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Author Topic: The church is "where two or three are gathered in my name"  (Read 5126 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: July 09, 2012, 10:01:43 AM »



Acknowledgeing that God can and does work outside the visible boundaries of the Church doesn't change where those visible boundaries are. Cornelius served the God of Israel (Acts 10:2, 10:22) without being a Jew, and the disciples of John the Baptist had to be baptized (Acts 19:1-6). While Acts 18:24-26 doesn't explicitly say that Apollos was baptized, it does say that "they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly" and comes immediately before the passage in chapter 19 where the other disciples of John the Baptist were baptized.

Cornelius was a Centurion, Apollos was a Jew, they were new to Christianity, so they were outside the visible Church. Of course John the Baptist followers needed to be baptised with the Holy Spirit, all Christians need to be. That's different when they were not a part of any Church before. In my case I was Baptised into the family of God as a baby. My parents were Christians, their parents were Christians, their parents and so on all the way back to whoever was the first to be converted. I don't have a family tree that goes back that far but it could be as far back as when Christianity was spread into the Scandinavian countries.

I guess the disagreement is just going to be I don't think Jesus came to give us a religion. He came to save us from our sins. All who believe are Children of God (John 1:12) All have received Grace (John 1:16) We are part of the true vine and Christ abides in us (John 15:1-5) We are Christs friends (John 15:15) Children and heirs of Christ and God (Romans 8:17) We were chosen by him to be holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4) and new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) No one shall pluck us out of his hand (John 10:28-30) and we are to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed us (Romans 15:7).

These promises were not met with a disclamer about the Orthodox church.  
You do realize that's an argument from silence, which is rarely ever convincing?

Using the Word of God as my argument is an argument based on a lack of evidence? I would conclude the opposite, the Orthodox claim to be the one only true church isn't supported by evidence from the Word of God.

The Word of God was Incarnate as Christ. It seems to me that when Protestants call Scripture the Word of God as you did (and as I as an ex-Lutheran once would have done) you are implying an almost Islamic view of what Scripture is. If you truly believe it to be the dictated Word of God then you can indeed believe that Christ came to found no Church (rather to deliver a Book) but you have a whole separate set of issues to deal with (and not trivial ones either). If, on the other hand, you believe that the Scripture is the God-inspired writing of the Church (which actually I did even as a Protestant) then questioning whether Christ founded that Church at all seems rather... difficult. I can perfectly understand why as a Protestant you would want to believe that there never was a visible Church but if there wasn't, where did the Bible come from? And if there was, where is it now?

James
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« Reply #46 on: July 09, 2012, 10:03:50 AM »

I only posted what he did say. Plus the Lutheran version of Sola Scripture is not the Anabaptist view. Church history, Creeds etc are important but Scripture is the final judge and the only thing we know as infallible. Traditions can't contradict scripture. The Catholic/Orthodox church can't be infallible otherwise there would have been no Schism.

That is a bizarre view.

Does that same logic apply to the Arian and Nestorian schisms, for example?

There were 5 main Patriarchs that were in Communion. They split from each other west and east. How do we know who's right? Even Orthodox say Rome had a primacy/first amoung equals. They can both be wrong, especially after 2,000 years time for fallible humans. That's different than individual sects within Christianity.
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« Reply #47 on: July 09, 2012, 10:08:20 AM »

The Word of God was Incarnate as Christ. It seems to me that when Protestants call Scripture the Word of God as you did (and as I as an ex-Lutheran once would have done) you are implying an almost Islamic view of what Scripture is. If you truly believe it to be the dictated Word of God then you can indeed believe that Christ came to found no Church (rather to deliver a Book)

No, I said Christ came to save us from our sins so we can have life in him, not to deliver a book. We know his purpose because of Scriptures written by God through the Old and New Testement witnesses.
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« Reply #48 on: July 09, 2012, 10:09:52 AM »

I only posted what he did say.
And pointed out how Jesus did NOT make a disclaimer about the Orthodox church (as though this proves somehow that the Orthodox Church has no right to call herself the "one true Church").
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« Reply #49 on: July 09, 2012, 10:15:38 AM »

I only posted what he did say.
And pointed out how Jesus did NOT make a disclaimer about the Orthodox church (as though this proves somehow that the Orthodox Church has no right to call herself the "one true Church").

You have the right to call yourself whatever you like. It just doesn't make it true. As long as Orthodox doesn't consider non-orthodox not to be Christians or saved I personally have no problem with it.
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« Reply #50 on: July 09, 2012, 10:24:19 AM »

I only posted what he did say.
And pointed out how Jesus did NOT make a disclaimer about the Orthodox church (as though this proves somehow that the Orthodox Church has no right to call herself the "one true Church").

You have the right to call yourself whatever you like. It just doesn't make it true. As long as Orthodox doesn't consider non-orthodox not to be Christians or saved I personally have no problem with it.

We don't consider you to be saved, but we don't consider ourselves saved either. We are working out our salvation (and I'm sure you're doing the same). You aren't in the Church Militant (that's the Orthodox Church) but that doesn't necessarily mean you won't be in the Church Triumphant - who God saves is up to God alone. When we say the Orthodox Church is the One True Church it doesn't have anything to do with whether or not you are 'saved' and the mere fact that we talk of heterodox Christians clearly means that we must accept that you are Christians even if we don't believe you have the fullness of the Truth.

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« Reply #51 on: July 09, 2012, 10:28:20 AM »

We don't consider you to be saved, but we don't consider ourselves saved either. We are working out our salvation (and I'm sure you're doing the same). You aren't in the Church Militant (that's the Orthodox Church) but that doesn't necessarily mean you won't be in the Church Triumphant - who God saves is up to God alone.

That's a fully acceptable view in my opinion.
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« Reply #52 on: July 09, 2012, 10:29:16 AM »

The Word of God was Incarnate as Christ. It seems to me that when Protestants call Scripture the Word of God as you did (and as I as an ex-Lutheran once would have done) you are implying an almost Islamic view of what Scripture is. If you truly believe it to be the dictated Word of God then you can indeed believe that Christ came to found no Church (rather to deliver a Book)

No, I said Christ came to save us from our sins so we can have life in him, not to deliver a book. We know his purpose because of Scriptures written by God through the Old and New Testement witnesses.

But how do you know what Scripture is and isn't and why do you say 'written by God'?  Do you mean inspired or something more akin to dictated?

James
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« Reply #53 on: July 09, 2012, 10:40:18 AM »

The Word of God was Incarnate as Christ. It seems to me that when Protestants call Scripture the Word of God as you did (and as I as an ex-Lutheran once would have done) you are implying an almost Islamic view of what Scripture is. If you truly believe it to be the dictated Word of God then you can indeed believe that Christ came to found no Church (rather to deliver a Book)

No, I said Christ came to save us from our sins so we can have life in him, not to deliver a book. We know his purpose because of Scriptures written by God through the Old and New Testement witnesses.

But how do you know what Scripture is and isn't and why do you say 'written by God'?  Do you mean inspired or something more akin to dictated?

James

2 Timothy 3:16 (Inspired/ God Breathed whatever translation you would like to use).

Also, in the Grace Alone thread I gave a ton of credit to the early fathers (east and west) for declaring what was authoritative. I really don't want to get into the same discussion we already had a few weeks ago though.
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« Reply #54 on: July 09, 2012, 10:49:52 AM »



Acknowledgeing that God can and does work outside the visible boundaries of the Church doesn't change where those visible boundaries are. Cornelius served the God of Israel (Acts 10:2, 10:22) without being a Jew, and the disciples of John the Baptist had to be baptized (Acts 19:1-6). While Acts 18:24-26 doesn't explicitly say that Apollos was baptized, it does say that "they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly" and comes immediately before the passage in chapter 19 where the other disciples of John the Baptist were baptized.

Cornelius was a Centurion, Apollos was a Jew, they were new to Christianity, so they were outside the visible Church. Of course John the Baptist followers needed to be baptised with the Holy Spirit, all Christians need to be. That's different when they were not a part of any Church before. In my case I was Baptised into the family of God as a baby. My parents were Christians, their parents were Christians, their parents and so on all the way back to whoever was the first to be converted. I don't have a family tree that goes back that far but it could be as far back as when Christianity was spread into the Scandinavian countries.

