "Honor thy father and thy mother" as of greater precedence within the Scriptures than, say, the laws of Corban.

I'm enjoying this discussion, and appreciate your participation in it.  I look forward to your response.  And, I'm eager to hear your response to Mor Ephrem's question, "How do you know that the NT as we have it now is God-breathed, and not, say, the Protoevangelion of James, the Didache, I Clement, etc.??"
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« Reply #58 on: May 16, 2004, 01:19:18 AM »

(Re: patristic quotes used to make the case for Sola Scriptura)
I mailed you a whole bunch of patristic quotations in our private interaction) and I guess I'll have to wait until you respond to them later.

I emailed you back a series of quotes from the very people you quoted showing that they did not hold to interpreting Scripture apart from the consensus of the Church.  Here they are, for you and all who'd care to read them:

Irenaeus:  
-   But when, the heretics [reject] Scriptures, as if they were wrong, and unauthoritative, and were variable, and the truth could not be extracted from them by those who were ignorant of tradition...AND when we challenge them in turn what that tradition, which is from the Apostles, which is guarded by the succession of elders in the churches, they oppose themselves to Tradition, saying that they are wiser, not only than those elders, but even than the Apostles.
-   "Wherefore it is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church, those who as I have shown, possess succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of bishops, have received the CERTAIN GIFT of TRUTH, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in SUSPICION others who DEPART from the primitive succession of the succession, and assemble themselves....But those who cleave asunder, and separate the unity of the Church, [shall] receive from God the same punishments as Jeroboam did"
AH 4,26:2
-   "Heretics assent neither to Scripture nor to Tradition"
AH 3,2,1

Tertullian:
-   “If for these and other such rules, you insist upon having positive Scripture injunction, you will find none.  Tradition will be held forth to you as the originator of them.  Custom is their strengthener, and faith is their observerGǪ.  These instances, therefore, will make it sufficiently plain that you can vindicate the keeping of even unwritten tradition established by custom.  The proper witness for tradition is its demonstration by long-continued observance.”
-   "We do not take our scriptural teaching from the parables but we interpret the parables according to our TEACHING"
Purity 9,1
-   'Let them show the origins of their churches, let them unroll the list of their bishops,(showing) through a succession coming down from the very beginning that their first bishop had his authority and predecessor someone from among the number of Apostles or apostolic men and, further, that he did not stray from the Apostles. In this way the apostolic churches present their earliest records. The church of Smyrna, for example, records that Polycarp was named by John; the Romans, that Clement was ordained by Peter. In just the same way, the other churches show who were made bishops by the Apostles and who transmitted the apostolic seed to them. Let the heretics invent something like that'
Prescr Ag Heretics 32

Clement of Alexandria:
-   'For US...having grown old in the Scriptures, PRESERVING the Apostolic and ecclesiastical correctness of doctrine, living a life according to the Gospel, is led by the Lord to discover the proofs from the Law and the prophets which he seeks.'
Stromata 7,104  -- No SS admission of human error here!

Origen:
-   "The Church's preaching has been handed down through an orderly succession from the Apostles and remains in the Church until the present. That alone is to be believed as the truth which in no way departs from ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition"
First Principles 1,2

   Epiphanius of Salamis:
-   'But for all the divine words, there is no need of allegory to grasp the meaning; what is necessary is study and understanding to know the MEANING of each statement. We must have recourse to TRADITION, for all cannot be received from the divine Scriptures. That is why the holy Apostles handed down certain things in writings but others by TRADITIONS. As Paul said:" Just as I handed them on to you." '
Panarion 61,6

   Athanasius:
-   "But, beyond these sayings [Scr.’s he had just quoted to prove the deity of the HS], let us look at the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, the Apostles preached and the Fathers kept." To Serapion 1:28" To Serapion 1:28
-   "But after him and with him are all inventors of unlawful heresies, who indeed refer to the Scriptures, but do not hold such opinions as the saints have handed down, and receiving them as the traditions of men, err, because they do not rightly know them nor their power."
Festal Letter 2:6
-   “What they [Arians] now allege from the Gospels they certainly give unsound interpretation, we may easily see—" and here’s a perfect time for him to say, “by Scr. alone,” but instead—“if we now consider the scope of that faith which we Christians hold, and using it as a rule, apply ourselves, as the Apostle teaches, to the reading of inspired Scripture."  So the apostolic trad. is not Scr. itself, but the consistent interp thereof throughout time that was considered authoritative.
Dis. Against Arians 3:28
-   Finally: "See, we are proving that this view has been transmitted from father to father; but ye, O modern Jews and disciples of Caiaphas, how many fathers can ye assign to your phrases? Not one of the understanding and wise; for all abhor you, but the devil alone; none but he is your father in this apostasy" Defense of the Nicene Definition, 27(A.D. 355),in NPNF2,IV:168  This was their RULE OF FAITH; that which the Fathers had handed down was always to be used to interp Scr

   Hilary of Poitiers:
-   'It behooves us not to withdraw from the CREED which we have received...nor to back off from the faith which we have recieved from through the prophets ... or to back-slide from the Gospels. Once laid down, it continues even to this day through the TRADITION of the FATHERS'
Ex. Oper. Hist. Fragment 7,3  Yes, this is “traditioning” Scr., as you put it, but consider: his faith in the oral traditions of the Church was so strong as to trust them to replace Scr., were such a thing necessary.  Could this be said to be “infallible”?

   Basil of Caesarea:
-   "Let us now investigate what are our common conceptions concerning the Spirit, as well those which have been gathered by us from Holy Scripture AS WELL those which have been gathered concerning it as those which we have RECEIVED from the UNWRITTEN tradition of the Fathers"
Holy Spirit 22
-   "Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have delivered to us in a mystery by the Apostles by the tradition of the Apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force"
Holy Spirit 27
-   For I HOLD IT APOSTOLIC TO ABIDE BY THE UNWRITTEN TRADITIONS. 'I praise you,' it is said, 'that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances as I have delivered them to you;' and 'Hold fast the traditions which ye have been taught whether by word, or our Epistle.' One of these traditions is the practice which is now before us, which they who ordained from the beginning, rooted firmly in the churches, delivering it to their SUCCESSORS, and its use through long custom advances pace by pace with time.”
   Holy Spirit 71

   Gregory of Nyssa:
-   "They, on the other hand, who change their doctrines to this novelty, would need the support of their arguments in abundance, if they were to bring over to their views, not men light as dust, and unstable, but MEN of weight and steadiness: but so long as their statement is advanced without being established, and without being proved, who is so foolish ad so brutish as to account the teaching of the evangelists and apostles, AND of those who successively shone like lights in the churches, of less force than this undemonstrated nonsense"
C. Eunomius 4,6

   Ambrose:
-   'But if they will not believe the doctrines of the priests, let them believe Christ's oracles, let them believe the admonitions of angels who say, "For with God nothing is impossible". Let them believe the apostles creed which the Roman Church has always kept undefiled'
To Sircius

   John Chrysostom:
-   'So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word, or by our epistle of ours'. Hence it is manifest that they did not deliver all things by Epistle, but many things unwritten, and in like manner both the one and the other are worthy of credit. Therefore let us think the tradition of the Church also worthy of credit. It is a tradition; seek no further."
Homilies on 2 Thess 2:15
-   "We may answer, that what is here written, was sufficient for those who would attend, and that the sacred writers ever addressed themselves to the matter of immediate importance, whatever it might be at that time: it was no object with them to be writers of books: in fact, there are many things which have been delivered by UNWRITTEN TRADITION.
   Homilies on Acts 1,1

   Jerome:
-   'Do you demand Scripture proof? You may find it in Acts of the Apostles. And even if it did NOT REST on the authority of the Scripture the CONSENSUS of the WHOLE WORLD in this respect would have the force of COMMAND...'
C. Dialogue Luciferians 8
-   'And let them not flatter you themselves if they think they have Scripture authority since the devil himself has quoted Scripture texts...we could all, while preserving in the letter of Scripture, read into it some novel doctrine'
ibid 28 (So Jerome saw the key to reading Scr. as submitting to the patristic command.)

Augustine:
-   “Perhaps you will read the gospel to me, and will attempt to find there a testimony to Manicheus. But should you meet with a person not yet believing in the gospel, how would you reply to him were he to say, I do not believe? For MY PART, I should NOT BELEIVE the gospel except moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. So when those on whose authority I have consented to believe in the gospel tell me not to believe in Manicheus, how can I BUT CONSENT?"
C. Epis Mani 5,6
-   "Wherever this tradition comes from, we must believe that the Church has not believed in vain, even though the express authority of the canonical scriptures is not brought forward for it" (Wow!  “WHEREVER it comes from”?!?!?)
Letter 164 to Evodius of Uzalis
-   "To be sure, although on this matter, we cannot quote a clear example taken from the canonical Scriptures, at any rate, on this question, we are following the true thought of Scriptures when we observe what has appeared good to the universal Church which the authority of these same Scriptures recommends to you"
C. Cresconius I:33

Vincent of Lerins:
-   'When anyone asks one of these heretics who presents arguments: Where are the proofs of your teaching that I should leave behind the world-wide and ancient faith of the Catholic Church? He will jump in before you have finished with the question: "It is written" He follows up immediately with thousands of texts and examples...'
Commonit 1,26
-   "Here perhaps, someone may ask: Since the canon of the Scripture is complete and more than sufficient in itself, why is it necessary to add to it the authority of ecclesiastical interpretation? As a matter of fact, [we must answer] Holy Scripture, because of its depth, is not universally accepted in one and the same sense. The same text is interpreted different by different people, so that one may almost gain the impression that it can yield as many different meanings as there are men. Novatian, for example, expounds a passage in one way; Sabellius, in another; Donatus, in another. Arius, and Eunomius, and Macedonius read it differently; so do Photinus, Apollinaris, and Priscillian; in another way, Jovian, Pelagius, and Caelestius; finally still another way, Nestorius. Thus, because of the great distortions caused by various errors, it is, indeed, necessary that the trend of the interpretation of the prophetic and apostolic writings be directed in accordance with the rule of the ecclesiastical and Catholic meaning"
Comm 2

While the fathers do laud Scripture time and again, Rho, it is clear the Fathers don’t intend for us to take Scr. by itself.  What WOULD give me pause (if you could be so kind as to supply me therewith) would be quotes from the Fathers saying Scr. is sufficient in and of itself, over and above any post-Scr. interpretation, as the final rule of faith and doctrineGǪJOINED WITH quotes from these SAME people showing that Scr. has enjoined them to agree with you on the following:

-   Symbolic Baptism and Eucharist
-   "Eternal Security"
-   No Intermediate St. of the Dead
-   Lack of Trustworthiness of post-apostolic Church/Apostolic Succession
-   Mary having no role in our salvation
-   No Connection Between Departed and Earthdwelling
-       Imparted Righteousness and Satisfaction Atonement (as opposed to theosis)

These men who you say see Scr. in a vacuum and sufficient apart from other traditions all disagree with the EvProt position, and, what is more, they all disagree IN THE SAME WAY!  This is why the idea of SS, when touted by the Evs, makes no sense to me.  The claim is made that Scr. “clearly says x,” when many of those who lived much closer to the actual writing of said Scr. all claim something else.  You say this is merely "traditioning of Scripture," with "tradition" being the same as written Scripture; I say, fine.  Look at and heed, then, what this tradition says, for it indicts you.
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« Reply #59 on: May 16, 2004, 09:10:38 AM »

Good post Pedro. Thanks for taking the time to compile that useful catena.

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« Reply #60 on: May 16, 2004, 09:20:06 AM »

Aw, shucks, Peter, thanks.  Jes' a li'l somethin' ah threw togethah!   Grin

Seriously, though: it didn't take all that long the first time I put it together; copy and paste from the 'Net is a wonderful thing!
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« Reply #61 on: May 17, 2004, 07:28:52 AM »

Quote
MOR EPHREM: However, I am coming from the point of view that, if actually thought out for more than five minutes, Protestantism makes no sense.  

>>This is clear, but I guess time will tell (and we *are* already on our fifth day of debate on the subject, are we not?)  Wink

Quote
MOR EPHREM: How do we know what actually is Scripture?  

>>I'll be turning your question around in my second post, but let me answer you first.  If we assume that God wants to communicate with us, we would imagine that He would do so in a non-contradictory or irrational way.  God is Truth, so it will contain no falsity.  Since God wants to communicate with us, He will make sure that His people can recognise it when He sends it.  Scripture is recognisable from internal testimony:  1) proclaims itself to be Scripture and the inspired Word of God; 2) contains the power to transform lives and hearts; 3) exhibits complete internal unity (despite its myriad of authors).  It is recognisable from external testimony:  1) Indestructible - has stood up to and overcome all human criticism from every direction over the course of history; 2) archaeology - relevant archaeological finds confirm the Bible's historicity; 3) prophecy - hundreds of prophecies have been made, to be fulfilled hundreds of years later, a claim which NO OTHER document can make.
If you disagree, I'll be happy to field your responses, but please include an explanation of how you believe that it is inconceivable that God could work it so that His Bride could discover which books He wanted in the Canon.  

