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Offline Minnesotan

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Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« on: July 28, 2015, 04:53:12 PM »
Anyway, I've been thinking more about possible lines of reasoning I could use with Protestants, once I get the opportunity. (I'm more interested in explaining to them why I want to swim the Bosporus, rather than trying to convert them to my way of thinking. They might not agree with me, but at least I'd like them to respect my decision and not think I've gone crazy).

So I've thought of several analogies that I could use.

The first is regard to ecclesiology. Evangelicals hold to an "entrepreneurial" model. They believe that just anyone can start their own assembly, call it a church, and as long as it "follows the Bible", it automatically becomes part of Christ's church.

But that's a bit like saying that if I decide to start a burger stand in my backyard and call it a McDonald's, that means it's actually a McDonald's. Actually, if I did that, I'd be arrested for fraud and/or violating copyright. That's because the name McDonald's, the golden arches symbol, etc., aren't open source, they're copyrighted. I'd probably face a harsher penalty if I used substandard meats in my recipe, or otherwise conducted myself in a way that reflected poorly on the name McDonald's.

The question then becomes: is the Bible "copyrighted"? Are other aspects of Christianity (like the doctrine of the Trinity, etc.) "copyrighted" or open source? If they're "copyrighted" and it's Jesus Christ who owns the copyright, then that would imply that just anyone doesn't have the right to start their own church from scratch, at least not if they want it to be the same church Christ founded.

Instead, it would imply that there's one original Church, and if you want to respect Jesus Christ's "intellectual property rights", you need to be part of (or in communion with) the one church He founded, rather than starting your own assembly from scratch that would compete with it.

Some might interpret Matthew 18:20 to argue in favor of an "open source" church. But, as a recent post on these forums indicates, the classical interpretation of that verse is a reference to the Christian family (as a "domestic church") rather than as a license to allow individuals to start their own churches from scratch. The modern Protestant interpretation of that verse was completely absent prior to the Reformation.

The second argument I've thought of came to me after reading Fr. Daniel Byantoro's essays on being Orthodox in a primarily Muslim country (Indonesia). The difference between Orthodoxy and Islam is like night and day, in that Islam teaches that God's word became book (the Qur'an), whereas in Orthodoxy the focus is on God becoming flesh (Jesus Christ).

Evangelicalism muddies this distinction in that it makes the Bible into a "Christian Qur'an" of sorts. "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so". This kind of attitude (giving primacy to the written word) can quickly lead to a kind of wooden legalism, and frequently it does. Whereas the Orthodox would say that they believe what the Bible says because it points to Jesus Christ. The contrast with Islam is starker, whereas when Evangelicals debate Muslims it ends up becoming a "my book vs. your book" sort of debate.

The third argument also concerns evangelism of Muslims. Evangelicals and Pentecostals have found Muslims notoriously hard to evangelize. The Orthodox, on the other hand, have made inroads among them in the past, and are one of the few churches to have any success in this regard. One reason I think this might be the case is because Muslims, upon seeing most evangelical and charismatic forms of worship, would recognize what they saw as extremely impious, perhaps even not worthy of being called religion. When they saw an EO or OO liturgy they'd find a lot more things familiar (not the icons, of course, except in the case of Shiites and Alevis), but there'd be a far more reverential and theocentric atmosphere, more like is found in Islamic services. We have a very large Somali community in my area and evangelizing them has long been a dream of local evangelical missionaries, but so far they've had almost no progress in this regard and I think I know why.

Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: July 28, 2015, 04:53:59 PM by Minnesotan »
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2015, 07:50:09 PM »
We definitely don't want to do some intellectual property rights thing. When we say corporate worship we don't mean that kind of corporate.
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 12:18:45 AM »
Okay then, what about the other two arguments?
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Offline Sam G

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2015, 12:31:09 AM »
From my limited experience in dialoging (if you could call it that) with Protestants, the best way I've found to explain my beliefs is by explaining the history of the early Church. St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch are your best friends when it comes to this.

