So when you look at the complete picture from the beginning of creation, up to now - it makes sense that God has been cultivating a seed that was planted ever since he created us. Anyone who reads the bible though can see that the shift from Old to New Testament has it's major differences though.
It does make sense, especially in the Old v New Testament context, but it also seems to require minimizing Christ's presence and message as full and true. I think it's somewhat strange (and somewhat arrogant of the RCC) to assume that the current RCC has a better understanding of the faith than say, St. Ignatius of Antioch or St. Polycarp of Smyrna. After all, they were only disciples of St. John the Theologian, what would they know?
Again, I personally believe that this claim to be refining and better cultivating the "seed of faith" is an attempt to justify a faith that has taken significant steps away from the initial Apostolic Christianity.
The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church (primarily before Rome split off), on the other hand, limited most of their definitions of faith/doctrine to further clarifying points. The Trinity is a perfect example of this, as it was not a term that was used amongst the earliest of Christians, but it is not an understanding that would have proved contradictory.
The other thing I been thinking about for quite awhile now actually, is the Novus Ordo and the changes of Vatican II Council. Right now there seems to be a division of traditionalist Catholics growing and turning against the Novus Ordo Liberal Catholics. The Novus Ordo is clearly a heresy, so why do the Traditionalist Catholics still hold to the view of Papal Infallibility?
Stubbornness? I strongly believe that VC-I put the RCC in an extraordinarily difficult position on matters such as these.
In regards to infallibility though, do the Orthodox apply this doctrine in any way? For instance, the writers of the scripture were protected by infallible in their writings; same goes for Ecumenical Councils. So why couldn't this apply to the "Vicar" of Christ?
My understanding of the Orthodox position isn't that infallibility couldn't
apply to a "Vicar" of Christ, but rather that it didn't
Of course, this is a massive debate in itself, but for me, the fact that all of these various presbyters and bishops throughout the world were formulating theology, leading and participating in councils from the beginning of Christianity invalidates the claim that this current understanding of the RCC view is an ancient one. Had that been the case from the beginning, wouldn't they have just asked Il Pope and waited patiently for his infallible proclamations on matters of faith.
I suppose this was another imperfection of Christ's Church that had to be improved upon by the RCC.
...I'm cautious of myself because my own ignorance and understanding is deceiving (Lord help me). When I was a Muslim and Protestant, I thought I "knew" the truth but I was wrong. so I know that just because I see something a certain way, doesn't mean i'm grievously in error. Which is why i'm seeking to be held accountable by the authority of the Church, because the Holy Spirit works through His church and clergy.
Perfectly understandable, and what I realized needed to be done as well.
I was reading the book "Jesus of Nazareth" by Pope Benedict XVI yesterday; I was surprised at his level of scholarship and insight. I thought to myself that if Christians had a leader, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to teach them, guide them, and help to protect them from error and sin, it would be an amazingly wonderful gift. Do the Orthodox have anyone they can turn to like this? Besides their local priest, who do the Orthodox turn to for higher guidance, learning, and theology?
I'm a bit puzzled by this. Just because we Orthodox don't have a supreme, uber, magesterium of awesomeness, doesn't mean that we don't have extraordinarily talented, insightful people who write books or provide guidance. Yes, Orthodox turn to their local priests for much guidance and explanation, but there are countless numbers of authors, theologians, elders, etc. who we turn to and who we believe are very clearly guided by the Holy Spirit.
In terms of theology, I do think Orthodox tend to look further back, i.e. read early Patristic writings, to explain the faith, but there are current people who have done a wonderful job of further explaining or contextualizing those writings for us.
I don't deny that the papacy has been remarkable in leading and unifying the RCC, but that doesn't mean I believe it's the correct model to follow or that they've done so as part of the true Church. Hyper-Centralized organization certainly has its benefits, but when it is not natural to the God created institution, I don't support it.
I know that Satan has a tremendous insight into scripture, history, and the workings of the universe - so scholarship and knowledge alone don't sway me. I frequently ask the Holy Spirit himself to teach me, and he has, but I know he is trying to teach me to submit myself to Church authority to receive what i'm looking for right now. Protestantism has damaged me severely, so I need to relearn and humble myself greatly to regenerate.
Again, I hope you are able to receive what you are looking for.