No doubt the fathers studied them, that's not exactly what myself or the His Grace Isaiah is saying here. We aren't saying it is only used liturgically, we are saying that is the primary usage in the Church. But I think it is an error to think the Church's foundation is on the Bible, it's not.
Ever since I discovered Orthodoxy, I kind of was brought up into the "Greek Orthodox" understanding of the Bible. I've never considered the Bible to be just a singular book. I haven't seen any evidence at the start of Christianity that Christians referred the Bible as one book containing the OT/NT. I'm open to being corrected on this issue, and would like to see the epistles you are talking about, Mario.
Yes my attitude towards the Bible is a bit negative. I'm more referring to the protestant fundamentalists. Of course there hasn't been a single more influential book than the Bible when it comes to the arts, philosophy, politics, etc. Ignoring that would be wholly ignorant. I'm sorry for being grumpy about it.
What I find objectionable is the attitude that some take towards the Scriptures. It's true that they were historically different collections of books (the apostles, epistles, prophets, the law, etc.), but that doesn't mean they were only used liturgically. Just read any epistle of St. Basil's and see how much he quotes the scriptures. It's clear that the fathers gave the Scriptures much authority and studied them in depth as a source of solid doctrinal teaching. This is why it was important, for example, that the Nicene Christians produced a good exegesis of John 14:28, because without one, their entire argument for the divinity of the Son could have been undone with just one verse. That was the power and weight which the Church Fathers gave to the Scriptures.
Ok then, why did the church fathers have to successfully provide an exegesis of John 14:28 against Arianism? Why didn't they just use your response and deny that the Scriptures had any authority? I'm sorry, but you simply have not acquired the mind of the Fathers on this matter. Because of the universal recognition of the authority of the Scriptures, they are a foundation of our Church. We cannot hold to beliefs which contradict the Scriptures, and because of the historical authority given to the Scriptures, we are not free to revoke the authority of the Scriptures. It is "too late" for you to be making this argument after the fact. Now that it has happened (by the fourth century, 26 books of the New Testament were universally agreed upon), they are a foundation of our Church, end of story.
What Metropolitan Isaiah is trying to say is that the authority of the Church is not drawn from the Bible. This much is true. But the Bible, owing to the authority invested in it by the Church in time, is now an irrevocable source authority itself. Its authority is derived, but that doesn't mean its authority is lesser than the authority of the body which gave it its authority.
When I see things like, "we don't need the Scriptures because we have tradition," it drives me absolutely nuts because that's simply not true.Well Holy Scripture is part of Holy Tradition, it's not separate or running parallel to it. I don't believe His Grace Isaiah is saying we don't need the Scriptures because we have tradition.
The Scriptures are definitely set apart from the rest of Tradition. To say otherwise is foolish. They are invested with more authority than anything other writings of the tradition. When St. Symeon the New Theologian writes things that seems kind of funny, we can always say "well, Saints are not infallible;" we simply do not have this option with St. Paul, St. Luke, St. Mark, St. Matthew, St. Peter, St. James or St. John. If tradition truly contains the same amount of authority as the Scriptures, why does this not bear out in practice? Why is it that just one verse of St. Paul contains more authority than any one sentence of St. John Chrysostom?
It is something that I believe that if we did not have the Scriptures, Christianity's mission would have remained wholly intact. Does one need the Scriptures to preach the Gospel?
This is perhaps true, but it's not the reality we live in today. Fantasies are not a good evangelizing tactic.
What have we to fear by exalting the Scriptures to their proper place, as Orthodox Christians? Do we fear the charge made by Protestants that our tradition is inconsistent with the Holy Scriptures? Must we resort to denigrating the greatest recorded source of revelation which exists in the entire literary corpus of our two-thousand-year-old Tradition? Surely we have nothing to fear from our own Holy Scriptures. It is our responsibility to meet these charges made by Protestants head-on instead of dismissing them with such a lazy apology for Orthodoxy.So then this is wrong:
. Rather, the Bible is a product of the Church. For the first few centuries of the Christian era, no one could have put his hands on a single volume called “The Bible”. In fact, there was no one put his hands on a single volume called “The Bible”. In fact, there was no agreement regarding which “books” of Scripture were to be considered accurate and correct, or canonical. Looking back over history, there were various “lists” of the canonical “books” comprising the Bible:http://www.omhksea.org/2011/02/holy-scripture-in-the-orthodox-church/
I don't see how my statement conflicts with metropolitan Isaiah's statement. I just think you're misinterpreting him. The Protestants have accepted the authority of the Scriptures (which our own Church has invested with its own authority). That is good. Now we simply have to show them that they are using the Scriptures incorrectly, and bring them to understand that our Tradition is not incongruous with the Scriptures. Using this argument, "well, the Bible has no authority of its own," does nothing for evangelizing protestants, but instead does tremendous harm to Holy Orthodoxy, because in trying to undermine the authority of the Scriptures, we only wind up undermining the authority of the Church itself, by contradicting her revelation from God in time to invest the Holy Scriptures with authority.