Either that, or you could always ask them to prove from scripture that scripture is the ultimate authority of the church.

I used to have a list of passages from the New Testament that I could use to ask Protestants hard questions about the structure of the Church, but alas, I've misplaced or deleted it.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 12:31:29 AM by Sam G »
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2015, 12:53:20 AM »
We definitely don't want to do some intellectual property rights thing. When we say corporate worship we don't mean that kind of corporate.
yes, we do.
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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2015, 12:12:46 PM »
We definitely don't want to do some intellectual property rights thing. When we say corporate worship we don't mean that kind of corporate.
yes, we do.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2015, 12:24:44 PM »
We definitely don't want to do some intellectual property rights thing. When we say corporate worship we don't mean that kind of corporate.
yes, we do.
We wrote the Bible to ourselves, compiled it, transmitted it and canonized it. When it says "Church," that's us.

Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2015, 12:42:13 PM »
We definitely don't want to do some intellectual property rights thing. When we say corporate worship we don't mean that kind of corporate.
yes, we do.
We wrote the Bible to ourselves, compiled it, transmitted it and canonized it. When it says "Church," that's us.


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Offline biro

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2015, 03:30:17 PM »
My parish got some new icons in the chapel, not too long ago. They took out an old icon of Christ the Great High Priest to make room for them. I miss the old one. :(

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2015, 05:18:51 PM »
Do you really think an institutional view of Christianity reflects the early Church?  I don't.   What drove Eastern Orthodoxy is politics and the decisions of kings to support a particular model of the Church.

On the other hand, it won't be hard to bamboozle the average non-denom or evangelical with a few facts and persuade them of the ahistorical nature of their religion.

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2015, 05:25:33 PM »
We definitely don't want to do some intellectual property rights thing. When we say corporate worship we don't mean that kind of corporate.
yes, we do.
We wrote the Bible to ourselves, compiled it, transmitted it and canonized it. When it says "Church," that's us.

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This is the part where Isa says:

"x I know, and y I know, but what are you?"
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 05:26:04 PM by NicholasMyra »
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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2015, 06:07:42 PM »
Do you really think an institutional view of Christianity reflects the early Church?  I don't.

I guess it depends on what you mean by this. I don't think the structures piled on structures that has led to what we have now (both messes and successes) were there in the beginning. I don't see how anyone could. My patron saint is about as traditional and Orthodoxy-or-death-ish as they come, and even he remarked on how "the other, historically later and variable forms of church organisation of the Orthodox Church: the metropolias, archdioceses, patriarchates, pentarchias, autocephalies, autonomies, etc., however many there may be or shall be, cannot have and do not have a determining and decisive significance in the conciliar system of the Orthodox Church."

Still, I also think it is clear that there were specific leaders in the early Church, specific teachings and practices, and that the Apostles made an effort to guide the flock into using and understanding these. In a word: there was apostolic structure and church discipline. Sure, for something things there is less evidence in the first 50-75 years (or even first 300 years), but take apostolic succession for example: there is little in the way of direct support in NT Scripture for ideas about apostolic-based lineages moving from person to person through time, but perhaps that's because that aspect of it is the least important part of apostolic succession (among the many other reasons it might not have been discussed). It is in the faithp/B] (that which is external to us and which we are to make our own) expressed by St. Peter, and the virtue of faith inside him (that which is internal and we are called to cooperate with, which is the process by which we can incorporate the external, 'the faith' through 'our faith'), on which the Church is built. The structuring--while some of it is apostolic and inviolable--is only a manifestation of and living out of that faith. Some of the structure plays a crucial role, but it is what protects the pearl of great price, and not the pearl itself.

Quote
What drove Eastern Orthodoxy is politics and the decisions of kings to support a particular model of the Church.