I guess the disagreement is just going to be I don't think Jesus came to give us a religion. He came to save us from our sins. All who believe are Children of God (John 1:12) All have received Grace (John 1:16) We are part of the true vine and Christ abides in us (John 15:1-5) We are Christs friends (John 15:15) Children and heirs of Christ and God (Romans 8:17) We were chosen by him to be holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4) and new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) No one shall pluck us out of his hand (John 10:28-30) and we are to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed us (Romans 15:7).

These promises were not met with a disclamer about the Orthodox church.  

If only scripture had been given in a vacuum.
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« Reply #55 on: July 09, 2012, 03:51:39 PM »

Does Orthodox ecclessiology just go entirely over Protestants' heads?
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« Reply #56 on: July 09, 2012, 04:05:16 PM »

Does Orthodox ecclessiology just go entirely over Protestants' heads?
No, I dont think so. It is just antithetical to what they've been taught their whole lives. its like teaching someone the valuable uses of a football bat.

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« Reply #57 on: July 09, 2012, 05:54:00 PM »

Cornelius was a Centurion, Apollos was a Jew, they were new to Christianity, so they were outside the visible Church. Of course John the Baptist followers needed to be baptised with the Holy Spirit, all Christians need to be. That's different when they were not a part of any Church before. In my case I was Baptised into the family of God as a baby. My parents were Christians, their parents were Christians, their parents and so on all the way back to whoever was the first to be converted. I don't have a family tree that goes back that far but it could be as far back as when Christianity was spread into the Scandinavian countries.

I guess the disagreement is just going to be I don't think Jesus came to give us a religion. He came to save us from our sins. All who believe are Children of God (John 1:12) All have received Grace (John 1:16) We are part of the true vine and Christ abides in us (John 15:1-5) We are Christs friends (John 15:15) Children and heirs of Christ and God (Romans 8:17) We were chosen by him to be holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4) and new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) No one shall pluck us out of his hand (John 10:28-30) and we are to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed us (Romans 15:7).

These promises were not met with a disclamer about the Orthodox church.

So were you baptized into God's family or did you believe yourself into it?
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« Reply #58 on: July 09, 2012, 05:56:17 PM »

I only posted what he did say. Plus the Lutheran version of Sola Scripture is not the Anabaptist view. Church history, Creeds etc are important but Scripture is the final judge and the only thing we know as infallible. Traditions can't contradict scripture. The Catholic/Orthodox church can't be infallible otherwise there would have been no Schism.

That is a bizarre view.

Does that same logic apply to the Arian and Nestorian schisms, for example?

There were 5 main Patriarchs that were in Communion. They split from each other west and east. How do we know who's right? Even Orthodox say Rome had a primacy/first amoung equals. They can both be wrong, especially after 2,000 years time for fallible humans. That's different than individual sects within Christianity.

I don't see that it is.

It is very simple: all those who believe rightly are in the Church of Christ.
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« Reply #59 on: July 09, 2012, 06:28:04 PM »

This is what defines the Church. Done in continuity with and unity with the bishops who received their authority from bishops that received their authority from... the apostles who received their authority from Christ Himself as the continuation of God's people. Just as Paul writes that God still reached out to those outside the law, and Cornelius was in good standing with the Jews honoring God without being one of them, we do not believe that those outside of our visible communion are entirely without God, they're just not part of the continuation of the community of His people on earth in this age. Just as Christ told the Samaritan woman that Salvation is of the Jews and told the Jews to obey those that sit in the seat of Moses, we believe that we are the historical continuation of God's community of people and that it is within this community that one can properly Worship God the way He intends for us to. Just as one could be in the OT community and not properly worship God with a pure heart, one can be a member of our community do the same. Just as those outside of the OT community could find favor with God, those outside of our community can too, but that doesn't change the fact that God had a defined community that He called His own in the OT, and it doesn't change the fact that Christ established a community of believers in the NT as the continuation of the OT community.

1 Cor 10:16-17
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
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« Reply #60 on: July 09, 2012, 07:14:26 PM »

Cornelius was a Centurion, Apollos was a Jew, they were new to Christianity, so they were outside the visible Church. Of course John the Baptist followers needed to be baptised with the Holy Spirit, all Christians need to be. That's different when they were not a part of any Church before. In my case I was Baptised into the family of God as a baby. My parents were Christians, their parents were Christians, their parents and so on all the way back to whoever was the first to be converted. I don't have a family tree that goes back that far but it could be as far back as when Christianity was spread into the Scandinavian countries.

I guess the disagreement is just going to be I don't think Jesus came to give us a religion. He came to save us from our sins. All who believe are Children of God (John 1:12) All have received Grace (John 1:16) We are part of the true vine and Christ abides in us (John 15:1-5) We are Christs friends (John 15:15) Children and heirs of Christ and God (Romans 8:17) We were chosen by him to be holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4) and new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) No one shall pluck us out of his hand (John 10:28-30) and we are to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed us (Romans 15:7).

These promises were not met with a disclamer about the Orthodox church.

So were you baptized into God's family or did you believe yourself into it?


I was Baptised with the Holy Spirit as an infant (same as Orthodox) and was raised in a Christian family and in a Christian church (Lutheran to be specific). I've never not believed my whole life. It is possible for someone to reject this at some point in their life. For a convert they are to "believe and be baptised". I guess I'm not sure where you're going with this question?

As for your verse in 1 Corintians keep reading to Chapter 12:


1 Corinthians 12:12-20
New King James Version (NKJV)
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?
18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.

Unless you think that non Orthodox baptisms are invalid we are Baptised into one body as God chooses.
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« Reply #61 on: July 09, 2012, 07:42:47 PM »

12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

So we agree that in order ot be a member of the Church, you must be baptized into it.

Is there any way for the statement in 1Cor 10:16-17, that the Church is defined by being united in the Eucharist, to be understood in a way that leaves the possibility open for multiple groups entirely seperated from each other concerning the sharing of Communion to still be the same body?
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« Reply #62 on: July 09, 2012, 07:47:53 PM »

CONTEXT NOTE - This thread started here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,45708.0.html  -PtA


The church is "where two or three are gathered in my name" (Matthew 18:20) and where they confess "You are the Christ, the Son of God" (Matthew 16:16). It's not built on any human, Peter or the other Apostles. Also remember Mark 9:38-41....


Mark 9:38-41
38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,
40 for whoever is not against us is for us.
41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

That being said I have nothing but respect for Orthodoxy.
The question is whether or not the "two or three" really are gathered in "His name". If the two or three are gathered, and worshiping according to the traditions of men, are they really gathered in "His name"? Perhaps subjectively, but not objetively. It seems that to "gather in His name" one would have to do so in the way He intended, and that includes membership in his One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Now, I am not making the claim that that is the Roman Catholic Church, as this is the Orthodox-Protestant subforum. I am simply making the general point as an argument against the "invisible church" idea.
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« Reply #63 on: July 09, 2012, 07:51:45 PM »

12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

So we agree that in order ot be a member of the Church, you must be baptized into it.

Is there any way for the statement in 1Cor 10:16-17, that the Church is defined by being united in the Eucharist, to be understood in a way that leaves the possibility open for multiple groups entirely seperated from each other concerning the sharing of Communion to still be the same body?

http://www.bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.php#article9.1

1] Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary 2] to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God's grace.

1] Of the Supper of the Lord they teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed 2] to those who eat the Supper of the Lord; and they reject those that teach otherwise.
 

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« Reply #64 on: July 09, 2012, 08:10:59 PM »

Is there any way for the statement in 1Cor 10:16-17, that the Church is defined by being united in the Eucharist, to be understood in a way that leaves the possibility open for multiple groups entirely seperated from each other concerning the sharing of Communion to still be the same body?
http://www.bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.php#article9.1

1] Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary 2] to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God's grace.

1] Of the Supper of the Lord they teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed 2] to those who eat the Supper of the Lord; and they reject those that teach otherwise.

I asked if two groups of churches who do not mutually share Communion with each other can still be the same body when they are not united in what defines the unity of the body.
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« Reply #65 on: July 09, 2012, 08:24:31 PM »

I only posted what he did say. Plus the Lutheran version of Sola Scripture is not the Anabaptist view. Church history, Creeds etc are important but Scripture is the final judge and the only thing we know as infallible. Traditions can't contradict scripture. The Catholic/Orthodox church can't be infallible otherwise there would have been no Schism.

