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Author Topic: What is Sola Scriptura?  (Read 12715 times) Average Rating: 0
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pasadi97
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« on: May 09, 2011, 09:42:55 AM »

Sola Scriptura means only Bible. It means take 1 billion historical documents about Christianity and Early Church, take Bible from them and throw everything out of window. Then if something is not in the Bible use your imagination. Because imagination vary, there are 30000 Protestant denominations.

Allow me please to use, Sola Herodotus in telling how Columbus discovered America.

Columbus took 7 Portavions with 300 turbojets and they come to America. Then they spotted an Amerindian Passenger plane and understood that they are close to a new land. Why are you laughing? This is protestantism and you can not combate me because how Columbus discovered New Land is not in Herodotus, the only document I recognize. everything else I already throw out of the window.
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2011, 09:48:12 AM »

The problem is that beside sound teachings, protestantism may have lost food for eternal life John 6:53 . All Churches before 1500 had it and if you think that until Protestantism invention , that happen 1500+ years from the time of Jesus,  all Churches were wrong , think again:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,35988.0.html
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 09:54:06 AM by pasadi97 » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2011, 10:13:10 AM »

I'm sure Ebor and Keble tire of this, so let me give it a shot...

Because imagination vary, there are 30000 Protestant denominations.

Says who? Source? Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2011, 10:24:14 AM »

Ok, over 30 000 Protestant denominations.
 According to World Christian Encyclopedia, there are "over 33,000 denominations in 238 countries," having increased in number from 8,196 in 1970. Every year there is a net increase of around 270 to 300 denominations.[12]

The new message is this:
"Sola Scriptura means only Bible. It means take 1 billion historical documents about Christianity and Early Church, take Bible from them and throws everything out of window. Then if something is not in the Bible use your imagination. Because imagination vary, there are OVER 30000 Protestant denominations.

Allow me please to use, Sola Herodotus in telling how Columbus discovered America.

Columbus took 7 Portavions with 300 turbojets and they come to America. Then they spotted an Amerindian Passenger plane and understood that they are close to a new land. Why are you laughing? This is protestantism and you can not combate me because how Columbus discovered New Land is not in Herodotus, the only document I recognize. everything else I already throw out of the window."

Because Protestantism has not food for eternal life and Eastern Orthodox Christianity has, the process of conversion from Orthodoxy to Protestantism might be named killing of souls.  This may amount to a great sin. Anyhow if there are people that did this, undoing it would be greatly appreciated like by spreading this: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,35988.0.html I hope you understand the consequence of Eve eating from death tree and the consequence of learning people don't listen to John 6:53 Johny, or Martin or Luther or Calvin said words or nothing or symbols is enough.

The way Jesus established would be to become Orthodox Christian and go to confession.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 10:38:49 AM by pasadi97 » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2011, 10:35:45 AM »

Your definition of "Sola Scriptura" will vary depending on who you ask. Not defending it, just syaing it means something different, for example, to a Lutheran than it does to a Pentecostal.
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2011, 11:28:03 AM »

Hi Melodist. Can you develop on your idea?

another problem with protestantiwsm is that their Churches are started by Luther, Calvin aka men that are not able to give eternal life , however eastern orthodox Christianity is started by Jesus. All theb Churches people read in Bible are today Eastern Orthodox Christian.

Ok, over 30 000 Protestant denominations.
 According to World Christian Encyclopedia, there are "over 33,000 denominations in 238 countries," having increased in number from 8,196 in 1970. Every year there is a net increase of around 270 to 300 denominations.[12]

The new message is this:
"Sola Scriptura means only Bible. It means take 1 billion historical documents about Christianity and Early Church, take Bible from them and throws everything out of window. Then if something is not in the Bible use your imagination. Because imagination vary, there are OVER 30000 Protestant denominations.

Allow me please to use, Sola Herodotus in telling how Columbus discovered America.

Columbus took 7 Portavions with 300 turbojets and they come to America. Then they spotted an Amerindian Passenger plane and understood that they are close to a new land. Why are you laughing? This is protestantism and you can not combate me because how Columbus discovered New Land is not in Herodotus, the only document I recognize. everything else I already throw out of the window."

Because Protestantism has not food for eternal life and Eastern Orthodox Christianity has, the process of conversion from Orthodoxy to Protestantism maybe might be named killing of souls.  This may amount to a great sin. Anyhow if there are people that did this, undoing it would be greatly appreciated like by spreading this: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,35988.0.html I hope you understand the consequence of Eve eating from death tree and the consequence of learning people don't listen to John 6:53 Johny, or Martin or Luther or Calvin said words or nothing or symbols is enough.

The way Jesus established would be to become Orthodox Christian and go to confession.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 11:28:59 AM by pasadi97 » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2011, 11:29:45 AM »

If you are Orthodox, it means how anyone else who reads the Bible who disagrees with you or your favorite Church Father.
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2011, 11:35:56 AM »

Bible is inspired by God so God know best what is in the Bible. So a man, true to this conviction asked God for how the Bible should be interpreted and God sent apostle paul, hundreds years after his death to help and based on this interpretation based on revelation, Orthodox Church interprets the Bible.
Man name= St John Chrysostom and if you read his omilies or the homilies of St Theophylact based on St John Chrysostom interpretation you can see Orthodox interpretation.
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2011, 11:38:31 AM »

If you are Orthodox, it means how anyone else who reads the Bible who disagrees with you or your favorite Church Father.
If you are Protestant, it means that homosexuality is wrong but eating shellfish is oh-so-good.
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2011, 11:48:33 AM »

Hi Melodist. Can you develop on your idea?

What I am saying is that some Protestants read the fathers and regard them very highly, but view scripture as having more authority than men. Luther and Calvin both used some of St Augustine's writings to support some of their views. Also some protestants will quote St John Chrysostom's exortation to read scripture as a defense of Sola Scriptura.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are Protestants who do not believe in using creeds or reading fathers at all, regrdless of what they might have to say. Scripture becomes the only thing that can have any value.

There is also the Protestant debate on whether or not to acceot or reject things that they don't see explicitly spelled out in scripture. "It's not there so we don't do it" vs. "It doesn't tell us not to so it's ok."

Like I said, I'm not supporting Sola Scriptura, only saying that different Protestant denominations understand the doctrine itself differently.

Quote
another problem with protestantiwsm is that their Churches are started by Luther, Calvin aka men that are not able to give eternal life , however eastern orthodox Christianity is started by Jesus.

I agree 100%.

Quote
All theb Churches people read in Bible are today Eastern Orthodox Christian.

Except for Rome.
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2011, 12:06:47 PM »

Melodist is right about the different theories of sola scriptura. The one thread they have in common is that the hold that church teachings (and by extension any theological statement) can and must be tested against scripture; also in almost all cases they hold that what cannot be proven from scripture cannot be held as doctrine.

Since I'm feeling pedantic I'll have to insist that no church which appears in scripture is Eastern Orthodox. It's a simple case of anachronism: one cannot really hold the churches to adherence to the Nicene Creed until it had in fact been formulated.
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« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2011, 12:09:06 PM »

While I'm at it: we've been over the Barrett numbers before, and the short form is that 33,000 does not represent the number of Protestant sects. It includes all the Orthodox churches as well, and Barrett's counting method appears to severely inflate the total.
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« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2011, 12:31:33 PM »

All the Churches you read about in Bible, Except Church of Rome have a history, and by reading that history we find them in Eastern orthodox Church today.

Church tradition is not thin air, is the 1 billion historical valid documents that protestantism chooses to throw to the window.

See, some Protestantism groups saw that Sola scriptura is not good and they don't respect it either by giving credit to St John Chrysostom and creeds.

anyhow, sola Scriptura say we test everything by Bible. Ok test Protestantism by the Bible.Show me whnere Martin Luther and Reformation is in the Bible? It is not so Protestantism is invalid through the rules it supports. The sad part is that they renounced to food for eternal life, end they are not even aware of this.

Sola Scriptura means only Bible. It means take 1 billion historical documents about Christianity and Early Church, take Bible from them and throw everything out of window. Then if something is not in the Bible use your imagination. Because imagination vary, there are 30000 Protestant denominations.

Allow me please to use, Sola Herodotus in telling how Columbus discovered America.

Columbus took 7 Portavions with 300 turbojets and they come to America. Then they spotted an Amerindian Passenger plane and understood that they are close to a new land. Why are you laughing? This is protestantism and you can not combate me because how Columbus discovered New Land is not in Herodotus, the only document I recognize. everything else I already throw out of the window.
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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2011, 01:24:03 PM »

Since I'm feeling pedantic I'll have to insist that no church which appears in scripture is Eastern Orthodox.

If you follow all the church communities mentioned in the NT through history, you will find that those communities that have survived through history, with the exception of Rome, are in fact Orthodox.
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« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2011, 01:50:15 PM »

Since I'm feeling pedantic I'll have to insist that no church which appears in scripture is Eastern Orthodox.

If you follow all the church communities mentioned in the NT through history, you will find that those communities that have survived through history, with the exception of Rome, are in fact Orthodox.
Except the ACotE. But I don't know if they really fall under "survived".
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« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2011, 02:07:44 PM »

Except the ACotE. But I don't know if they really fall under "survived".

Who, in the NT, is the ACE the continuation of? Just curious.
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« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2011, 02:50:12 PM »


Sola Scriptura declares that in 2000 years, no one has had anything of value to say about the bible or Christian life until I picked up the bible. Simple hogwash.

This is actually something of a resentment for me. Raised on Sola Scriptura I feel I have been denied many very useful teachings for almost 50 years.  There are many of those teachings that would have made my life a much better place to live that it was without them.
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« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2011, 02:55:03 PM »

Except the ACotE. But I don't know if they really fall under "survived".

Who, in the NT, is the ACE the continuation of? Just curious.
I assume the Aramean Jews, evangelized by St. Paul and St. Thomas. I thought you meant "NT Church" not things explicitly mentioned in the NT.
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« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2011, 03:00:26 PM »

Except the ACotE. But I don't know if they really fall under "survived".

Who, in the NT, is the ACE the continuation of? Just curious.
I assume the Aramean Jews, evangelized by St. Paul and St. Thomas. I thought you meant "NT Church" not things explicitly mentioned in the NT.

I was looking more at specific communities metioned, other wise I would have mentioned the Ethipoian eunuch. How many of those Jews would have continued in our Jerusalem and Antiochian patriarchates?
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« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2011, 04:13:30 PM »

Sola Scriptura declares that in 2000 years, no one has had anything of value to say about the bible or Christian life until I picked up the bible.

Well, not really. Nobody does theology that way, even if they think they do. And most churches which profess some adherence to sola scriptura do acknowledge some sort of theological tradition. But they all say that this tradition can be tested against scripture.
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« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2011, 04:17:29 PM »

Since I'm feeling pedantic I'll have to insist that no church which appears in scripture is Eastern Orthodox.

If you follow all the church communities mentioned in the NT through history, you will find that those communities that have survived through history, with the exception of Rome, are in fact Orthodox.

No, I don't acknowledge that. There isn't any Orthodoxy, capital O, until Nicea. Churches before that may not have, probably didn't teach anything contrary to Nicea, but they didn't teach what they council taught either. Orthodoxy as that particular category was not meaningful until Orthodox doctrine was set forth as such.
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« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2011, 04:20:52 PM »

No, I don't acknowledge that. There isn't any Orthodoxy, capital O, until Nicea. Churches before that may not have, probably didn't teach anything contrary to Nicea, but they didn't teach what they council taught either. Orthodoxy as that particular category was not meaningful until Orthodox doctrine was set forth as such.

I suppose you wouldn't be worthy of the title "Arch-Protestant" if you didn't think this...  Undecided
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« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2011, 06:09:59 PM »

I'm sure Ebor and Keble tire of this, so let me give it a shot...

Because imagination vary, there are 30000 Protestant denominations.

Says who? Source? Smiley

I've never understood why people get upset with this number. Even 1000 is too many, and no matter how you spin the definition of the word denomination, there aren't that many Catholic or Orthodox Churches.

I consider Anglicans a bit of a special case, anyway.
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« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2011, 06:12:41 PM »

Sola Scriptura declares that in 2000 years, no one has had anything of value to say about the bible or Christian life until I picked up the bible.

Well, not really. Nobody does theology that way, even if they think they do. And most churches which profess some adherence to sola scriptura do acknowledge some sort of theological tradition. But they all say that this tradition can be tested against scripture.

Keble, surely what matters is what they are actually doing, not what they say they are doing?
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« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2011, 06:13:46 PM »

Since I'm feeling pedantic I'll have to insist that no church which appears in scripture is Eastern Orthodox.

If you follow all the church communities mentioned in the NT through history, you will find that those communities that have survived through history, with the exception of Rome, are in fact Orthodox.

No, I don't acknowledge that. There isn't any Orthodoxy, capital O, until Nicea. Churches before that may not have, probably didn't teach anything contrary to Nicea, but they didn't teach what they council taught either. Orthodoxy as that particular category was not meaningful until Orthodox doctrine was set forth as such.

If "Orthodox" doesn't work for you, how about One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic?
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« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2011, 06:25:22 PM »

I've never understood why people get upset with this number. Even 1000 is too many, and no matter how you spin the definition of the word denomination, there aren't that many Catholic or Orthodox Churches.

I consider Anglicans a bit of a special case, anyway.

Not that it's a huge deal to me, but the main thing about this is that many of these high numbers also count Orthodox Churches as seperate Churches (or, actually, separate denominations), which obviously the Orthodox wouldn't agree with. And it makes me wonder how accurate the number is, what criteria they are using to determine who counts as a separate demonination, etc. I agree with you that any divisions are bad, but I think we can just say that without throwing out these big, round numbers that sound like they support our argument, but which may not be really that accurate.
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« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2011, 07:39:09 PM »

I've never understood why people get upset with this number. Even 1000 is too many, and no matter how you spin the definition of the word denomination, there aren't that many Catholic or Orthodox Churches.

I consider Anglicans a bit of a special case, anyway.

Not that it's a huge deal to me, but the main thing about this is that many of these high numbers also count Orthodox Churches as seperate Churches (or, actually, separate denominations), which obviously the Orthodox wouldn't agree with. And it makes me wonder how accurate the number is, what criteria they are using to determine who counts as a separate demonination, etc. I agree with you that any divisions are bad, but I think we can just say that without throwing out these big, round numbers that sound like they support our argument, but which may not be really that accurate.
I've bolded the part that I want to specifically address. In general, I agree with what you've said. Unfortunately we Orthodox are at times a bit smug about our unity that is visible only to us. Even as we look at those who post regularly here on OCdotnet we see that we are divided by administrative issues that keep us from sharing communion.

But overall, that's one of the things I appreciate about this forum. We do see that we are united in our Orthodox faith, even where administrative and "denominational" issues separate us. Please note I'm using the word "denominational" as having to do with the names which we place on our church signs. Interestingly, I sometimes find myself having more in common with those who self-identify as "Old Calendar" and as OO than some who self-identify as EO. I think it shows that there is diversity in Orthodoxy within our unity.

It's also true that many of those numerous Protestant groups are not as divided - as they perceive themselves - as some who post here would have us believe.
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« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2011, 08:22:01 PM »

Why do people care about Protestantism, Islam, Hinduism, Budhism when these religions do not care about people, leaving people without food for eternal life.
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« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2011, 08:55:19 PM »

Or long screeds about it.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2011, 09:00:41 PM »

Since I'm feeling pedantic I'll have to insist that no church which appears in scripture is Eastern Orthodox.

If you follow all the church communities mentioned in the NT through history, you will find that those communities that have survived through history, with the exception of Rome, are in fact Orthodox.

No, I don't acknowledge that. There isn't any Orthodoxy, capital O, until Nicea. Churches before that may not have, probably didn't teach anything contrary to Nicea, but they didn't teach what they council taught either. Orthodoxy as that particular category was not meaningful until Orthodox doctrine was set forth as such.

By your definition, the NT Church died with the last apostle. When the church in Antioch accepted the first council, it didn't cease to be the community that it had previously been as established by the apostles, or when it accepted the second, or the third, or the seventh, or the council concerning Palamism, or the Jerusalem council called in defense of Protestant influence on the Church. Whether you acknowledge it or not, Doesn't change the fact that the community founded by Ss Peter and Paul in Antioch still survives under the current leadership of His Holiness Ignatius IV, as one example.
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« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2011, 09:54:15 PM »


one cannot really hold the churches to adherence to the Nicene Creed until it had in fact been formulated.




....Churches before [Nicea] may not have, probably didn't teach anything contrary to Nicea, but they didn't teach what they council taught either.


Keble, you keep saying "churches" -- but there was only one church.  The Church, not "the churches."  A small point, but an important distinction, I think. 
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« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2011, 11:44:20 PM »

I am not writting this against you, but for you so you can partake eternal life and become immortal.
 
The problem is that beside sound teachings, protestantism may have lost food for eternal life John 6:53 . All Churches before 1500 had it and if you think that until Protestantism invention , that happen 1500+ years from the time of Jesus,  all Churches were wrong , think again:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,35988.0.html
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« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2011, 01:05:39 AM »

Ok, over 30 000 Protestant denominations.
 According to World Christian Encyclopedia, there are "over 33,000 denominations in 238 countries," having increased in number from 8,196 in 1970. Every year there is a net increase of around 270 to 300 denominations.[12]
Just as you were asked on another board to provide links to all the material you appear to have copied from other online sources, so I'm adding this to the list of texts for which you must provide links. You have until the end of the time allotted you for the other links required of you.
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« Reply #33 on: May 10, 2011, 03:08:41 AM »

Sola Scriptura means only Bible. It means take 1 billion historical documents about Christianity and Early Church, take Bible from them and throw everything out of window. Then if something is not in the Bible use your imagination.


It's not really that simple. In a way it is, but in another way it isn't. It may differ depending on what protestant family you are talking about.

To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said. And so you will get a combination of using the Church Fathers and church councils in some areas, but not in other areas. Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura.


To the Reformed and Calvinists it's interpreting the Bible according to what Zwingli, John Calvin, John Calvin's systematic theology, and the systematic theologies of all those who followed in his footsteps had to say. And so they will use other authorities as long as they agree with their interpretations of Scripture, if they don't then they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura.


Some of the other protestant groups are more fractured and consistent when it comes to the logical conclusions and implications of Sola Scriptura. For them, it comes closer to however the individual interprets the text and the individual will use any other authority like the church fathers or creeds that agrees with their personal interpretation of the text. However, if the church fathers and creeds disagree with them then they will argue with the fathers and councils and scream Sola Scriptura!

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« Reply #34 on: May 10, 2011, 09:56:30 AM »

By your definition, the NT Church died with the last apostle. When the church in Antioch accepted the first council, it didn't cease to be the community that it had previously been as established by the apostles, or when it accepted the second, or the third, or the seventh, or the council concerning Palamism, or the Jerusalem council called in defense of Protestant influence on the Church. Whether you acknowledge it or not, Doesn't change the fact that the community founded by Ss Peter and Paul in Antioch still survives under the current leadership of His Holiness Ignatius IV, as one example.

That doesn't address what I said. Organizational continuity is its own issue, as I'll get to in a minute, but I wasn't addressing that. Rather, I was looking at doctrinal continuity. And the reality is that it doesn't go all the way back. Ideally we want to meet two standards: that we positively teach what was taught in apostolic times, and that what we teach isn't inconsistent with what was taught in those days. These comprise, in part if not in toto, the standard of sola scriptura. Nearly all of Protestantism--and indeed, the deviants such as the JWs are oft excluded because of their heresy on this point--holds that the Nicene Creed can be defended from scripture, though it isn't stated outright. But there came a point at which it had to be formulated, and if you back up into NT times it hadn't been formulated, and indeed the issue had not yet been presented. That doesn't mean that the church(es) at that time believed something at odds with the Creed, but that the Creed had not become a defining characteristic. That is what I meant by saying that it was not (yet) Orthodox.

There has been a great deal of theological and practical elaboration since AD 70. Protestantism arises out of the realization/theory/heresy (take your pick) that late medieval Catholic practice (and the theology behind it) had evolved so as to pick up a number of abuses. OK, well, where to start in criticizing them? Well, at the very least one could say that scripture, not having evolved, could serve as a touchstone. That principle is what lies behind all the various versions of sola scriptura. After that there is a great deal of disagreement, partly over exactly how it is to be applied as a test, but also because of the various Protestant interpretive traditions. The Eastern churches really don't figure in this except to the degree to which they reflect medieval western practice and theology-- which they do to a very great degree.
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« Reply #35 on: May 10, 2011, 10:07:21 AM »

I've never understood why people get upset with this number. Even 1000 is too many, and no matter how you spin the definition of the word denomination, there aren't that many Catholic or Orthodox Churches.

I consider Anglicans a bit of a special case, anyway.

Not that it's a huge deal to me, but the main thing about this is that many of these high numbers also count Orthodox Churches as seperate Churches (or, actually, separate denominations), which obviously the Orthodox wouldn't agree with. And it makes me wonder how accurate the number is, what criteria they are using to determine who counts as a separate demonination, etc. I agree with you that any divisions are bad, but I think we can just say that without throwing out these big, round numbers that sound like they support our argument, but which may not be really that accurate.

The number is still high, even if you took the incorrect measure of including Orthodox out of that equation.
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« Reply #36 on: May 10, 2011, 11:37:28 AM »

Since I'm feeling pedantic I'll have to insist that no church which appears in scripture is Eastern Orthodox.

Hear hear. The churches mentioned in the bible are all Catholic.
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« Reply #37 on: May 10, 2011, 11:39:52 AM »

I'm sure Ebor and Keble tire of this, so let me give it a shot...

Because imagination vary, there are 30000 Protestant denominations.

Says who? Source? Smiley

A more meanful statistic is that there are more than 30,000 non-Catholic denominations. I trust this will convince everyone of the need for the papacy for unity.
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« Reply #38 on: May 10, 2011, 02:43:01 PM »

By your definition, the NT Church died with the last apostle. When the church in Antioch accepted the first council, it didn't cease to be the community that it had previously been as established by the apostles, or when it accepted the second, or the third, or the seventh, or the council concerning Palamism, or the Jerusalem council called in defense of Protestant influence on the Church. Whether you acknowledge it or not, Doesn't change the fact that the community founded by Ss Peter and Paul in Antioch still survives under the current leadership of His Holiness Ignatius IV, as one example.

That doesn't address what I said. Organizational continuity is its own issue, as I'll get to in a minute, but I wasn't addressing that. Rather, I was looking at doctrinal continuity. And the reality is that it doesn't go all the way back. Ideally we want to meet two standards: that we positively teach what was taught in apostolic times, and that what we teach isn't inconsistent with what was taught in those days. These comprise, in part if not in toto, the standard of sola scriptura. Nearly all of Protestantism--and indeed, the deviants such as the JWs are oft excluded because of their heresy on this point--holds that the Nicene Creed can be defended from scripture, though it isn't stated outright. But there came a point at which it had to be formulated, and if you back up into NT times it hadn't been formulated, and indeed the issue had not yet been presented. That doesn't mean that the church(es) at that time believed something at odds with the Creed, but that the Creed had not become a defining characteristic. That is what I meant by saying that it was not (yet) Orthodox.

There has been a great deal of theological and practical elaboration since AD 70. Protestantism arises out of the realization/theory/heresy (take your pick) that late medieval Catholic practice (and the theology behind it) had evolved so as to pick up a number of abuses. OK, well, where to start in criticizing them? Well, at the very least one could say that scripture, not having evolved, could serve as a touchstone. That principle is what lies behind all the various versions of sola scriptura. After that there is a great deal of disagreement, partly over exactly how it is to be applied as a test, but also because of the various Protestant interpretive traditions. The Eastern churches really don't figure in this except to the degree to which they reflect medieval western practice and theology-- which they do to a very great degree.

Did all the communities mentioned in the NT all of a sudden change their beliefs in 325? Orthodoxy is and has always been about preserving correct doctrine as it is handed down and maintaining continuity. Council, creeds, etc are only expressions of what has always been believed in order to clarify the truth when errors arise. Protestantism isn't based on preserving what has been handed down, but correcting and changing (at least at one point in history or another) what was handed down. I will give the reformers credit as far as the tradition they did receive did have errors and did need to be reformed, but making changes according to what you think the faith should be instead of looking for the living continuity (or accepting the idea that it wasn't there) of what Christ gave the Church through His apostles was and still is an error in and of itself.
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« Reply #39 on: May 10, 2011, 03:16:30 PM »

Did all the communities mentioned in the NT all of a sudden change their beliefs in 325?

"All of a sudden" is your phrase, and "change" I would repudiate if you mean I implied that they specifically disowned trinitarian doctrine before 325. But yes, there was a change. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that; doctrinal development isn't ipso facto bad.
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« Reply #40 on: May 10, 2011, 03:41:41 PM »

A more meanful statistic is that there are more than 30,000 non-Catholic denominations. I trust this will convince everyone of the need for the papacy for unity.

I think Orthodox Christians will need a bit more convincing.  We're convinced our non-papal unity is niftier.
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« Reply #41 on: May 10, 2011, 03:48:20 PM »

A more meanful statistic is that there are more than 30,000 non-Catholic denominations. I trust this will convince everyone of the need for the papacy for unity.

I think Orthodox Christians will need a bit more convincing.  We're convinced our non-papal unity is niftier.

Really? So the existence of 30,000 non-Catholic denominations doesn't seem like a problem to you??


That's alright, actually: my last 2 posts were about 20% serious and 80% satirical.

Since I'm feeling pedantic I'll have to insist that no church which appears in scripture is Eastern Orthodox.

Hear hear. The churches mentioned in the bible are all Catholic.

I'm sure Ebor and Keble tire of this, so let me give it a shot...

Because imagination vary, there are 30000 Protestant denominations.

Says who? Source? Smiley

A more meanful statistic is that there are more than 30,000 non-Catholic denominations. I trust this will convince everyone of the need for the papacy for unity.
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« Reply #42 on: May 10, 2011, 03:49:23 PM »

To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said.

I don't claim to be an expert on Lutheranism, but I know enough to know that this is a ridiculous caricature.

What's especially interesting is that you even contradicted it 2 sentences later:

Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura.
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« Reply #43 on: May 10, 2011, 03:50:49 PM »

There has been a great deal of theological and practical elaboration since AD 70. Protestantism arises out of the realization/theory/heresy (take your pick) that late medieval Catholic practice (and the theology behind it) had evolved so as to pick up a number of abuses. OK, well, where to start in criticizing them? Well, at the very least one could say that scripture, not having evolved, could serve as a touchstone. That principle is what lies behind all the various versions of sola scriptura. After that there is a great deal of disagreement, partly over exactly how it is to be applied as a test, but also because of the various Protestant interpretive traditions. The Eastern churches really don't figure in this except to the degree to which they reflect medieval western practice and theology-- which they do to a very great degree.

Could you expand on that last sentence?
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« Reply #44 on: May 10, 2011, 05:37:08 PM »


one cannot really hold the churches to adherence to the Nicene Creed until it had in fact been formulated.




....Churches before [Nicea] may not have, probably didn't teach anything contrary to Nicea, but they didn't teach what they council taught either.


Keble, you keep saying "churches" -- but there was only one church.  The Church, not "the churches."  A small point, but an important distinction, I think. 

http://www.biblestudytools.com/search/?q=churches&s=Bibles&t=nkjv

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« Reply #45 on: May 10, 2011, 08:02:21 PM »


one cannot really hold the churches to adherence to the Nicene Creed until it had in fact been formulated.