Certainly Orthodox has gotten helping hands from Emperors and other governmental, military, and other leaders over the centuries. Orthodox in various times and places have also been dealt some deep wounds as well. And I'm not even talking about Muslims and Soviets and that sort, but just plain old boring emperors who persecuted, suppressed and killed Orthodox, but which few remember or talk about (and the Orthodox emperors often did the same to their own enemies). Even the governments who were and are seemingly on the side of the Orthodox can do more harm than good. Good or ill, the structure of the Church was more easily manipulated than other ways might have been; but I think it was also better than others would have been. Which is besides the point, because while various structures and ecclesiastical frameworks and such developed over time, the Orthodox felt it necessary to stick to certain original principles.

Quote
On the other hand, it won't be hard to bamboozle the average non-denom or evangelical with a few facts and persuade them of the ahistorical nature of their religion.

I'm not sure I get what you are saying here 8) Are you using 'ahistorical nature' sarcastically? If not, wouldn't disabusing them of such mistaken notions be a good thing, and not a bamboozlement?

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2015, 07:57:29 PM »
Quote
On the other hand, it won't be hard to bamboozle the average non-denom or evangelical with a few facts and persuade them of the ahistorical nature of their religion.

I'm not sure I get what you are saying here 8) Are you using 'ahistorical nature' sarcastically? If not, wouldn't disabusing them of such mistaken notions be a good thing, and not a bamboozlement?

No, because I'm not convinced the Orthodox account of the Church is without its critiques.  It's just less obvious to the unlearned.

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2015, 08:10:46 PM »
Anyway, I've been thinking more about possible lines of reasoning I could use with Protestants, once I get the opportunity. (I'm more interested in explaining to them why I want to swim the Bosporus, rather than trying to convert them to my way of thinking. They might not agree with me, but at least I'd like them to respect my decision and not think I've gone crazy).

So I've thought of several analogies that I could use.

The first is regard to ecclesiology. Evangelicals hold to an "entrepreneurial" model. They believe that just anyone can start their own assembly, call it a church, and as long as it "follows the Bible", it automatically becomes part of Christ's church.

But that's a bit like saying that if I decide to start a burger stand in my backyard and call it a McDonald's, that means it's actually a McDonald's. Actually, if I did that, I'd be arrested for fraud and/or violating copyright. That's because the name McDonald's, the golden arches symbol, etc., aren't open source, they're copyrighted. I'd probably face a harsher penalty if I used substandard meats in my recipe, or otherwise conducted myself in a way that reflected poorly on the name McDonald's.

The question then becomes: is the Bible "copyrighted"? Are other aspects of Christianity (like the doctrine of the Trinity, etc.) "copyrighted" or open source? If they're "copyrighted" and it's Jesus Christ who owns the copyright, then that would imply that just anyone doesn't have the right to start their own church from scratch, at least not if they want it to be the same church Christ founded.

Instead, it would imply that there's one original Church, and if you want to respect Jesus Christ's "intellectual property rights", you need to be part of (or in communion with) the one church He founded, rather than starting your own assembly from scratch that would compete with it.

Some might interpret Matthew 18:20 to argue in favor of an "open source" church. But, as a recent post on these forums indicates, the classical interpretation of that verse is a reference to the Christian family (as a "domestic church") rather than as a license to allow individuals to start their own churches from scratch. The modern Protestant interpretation of that verse was completely absent prior to the Reformation.

The second argument I've thought of came to me after reading Fr. Daniel Byantoro's essays on being Orthodox in a primarily Muslim country (Indonesia). The difference between Orthodoxy and Islam is like night and day, in that Islam teaches that God's word became book (the Qur'an), whereas in Orthodoxy the focus is on God becoming flesh (Jesus Christ).

Evangelicalism muddies this distinction in that it makes the Bible into a "Christian Qur'an" of sorts. "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so". This kind of attitude (giving primacy to the written word) can quickly lead to a kind of wooden legalism, and frequently it does. Whereas the Orthodox would say that they believe what the Bible says because it points to Jesus Christ. The contrast with Islam is starker, whereas when Evangelicals debate Muslims it ends up becoming a "my book vs. your book" sort of debate.

