So... back to this post. What makes your interpretation of the Scriptures different from (i.e., better than) that of the early Church Fathers? You still haven't answered this question.
Covenant theology is classical reformed theology.. Straight out calvinism.We know the Holy Fathers spoke copiously from the Scriptures, so what makes your use of the Scriptures different from theirs?
My posts explain how they have erred in their understanding of individual predestination. So no. This is not covenant theology. However, if you were being sarcastic you will already know this.
Now with regard to early church fathers. Lets have a look at Acts 20:29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
I'm not suggesting that they are off the track. However, we were warned. The writings of the early church fathers are not in the canon of scripture. The information provided in my 'long post' and yes, I know its long, comes from the bible not the early church fathers. If this is not good enough for you then theres not alot more I can do.
I really don't want to open up a can of worms right here right now.. There is enough going on.. Perhaps I might start a new post.. but if you really respect the early church fathers and hold their teachings as infallible and authoritative just as I do the scriptures, then listen to what Melito - Bishop of Sardis had to say..
I haven't answered that question because it is not my aim to disprove anyones teachings. My aim is to show you how I understand the bible and then for you to prove me wrong using scripture if possible..
But how are you going to prove that you understand the bible better than those who spoke and thought in the language of the NT writings and the Septuagint? I'm assuming that you aren't a Koine speaker so you are working with a translation. From past experience, I have seen many so-called biblical experts do this and come up with some doozies; "teachings" that would have had early Christians tearing out their hair. Even if these so-called experts "understand Greek", as I have heard so many claim, they still manage to understand Greek in a way that is slanted to suit their own preconceptions.
I believe it's no coincidence that early heresies were weeded out by those who understood the language of the text, and that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit an accepted canon was formed, teachings regulated.* That we see a resurgence of heretical, or just plain silly opinions, particularly in groups and individuals that could not even be considered mainstream Protestant, is no surprise when they refuse to have any contact with any Christian ancestral roots. Because it is somehow beneath them to consider that someone else knows better than they do, they struggle to recreate a "Christianity" that no ancient believer would have possibly recognised as anything but gnostic mumbo-jumbo; something that fits their thinking instead of recreating their thinking to fit historical Christianity.
Using Dispensationalism as an example. Some English man sees something in his English translation that the Church has never considered doctrine. It's picked up and carried on in ignorance of that fact and made more important that the doctrines that have come down to us from the very beginning. It's no wonder that a group like the JWs appears out of the Sola Scriptura swamp, completely denying the doctrine of the Trinity because they "don't see the word "Trinity" in their bibles".
Honestly, I have no axe to grind with you, but I do consider your opinions to be typical of a person who believes that the Holy Spirit is guiding you and you alone to understand the Scripture that was given to you by God, through the Church in the first place. (Yes, men - God works with men - what a shock!)
As Orthodox believers we have the Church for scriptual guidance, that's why we are completely confident that 2Timothy 2:15 belongs in the bible. What you say doesn't gel with what the Church teaches us. So, sorry to say you really are just wasting your time here if your purpose is to convince any Orthodox believer to accept your individual word over that of the historic Church which gives us Scripture and interprets it for us, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
*I can think of no better word than regulated. Perhaps someone can suggest something better?
Sorry, I did forget to respond to this also. I definitely, and without doubt, understand your point. Truly.
This may well be the case. And it makes perfect sense to want to stick with something that seems to have continued on throughout the centuries until now. Unbroken. Ancestral roots. Yes.. I'm not against the idea at all - even though it may appear that way.
I suppose, I have to look at it from 3 points of view. Unfortunately, nobody can deny that there are 3 main avenues of belief in Christianity. Of course, we all agree that there is only 1 way and 1 truth though. Not 3. These are Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism.
Catholics claim to be the true church, orthodox and protestants disagree. Orthodox claim to be the true church, catholics and protestants disagree and obviously, the same applies with protestants. So what does a truth seeker do? Just stick with how he was raised? Or does he investigate? If one is to investigate what do we do? Well I suppose we all have our ways of doing that. Some don't want to seek the truth. Often, the truth is hard to accept, but no amount of denying it will change it..
Regulation, as you put it, certainly can keep things uniform. I agree here. But were there are regs, there are always reg breakers. Someone erred along the way, someone broke the rules, hence the schism. Catholics would say you strayed, you would say they strayed. Both have their arguments, but the fact remains. Somebody erred..Then of course came the reformation. Which caused 'protestantism'. Sola fide and sola scriptura.. And from there developed some 33000 denominations alot of those, actually,most of those stemming from a misuse of the bible. (I'm not saying I am perfect, or better at understanding than anyone else btw.)
Now, you said JW's came out of the sola scriptura swamp.. Well yes.. They did. Or at least, thats what they have us believe. But has it not been stomped on? Their bibles, (I can't recall the translation) have been totally mistranslated, blatantly, and virtually re-written by their founder no less. But did the same thing not happen in the early churches? Marcion for example? Did he come out of the sola scriptura swamp? No. But just as Marcions heresies were stomped on, likewise, the JW's teachings have been 'stomped on'. People still believe them, but people believe in buddha too. There are even people who follow Marcions ideas. There was another man, it was basically pentecostalism as it is today but back then. That got stomped on. But its come back.
Now, is it really wrong of me, or any of us, to want to check the teachings of anyone against the bible? Even if it is from the earliest of the earliest christians? Can what they say not be compared to the bible?
In my own experience, reading the bible is not like reading any other book. Its as though the pages are literally alive. Every time I read it I learn more. Things I didn't understand yesterday are understood tomorrow, and more light is revealed. I believe that is the Spirit of God, who works in us through His Word. There are also spiritual gifts that God has given to His people, apostles, evangelists, pastors, teachers and prophets. Just because somebody calls themselves a prophet, or an evangelist, means nothing.. I need to hear what they are teaching, and compare it to the bible. Then we can know whether they are put there by God or not.
Hopefully from this, you might be able to see here that I don't think the truth is revealed to me and me alone, but through teachers, pastors, evangelists, through the churches - both historical and present, and, most importantly, by the Word of God and the Spirit.
Thats how we can discern the errors of the J.W's, mormons and any other branches of protestantism that deny the fundamentals of the Christian faith. i.e. Jesus Christ is God, the doctrine of the Trinity, Christs death and resurrection, His payment for sin, and so on.
My purpose here is not to convince you of anything. Just to humbly learn about your faith and explain the problems that I might have understanding it. Just as you may do the same with me.
Dialogue between believers. Hopefully for the edification of all of us.