....Churches before [Nicea] may not have, probably didn't teach anything contrary to Nicea, but they didn't teach what they council taught either.


Keble, you keep saying "churches" -- but there was only one church.  The Church, not "the churches."  A small point, but an important distinction, I think.  

http://www.biblestudytools.com/search/?q=churches&s=Bibles&t=nkjv

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Touche! The difference I think is that that word "churches" refers to individual units of the larger "one holy catholic and apostolic church" while the way the word was being used above seemed to indicate individual churches or groups of churches that are not in unity with each other.  But I see what you're saying and point received.  
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« Reply #46 on: May 11, 2011, 12:21:56 AM »

To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said.

I don't claim to be an expert on Lutheranism, but I know enough to know that this is a ridiculous caricature.

What's especially interesting is that you even contradicted it 2 sentences later:

Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura.


What I said may not be true for liberal Lutherans, but it is true for Lutherans who believe in what they are suppose to believe in. And no, I didn't contradict myself. Lutherans will make use of the church fathers and early creeds whenever they agree with Luther, but they will disagree with them and scream sola Scriptura whenever the fathers and church councils disagree with Luther.....and Melencthon.

http://www.bookofconcord.org/sd-ruleandnorm.php (book of concord)

Quote: "Whereby All Dogmas should be Judged according to God's Word, and the Controversies that have Occurred should be Explained and Decided in a Christian Manner.
1] Since for thorough, permanent unity in the Church it is, above all things, necessary that we have a comprehensive, unanimously approved summary and form wherein is brought together from God's Word the common doctrine, reduced to a brief compass, which the churches that are of the true Christian religion confess, just as the ancient Church always had for this use its fixed symbols; 2] moreover, since this [comprehensive form of doctrine] should not be based on private writings, but on such books as have been composed, approved, and received in the name of the churches which pledge themselves to one doctrine and religion, we have declared to one another with heart and mouth that we will not make or receive a separate or new confession of our faith, but confess the public common writings which always and everywhere were held and used as such symbols or common confessions in all the churches of the Augsburg Confession before the dissensions arose among those who accept the Augsburg Confession, and as long as in all articles there was on all sides a unanimous adherence to [and maintenance and use of] the pure doctrine of the divine Word, as the sainted Dr. Luther explained it."


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« Reply #47 on: May 11, 2011, 12:35:52 AM »

Peter J,

The way I explained Sola Scriptura is pretty much what one sees not only in history but also on the ground when one argues with the various forms of Sola Scriptura.

The arguments I use against Lutherans in regards to Sola Scriptura will not always be the same when I'm arguing against the Reformed and Baptists.

Each argument has to be tailored made for the group in question. For what works for one may not necessarily work for the other.
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« Reply #48 on: May 11, 2011, 06:27:12 AM »

To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said.

I don't claim to be an expert on Lutheranism, but I know enough to know that this is a ridiculous caricature.

What's especially interesting is that you even contradicted it 2 sentences later:

Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura.


What I said may not be true for liberal Lutherans, but it is true for Lutherans who believe in what they are suppose to believe in. And no, I didn't contradict myself. Lutherans will make use of the church fathers and early creeds whenever they agree with Luther, but they will disagree with them and scream sola Scriptura whenever the fathers and church councils disagree with Luther.....and Melencthon.

http://www.bookofconcord.org/sd-ruleandnorm.php (book of concord)

Quote: "Whereby All Dogmas should be Judged according to God's Word, and the Controversies that have Occurred should be Explained and Decided in a Christian Manner.
1] Since for thorough, permanent unity in the Church it is, above all things, necessary that we have a comprehensive, unanimously approved summary and form wherein is brought together from God's Word the common doctrine, reduced to a brief compass, which the churches that are of the true Christian religion confess, just as the ancient Church always had for this use its fixed symbols; 2] moreover, since this [comprehensive form of doctrine] should not be based on private writings, but on such books as have been composed, approved, and received in the name of the churches which pledge themselves to one doctrine and religion, we have declared to one another with heart and mouth that we will not make or receive a separate or new confession of our faith, but confess the public common writings which always and everywhere were held and used as such symbols or common confessions in all the churches of the Augsburg Confession before the dissensions arose among those who accept the Augsburg Confession, and as long as in all articles there was on all sides a unanimous adherence to [and maintenance and use of] the pure doctrine of the divine Word, as the sainted Dr. Luther explained it."


You're right in saying that you didn't contradict yourself ... I misunderstood your pronouns. Sorry.

Now, as for the quotation from the Book of Concord, I believe it is referring, not to every single thing that Luther ever said, but only to those statements that were made official as it were (e.g. in the Augsburg Confession). In much the same way, Orthodox don't claim that every single thing that St. Cyril of Alexandria ever said is correct, but only those statement that were made official (by the Council of Ephesus). Correct me if I'm wrong of course.
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« Reply #49 on: May 11, 2011, 07:52:27 AM »

I have stated more than once before that I believe the only reason Orthodoxy eschews Sola Scriptura (and the term 'fundamentalist') is because of sectarian reasons more than belief.
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« Reply #50 on: May 11, 2011, 02:37:56 PM »

To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said.

I don't claim to be an expert on Lutheranism, but I know enough to know that this is a ridiculous caricature.

What's especially interesting is that you even contradicted it 2 sentences later:

Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura.


What I said may not be true for liberal Lutherans, but it is true for Lutherans who believe in what they are suppose to believe in. And no, I didn't contradict myself. Lutherans will make use of the church fathers and early creeds whenever they agree with Luther, but they will disagree with them and scream sola Scriptura whenever the fathers and church councils disagree with Luther.....and Melencthon.

http://www.bookofconcord.org/sd-ruleandnorm.php (book of concord)

Quote: "Whereby All Dogmas should be Judged according to God's Word, and the Controversies that have Occurred should be Explained and Decided in a Christian Manner.
1] Since for thorough, permanent unity in the Church it is, above all things, necessary that we have a comprehensive, unanimously approved summary and form wherein is brought together from God's Word the common doctrine, reduced to a brief compass, which the churches that are of the true Christian religion confess, just as the ancient Church always had for this use its fixed symbols; 2] moreover, since this [comprehensive form of doctrine] should not be based on private writings, but on such books as have been composed, approved, and received in the name of the churches which pledge themselves to one doctrine and religion, we have declared to one another with heart and mouth that we will not make or receive a separate or new confession of our faith, but confess the public common writings which always and everywhere were held and used as such symbols or common confessions in all the churches of the Augsburg Confession before the dissensions arose among those who accept the Augsburg Confession, and as long as in all articles there was on all sides a unanimous adherence to [and maintenance and use of] the pure doctrine of the divine Word, as the sainted Dr. Luther explained it."


You're right in saying that you didn't contradict yourself ... I misunderstood your pronouns. Sorry.

Now, as for the quotation from the Book of Concord, I believe it is referring, not to every single thing that Luther ever said, but only to those statements that were made official as it were (e.g. in the Augsburg Confession). In much the same way, Orthodox don't claim that every single thing that St. Cyril of Alexandria ever said is correct, but only those statement that were made official (by the Council of Ephesus). Correct me if I'm wrong of course.

You will have to ask Lutherans on what that portion of the book of concord means. What I do know is that the Lutherans don't always interpret Scripture in the same way a Calvinist or Reformed christian will, and a Reformed / Calvinistic christian will not always interpret Scripture in the same way an Anabaptist christian interprets it, and an American Baptist will not always interpret the text of Scripture in the same way an Anabaptist will. And they all claim to be advocates of Sola Scriptura! This tells me that the issue is really about interpretation and who the interpretive authorities are.

Check out this lecture mp3 about the issue of Sola Scriptura with the Anabaptists, the Lutherans and Reformed.
http://maxieburch.net/audio/MRC2010Wk8.mp3 (Medieval / Reformation Christianity: Lecture 8 )


Also in regards to the 2nd generation reformers of the Reformed / Calvinist wing and the whole issue of biblical interpretation and authority....well, check this out:
http://youtu.be/qibg-m2vUno (ewtn Live - Protestant Theology - Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. with David Anders)
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« Reply #51 on: May 12, 2011, 12:54:36 AM »

I have stated more than once before that I believe the only reason Orthodoxy eschews Sola Scriptura (and the term 'fundamentalist') is because of sectarian reasons more than belief.
Would you care to expand upon this statement?
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« Reply #52 on: May 12, 2011, 01:02:40 AM »


one cannot really hold the churches to adherence to the Nicene Creed until it had in fact been formulated.




....Churches before [Nicea] may not have, probably didn't teach anything contrary to Nicea, but they didn't teach what they council taught either.


Keble, you keep saying "churches" -- but there was only one church.  The Church, not "the churches."  A small point, but an important distinction, I think.  

http://www.biblestudytools.com/search/?q=churches&s=Bibles&t=nkjv

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Touche! The difference I think is that that word "churches" refers to individual units of the larger "one holy catholic and apostolic church" while the way the word was being used above seemed to indicate individual churches or groups of churches that are not in unity with each other.  But I see what you're saying and point received.  

Hi Thankful,

I appreciate the reply...

No need for the "touche" though... unlike some I don't really consider the net to be a contest of who is right and who is wrong. This is not 'intellectual fencing' for me the way it is for many. I'm just looking for the truth in everything.

And don't get me wrong... I don't really agree w/ Keble's initial premise that the Churches (which made up the one Church) "cannot be held to adherance to the Creed" either.

It was those very same Churches which came together to formulate the Creed based on all of the things that the Church had always believed; all along.

So I would say that the first Churches (the Church) did indeed hold to the Creed... it was only when others began to stray, and to teach heresies contrary to that Creed that it became necessary for the Church to spell it out.

It was not a formulation of the Creed... but a clarification of the Creed; an affirmation; an assertion of what the Churches everywhere had always believed. I would say that the declaration of the Creed was as much about what it didn't say as what it did.

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« Reply #53 on: May 12, 2011, 02:24:32 AM »

Defining it as a single idea is a bit wrong as protestants are fundamentally divided on this central doctrine and what it means themselves, Some say it means Scripture is the only authority, some say it is the final Authority. I see huge distinctions between these two ideas, while the first rejects tradition of all kind, the second sees a place for it. But ultimately both opinions are wrong.
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« Reply #54 on: May 12, 2011, 05:14:29 AM »

I have stated more than once before that I believe the only reason Orthodoxy eschews Sola Scriptura (and the term 'fundamentalist') is because of sectarian reasons more than belief.
Would you care to expand upon this statement?
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29496.0.html
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« Reply #55 on: May 12, 2011, 11:32:00 AM »

I have stated more than once before that I believe the only reason Orthodoxy eschews Sola Scriptura (and the term 'fundamentalist') is because of sectarian reasons more than belief.
Would you care to expand upon this statement?
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29496.0.html

Check this out:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,9161.0.html (Prima Scriptura)

I must of missed your thread last year. My bad!
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« Reply #56 on: May 12, 2011, 12:05:48 PM »

sprtslvr1973,


You also have to keep in mind that the Church was able to operate and function just fine without a 100% unified biblical canon for centuries upon centuries, and so Sola Scriptura can only really work if you already have a 100% unified canon.The fact that the reality on the ground shows a different picture for centuries upon centuries should tell us that Sola Scriptura was never the view of the Church. The Church had a view, but Sola Scriptura wasn't it. It was pretty much impossible for Sola Scriptura to exist in the early centuries.........to be honest.

I mean, it can't exist in the Old Testament for we had prophets back then (The Old Testament view was more of a form of Prima Scriptura. Scripture was held in high esteem, but you also had prophets that walked the Earth and spoke for God). It can't really exist in the first century of the New Covenant because we have God Incarnate walking the Earth as well as His Disciples/Apostles. And like I said previously, the Church functioned just fine in the late first century, second century, third century, fourth century, fifth century......etc. without a 100% unified canon.

The various canons were based on the Liturgies of the major Christian centers of influence......you know, the regions that eventually became Patriarchates.

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« Reply #57 on: May 12, 2011, 01:17:26 PM »

sprtslvr1973,


You also have to keep in mind that the Church was able to operate and function just fine without a 100% unified biblical canon for centuries upon centuries, and so Sola Scriptura can only really work if you already have a 100% unified canon.The fact that the reality on the ground shows a different picture for centuries upon centuries should tell us that Sola Scriptura was never the view of the Church. The Church had a view, but Sola Scriptura wasn't it. It was pretty much impossible for Sola Scriptura to exist in the early centuries.........to be honest.

I mean, it can't exist in the Old Testament for we had prophets back then (The Old Testament view was more of a form of Prima Scriptura. Scripture was held in high esteem, but you also had prophets that walked the Earth and spoke for God). It can't really exist in the first century of the New Covenant because we have God Incarnate walking the Earth as well as His Disciples/Apostles. And like I said previously, the Church functioned just fine in the late first century, second century, third century, fourth century, fifth century......etc. without a 100% unified canon.

The various canons were based on the Liturgies of the major Christian centers of influence......you know, the regions that eventually became Patriarchates.


I hear what you are saying, but as I'm sure you are aware, the response to the above argument, generally, is that once Scripture is completed, than no other sources are needed, including among other things, miracles. I am not saying I agree with everything here, just stating the point which again, you are probably familiar with.
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« Reply #58 on: May 12, 2011, 03:33:40 PM »

And don't get me wrong... I don't really agree w/ Keble's initial premise that the Churches (which made up the one Church) "cannot be held to adherance to the Creed" either.

It's better to reserve quotation marks for that which really is quoted: nobody said "cannot be held in adherence to the Creed" anywhere in this thread.
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« Reply #59 on: May 12, 2011, 08:31:46 PM »

I came across the quote of Tertullian's a few days ago. Thought it relevant.

In order that we may be judged to have the truth - we who walk in the rule which the Churches have handed down from the Apostles, the Apostles from Christ, and Christ from God - admit that the reasonableness of our position is clear, defining as it does that heretics ought not to be allowed to challenge [us by] an appeal to the Scriptures, since we, without using Scripture, prove that they have nothing to do with the Scriptures. If they are heretics, they cannot be Christians, because it is not from Christ that they have gotten what they pursue of their own choosing, and from which they incur the name heretic.

Not being Christians, they have acquired no right to Christian literature; and it might be justly said to them, "Who are you? When and from where did you come? Since you are not of mine, what are you doing with what is mine? Indeed, Marcion, by what right do you chop in my forest? By whose permission, Valentine, do you divert my streams? By what authority, Apelles, do you move my boundary markers? And the rest of you, why do you sow and graze here at your own pleasure? This is my property, which I have long possessed, which I possessed before you came, and for which I have a sure title from the very authors whose property it was. I am the heir of the Apostles. As they carefully prepared their will, as they committed it to a trust, and as they sealed it with an oath, so do I hold the inheritance. You, certainly, they always held as disinherited, and rejected you as strangers and enemies."


I'm interested in a Protestant's take on this. I know it's strong language, but the thought process is pretty clear and unmistakable. God gave to Christ, Christ gave to Apostles, Apostles gave to their successors. If you are not of this connected tradition, and come to believe things that have not been handed down to us, you are not a Christian. And since you are not a Christian, you have no right taking what's ours and using it as you see fit.

I know Protestants would immediately say that they are Christians because they have placed their faith in Christ, but Tertullian was talking about people who had done so too. He was talking about people had faith in Christ for salvation, who took the Scriptures, interpreted them on their own, came to their own conclusions, and believed what they thought to be the truth. And he branded them heretics.

He, of course, is not the hallmark of Christianity, but I thought the quote was interesting and would love to hear others' thoughts.
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« Reply #60 on: May 12, 2011, 08:59:38 PM »

1. Noah boat was closed, however Eastern Orthodox Church is open even today and everybody willing eternal life and heaven can get in.
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« Reply #61 on: May 13, 2011, 12:06:09 AM »

I am hard pressed to decide whether it is deeply wrongheaded to invoke the Monatist Tertullian in defense of Orthodoxy, or merely conspicuously ironic, but in either case, it can be said that the truth, inasmuch as it can be owned, is not true, and that to say "our truth" is in essence to authorize relativism. The truth, if it be catholic, must of necessity defy ownership and stand on its own. The church may testify to truth, it may give witness to it, but when it claims to own it, it sets itself in place of truth.
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« Reply #62 on: May 13, 2011, 12:15:36 AM »

The problem is that beside sound teachings, protestantism may have lost food for eternal life John 6:53 . All Churches before 1500 had it

That's not the standard Orthodox position, actually.
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« Reply #63 on: May 13, 2011, 12:19:59 AM »

Since I'm feeling pedantic I'll have to insist that no church which appears in scripture is Eastern Orthodox. It's a simple case of anachronism: one cannot really hold the churches to adherence to the Nicene Creed until it had in fact been formulated.

Orthodox Christianity did not start at the creation of the Nicene Creed.
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« Reply #64 on: May 13, 2011, 12:22:14 AM »

No, I don't acknowledge that. There isn't any Orthodoxy, capital O, until Nicea. Churches before that may not have, probably didn't teach anything contrary to Nicea, but they didn't teach what they council taught either. Orthodoxy as that particular category was not meaningful until Orthodox doctrine was set forth as such.

Orthodoxy is just Apostolic Christianity which implicitly taught all the same things as the Creed.
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« Reply #65 on: May 13, 2011, 12:25:31 AM »

I've never understood why people get upset with this number. Even 1000 is too many, and no matter how you spin the definition of the word denomination, there aren't that many Catholic or Orthodox Churches.

I consider Anglicans a bit of a special case, anyway.

Not that it's a huge deal to me, but the main thing about this is that many of these high numbers also count Orthodox Churches as seperate Churches (or, actually, separate denominations), which obviously the Orthodox wouldn't agree with. And it makes me wonder how accurate the number is, what criteria they are using to determine who counts as a separate demonination, etc. I agree with you that any divisions are bad, but I think we can just say that without throwing out these big, round numbers that sound like they support our argument, but which may not be really that accurate.

The number appears to have been derived from viewing all different jurisdictions as different denominations. And the fact of the matter is that most people don't understand denomination this way. At the most micro, a denomination is understood as a fully associated group of believers, like the Lutheran World Federation, or in many cases a whole denominational tradition, such as all of Lutheranism.
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« Reply #66 on: May 13, 2011, 12:27:51 AM »

Interestingly, I sometimes find myself having more in common with those who self-identify as "Old Calendar" and as OO than some who self-identify as EO.

Through my experience with exploring OOy because of my position on Chalcedon, on other issues I would frequently find myself in greater agreement with EOs than OOs.
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« Reply #67 on: May 13, 2011, 12:29:22 AM »

Since I'm feeling pedantic I'll have to insist that no church which appears in scripture is Eastern Orthodox.

If you follow all the church communities mentioned in the NT through history, you will find that those communities that have survived through history, with the exception of Rome, are in fact Orthodox.

No, I don't acknowledge that. There isn't any Orthodoxy, capital O, until Nicea. Churches before that may not have, probably didn't teach anything contrary to Nicea, but they didn't teach what they council taught either. Orthodoxy as that particular category was not meaningful until Orthodox doctrine was set forth as such.

By your definition, the NT Church died with the last apostle. When the church in Antioch accepted the first council, it didn't cease to be the community that it had previously been as established by the apostles, or when it accepted the second, or the third, or the seventh, or the council concerning Palamism, or the Jerusalem council called in defense of Protestant influence on the Church. Whether you acknowledge it or not, Doesn't change the fact that the community founded by Ss Peter and Paul in Antioch still survives under the current leadership of His Holiness Ignatius IV, as one example.

It is fairly apparent that there is such a continuity, but it's not a fact that the EOC is the continuous one.
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« Reply #68 on: May 13, 2011, 12:35:45 AM »

Rather, I was looking at doctrinal continuity. And the reality is that it doesn't go all the way back. Ideally we want to meet two standards: that we positively teach what was taught in apostolic times, and that what we teach isn't inconsistent with what was taught in those days. These comprise, in part if not in toto, the standard of sola scriptura. Nearly all of Protestantism--and indeed, the deviants such as the JWs are oft excluded because of their heresy on this point--holds that the Nicene Creed can be defended from scripture, though it isn't stated outright. But there came a point at which it had to be formulated, and if you back up into NT times it hadn't been formulated, and indeed the issue had not yet been presented. That doesn't mean that the church(es) at that time believed something at odds with the Creed, but that the Creed had not become a defining characteristic. That is what I meant by saying that it was not (yet) Orthodox.

Orthodoxy isn't fundamentally about all of the formulations that now constitute dogma or explicit belief in them. That's not even what doctrinal continuity is about. Formulations of doctrine are one thing. The substance of the doctrine is another. And I think it's fair to assert that the substantial doctrine of the Nicene Creed was believed in all along, and is even implied by a number of the pre-Nicene formulations.
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« Reply #69 on: May 13, 2011, 12:37:46 AM »

I am hard pressed to decide whether it is deeply wrongheaded to invoke the Monatist Tertullian in defense of Orthodoxy, or merely conspicuously ironic, but in either case, it can be said that the truth, inasmuch as it can be owned, is not true, and that to say "our truth" is in essence to authorize relativism. The truth, if it be catholic, must of necessity defy ownership and stand on its own. The church may testify to truth, it may give witness to it, but when it claims to own it, it sets itself in place of truth.


Clever, but he only became a Montanist later in life and he said this before that, so I still think it's relevant Smiley

Also, I don't believe he was implying ownership of the truth, but rights to the use of the scriptures. The truth of the scriptures is meant for all, but all are not free to take the scriptures and do with them as they wish.
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« Reply #70 on: May 13, 2011, 12:41:05 AM »

I've never understood why people get upset with this number. Even 1000 is too many, and no matter how you spin the definition of the word denomination, there aren't that many Catholic or Orthodox Churches.

I consider Anglicans a bit of a special case, anyway.

Not that it's a huge deal to me, but the main thing about this is that many of these high numbers also count Orthodox Churches as seperate Churches (or, actually, separate denominations), which obviously the Orthodox wouldn't agree with. And it makes me wonder how accurate the number is, what criteria they are using to determine who counts as a separate demonination, etc. I agree with you that any divisions are bad, but I think we can just say that without throwing out these big, round numbers that sound like they support our argument, but which may not be really that accurate.

The number is still high, even if you took the incorrect measure of including Orthodox out of that equation.

That's not the only problem with it. The other problem is that it applies the same principle of counting all jurisdictions as denominations as it did with the Orthodox, rather than acknowledging that most of these jurisdictions could be grouped with another of others as united faith traditions that are in full communion with each other.
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« Reply #71 on: May 13, 2011, 12:47:36 AM »

Did all the communities mentioned in the NT all of a sudden change their beliefs in 325?

"All of a sudden" is your phrase, and "change" I would repudiate if you mean I implied that they specifically disowned trinitarian doctrine before 325. But yes, there was a change. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that; doctrinal development isn't ipso facto bad.

Well, there is clearly disagreement on this. We believe (I still believe this even though my own attachment to Orthodoxy is wavering) that the Nicene Creed simply formulated what the Church had actually believed all along, and that the concept of doctrinal development that you describe is indeed repugnant to Apostolic Christianity. Given this, I think the reason for the objecting to your original statement about the churches of the NT not being Orthodox is clear.
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« Reply #72 on: May 13, 2011, 06:22:24 AM »

Clever, but he only became a Montanist later in life and he said this before that, so I still think it's relevant Smiley

So I take it you'll go with "ironic".

Quote
Also, I don't believe he was implying ownership of the truth, but rights to the use of the scriptures. The truth of the scriptures is meant for all, but all are not free to take the scriptures and do with them as they wish.

Well, we're talking a natural right here; it is impossible to stop anyone from doing with them as they wish.

But this is really a claim about the truth of hermeneutics, and we're back to a point I've made over and over through the years: if you are the only one allowed to present arguments about something, then you cannot convince me, because you're saying the rules of argument don't apply to you. It is only the universal nature of argument that makes it worthwhile in the first place. Tertullian is therefore really trying to escape the responsibility of presenting convincing arguments.
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« Reply #73 on: May 13, 2011, 06:27:04 AM »

Did all the communities mentioned in the NT all of a sudden change their beliefs in 325?

"All of a sudden" is your phrase, and "change" I would repudiate if you mean I implied that they specifically disowned trinitarian doctrine before 325. But yes, there was a change. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that; doctrinal development isn't ipso facto bad.

Well, there is clearly disagreement on this. We believe (I still believe this even though my own attachment to Orthodoxy is wavering) that the Nicene Creed simply formulated what the Church had actually believed all along, and that the concept of doctrinal development that you describe is indeed repugnant to Apostolic Christianity. Given this, I think the reason for the objecting to your original statement about the churches of the NT not being Orthodox is clear.

But this is a historical claim, and as I said on a certain level it isn't true. There is a point at which trinitarian doctrine begins to be expressed, and before that point it is questionable at best, erroneous much of the time to try to differentiate what is Orthodox in that sense.
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« Reply #74 on: May 13, 2011, 08:15:12 AM »

To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said.

I don't claim to be an expert on Lutheranism, but I know enough to know that this is a ridiculous caricature.

What's especially interesting is that you even contradicted it 2 sentences later:

Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura.


What I said may not be true for liberal Lutherans, but it is true for Lutherans who believe in what they are suppose to believe in. And no, I didn't contradict myself. Lutherans will make use of the church fathers and early creeds whenever they agree with Luther, but they will disagree with them and scream sola Scriptura whenever the fathers and church councils disagree with Luther.....and Melencthon.

http://www.bookofconcord.org/sd-ruleandnorm.php (book of concord)

Quote: "Whereby All Dogmas should be Judged according to God's Word, and the Controversies that have Occurred should be Explained and Decided in a Christian Manner.
1] Since for thorough, permanent unity in the Church it is, above all things, necessary that we have a comprehensive, unanimously approved summary and form wherein is brought together from God's Word the common doctrine, reduced to a brief compass, which the churches that are of the true Christian religion confess, just as the ancient Church always had for this use its fixed symbols; 2] moreover, since this [comprehensive form of doctrine] should not be based on private writings, but on such books as have been composed, approved, and received in the name of the churches which pledge themselves to one doctrine and religion, we have declared to one another with heart and mouth that we will not make or receive a separate or new confession of our faith, but confess the public common writings which always and everywhere were held and used as such symbols or common confessions in all the churches of the Augsburg Confession before the dissensions arose among those who accept the Augsburg Confession, and as long as in all articles there was on all sides a unanimous adherence to [and maintenance and use of] the pure doctrine of the divine Word, as the sainted Dr. Luther explained it."


You're right in saying that you didn't contradict yourself ... I misunderstood your pronouns. Sorry.

Now, as for the quotation from the Book of Concord, I believe it is referring, not to every single thing that Luther ever said, but only to those statements that were made official as it were (e.g. in the Augsburg Confession). In much the same way, Orthodox don't claim that every single thing that St. Cyril of Alexandria ever said is correct, but only those statement that were made official (by the Council of Ephesus). Correct me if I'm wrong of course.