Quote
MOR EPHREM: prove that Christ held the Canon of the Jews as the only Scripture, and not the LXX Canon...Is it not possible that they didn't argue with Him about the extent of the Canon because their Canon was that of the LXX as well?
>>First of all, we know Paul held to it, as we see in Romans 3:  
Quote
1 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.
The Jews of Jesus' time held to the "Protestant" (or Western pre-Council of Trent) OT Canon, as attested to by Saint Jerome.  
Josephus and the Babylonian Talmud made it clear that the Jews after the prophets Haggai and Malachi recognised no other prophetic voice.  You gotta have prophetic voices for God-inspired Scripture.  
You will say, “They also didn’t ever quote from some of the OT books.”  True, but irrelevant.  EO is claiming that these deutero books are necessary to consult for salvation.  Funny (and crippling to EO-y's claim) it is that Jesus and the Apostles of the Lamb never quoted them.  

As for the sometimes-cited Alexandrian OT/LXX Canon, the only manuscripts extant of the LXX are of Christian origin from the 4th and 5th centuries, so it cannot be ascertained just what the original LXX written by the Alexandrian Jews contained.  One could be justified in saying that there is no evidence that the Alexandrian Jews ever promulgated a proper canon.  Also, in these mss. are contained books that are not considered in the Canon even for EOC or RCC, like 3 & 4 Maccabees.  This means that, though a book was listed here, it does NOT mean that it was necessarily canonical, but simply that it was read in the Church (which, by the way, seems to agree with large numbers of Church Fathers, lumping the canonical and “ecclesiastical” {those books read in the Church} together for expediency but being careful to keep them separated in authority {like Athanasius and Cyril of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Jews}).  

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MOR EPHREM: that an appeal to tradition is something I don't often associate with Protestants
>>That's funny - I keep getting accused of mixing "tradition" with my Sola Scriptura viewpoint.  No point really, just an observation.

Quote
RHO: Quote:
EvProts believe that God directed the inscripturation of the NT without needing an infallible interpreter (since He never ordained one in the Scriptures).  God directed His people, His Bride, to the proper understanding of what is His breath and what is not.  
MOR EPHREM: How?  

>>Not sure how - it's what one might call a "mystery."  All I see is the end result with no other plausible explanation, so that's the one I accept.

Quote
MOR EPHREM: ...we do not know whether Jesus might indeed have quoted from the deuterocanon, since not all revelation is written down in the Bible (see John 21:25).

>>Sola Scriptura does no such silly thing as to say that everything Christ ever said or did is contained in Scripture.  We claim only that all that is necessary to know is contained therein, so this objection denotes a misunderstanding of my position.  

Quote
MOR EPHREM: it is simply not true to say that the deuterocanonicals are never quoted or alluded to in the New Testament. Sirach 5:13-14 matches with James 1:19...
>>This is not the issue at hand.  Paul quotes a couple of pagan poets in Acts and in Titus - why not rather say the deutero books are pagan in origin?  I exaggerate, but this demonstrates the folly of your point.  And so what if NT canonical books quote some deutero books?  My point is not that the deutero books are wholely without value, it's that they are without divine inspiration.  

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AMBROSEMZV: Ebor is Anglican.  Ben, Frobie, and several others who post on several of the forums to which you've posted, are either Western-rite or Eastern rite Catholics under the authority of the Roman Pope.
>>Very well. It is painfully obvious I'm a newbie, so I'm gonna stop those sorts of questions until I've been here at least a week or two. Wink

Quote
AMBROSEMZV: that Jesus is rejecting all tradition in favor of Scripture, or is pitting written Scripture against all tradition.  The only element I can find to support the latter point of view, is that Jesus refers (dismissively, it seems clear) to the Pharisees' traditions as "traditions of men."
>>The point is that Christ refers to the Word of God and quotes Scripture.  He then refers to the traditions of men and judges them by Scripture.  If you believe that Christ believed in some other mode of discernment of "right tradition versus wrong tradition," please supply Scriptural passages (or heck, I'll even settle for extrascriptural passages, for argument's sake) where Jesus supports the EO position.  

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AMBROSEMZV: "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (II Thess. 2:15; similar comments are to be found in II Timothy).
>>And why do you suppose that he found the "letter" and the "word of mouth" interchangeable here?  His letter would have been delivered by courier, and that could take a very long time.  So instead, *at that time*, there could be preaching to educate the beginning churches.  In order to take your position, one must believe that Paul would have sent letters saying one thing (the NT Epistles) and then later would have passed on other contradictory information via word of mouth.  
Fortunately, we are not held to the "Split Personality Paul" theory - it is reasonable instead to hold the position that when Paul refers to the "traditions" he "passed down," he refers to that which he already told them about in his previous visits there and/or earlier found in his letters.  Example:  In 2 Thess 2:15, we can easily see that to which Paul refers.  See 2:1-12, especially v. 5:  "Do you not remember that *while I was still with you*, I was telling you these things?" (NASB, emph. mine).

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AMBROSEMZV: It seems to me that what Jesus' words clearly do imply, is that He rejects as a mere "tradition of men" any tradition which clearly contradicts the teaching of Scripture.  His Church, the Orthodox Church, certainly has no problem with that.
>>Ahh, a refreshing admission.  Very well, I agree.  Time to dig in to the Scriptures on certain doctrines the Bible either does not mention or seems to find quite objectionable.

Quote
AMBROSEMZV: "How do we know what 'the teaching of Scripture' is?"  Should not the consensus of the Church across the ages, beginning with the Apostles, be taken into account?
>>In theory, a priori, one would hope that this could be the case.  Sadly, though, as we all know, there is dispute amongst believers in Christ, so sharp that even God's theopneustos is doubted to be the final authority.  So, sadly, one must go instead to the Scriptures to interpret themselves, primarily, since man, being limited and sinful and finite in knowledge, can scarcely be trusted to have a perfect grasp of the whole of His Word.
Now then, lest I be deluged with posts misunderstanding what I mean, let me remind my esteemed opponents that the EvProt does believe it is very important to study "traditional" sources.  As we say (and I'm sure you would agree), we stand on the shoulders of giants.  Study of what other men before us have studied and written is extremely important.  It is, however, to be rejected in favor of the clear teaching of the Scriptures when they conflict.  

Quote
PEDRO:  Pedro's gallery of patristic quotes
>>Ordinarily, I would judge what I am about to do in extremely bad taste for a forum such as this, but I should have known that I would have no choice at some point.  My apologies for the length of my posts... see the next one for a tasty sampler of patristic quotations that rather support my position...


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« Reply #62 on: May 17, 2004, 07:29:38 AM »

IRENAEUS:
-Since, therefore, the entire Scriptures, the prophets, and the Gospels, can be clearly, unambiguously, and harmoniously understood by all, although all do not believe them; and since they proclaim that one only God, to the exclusion of all others, formed all things by his word, whether visible or invisible, heavenly or earthly, in the water or under the earth, as I have shown from the very words of ScriptureGǪthose persons will seem truly foolish who blind their eyes to such a clear demonstration, and will not behold the light of the announcement, but the put fetters upon themselves, and every one of them imagines, by means of their obscure interpretations of the parables, that he has found a God of his own (Against Heresies II.27.2).

-Moreover, they possess no proof of their system, which has but recently been invented by themGǪ Such, then, is their system, which neither the prophets announced, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles delivered, but of which they boast beyond all others they have a perfect knowledge.  They gather their views from other sources than the ScripturesGǪ(A.H. II.28.8, I.8.1)

-If, therefore, even with respect to creation, there are some things which belongs only to God, and others which come within the range of our own knowledgeGǪIf, for instance, any one asks, ‘What was God doing before He made the world?’ we reply that the answer to such a question lies with God Himself. For that the world was formed perfect by God, receiving a beginning in time, the Scriptures teach us; but no Scripture reveals to us what God was employed about before this event.  The answer therefore to that question remains with God, and it is not proper for us to aim at bringing forward foolish, rash, and blasphemous suppositions; so, as by one’s imagining that he has discovered the origin of matter, he should in reality set aside God Himself who made all thingsGǪFor we have learned from the Scriptures that God holds the supremacy over all things. But whence or in what way He produced it, neither has Scripture anywhere declared, nor does it become us to conjectureGǪ (A.H. II.28.3, II.28.7)  

TERTULLIAN:
-Well, but they actually treat of the Scriptures and recommend (their opinions) out of the Scriptures!  To be sure they do.  From what other source could they derive arguments concerning the things of the faith, except from the records of the faith? (Prescription Against Heretics 14).  

-We must not, however, run to the conclusion that He did this because He was able to do itGǪIt will be your duty, however, to adduce your proofs our of the Scriptures as plainly as we doGǪ (Against Praexes 10, 11).

-They would have the entire revelation of both Testaments yield to these three passages, whereas the only proper course is to understand the few statements in the light of the many.  But in their contention they only act on the principle of all the heretics (Against Praxeas, Ch. 20).  

-Come, now, tell me how that passage (in the Epistle) to the Thessalonians - which, because of its clearness, I should suppose to have been written with a sunbeam - is understood by our heretics, who shun the light of Scr: ‘And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly.’  And as if this were not plain enoughGǪ (On the Resurrection of the Flesh, Ch. 47).  

CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA:
-It is now timeGǪ to go to the prophetic Scriptures; for the oracles present us with the appliances necessary for the attainment of piety, and so establish the truthGǪdevoid of embellishmentGǪthey raise up humanity strangled by wickedness, teaching men to despise the casualties of life; and with one nad the same voice remedying many evilsGǪtheyGǪclearly exhort us to the attainment of the salvation set before us (Exhortation to the Heathen, Ch.Cool.  

-Some, too, have aimed well at the word of truth through understanding.  ‘But Abraham was not justified by works, but by faith.’  It is therefore of no advantage to them after the end of life, even if they do good works now, if they have not faith (The Stromata, Book I, Ch. 7).  (Here Clement exposits Scripture without quoting any authority structure)

-And this signified that the Scripture is clear to all, when taken according to the bare readingGǪfurther, Esaias the prophet is ordered to take ‘a new book, and write in it’ certain things: the Spirit prophesying that thru the exposition of the Scr there would come afterwards the sacred knowledge, which at that period was still unwritten, because not yet knownGǪNow that the Savior has taught the apostles, the unwritten rendering of the written [Scripture] has been handed down also to us, inscribed by the power of God on hearts new, according to the renovation of the book (The Stromata, Book VI, Ch.15).  

ATHANASIUS:
-The knowledge of our religion and of the truth of things is independently manifest rather than in need of human teachers, for almost day by day it asserts itself by facts, and manifests itself brighter than the sun by the doctrine of ChristGǪwe may be able to set forth a few points of the faith of Christ:  able though you are to find it out from the divine oraclesGǪFor although the sacred and inspired Scr are sufficient to declare the truthGǪ (Against the Heathen, Part I.1).

-But all this inspired Scr also teaches more plainly and with more authority, so that we in our turn write boldly to you as we do, and you, if you refer to them, will be able to verify what we say.  3.  For an argument when confirmed by higher authority is irresistibly proved (Against the Heathen, Part III).  

BASIL OF CAESAREA:
-You could find many passages of this sort in the writings of the evangelists and the Apostle.  Now, then, if a command be given and the manner of carrying it out is not added, let us obey the Lord who says, ‘Search the Scr.’  Let us follow the example of the Apostles who questioned the Lord Himself as to the interp of His words, and learn the true and salutary course from His words in another place (Saint Basil: Ascetical Works, Concerning Baptism, Book II, Q&R 4, p. 399).  

-Whatsoever seems to be spoken ambiguously or obscurely in some places of holy Scr, is cleared up by what is plain and evident in other places (A Disputation on Holy Scr Against the Papists, especially Bellarmine and Stapleton, p. 491).  

CHRYSOSTOM:
-GǪand himself interps what he had spoken, not allowing the hearer to turn his thoughts from hence in any other direction.  What need is there then of our reasonings?  Hear himself speaking, and explaining the phrase “Thou sowest not the body that shall beGǪ” (Homilies on the 1st Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Homily 41).  

-let us follow the directions of Sacred Scr in the interpretation it gives of itself, provided we don’t get completely absorbed with the concreteness of the wordsGǪhuman senses, you see, would never be able to grasp what is said if they had not the benefit of such great considerateness (Homilies on Genesis 1-17, Homily 13.Cool.

-We ourselves are not the lords over the rules of interp, but must pursue Scr’s understanding of itself, and in that way make use of the allegorical methodGǪthis is everywhere a rule in Scr:  when it wants to allegorise, it tells the interp of the allegory, so that the passage will not be interped superficially or be met by the undisciplined desire of those who enjoy allegorisation to wander about and be carried in every direction (An Analysis of the Hermeneutics of St. John Chrysostom’s Commentary on Isaiah 1-8, Isaiah Ch. 5).  