Can the Scriptures humanly speak or reply when contradicted?  People can indeed read into Scripture contradictions,but No it cannot speak for itself. So your point is moot.
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« Reply #66 on: July 09, 2012, 08:27:18 PM »



I asked if two groups of churches who do not mutually share Communion with each other can still be the same body when they are not united in what defines the unity of the body.

 Huh Good question, my church practices open Communion because Christ said "take this, all of you" and Paul says to "wait for one another". There may be an argument for those who believe in the real body and blood and those who think it's simply symbolic. But we mutually share communion with all that believe it grants grace and remits sins.

I honestly would be happy to see evidence otherwise but closed communion seems to be certainly a tradition of man established because of the Schism. I may be wrong on that though?
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« Reply #67 on: July 09, 2012, 09:06:50 PM »

I asked if two groups of churches who do not mutually share Communion with each other can still be the same body when they are not united in what defines the unity of the body.
Huh Good question, my church practices open Communion because Christ said "take this, all of you" and Paul says to "wait for one another". There may be an argument for those who believe in the real body and blood and those who think it's simply symbolic. But we mutually share communion with all that believe it grants grace and remits sins.

I honestly would be happy to see evidence otherwise but closed communion seems to be certainly a tradition of man established because of the Schism. I may be wrong on that though?

The Church was pretty solidly united under the apostles  when they were alove, but they did give instructions not to receive those who did not teach the same doctrine or were of sects who taught differently. Their immediate disciples (Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus for example) all stressed on the importance of the bishop as central to local church unity, and unity among bishops.

Gal 1:8-9
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

2John 1:10
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
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« Reply #68 on: July 09, 2012, 09:15:20 PM »



I asked if two groups of churches who do not mutually share Communion with each other can still be the same body when they are not united in what defines the unity of the body.

 Huh Good question, my church practices open Communion because Christ said "take this, all of you" and Paul says to "wait for one another". There may be an argument for those who believe in the real body and blood and those who think it's simply symbolic. But we mutually share communion with all that believe it grants grace and remits sins.

I honestly would be happy to see evidence otherwise but closed communion seems to be certainly a tradition of man established because of the Schism. I may be wrong on that though?


So you take Christ's words among his apostles within a closed room to mean a 'universal' statement? Is not your interpretation taking our Lord's words 'out of context' by definition?
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« Reply #69 on: July 09, 2012, 09:19:52 PM »



I asked if two groups of churches who do not mutually share Communion with each other can still be the same body when they are not united in what defines the unity of the body.

 Huh Good question, my church practices open Communion because Christ said "take this, all of you" and Paul says to "wait for one another". There may be an argument for those who believe in the real body and blood and those who think it's simply symbolic. But we mutually share communion with all that believe it grants grace and remits sins.

I honestly would be happy to see evidence otherwise but closed communion seems to be certainly a tradition of man established because of the Schism. I may be wrong on that though?


Traditional Lutherans practice closed communion.
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« Reply #70 on: July 09, 2012, 09:29:00 PM »

I have no interest debating Open vs. Closed communion. It's a tough subject. I personally think all Christians that believe in the real presence should be able to commune together. I think there are good arguments that those who don't believe that can be seperated. I don't have any real strong feelings on it other than that and I hope one day it happens but know it's very unlikley.
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« Reply #71 on: July 09, 2012, 09:55:15 PM »

I personally think all Christians that believe in the real presence should be able to commune together. I think there are good arguments that those who don't believe that can be seperated.

I used to think along similar lines shortly before becoming Orthodox, I actually stopped taking communion at my old Methodist church because of I started to believe in the real presence and they didn't. My thinking was that this was an isolated point of doctrine related to an isolated practice (you do an action because you believe the same thing about the action, and that action/belief really has no bearing on any other belief/practice), but the more I looked at it, the more I started to see that different points of doctrine that I had once thought to be isolated and unaffecting each other were really supposed to be interconnected. A number of doctrines that once looked like a "bullet point list" started to look more like a "spider web".

The sharing (or not) of communion isn't traditionally based on what is believed just about communion, but about everything that is believed and the mutual acceptance and recognition of each other as being the same.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #72 on: July 10, 2012, 01:36:36 AM »

I honestly would be happy to see evidence otherwise but closed communion seems to be certainly a tradition of man established because of the Schism. I may be wrong on that though?
This is incorrect; closed communion was the universal practice of the Church from the beginning, not only for the Undivided Church, Orthodoxy, and Roman Catholicism, but also all early major trajectories stemming from the Reformation, as Fr. James A. Bernstein observes:

"Surprising as it seems, the practice of "closed communion" was adhered to not only by all Eastern and Western churches since the earliest days -in other words, all of ancient Christendom- but it continued to be the standard, not only of the Orthodox Church, but of the Roman Catholic Church, and until recently, most Protestant denominations as well.

For example, until the beginning of the twentieth century, Anglicans and Episcopalians practiced closed communion. The various Lutheran synods did as well, and some of the more conservative still do. Most Baptist groups had closed communion, as do many Southern Baptist congregations to this day. Methodists had to review a "note of admission" to communion from the bishop every quarter. Reformed Presbyterians issued certificates or "sacramental tokens" to those who, after examination, were considered to be in good standing -a practice called "fencing the table."

Why was this careful guarding of Holy Communion, which numerous contemporary believers have ignored so widely, practiced by such a broad spectrum of churches? Let us examine its biblical and historical basis." The original pamphlet is excellent, especially the explanation of why the Orthodox Church maintains this early and universal practice.  http://www.light-n-life.com/shopping/order_product.asp?ProductNum=COMM121

It's an ecclesiology spouted even by His Eminence, Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware), in his catechetical work, The Orthodox Church. The longer I've been Orthodox, though, the more I've come to disagree with it. There is but one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, not two overlapping churches, one visible and one invisible.
There has been a variety of opinion on this matter from patristic times. Augustine, in opposition to the Donatist idea of a visible pure Church was cited during the Reformation as affirming an invisible Church. Calvin held to an invisible church including "all the elect from the beginning of the world" (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.1.7) Many Protestants affirmed an invisible, internal ecclesiology from the Reformation in distinction from the visible Roman Catholic Church which they regarded as corrupt, though this opinion is not universal; e.g. many Baptists, describing such an approach as Platonic, claim the Donatists Augustine opposed as their own ancestors and affirm a visible, local ecclesiology.

An Orthodox perspective which similarly considers even death cannot separate our saints from the one holy catholic and apostolic Church has, I think, room for things invisible and visible in its ecclesiology. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses often unseen.

"From an Orthodox perspective, the Church is both catholic and local, invisible and visible, one and many. To explain what lies behind this Orthodox ecclesiological unity in multiplicity, one has to deal with the Orthodox understanding of the nature of the Church." -Fr. George Dragas "Orthodox Ecclesiology in Outline." http://books.google.com/books/about/Orthodox_Ecclesiology_in_Outline.html?id=bpD9HAAACAAJ

Acknowledging that God can and does work outside the visible boundaries of the Church doesn't change where those visible boundaries are.

Correct, I'm confident you know what I meant but if I must I will clarify it was not built on any fallible man (IE the Apostles or anyone else).
To the contrary.

"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone." -Eph 2:19-20

On the other hand,

"...no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ." -1 Cor 3:11

The latter is about how one builds with hay stubble and straw to be revealed in the final day; it does not really conflict with Eph 2, IMO.

If the Rock is anything other than the confession we might as well all be Roman Catholics.
Actually, no.

In fact many (not all) contemporary commentators who are not Roman Catholic do accept that the Matthean rock probably *is* Peter,[1] but without supposing this entails late Roman Catholic claims about that passage which are neither demanded by exegesis or patristic interpretation of the verse.[2] There are dissenting exegetes, but those affirming are by no means all Roman Catholics (cf. the footnotes for extended discussion and documentation).

The church is... where they confess "You are the Christ, the Son of God" (Matthew 16:16).

Are not two or three gathered in His name at the Church?
(image)
Yes, and in the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints too. I believe Papist has covered this point well.

Also remember Mark 9:38-41....