You are correct, as the Solid Declaration makes clear not 3 paragraphs later:

Quote
In the third place, since in these last times God, out of especial grace, has brought the truth of His Word to light again from the darkness of the Papacy through the faithful service of the precious man of God, Dr. Luther, and since this doctrine has been collected from, and according to, God's Word into the articles and chapters of the Augsburg Confession against the corruptions of the Papacy and also of other sects, we confess also the First, Unaltered Augsburg Confession as our symbol for this time, not because it was composed by our theologians, but because it has been taken from God's Word and is founded firmly and well therein, precisely in the form in which it was committed to writing, in the year 1530, and presented to the Emperor Charles V at Augsburg by some Christian Electors, Princes, and Estates of the Roman Empire as a common confession of the reformed churches, whereby our reformed churches are distinguished from the Papists and other repudiated and condemned sects and heresies, after the custom and usage of the early Church, whereby succeeding councils, Christian bishops and teachers appealed to the Nicene Creed, and confessed it (publicly declared that they embraced it).

6] 4. In the fourth place, as regards the proper and true sense of the oft-quoted Augsburg Confession, an extensive Apology was composed and published in print in 1531, after the presentation of the Confession, in order that we might explain ourselves at greater length and guard against the (slanders of the) Papists, and that condemned errors might not steal into the Church of God under the name of the Augsburg Confession, or dare to seek cover under the same. We unanimously confess this also, because not only is the said Augsburg Confession explained as much as is necessary and guarded (against the slanders of the adversaries), but also proven (confirmed) by clear, irrefutable testimonies of Holy Scripture.

7] 5. In the fifth place, we also confess the Articles composed, approved, and received at Smalcald in the large assembly of theologians, in the year 1537, as they were first framed and printed in order to be delivered in the council at Mantua, or wherever it would be held, in the name of the Estates, Electors, and Princes, as an explanation of the above-mentioned Augsburg Confession, wherein by God's grace they were resolved to abide. In them the doctrine of the Augsburg Confession is repeated, and some articles are explained at greater length from God's Word, and, besides, the cause and grounds are indicated, as far as necessary, why we have abandoned the papistical errors and idolatries, and can have no fellowship with them, and also why we know, and can think of, no way for coming to any agreement with the Pope concerning them.

8] 6. And now, in the sixth place, because these highly important matters (the business of religion) concern also the common people and laymen (as they are called), who, inasmuch as they are Christians, must for their salvation distinguish between pure and false doctrine, we confess also the Small and the Large Catechisms of Dr. Luther, as they were written by him and incorporated in his works, because they have been unanimously approved and received by all churches adhering to the Augsburg Confession, and have been publicly used in churches, schools, and in (private) houses, and, moreover, because the Christian doctrine from God's Word is comprised in them in the most correct and simple way, and, in like manner, is explained, as far as necessary (for simple laymen).

And further, the confessions enumerated above are littered with quotations from the Fathers so exhaustive that I would not even attempt to list them all here.  That does NOT mean Lutherans quote or interpret the Fathers rightly, but it does mean there is quite a bit more to Lutheran theology than "the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said."  Sola scriptura to a Lutheran is (as they believe it) interpreting the Scriptures as (they believe) the Church has always interpreted them.  I disagree their interpretations are accurate in many cases, but they are hardly Martin Luther and his Bible and everyone else shut up and pay attention.
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« Reply #75 on: May 13, 2011, 09:06:58 AM »

And further, the confessions enumerated above are littered with quotations from the Fathers so exhaustive that I would not even attempt to list them all here.  That does NOT mean Lutherans quote or interpret the Fathers rightly, but it does mean there is quite a bit more to Lutheran theology than "the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said."  Sola scriptura to a Lutheran is (as they believe it) interpreting the Scriptures as (they believe) the Church has always interpreted them.  I disagree their interpretations are accurate in many cases, but they are hardly Martin Luther and his Bible and everyone else shut up and pay attention.

This point needs to be emphasized. There is an American strain of sola scriptura which perhaps reaches its apex with the JWs writing the New World Translation with no more aid than a copy of the KJV and a bible dictionary (well, and perhaps the Holy Spirit, though the resulting text casts doubts that He was much involved). The old mainline Protestant traditions, the Lutherans and ANglicans and Calvinists, were on the other hand founded by men who were part and parcel of the scholarly world of the day. Luther knew the fathers as well as anyone in Europe; Calvin studied religion before turning to law. The Anglican divines likewise did not want for knowledge of the church fathers; moreover the various Protestant groups were in intellectual contact with each other, so that for instance Cranmer's work shows both Lutheran and Calvinist ideas. Lutheranism reflects Luther's own personal ideas; Calvinism, more strongly, those of its founder; Anglicanism is more diverse, but the Jacobean and Caroline divines in particular are reflected in Anglican theology through the years. That is hardly surprising, and it would be preferable that these differences were resolved, as has been done to a limited degree between ECUSA and ELCA and now the Moravians. Yes, the reformers pitched a lot of stuff over the side, but it wasn't for lack of knowledge of it.
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« Reply #76 on: May 13, 2011, 10:12:34 AM »

Since I'm feeling pedantic I'll have to insist that no church which appears in scripture is Eastern Orthodox.

If you follow all the church communities mentioned in the NT through history, you will find that those communities that have survived through history, with the exception of Rome, are in fact Orthodox.

No, I don't acknowledge that. There isn't any Orthodoxy, capital O, until Nicea. Churches before that may not have, probably didn't teach anything contrary to Nicea, but they didn't teach what they council taught either. Orthodoxy as that particular category was not meaningful until Orthodox doctrine was set forth as such.

By your definition, the NT Church died with the last apostle. When the church in Antioch accepted the first council, it didn't cease to be the community that it had previously been as established by the apostles, or when it accepted the second, or the third, or the seventh, or the council concerning Palamism, or the Jerusalem council called in defense of Protestant influence on the Church. Whether you acknowledge it or not, Doesn't change the fact that the community founded by Ss Peter and Paul in Antioch still survives under the current leadership of His Holiness Ignatius IV, as one example.

It is fairly apparent that there is such a continuity, but it's not a fact that the EOC is the continuous one.

Perhaps Athens would have been a less diputed example from Acts.

Anyway, we do disagree on who exactly has maintained succession in communion and doctrine with the apostles, and we pretty much know where each other stands, but we do agree that there is a continuity somewhere, so that's pretty much it. As a side note, while not formally in communion, the EO and OO patriarchates of Antioch do allow intercommuning on the level of the laity, which does in and of itself imply a mutual acknowledgement of such continuity in each others churches even though there is a formal division there. But then again, that's just those two particular churches that I'm aware of and doesn't necessarily speak for the entirety of either communion of churches.
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« Reply #77 on: May 13, 2011, 10:12:58 AM »

Clever, but he only became a Montanist later in life and he said this before that, so I still think it's relevant Smiley

So I take it you'll go with "ironic".

I'll go with neither. His being a Montanist later in his life is completely irrelevant to what he's saying.

Quote
Quote
Also, I don't believe he was implying ownership of the truth, but rights to the use of the scriptures. The truth of the scriptures is meant for all, but all are not free to take the scriptures and do with them as they wish.

Well, we're talking a natural right here; it is impossible to stop anyone from doing with them as they wish.

Right, it's impossible to stop them, but it needs to be recognized that once they start down this road, they are no longer a part of the Apostolic Church. Stopping people isn't the issues, its the claim of those doing it that they are still "the Church" that is the issue, for Tertullian.

Quote
But this is really a claim about the truth of hermeneutics, and we're back to a point I've made over and over through the years: if you are the only one allowed to present arguments about something, then you cannot convince me, because you're saying the rules of argument don't apply to you. It is only the universal nature of argument that makes it worthwhile in the first place. Tertullian is therefore really trying to escape the responsibility of presenting convincing arguments.

Making it about hermeneutics is part of the problem though. It's a fundamental difference of viewpoint. Protestants tend to take the approach that the Truth is somewhere "out there" for us to determine and decide for ourselves, through Scripture reading/hermeneutics. Those of the Apostolic Churches, though, understand it as the Scriptures actually portray it: the Truth was fully revealed in Christ, fully handed to the Apostles, and fully handed down to their successors to the present time.

The Truth is something that is already intact, something that has to be preserved, guarded and kept, it's not something that we're still trying to figure out or something that we're searching for through Bible study.
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« Reply #78 on: May 13, 2011, 02:49:37 PM »

Clever, but he only became a Montanist later in life and he said this before that, so I still think it's relevant Smiley

So I take it you'll go with "ironic".

I'll go with neither. His being a Montanist later in his life is completely irrelevant to what he's saying.

Well, if you can't see the irony, I can't help you there. But anyway....

Quote
Quote
Quote
Also, I don't believe he was implying ownership of the truth, but rights to the use of the scriptures. The truth of the scriptures is meant for all, but all are not free to take the scriptures and do with them as they wish.

Well, we're talking a natural right here; it is impossible to stop anyone from doing with them as they wish.

Right, it's impossible to stop them, but it needs to be recognized that once they start down this road, they are no longer a part of the Apostolic Church. Stopping people isn't the issues, its the claim of those doing it that they are still "the Church" that is the issue, for Tertullian.

I think his claim is a bit stronger than that, but the point in any case is that this rule works just as well for "heretics" as it does for "orthodoxy". Indeed, it produces exactly the fragmentation one sees in the church, because it says that no church has any obligation to convince any other church, or even to consider that its own doctrines might be faulty. It's a subjective standard.

Quote
Quote
But this is really a claim about the truth of hermeneutics, and we're back to a point I've made over and over through the years: if you are the only one allowed to present arguments about something, then you cannot convince me, because you're saying the rules of argument don't apply to you. It is only the universal nature of argument that makes it worthwhile in the first place. Tertullian is therefore really trying to escape the responsibility of presenting convincing arguments.

Making it about hermeneutics is part of the problem though. It's a fundamental difference of viewpoint. Protestants tend to take the approach that the Truth is somewhere "out there" for us to determine and decide for ourselves, through Scripture reading/hermeneutics. Those of the Apostolic Churches, though, understand it as the Scriptures actually portray it: the Truth was fully revealed in Christ, fully handed to the Apostles, and fully handed down to their successors to the present time.

There are definitely those who do take the approach to religious Truth which you attribute to all Protestants, and I agree that it simply isn't compatible with any vaguely decent ecclesiology. It is an error that is mostly confined to modernists and restorationists; the old mainline churches don't think that way.

And the problem I have with your contrasting view is that already you have to apply a hermeneutic to it in order to get any answers that apply to the issue at hand! There are explanations, and justifications for those explanations, and so forth, and already the greater authority of reasoning has been granted a role in mediating the interchange. So for instance I look at the doctrine of the trinity, and I say, well, yes, I believe this, I've run over all the arguments and they are sound, I've looked at the contrary viewpoints and they have problems, and I see the development of the doctrine, and all is well. This a ratification of my relationship with the church as a teaching authority, not me discovering the truth through some sort of theological archeology or the like. So if you say something like, "well, forget all that, you cannot legitimately review the doctrine, you can only accept it or be a heretic," my reaction is that you're cheating: that is not valid reasoning, and therefore you cannot convince me. And I suppose that you can make a consistent system by consistently cheating every time reasoning occurs within the system, by saying, well, if you agree with the reasoning you're OK, and if not, you're out. But this is so much BS considering that reasoning within the system is actually supposed to be convincing; there's no way you can say that it's only expected to be convincing if you can be convinced of it whatever its content.

I don't know that I'd use the word "fundamental", as though the gospel itself, the apostles themselves, Jesus Himself were not the foundations. But you are right in labelling it a crucial difference. But it is yet a crucial difference in hermeneutics.
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« Reply #79 on: May 15, 2011, 09:22:39 AM »

And don't get me wrong... I don't really agree w/ Keble's initial premise that the Churches (which made up the one Church) "cannot be held to adherance to the Creed" either.

It's better to reserve quotation marks for that which really is quoted: nobody said "cannot be held in adherence to the Creed" anywhere in this thread.

Really?

 

"(O)ne cannot really hold the churches to adherence to the Nicene Creed (...)"


That's the same statement isn't it?

And anyway, I did specifically state that it was your "premise" I was referring to.

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« Reply #80 on: May 15, 2011, 10:21:24 AM »

It's a simple case of anachronism: one cannot really hold the churches to adherence to the Nicene Creed until it had in fact been formulated.

The contents of the Nicene Creed were given to the Apostles c. 30 CE. That it wasn't written down and handed out in gift baskets for another 300 years is neither here nor there.  police
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« Reply #81 on: May 15, 2011, 12:36:56 PM »

It's a simple case of anachronism: one cannot really hold the churches to adherence to the Nicene Creed until it had in fact been formulated.

The contents of the Nicene Creed were given to the Apostles c. 30 CE. That it wasn't written down and handed out in gift baskets for another 300 years is neither here nor there.  police

If that be true, then you can hardly object when Protestants demand that it be proven from scripture alone, since scripture alone stands in record of such an early date.
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« Reply #82 on: May 15, 2011, 12:54:27 PM »

It's a simple case of anachronism: one cannot really hold the churches to adherence to the Nicene Creed until it had in fact been formulated.

The contents of the Nicene Creed were given to the Apostles c. 30 CE. That it wasn't written down and handed out in gift baskets for another 300 years is neither here nor there.  police

If that be true, then you can hardly object when Protestants demand that it be proven from scripture alone, since scripture alone stands in record of such an early date.


The contents of the Nicene Creed were given to the Apostles c. 30 CE. That it wasn't written down and handed out in gift baskets for another 300 years is neither here nor there.  police
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« Reply #83 on: May 15, 2011, 02:52:07 PM »

It's a simple case of anachronism: one cannot really hold the churches to adherence to the Nicene Creed until it had in fact been formulated.

The contents of the Nicene Creed were given to the Apostles c. 30 CE. That it wasn't written down and handed out in gift baskets for another 300 years is neither here nor there.  police

If that be true, then you can hardly object when Protestants demand that it be proven from scripture alone, since scripture alone stands in record of such an early date.


The contents of the Nicene Creed were given to the Apostles c. 30 CE. That it wasn't written down and handed out in gift baskets for another 300 years is neither here nor there.  police

That's weak.
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« Reply #84 on: May 15, 2011, 03:01:32 PM »

That's weak.

Indeed. Weak and strong. Smiley  But I would like to say why I simply repeated myself in the last post. The way I figure it, Keble has been doing this stuff for longer than I've been alive. He's a well read guy. He's a knowledgable guy. I could very well quote what St. Paul, St. John, St. Basil the Great, and others say about written and unwritten traditions, making all sorts of arguments about the faith once delivered to the saints, how the Orthodox kept this faith from the beginning and didn't add or substract from it, and all that good stuff. But I'm pretty sure he's heard that all before a thousand times, and he has apparently found the arguments to be unpersuasive. I have no reason to think that I am going to be the one that finally speaks so eloquently and with such weighty argumentation that he changes his mind.  
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« Reply #85 on: May 15, 2011, 03:44:18 PM »

And don't get me wrong... I don't really agree w/ Keble's initial premise that the Churches (which made up the one Church) "cannot be held to adherance to the Creed" either.

It's better to reserve quotation marks for that which really is quoted: nobody said "cannot be held in adherence to the Creed" anywhere in this thread.

Really?

 

"(O)ne cannot really hold the churches to adherence to the Nicene Creed (...)"


That's the same statement isn't it?

And anyway, I did specifically state that it was your "premise" I was referring to.

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I think that what Keble is trying to say is this: when you wrap words in quotation marks and attribute them to someone else, make sure you quote that other person verbatim. What you did was paraphrase something Keble said and then wrap your paraphrase in quotes to make it look as if Keble spoke it word for word, which he did not.
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« Reply #86 on: May 15, 2011, 07:39:21 PM »

And don't get me wrong... I don't really agree w/ Keble's initial premise that the Churches (which made up the one Church) "cannot be held to adherance to the Creed" either.

It's better to reserve quotation marks for that which really is quoted: nobody said "cannot be held in adherence to the Creed" anywhere in this thread.

Really?

 

"(O)ne cannot really hold the churches to adherence to the Nicene Creed (...)"


That's the same statement isn't it?

And anyway, I did specifically state that it was your "premise" I was referring to.

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I think that what Keble is trying to say is this: when you wrap words in quotation marks and attribute them to someone else, make sure you quote that other person verbatim. What you did was paraphrase something Keble said and then wrap your paraphrase in quotes to make it look as if Keble spoke it word for word, which he did not.

Yes, OK.

I acquiesce... but I was paraphrasing and I did stipulate that I was only conveying his
Quote
"initial premise".

An exact quotation would call for /quote/ tags which I did not use... Perhaps it would have been better if I had used 'this' instead of "this"?

Anyhow point taken... from now on I will always just use the /quote/ tags and directly copy/paste the exact words within.

Thanks,

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« Reply #87 on: May 15, 2011, 08:50:19 PM »

The problem, SIA, is that you truncated my statement and therefore misrepresented what I said.
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« Reply #88 on: May 17, 2011, 09:50:35 AM »

Keble,

Are you saying that pre-nicene christians were non-trinitarians? If so then I would have to disagree with you. However, if you are saying that as a whole they didn't adhere to every word of the creed itself, and it's limits on what can be said vs what can't be said then I would agree. The pre-nicene world were more loose in their language. And Nicea was building on what they said, and so of course they wouldn't be held to the more stricter standards of Nicea and Constantinople 1.

However, with that said I must say that I was told or heard that the Nicene creed was mostly based on an earlier Baptismal creed, and so a good portion was known in the pre-nicene era. Also, one can find portions of the creed itself in some of the works in various pre-nicene church fathers and witnesses. And so we know that the bishops who gathered at Nicea were drawing from a rich tradition of Trinitarian thought that preceeded them.

 Now the interpretation of some of those statements in the pre-nicene world could have varied somewhat, but the basic understanding stayed the same. You must keep in mind that our Eastern Christian interpretation of the Nicene / Constantinople 1 creed differs from how the West interprets it. Our interpretation has way more continuity with the pre-nicene world than the west does. You see, unlike you guys we still believe and adhere to the Monarchy of the Father.

Before I became Orthodox I use to be a subordinationist Trinitarian in the pre-nicene sense of the word. There is still a mild form of subordinationism in the Nicene / Constantinople 1 creed itself and the difference isn't as major as you want to think. I still know protestant pre-nicene subordinationists that accept the Nicene / Constantinople 1 creed. Shammah is a pre-nicene subordinationist and so is Bercot. As well as a number of others. Like I said, I use to be one myself, and so I personally know that the differences are minor. There is a blog friend that I know who is a moderate Arian in the post Nicene and pre Constantinople 1 sense. I was arguing with him (on his blog) for a number of months last year. His views were of a moderate Arian nature for he didn't want to use the term homoousios, nor did he want to accept the Nicen / Constantinople 1 creed. In the comment section of his blog, I was trying to get him to accept Nicea / Constantinople 1. He was a former Jehovia Witness turned Evangelical protestant to Roman Catholic. He left Rome last year and now he isn't with anyone at the moment, however, he is still playing with moderate Arianism. He isn't that far away from the Nicean creed. If you read the comments in the blog links below then you will see how we make use of the pre-nicene church fathers.......in our going back and forth. The Pre-Nicen views weren't that far away from the Eastern interpretation of Nicea / Constantinople 1. The western interpretation is far different and thus further away from the pre-nicen views.
http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2011/01/monarchy-god-father-or-essencegodhead.html ("The Monarchy": God the Father or the Essence/Godhead?)

http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2011/01/is-one-god-of-bible-trinity-or-god.html (Is "the one God" of the Bible the Trinity, or God the Father?)

http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2010/12/trinity-clear-biblical-teaching-or-post.html (The Trinity: a 'clear' Biblical teaching, or a pos..)

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« Reply #89 on: May 17, 2011, 10:34:09 AM »

To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said.

I don't claim to be an expert on Lutheranism, but I know enough to know that this is a ridiculous caricature.

What's especially interesting is that you even contradicted it 2 sentences later:

Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura.


What I said may not be true for liberal Lutherans, but it is true for Lutherans who believe in what they are suppose to believe in. And no, I didn't contradict myself. Lutherans will make use of the church fathers and early creeds whenever they agree with Luther, but they will disagree with them and scream sola Scriptura whenever the fathers and church councils disagree with Luther.....and Melencthon.

http://www.bookofconcord.org/sd-ruleandnorm.php (book of concord)

Quote: "Whereby All Dogmas should be Judged according to God's Word, and the Controversies that have Occurred should be Explained and Decided in a Christian Manner.
1] Since for thorough, permanent unity in the Church it is, above all things, necessary that we have a comprehensive, unanimously approved summary and form wherein is brought together from God's Word the common doctrine, reduced to a brief compass, which the churches that are of the true Christian religion confess, just as the ancient Church always had for this use its fixed symbols; 2] moreover, since this [comprehensive form of doctrine] should not be based on private writings, but on such books as have been composed, approved, and received in the name of the churches which pledge themselves to one doctrine and religion, we have declared to one another with heart and mouth that we will not make or receive a separate or new confession of our faith, but confess the public common writings which always and everywhere were held and used as such symbols or common confessions in all the churches of the Augsburg Confession before the dissensions arose among those who accept the Augsburg Confession, and as long as in all articles there was on all sides a unanimous adherence to [and maintenance and use of] the pure doctrine of the divine Word, as the sainted Dr. Luther explained it."


You're right in saying that you didn't contradict yourself ... I misunderstood your pronouns. Sorry.

Now, as for the quotation from the Book of Concord, I believe it is referring, not to every single thing that Luther ever said, but only to those statements that were made official as it were (e.g. in the Augsburg Confession). In much the same way, Orthodox don't claim that every single thing that St. Cyril of Alexandria ever said is correct, but only those statement that were made official (by the Council of Ephesus). Correct me if I'm wrong of course.

You are correct, as the Solid Declaration makes clear not 3 paragraphs later:

Quote
In the third place, since in these last times God, out of especial grace, has brought the truth of His Word to light again from the darkness of the Papacy through the faithful service of the precious man of God, Dr. Luther, and since this doctrine has been collected from, and according to, God's Word into the articles and chapters of the Augsburg Confession against the corruptions of the Papacy and also of other sects, we confess also the First, Unaltered Augsburg Confession as our symbol for this time, not because it was composed by our theologians, but because it has been taken from God's Word and is founded firmly and well therein, precisely in the form in which it was committed to writing, in the year 1530, and presented to the Emperor Charles V at Augsburg by some Christian Electors, Princes, and Estates of the Roman Empire as a common confession of the reformed churches, whereby our reformed churches are distinguished from the Papists and other repudiated and condemned sects and heresies, after the custom and usage of the early Church, whereby succeeding councils, Christian bishops and teachers appealed to the Nicene Creed, and confessed it (publicly declared that they embraced it).

6] 4. In the fourth place, as regards the proper and true sense of the oft-quoted Augsburg Confession, an extensive Apology was composed and published in print in 1531, after the presentation of the Confession, in order that we might explain ourselves at greater length and guard against the (slanders of the) Papists, and that condemned errors might not steal into the Church of God under the name of the Augsburg Confession, or dare to seek cover under the same. We unanimously confess this also, because not only is the said Augsburg Confession explained as much as is necessary and guarded (against the slanders of the adversaries), but also proven (confirmed) by clear, irrefutable testimonies of Holy Scripture.

7] 5. In the fifth place, we also confess the Articles composed, approved, and received at Smalcald in the large assembly of theologians, in the year 1537, as they were first framed and printed in order to be delivered in the council at Mantua, or wherever it would be held, in the name of the Estates, Electors, and Princes, as an explanation of the above-mentioned Augsburg Confession, wherein by God's grace they were resolved to abide. In them the doctrine of the Augsburg Confession is repeated, and some articles are explained at greater length from God's Word, and, besides, the cause and grounds are indicated, as far as necessary, why we have abandoned the papistical errors and idolatries, and can have no fellowship with them, and also why we know, and can think of, no way for coming to any agreement with the Pope concerning them.

8] 6. And now, in the sixth place, because these highly important matters (the business of religion) concern also the common people and laymen (as they are called), who, inasmuch as they are Christians, must for their salvation distinguish between pure and false doctrine, we confess also the Small and the Large Catechisms of Dr. Luther, as they were written by him and incorporated in his works, because they have been unanimously approved and received by all churches adhering to the Augsburg Confession, and have been publicly used in churches, schools, and in (private) houses, and, moreover, because the Christian doctrine from God's Word is comprised in them in the most correct and simple way, and, in like manner, is explained, as far as necessary (for simple laymen).

And further, the confessions enumerated above are littered with quotations from the Fathers so exhaustive that I would not even attempt to list them all here.  That does NOT mean Lutherans quote or interpret the Fathers rightly, but it does mean there is quite a bit more to Lutheran theology than "the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said."  Sola scriptura to a Lutheran is (as they believe it) interpreting the Scriptures as (they believe) the Church has always interpreted them.  I disagree their interpretations are accurate in many cases, but they are hardly Martin Luther and his Bible and everyone else shut up and pay attention.

Show me where they quote a church father that contradicts the Dr. Martin Luther?

I am fully aware that Lutherans quote the Church Fathers. I am fully aware of that. I stated what I said for a reason. I am sticking by my previous posts. If you can show me where they side with the Church Fathers against the Dr. Martin Luther then you will have a point. Until then what I said stands.

The later Lutherans may side with Phillop Melancthon against some of the stuff Luther said or they may side with the Reformed against Luther on some stuff, but show me where they will side with the Church Fathers against Luther?
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« Reply #90 on: May 17, 2011, 10:45:40 AM »

Did all the communities mentioned in the NT all of a sudden change their beliefs in 325?

"All of a sudden" is your phrase, and "change" I would repudiate if you mean I implied that they specifically disowned trinitarian doctrine before 325. But yes, there was a change. I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that; doctrinal development isn't ipso facto bad.

Well, there is clearly disagreement on this. We believe (I still believe this even though my own attachment to Orthodoxy is wavering) that the Nicene Creed simply formulated what the Church had actually believed all along, and that the concept of doctrinal development that you describe is indeed repugnant to Apostolic Christianity. Given this, I think the reason for the objecting to your original statement about the churches of the NT not being Orthodox is clear.

But this is a historical claim, and as I said on a certain level it isn't true. There is a point at which trinitarian doctrine begins to be expressed, and before that point it is questionable at best, erroneous much of the time to try to differentiate what is Orthodox in that sense.

According to you, when did the Trinitarian doctrine begin to be expressed?
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« Reply #91 on: May 17, 2011, 10:55:12 AM »

sprtslvr1973,


You also have to keep in mind that the Church was able to operate and function just fine without a 100% unified biblical canon for centuries upon centuries, and so Sola Scriptura can only really work if you already have a 100% unified canon.The fact that the reality on the ground shows a different picture for centuries upon centuries should tell us that Sola Scriptura was never the view of the Church. The Church had a view, but Sola Scriptura wasn't it. It was pretty much impossible for Sola Scriptura to exist in the early centuries.........to be honest.

I mean, it can't exist in the Old Testament for we had prophets back then (The Old Testament view was more of a form of Prima Scriptura. Scripture was held in high esteem, but you also had prophets that walked the Earth and spoke for God). It can't really exist in the first century of the New Covenant because we have God Incarnate walking the Earth as well as His Disciples/Apostles. And like I said previously, the Church functioned just fine in the late first century, second century, third century, fourth century, fifth century......etc. without a 100% unified canon.

The various canons were based on the Liturgies of the major Christian centers of influence......you know, the regions that eventually became Patriarchates.