JEROME:

-GǪlet us call upon the Lord, probe the depths of His sacred writings, and be guided in our interp by other testimonies from Holy Writ.  Whatever we cannot fathom in the deep recesses of the OT, we shall penetrate and explain from the depth of the NT in the roar of God’s cataracts - His prophets and apostles (The Homilies of St Jerome: Vol. 2, Homily 92).

-But when you look into it, the difficulty soon disappears.  And when you compares passages of Scr with others, that the Holy Spirit may not seem to contradict Himself with changing place and time, according to what is written, ‘Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy water spouts,’ the truth will show itself, that is, that Christ did give a possible command when He said, “Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect,’ and yet that the Apostles were not perfect (St Jerome Against the Pelagians, Book I.14).


OK, I apologise for the length, but it IS good stuff, don't get me wrong.

Now comes a little commentary.  I appreciate Pedro's list, and I added this (to which I could add more) for a purpose.  It is a common accusation against my position that the consensus patrus is solidly and squarely against it.  When you take a good hard look at the patristic writings, that is not what you find.  What you find is a group of believing, godly, and sanctified men who disagreed amongst each other (and sometimes with themselves) on important matters.  There is no patristic consensus on many things, and this is one of those.
But I know there might come objections.  I was previously asked how I know what Scripture is, and I answered (though I'm sure it's still up for debate in your mind).  My question is: How do you know what Sacred Tradition is?  Is Sacred Tradition what Pedro cited, or is it what I cited?  How do you know?

Grace and peace,

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« Reply #63 on: May 17, 2004, 08:56:47 AM »

Rho,

Give me a break.  You have the church father's quotes so far out of context it's not even funny.  If you're trying to argue that St. John Chrysostom believed in Sola Scriptura, you're only going to be fooling yourself.  

" Is Sacred Tradition what Pedro cited, or is it what I cited?  How do you know?"

It is what Pedro cited because it reflects the basis of their teaching, not your contortions quoted out of context.  

Earlier I pointed out that the radical reformers took your position on the role of scripture and concluded that the Holy Trinity is not taught in Scripture.  You responded with "1) God did such a bad job of getting the Bible into our hands that it's God's fault that we mess it up.  Could it not be sin and ignorance that get in the way of fully understanding God's revealed truth?
2) With a "living infallible interpreting authority" and Sacred Tradition there is no doctrinal disagreement at all.  Do you hold to that?
3) God is incapable of leading His people to a right understanding of the Scripture with no infallible authority other than the Scripture."

I could answer all of these questions quite easily.  The truth of the matter is, however, that most of these accusations have been answered before.  I seriously doubt you are here to learn the EO or OO approach to this discussion.  It seems to me that you've made up your mind that EO and OO and RCs are exactly the same and you will shout anyone or anything down that shows you are wrong.  

And here is the difference between us:

"Do you yourself never follow the approach of taking a framework of knowledge into something before seeking whether it is true?  Or are you always a tabula rasa before you start any thinking?  I would submit that, if you are, you are alone in the human race."

When I'm trying to understand another person's point of view, I am a tabula rasa when it comes to WHAT and HOW they are arguing.  AFTER I understand their arguments I analyze it.  The fact that you don't seem to have that basic ability to listen and understand what someone else is arguing is an extreme limitation.  

I don't know what you're trying to accomplish here, but distorting EO arguments into easily defeatable straw men isn't going to win you any converts.
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« Reply #64 on: May 17, 2004, 10:31:22 AM »

OK, cizinec, you are clearly unhappy with me and my arguments.
The first thing I would like to mention is that this is the Faith forum, and it is marked on the Faith forum that this is the forum for people with questions about EO-y and such.  I have attempted to honor the moderators and hosts of this webforum by not posting controversial topics in other areas but rather sticking to fact-finding and exploration.  But I come HERE to debate.  As I mentioned in my first post, I have been interested in EO-y and intrigued at how I could not as easily dismiss its arguments as I could the arguments of RC-ics.  That's why I am here.
Now, at the risk of really ticking you off, I'm going to respond to you point by point.

Quote
It is what Pedro cited because it reflects the basis of their teaching, not your contortions quoted out of context.  

>>According to YOU.  I realise that you are the first responder to my posts, so I'm not claiming any victory here, but is it too much to ask that you respond to my arguments and not attack my motivations as you see them?

Quote
Earlier I pointed out that the radical reformers took your position on the role of scripture and concluded that the Holy Trinity is not taught in Scripture.  

>>This is not how I responded to you, and it is not true that the Reformers denied the Trinity.  Where did you get that?  For my response, see for yourself, from page #4 of this forum:
Quote
Quote:
  CIZINEC:  Which is why the Trinity, the Two Natures of Christ, etc. are all written down word for word in the bible.
 

>>Would you, then, hold the position that these doctrines are NOT found in the Bible, either explicitly or implicitly?  If not, which doctrine relating to this issue *is* found there and why do you not hold to that one?  

And by the way, I have to ask: Are there not any Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons where you live?  Why do you make me defend the inspiration of the Bible against other ostensible believers in it when you are using and bolstering the same arguments that the cultists use?  I just don't get it.
>>I am still waiting for responses to these questions, cizinec.  You could have responded using this very post.

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I could answer all of these questions quite easily.

>>Waiting...

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The truth of the matter is, however, that most of these accusations have been answered before.
>>Where?  

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It seems to me that you've made up your mind that EO and OO and RCs are exactly the same and you will shout anyone or anything down that shows you are wrong.  

>>A few responses, to be enumerated for clarity:
1) Wild exaggeration.  Please reread my thesis statement.  To advocate that EOC and RCC are more alike than EvProt and RCC (which isn't even my thesis) is NOT to claim that EOC and RCC are exactly the same.
2) *I'm* shouting?  I would agree that the debate right now is centered around EvProt Sola Scriptura versus EO-y's view of Tradition, but I remind you that it's like 6 on 1 here.  I don't have a problem with that, but if you have an issue with the tone I'm taking, could you do me a favor and point it out to me?
3) How is it exactly that you know what I'm thinking to know that I've made up my mind?  My intention actually in participating in this forum is to see if my arguments can be defeated to my satisfaction, because I'm looking for the Truth.  If it's in EOC, I'm there.  If it's not, can you blame me for reaching out in this forum to others?

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I don't know what you're trying to accomplish here, but distorting EO arguments into easily defeatable straw men isn't going to win you any converts.
>>That could be because I admittedly haven't written in anything for my Profile in terms of how I'm using this forum and my esteemed (and very learned) opponents to aid me in my search for Truth.  On the other hand, rather than throwing my arguments under the rug and yelling "Strawman!" I would prefer that you deal with the arguments themselves.

I wish no offense or hard feelings here, but I truly feel that I have been unjustly attacked.  I will continue to respond to questions and questioners.  I suppose, given this exchange, if any reader wishes never to return to this string, that's how it'll have to be, to my regret.    
My final thought is that I have enjoyed this string so far - much lively debate with quick minds and wits.  And I have felt like, with the last few posts, we're really getting down to some nitty gritty... will no one go there with me?
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« Reply #65 on: May 17, 2004, 11:12:02 AM »

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"Also, in these mss. are contained books that are not considered in the Canon even for EOC or RCC, like 3 & 4 Maccabees"

I am not certain this is correct. Is this not just a naming or enumeration difference? I thought 3 & 4 were included, but contained within the others.
{Honest question- I don't know}

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« Reply #66 on: May 17, 2004, 11:12:18 AM »

It is a common accusation against my position that the consensus patrus is solidly and squarely against it.  When you take a good hard look at the patristic writings, that is not what you find.  What you find is a group of believing, godly, and sanctified men who disagreed amongst each other (and sometimes with themselves) on important matters.  There is no patristic consensus on many things, and this is one of those.

If you're going to use our "quote banks" against each other to prove this, all you'll do is make these believing, godly and sanctified men (we agree; they are!) look schizophrenic (sp?).  These quotes of yours don't satisfy us as EOC, since we KNOW that they also saw it necessary to hold to extrabiblical, unwritten tradition.  To take their quotes as teaching Sola Scriptura to the exclusion of other things cannot be accurate, seeing as how they themselves stated to the contrary.

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But I know there might come objections.  I was previously asked how I know what Scripture is, and I answered (though I'm sure it's still up for debate in your mind).  My question is: How do you know what Sacred Tradition is?  Is Sacred Tradition what Pedro cited, or is it what I cited?  How do you know?

I would hesitate to say that it's MINE and not YOURS (though I appreciate the vote of confidence, cizinec); I would say both sets of quotes are part of sacred tradition...it's your USE of them that is done in an incorrect way.  We have no problem saying that, for the most part, Scripture seems to be very clear concerning what it teaches.  WHEN THERE IS DIVISION, however (and there always is!), we MUST have recourse to the clarifying tradition of the Fathers.  Seen in this light, the EOC has no problem with your quotes.

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Since God wants to communicate with us, He will make sure that His people can recognise it when He sends it.  Scripture is recognisable from internal testimony:  1) proclaims itself to be Scripture and the inspired Word of God; 2) contains the power to transform lives and hearts; 3) exhibits complete internal unity (despite its myriad of authors).

1) other books claim as much, including other books that never made it into the canon.
2) other religions claim as much; this is highly subjective.
3) you can thank the EOC for this!  Grin

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 It is recognisable from external testimony:  1) Indestructible - has stood up to and overcome all human criticism from every direction over the course of history; 2) archaeology - relevant archaeological finds confirm the Bible's historicity; 3) prophecy - hundreds of prophecies have been made, to be fulfilled hundreds of years later, a claim which NO OTHER document can make.

1) We'd say that's because it's the Book of an indestructible Church.
2) No beef here.
3) Again, no beef here...though we would say that you owe that to the LXX, which includes the DC books.... Wink
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« Reply #67 on: May 17, 2004, 11:13:25 AM »

I am not certain this is correct. Is this not just a naming or enumeration difference? I thought 3 & 4 were included, but contained within the others.
{Honest question- I don't know}

They are indeed included in the "Greek canon."
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« Reply #68 on: May 17, 2004, 11:15:37 AM »

Gracias, Pedro!

Demetrio
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« Reply #69 on: May 17, 2004, 12:08:51 PM »

Thanks for the thought, but I'm pretty sure Serge has made it clear he has not been formally received into Sacramental Communion within the Orthodox Church.  If memory serves me right, he has stated that he intends, at least for the moment, to remain a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America (the "Episcopal Church").

If anyone is going to speak for PECUSA here, it will be Ebor and I. (Puts on Canterbury cap)

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It seems to me that what Jesus' words clearly do imply, is that He rejects as a mere "tradition of men" any tradition which clearly contradicts the teaching of Scripture.  His Church, the Orthodox Church, certainly has no problem with that.

The question then becomes, "How do we know what 'the teaching of Scripture' is?"  Should not the consensus of the Church across the ages, beginning with the Apostles, be taken into account?  If the answer is "yes," then what in the world do you mean by "sola scriptura?"

Well, as an ex-Anglican, and since you believe Serge to be presently an Anglican, why can't you give the Anglican position yourself?

We go around the "scripture as tradition" argument from time to time, and it's hardly to be believed that we can shed much more light on it. But the question of "consensus of the Church" is circular. If you really push the issue outside of one particular theological tradition, the size of the consensus shrinks. The conspicuous difference is that the Orthodox and Catholic response is define the Church to be your own tradition. Protestants as a group don't accept that, and Anglicans certainly do not accept it.
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« Reply #70 on: May 17, 2004, 03:17:46 PM »

Scripture is recognisable from internal testimony:  1) proclaims itself to be Scripture and the inspired Word of God; 2) contains the power to transform lives and hearts; 3) exhibits complete internal unity (despite its myriad of authors).

1.  This point is subjective.  If I write something and say "it's true, honest!", you won't automatically believe it.  Why automatically believe those books and not, for example, the Bhagavad Gita?  

2.  There are people who claim their lives and hearts have been transformed by poetry, music, drugs, etc...this also is not an objective criterion.  

3.  Define "complete internal unity" for me please?

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It is recognisable from external testimony:  1) Indestructible - has stood up to and overcome all human criticism from every direction over the course of history; 2) archaeology - relevant archaeological finds confirm the Bible's historicity; 3) prophecy - hundreds of prophecies have been made, to be fulfilled hundreds of years later, a claim which NO OTHER document can make.

1.  Many other "holy" books can claim the same.  

2.  I will grant this point.

3.  Ever read Nostradamus?  People say the same thing about his quatrains.  

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If you disagree, I'll be happy to field your responses, but please include an explanation of how you believe that it is inconceivable that God could work it so that His Bride could discover which books He wanted in the Canon.  

I don't believe it is inconceivable that God could work it so that His Bride could discover which books He wanted in the Canon.  I do believe that God worked it so that His Bride could do this, and I do believe that that is what has happened.  What I don't believe is what you say is the process by which such discovery took place.  What I don't believe is the concept you seem to hold of what that Bride is and is not.  I do not subscribe to some vague notion of the Church, the true Bride of Christ, being a body supposedly composed of everyone who *really* believes in Jesus.  No, the Bride of Christ is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Orthodox Church, which from the day of Pentecost until today preaches the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ, which your church and others with it have perverted.  