The third argument also concerns evangelism of Muslims. Evangelicals and Pentecostals have found Muslims notoriously hard to evangelize. The Orthodox, on the other hand, have made inroads among them in the past, and are one of the few churches to have any success in this regard. One reason I think this might be the case is because Muslims, upon seeing most evangelical and charismatic forms of worship, would recognize what they saw as extremely impious, perhaps even not worthy of being called religion. When they saw an EO or OO liturgy they'd find a lot more things familiar (not the icons, of course, except in the case of Shiites and Alevis), but there'd be a far more reverential and theocentric atmosphere, more like is found in Islamic services. We have a very large Somali community in my area and evangelizing them has long been a dream of local evangelical missionaries, but so far they've had almost no progress in this regard and I think I know why.

Any thoughts?
Why don't you just go to services and worry about becoming Orthodox before trying to come up with fancy arguments?
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Offline LBK

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2015, 08:25:21 PM »
Anyway, I've been thinking more about possible lines of reasoning I could use with Protestants, once I get the opportunity. (I'm more interested in explaining to them why I want to swim the Bosporus, rather than trying to convert them to my way of thinking. They might not agree with me, but at least I'd like them to respect my decision and not think I've gone crazy).

So I've thought of several analogies that I could use.

The first is regard to ecclesiology. Evangelicals hold to an "entrepreneurial" model. They believe that just anyone can start their own assembly, call it a church, and as long as it "follows the Bible", it automatically becomes part of Christ's church.

But that's a bit like saying that if I decide to start a burger stand in my backyard and call it a McDonald's, that means it's actually a McDonald's. Actually, if I did that, I'd be arrested for fraud and/or violating copyright. That's because the name McDonald's, the golden arches symbol, etc., aren't open source, they're copyrighted. I'd probably face a harsher penalty if I used substandard meats in my recipe, or otherwise conducted myself in a way that reflected poorly on the name McDonald's.

The question then becomes: is the Bible "copyrighted"? Are other aspects of Christianity (like the doctrine of the Trinity, etc.) "copyrighted" or open source? If they're "copyrighted" and it's Jesus Christ who owns the copyright, then that would imply that just anyone doesn't have the right to start their own church from scratch, at least not if they want it to be the same church Christ founded.

Instead, it would imply that there's one original Church, and if you want to respect Jesus Christ's "intellectual property rights", you need to be part of (or in communion with) the one church He founded, rather than starting your own assembly from scratch that would compete with it.

Some might interpret Matthew 18:20 to argue in favor of an "open source" church. But, as a recent post on these forums indicates, the classical interpretation of that verse is a reference to the Christian family (as a "domestic church") rather than as a license to allow individuals to start their own churches from scratch. The modern Protestant interpretation of that verse was completely absent prior to the Reformation.

The second argument I've thought of came to me after reading Fr. Daniel Byantoro's essays on being Orthodox in a primarily Muslim country (Indonesia). The difference between Orthodoxy and Islam is like night and day, in that Islam teaches that God's word became book (the Qur'an), whereas in Orthodoxy the focus is on God becoming flesh (Jesus Christ).

Evangelicalism muddies this distinction in that it makes the Bible into a "Christian Qur'an" of sorts. "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so". This kind of attitude (giving primacy to the written word) can quickly lead to a kind of wooden legalism, and frequently it does. Whereas the Orthodox would say that they believe what the Bible says because it points to Jesus Christ. The contrast with Islam is starker, whereas when Evangelicals debate Muslims it ends up becoming a "my book vs. your book" sort of debate.