[]Mark 9:38-41
38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,
40 for whoever is not against us is for us.
41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.
Orthodox would not likely attempt to dissuade a Lutheran from driving out a demon or offering a glass of water in Christ's name.

As has been remarked one may find different opinions on this matter; I favor the explanation of Metropolitan Philaret Voznesensky of New York (Russian Orthodox Church Abroad) on the Faith of Non-Orthodox Christians

"It is self evident, however, that sincere Christians who are Roman Catholics, or Lutherans, or members, of other non-Orthodox confessions, cannot be termed renegades or heretics—i.e. those who knowingly pervert the truth… They have been born and raised and are living according to the creed which they have inherited, just as do the majority of you who are Orthodox; in their lives there has not been a moment of personal and conscious renunciation of Orthodoxy. The Lord, “Who will have all men to be saved” (I Tim. 2:4) and “Who enlightens every man born into the world” (Jn 1:43), undoubtedly is leading them also towards salvation in His own way."

'Inasmuch as the earthly and visible Church is not the fullness and completeness of the whole Church which the Lord has appointed to appear at the final judgment of all creation, she acts and knows only within her own limits; and ... does not judge the rest of mankind, and only looks upon those as excluded, that is to say, not belonging to her, who exclude themselves. The rest of mankind, whether alien from the Church, or united to her by ties which God has not willed to reveal to her, she leaves to the judgment of the great day' ("The Church is One") -Saint Philaret, Khomiakov

Acknowledging that God can and does work outside the visible boundaries of the Church doesn't change where those visible boundaries are.
+1

__________________
[1]
Oscar Cullmann (Lutheran), "Petros, petra," in Kittel, TDNT, vol VI, pp. 98, 107, 108:
"The obvious pun which has made its way into the Gk. text as well suggests a material identity between petra and petros, the more so as it is impossible to differentiate strictly between the meanings of the two words. On the other hand, only the fairly assured Aramaic original of the saying enables us to assert with confidence the formal and material identity between petra and petros: petra = Kepha = petros... Since Peter, the rock of the Church, is thus given by Christ Himself, the master of the house (Is. 22:22; Rev. 3:7), the keys of the kingdom of heaven, he is the human mediator of the resurrection, and he has the task of admitting the people of God into the kingdom of the resurrection... The idea of the Reformers that He is referring to the faith of Peter is quite inconceivable in view of the probably different setting of the story... For there is no reference here to the faith of Peter. Rather, the parallelism of 'thou art Rock' and 'on this rock I will build' shows that the second rock can only be the same as the first. It is thus evident that Jesus is referring to Peter, to whom He has given the name Rock. He appoints Peter, the impulsive, enthusiastic, but not persevering man in the circle, to be the foundation of His ecclesia. To this extent Roman Catholic exegesis is right and all Protestant attempts to evade this interpretation are to be rejected."

D.A. Carson (Evangelical Protestant), NIV Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), vol 2, page 78:
"Although it is true that petros and petra can mean 'stone' and 'rock' respectively in earlier Greek, the distinction is largely confined to poetry. Moreover, the underlying Aramaic is in this case unquestionable; and most probably kepha was used in both clauses ('you are kepha' and 'on this kepha'), since the word was used both for a name and for a 'rock.' The Peshitta (written in Syriac, a language cognate with Aramaic) makes no distinction between the words in the two clauses. The Greek makes the distinction between petros and petra simply because it is trying to preserve the pun, and in Greek the feminine petra could not very well serve as a masculine name." (Carson, The Expositor's Bible Commentary [Zondervan, 1984], volume 8, page 368, as cited in Butler/Dahlgren/Hess, page 17-18)

"The word Peter petros, meaning 'rock,' (Gk 4377) is masculine, and in Jesus' follow-up statement he uses the feminine word petra (Gk 4376). On the basis of this change, many have attempted to avoid identifying Peter as the rock on which Jesus builds his church yet if it were not for Protestant reactions against extremes of Roman Catholic interpretations, it is doubtful whether many would have taken 'rock' to be anything or anyone other than Peter."

R.T. France (Anglican), New Bible Commentary (IVP, 1994), p. 925f.:
"The name Peter means 'Rock', and Jesus played on this meaning to designate Peter as the foundation of the new people of God. His leadership would involve the authority of the steward, whose keys symbolized his responsibility to regulate the affairs of the household. Peter would exercise his leadership by his authority to declare what is and is not permissible in the kingdom of heaven (to bind and to loose have this meaning in rabbinic writings)... It is sometimes suggested that because the word for 'rock' (petra) differs from the name Petros, the 'rock' referred to is not Peter himself but the confession he has just made of Jesus as Messiah. In Aramaic, however, the same term kefa would appear in both places; the change in Greek is due to the fact that petra, the normal word for rock, is feminine in gender, and therefore not suitable as a name for Simon! The echo of Peter's name remains obvious, even in Greek; he is the rock, in the sense outlined above."

Herman Ridderbos (Evangelical), Bible Student's Commentary: Matthew [Zondervan, 1987], page 303
"It is well known that the Greek word (petra) translated 'rock' here is different from the proper name Peter. The slight difference between them has no special importance, however. The most likely explanation for the change from petros ('Peter') to petra is that petra was the normal word for 'rock.' Because the feminine ending of this noun made it unsuitable as a man's name, however, Simon was not called petra but petros. The word petros was not an exact synonym of petra; it literally meant 'stone.' Jesus therefore had to switch to the word petra when He turned from Peter's name to what it meant for the Church. There is no good reason to think that Jesus switched from petros to petra to show that He was not speaking of the man Peter but of his confession as the foundation of the Church. The words 'on this rock [petra]' indeed refer to Peter. Because of the revelation that he had received and the confession that it motivated in him, Peter was appointed by Jesus to lay the foundation of the future church."

Craig Blomberg (Protestant Evangelical) --
"Acknowledging Jesus as The Christ illustrates the appropriateness of Simon's nickname 'Peter' (Petros=rock). This is not the first time Simon has been called Peter (cf. John 1:42 [wherein he is called Cephas]), but it is certainly the most famous. Jesus' declaration, 'You are Peter,' parallels Peter's confession, 'You are the Christ,' as if to say, 'Since you can tell me who I am, I will tell you who you are.' The expression 'this rock' almost certainly refers to Peter, following immediately after his name, just as the words following 'the Christ' in v. 16 applied to Jesus. The play on words in the Greek between Peter's name (Petros) and the word 'rock' (petra) makes sense only if Peter is the rock and if Jesus is about to explain the significance of this identification." (Blomberg, The New American Commentary: Matthew [Broadman, 1992], page 251-252, as cited in Butler/Dahlgren/Hess, page 31-32)

William F. Albright and C.S. Mann (from The Anchor Bible series) --
"Rock (Aram. Kepha). This is not a name, but an appellation and a play on words. There is no evidence of Peter or Kephas as a name before Christian times. On building on a rock, or from a rock, cf. Isa 51:1ff; Matt 7:24f. Peter as Rock will be the foundation of the future community (cf. I will build). Jesus, not quoting the OT, here uses Aramaic, not Hebrew, and so uses the only Aramaic word which would serve his purpose. In view of the background of vs. 19 (see below), one must dismiss as confessional interpretation any attempt to see this rock as meaning the faith, or the Messianic confession, of Peter. To deny the pre-eminent position of Peter among the disciples or in the early Christian community is a denial of the evidence. Cf. in this gospel 10:2; 14:28-31; 15:15. The interest in Peter's failures and vacillations does not detract from this pre-eminence; rather, it emphasizes it. Had Peter been a lesser figure his behavior would have been of far less consequence (cf. Gal 2:11ff)." (Albright/Mann, The Anchor Bible: Matthew [Doubleday, 1971], page 195)

Craig S. Keener (Protestant Evangelical) --
"'You are Peter,' Jesus says (16:18), paralleling Peter's 'You are the Christ' (16:16). He then plays on Simon's nickname, 'Peter,' which is roughly the English 'Rocky': Peter is 'rocky,' and on this rock Jesus would build his church (16:18)....Protestants...have sometimes argued that Peter's name in Greek (petros) differs from the Greek term for rock used here (petra)....But by Jesus' day the terms were usually interchangeable, and the original Aramaic form of Peter's nickname that Jesus probably used (kephas) means simply 'rock.' Further, Jesus does not say, 'You are Peter, but on this rock I will build my church'....the copulative kai almost always means 'and'.... Jesus' teaching is the ultimate foundation for disciples (7:24-27; cf. 1 Cor 3:11), but here Peter functions as the foundation rock as the apostles and prophets do in Ephesians 2:20-21....Jesus does not simply assign this role arbitrarily to Peter, however; Peter is the 'rock' because he is the one who confessed Jesus as the Christ in this context (16:15-16)...." (Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew [Eerdmans, 1999], page 426-427)