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>>First of all, we know Paul held to it, as we see in Romans 3:  

I quote from the RSV:

1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews are entrusted with the oracles of God.

I note it says nothing about what books are and are not the "oracles of God", so I don't see how this proves your point that Saint Paul held to it.

Even if he did, though, that does not matter much to me.  The church fathers, where they address the Canon, often have lists which differ one from another, not to mention local councils.  But the Church, the Bride of Christ, knows which books are Scripture and which are not.  Unfortunately, your church has rejected some of these.    

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The Jews of Jesus' time held to the "Protestant" (or Western pre-Council of Trent) OT Canon, as attested to by Saint Jerome.

Then why did Saint Jerome use the "Catholic" (Western post-Tridentine) canon when translating the Latin Vulgate?  

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Josephus and the Babylonian Talmud made it clear that the Jews after the prophets Haggai and Malachi recognised no other prophetic voice.  You gotta have prophetic voices for God-inspired Scripture.

So now Josephus and the Babylonian Talmud are authorities in the Church of Christ?  Yes, there is sarcasm intended there, but only to emphasise a legitimate point: the Church speaks with the authority of the Triune God, not Josephus.  

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You will say, “They also didn’t ever quote from some of the OT books.”  True, but irrelevant.  EO is claiming that these deutero books are necessary to consult for salvation.  Funny (and crippling to EO-y's claim) it is that Jesus and the Apostles of the Lamb never quoted them.  

Jesus and His Apostles never quoted other OT books which you and I recognise as Scripture, but that doesn't mean anything for their being God-breathed.  You say that is a true but irrelevant point.  I disagree.  If Ruth is a book that it is necessary to consult for salvation (and I take it this is what you are defining Scripture as: the God-breathed books which are necessary to consult for salvation), but they never quoted it, then either a) Ruth really isn't Scripture, or b) whether or not Ruth is quoted makes no difference when it comes to its actually being God-breathed Scripture or not.    

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>>Not sure how - it's what one might call a "mystery."  All I see is the end result with no other plausible explanation, so that's the one I accept.

"No other plausible explanation", because "apostolic Christianity", to use an OCNetism, is not plausible to you.
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« Reply #71 on: May 17, 2004, 03:32:23 PM »

Gracias, Pedro!

Demetrio

 Smiley De nada, Demetrio.
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« Reply #72 on: May 17, 2004, 03:43:41 PM »

But the question of "consensus of the Church" is circular. If you really push the issue outside of one particular theological tradition, the size of the consensus shrinks. The conspicuous difference is that the Orthodox and Catholic response is define the Church to be your own tradition. Protestants as a group don't accept that, and Anglicans certainly do not accept it.

A valid point.  My conversion experience felt like a "narrowing"; I went from Baptist, to visiting Episcopalian, to visiting Catholic, to visiting Orthodox, where I finally "landed."  Some of my friends who took similar journeys landed in the first two "stops," and though we disagree, we can easily see each other's points in why we are where we are.

Our point in this discussion, it seems, is not to go against liturgical Protestants like PECUSA, as there's still a lot we have in common based on lots of shared tradition.  One major point that I usually make to many EvProts (which I usually define as "non-liturgical" and "non-creedal," though the latter may vary) is that, though there IS still a bit of reckoning to do once tradition is introduced (i.e., whether to land in PECUSA, RCC, OOC or EOC), there are definitely much FEWER options to deal with than there would be were we left to the Bible alone...as all the other "Bible alone" groups out there attest.
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« Reply #73 on: May 17, 2004, 05:18:31 PM »

I'll be happy to field your responses, but please include an explanation of how you believe that it is inconceivable that God could work it so that His Bride could discover which books He wanted in the Canon.

Inconceivable! (Sorry, Princess Bride moment)  Actually...it's the most conceivable thing I can think of...why wouldn't God guide his Bride into all truth, including and especially which books were holy writ?  What's your point here?  

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This means that, though a book was listed here, it does NOT mean that it was necessarily canonical, but simply that it was read in the Church (which, by the way, seems to agree with large numbers of Church Fathers, lumping the canonical and “ecclesiastical” {those books read in the Church} together for expediency but being careful to keep them separated in authority {like Athanasius and Cyril of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Jews}).

Would you be willing to provide examples of Ss. Athanasius and Cyril making this clear distinction?  It's always been my understanding that the very point[/i] of declaring something to be canonical was so that it would be read universally in the liturgies of the Church.

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Not sure how - it's what one might call a "mystery."  All I see is the end result with no other plausible explanation, so that's the one I accept.

To use your quote from another thread: May I ask how this unsupported viewpoint aids EvProts in evangelism and apologetics?  How do you expect to reach out to people by saying stuff like that in a debate?

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This is not the issue at hand.  Paul quotes a couple of pagan poets in Acts and in Titus - why not rather say the deutero books are pagan in origin?  I exaggerate, but this demonstrates the folly of your point.

Um...HUH?  Huh  Say again, please.

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And why do you suppose that he found the "letter" and the "word of mouth" interchangeable here?...In order to take your position, one must believe that Paul would have sent letters saying one thing (the NT Epistles) and then later would have passed on other contradictory information via word of mouth.

That is not our position. :smiley6: Our position is that nothing we maintain to be oral tradition contradicts written tradition, though it be not identical to it.  Your job is to prove otherwise, for which purpose I propose starting new thread(s), as this would hijack our current topic.

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Time to dig in to the Scriptures on certain doctrines the Bible either does not mention or seems to find quite objectionable.

Fine.  Go for it.  Cool
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« Reply #74 on: May 17, 2004, 05:48:18 PM »

please include an explanation of how you believe that it is inconceivable that God could work it so that His Bride could discover which books He wanted in the Canon.  

But, that's just our point!  God did work it out, by leaving behind a Church with an authoritative Tradition.  You seem to be ackowledging here that it is on the basis of what the Bride receives and passes down to us (a.k.a. "Tradition")  that we know what is in the Canon.  Yes!  That's right!

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First of all, we know Paul held to it, as we see in Romans 3:  The Jews of Jesus' time held to the "Protestant" (or Western pre-Council of Trent) OT Canon, as attested to by Saint Jerome.  
Josephus and the Babylonian Talmud made it clear that the Jews after the prophets Haggai and Malachi recognised no other prophetic voice.  You gotta have prophetic voices for God-inspired Scripture.  

The books I've read on the origins of Scripture assert there were two Jewish canons:  the LXX, used and produced by Hellenized Jews of the Diaspora, which included Deuterocanonical books; and, the Hebrew canon, which did not.  (I suspect you're going to ask for exact references; if so, you'll have to wait till I get back to my library this weekend Smiley).  I see no reason to call the former non-Jewish, or even to give the Hebrew canon prevalence over the Greek canon.  Galilee had strong hellenic influences (viz. the "Decapolis"); apart from the Tradition of the Church, it is not possible to know definitively whether Jesus regarded the Deuterocanonicals as divinely inspired or not.

As to the point about the full list of books to be included/excluded from the Alexandrian canon not being definitively set by Jews prior to the Council of Jamnia; well, from what I've read, neither was the Hebrew canon!  And the Council of Jamnia, as you know, was marked by anti-Christian polemic, including the inclusion, among the "minah" (ritual cursings, or anathemas, in the daily prayers still recited by many Orthodox Jews) of the ritual cursing of Christians.

I think your point about the link between prophecy and scriptural inspiration is a strong one.  I'd need to see more evidence to conclude, though, that all diaspora Jews held that prophecy had definitively come to an end with Haggai and Malachi.

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You will say, “They also didn’t ever quote from some of the OT books.”  True, but irrelevant.  EO is claiming that these deutero books are necessary to consult for salvation.
 Actually, I'm not sure that accurately characterizes the EO position.  I believe the latter is simply that the D-Cs belong in the canon.  Does that mean that, to fail consult them leads to damnation?  Doesn't sound like the EO position to me.

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 Funny (and crippling to EO-y's claim) it is that Jesus and the Apostles of the Lamb never quoted them.  

You just conceded that there are books in the Hebrew canon from which Jesus did not quote.  Obviously, then, failure to be quoted by Jesus does not preclude canonical status.  What's so crippling?

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This is not the issue at hand.  Paul quotes a couple of pagan poets in Acts and in Titus - why not rather say the deutero books are pagan in origin?

O, come on.  Paul quotes pagan Greek poets mainly in the context of dialogue with educated Greek, or hellenized, gentiles.  The allusions to Deuterocanonical passages generally suggest a Christian audience; the inspired author apparently expects his Christian audience to know that literature and to consider it authoritative.  That is not in itself enough to conclude that he considered that literature canonical, but it certainly is not inconsistent with such a position.

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The point is that Christ refers to the Word of God and quotes Scripture.  He then refers to the traditions of men and judges them by Scripture.  If you believe that Christ believed in some other mode of discernment of "right tradition versus wrong tradition," please supply Scriptural passages (or heck, I'll even settle for extrascriptural passages, for argument's sake) where Jesus supports the EO position.

I'm beginning to suspect you have curious notions about what the EO position is.  The EO Church has never taught that traditions should not be judged on the basis of Scripture, or that "traditions" should be adhered to if they clearly contradict the meaning of Scripture.  Is that what you think?

But, we are often less confident than our EO friends that the meanings of certain passages in Scripture are "blindingly obvious" without the guidance of the Church and her Tradition.

True, our position is that traditions cannot be dismissed simply because they do not have a blindingly obvious, irrefragible Scriptural backing.  I can think of no place where Jesus dismisses traditions on such grounds, so why should His Church?

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And why do you suppose that he found the "letter" and the "word of mouth" interchangeable here?

I don't understand your question.  I don't think he regards them as "interchangeable," but I don't think he regards them as two independent sources, either.

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In order to take your position, one must believe that Paul would have sent letters saying one thing (the NT Epistles) and then later would have passed on other contradictory information via word of mouth.  

Why in the world must one believe that?  Throughout these discussions, you seem to conceive of Tradition as being contradictory with Scripture, almost by definition, it would seem.  But, from an Orthodox point of view, "traditions" that "contradict" the meaning of Scripture cannot, by definition, be part of Tradition.

I would take Paul to be referring to oral teachings that may well supplement, define, comment on, and/or complete what he communicates "by letter" (and, no doubt, they often also reiterate what he has written).  That is, I think, the Orthodox understanding of the relation of Tradition to Scripture.

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Ahh, a refreshing admission.

It's no "admission" at all, and that you would think so, I suspect, reveals the charicature of Orthodoxy under which I fear you are laboring.  I know of no Orthodox teaching which would suggest that it is ever proper to propose as a valid tradition, much less part of Tradition with a capital "T," something which contradicts Scripture.  But, I have no doubt that we will often disagree on the meaning of Scripture with respect to aspects of Tradition you and other Protestants find objectionable.

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Very well, I agree.  Time to dig in to the Scriptures on certain doctrines the Bible either does not mention or seems to find quite objectionable.

"Does not mention" is one thing; "seems to find quite objectionable" is quite another.  Based on prior experience, I doubt I will find the meanings you ascribe to Scripture in the latter instances anywhere near as obvious as do you.  As to the former, obviously, I am not especially troubled by those aspects of Tradition that do not have an obvious, irrefragible proof-text in the Scriptures.  But, then, I don't see Jesus applying that standard, either.  

Notwithstanding Matthew 7, where Jesus objects to the specific Pharisaic teachings/practices described because they contradict the (traditionally passed down interpretation of the) meaning of Scripture, not simply because they "aren't mentioned" explicitly in Scripture.

That being said, I don't believe the Orthodox would accept the notion that any aspect of Tradition could be without Scriptural basis.  But, that basis will not always be glaringly obvious to individual interpreters, partially blinded by sinfulness or personal limitations.  But, you have yourself conceded that much, with respect to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
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« Reply #75 on: May 17, 2004, 08:55:29 PM »

The books I've read on the origins of Scripture assert there were two Jewish canons:  the LXX, used and produced by Hellenized Jews of the Diaspora, which included Deuterocanonical books; and, the Hebrew canon, which did not.  (I suspect you're going to ask for exact references; if so, you'll have to wait till I get back to my library this weekend Smiley).  

Here's a reference:

"It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive that the twenty-two, or twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible of Palestinian Judaism.   It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition , the so-called Apocrypha, or deutero-canonical books.  The reason for this is that the Old Testament which passed in the first instance into the hands of the Christians was not the original Hebrew version but the Greek translation known as the Septuagint.  Begun in Alexandria at about the middle of the third century B.C., this became the Bible of the Greek speaking Jews of the Dispersion, and most of the Scriptural quotations in the New Testament are based upon it rather than the Hebrew.  For the Jews of Palestine the limits of the canon (the term is Christian, and was not used in Judaism) were rigidly fixed; they drew a sharp line between the books which 'defiled the hands', i.e., were sacred, and other religiously edifying writings. The outlook of the Jewish communities outside of Palestine tended to be much more elastic.......In the first two centuries at any rate the Church seems to have accepted all, or most of, these additional books as inspired and to have treated them without question as Scripture."  J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, pp.53-54.
(Kelly goes on to list the early Church Fathers who quoted from these books as Scripture.)