The third argument also concerns evangelism of Muslims. Evangelicals and Pentecostals have found Muslims notoriously hard to evangelize. The Orthodox, on the other hand, have made inroads among them in the past, and are one of the few churches to have any success in this regard. One reason I think this might be the case is because Muslims, upon seeing most evangelical and charismatic forms of worship, would recognize what they saw as extremely impious, perhaps even not worthy of being called religion. When they saw an EO or OO liturgy they'd find a lot more things familiar (not the icons, of course, except in the case of Shiites and Alevis), but there'd be a far more reverential and theocentric atmosphere, more like is found in Islamic services. We have a very large Somali community in my area and evangelizing them has long been a dream of local evangelical missionaries, but so far they've had almost no progress in this regard and I think I know why.

Any thoughts?

Why don't you just go to services and worry about becoming Orthodox before trying to come up with fancy arguments?


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Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2015, 01:36:58 PM »
Do you really think an institutional view of Christianity reflects the early Church?  I don't.   What drove Eastern Orthodoxy is politics and the decisions of kings to support a particular model of the Church.

On the other hand, it won't be hard to bamboozle the average non-denom or evangelical with a few facts and persuade them of the ahistorical nature of their religion.

I hope you are not accusing me of being gullible. I came to my opinions after four years of study of Scripture and Church History, and I'm still open to learning. I'd be happy to become Lutheran (I assume that's your current affiliation, right now) if I become convinced that either:
1. Sola Fide is true
Or
2. Lutheranism has a more Scripturally, historically-grounded, and practical Ecclesiology than both Orthodox and Catholic Ecclesiologies.       

« Last Edit: August 01, 2015, 01:38:40 PM by byhisgrace »
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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2015, 02:48:37 PM »
I hope you are not accusing me of being gullible. I came to my opinions after four years of study of Scripture and Church History, and I'm still open to learning. I'd be happy to become Lutheran (I assume that's your current affiliation, right now) 

I just attend a Lutheran parish but I'm not Lutheran by confession, just a Christian (ELCA Lutherans have open communion and altar fellowship with almost all mainline Protestants).

Those issues you are talking about are really very much secondary.  Sola fide is true, when properly understood in the Lutheran and Reformed confessional sense, or the sense many Anglican Christians understand it.   There is no one Orthodox ecclesiology, whereas Lutherans have an ecclesiology that is very similar to what the fathers of Vatican II came up with- the Church is a people, not an institution creating a people.  If anything, the Orthodox understanding of the Church expressed here is the juridical one, since it's so focused on canonical issues.

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2015, 02:56:45 PM »
There is no one Orthodox ecclesiology, whereas...

Nope.
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Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2015, 03:07:25 PM »
I hope you are not accusing me of being gullible. I came to my opinions after four years of study of Scripture and Church History, and I'm still open to learning. I'd be happy to become Lutheran (I assume that's your current affiliation, right now) 

I just attend a Lutheran parish but I'm not Lutheran by confession, just a Christian (ELCA Lutherans have open communion and altar fellowship with almost all mainline Protestants).

Those issues you are talking about are really very much secondary.  Sola fide is true, when properly understood in the Lutheran and Reformed confessional sense, or the sense many Anglican Christians understand it.   There is no one Orthodox ecclesiology, whereas Lutherans have an ecclesiology that is very similar to what the fathers of Vatican II came up with- the Church is a people, not an institution creating a people.  If anything, the Orthodox understanding of the Church expressed here is the juridical one, since it's so focused on canonical issues.

Having read the Book of Cocords, Thirty-Nine Articles, West-Minister Confession, and defended Sola Fide for over five years, I think I have a pretty good understanding of what Sola Fide means (and its secondary variance of meanings across denominations.)  I just think that when it comes to Scriptural proof, both the Orthodox/Catholic side and the Lutheran/Anglican/Reformed side have equally convincing arguments, so I'm not sure either way.

Where does Orthodoxy say that the Church does NOT start with the people?

Doesn't the Catholic Church teach that the Church is a people AND an institution? Vatican II teaches that the Church subsists in the Roman Magisterium.     