Francis Wright Beare (Presbyterian/Reformed) --
"The play on words -- 'Peter', this 'rock' -- requires a change in Greek from petros (properly, 'stone') to petra. In Aramaic, the two words would be identical -- Kepha the name given to Peter, transliterated into Greek as Kephas (Gal. 2:9), and kepha, 'rock'. The symbol itself is Hebraic: Abraham is the 'rock' from which Israel was hewn, and in a rabbinic midrash, God finds in him a rock on which he can base and build the world..." (Beare, The Gospel According to Matthew [Harper and Row, 1981], page 355)

Eduard Schweizer (Presbyterian/Reformed) --
"The 'rock' is Peter himself, not his confession. Only on this interpretation does the pun make sense." (Schweizer, The Good News According to Matthew [John Knox Press, 1975], page 341)

Ivor H. Jones (Methodist) --
"...in 16.18 Peter is the rock on which the new community could be built, as Abraham was described in rabbinic writings as the rock on which God could erect a new world to replace the old....The arguments have raged across the centuries over the phrase 'on this rock' : does it mean on Peter, or on Peter's confession? But the text is clear: Peter was divinely inspired and this was the reason for his new function and the basis of his authorization. His function was to provide for Jesus Christ the beginnings of a stronghold, a people of God, to stand against all the powers of evil and death...They are God's people, the church...as the church they represent God's sovereign power over evil (18.18b) and rely upon a new kind of divine authorization...This authorization is given to Peter; so Peter is not only a stronghold against evil; he also is responsible for giving the community shape and direction." (Jones, The Gospel of Matthew [London: Epworth Press, 1994], page 99)

M. Eugene Boring (Disciples of Christ) --
"16:18, Peter as Rock. Peter is the foundation rock on which Jesus builds the new community. The name 'Peter' means 'stone' or 'rock' (Aramaic Kepha Cepha; Greek petros).... There are no documented instances of anyone's ever being named 'rock' in Aramaic or Greek prior to Simon. Thus English translations should render the word 'stone' or 'rock,' not 'Peter,' which gives the false impression that the word represented a common name and causes the contemporary reader to miss the word play of the passage: 'You are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church.' Peter is here pictured as the foundation of the church....On the basis of Isa 51:1-2 (cf. Matt 3:9), some scholars have seen Peter as here paralleled to Abraham; just as Abram stood at the beginning of the people of God, had his name changed, and was called a rock, so also Peter stands at the beginning of the new people of God and receives the Abrahamic name 'rock' to signify this." (The New Interpreter's Bible [Abingdon Press, 1995], volume 8, page 345)

Thomas G. Long (Presbyterian/Reformed) --
"Since, in the original Greek, Petros and petra both mean 'rock,' it is easy to spot this statement as a pun, a play on words: 'Your name is "Rock," and on this "rock" I will build my church.' Jesus' meaning is plain: Peter is the rock, the foundation, upon which he is going to erect his church...Jesus spoke Aramaic, however, not Greek. In Aramaic, the words for 'Peter' and 'rock' are the same (Kepha)...the most plausible interpretation of the passage is that Jesus is, indeed, pointing to Peter as the foundation stone, the principal leader, of this new people of God...there is much evidence that he also played a primary leadership role in the early Christian church....For the church, the new people of God, Peter was, indeed, the 'rock,' corresponding to Abraham of old, who was 'the rock from which you were hewn' (Isa. 51:1)." (Long, Matthew [Westminster John Knox Press, 1997], page 185, 186)

Richard B. Gardner (Brethren/Mennonite):
"The key question here is whether the rock foundation of the church is Peter himself, or something to be distinguished from Peter. If the latter, Jesus could be speaking of Peter's faith, or of the revelation Peter received. It is more likely, however, that the rock on which Jesus promises to build the church is in fact Peter himself, Peter the first disciple (cf. 4:18; 10:2), who represents the whole group of disciples from which the church will be formed. At least four considerations support this view...." (Gardner, Believers Church Bible Commentary: Matthew [Herald Press, 1991], 247)

[2]


"The promise to Peter from the gospel of Matthew (16:18), 'You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,' which is so central for today's bishops of Rome and which now adorns the interior of St. Peter's in gigantic black letters on a gilt background, is not once quoted in full in any of the Christian literature in the first centuries -apart from a text in Tertullian, and this does not quote the passage in connection with Rome but in connection with Peter. Only in the middle of the third century did a bishop of Rome, by the name of Stephen, appeal to the promise to Peter, he did so in a dispute with other churches as to which had the better tradition. However he was no more successful than Bishop Victor had been fifty years previously. Victor attempted to force through in an authoritarian way a uniform date for Easter, without respect for the character and independence of the other churches, and was put in his place by the bishops of the East and West, especially by the highly respected bishop and theologian Irenaeus of Lyons. At the time the rule of one church over the other churches was rejected even in the West." Hans Kung, The Catholic Church: A Short History, pp. 40-41.

"The “Peter Syndrome” is the automatic (and unjustified) application of anything about Peter to the bishop of Rome exclusively." (Fr. Cleenwerke, His Broken Body,p. 78).

"Cyprian, along with his synod of North African bishops, left no room for doubt: 'For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another' (Acts of the Seventh Council of Carthage under Cyprian, The Judgment of Eighty-Seven Bishops on the Baptism of Heretics).     -Fr. Laurent Cleenewerke, His Broken Body

As Fr. John Meyendorff affirms
"...a very clear patristic tradition sees the succession of Peter in the episcopal ministry. The doctrine of St Cyprian of Carthage on the 'See of Peter' being present in every local Church, and not only in Rome, is well-known. It is also found in the East, among people who certainly never read the De unitate ecclesia of Cyprian, but who share its main idea, thus witnessing to it as part of the catholic tradition of the Church. St Gregory of Nyssa, for example, affirms that Christ “through Peter gave to the bishops the keys of the heavenly honors,” and the author of the Areopagitica, when speaking of the “hierarchs” of the Church, refers immediately to the image of St Peter. A careful analysis of ecclesiastical literature both Eastern and Western, of the first millennium, including such documents as the lives of the saint, would certainly show that this tradition was a persistent one; and indeed it belongs to the essence of Christian ecclesiology to consider any local bishop to be the teacher of his flock and therefore to fulfill sacramentally, through apostolic succession, the office of the first true believer, Peter.' (On the Unity of the Catholic Church)

"Origen tells us that it was the standard claim of all bishops to have received the power of the keys: Consider how great power the rock has upon which the church is built by Christ, and how great power every one has who says, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”… But when those who maintain the function of the episcopate make use of this word as Peter, and, having received the keys of the kingdom of heaven from the Savior, teach that things bound by them, that is to say, condemned, are also bound in heaven, and that those which have obtained remission by them are also loosed in heaven, we must say that they speak wholesomely if they have the way of life on account of which it was said to that Peter, “Thou art Peter...” But if he is tightly bound with the cords of his sins, to no purpose does he bind and loose." It seems that Origen had traveled extensively by the time he wrote his Second Commentary on Matthew. As a result, we must assume that he accurately reported what he heard: bishops were quoting Matthew 16 to establish the prerogatives of their office.

 "Chrysostom also calls Ignatius of Antioch successor of Peter. There is no doubt that his reference to “Peter and his successors” applies to the bishops everywhere, not to the bishops of Rome exclusively. In fact, there is a real possibility that Chrysostom’s perception of Peter’s role stems from his view of the episcopate (not the other way around)." -Fr. Laurent Cleerenwerke, His Broken Body, p. 84.





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« Reply #73 on: July 10, 2012, 08:13:38 AM »

Xariskai - Can you put a little more info in your posts from now on Grin

I actually think Melodist Scriptures explain a reason for closed communion better form a Apostle tradition/Scripture prospective however I guess I don't see Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox to have different Gospels just different Theology on certain points. When I think different Gospel I think of Mormons, Islam and other Cultish type of groups. I guess I understand if Orthodox or whoever think that a Lutheran or whoever has a different Gospel than them how they would have closed communion. It just is what it is and I don't have too strong feelings about it I guess since I can already get it at my church I don't really need it somewhere else.