I hear what you are saying, but as I'm sure you are aware, the response to the above argument, generally, is that once Scripture is completed, than no other sources are needed, including among other things, miracles. I am not saying I agree with everything here, just stating the point which again, you are probably familiar with.


My response to that rejoinder is:

1.) Show me in Scripture where it says that the only thing needed or that the only final authority needed is Scripture once the New Testament canon is formed?

2.) Show me Church Fathers or Early Christian Witnesses who advocate the idea that the final authority will be Scripture once the New Testament Canon is formed?


This is what I usually say
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« Reply #92 on: May 17, 2011, 09:05:54 PM »

Show me where they quote a church father that contradicts the Dr. Martin Luther?

I am fully aware that Lutherans quote the Church Fathers. I am fully aware of that. I stated what I said for a reason. I am sticking by my previous posts. If you can show me where they side with the Church Fathers against the Dr. Martin Luther then you will have a point. Until then what I said stands.

The later Lutherans may side with Phillop Melancthon against some of the stuff Luther said or they may side with the Reformed against Luther on some stuff, but show me where they will side with the Church Fathers against Luther?

Luther is not considered infallible among Lutherans.  Moving the goalposts to make this a discussion about who quotes whom against what doesn't change that.  Among other things, Luther's views on the Jews and his personal views on John 6 are widely disputed among Lutherans.  A tiny amount of research will reveal this rather quickly.  Further, it is only those of Luther's writings that are in the Lutheran Confessions that are considered confessionally binding on Lutherans -- and Lutherans can and frequently do cite the Lutheran Confessions (whether written by Luther, Melancthon, Chemnitz or whomever else) against Luther.

Whether any particular Lutheran has quoted the Fathers against his non-Confessional, private opinions or not I'm unaware.  The point is, Lutherans do not, as you claim, believe that the Bible according to Luther is what sola scriptura amounts to.  Nor is the citation from the Confessions you cite accurate when viewed in context.  And just so we're clear on what the claim was, here is your original statement that started this line of discussion:

To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said. And so you will get a combination of using the Church Fathers and church councils in some areas, but not in other areas. Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura.

This just is not a true statement.  Luther's opinions on the Scriptures are not the standard for the Lutheran Confession, the Lutheran Church or modern Lutherans.  His theological opinions are held in high regard, but they are not in any sense considered the standard for what Lutherans believe.  I was a pretty serious Lutheran for 10 years.  I have read the Book of Concord cover to cover multiple times.  I'm fully aware of what Lutheran's believe, teach and confess, and it isn't what you claimed in the post I cited above.
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« Reply #93 on: May 17, 2011, 10:08:24 PM »

but show me where they will side with the Church Fathers against Luther?

Can you show, for example, the Oriental Orthodox siding against St. Cyril? (I'm not saying you can't, I'm genuinely curious.)
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« Reply #94 on: May 17, 2011, 10:10:17 PM »

Show me where they quote a church father that contradicts the Dr. Martin Luther?

I am fully aware that Lutherans quote the Church Fathers. I am fully aware of that. I stated what I said for a reason. I am sticking by my previous posts. If you can show me where they side with the Church Fathers against the Dr. Martin Luther then you will have a point. Until then what I said stands.

The later Lutherans may side with Phillop Melancthon against some of the stuff Luther said or they may side with the Reformed against Luther on some stuff, but show me where they will side with the Church Fathers against Luther?

Luther is not considered infallible among Lutherans.  Moving the goalposts to make this a discussion about who quotes whom against what doesn't change that.  Among other things, Luther's views on the Jews and his personal views on John 6 are widely disputed among Lutherans.  A tiny amount of research will reveal this rather quickly.  Further, it is only those of Luther's writings that are in the Lutheran Confessions that are considered confessionally binding on Lutherans -- and Lutherans can and frequently do cite the Lutheran Confessions (whether written by Luther, Melancthon, Chemnitz or whomever else) against Luther.

Whether any particular Lutheran has quoted the Fathers against his non-Confessional, private opinions or not I'm unaware.  The point is, Lutherans do not, as you claim, believe that the Bible according to Luther is what sola scriptura amounts to.  Nor is the citation from the Confessions you cite accurate when viewed in context.  And just so we're clear on what the claim was, here is your original statement that started this line of discussion:

To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said. And so you will get a combination of using the Church Fathers and church councils in some areas, but not in other areas. Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura.

This just is not a true statement.  Luther's opinions on the Scriptures are not the standard for the Lutheran Confession, the Lutheran Church or modern Lutherans.  His theological opinions are held in high regard, but they are not in any sense considered the standard for what Lutherans believe.  I was a pretty serious Lutheran for 10 years.  I have read the Book of Concord cover to cover multiple times.  I'm fully aware of what Lutheran's believe, teach and confess, and it isn't what you claimed in the post I cited above.

Good post.
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« Reply #95 on: May 18, 2011, 05:34:27 AM »

Show me where they quote a church father that contradicts the Dr. Martin Luther?

I am fully aware that Lutherans quote the Church Fathers. I am fully aware of that. I stated what I said for a reason. I am sticking by my previous posts. If you can show me where they side with the Church Fathers against the Dr. Martin Luther then you will have a point. Until then what I said stands.

The later Lutherans may side with Phillop Melancthon against some of the stuff Luther said or they may side with the Reformed against Luther on some stuff, but show me where they will side with the Church Fathers against Luther?

Luther is not considered infallible among Lutherans.  Moving the goalposts to make this a discussion about who quotes whom against what doesn't change that.  Among other things, Luther's views on the Jews and his personal views on John 6 are widely disputed among Lutherans.  A tiny amount of research will reveal this rather quickly.  Further, it is only those of Luther's writings that are in the Lutheran Confessions that are considered confessionally binding on Lutherans -- and Lutherans can and frequently do cite the Lutheran Confessions (whether written by Luther, Melancthon, Chemnitz or whomever else) against Luther.

Whether any particular Lutheran has quoted the Fathers against his non-Confessional, private opinions or not I'm unaware.  The point is, Lutherans do not, as you claim, believe that the Bible according to Luther is what sola scriptura amounts to.  Nor is the citation from the Confessions you cite accurate when viewed in context.  And just so we're clear on what the claim was, here is your original statement that started this line of discussion:

To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said. And so you will get a combination of using the Church Fathers and church councils in some areas, but not in other areas. Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura.

This just is not a true statement.  Luther's opinions on the Scriptures are not the standard for the Lutheran Confession, the Lutheran Church or modern Lutherans.  His theological opinions are held in high regard, but they are not in any sense considered the standard for what Lutherans believe.  I was a pretty serious Lutheran for 10 years.  I have read the Book of Concord cover to cover multiple times.  I'm fully aware of what Lutheran's believe, teach and confess, and it isn't what you claimed in the post I cited above.

I didn't move the goal post. I mentioned Lutherans quoting the church fathers only when they are in agreement with what Luther says from the very beginning. I also said that they will argue with the fathers and scream Sola Scriptura when the fathers disagree with Luther.

Thus the goal post was not moved! If you want to prove me wrong then you will have to find confessional Lutherans that will side with the Fathers against Martin Luther. This will prove what I said as being false.

Now, I am not talking about liberal Lutherans, nor am I talking about the Lutheran Catholic counter part to the Anglo-Catholics.

I am saying what I'm saying for a reason. Also, in regards to the portion I quoted in the book of Concord, I said that they would have to ask a Lutheran as to what exactly that portion really means.

The only thing I had to prove (in quoting that) was a connection between the Lutheran version of Sola Scriptura with the interpretations of Martin Luther. I never said Lutherans believed Luther to be infallible. I never said that. I just connected their species of Sola Scriptura with Luthers views. Now are you saying that Martin Luther's views had absolutely nothing to do with the Lutheran version of Sola Scriptura?

If you concede in any way then my point is automatically proven. Any connection with Luther's views with the Lutheran view of Sola Scriptura proves my point.

You said you were a Lutheran for 10 years and so I would like to ask why didn't you interpret Scripture according to a consistent Reformed lens? Why didn't you interpret Scripture according to a Baptist lens? An Anabaptist lens? A Church of Christ lens? A Pentecostal lens? A Wesleyan lens?

Surely the Sainted Dr. Martin Luther had something to do with your version of Sola Scriptura.

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« Reply #96 on: May 18, 2011, 06:07:38 AM »

If I'm wrong about the Lutheran form of Sola Scriptura then I will apologize and say sorry. I will also correct my view of what makes the Lutheran version different from the other versions. But as of right now I see no reason why I should change my mind.

I showed you how to prove me wrong. I mean, I really have no dog in this fight. If I'm wrong then I'm wrong, but you have to really prove it, and the way to do it is to show confessional Lutherans siding with the Fathers against Martin Luther.
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« Reply #97 on: May 18, 2011, 06:29:27 AM »

but show me where they will side with the Church Fathers against Luther?

Can you show, for example, the Oriental Orthodox siding against St. Cyril? (I'm not saying you can't, I'm genuinely curious.)

If the OO's believed in Sola Scriptura then this would be relevant. But they don't and so it's not relevant. Now if you want to use other protestant families like the Reformed, the Anabaptists, the Cambellites, the Baptists.....etc. then I will give an answer.

The Campbellites version of Sola Scriptura is guided by the views and interpretations of Thomas Campbell, Alexander Campbell, and Barton W. Stone

The International Church of Christ campbellite branch would include one extra influence. And that extra influence would be Kip McKean.


And I would pretty much say the same for the influences of other protestant groups. For who were their founders as well as major Biblical interpreters? Once you know that then you will know why they interpret Scripture the way they do. Yeah, they all will claim Sola Scriptura but all of their Sola Scripturas are heavily influenced by various interpreters of the text.
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« Reply #98 on: May 18, 2011, 07:36:01 AM »

I didn't move the goal post. I mentioned Lutherans quoting the church fathers only when they are in agreement with what Luther says from the very beginning. I also said that they will argue with the fathers and scream Sola Scriptura when the fathers disagree with Luther.

Thus the goal post was not moved! If you want to prove me wrong then you will have to find confessional Lutherans that will side with the Fathers against Martin Luther. This will prove what I said as being false.

No sir.  Lets simplify it.  These are your words:

To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said.

This is not true.  It has never been true.  It is not what Lutherans believe about sola scriptura.  You moved the goalpost when you seized on the use of the Fathers by Lutherans as if a failure on their part to cite the fathers against what Luther believed somehow proves the above point, but it doesn't, and it can't.  

The Lutheran Confessions are the standard in Lutheranism.  OBVIOUSLY Lutherans won't quote the Fathers against the Confessions, and they are wrong in this, but the Confessions were not written by Martin Luther.  They were written by several different men, and as I have said, the CONFESSIONS are in fact cited against Luther's private views on various issues.

Now, if you don't want to take ownership of these words, then recant them (or at least stop defending them).  It's really that simple.  But the above statement cannot stand factually, because it's just not true.

Quote
Now, I am not talking about liberal Lutherans, nor am I talking about the Lutheran Catholic counter part to the Anglo-Catholics.

I am saying what I'm saying for a reason. Also, in regards to the portion I quoted in the book of Concord, I said that they would have to ask a Lutheran as to what exactly that portion really means.

And yet when corrected by a former Lutheran you persist in claiming it means what you said it means!  And I was not a liberal Lutheran, since you've brought that up twice.  I was in the LCMS, then WELS before seeking out Orthodoxy.  That dog won't hunt.

Quote
The only thing I had to prove (in quoting that) was a connection between the Lutheran version of Sola Scriptura with the interpretations of Martin Luther. I never said Lutherans believed Luther to be infallible. I never said that. I just connected their species of Sola Scriptura with Luthers views. Now are you saying that Martin Luther's views had absolutely nothing to do with the Lutheran version of Sola Scriptura?

If you concede in any way then my point is automatically proven. Any connection with Luther's views with the Lutheran view of Sola Scriptura proves my point.

You said you were a Lutheran for 10 years and so I would like to ask why didn't you interpret Scripture according to a consistent Reformed lens? Why didn't you interpret Scripture according to a Baptist lens? An Anabaptist lens? A Church of Christ lens? A Pentecostal lens? A Wesleyan lens?

Surely the Sainted Dr. Martin Luther had something to do with your version of Sola Scriptura.

No, I am saying they are not the standard for what is in the Confessions.  OBVIOUSLY Luther's views were influential.  That doesn't fairly argue that Lutherans believe sola scriptura means "interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said."  Those are your words.  Rather than defend them, you now add the fallacious argument that if I concede Luther's influence on the Confessions "in any way" your point is "automatically proven?"  Your point isn't proven in the slightest.  I suppose I could say if you type another response to my words my point is "automatically proven."  It would be as logical a conclusion as you have drawn here.

You said this was the standard -- "what Dr. Martin Luther said."  You said Lutherans "interpret the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said," as if that is the sole or even primary criteria for what Lutherans believe.  That's not true.  They cite the Fathers, they cite works against heretics, they cite to the Councils, not to mention Luther isn't the only author of the Confessions that Lutherans by definition bind themselves to.  How could the standard be what Luther said when Melancthon wrote as much as Luther?  All of that has been demonstrated, and yet you still persist in your fallacy.  Lutherans believe -- wrongly I think, but they still believe -- that they are teaching only that which the Church has always taught.  And they will defend that position, and I personally know one who is as solid in Patristics as anyone I know in any field.  I won't drag his name into this, because I'm sure he has better things to do than come here and defend Lutheran theology.  I spoke with him and a former Pastor of mine as we were converting to Orthodoxy at length, and trust me when I say this -- neither of them ever cited one thing Martin Luther ever said in arguing to me their view was right.  Both cited to the Church Fathers, to the Councils I cited to them, etc. at length.  I still have long citations to Augustine's work against Pelagius in my files as a result of those conversations.

Which is to say, I suppose it is your right to persist in this view, but you are still wrong.
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« Reply #99 on: May 18, 2011, 09:00:41 AM »

but show me where they will side with the Church Fathers against Luther?

Can you show, for example, the Oriental Orthodox siding against St. Cyril? (I'm not saying you can't, I'm genuinely curious.)

If the OO's believed in Sola Scriptura then this would be relevant. But they don't and so it's not relevant.

Does that mean you can't?

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« Reply #100 on: May 18, 2011, 09:06:14 AM »

Now are you saying that Martin Luther's views had absolutely nothing to do with the Lutheran version of Sola Scriptura?

If you concede in any way then my point is automatically proven. Any connection with Luther's views with the Lutheran view of Sola Scriptura proves my point.

Well then your point has changed. If your point from the beginning had been that there's a connection between Luther's views and the Lutheran view of Sola Scriptura then I wouldn't have argued with it. (Look over my posts and see if you can find even one where I disagreed with that statement.)
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« Reply #101 on: May 18, 2011, 09:17:47 AM »

And they will defend that position, and I personally know one who is as solid in Patristics as anyone I know in any field.  I won't drag his name into this, because I'm sure he has better things to do than come here and defend Lutheran theology.

Not that I want you to drag his name in, but I do wish he would come here and tell people about Lutheranism. There seems to be a real dearth of Protestant posters on this forum.
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« Reply #102 on: May 18, 2011, 10:37:09 AM »

You said you were a Lutheran for 10 years and so I would like to ask why didn't you interpret Scripture according to a consistent Reformed lens? Why didn't you interpret Scripture according to a Baptist lens? An Anabaptist lens? A Church of Christ lens? A Pentecostal lens? A Wesleyan lens?

Surely the Sainted Dr. Martin Luther had something to do with your version of Sola Scriptura.

I didn't address this initially, but it occurs to me my answer may actually help move the discussion forward. 

Why didn't I interpret Scripture according to a Baptist lens?  I was Baptist before I was Lutheran.  I had already rejected the Baptist view of the Scriptures on several fronts (most notably the pietistic strains that don't drink, smoke or chew or go with girls who do).  And the simple answer regarding the rest is I did not see their views of the Scriptures as being in keeping with what the Church had taught throughout time.  I did, at that time, see the Lutheran Confessions as teaching what the Church had always taught.  As I've said, they refute heresies, they specifically argue over and against other traditions that the Fathers support their view, etc.

I've said before, but it bears repeating -- theology initially made me a Lutheran.  I sought and, in Lutheranism, found, a loving God who was not waiting for me to believe well enough, decide sincerely enough, etc.  I was despairing because I viewed God as an angry judge who was waiting for me to get it right so He could find me worth saving.  That's not a knock on Baptists -- it's just what we received where we were and I could not find a loving God in that.  Lutheran theology was attractive to me because it was historic, sacramental and evangelical (in the true sense of the word -- "Gospel-centered").  I left Lutheranism precisely at the point it became apparent to me the historicity and sacramental nature of the Lutheran Confessions were not being taught as strongly where we were, and we viewed both of those problems as watering down the Gospel.

Which brings me to my point.  History -- specifically Patristics and a study of what the Church did through the Councils, kept me a Lutheran even as we watched the sacraments and the historic liturgy downplayed, and ultimately a failure to uphold this history prompted us to seek elsewhere.  We were convinced for quite a long time that Lutherans were teaching exactly what the Church had always taught.  When that historicity and catholicity were diminished, and when I studied that particular claim further, history in the end made us Orthodox.

I've read a lot of the various works of Martin Luther.  I've read his writings in the Confessions, I've read "Bondage of the Will," I've read his commentaries on various Scriptural works, etc.  Which is to say, certainly Luther's views formed my thinking as a Lutheran.  But Martin Luther, his writings and his ideas did not make me Lutheran nor keep me Lutheran, nor did I view him as anything other than a respectable theologian and a courageous reformer.  No Lutheran I know takes a "What Would Luther Do? (TM)" view of theology.  And I think it's also worth noting that I can count on one hand the material differences between what I believe now as Orthodox and what I believed then as a Lutheran, and even those are typically issues of degree rather than black/white disagreement.  For example, I always believed as a Lutheran that the departed Saints pray for the Church on earth but that we were not to request their intercession.  Now I specifically ask them to do intercede for me.  Is that a big difference?  I don't think so.  I held to the semper virgo as a Lutheran, so that didn't change.  We believed in the real presence, that didn't change.  I don't think Orthodox teach that we are saved on the merits of our own good works, so that hasn't changed.  Fundamentally, the biggest differences are taking an ontological view of soteriology over and against the juridical view, freedom of the human will versus bondage of the will, and what original sin, grace and synergy all mean in the life of the Christian.  My views on Christian anthropology for me changed way more than theology.

None of that is to say Lutherans and Orthodox believe the same things.  But in my estimation, if you rank traditions from closer to Orthodoxy to further away, Lutherans and traditional Anglicans are pushing Roman Catholics as the closest traditions.  And none of those holds to a typically Protestant view of sola scriptura.  All of them have a strong sense of history, tradition and Patristics. 
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« Reply #103 on: May 18, 2011, 04:05:01 PM »

Keble,

Are you saying that pre-nicene christians were non-trinitarians?

No. However there is a gradual rejection of non-trinitarian ideas leading up to Nicea. The point of Arianism to some degree is that it is pretty close-- an iota away, perhaps-- from the Nicene position. More obviously wrong positions (e.g. adoptionism) were rejected earlier. Also, there's an ex post facto element of this: if someone said something now considered heretical, they are now considered outside the church [/i]then[/i]. So who exactly constituted the church back then? This after-the-fact division is problematic: if back then they hadn't hashed out what the position of the church was, in one sense it is quite illegitimate to assign a position to the church back then.

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However, if you are saying that as a whole they didn't adhere to every word of the creed itself, and it's limits on what can be said vs what can't be said then I would agree. The pre-nicene world were more loose in their language. And Nicea was building on what they said, and so of course they wouldn't be held to the more stricter standards of Nicea and Constantinople 1.

That's roughly my point.
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« Reply #104 on: May 18, 2011, 06:36:37 PM »

David Garner,

You partially quoted what I said. This is the full quote:

Quote:
"Quote from: jnorm888 on May 10, 2011, 03:08:41 AM
To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said. And so you will get a combination of using the Church Fathers and church councils in some areas, but not in other areas. Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura."



You can't expect me to change my mind if you deliberately partially quote me. Compare that quote with this:

Quote:
"I didn't move the goal post. I mentioned Lutherans quoting the church fathers only when they are in agreement with what Luther says from the very beginning. I also said that they will argue with the fathers and scream Sola Scriptura when the fathers disagree with Luther.

Thus the goal post was not moved! If you want to prove me wrong then you will have to find confessional Lutherans that will side with the Fathers against Martin Luther. This will prove what I said as being false."



I don't see how I moved the goal post. The only way one could say that is if they ignored what I immediately said after this:

quote:
"To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said."

What I said immediately after should show why the goal post was never moved.



Quote
This is not true.  It has never been true.  It is not what Lutherans believe about sola scriptura.

Show me confessional Lutherans that will side with the Fathers against Martin Luther? I am pointing out their bias. Maybe they aren't able to see their bias, but I can see it. Lutherans aren't the only ones who scream Sola Scriptura!


Quote
You moved the goalpost when you seized on the use of the Fathers by Lutherans as if a failure on their part to cite the fathers against what Luther believed somehow proves the above point, but it doesn't, and it can't.

I still don't see how I moved the goal post. From the very beginning I said:

Quote:
 "Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura."


If you want to prove what I said wrong then you will have to show a confessional Lutheran siding with the Fathers against Martin Luther. I don't understand why you don't think that's fair. Especially if you want me to agree with what you're saying. If you want me to change my mind then this is what you will have to do.

I really don't understand why I must change my mind. I am showing you how to prove me wrong. I am showing you how I would be able to change my mind on the issue.


Quote
The Lutheran Confessions are the standard in Lutheranism.  OBVIOUSLY Lutherans won't quote the Fathers against the Confessions, and they are wrong in this, but the Confessions were not written by Martin Luther.  They were written by several different men, and as I have said, the CONFESSIONS are in fact cited against Luther's private views on various issues.


I already admitted that Lutherans will side with the Reformed against Martin Luther (on some issues). I also admitted that Lutherans will side with Phillip Melanchthon against Luther. But what I still will not admit.......untill I see it, is a confessional Lutheran siding with the Fathers against Luther.
If you show me this then I will modify my view.

Quote
Now, if you don't want to take ownership of these words, then recant them (or at least stop defending them).  It's really that simple.  But the above statement cannot stand factually, because it's just not true.


You can't expect me to recant if you partially quote me. This is the full quote:

"Quote from: jnorm888 on May 10, 2011, 03:08:41 AM
To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said. And so you will get a combination of using the Church Fathers and church councils in some areas, but not in other areas. Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura."



I see no reason to recant.


Quote
And yet when corrected by a former Lutheran you persist in claiming it means what you said it means!  And I was not a liberal Lutheran, since you've brought that up twice.  I was in the LCMS, then WELS before seeking out Orthodoxy.  That dog won't hunt.

To correct me is to show me a confessional Lutheran siding with the Fathers against Luther. Why? Because that would disprove what I said.


Quote
No, I am saying they are not the standard for what is in the Confessions.  OBVIOUSLY Luther's views were influential.

I am fully aware that the Confessions don't follow Luther on every point. I already admitted that Lutherans will side with Melanchthon and the Reformed against Luther. The focus of my statement was on the Fathers and councils.


"Quote from: jnorm888 on May 10, 2011, 03:08:41 AM
To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said. And so you will get a combination of using the Church Fathers and church councils in some areas, but not in other areas. Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura."




 
Quote
That doesn't fairly argue that Lutherans believe sola scriptura means "interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said."

What was the full context of my statement? This is the full quote:

"Quote from: jnorm888 on May 10, 2011, 03:08:41 AM
To Lutherans, Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said. And so you will get a combination of using the Church Fathers and church councils in some areas, but not in other areas. Where they agree with Luther's interpretation of the text then they will use them, but where they differ......well, they will argue with them and scream Sola Scriptura."




And so yes, It means that if they only quote the Fathers in areas where they agree with Martin Luther but Scream Sola Scriptura where they disagree with Martin Luther then Sola Scriptura to a confessional Lutheran would seem to be one of "interpreting the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said"

If you want to prove this wrong then you will have to show a confessional Lutheran siding with the Fathers against Martin Luther.


 
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Those are your words.  Rather than defend them, you now add the fallacious argument that if I concede Luther's influence on the Confessions "in any way" your point is "automatically proven?"

How is that fallacious? It would show that to a Lutheran, their version of Sola Scriptura is influenced by the interpretations of Martin Luther to some degree. From the very beginning I made a connection between the Lutheran version of Sola Scriptura with what Dr. Martin Luther says. And to explain in more detail the context of what I meant by that I included Lutherans only quoting the Fathers and councils in areas where they agree with Martin Luther while arguing with them and screaming Sola Scriptura when they disagree with them.

 Now you are a former Lutheran and so I understand why you would be offended. Of course it was sarcastic and of course there was some exaggeration, but surely you understand the point I tried to get across.



 
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Your point isn't proven in the slightest.

How so? Is Sola Scriptura a monolith? Or does the different protestant families have different versions of how to go about doing Sola Scriptura? I made a link between Martin Luther and the Lutheran version of Sola Scriptura. No matter how strong or weak the link is, any link would fall in my favor. For it would show, at least to some degree, the point I was trying to make.

 Would you feel better if I said that to confessional Lutherans Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what the Lutheran confessions say? And that wherever the Church Fathers agree with the Confessions they will use them but where they disagree with the confessions they will argue with the fathers and scream Sola Scriptura! Would you feel better if I said this?



 
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I suppose I could say if you type another response to my words my point is "automatically proven."  It would be as logical a conclusion as you have drawn here.

How much influence would you say Martin Luther has on modern day confessional Lutherans?



Quote
You said this was the standard -- "what Dr. Martin Luther said."  You said Lutherans "interpret the Bible according to what Dr. Martin Luther said," as if that is the sole or even primary criteria for what Lutherans believe.  That's not true.

I already admitted that Lutherans will side with Melanchthon and the Reformed against Martin Luther. I also said that they will quote the fathers and councils in areas where they agree with Martin Luther but will argue with the fathers and councils in areas where they disagree with Luther. If you want to prove me wrong then you will have to show confessional Lutherans siding with the Fathers against Luther.



 
Quote
They cite the Fathers, they cite works against heretics, they cite to the Councils,

Can you point out where I disagreed with this? I recall you saying this more than once and I never disagreed with this. From the very beginning I agreed that Lutherans make use of church fathers and councils in the areas where they agreed with Martin Luther. If you want to prove what I said as being false then you will have to show me where they also side with the Fathers against Luther.

You want me to recant and change my mind but I really don't see how. Yes, you have made me reconsider the strength of the connection between Martin Luther and confessional Lutherans. But I really don't understand why I must recant what you want me to recant.



 
Quote
not to mention Luther isn't the only author of the Confessions that Lutherans by definition bind themselves to.

I thought Concord was made some decades after Luther? But yeah, I agree with you here. My statement was a general statement. It was never meant to cover all the details. It was meant to prove a general point.


 
Quote
How could the standard be what Luther said when Melancthon wrote as much as Luther?

I already admitted that Lutherans will side with Melancthon against Luther on some issues.


Quote
All of that has been demonstrated, and yet you still persist in your fallacy
.

Show me where they side with the Fathers against Martin Luther? If you want to prove me wrong then this is the way to do it.