A couple of comments:
(1) There may have even been some variability in the acceptance of OT books in Palestine.  From what I recall, the Sadduccees acknowledged only the five books of Moses as authoritative, while the Essenes may have accepted many of the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture.
(2) To this day, the Ethiopian JEWS accept the longer OT "canon" of the LXX. (But I'll have to double check the source on that).

Hope this helps.

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« Reply #76 on: May 19, 2004, 08:01:52 AM »

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PEDRO:These quotes of yours don't satisfy us as EOC, since we KNOW that they also saw it necessary to hold to extrabiblical, unwritten tradition.  To take their quotes as teaching Sola Scriptura to the exclusion of other things cannot be accurate, seeing as how they themselves stated to the contrary.
>>This an interesting introduction into your answer to my question: What exactly is Tradition?  So here you are saying that my quotes are invalid and yours are valid.  That's an enlightening first step.

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PEDRO:We have no problem saying that, for the most part, Scripture seems to be very clear concerning what it teaches.  WHEN THERE IS DIVISION, however (and there always is!), we MUST have recourse to the clarifying tradition of the Fathers.  

>>Ah, OK, so whoever has MORE patristic quotes wins.

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RHO:Scripture is recognisable from internal testimony:  1) proclaims itself to be Scripture and the inspired Word of God; 2) contains the power to transform lives and hearts; 3) exhibits complete internal unity (despite its myriad of authors).
PEDRO:1) other books claim as much, including other books that never made it into the canon.
MOR EPHREM: 1.  This point is subjective.  If I write something and say "it's true, honest!", you won't automatically believe it.  Why automatically believe those books and not, for example, the Bhagavad Gita?  

>>1) True, but it's ridiculous to hold to any book that doesn't claim to be inspired (like 2 Maccabees).

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PEDRO:2) other religions claim as much; this is highly subjective.
MOR EPHREM: 2.  There are people who claim their lives and hearts have been transformed by poetry, music, drugs, etc...this also is not an objective criterion.  

>>2) I know other books claim this power, but the Bible reveals the One True God to us, so this is objective AND subjective.  Do you disagree?

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PEDRO:3) you can thank the EOC for this!  
MOR EPHREM:3.  Define "complete internal unity" for me please?

>>3) Mor Ephrem: no contradiction in doctrine, history, logic, names, etc.
Pedro: Oh please - Moses and David were members of the EOC?  The only thing I can figure you're trying to say is that the EOC governs the Canon and therefore put it together in such a way that there would be said internal unity.  A couple of observations here, because you've got trouble:
   a. You have explicitly stated that the EOC decided the Canon (hence, not only discovering it, as I would say the Church did).  Does the EOC believe itself subservient to the Scriptures?  I'm asking because I don't know, but it's hard to see how you could answer 'yes' to this one;
   b. The EOC Canon contains more books than the EvProt Canon.  Within several of these books are contradictions with EvProt Canon books.  Which ones do you accept?  Example:  2 Macc (prayer to the dead) vs. Isaiah 8:19-20.  Or how about the historical inaccuracies present in the Book of Judith (Nebuchadnezzar called King of Assyria)?
   c. Don't you think one might be a *tad* more inclined to thank God for this rather than men in light of 2 Peter 1:20-21?

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RHO:It is recognisable from external testimony:  1) Indestructible - has stood up to and overcome all human criticism from every direction over the course of history; 2) archaeology - relevant archaeological finds confirm the Bible's historicity; 3) prophecy - hundreds of prophecies have been made, to be fulfilled hundreds of years later, a claim which NO OTHER document can make.
MOR EPHREM: 1.  Many other "holy" books can claim the same.  
2.  I will grant this point.
3.  Ever read Nostradamus?  People say the same thing about his quatrains.  

>>1) I asked this question earlier of cizinec, in post #52.  I repeat it here:  
Are there not any Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons where you live?  Why do you make me defend the inspiration of the Bible against other ostensible believers in it when you are using and bolstering the same arguments that the cultists use?  I just don't get it.
It is amazing that so many EOC, it seems, are willing to weaken their own case to uniqueness among the myriad religions of the world just in order to attack my case!  So, Mor Ephrem, do *you* truly believe that other "holy" books like the Qur'an have successfully resisted scholarly examination in the same terms I am naming and defending here for the Bible?  If you do, you are ignorant of, at the very least, many modern scholars such as Dr. Norman Geisler, the Drs. Caner, etc.  
3) Again, you attack your own holy book.  At any rate, I'm not talking about ridiculously vague writings like Nostradamus' where you have to read in TONS of stuff to make it match - you think that's divinely inspired?  Have you ever read his writings?  Do they compare, for example, to the Prophet Daniel's *to the year* prophecy of when Messiah would appear?  

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MOR EPHREM: What I don't believe is the concept you seem to hold of what that Bride is and is not.  I do not subscribe to some vague notion of the Church, the true Bride of Christ, being a body supposedly composed of everyone who *really* believes in Jesus.  No, the Bride of Christ is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Orthodox Church, which from the day of Pentecost until today preaches the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ, which your church and others with it have perverted.  

>>Believe me, Mor Ephrem, I understand that you believe that.  I am glad, however, that you agree with my point and that we can move on to real questions.  

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MOR EPHREM: I note it says nothing about what books are and are not the "oracles of God", so I don't see how this proves your point that Saint Paul held to it.
Even if he did, though, that does not matter much to me.  The church fathers, where they address the Canon, often have lists which differ one from another, not to mention local councils.  But the Church, the Bride of Christ, knows which books are Scripture and which are not.  

>>"Oracles" here is "logion" in the Greek - plural of "logos," which is of course "words," so the Jews were "entrusted with the very words of God."  Hmm - sounds like the Scriptures.  What is your alternative interpretation?  Or I should say, what is *EOC's* alternative interpretation, since I believe that private interpretation, as we have already seen in this string, is rejected by EOC?

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RHO:The Jews of Jesus' time held to the "Protestant" (or Western pre-Council of Trent) OT Canon, as attested to by Saint Jerome.
MOR EPHREM:Then why did Saint Jerome use the "Catholic" (Western post-Tridentine) canon when translating the Latin Vulgate?  

>>I'll have to check up in that in my sources... at any rate, it is not inconceivable that Jerome attested to the fact of the Jews' Canon without necessarily holding to it himself.  However, before I grant that point, I need to recheck my resources and get back to it.  Of course, even if he did translate the Canon you refer to, this does not mean he considered all of it inspired, but merely inspired or highly esteemed, either one.
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MOR EPHREM: So now Josephus and the Babylonian Talmud are authorities in the Church of Christ? ...the Church speaks with the authority of the Triune God, not Josephus.  

>>Fine, fine.  I refer you back to Romans 3 - the Jews were entrusted with the words of God, for the OT Canon.  
Also, which church exactly?  Both EOC and RCC claim the authority to decide the Canon (and EvProt-ism claims God decided it and His Church discovered it).  So unless you want to resort to as-yet unproven bald appeals to authority, you might want to use some other type of argument.

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MOR EPHREM:If Ruth is a book that it is necessary to consult for salvation (and I take it this is what you are defining Scripture as: the God-breathed books which are necessary to consult for salvation),
AMBROSEMZV:Actually, I'm not sure that accurately characterizes the EO position.  I believe the latter is simply that the D-Cs belong in the canon.  Does that mean that, to fail consult them leads to damnation?  Doesn't sound like the EO position to me.
>>I think I poorly stated that.  For clarification's sake, could you define what it means for a book to be included in the EO Canon?  Or is there any meaningful difference between, say, Psalms and the Didache?
For the EvProt, a book is in the Canon if it is theopneustos, not if it is necessary to consult for salvation.  This is what makes discovering which books are theopneustos important and why the EvProt denies that men could ever dictate what is and is not God-breathed.

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MOR EPHREM:"No other plausible explanation", because "apostolic Christianity", to use an OCNetism, is not plausible to you.  

>>Well, we are discussing the other explanations to see if they are plausible, are we not?  What I mean is that the Scriptures ordain no infallible interpreter of the Scriptures, so we have to look for other explanations of how the Canon would have come about.  

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DEMETRI: I thought 3 & 4 were included, but contained within the others.
(PEDRO confirms this)
>>Honest mistake - in a resource I was recently studying, it had 3 & 4 Maccabees outside the Greek Canon.

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PEDRO:it's the most conceivable thing I can think of...why wouldn't God guide his Bride into all truth, including and especially which books were holy writ?  What's your point here?  

>>Indeed, why would He not?  I said this because other posters had proposed that I did not believe this or that it was nonsensical.

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PEDRO:Would you be willing to provide examples of Ss. Athanasius and Cyril making this clear distinction?  It's always been my understanding that the very point of declaring something to be canonical was so that it would be read universally in the liturgies of the Church.

>>I'll need to consult my resources again for this one.  Question - so something like the Didache would NOT be read universally in the liturgies of the Church?  Is this really the difference between non-canonical and canonical in EOC?

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PEDRO:May I ask how this unsupported viewpoint aids EvProts in evangelism and apologetics?  How do you expect to reach out to people by saying stuff like that in a debate?
>>I'm surprised to hear an EO dispute the necessary existence of mystery in the worship of God.  At any rate, you can see my 3 points on the internal and external evidence of the Scriptures' divine origin for your answer.  And how is this "unsupported"?  If there is no other plausible explanation, it's valid.

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RHO:Paul quotes a couple of pagan poets in Acts and in Titus - why not rather say the deutero books are pagan in origin?  I exaggerate, but this demonstrates the folly of your point.
PEDRO:Um...HUH?    Say again, please.
>>Someone pointed out that DC books are paralleled in the NT, ergo they are canonical.  I said that if that is the case then these pagan poets' writings are canonical as well.  Point:  You must find other criteria, as this is clearly invalid.

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PEDRO:That is not our position.  Our position is that nothing we maintain to be oral tradition contradicts written tradition, though it be not identical to it.

>>Um, of *course* that's not your position, but it *is* mine, so don't go wagging your fingers at me (that's a great smiley, btw Smiley).  I was just thinking that I should indeed begin a new thread...

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AMBROSE:God did work it out, by leaving behind a Church with an authoritative Tradition.  

>>Not according to Christ in Mark 7/Matthew 15.

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AMBROSE:re: Council of Jamnia.
>>FYI - The council did not discuss whether to raise books to canonical status (like the DC books) but instead centered on whether to remove Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon from the canon.  

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AMBROSE:Paul quotes pagan Greek poets mainly in the context of dialogue with educated Greek, or hellenized, gentiles.  The allusions to Deuterocanonical passages generally suggest a Christian audience; the inspired author apparently expects his Christian audience to know that literature and to consider it authoritative.  That is not in itself enough to conclude that he considered that literature canonical, but it certainly is not inconsistent with such a position.
>>Agreed, it is not inconsistent, but it proves nothing, as I pointed out.  By the way, the book of Titus in which one of these allusions occurs was written not to pagans but to Christians (or to a Christian).  

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AMBROSE:But, we are often less confident than our EO friends that the meanings of certain passages in Scripture are "blindingly obvious" without the guidance of the Church and her Tradition.
True, our position is that traditions cannot be dismissed simply because they do not have a blindingly obvious, irrefragible Scriptural backing.  I can think of no place where Jesus dismisses traditions on such grounds, so why should His Church?
>>You probably mean "non-EO friends," right?  
I can think of a place where Jesus dismisses a tradition on the grounds that it conflicts with Scripture.  It's found in Mark 7/Matthew 15.  The tradition in question is making Scripture simply a *part* of tradition, whereas Christ contradicts this in these parallel passages.

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AMBROSE:But, from an Orthodox point of view, "traditions" that "contradict" the meaning of Scripture cannot, by definition, be part of Tradition.
>>Then please explain how you can avoid judging traditions by Scripture?  

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AMBROSE:"Does not mention" is one thing; "seems to find quite objectionable" is quite another.

>> OK, that's a good point.  


...this has been an interesting discussion, and Pedro's right - another thread should prolly be started to deal with questions raised here.  I'll continue checking this one and will most probably start a related thread in the next few days.  






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« Reply #77 on: May 19, 2004, 08:27:30 AM »

"This an interesting introduction into your answer to my question: What exactly is Tradition?  So here you are saying that my quotes are invalid and yours are valid.  That's an enlightening first step."

I think what he is saying is that your quotes are taken so far out of context that they belie and contradict the teachings of the people you quote.
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« Reply #78 on: May 19, 2004, 08:32:59 AM »

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AMBROSE:
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But, from an Orthodox point of view, "traditions" that "contradict" the meaning of Scripture cannot, by definition, be part of Tradition.

RHO:
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Then please explain how you can avoid judging traditions by Scripture?  