As far as Peter and the Rock of course I know there is a wide range on opinion on this matter. It's probably the most debated verse in the New Testament. I'm on the side (obviously) that it was his confession that is the Rock and the Gates of Hell can never prevail over the confession of Christ, no matter what humans do inside church bodies or elsewhere. Here is what the Lutheran Confession states:

http://www.bookofconcord.org/treatise.php

25] However, as to the declaration: Upon this rock I will build My Church, certainly the Church has not been built upon the authority of man, but upon the ministry of the confession which Peter made, in which he proclaims that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. He accordingly addresses him as a minister: Upon this rock, i.e., upon this ministry. [Therefore he addresses him as a minister of this office in which this confession and doctrine is to be in operation and says: Upon this rock, i.e., this preaching and ministry.]

26] Furthermore, the ministry of the New Testament is not bound to places and persons as the Levitical ministry, but it is dispersed throughout the whole world, and is there where God gives His gifts, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers; neither does this ministry avail on account of the authority of any person, but on account of the Word given by Christ. 27] [Nor does the person of a teacher add anything to this word and office; it matters not who is preaching and teaching it; if there are hearts who receive and cling to it, to them it is done as they hear and believe.] And in this way, not as referring to the person of Peter, most of the holy Fathers, as Origen, Cyprian, Augustine, 28] Hilary, and Bede, interpret this passage: Upon this rock. Chrysostom says thus: "Upon this rock," not upon Peter. For He built His Church not upon man, but upon the faith of Peter. But what was his faith? "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Hilary says: To Peter the Father revealed that he should say, "Thou art the Son of the living God." 29] Therefore the building of the Church is upon this rock of confession; this faith is the foundation of the Church.

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« Reply #74 on: July 10, 2012, 02:48:29 PM »

...explain a reason for closed communion better form a Apostle tradition/Scripture prospective
My post didn't go into that as it was focused on suggesting the fact that closed communion was both universal and ancient renders any claim that "closed communion seems to be certainly a tradition of man established because of the Schism" quite impossible. The practice long predates the Great Schism. But additionally it is also far from "certainly a tradition of man" considering it was the universal praxis from the very beginning of the Church. Had it been an aberrant "tradition of man" departing radically from the "true teaching of the apostles" one might suppose we should find at least least one single shred of dissent from this practice in earliest Christianity, yet there is none. I guess what I'm saying is I see no grounds whatsoever for what you describe as a "certainty" contra the universal and ancient practice of the Church on this point. Perhaps you can explain your position further.

As to the reasons for closed communion, as I mentioned in the previous post Bernstein also discusses that topic in a useful way; I posted a partial summary here in case you want to look further into it.

however I guess I don't see Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox to have different Gospels just different Theology on certain points. When I think different Gospel I think of Mormons, Islam and other Cultish type of groups. I guess I understand if Orthodox or whoever think that a Lutheran or whoever has a different Gospel than them how they would have closed communion.
Though firmly disagreeing, as most Orthodox would, I'm also sympathetic to those who continue to think this way and believe the more one has learned from a Protestant point of view the longer it takes to grow out of such thinking. My priest, for example, was not only a Lutheran pastor with a PhD in theology from one of the leading seminaries in Europe, he also taught in a Lutheran seminary for many years, and also served for a long time as a Lutheran missionary overseas. It took a long time for him to fully realize the incompatibility of Lutheranism with the apostolic faith to the point that he even considered leaving Lutheranism (with his family and wife who also taught in a Lutheran school overseas), and he is currently convinced that Luther did in fact proclaim a different gospel; certainly key elements of the Lutheran perspective were unknown to the first Christian millennium as is true for Roman Catholicism and all major Protestant trajectories. Another example is the great one-time Lutheran church historian Jaroslav Pelikan, who only converted to Orthodoxy toward the end of his life of study and publishing. These are anecdotes rather than arguments for Orthodoxy; the main point being simply that the significance of the differences in those who come to believe in such a thing often takes a lot of time and study.

One additional problem with not just the Lutheran trajectory but all major trajectories of Protestantism stemming from the Reformation is  this sort of thing, so rife in the ECLA (youtube) to which, thus far, Orthodoxy has not succumbed largely thanks to elements of its ecclesiology which safeguard doctrine, morality, worship, and obedience. For this reason Bishop Kallistos has pointed out that even if there is a minority of those sympathetic to Orthodox/paleo-orthodox theology that is not a strong enough basis for union with a trajectory which also accepts and/or can lead to many other things besides.

As far as Peter and the Rock of course I know there is a wide range on opinion on this matter. It's probably the most debated verse in the New Testament.
Your notion that "if the Rock is anything other than the confession we might as well all be Roman Catholics," however, is absolutely unsound considering the fact documented above that so many Protestant academics as well as Orthodox accept the possibility of the rock = Peter exegesis while adamantly opposing any suggestion that this leads to later-developed Roman Catholic conclusions. So no, it is absolutely not the case that "we might as well all be Roman Catholics."

I'm on the side (obviously) that it was his confession... Here is what the Lutheran Confession states:
Stating that the Lutheran Confession supports this interpretation is one thing; showing the alternative is not viable is another; if you wish to attempt the latter that would be more interesting than simply repeating what Martin Luther said; perhaps in Orthodox-Roman Catholic discussion for an even more lively discussion.

Xariskai - Can you put a little more info in your posts from now on Grin
Lol... happy to oblige.  Wink
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« Reply #75 on: July 10, 2012, 03:48:13 PM »

Xariskai

I don't even try to defend the ELCA. I just go to the church I was baptised in and consider myself a Christian first and a Lutheran second. It's blessed my family and my wifes family for generations and I agree with the core of Lutheran theology, particulary Justification. My father in law is a Lutheran Pastor with a Masters degree and they left the ELCA for the LCMC because of how liberal the ELCA has gotten.
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« Reply #76 on: July 10, 2012, 04:12:27 PM »

Xariskai

I don't even try to defend the ELCA. I just go to the church I was baptised in and consider myself a Christian first and a Lutheran second.

This statement disturbs me quite a lot. It seems to contain an inherent contradiction. You are a member of the ELCA are you not?
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« Reply #77 on: July 10, 2012, 04:30:33 PM »

Xariskai

I don't even try to defend the ELCA. I just go to the church I was baptised in and consider myself a Christian first and a Lutheran second.

This statement disturbs me quite a lot. It seems to contain an inherent contradiction. You are a member of the ELCA are you not?

Sounds like your problem not mine. Where I live you have two choices in Lutheran churches, the ELCA and the LCMS. Neither are perfect so it doesn't make sense to leave my local church that's been nothing but good to me my whole life. I have no interest in Non Denominational and Baptist churches and I fully disagree with Orthodoxy/Roman Catholics on Justification (see Grace Alone thread). I would go to my Father in laws LCMC church as that seems to be the most sensible form of American Lutheranism but it's 2 hours away. 

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« Reply #78 on: July 10, 2012, 04:35:27 PM »

It's blessed my family and my wifes family for generations and I agree with the core of Lutheran theology, particulary Justification. My father in law is a Lutheran Pastor with a Masters degree and they left the ELCA for the LCMC because of how liberal the ELCA has gotten.
On the one hand you have said "I guess I don't see Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox to have different Gospels just different Theology on certain points"while on the other hand you seem to accept Luther's idea that his take on justification is at the core of the gospel.

Luther's take on justification was, or course, unknown to the first Christian millennium, and is subject to profound challenges among major contemporary academic investigators. If we as Orthodox Christians adamantly reject Luther's idea of justification as imputation, would you say we are still proclaiming the same gospel?

Do you then jettison the notion that Luther's concept of justification is integral, from your point of view, to the core of the gospel? If not, why should we suppose the notion that we do not have different gospels is coherent/free of contradiction?

Xariskai

I don't even try to defend the ELCA. I just go to the church I was baptised in and consider myself a Christian first and a Lutheran second.

This statement disturbs me quite a lot. It seems to contain an inherent contradiction. You are a member of the ELCA are you not?