 
Quote
Lutherans believe -- wrongly I think, but they still believe -- that they are teaching only that which the Church has always taught.  And they will defend that position, and I personally know one who is as solid in Patristics as anyone I know in any field.  I won't drag his name into this, because I'm sure he has better things to do than come here and defend Lutheran theology.

Invite him to the board. Maybe he can show me where confessional Lutherans side with the fathers against Martin Luther.


 
Quote
I spoke with him and a former Pastor of mine as we were converting to Orthodoxy at length, and trust me when I say this -- neither of them ever cited one thing Martin Luther ever said in arguing to me their view was right.  Both cited to the Church Fathers, to the Councils I cited to them, etc. at length.  I still have long citations to Augustine's work against Pelagius in my files as a result of those conversations.

Can you show where in this thread I said Lutherans don't quote the fathers and church councils? I thought I always said that they quote the Fathers whenever such fathers are in agreement with Martin Luther but they will argue with the fathers and scream Sola Scriptura whenever such church fathers disagree with Martin Luther.

If this is what I always said on this thread then how can you make it seem as if I believed Lutherans don't quote the fathers? You want me to recant but I'm sorry, I don't see why I should. This conversation was helpful. You did make me re-think the strength of the link between Martin Luther and the Lutheran version of Sola Scriptura.


Quote
Which is to say, I suppose it is your right to persist in this view, but you are still wrong.

Like I said, I really don't have a dog in this fight. If someone can show me where confessional Lutherans side with the fathers against Luther on an issue then I will apologize and modify my view.

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« Reply #105 on: May 18, 2011, 07:01:44 PM »

Now are you saying that Martin Luther's views had absolutely nothing to do with the Lutheran version of Sola Scriptura?

If you concede in any way then my point is automatically proven. Any connection with Luther's views with the Lutheran view of Sola Scriptura proves my point.

Well then your point has changed. If your point from the beginning had been that there's a connection between Luther's views and the Lutheran view of Sola Scriptura then I wouldn't have argued with it. (Look over my posts and see if you can find even one where I disagreed with that statement.)

What's the difference?
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« Reply #106 on: May 18, 2011, 07:11:01 PM »

You said you were a Lutheran for 10 years and so I would like to ask why didn't you interpret Scripture according to a consistent Reformed lens? Why didn't you interpret Scripture according to a Baptist lens? An Anabaptist lens? A Church of Christ lens? A Pentecostal lens? A Wesleyan lens?

Surely the Sainted Dr. Martin Luther had something to do with your version of Sola Scriptura.

I didn't address this initially, but it occurs to me my answer may actually help move the discussion forward. 

Why didn't I interpret Scripture according to a Baptist lens?  I was Baptist before I was Lutheran.  I had already rejected the Baptist view of the Scriptures on several fronts (most notably the pietistic strains that don't drink, smoke or chew or go with girls who do).  And the simple answer regarding the rest is I did not see their views of the Scriptures as being in keeping with what the Church had taught throughout time.  I did, at that time, see the Lutheran Confessions as teaching what the Church had always taught.  As I've said, they refute heresies, they specifically argue over and against other traditions that the Fathers support their view, etc.

I've said before, but it bears repeating -- theology initially made me a Lutheran.  I sought and, in Lutheranism, found, a loving God who was not waiting for me to believe well enough, decide sincerely enough, etc.  I was despairing because I viewed God as an angry judge who was waiting for me to get it right so He could find me worth saving.  That's not a knock on Baptists -- it's just what we received where we were and I could not find a loving God in that.  Lutheran theology was attractive to me because it was historic, sacramental and evangelical (in the true sense of the word -- "Gospel-centered").  I left Lutheranism precisely at the point it became apparent to me the historicity and sacramental nature of the Lutheran Confessions were not being taught as strongly where we were, and we viewed both of those problems as watering down the Gospel.

Which brings me to my point.  History -- specifically Patristics and a study of what the Church did through the Councils, kept me a Lutheran even as we watched the sacraments and the historic liturgy downplayed, and ultimately a failure to uphold this history prompted us to seek elsewhere.  We were convinced for quite a long time that Lutherans were teaching exactly what the Church had always taught.  When that historicity and catholicity were diminished, and when I studied that particular claim further, history in the end made us Orthodox.

I've read a lot of the various works of Martin Luther.  I've read his writings in the Confessions, I've read "Bondage of the Will," I've read his commentaries on various Scriptural works, etc.  Which is to say, certainly Luther's views formed my thinking as a Lutheran.  But Martin Luther, his writings and his ideas did not make me Lutheran nor keep me Lutheran, nor did I view him as anything other than a respectable theologian and a courageous reformer.  No Lutheran I know takes a "What Would Luther Do? (TM)" view of theology.  And I think it's also worth noting that I can count on one hand the material differences between what I believe now as Orthodox and what I believed then as a Lutheran, and even those are typically issues of degree rather than black/white disagreement.  For example, I always believed as a Lutheran that the departed Saints pray for the Church on earth but that we were not to request their intercession.  Now I specifically ask them to do intercede for me.  Is that a big difference?  I don't think so.  I held to the semper virgo as a Lutheran, so that didn't change.  We believed in the real presence, that didn't change.  I don't think Orthodox teach that we are saved on the merits of our own good works, so that hasn't changed.  Fundamentally, the biggest differences are taking an ontological view of soteriology over and against the juridical view, freedom of the human will versus bondage of the will, and what original sin, grace and synergy all mean in the life of the Christian.  My views on Christian anthropology for me changed way more than theology.

None of that is to say Lutherans and Orthodox believe the same things.  But in my estimation, if you rank traditions from closer to Orthodoxy to further away, Lutherans and traditional Anglicans are pushing Roman Catholics as the closest traditions.  And none of those holds to a typically Protestant view of sola scriptura.  All of them have a strong sense of history, tradition and Patristics. 


Thanks for giving your testimony. I really enjoyed reading it. I also saw how emotional this topic is for you and so it's probably best if I stopped pressing you on the issue. I did learn a few things in our conversation. I have reconsidered the strength of my argument. The strength of the connection between Martin Luther with modern confessional Lutherans. But with that said, until I find where Confessional Lutheranism sides with the fathers against Martin Luther.....well, until I am shown that then I see no reason for me to recant.



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« Reply #107 on: May 18, 2011, 08:02:39 PM »

Would you feel better if I said that to confessional Lutherans Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what the Lutheran confessions say? And that wherever the Church Fathers agree with the Confessions they will use them but where they disagree with the confessions they will argue with the fathers and scream Sola Scriptura! Would you feel better if I said this?

But you didn't say that.
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« Reply #108 on: May 18, 2011, 10:18:12 PM »

David Garner,

You partially quoted what I said. This is the full quote:

I did that because it seems you don't understand what my objection is to what you wrote.  That's probably my fault for being unclear.  Let me try again.

I don't disagree that Lutherans quote the Fathers selectively.  If pressed I'd have to confess we Orthodox do the same, though I think we are more consistent in our application of St. Vincent's rule as the arbiter of which Fathers we quote for what premise (which is only to say that I think Lutherans tend to reject what the Fathers say when they disagree with what the Confessions say, whereas Orthodox tend to reject what the Fathers say when the Father in question disagrees with the prior consensus of the other Fathers).  My concern is pretty simple -- your statement seems to suggest that the determining factor for what Lutherans believe is what Martin Luther says the Bible means.  That's why I quoted that part of your statement -- it's the only part I really disagree with.

Quote
Would you feel better if I said that to confessional Lutherans Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what the Lutheran confessions say? And that wherever the Church Fathers agree with the Confessions they will use them but where they disagree with the confessions they will argue with the fathers and scream Sola Scriptura! Would you feel better if I said this?

Actually, yes.  Because that's what Lutherans believe.  I would personally refrain from using phrases like "they will argue with the Fathers and scream Sola Scriptura!"  That's a matter of taste, I admit, but I don't think it's particularly helpful to make a caricature of people you disagree with, and those words seem to do that.  But at the end of the day, the accurate way to portray Lutherans is they adhere to the Book of Concord as an exact and correct exposition of what the Scriptures say, and they cite to the Fathers to back up that view.  It is a fair criticism that where the Fathers do not back up the views in the Book of Concord (i.e., with requesting the intercession of the Saints), the Fathers' position is rejected and the defense to this rejection of the Fathers is sola scriptura.

And for what it's worth, *I* don't have a dog in this hunt where it comes to defending Lutherans on sola scriptura other than to be sure we are fair with those we disagree with. And it's not an emotional issue for me, it's more of a practical issue.  My concern with what you said is that it has the potential to make us as Orthodox look bad, not that it makes Lutherans look bad.  One of the reasons I became convinced Orthodoxy was true is a lot of the criticisms of Orthodoxy from Lutherans and others turned out to be false caricatures of what we Orthodox actually believe.  We were accused of being Pelagian, of believing in salvation by works, etc.  I'm no theologian, and while I'm well read in Church history I'm pretty far from a historian, so I have to weigh arguments from the standpoint of a layman.  One way I do that is simple -- if what someone says does not square with what I see with my own two eyes, I have to assume that person doesn't know what he is talking about and I therefore reject their argument.  When someone tells me Orthodox believe we save ourselves by our good works, and I look around at what we are actually taught in the Liturgy, sermons, catechism, etc. and that isn't at all what we are being taught, it is pretty easy to reject such an argument.  So I think it's important to state what we believe accurately, but I think it's far more important to ensure that what we say about those we disagree with is accurate.  Potentially, someone who might agree with us and end up in the Church could harden their heart against us because we were unfair and unkind in our portrayal of what they believe.  And that's just from a practical standpoint  -- I haven't even gotten to the matter of the holy obligation to refrain from bearing false witness against our neighbors.

At any rate, we've probably spent too much bandwidth on this issue.  My apologies for my lack of clarity.  I hope the above makes my concerns a bit clearer.
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« Reply #109 on: May 18, 2011, 10:43:00 PM »

I did that because it seems you don't understand what my objection is to what you wrote.  That's probably my fault for being unclear.  Let me try again.

David Garner and jnorm888,

I don't know if it's because David has more patience than I do, or because he's Orthodox and I'm not, or what, but personally I don't plan to "try again". To my mind, I've explained why jnorm was wrong (and also which statements were wrong -- certainly I don't claim that every single statement he made was wrong), and I don't feel that I owe any further explanation than what I've already given.

Blessing to you both.

P.S. David, I read your last post (although I only quoted the first paragraph of it above) and I think it was excellent. I wish we all were so concerned with correctly representing those we disagree with.
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« Reply #110 on: May 19, 2011, 06:44:48 PM »

David Garner,

You partially quoted what I said. This is the full quote:

I did that because it seems you don't understand what my objection is to what you wrote.  That's probably my fault for being unclear.  Let me try again.

I don't disagree that Lutherans quote the Fathers selectively.  If pressed I'd have to confess we Orthodox do the same, though I think we are more consistent in our application of St. Vincent's rule as the arbiter of which Fathers we quote for what premise (which is only to say that I think Lutherans tend to reject what the Fathers say when they disagree with what the Confessions say, whereas Orthodox tend to reject what the Fathers say when the Father in question disagrees with the prior consensus of the other Fathers).  My concern is pretty simple -- your statement seems to suggest that the determining factor for what Lutherans believe is what Martin Luther says the Bible means.  That's why I quoted that part of your statement -- it's the only part I really disagree with.

Quote
Would you feel better if I said that to confessional Lutherans Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what the Lutheran confessions say? And that wherever the Church Fathers agree with the Confessions they will use them but where they disagree with the confessions they will argue with the fathers and scream Sola Scriptura! Would you feel better if I said this?

Actually, yes.  Because that's what Lutherans believe.  I would personally refrain from using phrases like "they will argue with the Fathers and scream Sola Scriptura!"  That's a matter of taste, I admit, but I don't think it's particularly helpful to make a caricature of people you disagree with, and those words seem to do that.  But at the end of the day, the accurate way to portray Lutherans is they adhere to the Book of Concord as an exact and correct exposition of what the Scriptures say, and they cite to the Fathers to back up that view.  It is a fair criticism that where the Fathers do not back up the views in the Book of Concord (i.e., with requesting the intercession of the Saints), the Fathers' position is rejected and the defense to this rejection of the Fathers is sola scriptura.

And for what it's worth, *I* don't have a dog in this hunt where it comes to defending Lutherans on sola scriptura other than to be sure we are fair with those we disagree with. And it's not an emotional issue for me, it's more of a practical issue.  My concern with what you said is that it has the potential to make us as Orthodox look bad, not that it makes Lutherans look bad.  One of the reasons I became convinced Orthodoxy was true is a lot of the criticisms of Orthodoxy from Lutherans and others turned out to be false caricatures of what we Orthodox actually believe.  We were accused of being Pelagian, of believing in salvation by works, etc.  I'm no theologian, and while I'm well read in Church history I'm pretty far from a historian, so I have to weigh arguments from the standpoint of a layman.  One way I do that is simple -- if what someone says does not square with what I see with my own two eyes, I have to assume that person doesn't know what he is talking about and I therefore reject their argument.  When someone tells me Orthodox believe we save ourselves by our good works, and I look around at what we are actually taught in the Liturgy, sermons, catechism, etc. and that isn't at all what we are being taught, it is pretty easy to reject such an argument.  So I think it's important to state what we believe accurately, but I think it's far more important to ensure that what we say about those we disagree with is accurate.  Potentially, someone who might agree with us and end up in the Church could harden their heart against us because we were unfair and unkind in our portrayal of what they believe.  And that's just from a practical standpoint  -- I haven't even gotten to the matter of the holy obligation to refrain from bearing false witness against our neighbors.

At any rate, we've probably spent too much bandwidth on this issue.  My apologies for my lack of clarity.  I hope the above makes my concerns a bit clearer.

Understood. And thanks for being patient with me.
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« Reply #111 on: May 19, 2011, 06:46:03 PM »

Would you feel better if I said that to confessional Lutherans Sola Scriptura is pretty much interpreting the Bible according to what the Lutheran confessions say? And that wherever the Church Fathers agree with the Confessions they will use them but where they disagree with the confessions they will argue with the fathers and scream Sola Scriptura! Would you feel better if I said this?

But you didn't say that.

You're right. I didn't say it. But I will say it in the future......modified of course.
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« Reply #112 on: May 19, 2011, 06:48:10 PM »

I did that because it seems you don't understand what my objection is to what you wrote.  That's probably my fault for being unclear.  Let me try again.

David Garner and jnorm888,

I don't know if it's because David has more patience than I do, or because he's Orthodox and I'm not, or what, but personally I don't plan to "try again". To my mind, I've explained why jnorm was wrong (and also which statements were wrong -- certainly I don't claim that every single statement he made was wrong), and I don't feel that I owe any further explanation than what I've already given.

Blessing to you both.

P.S. David, I read your last post (although I only quoted the first paragraph of it above) and I think it was excellent. I wish we all were so concerned with correctly representing those we disagree with.

Are you a former Lutheran too?
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« Reply #113 on: May 28, 2011, 01:52:21 AM »

So to Lutherans Sola scriptura= throw through the window all the historical documents of Christianity, bring in some documents written by a man named Luther and if it is not in Bible or Luther Documents then Sola Imagination.
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« Reply #114 on: May 28, 2011, 04:53:21 AM »

I would personally refrain from using phrases like "they will argue with the Fathers and scream Sola Scriptura!"  That's a matter of taste, I admit, but I don't think it's particularly helpful to make a caricature of people you disagree with, and those words seem to do that.  But at the end of the day, the accurate way to portray Lutherans is they adhere to the Book of Concord as an exact and correct exposition of what the Scriptures say, and they cite to the Fathers to back up that view.  It is a fair criticism that where the Fathers do not back up the views in the Book of Concord (i.e., with requesting the intercession of the Saints), the Fathers' position is rejected and the defense to this rejection of the Fathers is sola scriptura.

May I, as another David, warmly endorse what my namesake has written? Indeed, other than the specific reference to Lutherans and the Book of Concord, it seems to me, mutatis mutandis, that what he says is true of any Evangelical, including me.
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« Reply #115 on: May 28, 2011, 07:46:08 AM »

So to Lutherans Sola scriptura= throw through the window all the historical documents of Christianity, bring in some documents written by a man named Luther and if it is not in Bible or Luther Documents then Sola Imagination.

Uh, no.   You might want to read everything above your post.
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« Reply #116 on: May 31, 2011, 11:22:54 AM »

I suppose my biggest problem with Sola Scriptura is that no one can really believe it. One must either:

1. Appeal ultimately to reason, so "the Bible says"= "this is what I think the Bible says based on my logical reasoning" (the Church of Christ "common sense" approach) or "the Bible says"= "this is what I think the Bible says based on linguistic and historical research" (the approach of most modern Protestants, at least in the US).

2. Appeal to "what the historic church has always held as essential" (usually meaning the Apostles', Nicene, Athanasian, and Chalcedonian Creeds). So even if Scripture appears to be leading one in a certain direction, eg. denial of the Virgin Birth, one should still reject this since it violates semper, ubique, omnibus.

3. Or appeal to inner experience or the "Spirit's guidance" in interpretation.

Other than the Churches of Christ and the Quakers, every denomination I'm aware of mixes and matches these to some extent. But still it doesn't seem to me that any of these use "the Bible" as their final source. Even Perspicuity of Scripture isn't held to apply to the entire Bible, but only the basics of salvation in the Protestant sense (unless maybe if the Church of Christ view is considered to be the Perspicuity of all facets of Scripture, but this doesn't seem to be what they in fact hold to).

So to me, Sola Scriptura seems illogical with the possible exception of some bizarre hypothetical, "a child is qualified to explicate the entire Bible" view.

However, my next question is, do the Orthodox have the same problem? I mean, everyone who converts to Orthodoxy must read-up. go to Liturgy, talk to a priest, and finally decide for themselves whether these things are of God, don't they? So then, as the saying in science goes, a problem for everyone is a problem for no one. Or am I missing something (about either view)?
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« Reply #117 on: May 31, 2011, 12:41:54 PM »

everyone who converts to Orthodoxy must ... finally decide for themselves whether these things are of God, don't they?

Yes. This is exactly what I have been saying (in different words) on one or more other threads. In itself it argues neither for nor against the Evangelical or the Orthodox view; but you are right, in the last analysis, the individual Christian decides for himself which side of the fence to jump. He is not saying he has the grace, intelligence, perception or whatever to weigh up God's truth, to accept or discard it; rather, he is weighing up what the locus of divinely given authority is, where God has deposited the transcript of his truth, and is sincerely and (one hopes) humbly bowing to what he believes that authority is.
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« Reply #118 on: May 31, 2011, 02:55:11 PM »

everyone who converts to Orthodoxy must ... finally decide for themselves whether these things are of God, don't they?

Yes. This is exactly what I have been saying (in different words) on one or more other threads. In itself it argues neither for nor against the Evangelical or the Orthodox view; but you are right, in the last analysis, the individual Christian decides for himself which side of the fence to jump. He is not saying he has the grace, intelligence, perception or whatever to weigh up God's truth, to accept or discard it; rather, he is weighing up what the locus of divinely given authority is, where God has deposited the transcript of his truth, and is sincerely and (one hopes) humbly bowing to what he believes that authority is.
The only relevant difference I can think of is Orthodoxy's insistence on an existential/aesthetic level of acceptance (or holistic or whatever the best term is) in addition to the purely rational.

So perhaps Orthodox authority (in the since of being on the outside coming in) isn't like that of classical Protestantism but more like Pentecostalism in which the Spirit "confirms" correct interpretation.
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« Reply #119 on: May 31, 2011, 03:41:31 PM »

everyone who converts to Orthodoxy must ... finally decide for themselves whether these things are of God, don't they?

Yes. This is exactly what I have been saying (in different words) on one or more other threads. In itself it argues neither for nor against the Evangelical or the Orthodox view; but you are right, in the last analysis, the individual Christian decides for himself which side of the fence to jump. He is not saying he has the grace, intelligence, perception or whatever to weigh up God's truth, to accept or discard it; rather, he is weighing up what the locus of divinely given authority is, where God has deposited the transcript of his truth, and is sincerely and (one hopes) humbly bowing to what he believes that authority is.
The only relevant difference I can think of is Orthodoxy's insistence on an existential/aesthetic level of acceptance (or holistic or whatever the best term is) in addition to the purely rational.

So perhaps Orthodox authority (in the since of being on the outside coming in) isn't like that of classical Protestantism but more like Pentecostalism in which the Spirit "confirms" correct interpretation.

I don't think that's right at all.

Our view is not that the Spirit "confirms" correct interpretation, but that the Spirit has given to His Church the promise of correct interpretation.  There's probably a better way to phrase that, but I hope I'm making sense.

Each believer has to decide for himself what the authority is.  That much I think you have right.  But once one decides the authority is the Church and not some individualistic (or unhistorical corporate) view of the Scriptures, then the real question is "where is the Church?"  If one makes the Scriptures to be authoritative in and of themselves apart from the Church that bore them, one is left with the problem of whose interpretation is right.  That's a different problem than the one we have.  As we view the Church and the place of the Scriptures within the Church, all we need to demonstrate is we are in fact the Church in order to have the authoritative interpretation.  Which is to say, we believe Christ has promised the Holy Spirit would lead the Church into all truth and make her the pillar and ground of the truth.  We need not ask whether the Church has rightly interpreted the Scriptures on matters where the entire Church is in agreement, and we dare not pretend she has in matters where she lacks agreement. 

But none of that is fairly compared to the Pentecostal view of the Spirit leading individual believers to truth apart from the Scriptures, the Church or anything else concrete.  We do have a concrete authority.
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« Reply #120 on: May 31, 2011, 04:20:57 PM »

I'm not talking about how the Orthodox Church determines doctrine, sorry I wasn't clear. I'm talking about how somebody in my shoes is supposed to decide whether Orthodoxy is True Church.

If all it takes is rationally looking at the evidence then how is that different from taking the same approach to Scripture Alone, with all the problems in that which I highlighted above of course. Is there such a thing as Perspicuity of the Fathers?

If on the other hand, I am to search for some sort of "mystical" confirmation of the Church, then the above dilemma no longer applies.
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« Reply #121 on: June 01, 2011, 03:37:34 AM »

I wasn't clear. I'm talking about how somebody in my shoes is supposed to decide whether Orthodoxy is True Church.

You were clear. That is exactly what I for one took you to mean.
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« Reply #122 on: June 01, 2011, 04:10:05 AM »

I wasn't clear. I'm talking about how somebody in my shoes is supposed to decide whether Orthodoxy is True Church.

You were clear. That is exactly what I for one took you to mean.
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« Reply #123 on: June 01, 2011, 06:55:41 AM »

I'm not talking about how the Orthodox Church determines doctrine, sorry I wasn't clear. I'm talking about how somebody in my shoes is supposed to decide whether Orthodoxy is True Church.

If all it takes is rationally looking at the evidence then how is that different from taking the same approach to Scripture Alone, with all the problems in that which I highlighted above of course. Is there such a thing as Perspicuity of the Fathers?

If on the other hand, I am to search for some sort of "mystical" confirmation of the Church, then the above dilemma no longer applies.

Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but if that's the case, where is the disagreement?  The part of your post I took issue with was where you said Orthodoxy is "more like Pentecostalism in which the Spirit 'confirms' correct interpretation."  My position seems to be what you contend you argued all along -- in Orthodoxy, it is not that the Spirit "confirms" correct interpretation, but rather it is that the Spirit has promised to do so within the Church.  So if you find the Church, there you have found correct interpretation.  That's not an individualistic view of the Spirit's work as you find in Pentecostalism, but rather a question precisely of authority and where it is found.

The reason I'm confused as to your clarification and correction is I believe I agreed with you on what you clarified:

Each believer has to decide for himself what the authority is.  That much I think you have right.  But once one decides the authority is the Church and not some individualistic (or unhistorical corporate) view of the Scriptures, then the real question is "where is the Church?"

I suppose I'd answer your question "how is that different" by saying in a sense it isn't, but there is quite a bit more evidence than just textual interpretation, or even trusting the interpretation of the Fathers, as to where the Church is.  There is historical evidence, archaeological evidence, etc.  One can determine not only who the Church was, but where she was located, what she taught, who her bishops were, who she considered to be heretical, etc.  And we can learn this not only from those within her ranks, but also from those outside her ranks.  So even though it's the same basic process, I think it's different in the type of proof that is there.  In fact, some Protestants (but not all, as I have noted above) take "sola Scriptura" to mean that looking outside the Scriptures is wrong and one should look to the four corners of the Bible for doctrine.  In doing that, one limits the type of evidence that is available based on one's hermeneutical principles. 

If I have to "show you where the Church is" from Scripture, that can certainly be done.  But if I tell you the Church of Antioch whose founding was recorded in Acts 11 still exists today, and you say "show her to me, but don't talk history, show me only from Scripture," well that puts both of us in a bit of a pickle, doesn't it?  Conversely, if you are willing to take what the Scriptures say and overlay that against history both at the time and since that time, the continuous existence of the New Testament Church comes into much clearer focus.  So I suppose it depends on what one means when one says "sola Scriptura."  And how and on what basis one argues they are the New Testament Church and we somehow are not (total apostasy of the Church, etc.).

As I said before, history as much as anything is responsible for me being Orthodox today.  One thing that was huge for me was the realization that the Lutheran position essentially required me to say the gates of Hell had prevailed against the Church in a very real sense.  There was the claim that the Church is "where the Word is preached in its purity and the Sacraments administered in accordance with their institution" (the word "remnant" gets used a lot in these discussions).  But the community of believers -- the Church in the New Testament sense -- ceased to be at some point between Nicea and 1054 AD and was not recovered in any real organic sense until the 16th century.  That was problematic for me.  What I would expect to see, reading the New Testament and Church history on how the Church came to develop, would be a continuous line of Lutheran believers.  Lutherans establish this by pointing to Fathers who agreed with them (or appeared to agree with them, in some instances), but they cannot point to a continual community where what they taught was also taught throughout history.  It was piecemeal.  The Fathers they cite were pre-schism Church Fathers, or Roman Catholic Fathers, or Eastern Orthodox Fathers.  They aren't outside those communions -- they remained in communion with one of the three.  Issues like intercessory prayer to the Saints and veneration of the Theotokos (the latter to a MUCH lesser extent than the former) and the Sacramental understanding of marriage, Holy Orders, etc. were taught in concert both pre-schism and post-schism by both sides of the schism.  That's not an easy thing to overlook.  So either the Church apostasized in an institutional sense prior to the schism, or somehow, magically, the Church in schism managed on both sides of the divide to fall into the exact same errors even though neither side were communicating with each other and even though either side would have loved to have an innovative new teaching with which to accuse the other side of apostasy.  Historically, neither option makes any sense at all.
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« Reply #124 on: June 01, 2011, 07:33:00 AM »

I think that if proven unbroken historical continuity on an organisational level is what identifies "the only true church", then, of the denominations I know about, Orthodoxy wins without question - though I know very little indeed about the Middle Eastern churches. However, it has never been shown (to my mind):

a) that proven unbroken historical continuity is indeed required - or even unproven for that matter (else might we not all opt to become Waldensian?); or

b) that there is even such a visible, identifiable, formal society as "the only true church".

So your argument, David, starts too far along the chain: there need to be earlier links which, at present, are not in place for Volnutt or me. (If they were there, I guess there would be no Orthodox-Protestant discussion forum, as there would presumably be no Protestants.)