Rho, you're still tilting at windmills.  As has been pointed out several times, the Orthodox are NOT against "judging traditions by Scripture."  This why we see no counter-example in the pericope form Mark 7/Matthew 15 you keep pointing out.  We just don't agree that that passage suggests that any tradition not based on immediately obvious, irrefragible interpretations of particular Scriptural passages must necessarily, for that reason, be thrown out, or even regarded as less binding.  If that were the case, we'd have to hold the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in doubt, along with much Christology that even Protestants hold to be central to the faith.

As to the argument that only writings which explicitly claim themselves to be inspired should be regarded as Holy Writ:  What about the Book of Ruth?  Song of Solomon?

You also asked why we don't accept the validity of Jehova's Witnesses' and Mormons' claims to possess sacred scriptures, if we reject the sufficiency of purely internal criteria.  We reject those claims because their proponents cannot give convincing evidence of Apostolic foundation and continuity, as can the Orthodox Church.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2004, 08:34:39 AM by ambrosemzv » Logged

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« Reply #79 on: May 19, 2004, 11:46:48 AM »

Haven't responded to everything you said yet, Rho -- here's for starters....

>>This an interesting introduction into your answer to my question: What exactly is Tradition?  So here you are saying that my quotes are invalid and yours are valid.  That's an enlightening first step.

No, all quotes are valid, seeing as how they came from orthodox sources (I know, not everything a saint said is orthodox, but we have no problem with your quotes, per se).  The problem comes when you try to take your quotes and make them say something which directly contradict my quotes.  Obviously they CAN'T see Scripture as the sole source of faith and doctrine, because elsewhere they've praised tradition as having some say in the matter.  I'm just saying your take on the quotes is misleading.

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>>Ah, OK, so whoever has MORE patristic quotes wins.

Hardly; the issue isn't quantity.  The issue is this: do our quotes from St. N contradict something else the same father himself said?  The position you desire to put, say, St. Jn. Chrys. in hardly reflects the entirety of his position on this subject.

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>>1) True, but it's ridiculous to hold to any book that doesn't claim to be inspired (like 2 Maccabees).

Or Ruth.  Or Song of Solomon.  Please stop this line of argument, as it can go both ways.

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>>2) I know other books claim this power, but the Bible reveals the One True God to us, so this is objective AND subjective.  Do you disagree?

Yes and no.
No, I don't disagree PERSONALLY, since subjectively, I am a Christian and believe the same as you about God revealing himself through Scripture.
Yes, I disagree OBJECTIVELY, since your very claim presupposes faith in Scripture.  Were I an unbiased observer, your mere claim would put you on equal footing to the cultists you align us with  Wink

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Pedro: Oh please - Moses and David were members of the EOC?

Well, we would say yes, retroactively, but mostly I was being facetious!  Sorry!  Grin

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The only thing I can figure you're trying to say is that the EOC governs the Canon and therefore put it together in such a way that there would be said internal unity.

That was my point, yes.

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You have explicitly stated that the EOC decided the Canon (hence, not only discovering it, as I would say the Church did).

Ehhh...kinda.  Yes, the Church played a PART in all of that, so they declared certain books to be canonical -- THEY did that.  But they did it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  So I wouldn't go so far as to say it's an either/or idea.

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Does the EOC believe itself subservient to the Scriptures?  

'Course not.  We're servants of Christ.  Wink  Really, we see ourselves as complete servants of the Scriptures; it's the Church's job to teach, clarify, and spread the Word of God throughout the world.  How we do this differs from you...I think your real question is this: if we think we're subservient to the Scriptures, why then do we have "contradictory" doctrines thereto? Hence my saying a new thread should be started...again....

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Don't you think one might be a *tad* more inclined to thank God for this rather than men in light of 2 Peter 1:20-21?

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Why do you make me defend the inspiration of the Bible against other ostensible believers in it when you are using and bolstering the same arguments that the cultists use?  I just don't get it.

Because you're no longer preaching to the choir when you're dealing with other religious groups.  You have to show them that there's something TOTALLY unique about your book; this "it's been prophecied" thing is VERY compelling, to be sure, but not unique.  Someone might just say, "so what"?

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It is amazing that so many EOC, it seems, are willing to weaken their own case to uniqueness among the myriad religions of the world just in order to attack my case!

Our case does not rest on Christ in the Scriptures.  It rests, primarily, on Christ in the Church.

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Question - so something like the Didache would NOT be read universally in the liturgies of the Church?  Is this really the difference between non-canonical and canonical in EOC?

As far as I understand, it USED to be read in SOME churches, before the Canon was finalized; since then it has not been read in Orthodox churches.

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>>I'm surprised to hear an EO dispute the necessary existence of mystery in the worship of God.  At any rate, you can see my 3 points on the internal and external evidence of the Scriptures' divine origin for your answer.  And how is this "unsupported"?  If there is no other plausible explanation, it's valid.

We don't dispute having mystery; we're actually big on it!  And as for the origin of Scripture, it's apparently not plausible to YOU how Scripture could have come together.  Big issue there.  Understandable, though, as the alternative is quite inconvenient for you.  We find God taking the time to ensure that we would know the truth -- both in Scripture's composition and its interpretation -- both completely reasonable and historical.

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>>Someone pointed out that DC books are paralleled in the NT, ergo they are canonical.  I said that if that is the case then these pagan poets' writings are canonical as well.  Point:  You must find other criteria, as this is clearly invalid.

Then why do you repeatedly insist on interquotation between the OT and the NT for a requirement of canonicity?!  Sorry to raise my voice, but you seem to be flip-flopping quite a bit on this.  You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

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FYI - The council did not discuss whether to raise books to canonical status (like the DC books) but instead centered on whether to remove Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon from the canon.

Actually...one of the big reasons for the council was polemic(sp?) against Christianity; the Christians had been using the LXX (w/DCs) to emphasize Messianic prophecies, and the Jews were mad.  So they called Jamnia and decided on the Masoretic (Hebrew) text, which, incidentally, didn't include the DCs.  So it was more of a "liturgical textbook" council than specific "elevations" or "demotions" of certain books.

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 >>Agreed, it is not inconsistent, but it proves nothing, as I pointed out.  By the way, the book of Titus in which one of these allusions occurs was written not to pagans but to Christians (or to a Christian).  

A good point, though I would ask this: since neither view can conclusively PROVE something either way using only Scripture, would it not therefore be prudent to "ask" the successors of these authors?

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Mark 7/Matthew 15.  The tradition in question is making Scripture simply a *part* of tradition, whereas Christ contradicts this in these parallel passages.

Where in the text does it mention the Pharisees making Scripture "simply a *part* of tradition?  It's not sound debating to read modern ideas into older texts.

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>>Then please explain how you can avoid judging traditions by Scripture?  

We don't!  It's just that we disagree on whether or not our judgement using Scripture was sound.
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« Reply #80 on: May 19, 2004, 12:33:12 PM »

The EOC Canon contains more books than the EvProt Canon.  Within several of these books are contradictions with EvProt Canon books.  Which ones do you accept?  Example:  2 Macc (prayer to the dead) vs. Isaiah 8:19-20.  Or how about the historical inaccuracies present in the Book of Judith (Nebuchadnezzar called King of Assyria)?

2 Macc -- not talking about divination/talking to false gods and demons; talking about intercession and petitions for prayer from servants of the Most High God.
Judith -- historical accuracy not necessarily needed to proclaim sound theological doctrine.

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the Jews were "entrusted with the very words of God."  Hmm - sounds like the Scriptures.  What is your alternative interpretation?

The prophetic voice of God to the world.  "Words of God" doesn't have to mean strictly "Bible"; it can mean "message," given orally or written.

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Of course, even if [Jerome] did translate the Canon you refer to, this does not mean he considered all of it inspired, but merely inspired or highly esteemed, either one.

Regardless, he thought it more honorable than most EvProts do.

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Also, which church exactly?  Both EOC and RCC claim the authority to decide the Canon (and EvProt-ism claims God decided it and His Church discovered it).  So unless you want to resort to as-yet unproven bald appeals to authority, you might want to use some other type of argument.>>

As you can read in my previous (and ridiculously long) post -- sorry; I will try to be briefer if this is a problem -- we don't differ that much on the who discovers/who decides part -- we just disagree on WHAT was discovered/decided!  You make a good point about which church; you might say we came to this conclusion together?

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For clarification's sake, could you define what it means for a book to be included in the EO Canon?  Or is there any meaningful difference between, say, Psalms and the Didache?

Liturgical use, I'd say.

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For the EvProt, a book is in the Canon if it is theopneustos, not if it is necessary to consult for salvation.  This is what makes discovering which books are theopneustos important and why the EvProt denies that men could ever dictate what is and is not God-breathed.

We don't dictate it; rather, we, inspired by the very "breath of God" you mention -- we therefore think the theopneustos isn't limited to Scripture -- were able to recognize which ones were which -- "takes one to know one," if you will.

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>>Well, we are discussing the other explanations to see if they are plausible, are we not?  What I mean is that the Scriptures ordain no infallible interpreter of the Scriptures, so we have to look for other explanations of how the Canon would have come about.  

This, I think, would be an excellent topic to start a new thread on; it tackles a different, but related topic.
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« Reply #81 on: May 20, 2004, 05:40:30 AM »

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CIZINEC:I think what he is saying is that your quotes are taken so far out of context that they belie and contradict the teachings of the people you quote.  

>>...according to EOC, yeah, I know.  

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AMBROSE:We just don't agree that that passage suggests that any tradition not based on immediately obvious, irrefragible interpretations of particular Scriptural passages must necessarily, for that reason, be thrown out, or even regarded as less binding.

>>My point is, of course, that this viewpoint is not Christ's.  "...thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down..." (Mark 7:13).  If what you are saying is correct, Christ would have no problem when any other tradition (except the 2 named specifically in this passage) conflicts with the Scriptures.

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AMBROSE:If that were the case, we'd have to hold the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in doubt, along with much Christology that even Protestants hold to be central to the faith.
PEDRO:Were I an unbiased observer, your mere claim would put you on equal footing to the cultists you align us with

>>I do not understand what you mean by this at all.  Do you mean to tell me that the doctrines of the Holy Trinity and of the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ are not to be found in the pages of Scripture?  
Somewhere along the line, my questions about whether you have ever encountered any cultists was seen as my equating Mormons with EO.  That is not the case.  I ask because I am dumbfounded as to why any EO would attack sacred Scripture as you are doing.  My question, stated differently, is "Why waste time attacking Holy Scripture when so many people are being lost to cults who deny it similarly?"

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AMBROSE:As to the argument that only writings which explicitly claim themselves to be inspired should be regarded as Holy Writ:  What about the Book of Ruth?  Song of Solomon?
PEDRO:Or Ruth.  Or Song of Solomon.  Please stop this line of argument, as it can go both ways.
>>Paul, in 2 Timothy 3:16, states that "All Scripture is theopneustos..." He held to the Canon of the Jews (the oft-mentioned "Law, Prophets, and Writings," an abbreviation of the Jewish Canon at the time).  Ruth and S of S were in said Canon.  Therefore, they are theopneustos, though they do not explicitly claim it.  That, by the way, was never my argument, so I'm glad for the opportunity to clarify.
Pedro, 2 Macc specifically states that it is an abridgement of someone else's writings, denying its canonicity.  This is not true of Ruth and S of S.

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PEDRO:Obviously they CAN'T see Scripture as the sole source of faith and doctrine, because elsewhere they've praised tradition as having some say in the matter.  I'm just saying your take on the quotes is misleading.
>>Or maybe they meant something else than you think in the quotes *you* cited, Pedro.  What if I produce a hundred more quotes supporting my argument and you produce a hundred more for yours?  Where is your consensus?  That is the real issue at hand.  

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PEDRO:Yes, I disagree OBJECTIVELY, since your very claim presupposes faith in Scripture.
>>You misunderstand my question - of course it presupposes faith in Scripture.  You have faith in Scripture, do you not?  So, does it objectively have the power to change hearts?  It doesn't matter if John Q. Heathen *thinks* it does or does not have the power.  We know it does.  Unless you disagree, a posteriori being EOC.  That is different.

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PEDRO:So I wouldn't go so far as to say it's an either/or idea.
>>Hmm, that's not the impression I get in this forum all the time, but I'll take your word for it and remember that in future discussions.

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PEDRO:I think your real question is this: if we think we're subservient to the Scriptures, why then do we have "contradictory" doctrines thereto? Hence my saying a new thread should be started...again....
>>Paciencia, mi amigo - a man only has so much time.  Wink

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PEDRO:"it's been prophecied" thing is VERY compelling, to be sure, but not unique.  Someone might just say, "so what"?
>>Pedro.  Yes.  It is unique.  Show me even one other collection of writings containing comparable *fulfilled* prophecy.

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PEDRO:And as for the origin of Scripture, it's apparently not plausible to YOU how Scripture could have come together.  

>>Oh no, I told you how it came about - God directed the discovery of the Canon by His Church.  I dispute the need for an infallible interpreter to do that, which is (at least I think so) the difference between us.