Sounds like your problem not mine. Where I live you have two choices in Lutheran churches, the ELCA and the LCMS
But it *would* be our problem if we accepted your notion of open communion, would it not? (if not, why not?)

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« Reply #79 on: July 10, 2012, 04:42:21 PM »

Luther's take on justification was, or course, unknown to the first Christian millennium, and is subject to profound challenges among major contemporary academic investigators. If we as Orthodox Christians adamantly reject Luther's idea of justification, would you say we are still proclaiming the gospel as you understand it?

But it *would* be our problem if we accepted your notion of open communion, would it not? (if not, why not?)



To the first point that's where we disagree, in the Grace alone thread I used tons of Scripture and early Church fathers to back up the Lutheran position. I don't, however, feel like repeating the same argument, anyone can read my many posts and quotes in the other thread.

To the second point I already said I don't want to debate open vs closed communion since I don't have a real strong opinion on it. Like I said, it is what it is.

Also, to try to discredit the core of either my arguments here or in the Grace Alone thread based on the ELCA and not the arguments put forth (not saying you are doing this) would simply be a straw man.
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« Reply #80 on: July 10, 2012, 04:46:54 PM »

Luther's take on justification was, or course, unknown to the first Christian millennium, and is subject to profound challenges among major contemporary academic investigators. If we as Orthodox Christians adamantly reject Luther's idea of justification, would you say we are still proclaiming the gospel as you understand it?

But it *would* be our problem if we accepted your notion of open communion, would it not? (if not, why not?)



To the first point that's where we disagree, in the Grace alone thread I used tons of Scripture and early Church fathers to back up the Lutheran position. I don't, however, feel like repeating the same argument, anyone can read my many posts and quotes in the other thread.

To the second point I already said I don't want to debate open vs closed communion since I don't have a real strong opinion on it. Like I said, it is what it is.

Also, to try to discredit the core of either my arguments here or in the Grace Alone thread based on the ELCA and not the arguments put forth (not saying you are doing this) would simply be a straw man.
That is not why I raised the question of the ELCA; rather it was in regard to Orthodox take on union and inter-communion.

As to any arguments you may have presented that justification as an alien forensic imputed righteousness was the position of the early fathers, can you cite any major contemporary scholar that argues this, or is this just your personal p. o. v.?

Quote
The teaching of imputed righteousness is a signature doctrine of the Lutheran and Reformed traditions of Christianity. There is some dispute as to the origin of the reformation era concept of imputed righteousness. Some modern Lutherans deny that Luther taught it before other reformers such as Melancthon. However, Luther did use the term in this sense as early as 1516. In his seminal 1516 Novum Instrumentum Omne (actually finished late in 1515 but printed in March 1516), Erasmus rendered the Greek logizomai as "imputat" all eleven times it appears in Romans chapter four. The Vulgate Erasmus intended to "correct" usually rendered it "reputat" (repute). Erasmus was at this time famous and Luther almost unknown, leaving open the possibility that the concept itself did not originate with Luther, but rather, if not with Erasmus, then within the wider church reform movement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imputed_righteousness

Quote from: Happy Lutheran
I guess I don't see Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox to have different Gospels just different Theology on certain points

The question is still unanswered as to whether you regard **contemporary** Orthodox Christians, who adamantly reject Luther's particular take on justification as integral to the core of the gospel, as having the same gospel as Lutherans and other Protestants.

Do you then jettison the notion that Luther's concept of justification is integral, from your point of view, to the core of the gospel? If not, why should we suppose the notion that we do not have different gospels is coherent/free of contradiction?
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« Reply #81 on: July 10, 2012, 04:53:39 PM »

Per Justin Martyr (around 150 ad)

"And this food is called among us Eukaristia [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined."

Looks like it was closed communion early on to me.
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« Reply #82 on: July 10, 2012, 05:23:09 PM »

Luther's take on justification was, or course, unknown to the first Christian millennium, and is subject to profound challenges among major contemporary academic investigators. If we as Orthodox Christians adamantly reject Luther's idea of justification, would you say we are still proclaiming the gospel as you understand it?

But it *would* be our problem if we accepted your notion of open communion, would it not? (if not, why not?)



To the first point that's where we disagree, in the Grace alone thread I used tons of Scripture and early Church fathers to back up the Lutheran position. I don't, however, feel like repeating the same argument, anyone can read my many posts and quotes in the other thread.

To the second point I already said I don't want to debate open vs closed communion since I don't have a real strong opinion on it. Like I said, it is what it is.

Also, to try to discredit the core of either my arguments here or in the Grace Alone thread based on the ELCA and not the arguments put forth (not saying you are doing this) would simply be a straw man.
That is not why I raised the question of the ELCA; rather it was in regard to Orthodox take on union and inter-communion.

As to any arguments you may have presented that justification as an alien forensic imputed righteousness was the position of the early fathers, can you cite any major contemporary scholar that argues this, or is this just your personal p. o. v.?

Quote
The teaching of imputed righteousness is a signature doctrine of the Lutheran and Reformed traditions of Christianity. There is some dispute as to the origin of the reformation era concept of imputed righteousness. Some modern Lutherans deny that Luther taught it before other reformers such as Melancthon. However, Luther did use the term in this sense as early as 1516. In his seminal 1516 Novum Instrumentum omne (actually finished late in 1515 but printed in March 1516), Erasmus rendered the Greek Logizomai (reckon) as "imputat" all eleven times it appears in Romans chapter four. The Vulgate Erasmus intended to "correct" usually rendered it "reputat" (repute). Erasmus was at this time famous and Luther almost unknown, leaving open the possibility that the concept itself did not originate with Luther, but rather, if not with Erasmus, then within the wider church reform movement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imputed_righteousness
Quote from: Happy Lutheran
I guess I don't see Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox to have different Gospels just different Theology on certain points

The question is still unanswered as to whether you regard contemporary Orthodox Christians, who adamantly reject Luther's particular take on justification as integral to the core of the gospel, as having the same gospel -as you suggested earlier- as Lutherans and other Protestants.



There are scholars on every side of every issue. It doesn't matter if it's Religion, Politics, Economics and so forth. If you want to take the view of the majority of modern day scholars then we should throw 1 Timothy out of our Bibles as modern scholars say Paul didn't write it and it was probably 2nd century Greek. Throw out 2 Peter also because most scholars don't think it was written by Peter, same goes for 2 and 3 John, no one knows who wrote the book of Hebrews but it's pretty universal it wasn't Paul. So I ask you, are you willing to be a slave to the opinion of modern scholars?
 
From the Orthodox Study Bible (your source)

Romans 4:22-24
22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,
24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,

"Hence we affirm that all spirits are to be proved in the face of the church, by the judgement of scripture. For this ought, above all things, to be recieved, and most firmly settled among Christians: - That the Holy Scriptures are a spiritual light by far more clear than the Sun itself, especially in those things which pertain unto Salvation and Necessity"

Martin Luther

Also, you can disagree but the Core of the Gospel is the Good news of Christ's death and Resurrection and for the remission of our sins so we can have eternal life. Exactly how were Justified (Imputed/Imparted) and Free Will et al are Theological differences and Theological diferences were rampent in the early fathers. The writtings are there for all on CCEL.org to read.
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« Reply #83 on: July 10, 2012, 07:00:09 PM »

I would just like to thank everyone that has posted in both this and the Grace Alone thread, nearly all have been very friendly and informative. I have learned quite a bit. That being said although I fully plan to keep posting on this site but the two above mentioned threads have ran their course and I'm repeating things and we're just not coming to much agreement. I've posted a ton the past few weeks and think my positions are strong and speak for themselves in each thread but understand that will not sway Orthodox Christians (Nor is that my intent). Feel free to respond to my posts but please do not do so in asking me further questions. It is a bit exhausting when it's me vs many (which is understandable this being an Orthodox site). I look forward to further discussions on other topics.  Smiley
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« Reply #84 on: July 10, 2012, 07:22:48 PM »

There are scholars on every side of every issue. It doesn't matter if it's Religion, Politics, Economics and so forth. If you want to take the view of the majority of modern day scholars then we should throw 1 Timothy out of our Bibles as modern scholars say Paul didn't write it and it was probably 2nd century Greek. Throw out 2 Peter also because most scholars don't think it was written by Peter, same goes for 2 and 3 John, no one knows who wrote the book of Hebrews but it's pretty universal it wasn't Paul. So I ask you, are you willing to be a slave to the opinion of modern scholars?
 