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« Reply #125 on: June 01, 2011, 07:57:08 AM »

I think that if proven unbroken historical continuity on an organisational level

What about historical continuity of doctrine and interpretation of scripture?
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« Reply #126 on: June 01, 2011, 08:06:00 AM »

I think that if proven unbroken historical continuity on an organisational level is what identifies "the only true church", then, of the denominations I know about, Orthodoxy wins without question - though I know very little indeed about the Middle Eastern churches. However, it has never been shown (to my mind):

a) that proven unbroken historical continuity is indeed required - or even unproven for that matter (else might we not all opt to become Waldensian?); or

b) that there is even such a visible, identifiable, formal society as "the only true church".

So your argument, David, starts too far along the chain: there need to be earlier links which, at present, are not in place for Volnutt or me. (If they were there, I guess there would be no Orthodox-Protestant discussion forum, as there would presumably be no Protestants.)

Pax vobiscum omnibus.


Pastor Young,

It seems to me you haven't agreed that the Church is the authority in the first place, so that would be the logical place to start since that is precisely the issue under discussion.  If not the Church, what?

And if the Church, based upon what do you claim to be the Church?

As to your specific comments, first Orthodoxy doesn't win by default.  Roman Catholicism or Anglicanism could easily make the same claim.  I believe Orthodoxy wins, but not "without question."  As to whether unbroken historical continuity is required, if not then as I said, the gates of hell prevailed against the Church.  Or, alternatively, the Church is no longer what it once was (which seems odd, historically).  Or, alternatively, the Church somehow never was what it appeared to be by reading the Scriptures (which is to say, united, in communion with the other local Churches, etc.).  

But the Scriptures describe the development of the Church.  That much should not be in dispute.  It is my contention that the Scriptural description squares with what we see in Orthodoxy at present.  We can follow the development of the Orthodox Church throughout time.  If you would care to explain how you get around that issue, I'd love to hear it.  But as things stand now you have offered no alternative, instead opting to say "you haven't proven your case, try again."
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« Reply #127 on: June 01, 2011, 09:31:07 AM »

Pastor Young,

It seems to me you haven't agreed that the Church is the authority

I suspect that if I had the time, knowledge and ability to write a whole book on the subject, it would not convince you. In the last analysis (which, I think, is also what Volnutt is saying) there is a subjective element, a leap of faith - though not entirely blind faith, for one has to believe what seems most cogent from within one's own sphere of knowledge, experience and reasoning. I'd like to turn your question round the other way, to ask, not "Why do I not believe in the Orthodox church as the only true church?" but rather to ask, "Why do I believe in Evangelicalism?" Answering that would not of course give positive or active reasons against Orthodoxy.

I guess most of us are more influenced that we realise by what we learn from the cradle onwards, and I came to faith (aged 16) within Methodism, and was quickly captivated by the story of Methodism as a vibrant, Evangelical movement. I would not wish to deny that strong and enduring influence. (If I had come to faith within Orthodoxy, I might well have been as committed an adherent of Orthodoxy: I am aware of that.) So my question for myself was not "Where should I go?" but rather "Should I stay?" Two features of Methodism led me out of it, namely, that present-day Methodism bears little resemblance to what was preached and practised, say, 1738-ca 1850; and I came to believe in believers' baptism. (I hasten to add that I have not fallen out with Methodists as people, and still preach in their pulpits whenever invited, as this coming Sunday for example.) So I joined the Baptists, but was still as fully within the Evangelical fraternity as when in Methodism. From that I did not move, nor ever have, though nigh on half a century has elapsed. So, the question is, Why have I stayed? or better, Why do I stay?

We could rehearse all the arguments men have devised for believing that the final, supreme and sufficient authority is the Church, or is the Bible, but we would do no more than repeat what can easily be read elsewhere: neither time nor inclinatuion lead me that way. I think the basic question is not, "Why believe in scripture as the sufficient and supreme authority?" but (for me - I am not answering for anyone else): "Where is God present and active in blessing?" Putting it another way, one could say, Where have I (as far as I can discern) seen God calling sinners, bringing people to a joyful assurance of forgiveness and acceptance, changing habits and fallen characters, healing broken lives, moving his people to reach out ardently to be his instruments in achieving these ends in others, and giving people a sustained urge to praise and worship the Son of God?

As I read the history of the Evangelical movement over (my main period of interest) the past two centuries, I believe I see this in Evangelicalism. Thus I believe that within that context people really encounter God and are made his children in union with Jesus Christ. Therefore I stay, believing it to be real Christianity. One of its tenets is the sufficiency of scripture, and so I believe that too.

Now, as I said just now, these are not arguments against anything else: they are positive, pointing to the validity of Evangelicalism; they are not negative, negating other contexts. So if you were to say to me that those very features which persuade me that God blesses Evangelical religion and that it is therefore valid are also experienced within Orthodoxy, I hope I would be like Barnabas of old, of whom it is written that "when he saw the grace of God, he was glad." But even if you established that (and I am not saying you could not do so), it would not give me reason to shift from one valid Christian context to another.

This does not answer all your questions, but as I say, there are multitudes of books and articles which do that more ably and more fully than I could. But I have tried to give you my personal answer.
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« Reply #128 on: June 01, 2011, 09:52:50 AM »

I suspect that if I had the time, knowledge and ability to write a whole book on the subject, it would not convince you.

It probably shouldn't surprise you that I suspect the converse is likewise true, but you may assume too much of me.  I was raised Baptist.  I lived the book you would write for around 31 years or so of my life.

Quote
In the last analysis (which, I think, is also what Volnutt is saying) there is a subjective element, a leap of faith - though not entirely blind faith, for one has to believe what seems most cogent from within one's own sphere of knowledge, experience and reasoning. I'd like to turn your question round the other way, to ask, not "Why do I not believe in the Orthodox church as the only true church?" but rather to ask, "Why do I believe in Evangelicalism?" Answering that would not of course give positive or active reasons against Orthodoxy.

I guess most of us are more influenced that we realise by what we learn from the cradle onwards, and I came to faith (aged 16) within Methodism, and was quickly captivated by the story of Methodism as a vibrant, Evangelical movement. I would not wish to deny that strong and enduring influence. (If I had come to faith within Orthodoxy, I might well have been as committed an adherent of Orthodoxy: I am aware of that.) So my question for myself was not "Where should I go?" but rather "Should I stay?" Two features of Methodism led me out of it, namely, that present-day Methodism bears little resemblance to what was preached and practised, say, 1738-ca 1850; and I came to believe in believers' baptism. (I hasten to add that I have not fallen out with Methodists as people, and still preach in their pulpits whenever invited, as this coming Sunday for example.) So I joined the Baptists, but was still as fully within the Evangelical fraternity as when in Methodism. From that I did not move, nor ever have, though nigh on half a century has elapsed. So, the question is, Why have I stayed? or better, Why do I stay?

We could rehearse all the arguments men have devised for believing that the final, supreme and sufficient authority is the Church, or is the Bible, but we would do no more than repeat what can easily be read elsewhere: neither time nor inclinatuion lead me that way. I think the basic question is not, "Why believe in scripture as the sufficient and supreme authority?" but (for me - I am not answering for anyone else): "Where is God present and active in blessing?" Putting it another way, one could say, Where have I (as far as I can discern) seen God calling sinners, bringing people to a joyful assurance of forgiveness and acceptance, changing habits and fallen characters, healing broken lives, moving his people to reach out ardently to be his instruments in achieving these ends in others, and giving people a sustained urge to praise and worship the Son of God?

As I read the history of the Evangelical movement over (my main period of interest) the past two centuries, I believe I see this in Evangelicalism. Thus I believe that within that context people really encounter God and are made his children in union with Jesus Christ. Therefore I stay, believing it to be real Christianity. One of its tenets is the sufficiency of scripture, and so I believe that too.

Now, as I said just now, these are not arguments against anything else: they are positive, pointing to the validity of Evangelicalism; they are not negative, negating other contexts. So if you were to say to me that those very features which persuade me that God blesses Evangelical religion and that it is therefore valid are also experienced within Orthodoxy, I hope I would be like Barnabas of old, of whom it is written that "when he saw the grace of God, he was glad." But even if you established that (and I am not saying you could not do so), it would not give me reason to shift from one valid Christian context to another.

This does not answer all your questions, but as I say, there are multitudes of books and articles which do that more ably and more fully than I could. But I have tried to give you my personal answer.

Thank you for that.  I would, as you suspect, counter that the blessings you experience in Evangelicalism are present (and, in my estimation, to a greater degree by far) in Orthodoxy.  I suspect the parenthetical note may have something to do with our separation by that great pond known as the Atlantic Ocean, but that's my observation at any rate.  But more to the point, whether a "Christian context" is "valid" in some sense really doesn't get us to where the authority is.  Not the "final" or "supreme" authority, but authority in general.  We hold the Scriptures to be authoritative, too.  But we hold them to be authoritative in their context within the Church, not as interpreted by those who are outside the Church (in a canonical sense, mind you -- I'm not saying you lack grace or salvation).  Which is to say, we believe the Scriptures are authoritative, and we believe the Church has the authority to determine and state what the Scriptures teach.  We don't separate those two from each other.  Further, there are questions that naturally arise if Scripture is held to be its own authority apart from the Church, not the least of which being "what was the authority before the Scriptures were written?  Before they were canonized?  Etc." 
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« Reply #129 on: June 01, 2011, 10:31:57 AM »

there are questions that naturally arise if Scripture is held to be its own authority apart from the Church, not the least of which being "what was the authority before the Scriptures were written?  Before they were canonized? 

I suspect most of my fellow Evangelicals give little or no thought to this question. It is as if the New Testament appeared ready-made and complete within a generation of our Lord's death. We know of course that the Canon was not finally gathered together, listed and defined till the late 4th century, some 350 years after Calvary. Your question is a good one, but I find no contradiction between our belief that the scriptures are the sufficient and supreme authority for faith and practice and a simultaneous belief that the Spirit of God led the Church to recognise correctly which writings were inspired and which were not. Shall we say that their authority was recognised by the Church?

Interestingly, I was preaching on Sunday to a congregation of Dutch Reformed extraction (Afrikaans people living here now), and in our ante cibum conversation their leader showed me a book from his denomination containing the text of what it saw as all the agreed creeds and confessions of faith (Dort, Belgic etc). The first ones were the so-called Apostles', Nicene, Athanasian and Chalcedonian Creeds, which (the book said) are universally agreed by the whole professing church, including the Dutch Reformed.

What did our Lord mean when he said that after his ascension the Spirit would come and lead them into all truth? Could it be (it is a somewhat rhetorical question) that the period of ecumenical agreement on belief and on the canon is at least part of what he had in mind?

As regards the gates of hell, in my view gates serve two purposes: to keep captives in, and to keep invaders out. The gates of hell would not and cannot either retain Satan's captives who come to believe in Christ, nor keep out the church of Jesus Christ from invading Satan's territory and rescuing his captives. The verse has nothing to do with maintaining doctrine.
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« Reply #130 on: June 01, 2011, 01:25:29 PM »

I suspect most of my fellow Evangelicals give little or no thought to this question. It is as if the New Testament appeared ready-made and complete within a generation of our Lord's death.

I didn't assume you were unaware of the questions, I was just pointing out that they are, in fact, valid questions. 

Quote
We know of course that the Canon was not finally gathered together, listed and defined till the late 4th century, some 350 years after Calvary. Your question is a good one, but I find no contradiction between our belief that the scriptures are the sufficient and supreme authority for faith and practice and a simultaneous belief that the Spirit of God led the Church to recognise correctly which writings were inspired and which were not. Shall we say that their authority was recognised by the Church?

Well, unless the Apostles were outside the Church, we can and, IMHO, should say they were written by the Church as inspired by God.  That's quite a different interpretation of the history, but perhaps that's where the issue lies.

Quote
Interestingly, I was preaching on Sunday to a congregation of Dutch Reformed extraction (Afrikaans people living here now), and in our ante cibum conversation their leader showed me a book from his denomination containing the text of what it saw as all the agreed creeds and confessions of faith (Dort, Belgic etc). The first ones were the so-called Apostles', Nicene, Athanasian and Chalcedonian Creeds, which (the book said) are universally agreed by the whole professing church, including the Dutch Reformed.

What did our Lord mean when he said that after his ascension the Spirit would come and lead them into all truth? Could it be (it is a somewhat rhetorical question) that the period of ecumenical agreement on belief and on the canon is at least part of what he had in mind?

As regards the gates of hell, in my view gates serve two purposes: to keep captives in, and to keep invaders out. The gates of hell would not and cannot either retain Satan's captives who come to believe in Christ, nor keep out the church of Jesus Christ from invading Satan's territory and rescuing his captives. The verse has nothing to do with maintaining doctrine.

It has to do with the Church being preserved from destruction.  Which is how I used it.

Of course, one cannot realistically posit that the Church exists in perpetuity but her doctrine is false.  Because that would mean the Church is not "the pillar and ground of the truth," and we all know Scripture says she is.
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« Reply #131 on: June 01, 2011, 05:45:59 PM »

everyone who converts to Orthodoxy must ... finally decide for themselves whether these things are of God, don't they?

Yes. This is exactly what I have been saying (in different words) on one or more other threads. In itself it argues neither for nor against the Evangelical or the Orthodox view; but you are right, in the last analysis, the individual Christian decides for himself which side of the fence to jump. He is not saying he has the grace, intelligence, perception or whatever to weigh up God's truth, to accept or discard it; rather, he is weighing up what the locus of divinely given authority is, where God has deposited the transcript of his truth, and is sincerely and (one hopes) humbly bowing to what he believes that authority is.


We believe in the doctrine of Free Will and so there will always be a measure of personal decision/reasoning......etc. The difference might be in degree. For us and Rome it might be to a lesser degree where as in protestantism it might be to a greater degree.

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« Reply #132 on: June 01, 2011, 05:54:57 PM »

As regards the gates of hell, ... It has to do with the Church being preserved from destruction. 

I think not. Gates don't wreak destruction, they keep people out, or in.

Quote
one cannot realistically posit that the Church exists in perpetuity but her doctrine is false.  Because that would mean the Church is not "the pillar and ground of the truth,"

Quite so. But you draw the boundaries of "the church" in different places from us. What you write here, which we both agree on, merely brings us back to the question, What is the church?

Driving back from Llandudno this evening, I had another thought about why I stay where I am. Earlier I wrote that it is because (as far as I can see) God is present among us and blesses our religion, and has done over a sustained period. Here is a further reason why I stay where I am: there is ample evidence, both small (in individuals) and great (in nations) that Satan hates our religion. Now if God loves something, and the Devil hates the same thing, it is for me a good reason to remain in it. Furthermore, fallen man is by nature at enmity with God; therefore I ask, How does man in his natural, unregenerate state react to the Evangelical message? Again I find resistance and hostility to it. Thus, the acts of God, men and Satan all seem to me to confirm that I am in the (or a) right place.

Of course, as with God's presence and blessing, you might well be able to give ample evidence of Satan hating and man resisting your own Church's life and work. But then, I am not trying to establish that God is not among you - only that I remain persuaded that Evangelical churches are true Christian churches, that God "is among us of a truth", and the Orthodox Church is not therefore the "only true church".

The irony, of course, with people like you and me pushing each other to organise and argue for what we believe, is that it has a tendency to make us all more convinced of our beliefs, because we have to clarify them a good deal more in our own minds! I have a suspicion that my years on the Forum have made me a better Baptist than I was!
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« Reply #133 on: June 01, 2011, 06:25:27 PM »


Driving back from Llandudno this evening, I had another thought about why I stay where I am. Earlier I wrote that it is because (as far as I can see) God is present among us and blesses our religion, and has done over a sustained period. Here is a further reason why I stay where I am: there is ample evidence, both small (in individuals) and great (in nations) that Satan hates our religion. Now if God loves something, and the Devil hates the same thing, it is for me a good reason to remain in it. Furthermore, fallen man is by nature at enmity with God; therefore I ask, How does man in his natural, unregenerate state react to the Evangelical message? Again I find resistance and hostility to it. Thus, the acts of God, men and Satan all seem to me to confirm that I am in the (or a) right place.

Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and Oneness Pentecostals can all make the same argument.  But most evangelicals I know tend to demonize and reject these groups.
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« Reply #134 on: June 01, 2011, 09:26:49 PM »

Ack, so many words! Forgive me if I respond slowly to all these posts. I'm a slow reader.

I'm not talking about how the Orthodox Church determines doctrine, sorry I wasn't clear. I'm talking about how somebody in my shoes is supposed to decide whether Orthodoxy is True Church.

If all it takes is rationally looking at the evidence then how is that different from taking the same approach to Scripture Alone, with all the problems in that which I highlighted above of course. Is there such a thing as Perspicuity of the Fathers?

If on the other hand, I am to search for some sort of "mystical" confirmation of the Church, then the above dilemma no longer applies.

Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but if that's the case, where is the disagreement?  The part of your post I took issue with was where you said Orthodoxy is "more like Pentecostalism in which the Spirit 'confirms' correct interpretation."  My position seems to be what you contend you argued all along -- in Orthodoxy, it is not that the Spirit "confirms" correct interpretation, but rather it is that the Spirit has promised to do so within the Church.  So if you find the Church, there you have found correct interpretation.  That's not an individualistic view of the Spirit's work as you find in Pentecostalism, but rather a question precisely of authority and where it is found.

The reason I'm confused as to your clarification and correction is I believe I agreed with you on what you clarified:
I wasn't talking about how the Orthodox Church interprets Scripture, but rather about how someone comes to recognize the truth of Orthodoxy.

The Orthodox dismiss Sola Scriptura because it allegedly makes the individual his own Pope. I submit that if this is true, it is the same with Orthodoxy. No one converts unless he is convinced of the truth claims of the Church. So, in the same sense, every Orthodox Christian is his own Pope as well. The hierarchy can't make you accept Tradition.

The whole reason I brought up Pentecostalism is because a similar conception of the Spirit confirming the truth of the Church to a convert independent of his/her own reason, would I think function as an "out" for Orthodoxy and thus not place Orthodox claims on the same level as that of Protestants. But I now see that it's neither here nor there since this doesn't seem to be the Orthodox view anyway.

Each believer has to decide for himself what the authority is.  That much I think you have right.  But once one decides the authority is the Church and not some individualistic (or unhistorical corporate) view of the Scriptures, then the real question is "where is the Church?"
I agree. I must confess my fellow Protestants who appeal to semper, ubique, omnibus confuse me to no end as to where we should draw the line. I've never seen a Protestant say they accept the Seventh Ecumenical Council, for example. I don't know why.

I suppose I'd answer your question "how is that different" by saying in a sense it isn't, but there is quite a bit more evidence than just textual interpretation, or even trusting the interpretation of the Fathers, as to where the Church is.  There is historical evidence, archaeological evidence, etc.  One can determine not only who the Church was, but where she was located, what she taught, who her bishops were, who she considered to be heretical, etc.  And we can learn this not only from those within her ranks, but also from those outside her ranks.  So even though it's the same basic process, I think it's different in the type of proof that is there.  In fact, some Protestants (but not all, as I have noted above) take "sola Scriptura" to mean that looking outside the Scriptures is wrong and one should look to the four corners of the Bible for doctrine.  In doing that, one limits the type of evidence that is available based on one's hermeneutical principles.  

If I have to "show you where the Church is" from Scripture, that can certainly be done.  But if I tell you the Church of Antioch whose founding was recorded in Acts 11 still exists today, and you say "show her to me, but don't talk history, show me only from Scripture," well that puts both of us in a bit of a pickle, doesn't it?  Conversely, if you are willing to take what the Scriptures say and overlay that against history both at the time and since that time, the continuous existence of the New Testament Church comes into much clearer focus.  So I suppose it depends on what one means when one says "sola Scriptura."  And how and on what basis one argues they are the New Testament Church and we somehow are not (total apostasy of the Church, etc.).
I basically agree. I'll need to do more research before I can decide it points to Orthodoxy though.

As I said before, history as much as anything is responsible for me being Orthodox today.  One thing that was huge for me was the realization that the Lutheran position essentially required me to say the gates of Hell had prevailed against the Church in a very real sense.  There was the claim that the Church is "where the Word is preached in its purity and the Sacraments administered in accordance with their institution" (the word "remnant" gets used a lot in these discussions).  But the community of believers -- the Church in the New Testament sense -- ceased to be at some point between Nicea and 1054 AD and was not recovered in any real organic sense until the 16th century.  That was problematic for me.  What I would expect to see, reading the New Testament and Church history on how the Church came to develop, would be a continuous line of Lutheran believers.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. How do you know there was not some sort of underground, proto-Lutheran church throughout this time? Sure it's far fetched but if the Bible requires Protestant doctrine, it must be true, I'd say.

Lutherans establish this by pointing to Fathers who agreed with them (or appeared to agree with them, in some instances), but they cannot point to a continual community where what they taught was also taught throughout history.  It was piecemeal.  The Fathers they cite were pre-schism Church Fathers, or Roman Catholic Fathers, or Eastern Orthodox Fathers.  They aren't outside those communions -- they remained in communion with one of the three.  Issues like intercessory prayer to the Saints and veneration of the Theotokos (the latter to a MUCH lesser extent than the former) and the Sacramental understanding of marriage, Holy Orders, etc. were taught in concert both pre-schism and post-schism by both sides of the schism.  That's not an easy thing to overlook.  So either the Church apostasized in an institutional sense prior to the schism, or somehow, magically, the Church in schism managed on both sides of the divide to fall into the exact same errors even though neither side were communicating with each other and even though either side would have loved to have an innovative new teaching with which to accuse the other side of apostasy.  Historically, neither option makes any sense at all.
I'm with you from about the late-100s on. It's that immediately post-Apostolic grey area I see which gives me pause (though even if I don't become Orthodox, I'm strongly thinking of going Lutheran based on St. Ignatius of Antioch).
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« Reply #135 on: June 01, 2011, 09:47:59 PM »

As regards the gates of hell, in my view gates serve two purposes: to keep captives in, and to keep invaders out. The gates of hell would not and cannot either retain Satan's captives who come to believe in Christ, nor keep out the church of Jesus Christ from invading Satan's territory and rescuing his captives. The verse has nothing to do with maintaining doctrine.
If the Church lapsed into damnable heresy the there would be no more believers in Christ, by definition. That is satan's ultimate goal, and that's how the gates of Hell would prevail.

What Garner is getting at is that if the Orthodox Church was apostate, as Evangelical doctrine seems to imply, then this is tantamount to saying that the Body of Christ was nowhere to be found on earth until the Reformation. No Body of Christ=no captives being set free. Satan won for that period of time.
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« Reply #136 on: June 01, 2011, 11:13:00 PM »

I think not. Gates don't wreak destruction, they keep people out, or in.
 

Can one (or, perhaps, one's mission) not be destroyed by being held captive?

Quote
Quite so. But you draw the boundaries of "the church" in different places from us. What you write here, which we both agree on, merely brings us back to the question, What is the church?

Driving back from Llandudno this evening, I had another thought about why I stay where I am. Earlier I wrote that it is because (as far as I can see) God is present among us and blesses our religion, and has done over a sustained period. Here is a further reason why I stay where I am: there is ample evidence, both small (in individuals) and great (in nations) that Satan hates our religion. Now if God loves something, and the Devil hates the same thing, it is for me a good reason to remain in it. Furthermore, fallen man is by nature at enmity with God; therefore I ask, How does man in his natural, unregenerate state react to the Evangelical message? Again I find resistance and hostility to it. Thus, the acts of God, men and Satan all seem to me to confirm that I am in the (or a) right place.

Of course, as with God's presence and blessing, you might well be able to give ample evidence of Satan hating and man resisting your own Church's life and work. But then, I am not trying to establish that God is not among you - only that I remain persuaded that Evangelical churches are true Christian churches, that God "is among us of a truth", and the Orthodox Church is not therefore the "only true church".

Pastor Young, forgive me for saying so (and I hope to be corrected), but this seems awfully subjective.  I fully understand there is some subjective element to all of this, but the above really doesn't sound like anything concrete or even remotely objective.  You perceive, therefore you conclude. 

But I'll press on -- can we agree that at some time the Church was united and unquestionably the "only true Church?"  If not, I'd like to hear more about your ecclesiology.  If so, I'll have a follow-up.

Quote
The irony, of course, with people like you and me pushing each other to organise and argue for what we believe, is that it has a tendency to make us all more convinced of our beliefs, because we have to clarify them a good deal more in our own minds! I have a suspicion that my years on the Forum have made me a better Baptist than I was!

I agree with this, which is realistically the only good reason to engage in such discussions to begin with.
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« Reply #137 on: June 01, 2011, 11:30:12 PM »

I'm not talking about how the Orthodox Church determines doctrine, sorry I wasn't clear. I'm talking about how somebody in my shoes is supposed to decide whether Orthodoxy is True Church.

If all it takes is rationally looking at the evidence then how is that different from taking the same approach to Scripture Alone, with all the problems in that which I highlighted above of course. Is there such a thing as Perspicuity of the Fathers?

If on the other hand, I am to search for some sort of "mystical" confirmation of the Church, then the above dilemma no longer applies.

I certainly don't think it's the latter.  As to the former, I'd just say again that I think the evidence is a bit more concrete as to where the Church is located.  It isn't limited to textual interpretation, but can be gleaned from non-Orthodox history, archaeology, etc.

Quote
I wasn't talking about how the Orthodox Church interprets Scripture, but rather about how someone comes to recognize the truth of Orthodoxy.

The Orthodox dismiss Sola Scriptura because it allegedly makes the individual his own Pope. I submit that if this is true, it is the same with Orthodoxy. No one converts unless he is convinced of the truth claims of the Church. So, in the same sense, every Orthodox Christian is his own Pope as well. The hierarchy can't make you accept Tradition.

First, I don't think the "each man is his own Pope" critique is the best one.  I know people say that a lot, but to me, it's almost a bit of ad hominem, tarring the Protestant with a brush you know he is going to reject.  So I don't really think that's the best ground to stand on, personally.  I think the greater objections to sola Scriptura are that it is self-defeating in that the Scriptures do not teach the principle itself, and it ignores that the Church, doctrine and Holy Tradition precede the Scriptures such that for sola Scriptura to be true in any absolute sense, one has to either accept that it is an innovation of the Church (in which case we are back to self-defeating -- if the Church lacks the authority to decide what Scripture means, where does it get the authority to decide that it lacks that authority?) or assume that the Church apostatized and therefore the only reliable source of doctrine is the Scriptures.

Second, I don't hold to a view of the Scriptures that is fairly characterized as "Scripture plus Tradition."  I don't think such a view is Orthodox, but I'll stand to be corrected.  Rather, my view is that the Scriptures are part of the Holy Tradition of the Church, they are solidly within that Tradition, and they do not contradict it in the slightest.  I view the Scriptures and the Holy Tradition as being in concord with one another, not set against one another.

Quote
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. How do you know there was not some sort of underground, proto-Lutheran church throughout this time? Sure it's far fetched but if the Bible requires Protestant doctrine, it must be true, I'd say.

Neither can one prove a negative, so if the claim is such a proto-Lutheran Church existed, the burden would be on the one making the claim.