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PEDRO:Then why do you repeatedly insist on interquotation between the OT and the NT for a requirement of canonicity?!

>>Don't blame me - I'm not the one who wrote it down when Jesus and the Apostles precede their OT quotations by "It is written" or "when God spoke to you, saying" or "The Scriptures say."  Clear it up any?

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PEDRO:would it not therefore be prudent to "ask" the successors of these authors?
>>Or, given the corruption in doctrine we see described and responded to by the NT authors, we can do better - we can study the NT and thereby ask the authors themselves.  

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PEDRO:Where in the text does it mention the Pharisees making Scripture "simply a *part* of tradition?

>>No, I meant that I would like to *discuss* the tradition of making Scripture a part of tradition, in light of Christ's repudiation of the idea.  I'm challenging EO-y, not the Pharisees.

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PEDRO:We don't!  It's just that we disagree on whether or not our judgement using Scripture was sound.
>>But your judgment interpreting tradition using the same methods is sound?

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PEDRO:2 Macc -- not talking about divination/talking to false gods and demons; talking about intercession and petitions for prayer from servants of the Most High God.
>>And you would leave out communicating with ancestors?

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Judith -- historical accuracy not necessarily needed to proclaim sound theological doctrine.
>>Historical inaccuracy shows that God didn't breathe it out.  Did God make a mistake?  The OT books of the Jewish canon somehow escaped historical inaccuracy.  

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The prophetic voice of God to the world.  "Words of God" doesn't have to mean strictly "Bible"; it can mean "message," given orally or written.
>>OK, I can buy that - remember OT was written by prophetic voices anyway.  Doesn't really alter my point though.  

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Regardless, he thought it more honorable than most EvProts do.
>>Not in question here.

Quote
As far as I understand, it USED to be read in SOME churches, before the Canon was finalized; since then it has not been read in Orthodox churches.
...Liturgical use, I'd say.
>>Ah, thanks for the information.

Quote
theopneustos isn't limited to Scripture -- were able to recognize which ones were which -- "takes one to know one," if you will.
>>OK, you can hold to that, fine.  I'm more interested in what the Apostle Paul held to, though.
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« Reply #82 on: May 20, 2004, 12:50:22 PM »

"...according to EOC, yeah, I know."

No, according to Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan, Henry Chadwick, J.N.D. Kelly, and every other respected academician studying the Early Church.  

I've read quite a few writings of the Early Fathers.  I attend the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom or St. Basil every Sunday.  Don't come into THIS forum and think you can tell us that St. John Chrysostom was a bible thumping Protestant.  His sermons are read in our churches.  

What are your credentials?  Exactly what have you read and studied that makes you a greater expert on the Church Fathers than, say, Jaroslav Pelikan, who is respected by Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant scholars of all flavors?
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« Reply #83 on: May 20, 2004, 04:49:41 PM »

Rho,

Rather than respond quote for quote, I’ll just make a few basic points, which (I hope) will cover most of what we’re clashing over.

One of the big “revelations” that we converts to catholic confessions from Protestantism had to experience was the fact that, if we were going to continue in our interpretation of what Scripture said about certain things, we would have to go against universal consensus among those the apostles themselves taught concerning things like baptism, salvation, the afterlife, Mary and the saints, apostolic succession, and (most telling for me) the Eucharist.  For us, it no longer made sense to stand up and declare that, based on our knowledge of these few letters in our Bibles we now had a more complete picture of the Faith than these men who walked and talked extensively with the Apostles themselves.

Secondly, when we say that the Church is “infallible,” I think what we really mean is that, ultimately, She is trustworthy. You’ve mentioned several times that, though the Church’s opinions might be nice for some things, they are not “infallible” as is written Scripture; you thus placing Scripture in its own category of immaculate inerrancy, while leaving the Church in a state of erring.  For us, questions arise regarding this.  Why would God use a Church so “roundly condemned” by His Word to compile said Holy Book?  How would we know that said Book was “lacking in nothing,” if the men who compiled it were so steeped in error?  Were there other books that they missed?  How do we know, either way?  What was their take on what Scripture was within the community of faith?  For us, the collective consciousness of the Church since the beginning has been that it - not just the Scriptures to which She gave birth - has been the pillar and ground of the truth, trustworthy and, though human, more than able to heal our souls through the Spirit.  The complete confidence shown by those who followed the apostles—not in “their ability” to “get it right,” but in the faithful guidance of the Holy Spirit through sacraments, letter, and faith—makes a strong case that this is, indeed, what they were told to expect from the Apostles.  And it makes sense to us.

It’s for these reasons that, when you and I engaged in our little “quote war,” yours didn’t really move us.  Our position is such that we are embracing both sets of quotes, both sides of revelation to the Church, while you only embrace the one.  To go back to St. John Chrysostom: when an Orthodox Christian reads things from the saint like, “We ourselves are not the lords over the rules of interpretation, but must pursue Scripture’s understanding of itselfGǪ” we have no problem with this; indeed, there are many places where Protestants and Orthodox agree that Christ himself or the apostles themselves explained parables or visions they had mentioned.  However, there are many places in Scripture or topics therein that, historically, have not been universally agreed uponGǪtragically these were often topics of utmost importance.  The fathers knew this, and it is for this reason that Chrysostom writes that, “it is manifest that they [the apostles] did not deliver all things by Epistle, but many things unwritten, and in like manner both the one and the other are worthy of credit," and again that, “there are many things which have been delivered by unwritten tradition.”  We are comfortable on both sides of the issue; there is no need for us to compile quote after quote to pit one side *against* the otherGǪas was also the case for St. John.  This dilemma and isolation from the Fathers’ voices was brought about by the notion in the first paragraph: that we could understand the Scriptures fully based solely on reading the Scriptures themselves.  Many times we can; when we can’t, we have Holy Tradition.

For us in catholic traditions (PECUSA, RCC, EOC, OOC) this is a simple fact of history.  I hope you’ll take this to heart.
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« Reply #84 on: May 21, 2004, 03:52:58 AM »

cizinec,

Quote
-No, according to Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan, Henry Chadwick, J.N.D. Kelly, and every other respected academician studying the Early Church.  
-What are your credentials?
>>Look, I really don't want to get into a pointless game of Name That Scholar.  Shall I cite Goode or Whitaker or Salmon or Webster and King?  Where will it end?  Let us remember that no mere man is infallible...

As for me, I am not much of anything and have no relevant credentials.  I am merely one who seeks the Truth and defends the worldview that holds the most logical weight.  But then again, I myself am a mere man...

Quote
Don't come into THIS forum and think you can tell us that St. John Chrysostom was a bible thumping Protestant.  His sermons are read in our churches.  

>>OK, I'll save that for the Catholic Answers forum Wink.  No seriously, I have no intention of performing such flagrant eisegesis.  Read more of my reply below:


Pedro,

It would appear that this string is winding down (and in my opinion, it died an ugly death, given how far it got away from its original subject matter Wink).  

My intention in citing the patristic quotes that I cited was to show that, despite the oft-repeated EO claims to the contrary (and, I might add, RC claims to the contrary), there is really very little patristic consensus, and especially on this issue of, for example, the perspicuity (or clarity, or formal sufficiency) of the Holy Scriptures.  You claim that I want to take only one "side" of the patristic positions.  Not at all - I question whether they *have* a side at all.  Sure, some quotes say the one thing, others say the other.  It is incomprehensible how a thinking man could base so much on writings that are so conflicted.

I never stated the Church is "roundly condemned," as you put it.  My point is that we see even in the NT that doctrinal corruption has begun to creep in to the church.  What can we rely upon but the Holy theopneustos Scriptures?  Shall we rely on mere men who, though great saints (as were the believers in Corinth, Galatia, the 7 churches of the first 3 chapters of Revelation [Apocalypse], etc), were still fallible men?  

I deny that the men who were inspired to pen the Scriptures were in error.  Please remember that my point is that a canonical book is canonical by virtue of God having breathed it out, and no other reason.  

Finally, your last quote:

Quote
For us in catholic traditions (PECUSA, RCC, EOC, OOC) this is a simple fact of history.  I hope you’ll take this to heart.

It just makes me shake my head sometimes.  Dare I make three clicks with my mouse and take a little trip over to the Orthodox/Catholic (Communion with Rome) forum where there are arguments galore over very important topics?  Your own quote should reveal that there is no superiority among those who hold to a view of authoritative Tradition encompassing the Scriptures as well as the numerous other writings over the Sola Scriptura-believer.
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« Reply #85 on: May 21, 2004, 11:06:16 AM »

To All Who've Read My Arguing....

Last night, I attended the viewing of a newly-departed member of my parish, then came hope and logged on to this thread.  I immediately realized how much time and effort I'd wasted on something that probably won't yield much fruit to speak of.

My apologies.  My history with Rho is better served in private.
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« Reply #86 on: May 23, 2004, 06:46:28 PM »

>>My point is, of course, that this viewpoint is not Christ's.  "...thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down..." (Mark 7:13).  If what you are saying is correct, Christ would have no problem when any other tradition (except the 2 named specifically in this passage) conflicts with the Scriptures.  

But, it is not self-evident that "your tradition" here is intended to refer to all traditions not explicitly sanctioned by specific, self-evident scriptures.  After all, the Pharisees defended these traditons on the basis of a particular reading of the law of Corban, within the context of a reading of Scripture, in general.  Christ appears to me be criticizing those interpretations as poor interpretations.  But, Christ could not have been ignorant of the fact that they were, still, interpretations (albeit poor ones, to be sure), that claimed a basis in Scripture.

Nor is it obvious why this should be an all-or-nothing proposition.  Why should anyone conclude, from the proposition that Christ here is referring specifically to the two specific traditions mentioned, that "Christ would have no problem when any other tradition . . . conflicts with the Scriptures"?

Once again, you seem to be assuming that the Orthodox Church wants to defend traditions that conflict with Scripture, or at least, to establish as a principle that such traditions might be defensible.  As has been mentioned several times, the Orthodox Church does not believe that any tradition which demonstrably conflicts with Scripture should be upheld.  Nor we believe that any part of Holy Tradition does, in fact, conflict with Scripture.  Now, obviously, there are specific Traditions which you believe do, in fact, conflict, and which we believe do not.  But, that does not mean that we don't really believe what we're saying.  Are you listening?

Quote
I do not understand what you mean by this at all.  Do you mean to tell me that the doctrines of the Holy Trinity and of the Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ are not to be found in the pages of Scripture?  

I obviously believe that the doctrines of the Holy Trinity, of the full theandric nature of Jesus, of His duality of natures "without separation, yet without admixture," of the uncreated nature of the Son, among others, are all based upon correct interpretations of Holy Scripture.  But, they are they are certainly not all the self-evident, undebatable meaning of particular Scriptural passages, which is why we are called on to look to the guidance of the Fathers who met in ecumenical Council, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Or, in short, why we must be guided by the mind of the Church.  I believe Protestants accept the necessity of such guidance, too, and, in practice rely heavily on Tradition in such matters, while (with great inconsistency) rejecting that reliance in principle.

Quote
Paul, in 2 Timothy 3:16, states that "All Scripture is theopneustos..." He held to the Canon of the Jews (the oft-mentioned "Law, Prophets, and Writings," an abbreviation of the Jewish Canon at the time).  Ruth and S of S were in said Canon.  Therefore, they are theopneustos, though they do not explicitly claim it.
This begs the question.  You have yet to prove that Paul held strictly to the Hebrew Canon, and rejected the Deuterocanonical books included in collections of Scripture used by Hellenic Jews of the Diaspora.

Quote
Pedro, 2 Macc specifically states that it is an abridgement of someone else's writings, denying its canonicity.

I realize you addressed this point to Pedro, but:  How does that preclude its canonicity, or its status as being "God-breathed?"  I believe the shortened re-telling of events "which Jason of Cyrene set forth in detail in five volumes" is inspired by God, while Jason's original is not.

There are precedents for this within the Hebrew canon.  I Kings refers several times to extra-canonical sources ("the Book of the Acts of Solomon," "the Book fo the Annals of the Kings of Israel," "the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah").  Apparently, it is well within God's power to take human, non-canonical materials, have human authors re-work them, and inspire that re-working, to the degree, even, that it becomes worthy of canonical status as part of Holy Writ.
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« Reply #87 on: May 24, 2004, 08:12:20 AM »

Greetings from a first-time poster.  I have been interested in Eastern Orthodoxy for just over 2 years now since my friend converted.  Since then we have had many interesting interactions on the subject.

My question for discussion is on an assertion that I read in Bishop Kallistos Ware's _The Orthodox Church._  It is as follows:  The Protestant and Roman Catholic Churches are two sides of the same coin and the Eastern Orthodox Church is categorically different.  And he of course implies that the two Western churches are thus unified in corruption.  I would like to discuss that contention because I, as an Evangelical Protestant, would view it differently.  It therefore seems to me that this assertion is entirely dependent on one's presuppositions and cannot be supported on an objective basis.  