From the Orthodox Study Bible (your source)

Romans 4:22-24
22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,
24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,

"Hence we affirm that all spirits are to be proved in the face of the church, by the judgement of scripture. For this ought, above all things, to be recieved, and most firmly settled among Christians: - That the Holy Scriptures are a spiritual light by far more clear than the Sun itself, especially in those things which pertain unto Salvation and Necessity"

Martin Luther

Also, you can disagree but the Core of the Gospel is the Good news of Christ's death and Resurrection and for the remission of our sins so we can have eternal life. Exactly how were Justified (Imputed/Imparted) and Free Will et al are Theological differences and Theological diferences were rampent in the early fathers. The writtings are there for all on CCEL.org to read.

I gather from this last paragraph that you don't see any problem with these "Theological Differences"?

I would say that theological differences are differences in perceived experience and thus differences in one understanding of reality. At the very least the understanding of the religious reality but for Orthodox... it would be reasoning about realities personally know or not. The goal of Orthodox Christianity is personal, direct, encounter with the Divine and through that certainty in what is unseen and unknown to many as well as participation in the Divine.

It is not concerned with opinions of scholars or new ways of interpreting the Scriptures. Much of the West obsess about such things to very little gain in a personal encounter with the Divine. If you read the Saints instead of scholars you might gain a better grasp of the Orthodox Way.

Peace.
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« Reply #85 on: July 10, 2012, 09:07:58 PM »

There are scholars on every side of every issue. It doesn't matter if it's Religion, Politics, Economics and so forth. If you want to take the view of the majority of modern day scholars then we should throw 1 Timothy out of our Bibles as modern scholars say Paul didn't write it and it was probably 2nd century Greek. Throw out 2 Peter also because most scholars don't think it was written by Peter, same goes for 2 and 3 John, no one knows who wrote the book of Hebrews but it's pretty universal it wasn't Paul. So I ask you, are you willing to be a slave to the opinion of modern scholars?
It is the the case that Luther's particular take on justification does not predate the Reformation in the judgment, so far as I am aware, of all major contemporary scholars.

My request that you provide documentation to the contrary from at least one major scholar is not a matter of advocating "slavery to scholarship." Rather I genuinely suspect there is no major scholar -whether liberal or conservative- who affirms what you are asserting as factual. I believe you are simply, if honestly, mistaken.

Quote from: Happy Lutheran
Also, you can disagree but the Core of the Gospel is the Good news of Christ's death and Resurrection and for the remission of our sins so we can have eternal life.
Orthodox do not strip down the Christian faith to someone's personal definition of a presumed core essential or essentials, but rather continue to affirm and defend what we in unison proclaim as the fullness of the faith. Reducing the Christian faith to a smaller and smaller core makes it impossible to avoid the kind of fate that has befallen the ELCA and all other major trajectories of Protestantism. This is no straw man raised to win an argument on the internet but a genuine problem. Besides this, there is radical diversity within Protestantism even concerning what so brief a statement as you have provided in your quotation means and/or entails. The result is theological chaos, just as prevails in your own denomination, the ELCA, as you have said yourself, and to your own dismay. Orthodox, you have said, should simply admit the core is the same and embrace everyone in open communion? That, however, is not really for you to determine. You have proven all your arguments? Your standards of "sufficient proof" are perhaps much lower than ours might be, and in any case our faith is not based on foundationalist notions of proof, but upon the common faith of Orthodox Christians for 2000 years. Not to disrespect you personally, as you seem like a fine fellow.

Quote from: Happy Lutheran
From the Orthodox Study Bible (your source)
You might have consulted the article in the OSB on the page facing the passage you quoted entitled "Justification By Faith" before suggesting that the Orthodox Study Bible teaches Luther's particular take on justification as punctiliar forensically imputed alien righteousness. It certainly does not. Although the OSB itself says it is not written for scholars and is lacking in some detail, perhaps it will suffice aid you to understand what you cannot seem to fathom, that Orthodox do not hold to, and in fact reject, Luther's particular notion of justification.

Quote from: Orthodox Study Bible
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH

For most of Church history, salvation was seen as comprehending all of life: Christians believed in Christ, were baptized, and were nurtured in their salvation in the Church. Key doctrines of the faith centered around the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation of the Son of God, and the atonement.

In Western Europe during the sixteenth century, however, and even before, justifiable concern arose among the Reformers over a prevailing understanding that salvation depended on human works of merit, and not upon the grace and mercy of God. Many involved with the Reformation experienced a rediscovery of Romans 5. Their slogan of salvation became sola fides (Lat.): justification was by faith alone.

This Reformation debate in the West was late-breaking news for the Orthodox East: why this new polarization of faith and works? It had been settled since the apostolic era that salvation was granted by the mercy of God to righteous men and women. Those baptized into Christ were called to believe in Him and do good works. A discussion of faith versus works was unprecedented in Orthodox thought.

The Orthodox understanding of justification differs from the Protestant in several ways.

(1) Justification and the New Covenant. When Orthodox Christians approach the doctrine of salvation, the discussion centers around the New Covenant. Justification (being or becoming righteous) by faith in God is part of being brought into a covenant relationship with Him. Whereas Israel was under the Old Covenant, wherein salvation came through faith as revealed in the law, the Church is under the New Covenant. Salvation comes through faith in Christ who fulfills the law, and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, leading us to the knowledge of God the Father. Whereas some Christians focus on justification as a legal acquittal before God, Orthodox believers see justification by faith as a covenant relationship with Him, centered in union with Christ (Rom. 6:1-6).

(2) Justification and God’s mercy. Orthodoxy emphasizes it is first God’s mercy-not our faith-which saves us. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1, 2). It is God who initiates or makes the New Covenant with us.

(3) Justification by faith is dynamic, not static. For Orthodox Christians, faith is living, dynamic, continuous-never static or merely point-in-time. Faith is not something a Christian exercises only at one critical moment, expecting it to cover all the rest of his life. True faith is not just a decision, it’s a way of life.

This is why the modern evangelical Protestant question, “Are you saved?” gives pause to an Orthodox believer. As the subject of salvation is addressed in Scripture, the Orthodox Christian would see it in at least three aspects: (a) I have been saved, being joined to Christ in baptism; (b) I am being saved, growing in Christ through the sacramental life of the Church; and (c) I will be saved, by the mercy of God at the Last Judgment.

A final difficulty for Orthodox Christians is the word alone. Justification by faith, though not the major New Testament doctrine for Orthodox as it is for Protestants, poses no problem. But justification by faith alone brings up an objection. It contradicts Scripture, which says: “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). We are “justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:28), but nowhere does the Bible say we are justified by faith “alone.” On the contrary, “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17).

As Christians we are no longer under the demands of the Old Testament law (Rom. 3:20), for Christ has fulfilled the law (Gal. 2:21; 3:5, 24). By God’s mercy, we are brought into a New Covenant relationship with Him. We who believe are granted entrance into His Kingdom by His grace. Through His mercy we are justified by faith and empowered by God for good works or deeds of righteousness which bring glory to Him.     -Orthodox Study Bible, p. 1529

There is much more that could be said on this topic, but this should be enough to show others (if not you) that the Orthodox Study Bible does not teach the Reformed Lutheran doctrine of justification as Luther understood it as you seem to believe. If however you are capable of supposing it is the teaching of the OSB despite the explicit statements of the OSB to the contrary it is hardly surprising you perceive it as self-evidently present everywhere else you look too, whether in the early fathers or the Bible "plain as the sun in the sky." Your curious personal perception of "having proven your case" does not make your notion that Orthodoxy and Lutheranism are identical as at their essential core as regards soteriology any more compelling, nor does it make the fact of current academic consensus, which you characteristically dodge interacting with and/or acknowledging, simply disappear.

On the topics of (1) Lutheran soteriology and (2) nuances of the debate over justification in contemporary scholarship, cf.

http://katachriston.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/did-luther-get-it-wrong-most-major-contemporary-pauline-scholars-say-yes/

http://katachriston.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/dikaiosyne-theou-the-righteousness-of-god-in-contemporary-biblical-scholarship/



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