But Lutherans don't believe that in any event.  They believe they are teaching what the Church always taught, and they would say the Church fell into error along the way, particularly with the Papacy, the Cult of Saints, etc.  They believe, if they are true to their own Confessions, they are the rightful heirs and true protectors of the Western Catholic Church.  The reasons I don't believe that any longer are too numerous to recount here, but I'll reference the two above as examples.  The Papacy was an issue at the Schism.  If this was an error, it was an error that did not result in the continuation of the Church in the West but rather with the Church residing in the East (and if it was not an error, the Lutherans were schismatics for separating from Rome over this issue).  So I don't see how one can claim to be the rightful Western Catholic Church when that Church didn't even exist if the error alleged is assumed to be true.  Regarding the Cult of Saints, this is more understandable to me -- there were certainly abuses in the medieval Catholic Church over merits of the Saints, indulgences, buying time out of purgatory, etc.  But at the end of the day, the Lutheran Confessions say we are not to request the intercession of the Saints, and there is catacomb evidence that the early Church -- early in the 2nd century -- asked the Saints to pray for her.  This is an ancient practice.  It seems to me if the charge is it is a new teaching, one should be able to come up with objections to it.  Those don't arise until the 7th Ecumenical Council and the iconoclast controversy, which was quickly quashed, and they don't arise again until the 16th Century.

Quote
I'm with you from about the late-100s on. It's that immediately post-Apostolic grey area I see which gives me pause (though even if I don't become Orthodox, I'm strongly thinking of going Lutheran based on St. Ignatius of Antioch).

There is much in the Lutheran tradition to commend it.  As I see it, the above was enough to convince me that their claims to be the Church are not valid.  Having said that, we were very happy there for quite a long time.  I do think among Protestants, they and the high Church Anglicans are much closer to Orthodoxy than most others.
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« Reply #138 on: June 02, 2011, 04:59:04 AM »

I certainly don't think it's the latter.  As to the former, I'd just say again that I think the evidence is a bit more concrete as to where the Church is located.  It isn't limited to textual interpretation, but can be gleaned from non-Orthodox history, archaeology, etc.

Ok.
First, I don't think the "each man is his own Pope" critique is the best one.  I know people say that a lot, but to me, it's almost a bit of ad hominem, tarring the Protestant with a brush you know he is going to reject.  So I don't really think that's the best ground to stand on, personally.
I see.

I think the greater objections to sola Scriptura are that it is self-defeating in that the Scriptures do not teach the principle itself, and it ignores that the Church, doctrine and Holy Tradition precede the Scriptures such that for sola Scriptura to be true in any absolute sense, one has to either accept that it is an innovation of the Church (in which case we are back to self-defeating -- if the Church lacks the authority to decide what Scripture means, where does it get the authority to decide that it lacks that authority?) or assume that the Church apostatized and therefore the only reliable source of doctrine is the Scriptures.
What would you say to the argument that the Apostles themselves had no concept of Apostolic Succession-that they defined an Apostle as someone who had been with the Lord during His ministry (including the Seventy and perhaps others but excepting Paul who was called by divine fiat specifically to begin the enlightenment of the Gentiles), and thus after the Apostles were gone their writings are the only authority we're meant to have? I don't know if I believe that but I see it argued sometimes.

Second, I don't hold to a view of the Scriptures that is fairly characterized as "Scripture plus Tradition."  I don't think such a view is Orthodox, but I'll stand to be corrected.  Rather, my view is that the Scriptures are part of the Holy Tradition of the Church, they are solidly within that Tradition, and they do not contradict it in the slightest.  I view the Scriptures and the Holy Tradition as being in concord with one another, not set against one another.
I know this is the Orthodox view, sorry if I implied I didn't.

Neither can one prove a negative, so if the claim is such a proto-Lutheran Church existed, the burden would be on the one making the claim.
True, but I suppose one could say the proof is Protestant doctrine as teased out from Scripture Alone-sort of a, "if not Protestant then the gates of Hell have triumphed" argument.

Though this leads to an interesting question. What if Sola Scriptura is a negative claim? Why cut things off at the end of St. John's life and say, "this is our authority and no more?"

But Lutherans don't believe that in any event.  They believe they are teaching what the Church always taught, and they would say the Church fell into error along the way, particularly with the Papacy, the Cult of Saints, etc.  They believe, if they are true to their own Confessions, they are the rightful heirs and true protectors of the Western Catholic Church.
Noted.
The reasons I don't believe that any longer are too numerous to recount here, but I'll reference the two above as examples.  The Papacy was an issue at the Schism.  If this was an error, it was an error that did not result in the continuation of the Church in the West but rather with the Church residing in the East (and if it was not an error, the Lutherans were schismatics for separating from Rome over this issue).  So I don't see how one can claim to be the rightful Western Catholic Church when that Church didn't even exist if the error alleged is assumed to be true.
Hmm. I never thought of it this way. Interesting.

there is catacomb evidence that the early Church -- early in the 2nd century -- asked the Saints to pray for her.  This is an ancient practice.  It seems to me if the charge is it is a new teaching, one should be able to come up with objections to it.
I didn't know that. Do you have any links on this?

I hope you don't find me obtuse. I'm a slow reasoner at times.
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« Reply #139 on: June 02, 2011, 06:48:32 AM »

What would you say to the argument that the Apostles themselves had no concept of Apostolic Succession-that they defined an Apostle as someone who had been with the Lord during His ministry (including the Seventy and perhaps others but excepting Paul who was called by divine fiat specifically to begin the enlightenment of the Gentiles), and thus after the Apostles were gone their writings are the only authority we're meant to have? I don't know if I believe that but I see it argued sometimes.

My initial inclination is to say "someone forgot to tell the Apostles that."  The Apostles actually did appoint bishops in cities where they founded Churches, so I don't think the argument is historically accurate.  

Quote
True, but I suppose one could say the proof is Protestant doctrine as teased out from Scripture Alone-sort of a, "if not Protestant then the gates of Hell have triumphed" argument.

Though this leads to an interesting question. What if Sola Scriptura is a negative claim? Why cut things off at the end of St. John's life and say, "this is our authority and no more?"

As to the former, I think the problem from the Protestant viewpoint is you have to account for where the Church went.  I think Luther's view was the Western Catholic Church was basically faithful until right before the Reformation, and Luther brought it back to faithfulness through the Reformation.  The problem with that view is as I outlined before -- you have to account for the Papacy, which existed at the schism.  If this was an error, then the Western Catholic Church had ceased to be Catholic 600 years prior.  So as I see it, to fix that you have to go back to the Eastern Church and start there.  Then, if the Eastern Church is in error on some or another point (lets use prayer to the Saints as an example), you have to show where THEY got off track, and start there.  The problem is you can't strip out all the Lutheran distinctives historically.  At some point (for me it was prayer to the Saints, FWIW), you run out of track and have to say "but the Church has really taught this all along."  And at that point, for me, the Lutheran Church's claim to be the rightful heirs of the Western Catholic Church fell.  At that point, I had to determine for myself whether the East or the West had it right.  In the end, I determined the East did.

But the point of all this is if you take seriously the search for the "New Testament Church," you really only have two choices in the end -- EO and Rome.  High Church Anglicanism is a third option, but the problem there is the same problem Luther had -- you can't jettison the Pope without also jettisoning the Church in the West after the schism.  And if the Church in the West was right post-schism, you are now schismatic for separating over the papacy.  So it's back to square one.

One of the things that struck me about the Patriarch Jeremiah/Tubingen Lutherans discourse is how both sides were a bit surprised by what the other said.  Patriarch Jeremiah was a bit put off by the notion that the Lutherans weren't really there to hear what the Church said, but to forge agreement on areas where there quite clearly was not agreement.  The Lutherans were a bit taken aback that Patriarch Jeremiah didn't say "oh, yeah -- now that we think about it, it IS wrong to pray to the Saints and of course works have nothing whatsoever to do with salvation!"  In a sense they talked past each other, but I think that had as much to do with the fact that both sides so clearly thought they were right that it was hard to reach the other.  The reason I bring this up is after reading this discourse, it is my belief that the Lutherans assumed they were teaching what the Church taught all along, and fully expected the Patriarch to agree with them.  They were floored that this wasn't the case.  It should have served as a red flag for them, but for whatever reason, it didn't.  I don't doubt that the fact that it was harder to obtain information played into this -- back then you couldn't just do a Google search or order a few books off of Amazon, so it was much harder to access information to do good research.  That's not to say it couldn't be done, but it required quite a bit more effort to do it.

Quote
I didn't know that. Do you have any links on this?

I hope you don't find me obtuse. I'm a slow reasoner at times.

I don't think you're a slow reasoner.  This took me months to sort out.

I don't have a dated link, unfortunately.  Here is a link to a Catholic apologetics site that has a picture of a catacomb inscription with requests for intercession directed to Saints Peter and Paul (though this one is undated, if you research it you'll see similar inscriptions exist back to the 2nd century):

http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/saints.htm
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« Reply #140 on: June 02, 2011, 08:09:34 AM »


My initial inclination is to say "someone forgot to tell the Apostles that."  The Apostles actually did appoint bishops in cities where they founded Churches, so I don't think the argument is historically accurate.  
What if they didn't see the bishops as successors but just as local elders and administrators since they couldn't be everywhere at once?

As to the former, I think the problem from the Protestant viewpoint is you have to account for where the Church went.  I think Luther's view was the Western Catholic Church was basically faithful until right before the Reformation, and Luther brought it back to faithfulness through the Reformation.  The problem with that view is as I outlined before -- you have to account for the Papacy, which existed at the schism.  If this was an error, then the Western Catholic Church had ceased to be Catholic 600 years prior.  So as I see it, to fix that you have to go back to the Eastern Church and start there.  Then, if the Eastern Church is in error on some or another point (lets use prayer to the Saints as an example), you have to show where THEY got off track, and start there.  The problem is you can't strip out all the Lutheran distinctives historically.  At some point (for me it was prayer to the Saints, FWIW), you run out of track and have to say "but the Church has really taught this all along."  And at that point, for me, the Lutheran Church's claim to be the rightful heirs of the Western Catholic Church fell.  At that point, I had to determine for myself whether the East or the West had it right.  In the end, I determined the East did.

But the point of all this is if you take seriously the search for the "New Testament Church," you really only have two choices in the end -- EO and Rome.  High Church Anglicanism is a third option, but the problem there is the same problem Luther had -- you can't jettison the Pope without also jettisoning the Church in the West after the schism.  And if the Church in the West was right post-schism, you are now schismatic for separating over the papacy.  So it's back to square one.
Ok, yeah this makes sense.

I suppose then that my next question would be, "What is essentially doctrine and what disqualifies a body from being the true Church?" The Orthodox response would be, "Everything dogmatized by the Ecumenical Councils and all else is theolougumena," right?

If so, then I think I'm seeing circularity. The Orthodox Church sets the essentials because it is the one true Church and it is the one true Church because it holds to the essentials?

Of course, if I'm right then any Protestant who wishes to hold to the Nicene Creed as delineating correct Scripture interpretation is in the same hot water, apparently.

But if one believes that the doctrines contained in the Nicene Creed are the only biblical essentials anyway, then the Orthodox Church (and the RCC) could still have been true churches all along anyway despite not having the magisterial authority or exclusive status which they claim for themselves.

Though this would get into the problem of Protestant re-definition of "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" (to say nothing of the Harrowing of Hell issue in the Apostles' Creed) along invisible church lines. I guess now we're both waiting to hear Pastor Young's ecclesiology lol!

I don't think you're a slow reasoner.  This took me months to sort out.
Thanks.

I actually know a guy on another forum who was an inquirer for ten years before converting and he's a lot smarter than I am lol!

I don't have a dated link, unfortunately.  Here is a link to a Catholic apologetics site that has a picture of a catacomb inscription with requests for intercession directed to Saints Peter and Paul (though this one is undated, if you research it you'll see similar inscriptions exist back to the 2nd century):

http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/saints.htm
Ah yes. I'd heard veneration of Saints Peter and Paul was early but I'd only seen it dated to 200. Thanks.
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« Reply #141 on: June 02, 2011, 08:49:56 AM »

this seems awfully subjective.  ...really doesn't sound like anything concrete or even remotely objective.  

Indeed; in fact this is exactly what my post said: these are reasons which persuade me personally to remain in Evangelicalism. I said that all the logic arrayed by Evangelicals or Orthodox can only carry an inquirer so far, and in any case have been set out in a sufficiency of books more ably written than I could manage, even had I time and inclination. But is not our very belief in God subjective? With our soul we experience him, and (as you put it) "conclude"; with our mind we examine his world and the events within it (great and small) and again we "conclude". To me (that, I suppose, is subjective), the very starting point of belief in a personal god is subjective, let alone in God: but it seems to me to be more consonant with observable facts than either atheism or agnosticism.

Quote
can we agree that at some time the Church was united and unquestionably the "only true Church?"  

Two questions lurk here: was the church once united? was that period of unity the time when it was the only true church?

In answer to the first , I do not know when variations within the church developed, and I fear that from a discussion of early church history I must bow out and confess abysmal ignorance. Presumably the 120 on the Day of Pentecost were united; by the time we get to Corinth there were some weird, non-Christian ideas floating around, and held by those whom Paul nonetheless calls “saints”, that is, true members of the Church. The second question could be re-worded to mean what degree of variation is permissible, and at what point does one slide right out of the limits of God's Church?

This leads me on to one further (subjective!) observation. There is a remarkable similarity between what you and I are saying. Each of us is really saying, “I hold my view of scripture because I trust the church in which I learnt it.” I then say why I trust the Evangelical fraternity, you say why you trust the Orthodox church. That is where a similar leap of faith, albeit strengthened in each case by logic and reasoning, to belief in theism itself comes in. Examining the evidence which is accessible to us, you have 'leapt' in the direction of Orthodoxy, I of Evangelicalism. It is well known that the Evangelical constituency contains much more variation than Orthodoxy - we vary on matters like predestination, baptism, church order and so on - but (as I have written at great length on another thread) Evangelicals are at one on what we see as the defining essentials. Without those essentials one is not Evangelical (whatever title may be displayed on one's church noticeboard); many would say that without them one is not even Christian, though that is not my view.

So maybe your question boils down to asking whether the early church (say, up to the end of the period of ecumenical councils) was at least as uniform as present-day Orthodoxy, or contained variations in some way analogous to present-day Evangelicalism, while remaining at one on the essentials of the Faith. But, as already confessed, I know far too little about early church history to be able to supply an answer, or even an opinion.

It also raises the question of what our Lord meant when he said the Holy Spirit would lead those in the Upper Room into all truth. (I mentioned this in an earlier post.) He did not mean omniscience; I do not believe he even meant pansophia. He didn't mean they (and through them, we) would find out everything we'd like to about God, man, life, death, the future of this world, our intermediate place and condition between death and the resurrection, the nature of our rewards in eternity, and so on and so on. What he knows about these is truth, but he has not led his church into a knowledge of it, thus not into “all truth” in that sense. So what did he mean? May I tentatively suggest that he meant they would understand all the things he had been speaking of during that Last Supper (which they did not understand at the time), and also all other matters necessary for salvation and Christian behaviour - faith and practice? Those things, I believe, we Evangelicals hold; I am not thereby saying that Orthodox do not also hold them.
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« Reply #142 on: June 02, 2011, 10:25:13 AM »

What if they didn't see the bishops as successors but just as local elders and administrators since they couldn't be everywhere at once?

Would it make a material difference?  At the end of the day, under either view, the Apostles appointed someone to run the Church -- they established the Church and then set up a leadership structure.  Whether that is, as we believe, a proper office of the Bishop or as the claim appears to be above, an administrative office, it doesn't really change the fact that the authority is set up by the Apostles.  One would think if the Scriptures were the only authority the Apostles intended, this would have been made clear to someone at least.  It doesn't appear to have been.

Quote
Ok, yeah this makes sense.

I suppose then that my next question would be, "What is essentially doctrine and what disqualifies a body from being the true Church?" The Orthodox response would be, "Everything dogmatized by the Ecumenical Councils and all else is theolougumena," right?

If so, then I think I'm seeing circularity. The Orthodox Church sets the essentials because it is the one true Church and it is the one true Church because it holds to the essentials?

Well, it's really two questions.  The Canons of the very Councils you speak of state in detail where the Church is, so it's not as if it is some nebulous view of doctrine that establishes the Church.  I suppose it's circular in a sense -- the Church did in fact state "we are the Church" and it did in fact write down where that Church may be found.  But that's really a problem with Protestantism too, isn't it?  The Bible doesn't say any Protestant sect is the Church.  The Canons don't say that.  The Fathers don't say that.  Realistically, it is only the self-serving confessional writings of the Protestants that say that.  But that's realistically neither here nor there.  Either the Church of the Councils is the Church or something else is.  Most of us agree that at the time of the Councils (or at least some of them), that was in fact THE Church promulgating the Canons.  The question is "where is that Church today," and we can demonstrate that from the Canons of the Church at that time.

Quote
Of course, if I'm right then any Protestant who wishes to hold to the Nicene Creed as delineating correct Scripture interpretation is in the same hot water, apparently.

Correct.

Quote
But if one believes that the doctrines contained in the Nicene Creed are the only biblical essentials anyway, then the Orthodox Church (and the RCC) could still have been true churches all along anyway despite not having the magisterial authority or exclusive status which they claim for themselves.

Though this would get into the problem of Protestant re-definition of "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" (to say nothing of the Harrowing of Hell issue in the Apostles' Creed) along invisible church lines. I guess now we're both waiting to hear Pastor Young's ecclesiology lol!

I wrote on a Lutheran forum recently that I don't think Orthodoxy and Lutheranism are that far apart in their view of the Church as "visible versus invisible."  Orthodox don't like the term "invisible Church" (really, we don't like any term that divides the Church artificially), but at the end of the day most Orthodox believe that non-Orthodox Christian sects are related to the Church in some fashion or another (and, I would add, to varying degrees).  I tend to prefer to discuss it in terms of the Canonical Church versus the sectarian or schismatic Church.  We are the Canonical Church.  According to us, everyone else has a problem Canonically speaking to one degree or another.  But at the end of the day, most of us Orthodox believe that the Holy Spirit works when and as He pleases, and it is not for us to judge.  The approach I take is typically "if you want to know where salvation is, I tell you it is found in the Orthodox Christian Church.  If you ask me if you can be outside the Eastern Orthodox canonical boundaries and still be saved, I say that judgment is left to God and it is not mine to judge.  If you want my personal opinion, I personally believe there will be people who are now non-Orthodox in heaven and people who are now Orthodox in hell, and we should pray for the salvation of all."
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« Reply #143 on: June 02, 2011, 10:34:51 AM »

Indeed; in fact this is exactly what my post said: these are reasons which persuade me personally to remain in Evangelicalism. I said that all the logic arrayed by Evangelicals or Orthodox can only carry an inquirer so far, and in any case have been set out in a sufficiency of books more ably written than I could manage, even had I time and inclination. But is not our very belief in God subjective? With our soul we experience him, and (as you put it) "conclude"; with our mind we examine his world and the events within it (great and small) and again we "conclude". To me (that, I suppose, is subjective), the very starting point of belief in a personal god is subjective, let alone in God: but it seems to me to be more consonant with observable facts than either atheism or agnosticism.

I agree that belief in God is subjective to an extent.  I suppose my point is there is more objective evidence out there, once one has determined to believe in God, regarding where the Christian Church may be located.

Quote
Two questions lurk here: was the church once united? was that period of unity the time when it was the only true church?

In answer to the first , I do not know when variations within the church developed, and I fear that from a discussion of early church history I must bow out and confess abysmal ignorance. Presumably the 120 on the Day of Pentecost were united; by the time we get to Corinth there were some weird, non-Christian ideas floating around, and held by those whom Paul nonetheless calls “saints”, that is, true members of the Church. The second question could be re-worded to mean what degree of variation is permissible, and at what point does one slide right out of the limits of God's Church?

Of course, Corinth is quite a good example, isn't it?  Corinth was admonished by St. Paul in his first letter, and then praised in the second.  This is how the Church operates -- no one is saying issues don't arise.  But at the end of the day, Corinth was called to repent and did, in fact, repent.  So it's not really a matter of degree of variation, because Corinth did not in the end vary.  Corinth repented.

Contrast this with, say, the Arians or the Gnostics or the Nestorians and how the Church dealt with those groups.

Quote
This leads me on to one further (subjective!) observation. There is a remarkable similarity between what you and I are saying. Each of us is really saying, “I hold my view of scripture because I trust the church in which I learnt it.” I then say why I trust the Evangelical fraternity, you say why you trust the Orthodox church. That is where a similar leap of faith, albeit strengthened in each case by logic and reasoning, to belief in theism itself comes in. Examining the evidence which is accessible to us, you have 'leapt' in the direction of Orthodoxy, I of Evangelicalism. It is well known that the Evangelical constituency contains much more variation than Orthodoxy - we vary on matters like predestination, baptism, church order and so on - but (as I have written at great length on another thread) Evangelicals are at one on what we see as the defining essentials. Without those essentials one is not Evangelical (whatever title may be displayed on one's church noticeboard); many would say that without them one is not even Christian, though that is not my view.

So maybe your question boils down to asking whether the early church (say, up to the end of the period of ecumenical councils) was at least as uniform as present-day Orthodoxy, or contained variations in some way analogous to present-day Evangelicalism, while remaining at one on the essentials of the Faith. But, as already confessed, I know far too little about early church history to be able to supply an answer, or even an opinion.

Well, lets be clear on this much -- Orthodoxy today is hardly uniform, nor has it ever really been uniform, in either absolute doctrinal terms or in practice.  What she was, however, is UNITED.  That's my question -- do you agree that there is an historic Christian Church that at least for a time after the Apostles died was united?  United around the Eucharist?  United around the bishops?

If not, what do you believe was the case?  The reason I ask is I'm pretty sure most secular scholars would agree with me that there was in fact a united Christian Church for several centuries.  Unity started to fracture in the late part of the first millennium, and was finally severed in the 13th century or so, but most everyone agrees that for at least 500-700 years, there was a united Christian Church.

Quote
It also raises the question of what our Lord meant when he said the Holy Spirit would lead those in the Upper Room into all truth. (I mentioned this in an earlier post.) He did not mean omniscience; I do not believe he even meant pansophia. He didn't mean they (and through them, we) would find out everything we'd like to about God, man, life, death, the future of this world, our intermediate place and condition between death and the resurrection, the nature of our rewards in eternity, and so on and so on. What he knows about these is truth, but he has not led his church into a knowledge of it, thus not into “all truth” in that sense. So what did he mean? May I tentatively suggest that he meant they would understand all the things he had been speaking of during that Last Supper (which they did not understand at the time), and also all other matters necessary for salvation and Christian behaviour - faith and practice? Those things, I believe, we Evangelicals hold; I am not thereby saying that Orthodox do not also hold them.

But don't you see that there is a breach between, say, what you believe about baptism and the Eucharist vis-a-vis salvation and what we believe?

And that we cannot both be right?

If baptism saves, and the Eucharist gives the forgiveness of sins, that doesn't mean in any sense you cannot be saved.  But it does mean that you have not been led into all truth as to those things.  Likewise, if we are wrong, we have not been led into all truth.  Someone is right here, and since the positions are mutually exclusive, unfortunately someone is wrong.
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« Reply #144 on: June 02, 2011, 11:03:16 AM »

there is more objective evidence out there, once one has determined to believe in God, regarding where the Christian Church may be located.

At the risk of depriving Volnutt of his chance to "lol" (which I take to mean laugh out loud - as I am told it does here in dear old Blighty), I shall be brief in this post (though I may come back to the matter more fully later) and only take up this point. The questions any man needs to ask are:

- is there a god?
- if so, has he revealed himself to mankind?
- if so, how has he done so?
- is our canon of scripture a true discerning of that revelation?
- if so, then the gospel message is true, but have I really repented and believed, and thus become one of the Lord's people?

(After all, we are exhorted to examine ourselves, whether we truly are in the faith.)
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« Reply #145 on: June 02, 2011, 12:40:35 PM »

Quote
I'm with you from about the late-100s on. It's that immediately post-Apostolic grey area I see which gives me pause (though even if I don't become Orthodox, I'm strongly thinking of going Lutheran based on St. Ignatius of Antioch).

What did Saint Ignatius say about Bishops?
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« Reply #146 on: June 02, 2011, 12:44:16 PM »

Quote
It is well known that the Evangelical constituency contains much more variation than Orthodoxy - we vary on matters like predestination, baptism, church order and so on - but (as I have written at great length on another thread) Evangelicals are at one on what we see as the defining essentials. Without those essentials one is not Evangelical (whatever title may be displayed on one's church noticeboard); many would say that without them one is not even Christian, though that is not my view.


Preacher David,

I don't know how things are in the UK, but in America Evangelicals are not united on knowing what the Essentials are. Some may even question if the doctrine of the Trinity should be viewed as an Essential for it takes time for a person to grow in that understanding or even come to an understanding of what it is.

No, they are not united on what is and isn't an Essential. Preacher David, you have to remember that a number of us on here are former American protestant fundamentalists, evangelicals, and Pentecostal/Charismatics. Yes, we may not know how things are in the UK, but we sure know what it's like in America.
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« Reply #147 on: June 02, 2011, 07:13:13 PM »

I have always been suspect of the "essentials and non-essentials" argument,since most of us can agree that the Scriptures aren't a concise,systematic catachism of Christian beliefs,it is even a greater stretch to find anywhere in Scripture were any of the New Testement writers make a distiction between what are essential and non-essential doctrines one must embrace and still be considered Christian.
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« Reply #148 on: June 02, 2011, 08:49:51 PM »

there is more objective evidence out there, once one has determined to believe in God, regarding where the Christian Church may be located.

At the risk of depriving Volnutt of his chance to "lol" (which I take to mean laugh out loud - as I am told it does here in dear old Blighty), I shall be brief in this post (though I may come back to the matter more fully later) and only take up this point. The questions any man needs to ask are:

- is there a god?
- if so, has he revealed himself to mankind?
- if so, how has he done so?
- is our canon of scripture a true discerning of that revelation?
- if so, then the gospel message is true, but have I really repented and believed, and thus become one of the Lord's people?

(After all, we are exhorted to examine ourselves, whether we truly are in the faith.)
I'm sorry! I wasn't laughing at you! Just laughing at myself  Embarrassed
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« Reply #149 on: June 02, 2011, 08:59:54 PM »

Quote
I'm with you from about the late-100s on. It's that immediately post-Apostolic grey area I see which gives me pause (though even if I don't become Orthodox, I'm strongly thinking of going Lutheran based on St. Ignatius of Antioch).

What did Saint Ignatius say about Bishops?
Where the bishop is, there is the Church and the Eucharist must be celebrated by the bishop (or presumably, by appointed delegates). Schism with one's bishop constitutes leaving the Church.

Those are the ones I remember.
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« Reply #150 on: June 02, 2011, 09:03:17 PM »

As to the former, I think the problem from the Protestant viewpoint is you have to account for where the Church went.  I think Luther's view was the Western Catholic Church was basically faithful until right before the Reformation, and Luther brought it back to faithfulness through the Reformation.  The problem with that view is as I outlined before -- you have to account for the Papacy, which existed at the schism.  If this was an error, then the Western Catholic Church had ceased to be Catholic 600 years prior.