For example, between Prot and RCC, we have the following similarities that are not to be found in EOC:
1. Filioque
2. The oft-cited "legal" viewpoint versus the "mystical" viewpoint
3. Descendancy of thought (in some cases) from Augustine and Aquinas
4. Tendency to prefer the Masoretic OT text over the LXX
5. Latin tendency to "overthink," analyse, and commit to verbal description more rather than accept many things as a mystery

Examples of similarities between RCC and EOC not to be found in Evangelical Protestantism:
1. Erecting a separate class of "canonised" (for lack of a better word) saints
2. Venerating and praying to said saints
3. Praying for the dead
4. Rejecting the position of Sola Scriptura
5. Justification not by faith alone
6. The claim that infallible interpreting authority resides within the Church, and by extension...
7. ...the excoriation of "personal, private" interpretation of the Scriptures
8. The emphasis on Mary
9. Use of icons in worship

I am certain that I am leaving out some things on each list, so feel free to add to either one.  (And of course, it's just like a partisan to have more points on his own side).  

My thesis statement is that Ware's assertion cannot be supported and that EOC and RCC show so many similarities that Prot-ism does not share as to make the assertion not worth making.  

SO what is the point in all this.

From the Catholic and protestant perspective Orthodoxy appears closer to Catholicism.

However from the Orthodox perspective Protestantism and ROman Catholicism appear closer --- since Proetstantism grew awayfrom the Catholic Church this is undertsnadable.

But what does all this have to do with anything? How does this relate to faith? And what is your point regarding Sola Scirptura?

Where in the Bible does it give justification for Sola Scriptura? Where specificly in the NT does it tell what books are to be included in the OT? WHat does Peter say about Paul's letters?

I can understand that from a proetstant and sola scriptura perspective Orthodoxy and Catholicism seem close due to the presence of Apostolic tradition and succession of which protestantism and sola scriptura have none. I also think your take on Orthodoxy is a bit wrong. Orthodox are allowed to have their own interpretations....but we are careful to always state such interpreattions are own opinion. One does not find such caution among some evangeleicals though who claim to speak for God -- essentially speaking as if they are prophets.

Such a question and thesis too seems to come from someone who has never experienced an Orthodox Liturgy or Roman Mass.  

Attend an Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Then attend a ROman Mass followed by a Lutheran service...perhaps then you might understand how Orthodox view all this. One can not separate Orthodoxy from the Divine Liturgy. Orthodoxy is not just "theology" it is worship and service to God and our fellow man. To begin to understand Orthodoxy one must first attend a Divine Liturgy. This might be hard for SOla Scripturas to understand....but you can'y get it just from a book -- not even the Bible.
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« Reply #88 on: May 24, 2004, 10:15:05 AM »

Such a question and thesis too seems to come from someone who has never experienced an Orthodox Liturgy or Roman Mass.  

Attend an Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Then attend a ROman Mass followed by a Lutheran service...perhaps then you might understand how Orthodox view all this.

He's attended several of both.  He just wanted to debate the point, thereby absolving Protestantism of its stigma in the eyes of the Orthodox.
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« Reply #89 on: April 04, 2013, 11:11:17 PM »

the EvProt disagrees because he sees the doctrine of Sola Scriptura laid out clearly in the Scriptures,

That's wack.
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« Reply #90 on: April 05, 2013, 01:43:09 AM »

Epic necro
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« Reply #91 on: April 05, 2013, 02:07:46 PM »

It's probably more of a three-sided coin.
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« Reply #92 on: April 06, 2013, 02:39:19 PM »

the EvProt disagrees because he sees the doctrine of Sola Scriptura laid out clearly in the Scriptures,

That's wack.
question for you since I'm not allowed to comment on the other thread where you insulted my comment on the jews going to hell, using the bible can you show me how jews who don't believe in Christ can make it to heaven?  The vatican 2 sect teaches they can be saved, the traditional catholic church teaches they can not, what is the official teaching of the orthodox on this issue?
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« Reply #93 on: April 06, 2013, 05:18:47 PM »

To me, the biggest similarity between ROman Catholicism and Protestantism is that, for the most part, they both share the same western (some would say "Augustinian") predisposition of legalism which, in turn, acts as the foundation of their theology. As a result, both share the same legalistic tendencies of overemphasizing the judicial-guilt element to sin and the image of God as a judge. Hence why they both view Original Sin as an inheritence of guilt, and view Salvation as merely being an acquittal verdict from guilt, and view the Crucifixion as being an act of scapegoating. This is why the concept of "Grace" as in God acquitting us due to no actions of our own but out of the kindness of His heart is so important to them. Thus, the ROman Catholics believe that we accept God's acquittal through the Sacraments and life of the Church. Protestantism is merely this legalistic viewpoint of Grace taken to the next step. Basically, it's just the reduction of the Sacraments and Church, in lieu of mere "faith alone"--which, they usually define as belief in God. Protestantism is just westernism taken to the next level. Going even further, Calvinism is Protestantism taken to the next step. It then says that not only is "faith alone" able to "save you", but that there is NOTHING we can do to "save" ourselves and thus God had it predetermined since the beginning of time. See the similarity? These three viewpoints all stem from the same western "Augustinian" predisposition. Protestantism is merely just Augistinianism taken to the next step, and Calvinism is Augistinianism taken to its fullest extreme.
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« Reply #94 on: April 06, 2013, 05:19:16 PM »

Why would the Orthodox Church have any official teaching on who can or can't go to heaven? That's up to God...or was the right-hand thief a self-proclaimed traditional catholic, too?
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« Reply #95 on: April 06, 2013, 05:46:35 PM »

I'm probably going to tick off a lot of people by saying this, but am I the only one who thinks that Protestantism is actually more similar to Islam than it is to Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy? The reason being that both Protestantism and Islam are very "plain" and "straightforward" for lack of better terms in their function, both are highly iconoclastic, both share a similar involvement in temperance from alcohol, both deny anything Sacramental--especially in regards to marriage, both believe in the supremacy of one book, and both share a distaste for the concept of monasticism/nunhood.
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« Reply #96 on: April 06, 2013, 05:51:40 PM »

I wouldn't compare real Protestantism (Lutheranism, Anglicanism, traditional Calvinism etc.) to Islam.
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« Reply #97 on: April 06, 2013, 05:55:26 PM »

I wouldn't compare real Protestantism (Lutheranism, Anglicanism, traditional Calvinism etc.) to Islam.

Well how about American low-Church Evangelical Protestantism? You know, the kind who sing that "Old Buddah" song that Orthonorm mentioned.
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« Reply #98 on: April 06, 2013, 05:59:45 PM »

Islam has always struck me as far more liturgical and having a much greater reverence for God than your usual Evangelical Protestant.
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« Reply #99 on: April 07, 2013, 06:26:50 AM »

I wouldn't compare real Protestantism (Lutheranism, Anglicanism, traditional Calvinism etc.) to Islam.

Well how about American low-Church Evangelical Protestantism? You know, the kind who sing that "Old Buddah" song that Orthonorm mentioned.

They're seriously deranged. But even then, Islam has works-bases salvation. Evangelicalism, not so much.
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« Reply #100 on: April 07, 2013, 07:46:49 AM »

Why would the Orthodox Church have any official teaching on who can or can't go to heaven? That's up to God...or was the right-hand thief a self-proclaimed traditional catholic, too?
so are you saying the orthodox church doesn't have any teaching on what it takes to be saved?
as for the good thief:
 the Good Thief died under the Old Law, not the New Law; he died before the Law of Baptism was instituted by Jesus Christ after the Resurrection.  For that reason, the Good Thief, like the Holy Innocents, constitutes no argument against the necessity of receiving the Sacrament of Baptism for salvation.
http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/the_catholic_church_salvation_faith_and_baptism.php#goodthief
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« Reply #101 on: April 07, 2013, 07:50:19 AM »

There are a lot things we can say about what it takes to be saved. That might be the most common question addressed in the sayings of the Desert Fathers. It's also a different question than who can be saved.
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« Reply #102 on: April 07, 2013, 09:35:57 AM »

There are a lot things we can say about what it takes to be saved. That might be the most common question addressed in the sayings of the Desert Fathers. It's also a different question than who can be saved.
the question is not so different, do you believe you must believe in Christ to be saved for starters, is that one of the things it takes to be saved ? if you say yes then how can non believers be saved?
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« Reply #103 on: April 07, 2013, 01:43:01 PM »

the question is not so different

Yes, they are. One deals with what a person must do to be saved, and another deals with the theoretical possibility that someone outside of the Church may be saved. The first we can know, the second we cannot. We do not have official proclamations about the efficacy of anything outside of our Church, whether we're talking about heterodox or non-Christians.

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do you believe you must believe in Christ to be saved for starters, is that one of the things it takes to be saved ?

My personal belief? Yes, of course. Christ is the Savior of the whole world. There is no other name by which we may be saved.

Quote
if you say yes then how can non believers be saved?

I do not know. I don't mean that as a cop out, but I recognize that I do not understand God's ways, which are not my ways. I think it is probably most fair to say that anyone who gets into heaven, no matter who they are, is there despite themselves. For if you O Lord should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
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« Reply #104 on: April 07, 2013, 06:20:21 PM »

For that reason, the Good Thief, like the Holy Innocents, constitutes no argument against the necessity of receiving the Sacrament of Baptism for salvation.

Reread the Letter to Romans.
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« Reply #105 on: April 07, 2013, 07:41:33 PM »

the question is not so different

Yes, they are. One deals with what a person must do to be saved, and another deals with the theoretical possibility that someone outside of the Church may be saved. The first we can know, the second we cannot. We do not have official proclamations about the efficacy of anything outside of our Church, whether we're talking about heterodox or non-Christians.

Quote
do you believe you must believe in Christ to be saved for starters, is that one of the things it takes to be saved ?

My personal belief? Yes, of course. Christ is the Savior of the whole world. There is no other name by which we may be saved.

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if you say yes then how can non believers be saved?

I do not know. I don't mean that as a cop out, but I recognize that I do not understand God's ways, which are not my ways. I think it is probably most fair to say that anyone who gets into heaven, no matter who they are, is there despite themselves. For if you O Lord should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
God has already revealed His judgement to us
In 140 A.D., the early Church Father Hermas quotes Jesus in John 3:5, and writes: 
 
“They had need to come up through the water, so that they might be made alive;
for they could not otherwise enter into the kingdom of God.”119
 
     This statement is obviously a paraphrase of John 3:5, and thus it demonstrates that
from the very beginning of the apostolic age it was held and taught by the fathers that
no one enters heaven without being born again of water and the Spirit based specifically on
Our Lord Jesus Christ’s declaration in John 3:5.
 
In 155 A.D., St. Justin the Martyr writes:
 
“... they are led by us to a place where there is water; and there they are reborn
in the same kind of rebirth in which we ourselves were reborn... in the name of
God... they receive the washing of water.  For Christ said, ‘Unless you be reborn,
you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’  The reason for doing this we
have learned from the apostles.”120
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sedevacantist
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« Reply #106 on: April 07, 2013, 07:42:08 PM »

For that reason, the Good Thief, like the Holy Innocents, constitutes no argument against the necessity of receiving the Sacrament of Baptism for salvation.

Reread the Letter to Romans.
can you be more specific
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mike
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« Reply #107 on: April 07, 2013, 07:50:56 PM »

For that reason, the Good Thief, like the Holy Innocents, constitutes no argument against the necessity of receiving the Sacrament of Baptism for salvation.

Reread the Letter to Romans.
can you be more specific

2, 14-15
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sedevacantist
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« Reply #108 on: April 07, 2013, 08:48:05 PM »

For that reason, the Good Thief, like the Holy Innocents, constitutes no argument against the necessity of receiving the Sacrament of Baptism for salvation.

Reread the Letter to Romans.
can you be more specific

2, 14-15
For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature those things that are of the law; these having not the law are a law to themselves:

15  Who shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness to them, and their thoughts between themselves accusing, or also defending one another,

Romans 2:14-16 is reiterating the truth that the natural law is written on the heart of all men, so that all men know that certain things are against God’s law and that certain things are in accordance with the natural law of charity, etc.

 

As the Haydock Bible and Commentary correctly explains about this verse,

 

“these men are a law to themselves, and have it written in their hearts, as to the existence of a God, and their reason tells them, that many sins are unlawful: they may also do some actions that are morally good, as by giving alms to relieve the poor, honoring their parents, etc. not that these actions, morally good, will suffice for their justification of themselves, or make them deserve a supernatural reward in the kingdom of heaven; but God, out of His infinite mercy, will give them some supernatural graces” which if they continue to cooperate with they will get more graces and eventually be exposed to the Catholic Faith, which they must have to be saved.
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Kra-nion
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« Reply #109 on: May 15, 2013, 02:14:24 AM »

#..non-apos. ,not .......rev.2;2
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genesisone
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« Reply #110 on: May 15, 2013, 11:31:21 AM »

#..non-apos. ,not .......rev.2;2
Please translate into standard English.
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