Those issues you are talking about are really very much secondary.
What do you consider primary?
« Last Edit: August 01, 2015, 03:23:08 PM by byhisgrace »
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Online Daedelus1138

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2015, 06:50:28 PM »
Having read the Book of Cocords, Thirty-Nine Articles, West-Minister Confession, and defended Sola Fide for over five years, I think I have a pretty good understanding of what Sola Fide means (and its secondary variance of meanings across denominations.)   

The Reformed have a lot more confessions than just the Westminster Confession.  The Barmen Declaration and the American 1967 Confession come to mind.  In fact most large Reformed churches around the world are no longer strictly "Calvinist" in the sense commonly understood (TULIP).

Quote
Where does Orthodoxy say that the Church does NOT start with the people? 

There is no one Orthodox ecclesiology, and that's just the problem in my mind.  In the end it comes down to having faith in the Church, whereas Protestants tend to emphasize faith in Christ with less mediation.

Quote
Doesn't the Catholic Church teach that the Church is a people AND an institution? Vatican II teaches that the Church subsists in the Roman Magisterium. 

Vatican II is when the Catholic Church started using the term "People of God" frequently.   

Quote
What do you consider primary?

I believe that mainline Protestants and some Roman Catholic expression of Christianity are more faithful to Jesus' own understanding of the Kingdom of God. 
« Last Edit: August 01, 2015, 06:52:29 PM by Daedelus1138 »

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2015, 07:10:19 PM »


There is no one Orthodox ecclesiology, and that's just the problem in my mind.  In the end it comes down to having faith in the Church, whereas Protestants tend to emphasize faith in Christ with less mediation.

Which Christ?

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Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Some apologetic arguments I thought of
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2015, 12:50:56 AM »
Having read the Book of Cocords, Thirty-Nine Articles, West-Minister Confession, and defended Sola Fide for over five years, I think I have a pretty good understanding of what Sola Fide means (and its secondary variance of meanings across denominations.)   

The Reformed have a lot more confessions than just the Westminster Confession.  The Barmen Declaration and the American 1967 Confession come to mind.  In fact most large Reformed churches around the world are no longer strictly "Calvinist" in the sense commonly understood (TULIP).
Okay. In what way are the large Reformed churches no longer "TULIP" Calvinists?

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Where does Orthodoxy say that the Church does NOT start with the people? 

There is no one Orthodox ecclesiology, and that's just the problem in my mind.  In the end it comes down to having faith in the Church, whereas Protestants tend to emphasize faith in Christ with less mediation.
How did you come to that conclusion?

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Doesn't the Catholic Church teach that the Church is a people AND an institution? Vatican II teaches that the Church subsists in the Roman Magisterium. 

Vatican II is when the Catholic Church started using the term "People of God" frequently.   
Okay, but how is that suppose to prove that the RC Church start with the people, while the EO Church does not? Forgive me, but I find it a bit strange that you are using Catholicism to score polemical points against Orthodoxy. It reminds me of how some Catholic apologists say that the Orthodox Church agrees with them on such-and-such issue, just to score polemical points against Protestants. 

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What do you consider primary?

I believe that mainline Protestants and some Roman Catholic expression of Christianity are more faithful to Jesus' own understanding of the Kingdom of God.
I respect that, but I kindly request you to apologize for your statement that may give others the impression that Evangelicals and non-denom inquirers/converts are just some gullible people who have not thought through history in any objective way:   

On the other hand, it won't be hard to bamboozle the average non-denom or evangelical with a few facts and persuade them of the ahistorical nature of their religion.

It is a plain insult to my long, agonizing inquiry. There are sooooooo many things about Orthodoxy that I DO NOT WANT to believe, but became convinced after examining history in neutral sources for a long time and with an open mind.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2015, 01:14:14 AM by byhisgrace »
Not posting. Will be back on October 1st.