Why 600?
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« Reply #151 on: June 02, 2011, 09:04:11 PM »

What would you say to the argument that the Apostles themselves had no concept of Apostolic Succession-that they defined an Apostle as someone who had been with the Lord during His ministry (including the Seventy and perhaps others but excepting Paul who was called by divine fiat specifically to begin the enlightenment of the Gentiles), and thus after the Apostles were gone their writings are the only authority we're meant to have? I don't know if I believe that but I see it argued sometimes.

Even among different understandings of Sola Scriptura, this is one of the most absurd ones. I doubt that very many Protestants would admit to believing that (even if they might act as though they believe that).
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« Reply #152 on: June 02, 2011, 09:15:07 PM »

As to the former, I think the problem from the Protestant viewpoint is you have to account for where the Church went.  I think Luther's view was the Western Catholic Church was basically faithful until right before the Reformation, and Luther brought it back to faithfulness through the Reformation.  The problem with that view is as I outlined before -- you have to account for the Papacy, which existed at the schism.  If this was an error, then the Western Catholic Church had ceased to be Catholic 600 years prior.

Why 600?

Rough estimation of the schism.
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« Reply #153 on: June 02, 2011, 09:43:04 PM »

Would it make a material difference?  At the end of the day, under either view, the Apostles appointed someone to run the Church -- they established the Church and then set up a leadership structure.  Whether that is, as we believe, a proper office of the Bishop or as the claim appears to be above, an administrative office, it doesn't really change the fact that the authority is set up by the Apostles.
What kind of authority though? The passing on of the Keys (which I have no idea how it would work while the confirming Apostle still lived) or just practical disciplinary authority? 

One would think if the Scriptures were the only authority the Apostles intended, this would have been made clear to someone at least.  It doesn't appear to have been.

The Scriptures didn't exist yet as a whole. I submit the only authority in the Church was the teaching of the Apostles and the Scriptures were intended to "be them" to the Church once they were gone.

The Bible doesn't say any Protestant sect is the Church.
I think the general Protestant answer to that is the Trinity, Incarnation, physical Resurrection, final resurrection and judgment, and atoning death of Christ are all found in Scripture and that it is these essential elements of Christ's identity that separate Him from "another Jesus."

This seems to leave out the Virgin Birth and whether this is an essential remains one of the bigger bones of contention. But still, it would seem that "any group which believes the above" can count as having the Jesus of the Bible.

I wrote on a Lutheran forum recently that I don't think Orthodoxy and Lutheranism are that far apart in their view of the Church as "visible versus invisible."  Orthodox don't like the term "invisible Church" (really, we don't like any term that divides the Church artificially), but at the end of the day most Orthodox believe that non-Orthodox Christian sects are related to the Church in some fashion or another (and, I would add, to varying degrees).  I tend to prefer to discuss it in terms of the Canonical Church versus the sectarian or schismatic Church.  We are the Canonical Church.  According to us, everyone else has a problem Canonically speaking to one degree or another.  But at the end of the day, most of us Orthodox believe that the Holy Spirit works when and as He pleases, and it is not for us to judge.  The approach I take is typically "if you want to know where salvation is, I tell you it is found in the Orthodox Christian Church.  If you ask me if you can be outside the Eastern Orthodox canonical boundaries and still be saved, I say that judgment is left to God and it is not mine to judge.  If you want my personal opinion, I personally believe there will be people who are now non-Orthodox in heaven and people who are now Orthodox in hell, and we should pray for the salvation of all."
So how do you respond to Jesus not condemning those who cast out demons in His name despite not being affiliated with the Apostles? "He who is not against us is for us."
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« Reply #154 on: June 02, 2011, 09:44:39 PM »

Even among different understandings of Sola Scriptura, this is one of the most absurd ones. I doubt that very many Protestants would admit to believing that (even if they might act as though they believe that).
What makes it absurd?
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« Reply #155 on: June 02, 2011, 09:51:54 PM »

"Faith without works is dead". What is the point of Scripture, if we don't do anything to back it up?
That would make our "faith" worse than hypocrisy
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« Reply #156 on: June 02, 2011, 10:00:10 PM »

"Faith without works is dead". What is the point of Scripture, if we don't do anything to back it up?
That would make our "faith" worse than hypocrisy
Who says Protestants don't have works?
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« Reply #157 on: June 02, 2011, 10:04:20 PM »

I understand, but with Sola scriptura, the emphasis is on Scripture only . That is wrong.
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« Reply #158 on: June 02, 2011, 10:07:23 PM »

I understand, but with Sola scriptura, the emphasis is on Scripture only . That is wrong.
Sola Scriptura means Scripture is the only authority on what we believe. We believe in works based on what we read in Scripture.
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« Reply #159 on: June 02, 2011, 10:11:24 PM »

Even among different understandings of Sola Scriptura, this is one of the most absurd ones. I doubt that very many Protestants would admit to believing that (even if they might act as though they believe that).
What makes it absurd?

I should perhaps have qualified the "absurd" part as being my opinion. But, yes, I do think it's absurd to say that Sola Scriptura means that scripture is the only authority since scripture speaks of people in authority, e.g. bishops. (It's no surprise that most Protestants will say that Sola Scriptura doesn't mean that scripture is the only authority.)
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« Reply #160 on: June 02, 2011, 10:22:51 PM »

I should perhaps have qualified the "absurd" part as being my opinion. But, yes, I do think it's absurd to say that Sola Scriptura means that scripture is the only authority since scripture speaks of people in authority, e.g. bishops. (It's no surprise that most Protestants will say that Sola Scriptura doesn't mean that scripture is the only authority.)
Ah, ok.

But authority for what? I see authority to discipline and to watch over souls, but to delineate doctrine?
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« Reply #161 on: June 02, 2011, 10:26:59 PM »

I'm a little confused about the difference between the core theory of sola scriptura and what Orthodoxy teaches because what certain Protestants have explained to be the meaning of sola scriptura is actually quite like what I have heard about the Orthodox understanding of Tradition.

Is it not true that many Orthodox would say that their doctrine has to be based upon what is established in the Bible?
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« Reply #162 on: June 02, 2011, 10:31:17 PM »

I should perhaps have qualified the "absurd" part as being my opinion. But, yes, I do think it's absurd to say that Sola Scriptura means that scripture is the only authority since scripture speaks of people in authority, e.g. bishops. (It's no surprise that most Protestants will say that Sola Scriptura doesn't mean that scripture is the only authority.)
Ah, ok.

But authority for what? I see authority to discipline and to watch over souls, but to delineate doctrine?

Alright, I can see how that could be another way to qualify it. Seems to me that the old "source and norm" qualifier is more standard.

(Keep in mind, I've never been Protestant, so I may not know all the subtleties here.)
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« Reply #163 on: June 03, 2011, 01:53:42 AM »

I'm a little confused about the difference between the core theory of sola scriptura and what Orthodoxy teaches because what certain Protestants have explained to be the meaning of sola scriptura is actually quite like what I have heard about the Orthodox understanding of Tradition.
Yeah, some Protestants, myself included sometimes, use a form of the Laurentian Canon to delineate the bounds of acceptable doctrine. For example, there is a heresy making the rounds in Protestant and especially Emergent Church circles which calls itself "full" or "consistent" preterism. All Scriptural prophecy was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, but where it differs with orthodox or "partial" preterism is in the belief that Christ will never return bodily to judge the living and dead, the resurrection body is a spiritual one in Heaven and this current world will go on forever. I know some Protestants who reject this doctrine, no matter how plausible it might seem from Scripture (though they do not in fact see it as plausible) because the church has never confessed it historically.

I've also personally applied such a method as to why I will never be an Open Theist even though their arguments tempt me at times.

So in this way the broad consensus of the church sets limits on what Scripture can be interpreted to mean. I'm more and more becoming convinced this is an untenable position, but there it is.
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« Reply #164 on: June 03, 2011, 01:58:38 AM »

Seems to me that the old "source and norm" qualifier is more standard.
I'm sorry, I'm unfamiliar with that?

The basic Protestant view of bishops, as I see it, is that they have considerable moral authority and as long as they are orthodox and living godly lives hey can discipline members-but when Tyndale's plow boy with a Bible is right, he's right.
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« Reply #165 on: June 03, 2011, 02:35:35 AM »

I'm a little confused about the difference between the core theory of sola scriptura and what Orthodoxy teaches because what certain Protestants have explained to be the meaning of sola scriptura is actually quite like what I have heard about the Orthodox understanding of Tradition.
Yeah, some Protestants, myself included sometimes, use a form of the Laurentian Canon to delineate the bounds of acceptable doctrine. For example, there is a heresy making the rounds in Protestant and especially Emergent Church circles which calls itself "full" or "consistent" preterism. All Scriptural prophecy was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, but where it differs with orthodox or "partial" preterism is in the belief that Christ will never return bodily to judge the living and dead, the resurrection body is a spiritual one in Heaven and this current world will go on forever. I know some Protestants who reject this doctrine, no matter how plausible it might seem from Scripture (though they do not in fact see it as plausible) because the church has never confessed it historically.

I've also personally applied such a method as to why I will never be an Open Theist even though their arguments tempt me at times.

So in this way the broad consensus of the church sets limits on what Scripture can be interpreted to mean. I'm more and more becoming convinced this is an untenable position, but there it is.

Well, I was actually thinking on the other end of the spectrum that it is a frequent conception among the Orthodox that the Church should not seek to define doctrines (their substance, not necessarily their formulations) that which cannot be derived from the Bible itself, which seems rather similar to some interpretations of sola scriptura.
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« Reply #166 on: June 03, 2011, 07:54:27 AM »

What kind of authority though? The passing on of the Keys (which I have no idea how it would work while the confirming Apostle still lived) or just practical disciplinary authority?

I wouldn't say "the passing on" of the keys but rather being given the authority to use them.  As well as practical disciplinary authority, etc.  Each bishop has the authority to steward the mysteries in his place.  Each has the authority to pass on doctrinal issues in his place.  But the Church as a whole, whether small as in the beginning or large as now, has the authority to delineate doctrine (as you state in another post).  The bishop has local authority to do that, but each bishop is subject to being called to account by his fellow bishops.

It seems clear this is described in the Scriptures.  St. James weighing in on the Judaizing controversy, etc.

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The Scriptures didn't exist yet as a whole. I submit the only authority in the Church was the teaching of the Apostles and the Scriptures were intended to "be them" to the Church once they were gone.

And I ask how that can be when the Scriptures were not even agreed upon until 300 years later.  Was there no "authority in the Church" between 100 AD and the mid-4th Century?  Or was that authority hidden?  How did that work on a practical level during the time when the Church didn't even have agreement on which books were in the Canon and which were out?

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I think the general Protestant answer to that is the Trinity, Incarnation, physical Resurrection, final resurrection and judgment, and atoning death of Christ are all found in Scripture and that it is these essential elements of Christ's identity that separate Him from "another Jesus."

This seems to leave out the Virgin Birth and whether this is an essential remains one of the bigger bones of contention. But still, it would seem that "any group which believes the above" can count as having the Jesus of the Bible.

I think the question becomes "what means 'having the Jesus of the Bible?'"

Is it not a problem that the Church (united or in schism) for roughly 1600 years believed in infant baptism, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, prayer to the Saints, veneration of the Theotokos, private confession, etc., but most Protestant sects do not?

Do you contend the "Jesus of the Bible" is neutral on such matters?

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So how do you respond to Jesus not condemning those who cast out demons in His name despite not being affiliated with the Apostles? "He who is not against us is for us."

Jesus can do anything He wants.  He let the thief on the cross into the Kingdom, too.  He doesn't ask me about such things.

But where the Scriptures have given us the Apostolic formation of the Church, and where Protestants claim those Scriptures as authoritative, it seems folly to try to argue the Scriptures against themselves by taking exceptions and arguing they should be the rule.
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« Reply #167 on: June 03, 2011, 08:05:05 AM »

Well, I was actually thinking on the other end of the spectrum that it is a frequent conception among the Orthodox that the Church should not seek to define doctrines (their substance, not necessarily their formulations) that which cannot be derived from the Bible itself, which seems rather similar to some interpretations of sola scriptura.

Let me clarify something based on this post, since I have probably used the word "define" at some point as well.  To put a really fine point on it, Orthodox do not view the Church as "defining" doctrine or the Scriptures or anything else.  The Church, rather, reveals or (to use Volnutt's well-chosen word) delineates these gifts.  The Church sets boundaries around doctrine past which we ought not go.  She does not seek to delve into mysteries and solve problems that God has not given us to solve.

I think it is true that we do not set those boundaries in ways that contradict the Scriptures, nor do we see (for example) prayer to the Saints or the perpetual virginity of Mary as beliefs that cannot be demonstrated from the Scriptures.  So I think it's right that we are not that far off from more conservative views on sola Scriptura.  But I think there may be a perception that we see the Church as the supreme authority past which there is no other authority, and the Church gets to say what the Scriptures are, what they say, what they mean and what we must believe.  That's backwards.  What we believe is Christ is the supreme authority, and He gets to say what doctrine is and what we must believe.  He gave that doctrine to the Apostles (orally, lets be clear -- Christ never wrote a book), who gave it to the Church both in the Scriptures and in other oral Traditions (see 2 Thessalonians 2:15), which preserved it through the canonization of the Scriptures and by holding to the Traditions of the Apostles, and each bishop is responsible for guarding what he has received throughout history to the present day.

It's not a defining or construction, but a guarding of the treasure that was given us by Christ.
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« Reply #168 on: June 03, 2011, 10:31:18 AM »

do you agree that there is an historic Christian Church that at least for a time after the Apostles died was united around the Eucharist?  United around the bishops? If not, what do you believe was the case? 

I don't know enough to reply knowledgeably, and whatever I wrote would be easy enough for someone to refute, even if (not you, of course) he did so insincerely merely because he wished to deploy his superior knowledge and win a phoney discussion. That they all broke bread in memory of the Lord I do not doubt; I would not have thought that this was the locus of their sense of unity. I do not believe all churches were episcopal. I have read in early Xtn writing (The Didache, I think - but I may be wrong) that some churches seem to have had what we might call a congregational church order, whilst others were episcopal - some like ours, some like yours. Their form of church order was not the bond of their unity, but rather a loyalty to the risen Lord.

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But don't you see that there is a breach between, say, what you believe about baptism and the Eucharist vis-a-vis salvation and what we believe? And that we cannot both be right?

For some reason I cannot get my posts on to the screen - rather the text keeps jumping up and down, and vanishing below the bottom, so I'll start another reply...
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« Reply #169 on: June 03, 2011, 10:39:04 AM »

...Yes - and no. Our Lord commanded us to be baptised, and to break bread "in remembrance of me." I am not aware that he explained "how it works" or commanded us to understand how it works. Leaving aside for a moment the question of whether it is ever valid to baptise infants, and thinking only of when you baptise converts from another religion or none after they come to faith in Christ - we are both doing what the Lord commanded, baptising them in the triune name. Whatever God does in the life and soul of an "illuminand" I believe he does (assuming the illuminand is sincere). I would not say that "it doesn't work" for you, because you understand it wrongly - nor vice versa for us. Obviously it is better to understand as clearly as we can; but I do not think it is the cerebral understanding of baptismal doctrine which validates the sacrament - else the Romans to whom Paul wrote would not have benefited from their baptism, for they had obviously not grasped it full meaning.

Mutatis mutandis, I would say the same about the Eucharist.

How do I get all the text of my posts into the window on this computer, as on the other one I use?
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« Reply #170 on: June 03, 2011, 10:44:23 AM »

I'm sorry! I was... Just laughing at myself 

Something we English are said to be able to do.
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« Reply #171 on: June 03, 2011, 10:47:39 AM »

I don't know enough to reply knowledgeably, and whatever I wrote would be easy enough for someone to refute, even if (not you, of course) he did so insincerely merely because he wished to deploy his superior knowledge and win a phoney discussion.

I suppose, then, the question is, do you want to know?  Will you research?

It seems an important enough question.

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That they all broke bread in memory of the Lord I do not doubt; I would not have thought that this was the locus of their sense of unity. I do not believe all churches were episcopal. I have read in early Xtn writing (The Didache, I think - but I may be wrong) that some churches seem to have had what we might call a congregational church order, whilst others were episcopal - some like ours, some like yours. Their form of church order was not the bond of their unity, but rather a loyalty to the risen Lord.

You divide that which we do not -- unity and loyalty.  I think it a false dilemma to say that it must be one or the other.

In the Didache, it is written that the Churches should "ordain for themselves bishops and deacons."  I suppose one could take this in the direction of congregational governance in a number of ways, but one need not.

It is also written that the Eucharist is "holy food" and should be celebrated every Lord's Day, and that fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays is prescribed, and that confession of sins should be made regularly.  I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on those portions of the Didache.
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« Reply #172 on: June 03, 2011, 11:32:09 AM »

St Ignatius of Antioch, the late contemporary of the apostles, says in his letter to the Trallians that apart from the bishop, the priests, and the deacons, an assembly cannot even be called a church. So, while the Didache may seem to allow a congregationalist structure in a certain interpretation, taken with the other contemporary witnesses, it cannot be interpreted this way. St Ignatius also speaks of other bishops outside the Antiochian Church, and there is no evidence for different structures. Such would be an argument from silence.

In his letter to the Philadelphians, he also says:

"Be eager, therefore, to use one Eucharist—for there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one cup for union with his blood, one sanctuary, as there is one bishop, together with the priests and the deacons my fellow slaves—so that, whatever you do, you do in relation to God."

So, it would seem that the Eucharist is indeed the embodiment of unity.
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« Reply #173 on: June 03, 2011, 12:04:44 PM »

I wouldn't say "the passing on" of the keys but rather being given the authority to use them. As well as practical disciplinary authority, etc.  Each bishop has the authority to steward the mysteries in his place.  Each has the authority to pass on doctrinal issues in his place.  But the Church as a whole, whether small as in the beginning or large as now, has the authority to delineate doctrine (as you state in another post).  The bishop has local authority to do that, but each bishop is subject to being called to account by his fellow bishops.

It seems clear this is described in the Scriptures.  St. James weighing in on the Judaizing controversy, etc.
So would this mean the bishops are themselves Apostles? Because Apostles are described by Paul as the Church's foundation which can't be re-laid.

And I ask how that can be when the Scriptures were not even agreed upon until 300 years later.  Was there no "authority in the Church" between 100 AD and the mid-4th Century?  Or was that authority hidden?  How did that work on a practical level during the time when the Church didn't even have agreement on which books were in the Canon and which were out?

To quote an earlier post of mine:
Also, as to your belief that it is possible that sola scriptura is true, keep in mind that for about 20 years between the death and resurrection of Christ and the first writings of the New Testament (Paul's) there were no scriptures other than the Old Testament.
I've never had an issue with authoritative oral tradition, I'm just not sure if authoritative tradition extends beyond the teachings of those who actually saw the Risen Lord or were with Him in earthly ministry. It seems like this is the criterion for Apostolic authority in the NT.
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And then of course you have the problem that not everyone agreed as to what is actually scripture as well, it was a few centuries before there was a real consensus that some of these books were in fact scripture.
 I know, but James, Hebrews, the Johanine and Petrine Epistles, Jude, and Revelation while valuable wouldn't necessarily destroy basic Reformation theology by their absence (and no James would make it easier for some people lol). The main part of the Pauline corpus (including all-important Romans) and the four Gospels with Acts (plus the Apocalypse of Peter which is pretty innocuous afaict) were coalesced pretty early on in the second century, I believe. Hermas, Barnabas, and the Apocrypha I could probably welcome to the canon as well, personally.

My point is, I don't think this is a good argument against Sola Scriptura, nor any of the other four Solas. Not that there aren't good arguments against them of course.

I think the question becomes "what means 'having the Jesus of the Bible?'"

Is it not a problem that the Church (united or in schism) for roughly 1600 years believed in infant baptism, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, prayer to the Saints, veneration of the Theotokos, private confession, etc., but most Protestant sects do not?

Do you contend the "Jesus of the Bible" is neutral on such matters?
I don't think He's neutral, but neither do I think these are issues that being wrong about makes someone a heretic as such does not seem to be demonstrable Scripturally.

Jesus can do anything He wants.  He let the thief on the cross into the Kingdom, too.  He doesn't ask me about such things.

But where the Scriptures have given us the Apostolic formation of the Church, and where Protestants claim those Scriptures as authoritative, it seems folly to try to argue the Scriptures against themselves by taking exceptions and arguing they should be the rule.
It's such a sweeping statement though, "whoever..."
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« Reply #174 on: June 03, 2011, 12:06:25 PM »

I'm sorry! I was... Just laughing at myself 

Something we English are said to be able to do.
I wish I had a classic English wit.
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« Reply #175 on: June 03, 2011, 12:54:34 PM »

I wouldn't say "the passing on" of the keys but rather being given the authority to use them. As well as practical disciplinary authority, etc.  Each bishop has the authority to steward the mysteries in his place.  Each has the authority to pass on doctrinal issues in his place.  But the Church as a whole, whether small as in the beginning or large as now, has the authority to delineate doctrine (as you state in another post).  The bishop has local authority to do that, but each bishop is subject to being called to account by his fellow bishops.

It seems clear this is described in the Scriptures.  St. James weighing in on the Judaizing controversy, etc.
So would this mean the bishops are themselves Apostles? Because Apostles are described by Paul as the Church's foundation which can't be re-laid.

I'm not following your logic.  I assume you're referring to Ephesians 2:19-22?

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Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

I don't think this says what you seem to be claiming it says.

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To quote an earlier post of mine:
Also, as to your belief that it is possible that sola scriptura is true, keep in mind that for about 20 years between the death and resurrection of Christ and the first writings of the New Testament (Paul's) there were no scriptures other than the Old Testament.
I've never had an issue with authoritative oral tradition, I'm just not sure if authoritative tradition extends beyond the teachings of those who actually saw the Risen Lord or were with Him in earthly ministry. It seems like this is the criterion for Apostolic authority in the NT.
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And then of course you have the problem that not everyone agreed as to what is actually scripture as well, it was a few centuries before there was a real consensus that some of these books were in fact scripture.
I know, but James, Hebrews, the Johanine and Petrine Epistles, Jude, and Revelation while valuable wouldn't necessarily destroy basic Reformation theology by their absence (and no James would make it easier for some people lol). The main part of the Pauline corpus (including all-important Romans) and the four Gospels with Acts (plus the Apocalypse of Peter which is pretty innocuous afaict) were coalesced pretty early on in the second century, I believe. Hermas, Barnabas, and the Apocrypha I could probably welcome to the canon as well, personally.

That still misses the point -- even if it were only for 10 years.  Or 5.  Or 2 months.  How do you deal with the issue of the gap between when the last Apostle died and when the Scriptures were, as you say, "coalesced?"

I disagree with your history, but leave that aside for the moment.

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I don't think He's neutral, but neither do I think these are issues that being wrong about makes someone a heretic as such does not seem to be demonstrable Scripturally.

Ah, but the Church says they are demonstrated Scripturally.  Or do you mean that the Scriptures teach that one may hold to error and still remain in the Church, to whom Christ said "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to hold to everything I have commanded you....."?

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It's such a sweeping statement though, "whoever..."

I think you have the issue of authority mixed up.  Do you have any basis in that text to believe Jesus was speaking of authority in the Church versus living a holy life in Him?

Miracles in the Church are not limited to bishops.  In fact, a great, great number of the Saints in the Church, including those who performed great miracles, were not bishops.  If this were not so, my wife and 3 daughters would not have Patron Saints (or, alternatively, would have to take male Patron Saints).  That doesn't change the fact that Christ set up His Church through the Apostles.  And historically, the call to those who would do good works, miracles, live holy lives, etc. in Him is to join the Church, not remain apart from her.  There is no evidence in that text that those casting out demons were teaching falsely, only that they did not "follow" the Apostles.  There is likewise no additional evidence to tell us what became of those men.

But there is AMPLE evidence in the Scriptures as to how the Church was formed.  See in Acts 2:42-46 how the early Church formed around the Eucharist.  See in Acts 8 how in Samaria the Church heard the Gospel had reached that city and she SENT Peter and John to them.  See how in Acts 11 the Church of Antioch was founded.  See in Acts 14 how Paul and Barnabas "appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting," and then "commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed."  And, as I have already noted, see how the circumcision issue was handled in Acts 15.  See how the Holy Spirit was promised to the Apostles in John 16 and the power of absolution given to the same in John 20?  

This isn't over and against Scripture, or apart from it.  This IS Scripture.  Now, if the question is "can someone be apart from the Canonical Church and be saved," I believe I have answered that.  But if the question is "how does the New Testament and the Church described in the New Testament say one is to be saved," I have to point to the Church and say "right here."
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« Reply #176 on: June 03, 2011, 01:07:58 PM »

do you want to know?  Will you research? It seems an important enough question.


In the light (or darkness?!) of my earlier posts, I have to say that Church History is an interesting subject, and I do enjoy learning about the early church. But - being a sola scriptura man! - I don't feel compelled to replicate the patterns of belief, practice and organisation that developed in the sub-apostolic and patristic ages. That is not to say we cannot learn from them - but that is a different matter.

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It is also written that the Eucharist is "holy food" and should be celebrated every Lord's Day, and that fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays is prescribed, and that confession of sins should be made regularly.  I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on those portions of the Didache.

Holy Food: I don't believe that there is a change in the bread or wine, but the act is sacred, and the 'food' is at that time put to holy use.
Every Sunday: that is the practice of the Plymouth Brethren and (I believe) the Anglicans. Yes, I'd go along with that, though I don't think the scriptures go so far as to prescribe a weekly celebration.
Fasting: Xtns should fast, for the NT says so; it does not say when or how often.
Confession: to God, yes, rather frequently in my case I fear; to other humans? - only in more extreme and thus fairly infrequent circumstances, not because they can absolve us (only God can), but because "confession is good for the soul" - though if we have wronged someone then yes, of course we should confess to him/her.
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« Reply #177 on: June 03, 2011, 01:27:17 PM »

In the light (or darkness?!) of my earlier posts, I have to say that Church History is an interesting subject, and I do enjoy learning about the early church. But - being a sola scriptura man! - I don't feel compelled to replicate the patterns of belief, practice and organisation that developed in the sub-apostolic and patristic ages. That is not to say we cannot learn from them - but that is a different matter.

And yet it seems to me that the early Church development sheds light on what the Scriptures say.

Put better, perhaps (because I don't want to be misunderstood as claiming the patristic Fathers somehow illumine the Scriptures when in fact I believe the opposite), what the Fathers believed and how they governed themselves is a better indication, IMHO, of what they received from the Apostles, and therefore what the Scriptures rightly mean, than is a reactionary movement of the 16th century.

Unless one is claiming that the Patristic governance is at odds with Scripture, in which case I'd argue one has the burden of proof.  Point being, to the extent it is consistent with the Scriptures (and I certainly think it is), it is an important thing to sort out.

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Holy Food: I don't believe that there is a change in the bread or wine, but the act is sacred, and the 'food' is at that time put to holy use.
Every Sunday: that is the practice of the Plymouth Brethren and (I believe) the Anglicans. Yes, I'd go along with that, though I don't think the scriptures go so far as to prescribe a weekly celebration.
Fasting: Xtns should fast, for the NT says so; it does not say when or how often.
Confession: to God, yes, rather frequently in my case I fear; to other humans? - only in more extreme and thus fairly infrequent circumstances, not because they can absolve us (only God can), but because "confession is good for the soul" - though if we have wronged someone then yes, of course we should confess to him/her.

Thank you for that.
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